Monthly Archives: August 2013

( Perusing my hard drive this morning I happened upon a paper I wrote several years ago on the subject of belief.  While perhaps less complete than it could be, I think it dovetails nicely with yesterday’s post on materialism.  It was not originally written for online publication, and I think this shows in its length and style, but rather to satisfy the needs of a college philosophy course.  Still, it sheds some light on what may follow as a logical followup question from yesterday for some of my readers, namely, “What then, is knowable?”  Properly speaking this is the subject of epistemology and this essay is insufficient to address that question in any depth.  I hope it may be enough to point the reader towards my source material, particularly the work of William James and Martin Heidegger, who cover this subject in a far more insightful and enlightening manner. ) 


Why do we believe what we believe? By belief I do not mean what we profess to believe or what we want to believe, but what we actually assume to be true about ourselves and the world. The term “belief” seems a little old fashioned in our post-modern society. We are accustomed to thinking of beliefs as little more than private fantasies – harmless if kept within the confines of our own heads, and of no proper bearing on external reality. Those who seek to impose their beliefs on others we regard as suspect, or outright criminal. Our educational system, designed to produce technicians of a highly skilled nature, reinforces this paradigm of arriving at justified belief only after a vigorous investigation of phenomenon, based on certain concrete and ‘proven” rules of discovery and analysis; OR from authority figures that follow these same rules. In this way, the cosmologist has replaced the theologian, and the psychologist, the priest.

W.K. Clifford, in his essay The Ethics of Belief sums up this modern perspective when he says, “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” (Clifford, 79) By evidence he means empirical evidence, or something very much like it. For Clifford, and I contend for many of us, evidence is only really evidence when it is publicly demonstrable. “Belief, that sacred faculty which prompts the decisions of our will, and knits into harmonious working all the compacted energies of our being, is ours not for ourselves but for humanity. It is rightly used on truths which have been established by long experience and waiting toil, and which have stood in the fierce light of free and fearless questioning.” (Clifford, 78) Clifford is less concerned with truth per se, as with methodology. “The question of right or wrong has to do with the origin of his belief, not the matter of it; not what it was, but how he got it; not whether it turned out to be true or false, but whether he had a right to believe on such evidence as was before him.” (Clifford, 77)

Let us keep this perspective of Clifford’s in mind as we entertain a possible problem of belief, specifically a moral belief. Fatima is a Muslim woman living in America, a working mother and a college student. Andrea was raised “non-denominational” Christian, and has no fixed religious beliefs. Andrea is a long time friend, an anthropology student and an agnostic. Fatima has a young daughter named Isabella, who is preparing for her first day of kinder-garden. The problem is that Fatima insists her daughter wear the hijab: a head scarf and face wrap, combined with a concealing dress, worn by orthodox Muslim women when in public. Andrea protests. Her argument is that the hijab is not legally required in America, is an unnecessary repression, will lower Isabella’s self esteem and is a morally reprehensible practice forced on women by a patriarchal ruling caste. She points to the repressive regimes of the Middle East, regimes Fatima and her husband moved to America to escape, as “proof” of the immoral nature of this practice. Fatima responds that the hijab preserves a woman’s special and protected place in society. She claims that it will allow an adult Isabella to fully express her femininity by not marketing her as “a good to be bought, sold and gawked at” on the public streets. She points out that she, herself, wears the hijab in public, and does so without any pressure from her husband. She also points to the high rate of divorce, medication and general unhappiness of western women as “proof” of the beneficial nature of this practice. Now, how would Clifford judge the situation? Whose belief is right? Neither Fatima nor Andrea can offer any empirical evidence in favor of her position. Clifford would probably recommend that both with-hold judgment until such evidence appears. But what would count as evidence? Must young Isabella be denied an education until a consensus is reached? Moreover, a consensus among whom? Child physiologists? Does the religion of the psychologist matter? What methodology should they use in reaching their conclusions? Is the field of psychology even the final answer on this question? If it is revealed that regular doses of cocaine improve psychological states of depression, should we hand out cocaine to all teenagers?

William James puts his finger on the issue when he says, “Moral questions immediately present themselves as questions whose solution cannot wait for sensible proof. A moral question is a question not of what sensibly exists, but of what is good, or would be good if it did exist. Science can tell us what exists; but to compare the worths, both of what exists and of what does not [yet] exist, we must consult not science but what Pascal calls our hearts….” (James, 95) When James references our “hearts” he is talking about, as he calls it, our “passional nature”, our desire to seize at the truth, even where empirical evidence is lacking. James remarks that there are actually two epistemological rules which govern justified belief. One is, indeed, to avoid error. The other is to hold to truth. But, he emphasizes, these two rules are wholly separate. “We must know the truth; and we must avoid error – these are our first and great commandments as would-be knowers; but they are not two ways of stating an identical commandment, they are two separable laws. Although it may indeed happen that when we believe the truth A, we escape as an incidental consequence from believing the falsehood B, it hardly ever happens that by merely disbelieving B we necessarily believe A. We may in escaping B fall into believing other falsehoods, C or D, just as bad as B; or we may escape B by not believing anything at all, not even A!” (James, 94) Therefore, we can only hold out for empirical evidence when there is no particular demand that we seize the truth (or as close as we can reach towards it) right now. James does not hold that empirical reasoning is invalid; only that it is limited. When we look at questions that are proper to empirical reasoning, they are generally questions that are not, as James puts it, forced or momentous. “Wherever the option between losing truth and gaining it is not momentous, we can throw the chance of gaining truth away, and at any rate save ourselves from any chance of believing falsehood, by not making up our minds at all till objective evidence has come.” (James, 94) So when are we justified in allowing our passional nature to dictate our beliefs? “Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but must, decide an option between propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds; for to say, under such circumstances, ‘Do not decide, but leave the question open,’ is itself a passional decision – just like deciding yes or no – and is attended with the same risk of losing the truth…” (James, 93-94)

Returning to the case of young Isabella, we cannot hold out for objective evidence. She must go to school tomorrow and she must wear something. The question is, as James puts it, forced. If we decide to let her wear whatever she wants, we have not made a neutral choice, but rather asserted that a five year old child is capable of knowing how to properly dress herself, a highly questionable and not at all objectively based assertion. Moreover the question is certainly a “live” one, as James puts it, for Fatima and Andrea. They both have stakes in the outcome of the situation. Admittedly, Fatima has a larger stake, as Isabella’s mother. Lastly, the choice is momentous. Our patterns for proper behavior are imprinted at a young age. What she learns as a child will affect Isabella, positively or negatively, for the rest of her life. In this situation, a choice not only can be made by “passional nature”, it MUST be made.

So, what choice will Fatima make? James has an answer for that as well. She will choose based on “prestige” – which is just a fancy way of saying she’ll try to make the best choice. If she holds Andrea’s opinion in high esteem, she may relax her insistence on Isabella wearing the hijab. If she holds her cultural background in higher esteem, things will be different. Perhaps she will consult with an older relation or local religious leader. The point is that human beings must occasionally strike out towards the truth, even if it means risking error. Clifford’s injunction, “It is never lawful to stifle a doubt;” (Clifford. 80) is not only unrealistic, it is inhuman.

The deeper question in play here is not merely whether or not we should have some kind of thought behind our actions, but rather a debate about what kinds of thoughts should be allowed to determine or justify human action. This is really the essence of the question of “belief”. By seeking to define “beliefs” as those thoughts which are not empirically justified, we are actually seeking to uphold one style of belief over another. By denying that the empirical process itself is based on certain a priori assumptions, we seek to elevate it above the status of “belief” and into the status of “truth”. What we actually accomplish by this is not the elevation of science, but the degradation of thought. Heidegger points out, in his Letter on Humanism “The characterization of thinking as ‘theorizing’ and the determination of cognition as a way of behaving is one already in accord with the ‘technical‘ explanation of thinking. It is more a reactive move to preserve a sort of independence for thinking in contrast with action and doing. Since then ‘philosophy’ has had to justify its kind of life before ‘science’. It thinks that this will most certainly happen by elevating itself to the level of science. Yet these efforts mount to the relinquishment of the essence of thinking. Philosophy is pursued by the fear of losing respect and value if it is not science. This is regarded as a shortcoming which is equated with being ‘unscientific’.” (Heidegger, 2)

What Heidegger is getting at is really the same point that James tries to make at the conclusion of his essay The Will to Believe: “In all important transactions of life we have to take a leap in the dark.” (James, 97) Our existence is not, in all cases, perfectly rational. It is not only that we have yet to attain reason, but rather that being has never, and probably will never, present itself in a fully rationally and comprehensible manner. Therefore, thinking is properly an embrace of being according to different rules at different times. James and Heidegger recognize this fact, which is why we can apply James to the complex field of human interaction and arrive at clarity. Clifford, on the other hand, wishes to cut off an entire field of human activity, and thought, and label it “irrational” whether or not it arrives at the truth of any given situation. “…the question is not whether their belief was true or false, but whether they entertained it on wrong grounds.”( Clifford, 77) This amounts to labeling certain types of thought as “witchcraft” or prohibited thought. Wrong, even where it is effective. Whether or not human life is even possible in a world run by Clifford’s rules I do not know, but I believe that I would not want to live there.

Works Cited: 

Clifford, W.K., “The Ethics of Belief,”

James, William, “The Will to Believe”,

Heidegger, Martin, “Letter on Humanism”


Materialism is now the de rigueur assumption underlying any public discussion of the sciences, especially the life sciences thanks to the neo-Darwinist domination of that field.  This is despite the fact that “material monism”, as my old philosophy professor liked to call it – the belief that only matter exists and is real, is falling increasingly out of favor among the “hardest” of the “hard sciences”, like physics.   This popularity has become so widespread that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the reasonably educated layman to imagine a world outside of materialism.

For many raised in oppressive religious environments, generally monotheist (more on this later), materialism appears as a great liberation from the perverse and abusive conception of the “spiritual realm” with which they were raised.   The West, collectively, has been laboring under this burden for the last several hundred years, and the “modern liberation” has meant, for many, nothing more than throwing off the shroud of any kind of ideology contradictory to the simplest possible materialist reduction. Sadly, along with this “progress” to a world denuded of any spiritual or transcendent influence has come an ever increasing nihilism.  This is not to say that nihilism is a phenomenon limited to materialism.  Nihilism, as a genuine crisis facing the West, is not dependent on materialism as we know it, but rather it is the reverse.  Modern materialism merely sets the stage for nihilism, of which it is but one emergent phenomenon.

It should first be noted that concern with the desire to possess “things”, while colloquially referred to as “materialism”, is not what is meant by the term in this essay, nor the belief in an objective reality of some-sort, more or less correctly perceived by our physical senses.  Neither vitalism, nor substance dualism (to name but two alternatives to materialism) deny the existence of physical objects.  Rather materialism, strictly speaking, is the belief that all phenomenon may be ultimately reduced to the interactions of a spatially extended, highly differentiated, substance, which is itself un-perceiving and exists independent of any observer.   All higher order functions, such as life itself or mental activity, are explained as merely complex “epiphenomenon” of material interactions.

Generally the arguments in favor of materialism fall into three categories.  First, the argument for technical efficacy.   Second, the argument for philosophical sufficiency.  Third, the argument for experimental validity.  I will attempt, as much as is possible in this short essay, to address each of these in turn.  While an in-depth deconstruction and the subsequent construction of an alternative baseline conception of the universe lies outside the scope of this blog, I hope to be able to point the reader in the direction of the “cracks in the armor” of the modern materialist world view.  It will be up to you to apply “hammer and tongs” to the gap indicated.

The argument for technical efficiency rests on the assumption that all modern technical production depends on a materialist ontology; either directly, in the sense of it being impossible to conceive of or construct a highly complex object – such as a cellular phone and its attendant network, or perform a highly delicate task, such a brain surgery, without assuming a materialist philosophical starting point; or indirectly, in the sense of materialism being a required historical pre-requisite for the highly specialized technical knowledge which makes the modern world possible.  The first version of this assumption is easy enough to dismiss.  It is simply untrue as a brute fact.  Many highly skilled technical workers, and scientific professionals, have beliefs that lie outside the scope of material monism, and this group includes some of the most prestigious scientists in the history of Western culture.  Much is often made of the fact that modern scientists are, as a group, less “religious” than the general public (as the term is commonly understood, meaning belief in the Abrahamic monotheistic god).  It is, however, not necessary for all scientists to reject material monism, only for some to reject it and still be able to produce as scientists in order to disprove this version of the argument for technical efficiency.

The implied version is slightly more sophisticated.  It recognizes that scientists are not always material monists, either in the modern world or historically, but argues for an “evolutionary” progression of thought which exists as a “substratum” to technical progress. The fact that almost every single pivotal scientific discovery or theory has been made previous to the modern age, and that the majority of scientists – like the majority of people – in ages past were not materialists, does not generally dissuade adherents of this view .  In order for thought to be “evolutionary”, in this sense of progressing independent of any individual human mind, ideas themselves must be imbued with “intentionality” and purposeful behavior.  This is the concept of the “meme”, or “mental gene” invented by neo-Darwinian Richard Dawkins.  It rests upon the assumption that genes have intentionality – itself an unproven and problematic hypothesis, and that ideas likewise posses similar properties.  How, exactly, a non-physical, non-material epiphenomenon could self-direct is entirely unexplained.  This is because rather than being a legitimate theory derived from observation, hypothesis and the accumulation of supporting evidence (as materialists tell us is the only legitimate way of knowing) this “theory” is an attempt to get around or dodge the limitations of materialism by appealing to metaphorical description, in the hope that the metaphor itself will not be analyzed by the person hearing it.  Upon analysis, without an implied appeal to some kind of transcendent reality beyond purely random material interactions the theory falls apart.  This argument rests on many a-priori assumptions which are not, themselves, arrived at scientifically.  This hypocrisy is itself enough to cast serious doubts on this claim.

The second argument in favor of materialism is philosophical sufficiency.  This is the claim that not only does materialism adequately explain existence, it does so in the simplest, most comprehensible way, with the fewest number of entities.  The first major problem here is the experience of consciousness itself, which in no way resembles the “robot like” function that materialist reduction would suggest.  While we can interfere with the physical structure of the brain and produce effects, we are no where near a complete understanding of consciousness.  Many modern neuro-scientists, like  Dr. Mario Beauregard, are beginning to doubt the materialist explanation for consciousness.  If consciousness itself cannot be explained by materialism it fails as a philosophically sufficient ideology, although it may still be adopted provisionally for certain purely technical and mechanical applications.   The second major problem is the question of just what matter actually consist of in-and-of itself.  The originator of materialism, Democritus, conceived of the “atom” as the smallest possible unit of reality.  The atom has since been broken open and even the various sub-atomic particles are now in the process of being dissected and examined.  What lies beneath the sub-atomic level is an open question at present but the most popular theory is “super-string” theory, which at this point is entirely a mathematical abstraction and requires the existence of several unknown “dimensions” not presently knowable by any human mind.  So much for the fewest number of entities.  The Bishop Berkeley first laid out the problem of matter’s ultimate nature in his “Three Essays”.  While the reader might not find his solution convincing, it is certainly much simpler than string theory, and his laying out of the problems inherent in the materialist reduction are, in this author’s humble opinion, difficult to refute.   Regardless of whether or not materialism is valid it must be admitted that it is certainly not, at the present time, philosophically sufficient by itself.  There are simply too many open questions.  One could certainly hold the opinion that one day these fundamental questions will be answered by materialism, but what is this confidence based on except faith and a hope or belief held to without evidence?

Finally we come to the question of experimental validity.  This argument is somewhat unusual in that it is based on a supposed lack of evidence.  It claims that, regardless of one’s personal beliefs, or the demands of philosophical consistency, there is no evidence in favor of the validity of any other interpretation of reality.  Generally speaking those making this argument have not gone out of their way to examine experimental evidence which argues against materialism.  A recounting of this evidence lies outside the scope of this blog, but interested parties should read the work of Mr. Rupert Sheldrake, especially his recent “Science Set Free”, which investigates ten materialist claims from a scientific, experimental, evidence based perspective.  Whether or not one accepts Mr. Sheldrakes conclusions, or even likes him as a person, one must admit that the claim of “no evidence” is shocking.  Counter-indicative evidence is a regular feature of scientific research.  What that evidence signifies is a matter of interpretation, and here we come to the primary problem with materialism, which is that it is not primarily a matter of the natural sciences but of philosophy.  Most of the natural sciences function perfectly well without appeal to the ultimate questions of existence, and this is doubly so for the knowledge workers which we depend on to make modern life possible.  Doctors don’t work on an atomic level, but on the level of living systems.  Computer programmers don’t directly affect quarks but rather the logical and aesthetic arrangement of information.   The fossil record exists whether or not it is purely a construct of minds, or living spirits, or material substances.

The fundamental problem here is that we, as human beings, hunger for an understanding of our condition.  At one time this answer was provided by religion.  Earlier I mentioned that many modern materialists are particularly concerned with the abuses of religion, and by religion commonly mean monotheism.  The dominant religion in the West for the last thousand odd years has been Christianity, which makes exclusive truth claims.  The Catholic Church was, at one time, particularly concerned with establishing itself as sole authority over Christianity, and was very concerned with conceptions of the world which questioned the omnipotence and perfection of God.  This lead to the church lending its support to early pioneers of science which conceived of the universe as a giant mechanism which logically and rationally proceeded from the omnipotent will of the deity.   Many competing conceptions were left aside, not because they failed to reflect the observable facts of the universe, but because they argued for a living universe full of entities which were self-directed, or for multiple independent centers of value and meaning.  In time confidence in the Church eroded, and now confidence in Christianity has gone the same route.  While this, of itself, is not to be mourned material monism has been put forward as the best possible replacement for the Christian metaphysic.  Structurally, however, it has done little more than decapitate the Christian ideology, and remove God, but keep the vast organized mechanism of the universe intact.  It remains nothing more than a “holding position”, designed to keep Western culture rolling along for a few more decades.  In this light it is probably worth noting that the rate of scientific innovation has slowed drastically.  Almost all modern “discoveries” are a kind of “tinkering at the margins” and the cost of further innovation has increased.  It seems that we are reaching the point of diminishing returns.    It seems obvious to this writer that we need a new paradigm.  What that shall be remains to be seen, but we cannot pursue a new paradigm without admitting that the old one no longer servers our needs.



I recently finished reading Georges Dumezil’s Plight of the Sorcerer. I was peripherally familiar with Dumezil’s work when I ordered this volume, having read half of his landmark Archaic Roman Religion. While even half of a Dumezil analysis was enough to convince me of his value, both to the historian and the magician, I was mostly attracted to Plight of the Sorcerer by its title. Naturally, as something of a would-be sorcerer, I was interested in what insights or warnings I could gain from the text. It certainly sounded ominous. “Plight” is not a word that fills one with confidence.

A preliminary Google search revealed nothing about the nature of the book beyond the Amazon review. Precious little Dumezil has been translated into English, and most of it is out of print. If anything, this made the volume appear mysterious and alluring. Even though I couldn’t find any samples or reviews, I wanted a copy. Alas, I could find no copies for less than ninety dollars. With a shelf full of unread books, I couldn’t justify that. Luckily, the Abebooks spirits smiled upon me, and one turned up for less than 40 bucks. I pounced on it. When it arrived, the slightly worn black dust-cover wrapped in clear plastic reminded me of library books from my youth. A lithe little volume, I wondered what secrets it held as I dove into the first chapter.

The book is essentially a long essay comparing two mythical figures, or if you prefer, one mythical figure in two forms: the Indian Kavi Kayva Usanus, and his Iranian counterpart Kavi Kay Us. The Kavi is an archetypal magician figure: rebellious, headstrong, slightly sinister, but also wise, honorable in his own way, filthy rich and powerful. The Kavi is engaged in a rebellion against the Gods. As the chief Brahman of the army of demons, he is their religious minister, strategist and secret leader. The Indian myth, where Dumezil focuses most of his attention, is an older and purer source than the Iranian, which has been significantly colored by monotheism. There isn’t much stigma attached to the Kavi’s alliance in India. The demons and gods are simply viewed as opposite teams. Dumezil takes pains to point out that, according to some myths, the demons may have a legitimate grievance against the divine order. He also clearly explains that Kavi Usanus is held in high regard in the celestial courts. He is considered a full member of the Brahman caste. In the Iranian myth, he is seen as more of a hybrid magician-warlord, and there is an ethical stigma placed on his actions, yet he remains a respected and influential figure. What these two myths have in common is that of the magician as man qua man, or perhaps super-man qua super-man. He is an individual challenging the status quo. Change is by definition a disruption, and a sorcerer is nothing if not a source of change. It makes a great deal of sense that, in traditional societies, this magician would be seen as a wielder of demonic forces. When the society is marked with an intrinsic metaphysical value and character, any serious challenge for control must take on a metaphysical character itself. What isn’t so clear is the reason for the Kavi’s metaphysical rebellion. Clearly he wants power, but the particular details surrounding this are passed over in favor of telling the story of the power-grab itself, and its repercussions.

In the Indian tale, his troubles are primarily social in nature. He has a daughter whom he loves very much. She is well aware of her father’s special powers and is something of a spoiled princess. To further complicate matters, one of the young god-brahmans petitions Kavi Usanus to take him on as student. His real goal is to steal away the secret of raising the dead, which the Kavi possesses, and bring it over to the gods. The gods, apparently, are vulnerable to violent death. The Kavi and his allies know what this young demi-god wishes, but, as a Brahman, the Kavi honors his request and accepts him as his student. The demons are naturally less understanding, and contrive to have the younger Brahman murdered. Of course the Kavi’s daughter falls in love with the beautiful god and… well… you get the idea. In the end, the Kavi’s alliance with the demons is pulled into jeopardy and the whole enterprise falls apart. Thus we have the first of the sorcerer’s “plights”: other people. The sorcerer, despite his great power and wisdom, is still a man. He has social connections and obligations, and these obligations he executes with no less attention than he gives to his other pursuits. As a result, he is never able to fully extricate himself from the machinations of the gods and destiny. He could, perhaps, retreat into isolation, but part of what makes him a sorcerer, and not a simple monk, is that he demands spiritual power on his own terms, which includes the right to exercise his sexual and social drives.

In the Iranian saga, the Kavi’s particular nemesis lies in another field. There are some strong connections between the Iranian Kavi and the more familiar biblical sorcerer Solomon. Most striking is the large palace that the Kavi constructs by harnessing his demonic allies and “yoking” them to his will. However, while Solomon is seen as an agent of God, Kay Us is seen as nothing but an agent of his own desire. In fact, his unwillingness to curb his appetite causes no end of friction with his lieutenants and followers. He is willing to discard any norms that don’t suit his fancy. He breaks alliances and even, on one occasion, kills the children of his most loyal ally. In a final act of hubris, he straps four great eagles to a magical platform and assaults the heavens. His goal is to join the sun, moon and stars and become truly divine: an immortal god. Of course, the eagles tire and return to earth, bringing the Kavi with them. Finally, he realizes that there are some barriers he can not overcome, and repents. While the redemption aspect of the myth is probably a later Zoroastrian addition, this story does adequately illustrate the second major “plight” of the sorcerer, his own mortality. While the great magician may comfort himself with wealth, knowledge, political clout, women, followers, holy visions or any number of other things, the slow decay of his body is inevitable. In some myths he takes on an immortal nature after death but, while alive, the Kavi clearly prefers to retain his bodily existence, an understandable, if impossible, sentiment.

This brings us, finally, to the legacy of the sorcerer. Interestingly, the two myths are in complete agreement here. In both cases, the Kavi is recounted as the founder of kingdoms and dynasties. Not only is his *ahem* “blood” used to justify royal status, his instruments or weapons are viewed as talismans not unlike Excalibur, conferring the divine right to rule on those who posses them. It is hard to say if this legacy is an example of the success of the Kavi, or his failure. Have the gods co-opted his power and tamed him, or has he broken their monopoly on reality and become immortal? Personally, I vote for the latter, but I’m probably biased. Either way, there is some ambiguity about the fate of the magician. Like the good philologists we are, let’s return to the title of this book, The Plight of the Sorcerer for more information. We modern Americans, with our middle class sensibilities, tend to see “plight” as an intrinsically negative term. But, according to Webster’s, the word comes from the Old English “pliht”, which simply means “danger”, or “to expose one to danger”. It has close connections to “peril”, but is not necessarily negative, in a final sense. This is a fairly apt description of the sorcerer. By stepping outside of the stream of humanity, he exposes himself to risk. Unlike the warrior, he is not called to do this by the social order. It is not a discharge of duty. He chooses to place himself in danger, ambiguity and risk. This is not an unwelcome side effect, but an integral component of his nature. Plight is a perfectly accurate description of the sorcerer’s life and legacy. He wouldn’t have it any other way.


[Originally posted June 17th, 2008]