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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"There are lots of people making bricks in their different ways, and probably most of them aren't Christians. I believe, but cannot prove, that the Christian mystery is at the center of it all, but I don't think that one has to consciously recognize it as such to participate in it."

Yes, it is an interesting post. Of course, it still leads back to constructing a group that's elevated above all others.
The modern world destroyed traditional tribalism (which explains some of our Middle East problems). We wound up forsaken and lonely creatures, so most of us became other-directed followers of cults or ideologies. Or else we fill the emptiness with money, power and ego.

But the superior individual avoids both of these dead-ends, through wisdom and courage. I think maybe he is right. We do have an awfully hard task if we want to avoid the traps and become human.

He's saying that most of the people who call themselves Christians really are not, they are just escaping into cults, but I don't know about that.

He believes that the Christian mystery is somehow at the center and I agree, but I can't prove it either. The fundamentalist Christians are not just a bunch of authoritarian ignoramuses. I think if we can find a way to have complete faith in the human image of god (which Christians call Jesus), then we can somehow avoid those terrible traps.

I think Gurdjieff said -- oh wait I'll look it up in Google -- yeah, he said we are asleep in a house that's on fire. That's how urgent it is for to find a way to wake up. Oh, god. One thought I've had in recent years is -- there is no easy way out! We want an easy way, but there is none.


The "easy" way out is to remain sleeping, right? Isn't Welan suggesting that the 'way' isn't out but in? Using your well-googled Gurdjieffian metaphor, realpc, perhaps our task is to awaken yet remain in our burning home, reclaiming it from the fire by dousing each flame with bucket after bucket "of the subversive power of Love, Hope, and Faith." Dangerous work but what other choice do we have?


The "easy" way out is to remain sleeping, right?

No, meade, I don't think so. The longer we remain sleeping the deeper the trance, the more we are in danger. I don't understand this, can't explain it logically, but somehow I "know" it. And it agrees with what mystics like Jesus and Buddha, etc., have said. I think it's crazy that someone put us here without telling us why or giving any kind of directions! Logically, I can't make sense of it. It is infinitely beyond the logic of the conscious ego.

Reality is something else, something very much different from what we see every day and have come to believe is normal. Secularism has taught us to make the best of our life, and then it's over, very simple. Christianity (and other mystical traditions) say watch out you are gonna get it! Follow this or that method or you will be sorry!
Marx said that was all just to keep the losers in line. The brights say we can free ourselves from fear by studying science and losing our superstitions.
In 21st century America, most of us who are educated have fallen deeper into the trance. We live for a while, then die, no big deal. But I suspect we have been misled. Something tremendously important is going on within each one of us. When there are billions of human souls, how can my little soul be important? We are too concerned with numbers, which do not have the same meaning on higher planes. We are really only one soul, vibrating in space-time.

Your idea of fighting the fire with love, hope and faith sounds to me like liberalism. It means well, but doesn't get it. Not that I "get it" either.

I think that we educated and thoughtful centrists should have some respect for the Christian right. Some of their leaders are obnoxious and hateful and make all Christians look bad. But modern fundamentalist Christianity is our American form of mysticism.

"the Christian mystery is somehow at the center"

And the Christian mystery is not the same as liberal humanitarianism. I think it's a deep and difficult struggle. We get so tired of it, we constantly look for escapes. Everything good can be used as an escape from the inner devils. Everything, including love and compassion and helping others, can be an addictive escape.

We have to face the "shadow" sooner or later. I always think, yes, I will get to that tomorrow.


I think it's crazy that someone put us here without telling us why or giving any kind of directions!

I once saw a sign in a store window that said:


This life is just a test. If this were a real life, you would have been given further instructions about where to go and what to do.


realpc: The idea of fighting the fire with love, hope, and faith isn't mine. Unless I'm not getting it either, it's one of the major ideas Walen is conveying. But I agree with you - it does sound like liberalism... true liberalism. In the very best sense (and again, this original idea is not mine), I think Jesus was a liberal, a true revolutionary. He came not to save saints but sinners, to liberate us from our sins, not by promising us salvation in return for doing only good deeds but by forgiving us and loving us in spite of our sins. What a concept, huh? What could be more revolutionary and more liberating?

But I think Walen is also saying that we have an existential responsibility -- to do whatever we can to care for the gift of creation we've been granted. It's a Sisyphean task but once we choose to wake up, what is our alternative?

I'm getting to be an old man and I'm still trying to get it. I imagine I'll probably die trying but do I have any other real choice?



I guess what I mean is that both liberals and conservatives are trying, and neither side has figured it out. There is some truth in what we call liberalism and some in what we call conservatism. Our brains cannot encompass the truth.

It would be just as easy to argue that Jesus was a conservative, or reactionary, as to claim he was a liberal or socialist. In fact, he did not fit any of today's political categories.
Jesus preached absolute faith in and obedience to the all-loving, all-forgiving father god. In that, he was no different from the Old Testament prophets. However, he also told his followers to give away all their possessions, because worldly attachments can prevent enlightenment. To me, that resembles Buddhism. Who knows, maybe Jesus had contact with eastern mystics.

Modern liberalism is a different thing, which evolved over centuries. Liberals are now claiming Jesus as one of them, but I think that is very misleading.


Amba ... I like your sign. We have heard so many fastidiously detailed anayses of "What is the secret of Life" that I wonder how "one" soul could figure it out and rationalize and opinion.

I like this one for no other reason that it could be equal in value to any other that I have heard:

A truly puzzled young man struggles for months to climb to the top of the mountain and seek out a wise and holy man. Upon finding this man of simmple means he asks the following question .... "Please, wise one, tell me the secret of life."
The wise man meditated for several moments and then turned to the young man and said: "Travel down the mountain to the nearest city. Find employment and set aside one-half of your earnings after expenses. When you have set aside enough ruppees, go to the nearest Walmart and purchase a laptop computer. Bring it to me and I will tell you the secret of life.

It is not mystery.
It is a journey.
Do the best that you can.
Try not to hurt anyone.
If you want someone to show you the way, be prepared to pay(with most organized efforts pay means the extended contribution plan)
When it is over, you will(or will not) find out what is next.
While you are here ...... try to have some fun.


We all do the best we can and we all try not to hurt anyone. Then we realize our best is not appreciated, and the only way to not hurt others is to deny ourselves or live in a cave.
Then we realize life is a balancing act full of irony, and that the people we love most and try hardest not to hurt are the ones (as the song says) we end up hurting the most.
Christian morality doesn't provide any simple solutions, and neither does secular humanism. And I'm sure you have noticed the people who are most confident in their own goodness can be the most hurtful.

And yes, we should have fun, because after all it is ridiculous to be here.


That, PC, is why GOD gave us the ability to create toys. I do agree that it is confusing to try and sort it out, which is why we should go with the flow, duck when we see things flying towards us and accept the answers we find when we find them without trying to relate it to every facet of our lives. Wouldn't it be ironic to die go before GOD and tell him how you have suffered in his name only to have him chuckle and say "Aw, I was just kidding about that part."

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