Vanishing Point

One of the most wonderful moments of many that I remember from SJC was on 4th floor East Pinkney one night, and Tom Rei came out of his room and ask us “When you see a ray of light coming out of the clouds, why does it start at a point and spread out” and for THIRTY MINUTES everyone was brainstorming and finally someone ran out of his room with the correct answer “VANISHING POINT” which is why railroad tracks seem to come to a point as we gaze in the distance yet we KNOW that they remain parallel. Even today the memory of that evening is exhilarating. And yet my step daughter was an award winning “Policy” debater (not Lincoln-Douglas) and she asked me about some issue one day, so I started to speculate what Truth, Justice, Beauty might mean and she screamed “I DON’T CARE WHAT IT MEANS… I just want to win” and well, the wind went right out of my sails. And now, she makes more money then I ever dreamed of in my life, but to this day, I can sense, that she really doesn’t care what certain issues mean, she just wants to win … and she certainly does win and I admire her accomplishments. (somewhere in all this is a lesson for someone, or perhaps several lessons for several people, depending on where your are and where you would like to be.)

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I used to look at various tutors like Jacob Kline, Eva Brann, Robert Bart and wonder what their minds must be like after SO MANY YEARS of such experiences (equal to going through SJC program say 10 times = 40 years) and I wondered whether they had some much deeper insight that they could not possibly share with us because they are on the peak of Mt. Everest and we haven’t even made it to the top of Rushmore…. OR…. was it the case that they reached some kind of saturation point and the thing to marvel at was NOT some inner vision but rather their remarkable ability to go through the books each time AS IF it were the first time and maintain a level of interest and attention and concern.. also, as a student I desperately wanted ANSWERS and I felt they knew something that they weren’t telling me and when I reached mid-life it dawned upon me that they HAD to act that way to keep us searching and motivating and they could NEVER really let us win an argument with them just like a Zen master can NEVER let you solve the Koan (or if you do, there is always another Koan right behind it.)

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My comment was in response to Mr. F posting this: http://spectator.org/archives/2010/12/07/multiculturalism-rip . The article refers to specific criminal acts. It IS a tenet of the American criminal justice system that we punish individuals for what they have done. Not only is there no blood guilt in our system, but we treat intentional crimes as much more severe than when someone does not act with full intent such as insanity, diminished capacity, etc.

The problem I see with elevating culture over volition is that it can give rise to (1) defenses to crimes by individuals — I didn’t have full volition because of my ethnic subculture, and (2) attacks on minority groups by the majority.

Don’t think that there’s an ethnic cleansing anywhere in the world that hasn’t been preceded by propaganda/brainwashing about the terrible things the to-be-cleansed-culture does that must be eliminated by exterminating the group. It’s a slope unacceptably slippery for this assimilated American.

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