June 22, 2013

He "will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity. … He is the Chosen One. He'll have the power to impact nations. Not people. Nations."

Can you identify the "he"? It's not Barack Obama. The statement was made by the man's father, quoted in an article printed in Slate in July 2000. I ran across that article, which is written by Bob Wright (whom I talk to from time to time on Bloggingheads), because I'd just done that post about the problem of shame, and I knew shame was one of Wright's big topics. (He's pro-shaming.)

But this article isn't about shame. In fact, it cites as a goal to "live in the present and free yourself of aspiration and anxiety" — at least if you want to play the sport played by that "Chosen One," Tiger Woods.
You can't be angry over a previous error or worried about repeating it, nor can you be dreaming of future glory. Gandhi used to say he tried to strive on "without fear of failure and without hope of success."...

At the moment of impact, various golf philosophers have held, your mind should be empty—you should be focused on the task at hand in a kind of nonverbalizable way. Many golfers are good at this sort of unconscious concentration, but the utter consistency with which Tiger Woods seems to achieve it almost does qualify him as supernatural...
Wright makes much of Woods's Buddhist background.
One hallmark of spiritual maturity is unity of internal purpose—the subordination of the mind's unruly impulses to an overarching goal....

"Athletes aren't as gentlemanly as they used to be," [Woods] has said. "I don't like that change. I like the idea of being a role model. It's an honor. People took the time to help me as a kid, and they impacted my life. I want to do the same for kids." Woods likes the Asian side of his heritage because "Asians are much more disciplined than we are. Look how well-behaved their children are. It's how my mother raised me. You can question, but talk back? Never."
Or is that about shame?

65 comments:

edutcher said...

I was thinking Albert Gore, the Living Redwood.

As for el tigre, it all goes south when the little head does the thinking, don't it?

Bob said...

Well duh. It's Harry Potter, of course.

SteveR said...

Its not BHO but ultimately, in both cases, the grand idea ends up with people getting screwed.

Jay said...

This prediction turned out as well as Obama's claim that the average family will save $2,500 under ObamaCare.

Icepick said...

I immediately recognized the quote as something Earl Woods said about his son Tiger. Earl wasn't one to talk down his son in public!

Icepick said...

Its not BHO but ultimately, in both cases, the grand idea ends up with people getting screwed.

You make that sound like a bad thing in both cases. Clearly having The Zero as President is a disaster for the nation, but Tiger gettin' some (or a lot) on the side isn't really that big a deal - at least as long as you're not married to him.

rhhardin said...

"One hallmark of spiritual maturity is unity of internal purpose—the subordination of the mind's unruly impulses to an overarching goal"

Never eat anything bigger than your head.

Nonapod said...

Guys like Alexander the Great, Jesus Christ, Gautama Buddha, Charles Babbage, Robert Oppenheimer, Muhammad, Shakespeare, Martin Luther, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon all did a lot to change the course of history and humanity. Tiger Woods isn't even near the same league.

Icepick said...

I actually thought the comment was delusional when first reported, and over time it seems no less so. And I'm not even including the whole mess with the crashed car and the mistresses and the wife and the divorce. It was just a nutty statement as even back then it was clear Tiger didn't have the charisma necessary to even come close to that. Hell, if Alo couldn't do that, Tiger wasn't going to.

OTOH, Tiger's problems did let the world find out about those funny animated re=enactments on that Taiwanese news channel, so that's something.

betamax3000 said...

Over the Past Few Days Ann's Posts Have Gone from:

Bill Bojangles Robinson: Tap-Dancing.

-to-

Tiger Woods: Ass-Tapping.

The Arc in-between Involved Butter.

I am Still Processing what This Means.



But there is No Shame in The Pain-and-Butter Room.

Icepick said...

Never eat anything bigger than your head.

What about something that is just as big as your own head, but not bigger? Gainesville Florida used to have a restaurant that advertized having burritos "as big as your head!" Didn't do them any good, though, as they still ultimately got crushed by Burrito Brothers, even though they were aiming for a different market.

Patrick said...

The world really needs to stop waiting for "the One." there is no single person who will change the world for us. Each of us needs to change ourselves (or not) individually,as we see fit to improve our lives and the world.

SteveR said...

You make that sound like a bad thing in both cases

Not necessarily, just the fact of it

Mark O said...

He's been supplanted by a player whose humility required him to have the word "CHOSEN" tattooed on his back.

FedkaTheConvict said...

Reminds me of then Duke University professor Grant Farred declaring that Yao Ming represented "the most profound threat to American empire."

How did that work out? How many championships did Yao win?

mesquito said...

The thing is, it's impossible to shame people who believe stupid shit like that. Has Bob Wright ever felt shame for any of the crap he's said?

lemondog said...

Let my....people....putt....

Paddy O said...

Well, he's not dead yet, so maybe there's still a chance this will work out.

AllenS said...

He "will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity. … He is the Chosen One. He'll have the power to impact nations. Not people. Nations."

Sure. Until you take a 9 iron to the mouth.

rehajm said...

Woods was suppsed to be some sort of Ali squared. I find it difficult to accept such an individual would emerge from the ranks of professional golf. That empty mind at the moment of impact is very true. Some talented players are great at forcing themselves to get there, for others that place is easy, or even the default configuration.

JAL said...

I still won't vote for him.

JAL said...

He sure changed Elin's life.

And his kids.

lemondog said...

I find it difficult to accept such an individual would emerge from the ranks of professional golf

I like Tiger.

Gandhi merely challenged and defied the British Empire, among other governments, and ended up with a loin cloth and weaving wheel

But Tiger suffered, losing 1/2 of his half a billion $ in divorce settlement.

edutcher said...

Icepick said...

Its not BHO but ultimately, in both cases, the grand idea ends up with people getting screwed.

You make that sound like a bad thing in both cases. Clearly having The Zero as President is a disaster for the nation, but Tiger gettin' some (or a lot) on the side isn't really that big a deal - at least as long as you're not married to him.


Or one of his kids.

Especially his kids.

tim maguire said...

Normally parents get hyperbole passes when speaking of their children, but...wow.

ricpic said...

You could say that within the world of golf there have been game changers. Jack Nicklaus immediately springs to mind. His ability to drive the ball 300 yards, with accuracy, put him in another league from his competition and forced professionals to at least attempt the Nicklaus game or have no chance of winning. Not a golf expert but I'm pretty sure Woods has had no such fundamental effect on the game.

Joe Schmoe said...

Too bad his mother didn't have access to a Planned Parenthood clinic...

gutless said...

If only Tiger could have controlled his wanger. Think of what he might have accomplished. What a loss for humanity.

creeley23 said...

I had a friend who married a Japanese woman. He explained to me that the Japanese have a shame culture and how often he accidentally made his wife feel ashamed, such as once at a church picnic when he took off his shoes and had a hole in a sock.

So, yes, I wouldn't say that was about "spiritual maturity." It was about shame.

jr565 said...

Shame seemed to work pretty well on Tigers' golf game. Guy can barely play anymore.

jr565 said...

Tiger didn't even change the world when it came to his philandering or womanizing. He has nothing on Bill Clinton or Dr J.

Aridog said...

AllenS said...

Sure. Until you take a 9 iron to the mouth.

Say hey, and his current blond paramour could take his head clean off with a 9 iron :-))

Icepick said...

Or one of his kids.

Especially his kids.


Yeah, and if Tiger had more self-restraint maybe he wouldn't have married a buddy's nanny, and there wouldn't be any kids.

Lots of kids have crappy parents. At least Tiger's aren't going to be on welfare. Or ever fly on a commercial jet, for that matter. So I'm not going to feel too badly for them.

chrisnavin.com said...

I suppose Uncle Bob's drift into soft Marxism, and the way he nurtures Lefty reporters on his site who decry America and the world from being the paradise they want is one way to handle meaninglessness.

A stupid, naive and idealistic way but a way nonetheless.

Such folks are waiting to cash in on the injustice and aspirations of black folks too.

chrisnavin.com said...

Uncle Bob's evo-psy sweat lodge (Princeton approved).

chrisnavin.com said...

Maybe that's a little unfair, I'm feeling ashamed now.

Mark Trade said...

Shame on white parents and their white children for being white.

KenK said...

Oh please. Woods is an exemplary golfer, but that's it. Not a good person, a good father, or a good anything else apparently, but in his case, golf is enough. Change the world? Fuck no. That was just his huckster old man talkin' shit about his boy.

El Pollo Raylan said...

There was a time when people had faith that mixed race people like Tiger or Obama were going to heal racial animosities in this country. It wasn't thought through though. We are worse off than before. Why is that?

Part of the problem is perception and expectation. I kept expecting Obama to express the Kansas half inside him. But he doesn't. His mother must have taught him to dislike those midwestern values. And when we see the "Chicago" side of Obama, we're really just seeing Michelle. As time goes on, President Obama appears more and more autocratic and, sad to say, is shaping up to be a model of his father.

El Pollo Raylan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Cripes. Even before his marriage implosion, Woods was known as a club pounder. He must be one of those cutting edge Buddhists.

richardsson said...

I thought Arnold Palmer was the one who changed the world. Before Palmer, the PGA purses were in four figures and the pros had carpool to the tournaments and give fat cats lessons in the off season to put food on the table.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Let's compare Tiger Woods to Orson Welles.

Tiger is a cuckold compared to Orson's contributions.

Both are shits compared to Norman Borlaug no matter how much obesity can be attributed to N.B.

Ethanol is, has been, and will be, evil straight-up resulting in starvation deaths.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I meant to write "Big Ethanol" but cowered out of fear of being Breitbarted.

Like I wrote before, Nagasaki it to me.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Both are shits compared to Norman Borlaug no matter how much obesity can be attributed to N.B.

Ultimately, you should blame Fritz Haber for the food surpluses. He was German, but also Jewish, which makes him tricky to demonize.

Alex said...

Tiger Woods will be long remembered for his porn star dalliances.

Alex said...

Tiger Woods is a nothing compared to Orson Welles.

Saint Croix said...

Savior of the world can be so competitive!

John Lennon once remarked that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus.

But in 1967, they weren't even as big as the Monkees!

creeley23 said...

This paradox -- that utter present-mindedness involves a kind of willful mindlessness -- is of course quite Eastern. In Zen meditation, one object of the game is to empty your mind of thought. Personally (as I've suggested before) in these pages), I think it's no coincidence that the greatest golfer in the history of the universe has a Buddhist mother.

Robert Wright


Does Wright get anything right? It seems his mental compass is rusted solid against all conservative American values so wisdom always lies elsewhere.

I recommend that any Westerner who is bowled over by the Zen guys read this essay by Scientific American writer, John Horgan: "Why I Gave Up Zen."

The Zen guys are good and have their points but they are not supermen and Zen meditation is a pretty hit-or-miss technique.

Alex said...

The Monkees were never bigger than The Beatles. That's absurd.

Saint Croix said...

The Monkees were never bigger than The Beatles. That's absurd.

Oh ye of little faith

El Pollo Raylan said...

Oh ye of little faith

I'm A Believer

Alex said...

Yes there was a brief period of high popularity for The Monkees in 1967. But come on let's face it, they were a boy group, not songwriters. The Beatles had 3 strong song-writers, each legends in their own right.

Saint Croix said...

Oh that was funny. I love that Monkees song.

But come on let's face it, they were a boy group, not songwriters.

I know that. And Jesus was the Messiah!

I'm glad we cleared that up.

The Beatles had 3 strong song-writers, each legends in their own right.

No, they have two legends and a demi-legend.

Also they have Yoko the Evil One.

Saint Croix said...

And let me go on the record and say that Paul is not dead.

Saint Croix said...

actually I might have to google that.

Saint Croix said...

yes, he is not dead.

Saint Croix said...

I have faith in google.

Saint Croix said...

The amusing thing is that Lennon thought the Beatles were bigger than Jesus back when they were a boy band.

Screaming girls = bigger than Jesus.

When they started growing facial hair--no doubt working that messiah angle--all the screaming girls left them for the Monkees.

Saint Croix said...

Don't smite me, Beatlemaniacs. I'm just having fun.

Saint Croix said...

Everybody's got something to hide.

Except for me and my Monkee.

Chip Ahoy said...

Just guessing, on account of not following sports, but still, it is impossible to avoid, Michael Jordan is to basketball what Woods is to golf, from my pov, and basketball is bigger than golf so Jordan wins with basketball. Pele is to soccer what Jordan is to basketball and soccer, hate it if you will is still bigger than basketball worldwide, because I said so, therefore Pele for soccer wins the popularity contest and the Earth-moving Country-moving, not just people-moving awesomeness.

pm317 said...

Gandhi used to say he tried to strive on "without fear of failure and without hope of success."...


This is perhaps the best piece of philosophy out there. Gandhi is not the origin of it -- because it comes from Bhagavad Gita. These are famous lines Krishna told Arjuna when Arjuna was conflicted about going to war with his step brothers -- long story of Mahabharatha.

" Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,.."

{Loosley translated -- do what is required of you without thinking about the fruits of your labor}.

Saint Croix said...

I do not actually like Life of Brian. Not because it's sacrilegious, but because it's boring and monotonous.

Think for yourself, think for yourself, think for yourself, repeat after me, think for yourself, think for yourself, dammit! Think for yourself. Think for yourself. Think for yourself.

It's kinda like that. Anyway, that movie would be a lot funnier, and upset a hell of a lot more people, if they were mocking the Beatles.

And you say, a-ha, Lennon was right! And I say, no, Christians have a stronger philosophical grip than Beatlemaniacs. Plus we got to love our enemies, it's like a rule.

The only time I actually laughed at Life of Brian (which I was watching with my Jewish girlfriend, and she didn't laugh either, so there!) was the ending when they were singing on the cross. Now that is kinda sacrilegious, because being nailed to a cross is an incredibly painful way to die. Irreverent, maybe that's a better word for it. Anyway, that was funny. But I found most of it a chore.

I frickin' loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail when I was a kid. But now it's unwatchable. You know why? Because the Pythons only have 1 joke in a scene. And they build off that 1 joke. So the laughs really pile up and you hurt yourself laughing. But if you watch it multiple times, and I have, at some point you know the frickin' joke. Because instead of having 300 jokes in their movie, it's like 30 jokes with extra emphasis. So now I am like the Spouse of Monty Python Listening To That Damn Joke Again. Luckily I can divorce them and it's not even a sin.

Rusty said...

Until you said 2000 I was gonna say Soupy Sales.