Mofo from the Hood's Blog

Oct. 18, 2009 at 11:55pm

Sunday Scriber 33 (Rehearsal for Death)

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti

PLATO. PHAEDO. Hello and welcome to Episode Thirty-three of "Sunday Scriber." There used to be a sight gag often used in film cartoons whereby a ferocious bulldog with a spiked collar would be chained to his dog house, and above the entry was painted in block letters: FIDO. That name for a dog always made me laugh when I was a kid and unaware of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato; and I still laugh now for whatever reason when I read the name Phaedo, which is the title and name of the lead character in one of Plato's dialogues. One more thing about the cartoon with the ferocious bulldog; he was always just leaping-mad out of reach from a teasing cat, a cat that you could say was philosophical.

In this episode of "Sunday Scriber" I am transcribing a quote from a dialogue with Miles Burnyeat as he addresses Bryan Magee. Mr. Magee published the dialogue in "The Great Philosophers." Oxford University Press, 1988. At that time Miles Burnyeat was Professor of Ancient Philosophy in the University of Cambridge, and one of the leading authorities on Plato in the English-speaking world.***(Magee): "There is a passage in the 'Phaedo' where Socrates maintains that to do philosophy is to rehearse for death. It is in fact to practise being dead. [Laughter] Why?" (Burnyeat): "Well, because being dead is having one's soul separate from the body, and in doing philosophy you are, so far as you can, separating the soul from the body, precisely because you are not thinking about the here and now where the body is. For if you are asking 'What is justice?' with reference to justice anywhere, any time, justice in itself, you are not asking 'Who did me wrong today or yesterday?' If you are asking 'What is beauty?', you are not asking 'Who is the most beautiful person in this room?' And if you are not thinking about the here and now, then, in the sense Plato is interested in, you are not here and now. You are where your mind is, not because you are in some other particular place but a better one, but because you are not in place in that sense at all. You are immersed in generalities...the realm of invariable generalities."

comments [19]  |  posted under Mofo from the Hood, Tacoma, thackerspeed


by marumaruyopparai on 10/19/2009 @ 12:05pm
I enjoyed this edition of the Scriber.

Your new avatar is just rockin' Mofo.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/19/2009 @ 1:31pm
Yeah. Socrates talkin' about Soul. And the man is white!

by NineInchNachos on 10/19/2009 @ 3:49pm
"pro wrestling and pornography are the bookend spectacles in a parody culture all around us now the grotesque joke representations of power and eros in the end times."

an audio adventure awaits for you mofo.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/19/2009 @ 6:29pm
The actual amount of time our spiritual self spends in the corporeal body is actually so insignificantly small that it is completely negligible. 122 years (max verified human life span so far) is pretty much nonexistent versus the concept of eternity.

So then, is philosophy truly a useful preparation for the majority of your existence?
Kinda depends on your point of view about the Great Hereafter. The most reasonable (and thus most likely) explanation of the soul centers around energy. Please bear with me on this one.

Everything in the universe is energy, manifested in one form or another. We remember from Einstein's famed 1905 Annus Mirabilis papers that there is a mass-energy equivalence represented in E = mc2. So, energy is equal to mass times c squared. With some fancy algebra we can discover other things, such as the removal of energy is also the removal of mass, as expressed: m = E/c2. I won't touch too much into it, but since c is the cosmic speed limit, as an object reaches c it's acceleration and mass both become infinite. But that's a tangent I don't want to go off on to.

So, where I am going with this is, is that energy is everything. Break down relativity or quantum or string and you always come back to energy. You and I, our bodies, our clothes, the Earth the Sun and the entire cosmos are the same thing, only manifested in was that are all different aspects of the same thing.
So, we know that energy (though subject to entropy) is conserved in some manner, whether it be moved to another body via inertia or or matter being transformed into energy (think the sun or your body using food).
Speaking of your body using food, your body is taking energy from another source to power itself. Dead things have no such requirement. So, the mass of the body is one aspect of energy, yet when you die, your mortal coils lose no mass... until decomposition kicks in (again, energy transfer). That energy that was your life obviously isn't in the body anymore since the body has stopped living. The body hasn't suddenly gained mass upon death either. So that energy that is life must still be in the form of energy, and not in the now dead body.

So what happened to this energy? Clearly it's gone somewhere. This somewhere is where people's faith comes in. Perhaps the energy is recycled into new beings through reincarnation. Perhaps you get to hang out with Jesus (if you lived right) or with Lucifer (if you were evil). Perhaps there is a gray netherworld, like the Hebrew Sheol. Perhaps we are all wrong and there is something else we haven't thought up yet... it's hard to say for certain because the dead don't tend to talk about what they found on the other side.

Now of course, those who have survived near-death experiences (take as large of a grain of salt as you'd like) commonly report light (energy), warmth (energy), the sense of love and well being and a higher level of existence where they are aware of more and are a part of something bigger. Hold it at that thought for a second.
Any faith that has a god (or gods) all say that the Ultimate Being(s) are creators, are beyond human, are bigger than anything else. Think about that.

If energy is everything, and God is the maker and creator, all powerful and omniscient, then is it not reasonable to conclude that God is energy?
If we are indeed all in God's image and if we are indeed all the same thing (energy), then our bodies truly are "Temples of God" in the truest sense. The Earth and Sun are as much God as we are... just like the body where a trillion cells make up us, so do all things make up God.
The Soul never left God, as it always was and always is a part of God to begin with. If anything, the energy that is the soul leaving the body is only re-awakened to it's actual state of being; that is an aspect, and avatar, and expression of everything.

Death is not a loss, it is like pouring a glass of water into the sea. You lose only distinction as something "separate" and in turn gain more than you as a cup of water ever fathomed existed: the whole ocean.

So then is philosophy a preparation for death?
It is.
It is also a way to think about the bigger picture that we all belong to.

You and I are more than you and I.

We are everything.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/19/2009 @ 8:57pm
First I want to briefly address the link to the radio interview. Thanks much. I wasn't aware of that website. I'll return to it again to try to get an overview of what the whole site is about.

The interview with Mr. Hedges was interesting. He seems concerned that the end of the world is near, at least for U.S. citizens. I've recently heard orthodox Christian authors on the radio say the same thing.

The fact that Hedges filters his reality through the pseudoscientist and atheist Sigmund Freud leads me to believe that he is not a Christian. So, he has some idea's about what is destroying the U.S. politically and what is destroying the Earth's ecology, but he doesn't offer a solution. He suggests that some kind of imperial business based superpower has taken Freudian theory and developed mind control methods like propaganda to convert mankind into automatons. Yet, he says that he doesn't believe in progress or linear history. That statement contradicts his view and it is also contrary to the source of the concept of linear history: The Bible.

I agree with Hedges that we live in a corrupt world and that politicians lie---all men lie. I also agree with Hedges that there are cyclical events in history, such as the rise and fall of civilizations. I agree with him on those points because firstly I've witnessed such things, and secondly I've read, like him, authors from antiquity and forward who have chronicled such events.

But here is where Hedges and I part with radically different views:
I firmly believe in the infallibility and the necessity of the Bible. It is the guidebook for man on how to understand what he is (The Ten Commandments) and how he can progress spiritually through and by the grace of God the Creator. In the words of the Apostle Paul: Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.

Hedges can read Homer and Plato, neither of which had the benefit of the Bible, but Hedges who claims to be studying ancient history, cannot ignore the most critically analyzed text from antiquity and claim to understand man or Western history. As Paul said, do not follow the ways of the secular world, follow the will of God. That is the only way to freedom from the lust of the eyes, lust of the mind, lust of the flesh---the world's bondage.

Hedges claims to be disgusted with the depraved morality he has seen all around him, he doesn't believe in progress, he has no hope to offer mankind. He is in effect the automaton of the imperial power that he speaks of.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/19/2009 @ 9:04pm
The idea of "the end is near" is completely absurd unless you add the qualifier "as we know it" to the end.
The World existed long before we were here, and ain't nothing we can do to destroy it. Even if we nuked all the whales, roaches and Cher will survive.

But the idea of the "world as we know it" changing has happened uber-regularly in history. Great example: the fall of Rome in the West.

"Depraved morality"
Consider this: that after the peak and all along the decline of a society, there is an increasingly rapid descent into eroticism and hedonism along with corruption... again, look to Rome and Greece. Great examples.

I'd be willing to say we're in a nearly world-wide societal decline right now, lead by the West. I don't think we'll be seeing Christ come out of the sky anytime soon. I'd say a Mad Max like future is closer at hand.
Ok, maybe not... but "dystopia" is what we'll have left after we've squandered the last of the oil and spent the money of our great-great-great grandkids on more flat screen TVs and pr0n.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/19/2009 @ 11:53pm
Okay, now I will attempt to address the commentary by Mr. Thorax O' Tool.

First, I agree with you if you are saying that we live in an age that resembles 1st Century Rome and its policy of cultural pluralism and its notable eroticism and hedonism.

Since about the 1960's in the U.S. there has been a marginal shift away from Christianity and all its denominations and toward a religious pluralism marked by variants of Buddhism and Hinduism and Muhammadanism. That era also marked the rise of radical feminism. By the early 1970's the homosexual movement became more visible. The cultural and moral relativism in the U.S. today is also due in large part to government mandated programs diffused through the public education system. Likewise, the media through movies, television, and print has diffused secular-humanist views and beliefs in a manner and volume unknown in prior centuries.

If you believe that the cultural and moral relativism in the U.S. today resembles 1st Century Rome then maybe you will agree with me that it was the rise of Christianity that saved Western Civilization then, and it will be the rise of Christianity that will save Western Civilization now.

Lastly, it is important to gain a basic understanding of philosophy in order to understand the historical development of the idea's of metaphysics and the nature of being and ethics.

Socrates, at his trial in 399 B.C., maintained that the reason he philosophized was that "the examined life was not worth living."
He wanted men to evaluate information beyond a superficial and simplistic understanding. He was concerned with discovering universal fixed truths, principles of ethics that never changed even though a person's particular circumstance would.

We should critically examine views and beliefs to discover their foundations and whether the totality of the views have consistency or coherence. If the views and beliefs are based on adequate evidence and are rationally defensible, then a reasonable person may be justified in adhering to them.

by NineInchNachos on 10/20/2009 @ 12:02am
I think the end of cheap credit is equal to the end of the world for most people. I am an optimist. I think the end is just another beginning.

Meanwhile, Robert Crumb is illustrating the book of genesis. I suggest everyone read it for some idea of how absurd the text really is (not safe for kids!)

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/20/2009 @ 3:15pm
R. Crumb's illustrated version of The First Book of Moses commonly called Genesis is a book I'd like see.

I've read quotes from Crumb where he said that he despised Warhol for gaining fame and fortune by exploiting the art tastes of the common man. Warhol in the 1950's was an employed commercial artist, an illustrator who by the early 1960's transitioned into an independent producer of "Pop" art and film. He's mostly recognized for his commentary on mass production culture---consumer food packaging and household item packaging and repetitive media images such as popular entertainers and politicians. Warhol's art was produced for an audience that was preconditioned to buy his themes.

Likewise for Crumb with his illustrated take on Genesis, he made it for a contemporary audience that has been preconditioned. A lot of people who never read books full of text might out of curiosity read Crumb's book for its comics style imagery. Crumb similar to, if not beyond Warhol, has taken a subject, The Bible, which is the most recognized and mass produced book in cultural history, and stylistically reproduced it for gaining personal fame and fortune by exploiting the art tastes of the common man. It's probably an overstatement to say that there's large audience for comics imagery, but the subject matter has massive appeal.

In view of the subject matter and the times and the number of people looking for some kind of direction, it's possible that Crumb's Bible will become the new preferred household Bible.

by NineInchNachos on 10/20/2009 @ 3:57pm
if only all Christians were as receptive to R. Crumb as you..

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/20/2009 @ 5:46pm
I don't think well-read classical orthodox Christians, either pastors or laymen, would find Crumb's book offensive. The Bible is full of stories about real people with all their faults. The pages are full of characters that are greedy, lustful, ambitious, covetous---all the qualities that the Ten Commandments prohibits. Once a reader of the Bible becomes aware of what man is and that man doesn't have the power within himself to change his wicked ways, then it should become apparent that man needs a power, a savior, outside of himself to save him from self-destruction.

The people that will reject Crumb's book are what have been termed "cultural Christians." They build or go to political correct liberal churches that have eliminated or reinterpreted parts of the Bible to fit the ever-changing cultural times. There are over 2000 radically liberal Protestant denominations, each with their own peculiar man-made rules. They reject the Bible as God's inspired unchanging Truth. They reject the Bible as the final authority on anything.

The false Christians that will reject Crumb's book are portrayed throughout the Bible as the faithless who seek to silence God's Truth and revise history and social ethics to fit their agenda.

These false Christians are the people that have fueled the cultural and moral relativism of the past 50 years. The general public's skepticism of Christianity is justified because of the confusion brought on by radically liberal Protestants. When the general public in modern times and as in the ancient times of Socrates, develops a skepticism of the possibility of knowing Truth, then all things become equal. If there is no reference point for unchanging Truth, then civilization's spiral into a free-for-all barbarianism.

by NineInchNachos on 10/20/2009 @ 5:48pm
well I hope the library picks up a copy. R Crumb is a great cartoonist.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/20/2009 @ 6:05pm
R Crumb can create anything as demented as the 7-sexes of supporters and members of the ACLU.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/20/2009 @ 9:11pm
Best part of the Bible: when St Paul tells the Corinthians to not reject sinners, to not abuse tax collectors, to not not shun adulterers, to not outcast the homosexuals, to not regard the Gentiles as inferior... and tells the Corinthians to accept these "undesirables", as we are all of us Brothers in Christ.

That takes both courage and (at the time) a level of liberalism that shocked the sensibilities of the day.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/21/2009 @ 12:12am
St. Paul, The Apostle to the Gentiles, pretty much got beat down wherever he travelled. He, like Socrates, had a conversion experience after which he felt that he had a mission to save men's souls.

However, Paul and Socrates had very different ideas about God and how and why to care for one's soul.

Here's a quote from Paul to the church which he established in Corinth, the Sin City of the middle of the 1st Century:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." 1 Cor. 6:9-11.

Paul finishes the chapter like this:
"Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
1 Cor. 6:18-20

It's usual for Paul to say something like, "Just as you have been shown grace and mercy by God, then so shall you show others a like manner of grace." Paul never says, "Do whatever turns you on." He instructs people on how and why they should act in order to show that they understand the magnitude of the grace and mercy conferred to them by God through Christ's work on the Cross.

The Christian message is all-inclusive, all are welcome, but it is also exclusive of the types of behaviors that I noted from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.

by scout on 10/22/2009 @ 12:32pm
I don't know too much about JC - other than what was beat into me with a ruler for nine years at Catholic school, but Mofo you're lookin' a little like Sly.

by Mofo from the Hood on 10/22/2009 @ 1:00pm
I'm just everyday people.

by Mofo from the Hood on 11/17/2009 @ 9:27am
NewsNote: Cartooning the Word R. Crumb's "The Book of Genesis"

Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 12:50pm ET.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 11/17/2009 @ 10:25am
Can we get Pastor Melissa Scott to take over this column? I've been following her on late night TV and I think I have found the path to righteousness.


This is my real-time novel, "Idealism in Tacoma," which will attempt to sort out the virtual new order I discovered in local blogs and in local 'hoods. I welcome you to join me as I press on in search of answers to the ongoing question: "Is it new?"

NEW! for 2011:
"QUANTUM FOAM," the second real-time novel by Mofo from the Hood, is happening now!

"For whatever mysterious reason, I must act beyond the role of spectator. Something beyond a portable history must be explored.

Therefore in order for me to define the concepts and categories of realities beyond the realm of my real-time novel "Idealism in Tacoma," a wholly other discourse must take form.

Ladies and whatever, let us go forth into the unknown dimension of imagination. I hereby offer you my all new materialist inspired "out of nothing" real-time novel: 'QUANTUM FOAM'."

Also For Your Enjoyment:
"The Mofo News Network" aka MNN is one of the world's most trusted sources of news and entertainment--MFTH, Founder*

"Sunday Scriber" series. 36 episodes from May 2008 to July 2011. Perpetual status. A practical look at why survival and freedom depends on knowing what is good, acceptable, and perfect.
*MFTH was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington USA. As a lifelong resident, uninspired by money, power, or fame, he eventually resorted to reading internet blogs, sometimes at the public library. In May, 2008, during the Great Recession, he started "Mofo from the Hood's Blog" on, because it was free. If this blog ever helps him to attain money, power, and fame, he will probably stay in Tacoma.

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