Bradbury's religious views . . . From/in his words

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17 May 2003, 03:50 AM
Bradbury's religious views . . . From/in his words
Looks like I've got the 100th post here. Hmmm, hope I can make a coherent contribution.

Animals: That's People for the ETHICAL Treatment of Animals, not people for the EQUAL treatment of animals.

Native Americans, missionaries, and Los Angeles police: I'm alarmed by a little different sort of censorship than is Bradbury--not so much the banning of ideas as the suppression of certain ones (even facts!) and the elevation of others (even myths!) in their place. There's way too much willingness among the gullible to accept half-baked hypotheses to fill in gaps in known history. A large amount of what's passed off regarding Native Americans is hogwash, and the stories about missionaries are often worse! Perhaps someone can show some examples of missionaries working actual evil plots against natives, but the stories with which I am familiar serve best to exemplify that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." With only parts of the story being told, the police are getting a similar rap to the missionaries.

Ray's poetry: he said he turned to poetry "to fail again, because writing a short story or a novel became too easy." When someone starts with a GOAL of failing in mind, how can the results possibly be regarded as failures? (Once in awhile he actually succeeds in writing a good poem!)
17 May 2003, 03:52 AM
Ralph Dumain
I don't know how one separates thinking from feeling. I would never trust anyone who did that. One of course communicates with the prospect of an ideal listener who will understand what one is talking about, however slim the likelihood of such an outcome. Brains are only handed out one at a time, though, and thus it is an immense struggle to formulate the notions in one's head and for others to get them into theirs. The key word is struggle. How can there be any friendship in ideas? Thought is by nature ruthless; its very existence is a struggle against inertia; it can't accept being dragged down, slowed down, or held down.

I also have a problem with all fandom--it's like joining a cult or a church. Sometimes people can share things they love in common. But how far does that commonality extend? Why expect it to go very far? That makes no sense.

When I first read through this thread before adding my two cents, I was very offended by both content and manner of expression, especially by certain religious persons whose names I won't mention and with whom I have no intention of conversing. They have no obligations towards me, nor I towards them. But since such people are used to having their way in this society--in fact terrorizing the whole society--I only wish to emphasize that they're not going to get away with it around me. Other than that, they can do their thing and I mine, and hopefully we can stay out of one another's way. There is only one obligation as I see it: to be able to advance some usable idea, and not to go round and round in circles.

Otherwise, I think all the pretence to civility and community just covers up a lot of hypocrisy and the contradictions in the application of one's alleged principles. Why not just take difference as axiomatic? At least that way one can negotiate differences. But you can't go around pretending that people--or nations--are unified when they are not, except by violence, by silencing people who contradict your lies.

I fear though that I have not advanced any idea about Bradbury in this post. My branch library closed early today, so I went out in the rain for nothing. But perhaps tomorrow morning I'll be able to look for those Bradbury books.
17 May 2003, 04:55 AM
Mr.Dark, I Believe In "The Stand" Stephen King, No Not Rodney, Was Denouncing The Formation Or Communities. See Also, Walter M. Miller Jr.'s "A Canticle For Leibowitz". Consider Also The Immense Popularity Of That Fellow From "Walden", And It Would Be Safe To Assume That There Is Plenty Of Anti-Community People Out There.

I'm Not Siding With Anyone, "Whose Name I Will Not Mention", Just Playing The Devil's Advocate. Actually, You And DanB. Along With Nard Are My Favorite "Poster Boys". The Three Of You Really Compliment Each Other, Like Kirk, Spock And Bones.

[This message has been edited by RAINTASTER (edited 05-17-2003).]
17 May 2003, 09:52 AM
Nard Kordell
This posting has turned into some Class 201. When do we start getting class credit?
17 May 2003, 11:02 AM
Ralph Dumain,

I've visited your website as the link has been provided by Nard. WOW! The subject matter represented there implies you have found like-minded theories in the writings of such notables as Eistein, William Blake, Karl Marx and many others. Your home page quotes Blake.."Nature has no outline, but imagination has.." My curiosity about this specific statement is peaked since it is a highlight of your opening page. I've found that nature has a very specific outline, and in fact, usually has the final say in what goes on here on throughout the universe. Tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, pestulance and even AIDS and SARS are by-products of nature and we are certainly at the mercy of those "plans". Imagination on the other hand, has free reign inside our minds, with no outline whatsoever, except by the limitations we set. Just an observation.

The other point I wanted to hit on, is your statement "you can't go around pretending nations or people are unified, when their not--except by violence.." How with all of your intellect have you reached such an elitist conclusion? Or perhaps, I just answered the question. I believe the sense of community and unification is basic inside the internal blueprint of man. And yes, there are the Saddiams and bin Ladins out there who would agree with your statement and in fact thrive off of the barbaric tendencies that surface in under-educated and imperialistic individuals.

One other thought. Consider the year that "Fire Balloons" was written before bringing current Catholicism into the subject. When Ray wrote that story, the majority of priests were very much as the ones described. I can't believe I'm defending the catholic church now! Who'd have thunk it!

Ralph, overall, you've impressed us with your rhetoric and knowledge and I'm sure your IQ is off the charts, but without a sense of community and nuturing, what's the point?
17 May 2003, 11:59 AM
Ralph Dumain
On Blake: "celestial", you appear to be remarkably literal-minded for a celestial being, normally a great virtue. Too briefly: the concepts of outline and of nature are fairly consistently characterized in Blake. Nature is considered as the "indefinite". "Outline" is characterized as the basis of virtue. Nature without man is barren, the lowest plane of existence. All conventional religion: Hinduism, Judaism, Xianity, Islam--the whole schmeer--along with deism and Lockean empiricism!--is really "natural religion", i.e based on the logic of brutality and domination that governs the empirical natural and social world. I've never seen any intepretation of this particular line, "Nature has no outline, but imagination has." Being literal-minded myself, I have my own interpretation.

FYI, this line comes from Blake's last engraved original work, "The Ghost of Abel"--very brief, only 2 plates--which is a heretical reading of a heretical reading of the Cain & Abel story. The first heretical reading was Byron's "Cain", which caused a major scandal. Blake defends Byron but suggests he did not go far enough. For Blake, the God worshipped by conventional Christians is really Urizen or Satan, the false God of empire, oppression, revenge, and "morality". Byron rebels against this God but is left in the wilderness, forlorn.

There is a whole a symbolic economy to Blake's words and symbols, which reflects and struggles against the ideological landscape of his time.

One might get something out of comparing and contrasting Blake with Bradbury, but I'm not going to touch it at this stage.

Since we are off-topic, just one more thing, as Colombo would say. Is it confirmed that Bradbury is a Unitarian? In the 19th century, the Unitarians were in hot water with the religious fundamentalists. There is also an indefinite association with the Higher Criticism and German philosophy, which was little understood but considered to be the fount of heresy. And then there was Bruno Bauer, dean of the Young Hegelians. Very little of Bauer was translated into English, so we are dependent upon paraphrases and interpretations of his views by others, such as this one:

"But if Christianity was universal and did not know the limits of previous religions, it was at the same time the worst religion: 'Christianity is the religion that promised men most, that is all, and took back most, that is all.' Bauer attempts to explain this ambivalence of Christianity thus: the nearer that religious consciousness approaches to truth, the more it alienates itself therefrom. Why? Because, qua religious, it takes the truth that is only to be attained to in self-consciousness away from self-consciousness and places it against self-consciousness, as though it were something alien to it. What is opposed to self-consciousness as alien is not only formally separate from self-consciousness (in that it stands outside it, is in heaven or comprises the content of some long past or far in the future events), but also this formal separation is backed up by an essential and real separation from all that goes to make up human nature. When religion has reached the point that man makes up its content, then the climax of this opposition has been reached."

I cite this as one way of approaching the issues raised by the ostensibly ecumenical spirit of RB's stories. I agree with Mr. Dark (what a great moniker) that the textual analysis of RB's own work is what matters here. But is there a single other person in this discussion whose treatment of the text has been based solely on what the text itself is saying? If it were, I would have entered this discussion in a very different frame of mind. But as I saw an ideology at work throughout this entire discussion, I said to myself: there's an obstruction at work here; what is it?

I think I've gone as far as I can without repeating myself endlessly. As for "community", as this brings us into the overall political situation, I would suggest that you look around you at what kind of society you are living in and what you think your place in it is. 'Nuff said.

Next stop: the public library, before budget cuts kill it off.
17 May 2003, 01:50 PM
Nard Kordell
Ralph Dumain:

Intellectual sounding in discussions has been known to create the wind-up dumbfounded, the awed, as well as the paralyzed by the phantoms of Franz Anton Mesmer. From this lofty position, everything looks 'small'.

You ever read Gerard Manley Hopkins? What the heck is all that about? But it sounds 'soooo' good. We know a little about Hopkins the man, his decency, his character, and we trust him to take us to places of his leading. Many enjoy the trek. I sure do.

Ralph is something else, tho. Sure sounds like one of those anti-people...anti everything that smacks of something bigger than himself.

In recent posts, he says he is offended.

Let's look at a specific post. 5/17 at 2:52AM. Says he is offended by all sorts of things. Poor guy. Let's help him thru this.

Let's begin by identifying the source of some of this irritation.

Well, he is offended by the content and manner of expression on this Bradbury Site:

"...especially by certain religious persons whose name I won't mention and with whom I have no intention to converse." (Gee, I wonder wonder wonder who he could possibly be talking about? What a mystery!)

Oh, then there is the irritation with 'fandom':
"..because it's like joining a cult or a church. (Poor guy! Now this is really getting serious). Ralph continued:

"...sometimes people can share things they love in common. But how far does that commonality extend? Why expect it to go very far? That makes no sense."

Well, Ralph, so much for love, family, friends, affections,heart-felt bonding, life long relationships, and mind as well throw in that puny unliberalizing church you dislike so much, the good-news gospel, and most of the people in it. (Did I leave anyone out?)

Oh yeah, you have some rules by your game plan, too. "Advance some usable ideas, and don't go around in circles..."

Well, that can only mean that I better stop here. I may begin to go around a circle, and who knows when I'll stop.... (By the way, you may be a regarded Philosophic Thinker and Critic, and have in possession some knowledge of Herman Melville and Friedrich Hegel, but you sure don't know your Christiianity).

[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 05-17-2003).]
17 May 2003, 05:09 PM
Good luck defending your library, Ralph. It's sad that such things so rarely come down to debates of the intellect. If that were the case, you'd squash the bureucrats like bugs, I'm sure.
Mr. Dark, admittedly is much better at keeping the discussion based more squarely on the text than me and many others here.
The two of you are also far more well-read than I- although I try to keep up, and I've done my reading, age and experience is on both of your sides.

Let Colombo govern the rest of this conversation:
Nard's faith is Very personalized.
Mine is very depersonalized.
The fundemental dividing line between our views and those expressed in your quote of Baur is this- the content of our beliefs is not made up by us because we believe that it comes from something higher than ourselves, either through Scripture or through transcendence. If I'm not on the ball with this, Nard, feel free to correct me. I don't want to put words in your mouth.

Be back later.
17 May 2003, 07:13 PM
Mr. Dark
Raintaster: I haven't read "The Stand". I'll have to try and squeeze that in. In A Canticle For Leibowitz, I thought he was opposed to certain kinds of communities -- but not necessarily to all communities. But I can't confirm that as I can't locate my copy. (sloppy housekeeper than I am!)

On Thoreau, I think his position on solitude is always overstated. He has wonderful quotes on solitude and it's clear that his two year retreat to Walden was for the pupose of getting at the very core of what life was about.

"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."

But then he says this:

"A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervis in the desert."

He further states that society is cheap and shallow and that the purpose of etiquette is to keep us from coming to "open war" with each other in these social encounters.

But he also writes:

"I think that I love society as much as most, and am ready enough to fasten myself like a bloodsucker for the time to any full-blooded man that comes in my way. I am naturally no hermit, but might possibly sit out the sturdiest frequenter of the bar-room, if my business called me thither."

He also indicated that while at Walden, he traveled into the village almost every day:

"Every day or two I strolled to the village to hear some of the gossip which is incessantly going on there, circulating either from mouth to mouth, or from newspaper to newspaper, and which , taken in homeopathic doses, was really as refreshing in its way as the rustle of leaves and the peeping of songs. As I walked in the woods to see the birds and squirrels, so I walked in the village to see the men and boys; instead of the wind among the pines I heard the carts rustle."

He loves solitude, but he also loves community. He wants some control on the boundaries, however. That does not make him isolationist or anti-community. In fact, he often frequented and participated in the community lyceam where the community gathered to hear lectures.

Oops! All quotes are from Walden.

[This message has been edited by Mr. Dark (edited 05-17-2003).]
17 May 2003, 11:17 PM
Nard Kordell
Mr. Dark:
per Thoreau quotes:
This might help explain to me, why I have had more than 200+ full time jobs in my life. Something to do with finding balance. Except...Thoreau seemed a lot...lot more sane in his quest...
18 May 2003, 01:20 AM
what popped into my head when you mentioned how much more 'sane' Thoreau seems in his quest, was the part in Walden where he sees a woodchuck crossing the road and is siezed by a mad desire to devour it whole.
I believe tha you may well still be on the plus side of this.
Does that mean that I'm Spock? That'd be a new one on me...
Good Tidings to all,
18 May 2003, 01:33 AM
Mr. Dark
On the question of persons not really needing community. As I was watching the Dallas Mavericks play an excellent Game of Basketball to defeat the Sacramento Kings (yes I got to actually be there); a random thought occured to me. Other than Thoreau, both other examples of persons not needing community WERE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS! Thus, they are irrelevant examples.
18 May 2003, 07:12 AM

18 May 2003, 07:45 AM
Mr.Dark, Don't Make Me Come Over There! After Just Beating My Kings How Dare You Pull This. Do You Really Think Ralph Dumain Is Truly Anti Community? Do You Think Ted Kazcinsky(The Unabomber)Was Out There In The Montana Wilderness Killing Animals With Stones. A Person May Have Anti Community Ideals, But To Actually Put It Into Practice Would Be An Extreme Hardship. The Literature I Refered To Was Of Symbolic Ideals, Not Actual Anti Community Practitioners. And I Suspect You Already Knew That, You Subject Changing, Peace Keeping Rascal You.
18 May 2003, 08:26 AM
Mr.Dark, I Just Spent 30 Min. Putting Together A Really Good , Coming Out Of My Shell, Blowing Your Hair Back, Yet Well Thought Out And Tongue In Cheek Ribbing Reply To Your Latest Post, Only To Have It Not Come Thru. I Hope This One Makes It Thru.

The Literature I Referred To Was In Terms Of Ideals And The Influence That Anti Community Ideas Expressed Through Said Literature May Have Upon Individuals. And I Believe You Already Knew That, You Subject Changing, Peace Keeping Rascal You. Or Were You Just Picking On Me.

Ooops, I Just Saw That My Previous Post Did Make It Thru After All. The Smiles Were Because I Thought It Funny That You'd Be Thinking Of All Of This While Whatching A Game That You'll Remember Long After You've Forgotten All Of This.

[This message has been edited by RAINTASTER (edited 05-18-2003).]