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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A person of faith believes there's a God. An atheist does not. An agnostic believes that God is unknown or unknowable, right? Yet we have no term for someone who were to believe that we don't the have the capacity to even grasp the problem! Exists, or not, or unknown/unknowable are all definitive claims. I'm not even sure the problem can be expressed in sufficient enough a way to fall into these categories. Rather, it seems more likely that we believe what's on the outer boundary of ourselves and what preconditions we feel most comfortable accepting. This has nothing to do with the truth of the matter. What would we call such a person, who denied all three, even if they're wrong in this belief?

Perhaps the Greeks were wisest here; Zeus for now, Chronos before Zeus, Gaia and Uranus, and before them ???? (ignore Cicero on this one!)

just Chaos...


I'd love to see someone come up with a term for those people who acknowledge that we can't even conceive of the problem.


uuhhh...I may have fumbled it, but, yes, Amba, I was kind of going in the direction you suggested.


Well? A term, pliz?


Taoism may come close in its "whatever you can say, ain't it" formulation . . . maybe "Duh-ism"

Donna B.

Duh-ism. I could so belong!

I'm an agnostic in that I refuse to believe most of the teachings of organized religions. Lately I've come to appreciate that Judaism may not be organized in the way I mean that word -- in the best sense, Jews are constantly questioning.

Most Christian denominations are constantly saying "this is how it is" and I really do have problems with that.


Donna, part of my point is that agnosticism, too says "this is how it is," only with a different conclusion than what a Christian or atheist would reach.

ummm... Non-ism? Voidacity? Unconclusioned? Pre-committed?

Here being a cat with a ball of yarn would help...


Voidacity! I like that.




A closer definition would be that an agnostic believes that the existance of God is 'not proven." There may be evidence either way, but not enough to be convincing. It really doesn't speak to any particular religion, organized or otherwise.

In contrast, the atheist believes, as a matter of faith not evidence, that God does not exist. Granted that it is difficult to prove a negative, but this is just as much a matter of belief, not evidence, as any (other) religion. With the unsurprising side effect that there are fanatics (as well as moderates) of the atheist belief.

Donna B.

Ron, I'm not a "this is how it is" agnostic - I'm a "if it is, whatever it is, I don't have a clue" agnostic.

Or maybe I'm saying the same thing you are just too clueless to know it.


Donna, I think we are saying roughly the same thing, but do-si-do-ing around it! I'm angling for saying any position taken, even "whatever", is a declarative one.

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