An Interview With Brian Taraz – Part II

You have been so patient and for that I thank you. Here is the second part of the interview with the inimitable Brian Taraz!

(An Interview With Brian Taraz – Part I)

If you’ll recall, we left off the last portion of the interview just as Brian was about to delve into his individual initiative or personal project: Kitab-i-Kuchik or The Little Book. Here is the question and his answer follows:


Yes, let’s talk about your individual initiative project Kitab-i-Kuchik. What motivated you to write it and share it with the world on the web? what is your number one goal or intention?

I wrote it because there’s this young guy I met when I moved to Tucson who is not Baha’i but was going regularly to study circles. That along with visiting Sufi world dances, doing political reggae music and generally being a spiritual seeker.

Now me, I’m not a big ?teacher? guy in the sense of trying to tell people about Baha’i or encouraging them to join. I participate but, from what I understand in the writings, no one is going to be becoming Baha’i anytime soon because we keep jumping the first step that all ?success? is predicated on – ?teach thyself?. Anyway, that’s my problem.

But this guy was enthusiastically on the path, and I could tell from talking with him that the ocean of Baha’s words were a perfect match. But of course, being a normal person, he had real questions in his investigation – and the study circles didn’t really offer the right venue for them to be answered, and many of the brethren would skirt the issues – so I told him, ?hey, feel free to ask me whatever you want?. And so we’d had great discussions.

At some point though he started expressing concerns about the House of Justice and even Shoghi Effendi, etc. And I could tell, of course, like any smart consumer, he was checking out the web. And, hey, I personally have no problem with the hyper-egalitarian nature of the web for all parties. I think it’s exciting. Be that as it may, I decided I should see what was up in general.

And so by far the most fun stuff out there, viz. Baha’i, are these folks, like yourself, who are zealously and with love and passion, agitating for – what? – clarity? Honesty? Justice? – in any case, the thoughts are great and challenging but I could also see that, for someone like my friend, straight out of the gate – it’s quite a mighty barrier to ?joining? Baha’i Inc.

Anyway . . . so I saw some of the issues and, well, I had my thoughts (like regarding the infallibility of the House, the Guardian not leaving a will, the usurpation of Baha’i authority by a pseudo-cabbal of ?old boys? if you will, etc.) and I just kind of jotted the thoughts and wrote the book. But I didn’t want to publish on paper because, besides the review process (which that book would not likely pass) I just don’t feel that ?paper? should be used any more for anything other than the words of God.

And more to the point, on account of I’m pretty much a computer imbecile, this one friend of mine, out of the blue was like, ?Do you want me to make a website for you??. Just like that. It was really kind of cool weird.

And so the virtual realm is perfect for men and women with thoughts to work out their ideas and share them with others. But ?trees?, which make the paper, are living things. And this plethora of books, magazines, etc. is simply an ocean of oppression in this latter day within which all things are lost (that’s my opinion. That was why I stopped writing in college – walking into a Barnes and Noble in Downtown Manhattan).

Anyway . . . . I’m guessing you’ve read it, but as with your first impression, it’s mildly puerile, or infantile. And those are my little masks. The word play and anagrams. The simple minded ?idiot? approach. But that’s because, A) I prefer it – having been raised on Mad magazine, Monty Python and the Prisoner series – and B) I know that what is buried within it is something astoundingly profound, clear and divine and in order to access it the reader’s ?brain? or ?belief structure? has to be messed with.

So there’s penis and vagina dealt with. Yes, Virginia, Baha’is still have penises and vaginas and they will be actively involved in this Dispensation. We need to figure that out.

And there’s all kind of little innuendos and irreverences, ones of the sort that one might think would ?offend a soul?. Just as AB says, ?Beware lest thou offend any soul?. But to me that’s one of His brilliant tricks; because the ?soul? cannot be offended. It is made of ?God-stuff?. What CAN be offended is the ?ego?.

And while an ego offended can be an uncomfortable prospect to deal with, the truth is if you just focus on God/Love/Word as being the core of your motivation, you can make it over and through the ego, and the recipient on the other end, buried beneath that life-long armor plating, will hear enough of you to rise to the occasion.

So that book is my ?shout out? to an unknown audience. Like Nietzsche wrote to the men of the future. The ones ?coming up?. Not that I’m Nietzsche or anything.

And frankly, I don’t feel it’s for everyone. That’s why it’s just on-line and I have no desire or intent to print it. And that’s why there’s a warning at the beginning of it. Some people like a challenge. Some people can understand that in irreverence there is also a pathway to the divine. And so it’s a book which is ?sweet in the mouth but bitter to the belly? just as in the book of Revelation.

As far as a ?goal? or ?intention? – I really have no idea.

I guess I’d like for someone somewhere to actually sing/chant/intone the Bible and Koran as I lay it out – because I present it as a testable scientific premise. Namely IF you do this THEN you will meet God face to face and He’ll eat you up through your eyes and give you new birth. Or not.

And why not give it a try? What’s the problem? You’ll have read the Bible and Koran. Oh – how bloody horrible.

The other thing though, and it’s the one sort of serious bit, is the Tri-une brain theory as articulated by Joseph Chilton Pearce in Evolution’s End. It’s a perfect description of the Pre-Adamic, the Adamic, and this new Cycle of religious outflow. It’s amazing. And I’m not smart enough to run with it. I’d love some of the smarty pants brethren to check it out and I think their brains would explode.

What about your other personal interests?

Other interests? Well, to be honest, I’m kind of a religious fanatic at heart. Severely committed to absolute love within extreme moderation. And I wish I could turn my worship into work (and actually, that’s what I fantasize about my CDs on CD baby. I give God the chance to ?provideth the means and unlocketh the doors? but so far He seems, errr, ummm, disinclined ?)

I do enjoy acting. Especially theatre. And ?theatre?, anagrammatically speaking, is ?thee art? (Like that?).

brian-taraz-bahai-twelfth-night-play.png
Brian Taraz – top row, middle

For a long time I only did Shakespeare because I consider him a minor prophet (Shaykh Spear). The simple outflow of his verses, their cogency and range of themes, is sufficient proof within the Koranic framework. And so even the debauched bits in Shakespeare are like the sex bits in the Bible. They’re okay. They’re sanctified.

But then, well, I had to confront myself and so, at some point I just decided – just do it! Try contemporary theatre. Try and use judgment, but learn what its like to be a human. So . . . I do it on occasion. Did a few films, like you saw on IMDB (By the way, you’ll get a kick out of me playing Usama. It’s a 7 minute dark comedy short shot on film. It won awards. You can play it nicely on broadband through www.thirtysevenclick.com ).

I consider ?scripture? God’s ?script? for the world stage. Even as Shakespeare set it down.

But I also have my dreams: Like Kabuki Aqdas! The Most Holy Kabuki – The Tablet of the Holy Mariner done in dance, with flowing ribbons of color, Taiko drums in the background, the lyrics intoned and multi-toned, people with elaborate costumes, a Dionysian revelry of ecstatic fervor derived from the Word of God itself.

All the people at the end smoting with their hands upon their cheeks, feverish communal wailing – I have two kids, however, and due to all of the above my functional/economical self is always just barely getting by.

God is most gracious in that regard.

Well . . . . I’m soooooo sorry about this ramble. Truth of the matter is I could go on and on and on and . . .. its not about me. That’s ultimately what that book is about.

It’s about you.

You are absolutely perfect and complete exactly as you are, where you are, at the time you are BUT without God you will never experience that, never know it, and continue to exist in an illusory condition in which events, signs and images appear to have separate, non-inter-connected existences.

IF you do the Read, as Brian says to do the Read (none of which He wrote but which has existed in the public domain and which can be acquired for a one time low cost of about $20 total), then You will meet God face to face in your own breath, voice, ears, mind soul and as you breath Him to life He will breath you to life and you will then discover the essential reality of yourself in precisely the way it is described at the beginning of Seven Valleys.

And that’s guaranteed.

But somehow . . . I don’t know . . . it’s not fancy enough. It’s not expensive enough. It’s not obscure enough. Or something . . . .

Last thought . . .

?Be thou assured in thyself that, verily, he who turns away from the messengers of the past hath also turned away from this Beauty, and showeth pride towards God from all eternity to all eternity?.

To my way of thinking, it is as true, grammatically, as the way we normally read it.

And much more relevant.

The 4th Candle.

Wow. Thank you. How has your faith grown, developed and changed? And if you could go back in time to the moment you declared, what if anything would you tell yourself with the knowledge you have now?

Brian’s fascinating insight and answers to these and more questions, coming up in part 3 !

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Technical difficulties prevented comments for a day or two. Things are back to normal folks. So let me have it !!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Technical difficulties prevented comments for a day or two. Things are back to normal folks. So let me have it !!

  • http://blendmonthly.blogspot.com Todd Brogan

    If you’re receiving this, it means we have recently added you to our blogroll. While you’re not alone, you are among only a few who truly caught our collective eye (full list at end of message). Who is ‘we’? We are blendmonthly.blogspot.com The Blend Monthly is a newsletter-turned-newsblog that commentates on articles and issues that concern young, faithful people everywhere, regardless of their religious labels. It started as an effort by a couple of Baha’i youth but quickly became a multi-faith collaboration. It remains small, volunteer run, youth-oriented, and interfaith. It publishes original poems and articles, in addition to introducing readers to a taste of the events, articles, and people in the diverse and fascinating community of online believers.

    I’m writing to both inform you that we’ve added you to our blogroll and to request that you check out the site. If you like what you see, we’d be honored to have you add it as a link on your site. With no expectations, we invite you to view our site, ask questions and make suggestions. Regardless of your decision, we appreciate the work you’re doing and look forward to reading much more from and/or about you.

    Best wishes,
    Todd Brogan, Editor
    blendmonthly.blogspot.com

    bethecause.org, yearoffaith.net, jewlicious.com, amritsarovar.com, board.revolutionchurch.com, getreligion.org, therevealer.org, bahairants.com, soultease.com, newlifemerging.blogspot.com, Beliefnet.com/blogheaven.

  • http://blendmonthly.blogspot.com Todd Brogan

    If you’re receiving this, it means we have recently added you to our blogroll. While you’re not alone, you are among only a few who truly caught our collective eye (full list at end of message). Who is ‘we’? We are blendmonthly.blogspot.com The Blend Monthly is a newsletter-turned-newsblog that commentates on articles and issues that concern young, faithful people everywhere, regardless of their religious labels. It started as an effort by a couple of Baha’i youth but quickly became a multi-faith collaboration. It remains small, volunteer run, youth-oriented, and interfaith. It publishes original poems and articles, in addition to introducing readers to a taste of the events, articles, and people in the diverse and fascinating community of online believers.

    I’m writing to both inform you that we’ve added you to our blogroll and to request that you check out the site. If you like what you see, we’d be honored to have you add it as a link on your site. With no expectations, we invite you to view our site, ask questions and make suggestions. Regardless of your decision, we appreciate the work you’re doing and look forward to reading much more from and/or about you.

    Best wishes,
    Todd Brogan, Editor
    blendmonthly.blogspot.com

    bethecause.org, yearoffaith.net, jewlicious.com, amritsarovar.com, board.revolutionchurch.com, getreligion.org, therevealer.org, bahairants.com, soultease.com, newlifemerging.blogspot.com, Beliefnet.com/blogheaven.

  • Concourse on Low

    In Kitab-i-Cuchik’s “Persian” section, the author incorrectly says that the Persians took the Jews captive. In fact, Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achamenid Persian empire, freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity and exile, and financed the rebuliding of the second temple.

    Additionally, the statement that “The ONLY religion which had no significant interfacing with ?Iran? and the ?Persians? was the faith of Jesus,” is historically inaccurate as there were significant Persian Christian communities in Persia and the East, the ancestors of today’s Nestorian Christians.

    Otherwise, quite an interesting product of a serious thinker engaging Bahai literature and thought.

  • Concourse on Low

    In Kitab-i-Cuchik’s “Persian” section, the author incorrectly says that the Persians took the Jews captive. In fact, Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achamenid Persian empire, freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity and exile, and financed the rebuliding of the second temple.

    Additionally, the statement that “The ONLY religion which had no significant interfacing with ?Iran? and the ?Persians? was the faith of Jesus,” is historically inaccurate as there were significant Persian Christian communities in Persia and the East, the ancestors of today’s Nestorian Christians.

    Otherwise, quite an interesting product of a serious thinker engaging Bahai literature and thought.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks CoL, I’m sure Brian will appreciate the thoughtful feedback.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks CoL, I’m sure Brian will appreciate the thoughtful feedback.

  • Concourse on Low

    I’ve been re-reading some passages and the importance and acumen of this work is becoming more evident to me.

    My interaction with Bahai literature and theology has always been formally discursive, and informed by analytical philosophy. Brian’s approach is wonderfully redolent of Nietzsche and the German Romanticist philosophers in that it tackles the philosophical issues through the literary tropes of allusion, double entendre, oblique inter-textuality etc., and I think this is a fantastic counterweight to my own heavy rationalism and an alternative way of getting Bahais to think more deeply!

    If a text merits re-readings, there’s something to it.

  • Concourse on Low

    I’ve been re-reading some passages and the importance and acumen of this work is becoming more evident to me.

    My interaction with Bahai literature and theology has always been formally discursive, and informed by analytical philosophy. Brian’s approach is wonderfully redolent of Nietzsche and the German Romanticist philosophers in that it tackles the philosophical issues through the literary tropes of allusion, double entendre, oblique inter-textuality etc., and I think this is a fantastic counterweight to my own heavy rationalism and an alternative way of getting Bahais to think more deeply!

    If a text merits re-readings, there’s something to it.

  • http://www.scripturerock.com Brian

    Dear Concourse on Low -
    A) Your nice comments made me blush
    and
    B) What a cool “handle” – Concourse on Low!

    Thanks for the comments re: the Persian/Christian experience. I’m finishing another round through the “prophets” – i.e. IS, JER, EZE, DAN and, yeah, it would be more accurate to say that the Jews were made captives of the Babylonians and then were only “captives” of the Persians insofar as Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were overthrown by the Persians and subsequently were the mechanism for the return of the Temple articles and folks to Jerusalem.

    And as far as Jesus/Christianity – my main “visual” had to do with Paul’s gospel-spreading journeys through the region. It’s like he went straight up the Turkish border and hung a west most consciously.

    The fact that Baha’u’llah’s sojourns cut such a swath throughout all these regions and end up sticking Him in AKKA and Bahji ultimately, with this crazy shining dome of ours (“a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”), is so lusciously filled with all manner of crazy, divine “obviousness” that – well – I had to stop being “discursive” a long time back.

    Viz. your kind assesments about the “methods” of the madness, if you will, utilizing literary tropes, and inter-textuality (currently known as “hyper-links” I believe), etc. – man! how cool to hear someone say it!

    I don’t know if I reference it in KiK but one text that had a great impact on me is “Society of Mind” by Marvin Minsky, the AI pioneer at MIT. I don’t know about the actual matter of the text, but its structure, within the “book”, linear format, is a fascinating “experiment”.

    It is presented as a sequence of one-page chapters; some of which follow upon the previous. Some of which have no connective tissue. In any case, the premise is that, after reading the “ENTIRE” text, its holistic totality will present the overall theme.

    That is, to my mind, how the “READ”, which is the linear sequence of the AKJV Bible and the Penguin/Dawood Koran works. One reads the entire thing in a single, non-intellectual, session (takes approximately 6 days if one employs intoning/murmurring techniques that can be easily developed) and, when its done, IF one has at least had some exposure to Baha’u’llah’s ouvre – like 7 Valleys and Iqan – within seconds of having a “quiet moment” of reflection – one will actually begin to “feel” the congealing and transformation of their own inner psychic-cosmology (by which I mean worldview) start to take place.

    But on their own terms, with their own symbology, without the need to discard or discredit any of the data/concepts/image-dictionary they’ve accumulated over the course of their life.

    This, of course, is a “theory”. But it is a testable proposition. And that, hopefully, is not lost in the midst of all the other hoo-ha in KiK, nor in these interviews.

    It is the literal fulfilment of “To those who Have More shall be given” . . . in the sense that, the intellectual, like yourself, with a discursive, rational, left-brain heavy acquisition of knowledge, would not LOSE anything (as you seem to have articulated) by checking out this “methodology” but rather would have an amazingly rich and complex stockpile of intellectual treasures which, if co-mingled and re-integrated by the Word of God, on its and your own terms, would result in . . . God! I can’t even imagine.

    Tragically, for this lowly servant, and as Baquia quickly identified during my brief stint on T9, I’ve pretty much spent my intellectual capital – but that’s okay with me.

    Everyday is a non-stop amazing smorgasbord of witnessing the “Living Word” of God running amuck in the world and – man – I can just “feel” the vibrancy of “travail”, with all its hope, with all its fear, with all the knowledge that birth is trauma, and that there’ll be placenta, and there’ll be a great endorphin rush and depletion of sugar levels, etc . . .

    and I can only hope that some folks with Baha’i background – which is the ONLY theology that incorporates the express concept of religious unity within this Abrahamic-strain of religion- will try the experiment on themselves in the not too distant future.

    Worst case? They actually read the entire Bible and Koran for themselves.
    Best Case? They meet “God” face to face, for themselves, and become utterly transformed into a new creation.

    Maybe :-)

    Concourse on Low?
    Awesome.
    B.

  • http://www.scripturerock.com Brian

    Dear Concourse on Low -
    A) Your nice comments made me blush
    and
    B) What a cool “handle” – Concourse on Low!

    Thanks for the comments re: the Persian/Christian experience. I’m finishing another round through the “prophets” – i.e. IS, JER, EZE, DAN and, yeah, it would be more accurate to say that the Jews were made captives of the Babylonians and then were only “captives” of the Persians insofar as Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were overthrown by the Persians and subsequently were the mechanism for the return of the Temple articles and folks to Jerusalem.

    And as far as Jesus/Christianity – my main “visual” had to do with Paul’s gospel-spreading journeys through the region. It’s like he went straight up the Turkish border and hung a west most consciously.

    The fact that Baha’u’llah’s sojourns cut such a swath throughout all these regions and end up sticking Him in AKKA and Bahji ultimately, with this crazy shining dome of ours (“a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”), is so lusciously filled with all manner of crazy, divine “obviousness” that – well – I had to stop being “discursive” a long time back.

    Viz. your kind assesments about the “methods” of the madness, if you will, utilizing literary tropes, and inter-textuality (currently known as “hyper-links” I believe), etc. – man! how cool to hear someone say it!

    I don’t know if I reference it in KiK but one text that had a great impact on me is “Society of Mind” by Marvin Minsky, the AI pioneer at MIT. I don’t know about the actual matter of the text, but its structure, within the “book”, linear format, is a fascinating “experiment”.

    It is presented as a sequence of one-page chapters; some of which follow upon the previous. Some of which have no connective tissue. In any case, the premise is that, after reading the “ENTIRE” text, its holistic totality will present the overall theme.

    That is, to my mind, how the “READ”, which is the linear sequence of the AKJV Bible and the Penguin/Dawood Koran works. One reads the entire thing in a single, non-intellectual, session (takes approximately 6 days if one employs intoning/murmurring techniques that can be easily developed) and, when its done, IF one has at least had some exposure to Baha’u’llah’s ouvre – like 7 Valleys and Iqan – within seconds of having a “quiet moment” of reflection – one will actually begin to “feel” the congealing and transformation of their own inner psychic-cosmology (by which I mean worldview) start to take place.

    But on their own terms, with their own symbology, without the need to discard or discredit any of the data/concepts/image-dictionary they’ve accumulated over the course of their life.

    This, of course, is a “theory”. But it is a testable proposition. And that, hopefully, is not lost in the midst of all the other hoo-ha in KiK, nor in these interviews.

    It is the literal fulfilment of “To those who Have More shall be given” . . . in the sense that, the intellectual, like yourself, with a discursive, rational, left-brain heavy acquisition of knowledge, would not LOSE anything (as you seem to have articulated) by checking out this “methodology” but rather would have an amazingly rich and complex stockpile of intellectual treasures which, if co-mingled and re-integrated by the Word of God, on its and your own terms, would result in . . . God! I can’t even imagine.

    Tragically, for this lowly servant, and as Baquia quickly identified during my brief stint on T9, I’ve pretty much spent my intellectual capital – but that’s okay with me.

    Everyday is a non-stop amazing smorgasbord of witnessing the “Living Word” of God running amuck in the world and – man – I can just “feel” the vibrancy of “travail”, with all its hope, with all its fear, with all the knowledge that birth is trauma, and that there’ll be placenta, and there’ll be a great endorphin rush and depletion of sugar levels, etc . . .

    and I can only hope that some folks with Baha’i background – which is the ONLY theology that incorporates the express concept of religious unity within this Abrahamic-strain of religion- will try the experiment on themselves in the not too distant future.

    Worst case? They actually read the entire Bible and Koran for themselves.
    Best Case? They meet “God” face to face, for themselves, and become utterly transformed into a new creation.

    Maybe :-)

    Concourse on Low?
    Awesome.
    B.

  • http://www.scripturerock.com Brian

    Hi Baquia,

    A) Sorry about the long discourse in reply to CoL. I shan’t mistaken the kindness of your interview and the format of your blog as a place for me to dance my whacky ideas around. (Although I love your “dance hall”)

    B) Girlfriend, girlfriend . . . how cool! Not that I’m a guy that gets too excited about people “enrolling” in the Faith in general but that “person” that I referenced in Part II, who was kind of my muse for KiK?
    HE DECLARED!
    Awesome. I saw him the other night. We had some coffee. He had visited your blog and read the interviews and . . . not because of the interviews or me or such but . . . He DECLARED. Just in time for Easter.
    Now I’ve just got to be careful that I don’t do the “Baha’i mutation” thing where someone declares and then – plop – they’re on their own now.
    C) After my mom was cool with the interview I went ahead and sent the link to a “selection” of my friends and most of them thought it was great. Some felt disinclined to visit the rest of Rants – I think that’s fine. Some clicked through some of your links and raised a few eyebrows or concerns- again, I think our eyebrows need more exercise anyway :-)
    But I was stoked by the general positive response and even had a couple of folks that thought your site was great.

    (I’m thinking that most people are a little cautious on leaving comments. Some of us – :-) – are a little less circumspect and are willing to leave chrysolite footprints behind ourselves on our journey in search of our Self. And never mind the “now” which is always our “yesterday”)

    Anyway . . . last thought.

    On account of the “stim” you’ve given me . . . well . . . at the risk of sounding absolutely hubristic and self-deluded -

    I FIGURED IT OUT.
    Namely, what the Baha’i Faith Inc. “is”.

    I’m guessing that numerous of your visitors are T9-ers – some anyway – and I rejoined that group for a second here (although its dangerous because its addictive and I can’t afford that sort of thing in my life right now) – to see if it might be possible to present the “idea” and then find some folks that might be willing to “play” with it, serious “play”, to see if it can find some flesh.

    Anyhow . . . Maybe CoL is a T9-er for example.
    And I’m hoping that you, Baquia, with your strong heart, great spirit and sharp “perceptors”, will give the idea a word or two when I get the chance to put it up.

    Thanks again for acting on your inspiration viz. KiK.
    I don’t think my friend has gotten around to the “bookmarking” of the onlinie version yet.
    I’ll send him an e-mail as a “reminder”.

    Peace and Love,
    B

  • http://www.scripturerock.com Brian

    Hi Baquia,

    A) Sorry about the long discourse in reply to CoL. I shan’t mistaken the kindness of your interview and the format of your blog as a place for me to dance my whacky ideas around. (Although I love your “dance hall”)

    B) Girlfriend, girlfriend . . . how cool! Not that I’m a guy that gets too excited about people “enrolling” in the Faith in general but that “person” that I referenced in Part II, who was kind of my muse for KiK?
    HE DECLARED!
    Awesome. I saw him the other night. We had some coffee. He had visited your blog and read the interviews and . . . not because of the interviews or me or such but . . . He DECLARED. Just in time for Easter.
    Now I’ve just got to be careful that I don’t do the “Baha’i mutation” thing where someone declares and then – plop – they’re on their own now.
    C) After my mom was cool with the interview I went ahead and sent the link to a “selection” of my friends and most of them thought it was great. Some felt disinclined to visit the rest of Rants – I think that’s fine. Some clicked through some of your links and raised a few eyebrows or concerns- again, I think our eyebrows need more exercise anyway :-)
    But I was stoked by the general positive response and even had a couple of folks that thought your site was great.

    (I’m thinking that most people are a little cautious on leaving comments. Some of us – :-) – are a little less circumspect and are willing to leave chrysolite footprints behind ourselves on our journey in search of our Self. And never mind the “now” which is always our “yesterday”)

    Anyway . . . last thought.

    On account of the “stim” you’ve given me . . . well . . . at the risk of sounding absolutely hubristic and self-deluded -

    I FIGURED IT OUT.
    Namely, what the Baha’i Faith Inc. “is”.

    I’m guessing that numerous of your visitors are T9-ers – some anyway – and I rejoined that group for a second here (although its dangerous because its addictive and I can’t afford that sort of thing in my life right now) – to see if it might be possible to present the “idea” and then find some folks that might be willing to “play” with it, serious “play”, to see if it can find some flesh.

    Anyhow . . . Maybe CoL is a T9-er for example.
    And I’m hoping that you, Baquia, with your strong heart, great spirit and sharp “perceptors”, will give the idea a word or two when I get the chance to put it up.

    Thanks again for acting on your inspiration viz. KiK.
    I don’t think my friend has gotten around to the “bookmarking” of the onlinie version yet.
    I’ll send him an e-mail as a “reminder”.

    Peace and Love,
    B

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Brian, that is wonderful news! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your idea in Talisman

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Brian, that is wonderful news! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your idea in Talisman

  • Pingback: An Interview With Brian Taraz - Part I at Baha’i Rants

  • fubar

    re: “The Suicide of Reason,” Lee Harris

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/books/review/Al

    —excerpt—

    Blind Faiths

    By AYAAN HIRSI ALI
    Published: January 6, 2008

    Several authors have published books on radical Islam’s threat to the West since that shocking morning in September six years ago. With “The Suicide of Reason,” Lee Harris joins their ranks. But he distinguishes himself by going further than most of his counterparts: he considers the very worst possibility — the destruction of the West by radical Islam.

    The expansion of Islam is perhaps more potent than the expansion of the Christian empires (including Rome after Constantine) because the concept of separating the sacred from the profane has never been acceptable in Islam the way it has been in Christianity.

    Harris goes on to argue that the Muslim world, since it is governed by the law of the jungle, makes group survival paramount. This explains in part the willingness of Muslims to become martyrs for the larger community, the umma — uniting peoples separated by geographical boundaries, with different cultures, heritages and languages. According to Harris, this sense of solidarity is sustainable only with the weapon of fanaticism, which obligates each member of the umma to convert infidels and to threaten those who attempt to leave with death. That is, the aim of Muslim culture, so different from that of the West, is both to preserve and to convert, and this is what enables it to spread across the globe.

    The second fanaticism that Harris identifies is one he views as infecting Western societies; he calls it a “fanaticism of reason.” Reason, he says, contains within itself a potential fatality because it blinds Western leaders to the true nature of Islamic-influenced cultures. Westerners see these cultures merely as different versions of the world they know, with dominant values similar to those espoused in their own culture. But this, Harris argues, is a fatal mistake. It implies that the West fails to appreciate both its history and the true nature of its opposition.

    Nor, he points out, is the failure linked to a particular political outlook. Liberals and conservatives alike share this misperception.

    Harris does not regard Islamic fanaticism as a deviancy or a madness that affects a few Muslims and terrifies many. Instead he argues that fanaticism is the basic principle in Islam. “The Muslims are, from an early age, indoctrinated into a shaming code that demands a fanatical rejection of anything that threatens to subvert the supremacy of Islam,” he writes. During the years that this shaming code is instilled into children, the collective is emphasized above the individual and his freedoms. A good Muslim must forsake all: his property, family, children, even life for the sake of Islam. Boys in particular are taught to be dominating and merciless, which has the effect of creating a society of holy warriors.

    By contrast, the West has cultivated an ethos of individualism, reason and tolerance, and an elaborate system in which every actor, from the individual to the nation-state, seeks to resolve conflict through words. The entire system is built on the idea of self-interest. This ethos rejects fanaticism. The alpha male is pacified and groomed to study hard, find a good job and plan prudently for retirement: “While we in America are drugging our alpha boys with Ritalin,” Harris writes, “the Muslims are doing everything in their power to encourage their alpha boys to be tough, aggressive and ruthless.”

    Social and cultural evolution has always relied on individuals — to reform, persuade, cajole or force. Culture is formed by the collective agreement of individuals. At the same time, it is crucial that we not fall into the trap of assuming that the survival tactics of individuals living in tribal societies — like lying, hypocrisy, secrecy, violence, intimidation, and so forth — are in the interest of the modern individual or his culture.

    in a tribal society, life is cruel and terrible. And I am not alone. Muslims have been migrating to the West in droves for decades now. They are in search of a better life. Yet their tribal and cultural constraints have traveled with them. And the multiculturalism and moral relativism that reign in the West have accommodated this.

    Harris is correct, I believe, that many Western leaders are terribly confused about the Islamic world. They are woefully uninformed and often unwilling to confront the tribal nature of Islam. The problem, however, is not too much reason but too little. Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason.

    Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics. To argue that reason is the mother of the current mess the West is in is to miss the major impact this movement has had, first in the West and perhaps even more profoundly outside the West, particularly in Muslim lands.

    Thus, it is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is Romanticism. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealization of tribal life and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. My reasons for reproaching today’s Western leaders are different from Harris’s. I see them squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.

    To argue, as Harris seems to do, that children born and bred in superstitious cultures that value fanaticism and create phalanxes of alpha males are doomed — and will doom others — to an existence governed by the law of the jungle is to ignore the lessons of the West’s own past.

    (end excerpts)

  • fubar

    re: “The Suicide of Reason,” Lee Harris

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/books/review/Al

    —excerpt—

    Blind Faiths

    By AYAAN HIRSI ALI
    Published: January 6, 2008

    Several authors have published books on radical Islam’s threat to the West since that shocking morning in September six years ago. With “The Suicide of Reason,” Lee Harris joins their ranks. But he distinguishes himself by going further than most of his counterparts: he considers the very worst possibility — the destruction of the West by radical Islam.

    The expansion of Islam is perhaps more potent than the expansion of the Christian empires (including Rome after Constantine) because the concept of separating the sacred from the profane has never been acceptable in Islam the way it has been in Christianity.

    Harris goes on to argue that the Muslim world, since it is governed by the law of the jungle, makes group survival paramount. This explains in part the willingness of Muslims to become martyrs for the larger community, the umma — uniting peoples separated by geographical boundaries, with different cultures, heritages and languages. According to Harris, this sense of solidarity is sustainable only with the weapon of fanaticism, which obligates each member of the umma to convert infidels and to threaten those who attempt to leave with death. That is, the aim of Muslim culture, so different from that of the West, is both to preserve and to convert, and this is what enables it to spread across the globe.

    The second fanaticism that Harris identifies is one he views as infecting Western societies; he calls it a “fanaticism of reason.” Reason, he says, contains within itself a potential fatality because it blinds Western leaders to the true nature of Islamic-influenced cultures. Westerners see these cultures merely as different versions of the world they know, with dominant values similar to those espoused in their own culture. But this, Harris argues, is a fatal mistake. It implies that the West fails to appreciate both its history and the true nature of its opposition.

    Nor, he points out, is the failure linked to a particular political outlook. Liberals and conservatives alike share this misperception.

    Harris does not regard Islamic fanaticism as a deviancy or a madness that affects a few Muslims and terrifies many. Instead he argues that fanaticism is the basic principle in Islam. “The Muslims are, from an early age, indoctrinated into a shaming code that demands a fanatical rejection of anything that threatens to subvert the supremacy of Islam,” he writes. During the years that this shaming code is instilled into children, the collective is emphasized above the individual and his freedoms. A good Muslim must forsake all: his property, family, children, even life for the sake of Islam. Boys in particular are taught to be dominating and merciless, which has the effect of creating a society of holy warriors.

    By contrast, the West has cultivated an ethos of individualism, reason and tolerance, and an elaborate system in which every actor, from the individual to the nation-state, seeks to resolve conflict through words. The entire system is built on the idea of self-interest. This ethos rejects fanaticism. The alpha male is pacified and groomed to study hard, find a good job and plan prudently for retirement: “While we in America are drugging our alpha boys with Ritalin,” Harris writes, “the Muslims are doing everything in their power to encourage their alpha boys to be tough, aggressive and ruthless.”

    Social and cultural evolution has always relied on individuals — to reform, persuade, cajole or force. Culture is formed by the collective agreement of individuals. At the same time, it is crucial that we not fall into the trap of assuming that the survival tactics of individuals living in tribal societies — like lying, hypocrisy, secrecy, violence, intimidation, and so forth — are in the interest of the modern individual or his culture.

    in a tribal society, life is cruel and terrible. And I am not alone. Muslims have been migrating to the West in droves for decades now. They are in search of a better life. Yet their tribal and cultural constraints have traveled with them. And the multiculturalism and moral relativism that reign in the West have accommodated this.

    Harris is correct, I believe, that many Western leaders are terribly confused about the Islamic world. They are woefully uninformed and often unwilling to confront the tribal nature of Islam. The problem, however, is not too much reason but too little. Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason.

    Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics. To argue that reason is the mother of the current mess the West is in is to miss the major impact this movement has had, first in the West and perhaps even more profoundly outside the West, particularly in Muslim lands.

    Thus, it is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is Romanticism. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealization of tribal life and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. My reasons for reproaching today’s Western leaders are different from Harris’s. I see them squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.

    To argue, as Harris seems to do, that children born and bred in superstitious cultures that value fanaticism and create phalanxes of alpha males are doomed — and will doom others — to an existence governed by the law of the jungle is to ignore the lessons of the West’s own past.

    (end excerpts)