Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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I was amused by the story you tell of your friends trying to convince you that there is no god. I was amused because the reverse has been happening to me so much lately. Not only from the media, our administration and colleagues at the end of my presentations. But really close friends have been begging me to see the light - to believe in an afterlife and they *all* are convinced they have been with me in a former life, even though their religious beliefs differ. In a way it has been touching and flattering because they truly care about me and want what is best for me. Plus I understand that they have found something really wonderful that has enriched their lives and they want to share it with me. They don't come at it in arrogance or a "holier than thou" manner as your friends seem to have done. I usually sit quietly and listen. I even attend their churches, synagogues or whatever they are into. I chant with them, and accept that this is where they are in their lives, feelings, ideas. I am even happy for them that they are happy. But there just seems to be so little respect for my view or, even, any interest in if I have a different view at all. And if I do talk about it (and I seldom do with friends) there seems to be so much anger at me.

A blogger friend once wrote this to me:
"I seem to be in a minority on this, most particularly now during America's trend toward Christian McCarthyism, but I believe one's faith, religion or lack thereof, to be at least as personal as one's sexual practices and for anyone to try to persuade another to his/her beliefs without being invited is out of human bounds. I don't have a lot of rules about other people's behavior, but that is one I don't tolerate and have been known to be quite 'un Christian' in my response."

I guess I agree with that blogger about this except that I am more accepting when people come at me with religion. Like the time I wrote to my colleague who had given me a bible:

I guess my post on Dawkins was offensive to some people and I am truly sorry about that. It was not my intention. As my friend wrote to me in my "update" today, I am in the minority and perhaps have been hiding frightened in the closet. My "coming out" might have been a shock to some. But I'm not a bigot, even though some people have said that some people who come out of closets are bigots! Gee, I so hope they are not refering to me.


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Me sis:
This is a brilliant post, putting its finger exactly on the sore and tender spot where the two sides of this "argument" -- the two lobes of our spiritual brain, chambers of our heart, etc. -- are painfully but necessarily joined.

As long as the word "belief" comes up -- as it does with both atheists and religionists -- there is no room for one to feel superior to the other. Both are pursuing knowledge, each has something to offer -- no -- each is **dependent** on the other for perspective, worldview, humility, even something to define themselves against. Neither rests in certainty.

My brother-in-law/boss/business partner is a strident atheist. I have learned more from him about the perils of religion -- **and** the lopsidedness of rationality "uber alles" -- than anyone.

It's interesting to note that he insisted his wife convert to Judaism and that his children be raised Jewish. I'm not sure what it means, but it's interesting to note that rationality cannot suffice even in his life, to explain or guide every aspect of his every decision.



Oy I am so glad Tom and I have never asked each other to convert to anything!

This past post between us all with all the comments and debate has been great for Tom and I. We have been chatting, discussing and sharing our views with each other, over glasses of wine and with great love, instead of watching re-runs of West Wing with dinner on our laps!

Check out Blaugustine's cartoon link that I added to my update. She's terrific!

Richard Lawrence Cohen

I don't know whose blog to comment on, your or Tamar's! I guess I'll have to do both. Wonderful discussion. I've had problems with Dawkins for a long time -- I think there are fundamental flaws in his concept of the selfish gene. And he fails Einstein's test, which you've put in boldface, and which, if we set aside the divisive concept of religion, is simply a test of sensibility: Dawkins can't grant the possibility that there's anything in the universe his 2000 AD primate mind can't grasp.


With thanks to AmbivaBlog for your thoughts on this subject and for hosting this response to the comment above:

Tamar, I don't think anyone found your POST offensive—au contraire, I think everyone would agree that it stimulated quite a fascinating discussion! It's just that some people, myself included, took issue with what was said by Dawkins in the excerpts you included. And I sure hope you don't count me as one of the friends who is "begging you to see the light!" I have no interest in you seeing anyone's light but your own! Please forgive the tongue-in-cheek references to your faith that I've made over the years as if I don't really BELIEVE that you're an atheist. That's just me struggling to understand your point of view and overlaying some of my own observations and assumptions. But I realize it could sound like a smug "I know you better than you know yourself" which is obviously not true. Maybe Dawkins is right in that we need to release the vise-grip we have on these labels! I hope you're not mistaking passion for anger in the comments you received—I'm actually quite jealous that you were able to whip up such a frenzy on your blog. I've been hoping to do that for ages but somehow no one seems to get as excited about Doris Day or the Waltons.


This has been a great discussion, I agree. Thanks for letting me know that I haven't offended anyone. I knew that Dawkins would have an affect on people because he sounds so harsh, unrelenting and radical. I have been honored that you all have shared your views so totally and completely. But more than that, it forced me to try and clarify what it is *I* think and feel about all of this. And I am happy to say that I still am "wandering" and don't feel "lost." I know that puts me at risk for all the sides and "isms" and "ists" to grab me for *their* camp. However, I love that people share with me what they believe and feel about stuff because that enhances the human connection and relationships - i.e. the more I know about you the more I can share about me. I guess using Dawkins to shield me, was a tad provocative. I have suffered from an extreme purist education and for now I need to bend towards confusion and against absolute truthes.

I have not mistaken passion for anger in this discussion and do not lump you in with friends and colleagues who have been wanting me to take on their faith. Oh Danny, you are the least smug person I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

And why don't we get all riled up about Doris Day and Waltons, I wonder!

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