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The Tao of Gonzo

04/19/2007 02:42 pm 14:42:45 | Updated May 25, 2011

The testimony of Alberto Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee has demonstrated a new low in the Bush Administration.  Among other things, Gonzales' answers have made it clear that he is anything but the "CEO" of the DOJ, as he once tried to argue.  The only answer he has given that appears to be his own actual thought is that U.S. Federal Attorney's "serve at the pleasure of the President."  Whenever he says that, I believe he has actually had that thought on his own before.   Beyond that, every answer from Gonzales has sounded like an answer to an oral exam that he only just crammed for the previous night.

If I had to throw out one word to describe his performance, it would be:  stammering.

But within all this, I pulled out a few choice moments where his attempts to not get caught in his own lack of preparation have resulted in statements of accidental spiritual power. Behold!  The Tao of Gonzo.

THE TAO OF GONZO (a.k.a., The Spiritual Side of Twisting the Truth)

Verse 1:

"I now understand that there was a conversation between me and the President."   --Tao of Gonzo, Apr 19, 2007

Ah, yes.   Here we are introduced to a moment of deep spiritual contemplation.  There are times in our lives, he is saying, when we understand the experiences we have when we are having them.  I ate a sandwich, I  understand.  I drive to work,  I understand.  But there are other times when we have an experience, but we do not understand the experience as such at the time.  For argument's sake, we could call these "moments we are breaking the law."  For example, if we are having a conversation with the President and his advisers about illegally circumventing the authority of Congress, it may be difficult to understand that it is happening at the time.  One might say, I am having this conversation, but is this really me?  Is this really a conversation?  Is this really a law and if it is not a law, then can I be breaking this law in this conversation that may or may not be happening?  These are moments of spiritual drift, vagueness of identity.  Am I undermining the Constitution?  Hard to say.  Am I in violating the public trust?  Hard to say.  Am I in charge of my own actions?  Not clear.  They are moments of great spiritual questioning, wonderment, lack of understanding.

It is only when we revisit these moments of spiritual doubt under duress of, say, being convicted of perjury by a Senate committee--only in these moments does our spiritual fuzziness snap into sudden focus.  Ah, yes!  Like rings on the duck pond, the ambiguity recedes to the shores of self-doubt, leaving behind a moment of clarity.  Indeed it was a conversation. Indeed it was the President.  Indeed it was a conversation.  "I understand that there was a conversation between me and the President."  Which is to say, "Now,  unlike before, I am able to see.  I can understand that my own actions were indeed actions and that I did indeed experience them."  I understand, now.

Verse 2:

"Part of my goal here is to educate and inform the American public."  --Tao of Gonzo, Apr 19, 2007

To the unenlightened--those who judge only from surface appearances--the purpose of a testimony to a Senate committee may seem at first to be: the elicitation of facts.  But to a spiritual master, such as Gonzales, the purpose of a hearing is really about the enlightenment of others.  He has enlightenment.  The testimony is an opportunity to pass on that enlightenment to others.  But not just to some others--to all others.  In a sense, by listening to Gonzales, we are not just hearing answers, we are being given the opportunity to enter into the information that will also help us to achieve enlightenment--help us to become one with the truth as he sees it.  And what is that truth?  That there is no untruth,  only the appearance of untruth.  If we do not see this, it is not because we see a different truth than the truth presented, but because we are not yet educated and informed as to the one true truth. 

Verse 3:

"I recall making the decision.  I don't recall when the decision was made." --Tao of Gonzo, Apr 19, 2007

This is, perhaps, the most complex of the three aphorisms as it speaks to the difficult topic of memory and time. 

For those who are not masters of the Tao of Gonzo, memory references our own actions in time.   For those of us who have not achieved enlightenment, we are trapped in a linear sense of time where we remember--or do not remember--only our own events as they happened.  If we are asked, "Do you recall eating the apple?" we can only answer "Yes, I recall it" or "No, I do not recall it."

For the enlightened, however, there is a second order of experience that is outside of the individual experience of time--omniscience.  Hence, when the enlightened is asked, "Do you recall eating the apple?" he must answer two  questions:  one question about himself in time and another about himself outside the separation of people and things, looking back on the world as a landscape of different forms of existence. To the first question, the answer is the same, "I recall eating the apple" or "I do not recall eating the apple."  To the second question, the answer is of a different order and concerns not the state of the action, but of the apple itself. 

This second question would be something like, "Do you recall when the apple changed from being an apple that was not eaten to being an apple that was eaten?"    Hence, the enlightened answers, "I recall eating the apple, but I don't recall when the apple was eaten."  In other words, he does not recall exactly when the apple became an apple that was eaten.

Om mani padme hum.

More Tao of Gonzo soon...

(cross posted from Frameshop)