Wednesday, November 03, 1999

Mauitians



Our neighbor, K, dropped by yesterday morning. Ostensibly to invite us to go see a talk by some visiting yahoo named John DeRuiter, but I think she was just curious to see who we were. She may have gotten more then she bargained for. Like many Mauians, she was enslaved by a potpourri of irrational fears and strange yearnings for, and vague conceptual constructions of, some fluffy higher power, existing outside the physical plane, in charge of everything. I tried to assuage her fears, most of which revolved around a perfectly rational fear of totalitarian government - but pushed to an extreme by unjustified worry. I discussed with her that beaurocracies were nasty, but that ours was neither explicitly malicious nor competent, so that she needn't worry so much that "they" would declare martial law, exterminate large portions of the population, and transform the U.S. into a police state, with the Y2K problem as the catalyst/cover for this action. (Apparently, worrying about this involves a significant fraction of her time and emotions.) Then we addressed this John DeRuiter character, who travels the country speaking about his visions of christ and his knowledge of absolute truth. It's a dead give away that someone is worthless as a philosopher or teacher when they refuse to acknowledge that all experiences of "truth" are subjective human experiences, and claims that they (and worse, only they) know the real truth. K said she "resonates" with what he says (but even admitted to be bothered by his claims to absolute knowledge sometimes), but I couldn't see past the characteristics of a delusional charlatan, and explained this to her as best I could. I tried to be gentle, but I knew I was tearing down one of her heroes, and she wasn't going to attempt to think much about it herself. People don't want to think.

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gar@lisi.com