Un(t)reasonable Smirch & (Brain) Seizure

Sam Harris, recipient of the 2005 PEN award for nonfiction and NY Times bestseller author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason spoke on November 16 in New York City. His lecture, presented by CFI-Metro New York and cosponsored by the New York Society for Ethical Culture, focused on Religion, Terror, and Self-Transcendence, and was the second in the highly-touted co-sponsors’ 2005 - 2006 Voices of Reason series.

Prestigioius stuff built on prestidigitation. The sleight of hand –not limited to Harris, of course– is out of hand, and must be addressed. And a dressing down of those whose brains have been seized is in order.

First of all, there are way too many books on the market. Much too much appealing to so-called Reason. Why hasn’t anyone noticed? I am speaking here only to readers who are aware of what I’m talking about…without my having to delineate the bases for my concerns. No energy for that here; I can certainly go into details upon request, however. Hints: Trees, egos, distraction and $-traction.

Secondly, I think readers should consider some of the facts and figures in Harris’ lecture/talk, as they take a good long look at his vain legerdemain, the vanity of the co-sponsors, and the elitist, politically correct quietism of the audience.

Sammy Boy noted during a Q&A segment that 68% of Americans believe in a literal Satan, and that 83% believe that Jesus was actually resurrected in real terms. Now who is going to believe those numbing numbers aside from the precious crowd collected for the co-sponsors’ ocassion? And the untold ninnies who bought his book et. al. Who discuss such ad infinitum while D.C. burns.

I mean, if the %#s are accurate…they speak for themselves. And, upon reflection, would beg for a dropping out of the whole realm of politics in which Harris’ audience prides themselves on being engaged. If they are not on target, why all the hooplah blah blah?

Where are all of my readers with regard to all of this? Are they on the (easy-listening) bandwagon, brandishing pointed fingers at dumbdowned America, fundamentalist leaders and the like? Are they questioning facts and figures like these which routinely come down the politically correct pike, drawing this or that inefficacious lesson? Are they involved in their own singular version of “Let’s talk and listen instead of doing something that might make a dent in our momentum”? Are they busy burrowing in their own hole, trying to flake out with larks, earn some marks and/or gain a little spotlight? Forgetting about trees. Thinking the birds and bees will be here forever in spite of such fiddling.

The burning question should not be how many Americans are left who believe whether or not we should still burn witches. Rather, it’s how much longer people not invited into the hallowed halls of Ethical Societies will burn the midnight oil on tirdcalls, neglecting the unreal world. Or, put another way, how many of my seizured readers will continue to attempt to emulate self-serving magicians and their followers in lieu of implementing the obvious, lamentable lessons?

It is no longer ok for each and every intellectual to be doing his or her own thing as per the American Way. Let me say that, and pray that readers will see the difference between my criticism and criticism for the sake of Smirch.

Richard Oxman, rmoxman@yahoo.com, lives in Los Gatos, California. The most “updated” versions of his recent writing are often posted on www.oxtogrind.org. And he’s always available for…practical suggestions…about what can be done today.