Padmasambhava to Barack Obama - 1 

Sources for a new enlightenment and the effects on current events

When I woke up this morning I realized I may have a new roommate. He fled from me as soon as I opened my eyes. I said he, because  I sure hope it is a boy, not a girl--girls are always more trouble, they tend to get pregnant and before you know it your whole place is crawling with the babies. And I hate to kill babies. They are always so damn cute, but they eat your food and they are full of fecal matter. There was a time when I was a bit more careless with my food supplies, leaving  baggies of rice etc.  where my little friends could reach them while I slept, and they quickly took over my place. But it has been more than two years since I got the last one. Now a new tribe seems to be exploring the possibilities of settling in my place. I remember one night I woke up and saw this tiny baby mouse sitting very quietly meditating about two feet away from me, unaware that a great big monster was about to say Booh! to him. Then I said  Booh! And it was just like in those Disney cartoons: the little mouse jumped straight up in the air almost a foot! Then it scurried away before I could stop lauging--talking about man's inhumanity to mus! It is hard to figure out how to kill such a cute thing without feeling really bad. But I probably did--not on the spot, but later, when he had simply become e pluribus unum, one out of many, an anonymous grey mass of undocumented mus--when I could feel less warm and fuzzy about tiny musbuddha's presence--just a matter of mus or me, nothing personal. 

About twenty or thirty of them over a period of a year had to be disposed off before their musfolks realized that my place was terra prohibita to mus musculus, de huismuis or house mouse. Here's a snapshot of my new roommate, and cute he is--he may even be an enlightened mus musculus--and I feel rotten to the core:

Image:House mouse.jpg

Then Brahm called me to say it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and asked how to say that in Dutch--het is een mooie dag in de nabuurtschap. We do that a lot, exchange phrases in our mutual languages. Last phrase I learned from him was Goda hafez dousta man,  Iranian for tot kijk mijn vriend, or in English: so long my friend. That was last Friday night when it was not such a beautiful day, but raining cats and mice.

Anyway, I get up and yes it is gorgeous, sunny and cool. On my way out I hear bells tinkling and on turning around there is this gorgeous great dane followed by a girl in white patent leather boots, checked miniskirt but mostly dressed in her l0ng blond tresses. She kind of looks abit  like that Mrs. McCaine, Candy or Cindy, whatever, but some thirty years younger. The walk downtown along Eddy street is always a trip but on a fine day like today it seems everyone is out in all their finery and on their most uninhibited behaviour.

But that's enough Pleketian small talk for now, time for some more serious considerations.

I was going to write on the connection between Padmasambhava, who wrote the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the rise of a new age of enlightenment in the West. But I have to delay that a bit to address yet another political mus musculus that crept into the the current political debate: the contention that Michelle Obama was unpatriotic when she said that for the first time in her adult life she was really proud of her country. 

The outrage was worthy of that jump of the baby mouse when I said Booh! It was almost cartoonlike, the way the Limbaughs rushed to judge a statement which to me had seemd like, yeah--that's exactly how I feel about it. Well, ik heb nog steeds een appeltje te schillen with the moral majority--gays  still have an issue to deal with before we too can be really pround of this country. For those not familiar with Limbaugh and his antics, here is a sample of what is really unhinged about this country:

Michelle Obama Slams America, Says Husband Can Save Its Soul

Michelle did not say she had never been proud of anything this country has done--like liberating the slaves from the Confederation, or Europe from some  horrible dicatorships, or helping the victims of various natural disasters abroad--if  not always at home.  But hell, even decent Germans could have been proud of some things der Hitler had done for them--that Wirstschaftswunder, for instance, that economic miracle wrought about by the Nazi regime in the 1930's, or the achievement of Volkwagen. Even we in America, after some hesitation, embraced that little Naziwagen--after all what would the hippies of the sixties have done without the little VW bus to get high and happy in? But who--in his right mind--could have been proud of a country that had fomented senseless wars on the world and exterminated millions of innocent people--even if executed with admirable efficiency, Punktlichkeit--pointliness, attention to detail.

Could Jews, Gays, Gypsies, for instance, have been really proud of Germany?  That was a rhetorical question, applicable to America as well--even though the less than admirable behaviour toward human rights  on this side of the Atlantic may never have been quite as dismal as in the old world.  

Still, how could a  Black, or Japanese, or Gay citizen (unless brainwashed) have been truly proud of  America, this land we love and would love to be really proud of, given the dysfunctional, segregative, afzonderende  relationships in this country between blacks and whites, between men and women, or  between gays and straights--given the trampling by the self-styled 'moral majority' or 'values voters' on so many people's human rights. If women's rights and ethnic rights are human rights, are gay rights not also human rights?

And what, let me ask you again, what constitutes 'the soul' of America--if not that complex set of interacting relationships on all levels and scales, and between all parts that constitutes this set of events and entities, this  'eventity' known as America? And is love itself not the very highest expression of the soul, of relationships among human beings, regardless of the race or gender of either one of two loving  partners? Can there be any acceptable resolution of this issue other than gender, race and religion neutral marriage legislation?

Could a black South African have been proud of Suid Afrika onder Apartheid? Zeker niet, surely not.

So let me state the obvious, even women--unless brainwashed--could hardly have been proud of the way this country has been treating the fair sex--and Michelle, last time I looked was both black and a woman. A  highly intelligent, well educated one at that (Princeton AB, Harvard JD, niet mis, not bad)--not one easily brainwashed. Someone with a higher sense of the truth than those who tend to rush into limbo. What she said, I felt in my bones.

 Of course there are those who see a swiftboat rising voluptuously from the muddy waters of politics. But that Siren won't work this time, and there will be no Charybdis either to come to the aid of the Republicans, because what I felt in my bones, most Americans are beginning to feel as well. For the story of the Siren and Charybdis, you can click on the following link:

The Odyssey - Book Twelve - Detailed Version

This may therefore be  the end of an old story and the beginning of a new age. And with that I am ready for what I had planned to write about to begin with in this delivery--that historical connection between Padmasambhava and Barack Obama--so let's fasten our seatbelts and get in gear.  Zoom zoom....

The European Age of Enlightenment is a specific period in European history which had an enormous effect in developments on both sides of the Atlantic.

The American, French and Russian revolutions may all be traced to that period in the 18th century when   the anciens regimes, the old and dogmatic, inflexible  authorities of Church and State began to show cracks in their make-up and a new freedom exerted itself--first among the intellectuals, then under the influence of their writings and teachings in politics as well.

The Declaration of Independence and our American Constitution were the crowning achievements of men steeped in Enlightenment thinking--and eager to bring its principles and ideas into practice.  

Unfortunately, there have also been some very negative aspects that came along as by products of the Enlightenment, some of which we are still having to cope with today. They were not directly the fault of the Enlightenment itself, but must be found in a perverse application of its ideas in the French Revolution and more recently in the Russian Revolution that led in each case to a great deal of hardship and bloodshed--something mostly avoided in the American application of its principles, probably because our new world  society was sufficently removed from the terrible circumstances that had prevailed in the old world so as not to succumb to the excesses of hatred, vengence and bloodshed that characterized the subsequent European revolutions. Slavery was no picknick to say the least--but slavery in America was not based on hatred or vengeance so much as on greed--and indifference to other people's suffering. Which did not alleviate the suffering, but still there was that difference.

The French and Russian revolutions--which were indeed largely based on hatred and vengeance--have both run their course, although the effects have left their marks and are still very noticeable in the societies which were subjected to their brutality. But there is another unfortunate, negative aspect that resulted from the Enlightenment which we still have to cope with today, and much more so in America then in Europe.

In a recent program from UC Santa Barbara which I was able to catch on cable  (see  UCSB_TV Schedule for details) Gershom Gorenberg, an American born scholar and journalist who lives in Jerusalem, mentioned something very interesting in his lecture on The Struggle for the Temple Mount--here's a blurb from the above link:

The Struggle for the Temple Mount Monday, Mar. 31 2:00 AM
The Temple Mount is the most sacred and contested real estate on earth. Yet it is also a physical place in the center of a city; and the center of a century of conflict between Jews and Arabs. Gershom Gorenberg, an American-born journalist who has lived in Jerusalem since 1977, ponders if God's mountain can ever become a symbol of peace.

Much of what I learned from him was interesting, but what really got my attention was his suggestion that fundamentalism (in the West at least) was a negative reaction to the Enlightenment, and that religious or ideological fundamentalism appears to be a fairly typical  reaction in situations where for whatever reason old and accepted authorities have lost their power and people are desperate to find some other form of authority--turning in many cases to a literal interpretation of written authority, such as the Bible or the Koran. If you can read the literal and absolute truth in a written document, then the loss of emperors and popes,  kings and high priests, sultans and caliphs, khalifas is easier to deal with.

Caliph - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the leader of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'a. It is a transliterated version of the Arabic word خليفة Khalīfah (help·info)   which means "successor" or "representative". The early leaders of the Muslim nation following Muhammad's (570–632) death were called "Khalifat rasul Allah", meaning the political successors to the messenger of God (referring to Muhammad). Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīf.

One might even surmise that it was a form of ideological fundamentalism that led to the perverse applications of Enlightenment thinking in France and Russia as well--or perhaps the other way around, but "who or what started what" is not the issue once it becomes a vicious circle feeding on its own excrement, an evil Ouroboros cannibalizing itsself. 

Did someone mention Irak? Northern Ireland, Kossovo? The Bask countries? Or that holier than thy land? Did I leave any place out? Ruwanda, Sudan? Indonesia in that year of vivere pericoloso? You remember that movie, don't you?

The Year of Living Dangerously - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The title The Year of Living Dangerously is a quote which refers to a famous Italian phrase used by Sukarno; vivere pericoloso

But maybe we should give the Oscar for a cultural life time of enduring nastiness to Europe and the Middle East? After all, there were the Persians and the Greeks, the Babylonians and the Egyptians, the Hellenic and the Roman empires, then the Islamic takeover of much of those territories, the Christian Crusades in response to the Moslem Jihad and now again there response to the takeover by the European powers of the power vacuum left by the ottoman Caliphate. Tit for tat, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth--the ancient dysfunctional response to unhappy situations...tit for tat, bang bang bang, over and over again, like a kid in a crib hitting its head against the wall when it is chronically unhappy--over and over, ad infinitum, in saecula saeculorum, amen.   

Before fundamentalism, the old authorities may have been dogmatic, but they were at least able to resist reading scriptures in a literal sense--when it suited them. And isn't the dirty little secret that they still do so, sub rosa?  The hierarchical authority of the Roman Catholic Church--and I wish they'd make up their mind, are they Roman or Universal, Kat'holikos, one cannot be both--for instance,was based on the acceptance of an interpretation of scribblings by authorities which may or may not have been truthful or sophisticated, but who had the power or sanctified capability to convey whatever interpretation was in tune with the spirit of the times, and with their own preferences--i.e. with the circumstances of their particular moment in history. 

Henry VIII provides a rather bad example of that kind of  ad hoc, extemporaneous and opportunistic interpretation of the law--but he is hardly alone among the potentates. That power came from their office and status in society and was generally accepted by people who rarely read scriptures themselves--what choice did they have? It was the King's way in the Papamobile or the highway to hell and damnation, with a pitstop on the stake for a fine country barbecue.

Nowadays, concepts like ad hoc, opportunistic and  extemporaneous are used in a new and more positive manner as applied to networks, for instance:

 Chapter 1 AD HOC NETWORKS - 11:18am

a special, often extemporaneous service customized to applications. So, the. typical ad hoc ... trend is the notion of “opportunistic ad hoc networking”.

 If the authorities are benign and well educated, then the interpretation and application of written authority will generally also be benign, appropriate to the circumstances time and place--and less self serving. Like Obama said, power and money not trickling down (if at all) from the top,  but coming up from the grass roots. Bottom up! is the current enlightenment thinking, worth mega millions.  Hmmm. Bottoms up--I'll drink to that.

We even find that in the interpretation of the U. S. Constitution there are fundamentalists who read the Constitution literally, and others who see it as a living document that needs to be interpreted in accordance with changes in society. The question is then not so much "what does it literally say?" but "what was it intended to accomplish?" or "How do we apply the principles formulated in these ancient scribblings of different times and circumstances so that the results remain just and equitable in other times and circumstances." For example, when ancient scribblings say: to get from Jerusalem to Cairo, take a fast camel and go west, young man" we might want to read it as: "To get from NY to SF, take a car and go west, young man."  Unless you really prefer fast camels, a literal reading of ancient scribbles is not always the best way to go. Even a fast camels won't make it on the Interstate. Ask Obama--remember that picture where he looked like he was in a Christmas pageant dressed up as one of the three Magi, come to adore the baby Jesus in Bethelehem? Adeste fideles. You have seen it. It's been all over the news.

But here's the real thing:


But let's get back to being serious.

In mediaeval English common law a distinction was made between law and equity:  for a blurb from the Holy (or unholy, depending on your point of view) Wikipedia, go to: 

Common law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[edit] 1870 through 20th century, and the Merger of Law and Equity ... with England in 1707 (see Legal institutions of Scotland in the High Middle Ages). ...

 But for a more illuminating article (available only in PDF format) check on:

LIGHT ON THE MIDDLE AGES. - 2:45pm -- or look up:

Medieval Sourcebook: John of Salisbury: Policraticus, Book Four ...

from which I lift the following passage from the beginning of Chapter II:

Princes should not deem that it detracts from their princely dignity to believe that the enactments of their own justice are not to be preferred to the justice of God, whose justice is an everlasting justice, and His law is equity.

Excuse me, but what exactly is the honourable John of Salisbury saying here? Let me parse it out a bit:

Princes should not deem that it detracts from their princely dignity (i.e.: it does not detract, so it is OK) to believe that the enactments of their own justice are not to be preferred to the justice of God, whose justice is an everlasting justice, and His law is equity.

So it is OK to think that God's justice is preferable to that of the government.

If I were the prince, I would find this convolutitious language more befuddling than enlightening, and perhaps it was intended to have that effect--after all, one could be dealt with rather severely in those days and plausible deniability was often a necessary defense mechanism even in those days.

Convolutitious? Oh I know, it's not a scrabble word, more like something you might find in the Pirates of Penzance, but don't look there either, I made it up--but you know what I mean--and that's the normalcy of it. I am not a fundamentalistic dictionarist, encyclopaediste or encyclopaediafile  either. None of that.  So guess what, neither was Shakespeare--and to prove it, he made up more words than a hip hop artist,  in any language--and we still use them today.

But let's roll it back somewhat--like I said, John of  Salisbury's language may have been befuddling to the king, but historically, it was in fact enlightening, for what the enligtenment did, was make people aware that the law of king or state, or federal government for that matter, was not necessarily the law of God. That was the assumption in the Declaration of Independence--in which the operative words are that 'it is self evident' that all men are created equal--self evident, needing no external proof, no revealed revelation-- that is the important expression, not the word 'created' which some have adduced in evidence that 'this is a Christian country'. By a any exegesis of the word they are mistaken. Created simply means formed, kreas is Greek for flesh, so created acrtually means 'made flesh'--hence materialized, verstoffelijkt, made into stuff, made stufflike. Clearly people were made stuff-like, verstoffelijkt, for we we have fleshy,  material, stufflike bodies.  Material means made out of matter,  materia, that which comes out of the mater, the mother.

No mention of patter or pateria  in this pattern, or whatever comes out of the father--but if it is not matter, then what could patter or pateria be? I am doing it again, making up words that don't exist--but conceivably should. Hmmm. Pattern, een patroon, sort of like a model to be followed? A role model?

Conceivably, maybe there's a clue!  I don't know for sure, but while mothers have often been associated rightly or wrongly with the material side of things, then why should we not associate fathers rightly or wrongly with what is not material about things:  ideas, patterns, perhaps, concepts? Try that on for size.

Roll back time: the mere use of the word created--does that make the founding fathers Christian and hence the coutry they foundeded a Christian nation? Hail Mary,  no, not quite--it just means the founding fathers had the enlightened notion that it is self evident and needs no outside proof that we materialized, or if you are not a religious, ideological or scientific materialist, that we simply manifested, out of 'no thing'. So the question is:

What is no thing? What is not a thing? What is not any thing?

Well energy for one thing (oops) is not a thing, it is more like well,  what exactly is it? It is not a wave, nor a particle, or maybe both at the same time, let's just say, we don't know anything about what it is really, anymore than we know what being is, or what awareness is. But we just know in our bones that there is being and that there is awareness. Can there be any denials on this score?

The beauty of it is that it doesn't need any faith or special divine revelation in some ancient scribblings for us to know that there is being and there is awareness--and even that there is some relationship between the two. That has to be true, even if there is no such thing as a separate thing or an individual ego.

Being, Awareness and Relationship are self evident.

We don't know what energy is other than that energy does stuff and we are made out of the stuff it does.

But that can't be Christian, now could it? I mean people were burned at the stake for less offensive ideas--of course that was another time, another place, another set of circumstances--but for a fundamentalist, time and place and circumstance dont amount to a hill of beans when it comes to the absolute and literal truth of their precious scribblings, does it? Ánd so we seem to have entered into yet another vicious circle, another cannabilistic ouroboros, another bag of fecal matter devouring its own stuff. 

If you are wondering what exegis is, go ahead, look it up:

Exegesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now the term 'self evident'--that is a lot easier:  it means not needing to be taken on faith or revealed in any external manner, as for instance in some written (scriptured or scribbled) revelation but inherent in the way things are, inherent in the way things manifest themselves to us. When I like what I eat, that's self evident to me--no one has to prove it or explain it to me--and it doesn't take any faith. I like it. It makes me smile like a silly mus gorging itself on my left-overs. Telling me it's against some ancient scribbles--or against some future scribbles, that doesn't change a thing, now does it? I still like it--it still makes me smile.

Even if I told mus in no uncertainterms that he is not to eat my left overs, mus would ignore my orders. So what am I to do? Kick mus out of my room, out of his paradise, that's what. Sounds familiar? It's just nature. It's inherent in the way things are, mus needs to eat and do all the other things mus do. Same with me.

Just as an aside: mus meaning mouse is of the fructus declension--hence the plural of mus is also mus, not mi (as in the hortus, horti declension, but mus, mus as in fructus, fructus--thank you again Henry Willy.

There is of course what I call the Cartesian fallacy: cogito ergo sum - ik denk dus ik ben, I think therefore I am.  Doesn't account for the ego part does it? That's an assumption beyond what is self evident. The ego is not self evident. The ego may very well be another illusion. But is it? Hmm. Good question.

There is a certain Oets Kolk Bouwsma, better known as O.K. Bouwsma,  a one time president of the American Philosphical Association and personal friend of the great Ludwig Witgenstein had something to say about Descartes's evil genius, ce geni malin, but I won't go into great detail--I leave that to his great grandson, who happens to be one of my treasured nephews, and has been known to read some of my stuff from time to time--and even to respond to it. Anyway his great grand pa, O.K. Bouwsma would say:

BOUWSMA: A person can only be deceived if it is conceptually possible for her to detect the illusion. ("Conceptually" here means "logically possible").

Is this the same as the idea that a proposition must be falsifiable before science can accept it as provable?

 What do you think Matt--this may be een kolfje naar je hand--something right up your sleeve, I think.

Unless you are still drowning in triangles...and too busy teaching math and science. And I can understand that--I used to be gainfully employed my self some time ago--and I know that it does take a lot out of you. Still I have some hope you will grit your teeth and willing to sow your philosophical oets  in your free time.

To get you and other philosophically oriented nephews on their way, here's a website on Oets and Ludwig: Wittgenstein: Conversations 1949 1951: Books: O. K. ...

Ludwig Witgenstein, one of the more intractable but brilliant philosophers of the 2oth century wrote the

 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus--an English translation, despite its Latin Name, from

Logisch philosophische Abhandlung

or if you like, here it is  in Dutch translation:

Logisch-filosofische verhandeling

For other readers more drawn to the arts, and film in particular, here's a link to a good movie:

Wittgenstein: The Derek Jarman Film - Derek Jarman and Ken Butler

O.K. Bouwsma, it's time for another roll back:

That idea of the self evidence of our human rights, about our being born equal, coming out of our mothers as equal, materializing as equal, hence created equal--that's what makes the Declaration of Independence uniquely a product of the Enlightenment, rather than one of dogmatic Christianity.

Orthodox Calvinism in particular held that one came out of the womb (materially, as matter), indeed were already conceived (paterially, as patter?) either as one of the (frozen chosen) elect, or as (the unfrozen and unchosen) not so elect. So there was at least at first a  big difference between Calvinist teachings and enlightenment views. I am not sure to what extent these differences are still maintained on the Calvinist side. More enlightened Calvinists might see free will and predestination now as two sides of the same coin.

Sort of like being and awarenes are two sides of the same coin as well. And maybe matter and patter also?

I am going out on a limb here. 

To the extent that the Founding Fathers were in fact Christians--and that's up for grabs, mind you, by most standards of orthodox Christianity they were not: being Deists or Unitarians, they did not believe in the Trinity or the Divinity of Christ, so what one chooses to believe Christianity is (and never mind what is is, oh, come on now!)--how broad-minded or narrow-minded one draws one's boundaries around that humanly established category 'Christian'', established by untold conventions, synods or other gatherings of old, white men (sort of like Johnny McCain) all with an intense dislike for each others rival dogmatic fiefdoms. You think I am kidding? Read up on history some more, for the history of Christianity has unfortunately not been so peaceful as 'bong hits for Jesus', it was more like 'dog eats dog' for Jesus. Wruff!

That is kind of liberating in a way if you are or want to be a Christian. You can pick and choose what fiefdom you want to live in--or create your own--like that distant cousin of us known for his extreme proclivities to set up a new sect everytime he ran into doctrinal controversy--I am referring to  Ds. Evert du Marchie van Voorthuijsen--or Reverend  Evert du Marchie 'van Verhuizen', as the more broad minded and sophisticated wider family called him--that Dominee du Marchie of 'forhousing' or 'moving on' after yet another split or afscheiding in the church.

Time out for an aside: as a one time Jiffy Light Mover in Manhattan I strongly feel that 'forhousing' (from 'I forhouse') is surely a word that ought to be introduced into English, our lowland sister language, along the pattern of verbied/forbid, vergeef/forgive: verhuis/forhouse--meaning to move on to another residence). Here's a link on the Reverend of Moving On, or the Lord of Forhousing:

Urk in Oorlogstijd- [ Translate this page ]

Ds. E. du Marchie van Voorthuijsen van de Christelijk Gereformeerde kerk ...legde bij het uitbreken van de oorlog sterk de nadruk op de hand van God hierin die het volk tot verootmoediging van het bedreven kwaad wilde bewegen.

I.e. the Reverend (Dominee or Ds, short for Dominus, Don, Lord) of Moving Around "...laid great emphasis at the outbreak of the war on the hand of God which herein wanted to bring  people toward self-abasement for the evil that had been done.

A very Old Testament tinged view of things. Not the way Jesus might have approached it--but maybe my judgement is clouded again. Howver,  self abasement was just the thing the Urkers loved and they lapped it up and even many German soldiers joined the greatly expanded congregation.

Urk is the most afgezonderd and isolated  little former island in the former Zuyyderzee.  One can't really move any further out than that, both materially and paterially, if you get my drift. But our cousin did, in 1942, to Driebergen in the Province of Utrecht more of a home territory for Van Voorthuijsens--where he died ten years later:

Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken - Wikipedia- [ Translate this page ]

In 1952 wordt het kerkelijk leven opgeschud door het heengaan van de predikanten J.G. van Minnen en ds. E. du Marchie van Voorthuijsen. ...

Meanwhile  his abased and abandoned island congregation of Urk remained without a shepherd for the remainder of the war.

Now let me say that there is something to be said about humility, about feeling humble at seeing the greatness of God, the Divine Reality or the Universe--that's enlightened, but to abase oneself out of a sense of guilt for being evil--that is focusing on the negative side of things--even if the two may be two sides of the same coin. It's like  that choice of seeing a  glass as half full, or half empty. That's where free will comes in. It's up to us, moment to moment, how we view something. One view makes you feel good, the other view makes you feel bad. The giver of that glass, it seems to me, might prefer it if you were showing a smile of thanksgiving.

But enough of that, its roll back time again:

With the freedom to choose and move around comes some responsability too--for you can choose who you want to exclude from your projected heavenly premises--Your friends and family? Your next door neighbours? The whole neighborhood?  The next door neighborhood?--what are the limits of that kind of megalomania? What choices you make about the boundaries of your tiny dogmatic fiefdom is your own business--or maybe not? That depends on how those choices affect others. In any case someone is bound to hold you responsible for that,  sooner or later.  There are many other choices one can make more  in the true spirit of Christ choices that do not seek to exclude whole categories of people simply for who they are.

 So let's all try to be more enlightened and inclusive, rather than doctrinaire and exclusive.

Roll back time again: in a society that reads ancient scribblings (or written laws) literally--as themselves letter for letter the law of God, one cannot make that fine distinction John of Salsibury made between the governments laws and the law of God.

That's why Shari'a law in a fundamentalist Islamic context cannot be divorced from human statutory law--Shari'a is the statutory law, tout court, period--must be read literally--and it would not be OK, in other words, to believe that Shar'ia is not preferable God's law, for the two are held to be identical.

Remove the convolutitious double negatives and what it comes down to is that Shari'a is the Law of God--and you cannot tamper with that. Substitute the Old Testament law as scribbled down a lot earlier than Shari'a law was invented, and you may come to the conclusion that we need to adopt a Constitutional amendment making the eating of pork and shellfish as well as homosexuality illegal and unconstitutional in this here Twenty-first Century America of Huckabee the Maccabbee--yet another topic I will have to write about sometime soon, before he fades from view.  But for a quick preview: it was the Maccabbees that were most instrumental in establishing a largely unitary form of Judaeism--primarily for political reasons, just like Constantine the Great picked Christianity as the single Official Religion for primarily political reasons--because it was expedient to have one doctrine for one people in one realm.

OK,  enough of that for now, we must Move On.

In fact, let me just make this the first installment on my delivery of Padmasambhava to Barack Obama. We might be talking about multiple births here--it is after all a weighty matter, and it is getting too close to five, the hour for coffee with my friend Brahm, after which I have to go home for some boobtoob watching and then, in the immortal words of the great diarist Samuel Pepys, then to bed. I wonder if mus musculus is still there to keep me company. Hmmm. What to do about that, I wonder.