Even in absurdity, sacrament.     Even in hardship, holiness.     Even in doubt, faith.     Even in chaos, realization.    Even in paradox, blessedness

 

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"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Thursday, 31 March, 2005 }

elders speak, we listen

Hopi warnings to the world

From Hopiland, a spiritual vortex for Native people, spiritual leaders Dan Evehema and Thomas Banyacya became the voice of the voiceless: the birds and animals. Warning of the impending apocalypse, they urged all people of good hearts to join them. Even in their last years, Evehema and Banyacya warned that material greed and ignoring spiritual truth results in climate change, and, ultimately, the destruction of the world. Hopi Snake Priest Evehema said the disease in the world today is greed, and the final insult for this country's aboriginal people is the loss of ceremonial land.

"We are now faced with great problems, not only here but throughout the land. Ancient cultures are being annihilated. Our people's lands are being taken from them. Why is this happening? It is happening because many have given up or manipulated their original spiritual teachings. The way of life that the Great Spirit has given to all people of the world, whatever your original instructions, are not being honored. It is because of this great sickness called greed, which infects every land and country..."

jaybird found this for you @ 20:44 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



The Dream Quest

How I Dueled My Shadow by the Light of the Moon

The dream quest is a continuous dream. This is not quite a recurring dream, where the exact same dream plays over again each night; instead here the dream picks up where it left off the night before, like a TV or radio serial. Each night’s dreams occur in the same world, with the same characters and follow a single arcing plotline that has consumed approximately 1/9th of my entire life. The world and characters are not static, but grew and changed as I interacted with them over the last sixteen years; I know a few of the characters better than I know some real people. My active decisions shaped the future outcomes of the plot. In tone the dream is like a fantasy adventure, centered on an epic battle between the forces of light and dark.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:40 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



The Method of Science, The Aim of Religion

A Systematic Model for the Academic Study of Modern Western Occultism
[via orlin grabbe]

Western occultism is rarely approached by scholars of Religious Studies except when it is anecdotally placed within the rubric of the New Age Movement, New Religious Movements, or Esoteric Studies. Depending upon the researcher, it is also synonymously attached to other, sometimes loaded labels like Satanism and Neo-Paganism. Available scholarship tends towards three basic approaches. The first is to ignore any notion of “modern” Western occultism and instead consider all “occultism” as a monolithic entity that has remained essentially the same and de-emphasizes the input from historical, social, economic or aesthetic factors. And where these factors are considered at all, Western occultism is reduced to a historically marginal reaction to a Christian hegemony. The second direction of academic study comes from the more emic perspective of the practitioners of modern Western occultism itself. A characteristic of this tradition is its text-driven, literature-intensive program. Despite this, the drawback to such an emic perspective is that there is little room for objectivity and when there is, criticism of the work will still fall back to the emic/etic argument that has become such a thorn in the side of Religious studies.

An alternative approach is one that is not taken by Esotericists or by Occultists. In this perspective, we distinguish a “modern” Western occultism, acknowledged as different from other occultisms, and not based on the emic self-proclamations of occultists or on the etic perspectives of theologians. This is a perspective that works precisely because it steps outside the emic/etic boundaries and sees a system; a text-based tradition, with abundant articulations of its own meaning and interpretation, and a systematic program to manage religious or esoteric information gleaned through an ever increasing corpus of primary texts. It is in these primary texts that we can meet on the bridge between the practitioner and the academic; these texts provide what could be seen as a momentary zone of negotiation. Because modern Western occultism is explicitly didactic and expository, information-oriented approaches are not only possible, but also quite germane.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:27 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



heuristic compression

There have been some long days this week, and the next two are no exception. By the time you read this, I'll be driving almost 200 miles to a meeting/training, coming back halfway to teach a class, and driving another 100 miles back home, arriving late into the night. Tomorrow is the real doozie...

It's the book release party for "Rainbow Over Crossroads" and it's turning into quite the big to-do. That's very exciting, of course, but I'm not that good at self-marketing and selling people my words, which they apparently want very much to buy. I've got such great friends that are coming together to make this happen, with music, dance and performance, I'm really overwhelmed with the support.

Things have been 'uniquely' busy, and I know I've skimped out on the personal side of bloggage lately, so just know the following things:

1) I'm doing much better
2) There's beaucoup career anxiety
3) I've got one bit of relieving medical news, waiting for more next week
4) Spring is making me crazy
5) I made some major realizations about how I work and what I'd like to fix. Much of it has to do with assertiveness and how I get along with that strange species called people.

I'll go into details later. For now, I've got a long way to go and a short time to get there...

jaybird found this for you @ 07:56 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 30 March, 2005 }

spring's mystery

The narrative of eternal return

A soft rain is falling outside the window. Drops of water glisten on the branches and twigs. Each drop, you see now, clings to a bud, magnifying the tiny crimson knots, which are the year's way of saying -- the spring returns. Leaves are being born. Blossoms exist already, inside their tiny shells. Life begins anew. The tree's job, with the rain's help, is to show it. Your job is to notice.

If this were the first time you had ever seen living buds appear on a dead twig, you would know too little of the mystery. You would think -- aha, life is victorious over death. The hurt world is recovering. The wars are ending. Suffering is becoming passionate delight. All is well. But because you have seen this manifestation again and again, and because you know what else happens in the cycle of the year, your welcome of the spring return is complex.

Relief is proper to this time of year, and so are the sensual joys of perception -- warmth on the skin, perfumes of the air, the sudden sight of robins, the illuminated world. Yet every such signal of rebirth comes with its own contradiction, which makes it all the more precious. This complexity of death and life together, stretched across a realm defined by the movement of planets and stars, is what you call time. Time is the cosmos. Time is your native country. Human beings have a built-in tendency to imagine life and death as opposite forces in conflict with one another. If, across the stretch of the year, life and death seem equal, each with its season of triumph, the human story is not so simple.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:49 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



a human to the rescue of a fish

catfish5_small.jpg

Help a brother out.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:39 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Unscientific Unamerican

Funny Ha Ha

There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of socalled evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it.

Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:36 in Silly People, Satire & Strange Behaviors | | permalink



past the turning point?

Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'

The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure. The study contains what its authors call "a stark warning" for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself. "Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:35 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 29 March, 2005 }

universal love

Is the universe friendly?

We seemed to have reached a spiritual brick wall in our secular ways of thinking and feeling. The ads don’t deliver, the politics don’t heal, and the science doesn’t connect. We know all too well the damage that organized religion can do, but we’re also beginning to understanding the destructiveness of our financial - corporate networks and the military-industrial complex that protect their interests. It’s not that there are no options - it’s that the marginalization of these options fuels a profound despair, along with a growing sense that we have passed beyond the point of no return. Ironically, this despair is likely to feed the addictions, violence, clinical depression, endless distraction, and retail therapy that is already ingrained in North American culture, encouraging further its monstrous consumption of resources and human potential.
This is the true horror of the world we have imagined into being. If children are not nurtured properly in homes where true love prevails, and are raised in a culture endorsing deceit and a Darwinian competition for jobs and resources, a “friendly universe,” one they could have otherwise internalized as emotionally real for themselves, may elude them all their lives.

If there is some vast consciousness that dreamed this whole shebang into existence, one thing we embody from Him/Her/Whatever is a spark from the fire of creation: the power to choose, to imagine, and to dream new worlds into being.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:44 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



emotional propaganda

The Happy Poster Project

jaybird found this for you @ 15:35 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



waging respect

For gays, it happens all the time

As the fight over Terri Schiavo's fate played out in court, gay and lesbian organizations watched quietly from the sidelines, aware that any outcome would speak to one of the key motivations in their quest for same-sex marriage: the right to make medical decisions for a partner. It's an issue faced regularly by same-sex couples, and the battle that Michael Schiavo waged with his in-laws as he sought to remove his wife's feeding tube only underscored their difficulties, said David Buckel of the New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal. "It certainly resonates with us," said [the] director of marriage-related activities for Lambda Legal. "If folks look at this situation and see that a spouse is struggling to carry out the wishes of his loved one, imagine what folks face when they don't even have access to the spousal relationship because they can't get married."

jaybird found this for you @ 11:26 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink



imagine this...

Who Needs Imagination? [via mefi]

...Imagination helps us to make causal judgments about how things might have turned out differently. Historians also do this and so do we with respect to our own decisions. If something goes wrong in life, then we ask ourselves where we went wrong. The imagination allows us to engage in thinking about alternatives in this prosaic form. In making moral judgments we also think about alternatives. We look at something that has happened and we ask how it could have been done better or differently. And again we are exercising our imagination.

And then a third domain is simply language comprehension. There is a great deal of work showing that when adults listen to a narrative they build in their mind's eye, so to speak, a mental image or a model of the situation that is being described and of the events that unfold. And it's that mental model that they retain over a long period of time rather than the particular words. The ability to construct such models in the imagination is, in my view, something that emerges from these very early capacities that children show to engage in pretend play and to think about a time and place that is removed from their current situation. So, depending on how you define the imagination, you can either see it as disappearing or waning during childhood or you can see it the way I do as persisting throughout life.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:25 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Monday, 28 March, 2005 }

Talbot: Spirituality and Science

The Holographic Universe

The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order. For most of its history, Western science has laboured under the bias that the best way to understand a physical phenomenon, whether a frog or an atom, is to dissect it and study its respective parts. A hologram teaches us that some things in the universe may not lend themselves to this approach. If we try to take apart some thing constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:54 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Fourteen wild ideas

(five of which are true ??)

Many times each day, your mind permanently splits into different versions that live in different worlds.

There's a five percent chance I live in a "future" computer simulation as I write this.

If we allowed complete freedom of contract, law could be privatized, to our common benefit.

If even a few of us honestly sought truth, we would not disagree with each other.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:47 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink



"Crazy Enough to be True"

Shapeshifting, Consciousness & The Edge of Science

"Given the right playbook,the thermal jostling of the atoms in a rock can be seen as the operation of a complex, self-aware mind.How strange. Common sense screams that people have minds and rocks don't. But interpretations are often ambiguous....We can see levers and springs in animal limbs, and beauty in the aurora: our "mind children" may be able to spot fully functioning intelligences in the complex chemical goings on of plants, the dynamics of interstellar clouds, or the reverberations of cosmic radiation. No particular interpretation is ruled out, but the space of all of them is exponentially larger than the size of individual ones, and we may never encounter more than an infinitesimal fraction. The rock-minds may be forever lost to us in the boggingly vast sea of chaotic rock-interpretations. Yet those rock minds make complete sense to themselves,and to them it is we who are lost in meaningless chaos. Our own nature, in fact, is defined by the tiny fraction of possible interpretations we can make, and the astronomical number we can't."

jaybird found this for you @ 11:43 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Important Changes to Your Citizenship Agreement

Please read and retain for your records.
We would like to explain certain changes in the terms of the Citizenship Agreement for your U.S. citizenship ("Agreement"). Some of the terms in this notice may already be in effect on your account and will not change. Any terms on your account not changed here remain in effect until such time as we ("We") decide they do not.

To help you understand the changes in the terms of your Agreement, We explain the most important changes in the Summary of New Terms below. The changes described will take effect for citizenship cycles beginning Jan. 20, 2005, and will apply to all existing and future balances on your account.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:42 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



{ Sunday, 27 March, 2005 }

wallace stevens

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:31 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



{ Saturday, 26 March, 2005 }

creating starstuff

Scientists Witness the Birth of an Atom

Scientists... have made a breakthrough in manipulating the smallest single molecules and atoms by devising a new technique of molecular dissection which induces the "birth" of a daughter atom from the parent molecule. This breakthrough... is significant for two reasons - not only have University physicists developed a novel method of dissociation using two electrons, but they have also successfully achieved this experiment at room temperature. The new method... uses the tip of a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM) to inject two electrons into the parent chlorobenzine molecule to induce a dissociation event - the first electron sets the molecule into vibration and the second electron breaks the bond between the parent molecule and daughter chlorine atom...

"Through this experiment we are operating at the ultimate level of control over chemistry. We've instigated a rapid ejection of the chlorine daughter atom, as it shoots away from the parent molecule across the surface. It's fantastic to witness such a fundamental process under the microscope."

jaybird found this for you @ 21:31 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



cuckoo for coconuts


Two-limbed tiptoe aids octopus camouflage

Two tiny species of tropical octopus have demonstrated a remarkable disappearing trick. They adopt a two-armed 'walk' that frees up their remaining six limbs to camouflage them as they slink away from trouble.

"When we noticed one was walking, I thought my gosh, this is amazing. It's the first underwater bipedal locomotion I know of..." Instead of its usual sprawling crawl, O. marginatus fled from divers by striding on two arms, with the rest of its arms wrapped around its body, giving it the appearance of a walking coconut... Looking like a coconut may help O. marginatus to go unseen... There is an abundance of coconuts on the sea floor in the area...

jaybird found this for you @ 17:26 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



delivered right to your soul's doorstep

The Daily Om [via Easy Bake Coven]

Today's entry: The spirituality of wind...

Wind is air in motion. Many ancient cultures believed that the wind was a form of divine spirit. Like spirit, the wind is invisible, but it is what animates. The magnifence of the wind resides within each of us.

Wind isn't tangible yet it brings change with its breath. Sometimes these changes are barely perceivable. However, if you look carefully, you can see the wind - it is the swirl in a plume of smoke, it is the ripple across a lake, it is the lackadaisical sway in the branches. Recognize the small developments in yourself. You are growing all the time even when it seems like the wind is still.

A breeze can quickly become a gale, and a storm can swiftly be diffused. So too are you affected by your environment, who you interact with, what you expose yourself to, what you choose to put in your body and your mind. You can choose experiences that will either fuel your spirit or move you off course.

jaybird found this for you @ 13:21 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



manawa!

Hawaiian Language Enjoys Revival

Hawaiian is the only indigenous language in the United States that showed growth in the 2000 census... About 200,000 of Hawaii's 1.2 million people are of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Hawaiian is recognized, along with English, in the state Constitution as an official state language. Some lawmakers want to require that Hawaiian be used on government signs and in government documents, although two bills on the matter have stalled. The language already is spoken in the islands in a variety of ways. Ceremonies usually include a chant or prayer in Hawaiian, and Hawaiian music with lyrics in the native language are making people more aware. There even is a new Hawaiian music category for the Grammy Awards.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:20 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



{ Friday, 25 March, 2005 }

the undoing of america

Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution

...The old American republic is well and truly dead. The institutions that we thought were eternal proved not to be. And that goes for the three departments of government, and it also goes for the Bill of Rights. So we're in uncharted territory. We're governed by public relations. Very little information gets to the people, thanks to the corruption and/or ineptitude of the media. Just look at this bankruptcy thing that went through--everybody in debt to credit cards, which is apparently 90 percent of the country, is in deep trouble. So the people are uninformed about what's being done in their name.

And that's really why we are in Iraq. Iraq is a symptom, not a cause. It's a symptom of the passion we have for oil, which is a declining resource in the world. Alternatives can be found, but they will not be found as long as there's one drop of oil or natural gas to be extracted from other nations, preferably by force by the current junta in charge of our affairs. Iraq will end with our defeat.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:11 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



planetary abuse

Who owns the Earth?

What... are future generations to think of the concept that individual members of a densely overpopulated species can claim unchallenged ownership of large sections of the earth, to nurture or destroy as they see fit? Considering the conflict between a finite planet and the infinite expansion of Homo Sapiens, does it make any more sense for people to be able to own pieces of the world than it does for people to own other people? If the concept of private ownership were followed to its logical extreme, it would be possible for one fabulously wealthy person, or corporation, to buy every acre of land on the surface of the earth, and to hold the rest of humanity hostage by withholding earthly resources.

As ridiculous as that scenario might seem, today’s economic trends make it increasingly possible for the wealthy (largely in the form of corporations) to claim massive portions of the earth’s surface. Prevailing attitudes toward private property in land also make it increasingly practical for those corporations to claim all the natural resources they can monopolize from their holdings, and to extort more wealth from the rest of society with the resources that they hoard.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:05 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



redemption song?

What about Judas?

"What's been with me for a while is that confusion about God's justice versus God's mercy," says Guirgis, the author of acclaimed Off-Broadway plays such as "Our Lady of 121st Street" and "Jesus Hopped the A Train." "As a kid I just didn't understand: if I could forgive someone, why couldn't God? As I got older, I just came to believe, or hope, that God's mercy and forgiveness should extend to everyone."

Guirgis sets his play in a Purgatory courtroom presided over by a disgraced Civil War veteran. The case is argued by an obsequious prosecutor and an agnostic defense attorney who has won writs from both St. Peter and God himself to continue the appeal. At stake is the soul of the Bible's Benedict Arnold, who has been reduced to a catatonic state, unable or unwilling to communicate.

"Judas" marshals a parade of witnesses, from Satan (played by Eric Bogosian) to Mary Magdalene, Mother Teresa, and Pontius Pilate, many of whom speak in the contemporary parlance of the urban street. The strongest defense of Judas (played by Sam Rockwell) comes from fellow disciple Simon the Zealot, who proffers the theory that Judas handed Jesus over to the chief priests in order "to throw Jesus into the deep end of the pool." By forcing Jesus' hand, the theory goes, he "would have to act," thus sparking a revolution against the cruel Roman occupation of the Jewish homeland.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



art smuggler


Banksy installing his works

From an article:

The practical joker of British artists... has struck for the first time in New York, planting his works among the masterpieces hanging in four of the city’s most famous museums. The artist embarrassed museum officials and glee in the art world this month by penetrating security at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of Natural History... Banksy, who is believed to be a 30-year-old man from Bristol, made his name with pranks such as glueing his work to the wall of Tate Britain and placing a replica of Rodin’s The Thinker with a cone on his head under the Westway in London. He once sneaked into the elephant pen at London Zoo and daubed a graffiti message from the elephant’s point of view: “I want out. This place is too cold. Keeper smells. Boring, boring, boring.” On his website, Banksy justifies his exploits: “Remember crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.”

jaybird found this for you @ 07:52 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



{ Thursday, 24 March, 2005 }

admission 2- the reckoning

Just a quick late-night note to thank everyone for their support and to let it be known that I'm feeling much better... I just hit a pinnacle of sorts yesterday and the cap blew off. A fun "mental health day" with my best friend paired with quiet contemplation has helped immensely to repair the emotional damage from releasing so much pressure at once.

Thank you for your kind words, emails, and especially for your presence, known or unknown. Onward and upward, my friends.

jaybird found this for you @ 23:51 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



restoring balance


Introduction to Tibetan Medicine [thanks, plep]

Tibetan medicine is one of the five major sciences, and it is called gSoba Rig-pa, the science of healing. It uses different kinds of ingredients such as herbs, trees, rocks, resins, soils, precious metals, saps etc. However, 95% of Tibetan medicine is based on herbs, and precious metals are used for the seven kinds of precious pill known as Rinchen rilpo. If the physician is able to make the right diagnosis and administer the right medicine, then Tibetan medicine is good for all kinds of illness. However, it has been particularly successful in its treatment of chronic diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis, ulcers, chronic digestive problems, asthma, hepatitis, eczema, liver problems, sinus problems, anxiety and problems connected with the nervous system.

The basic theory of Tibetan medicine is to keep in balance the Nyipa sum - they are rLung (pronounced loong), mKhris-pa and Bad-kan. The long-term causative factors of Nyipa sum are the three poisons of desire, hatred and delusion which show how closely connected Tibetan medicine is with Buddhist philosophy.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:54 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



forbidden regions

Interpretations of quantum mechanics and the nature of reality [via orlin grabbe]

Because the quantum theory is often presented in the spirit of the Copenhagen interpretation which emphasizes indeterminacy and probability, people sometimes overlook very simple facts regarding the wave properties of the electron. Note first that the interference pattern which is built up spot by spot is very determinate - so there is "statistical causality" at the quantum level, not just indeterminacy of the behaviour of theindividual system. The key question to ask is is why we get an interference pattern rather than some other pattern or no definite pattern at all (which one might expect if electrons were truly indeterminate in their behaviour). Classically we would expect just "two piles" of electrons behind the screen, rather than the observed interference fringes or "many piles" with regions of no electrons between them. It is just a basic experimental fact that we get an interference pattern which can be predicted with the mathematics of wave motion. The reasonable way to think about this is to say that there is a wave aspect associated with each electron and that this wave aspect is causally powerful in that it makes sure that the particle aspect of each individual electron obeys the interference pattern, never going to the "forbidden regions".

jaybird found this for you @ 17:51 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



dream world

Lucid Crossroads
After you read this paragraph your mind will remember that you are looking out for hints, triggers in your dreams that will fire up your brain and make you realise that:- one, you are dreaming and so will become lucid; and two, you want to visit the Lucid Crossroads. Look out for anything associated with the Crossroads, especially doors, the desert, the colours blue and red, mirrors, Persian carpets and materials like blue slate etc. A sign might be a physical door or a blue person, or it could be symbols on a signpost or painted on the floor, like the dreaming head that you can see on the Crossroads reception desk.

Wha...? This warrants further investigation...

jaybird found this for you @ 13:48 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



TIMELINE OF THE AUTHENTIC TRADITION

The foundation stone of the Antiquities of the Illuminati.

The Timeline of the Authentic Tradition chronicles 4000+ years of Esoteric History. From circa 2050 b.c.e. to circa 2050 c.e., we cover the development of the Mystery Schools, Esoteric Groups, Priesthoods, Brotherhoods (and Sisterhoods, for that matter, too), Religions, Schools, Sects, Schisms, individual teachers, Saints, Prophets... as well as political, secular, and cultural movements that can be seen to have been triggered by the Esoteric Tradition.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:29 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 23 March, 2005 }

admission

I don't like using this space for my own therapeutic purposes, but I think it's time that I come forward and record an honest assessment of what's really going on in my life right now. For those uncomfortable with such indulgences, please come back later for the usual smorgasbord of eclectic linkage.

I've been battling depression in one form or another my adult life, and I know that I'm far from alone. For many reasons, that battle came down to trench warfare today and I felt like throwing up my hands and acknowledging defeat. I suppose that's what's clinically defined as "wit's end." I'm a very sensitive person who wears his heart on his sleeve, and today what triggered everything was a meeting at work where I was attacked for my personal beliefs and for my conviction that human beings in crisis are not a profit point (I work for a corporation that likes to bill itself as a human services agency which treats mentally ill children as a commodity... like tires, oil, or sacks of wheat). It caused a chain reaction of sorts, where I realized that my growth is at a total standstill, I'm emotionally unresponsive, I'm out of energy and I just can't focus on anything.

All sure signs that stress has caught up with me and is running away with my ability to maintain.

I've made the decision tonight, amid an emotional and logical tug of war, to get some treatment and to be honest with my struggle. I'm always the happy-go-lucky guy that everyone expects to be radiant and resilient. While I can be that way genuinely, I also admit to putting on a show at times to prevent the real issues from being discovered. At the same time, I don't want to be an Eeyore and a wet f*cking towel. I just have to find a way to be straight up about where I'm at without seeking a pity party or saccharine platitudes in response or reaction to my state.

There are many things I'm truly grateful for in my life right now, and many things I'm quite proud of. I've done much in my short time and I have a great community around me. These are blessings I hope to utilize as I attempt the work that will bring me 'round where I ought to be.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your support. I really needed to say this.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:59 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



LISTEN TO THE ANIMALS

Sheldrake: Why did so many animals escape December's tsunami?

Many animals escaped the great Asian tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004. Elephants in Sri Lanka and Sumatra moved to high ground before the giant waves struck; they did they same in Thailand, trumpeting before they did so. According to a villager in Bang Koey, Thailand, a herd of buffalo were grazing by the beach when they “suddenly lifted their heads and looked out to sea, ears standing upright.” They turned and stampeded up the hill, followed by bewildered villagers, whose live were thereby saved. At Ao Sane beach, near Phuket, dogs ran up to the hill tops, and at Galle in Sri Lanka, dog owners were puzzled by the fact that their animals refused to go for their usual morning walk on the beach. In Cuddalore District in South India, buffaloes, goats and dogs escaped, and so did a nesting colony of flamingos that flew to higher ground. In the Andaman Islands “stone age” tribal groups moved away from the coast before the disaster, alerted by the behaviour of animals.

How did they know? The usual speculation is that the animals picked up tremors caused by the under-sea earthquake. This explanation seems to me unconvincing. There would have been tremors all over South East Asia, not just in the afflicted coastal areas. And if animals can predict earthquake-related disasters by sensing slight tremors, why can’t seismologists do so? ...No one knows how some animals sense earthquakes coming. Perhaps they pick up subtle sounds or vibrations in the earth; maybe they respond to subterranean gases released prior to earthquakes, or react to changes in the Earth’s electrical field. They may also sense in advance what is about to happen in a way that lies beyond current scientific understanding, through some kind of presentiment.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:02 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Here's an mp3 archive for hundreds of important poets, authors, thinkers and daredevils.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:48 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



dark matters


Nearby evidence for dark energy

New research suggests evidence of dark energy in our cosmic backyard, but theorists are still divided on explanations for the ever-increasing speed with which the universe is expanding. Until now, evidence for dark energy, a mysterious antigravity force apparently pushing galaxies outward at an accelerating pace, has only been found in the farthest reaches of the universe. But an international team of researchers has used computer models supported by observations from the Hubble Space Telescope to find hints of dark energy closer by.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:44 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



zygmunt bauman

The Dream of Purity
Purity is an ideal; a vision of the condition which needs yet to be created, or such as needs to be diligently protected against the genuine or imagined odds. Without such a vision, neither the concept of purity makes sense, nor the distinction between purity and impurity can be sensibly drawn. A forest, a mountain range, a meadow, an ocean ('nature' in general, as distinguished from culture, the human product) is neither pure nor impure - that is, until it is spattered with the leftovers of a Sunday picnic or infused with the waste of chemical factories. Human intervention does not just soil nature and make it filthy; it introduces into nature the very distinction between purity and filth, it creates the very possibility of a given part of the natural world being 'clean' or 'dirty'.

Purity is a vision of things put in places different from those they would occupy if not prompted to move elsewhere, pushed, pulled or goaded; and it is a vision of order - that is, of a situation in which each thing is in its rightful place and nowhere else. There is no way of thinking about purity without having an image of 'order', without assigning to things their 'rightful', 'proper' places - which happen to be such places as they would not fill 'naturally', of their own accord. The opposite of 'purity' - the dirt, the filth, 'polluting agents' - are things 'out of place'. It is not the intrinsic quality of things which makes them into 'dirt', but solely their location; more precisely, their location in the order of things envisaged by the purity-seekers. Things which are 'dirt' in one context may become pure just by being put in another place - and vice versa. Beautifully polished, shining shoes become dirt when put on the dining table; returned to the shoe-stack, they recover their pristine purity. An omelette , a mouth-watering work of culinary art when on the dinner plate, becomes a nasty stain when dropped on the pillow.

There are, however, things for which the 'right place' has not been reserved in any fragment of man-made order. They are 'out of place' everywhere; that is, in all places for which the model of purity has been designed. The world of the purity-seekers is simply too small to accommodate them.

From the new issue of the Grey Lodge Occult Review.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:42 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 22 March, 2005 }

simple words, simple actions

Mindfulness In Plain English [via MoFi]

Meditation is a living activity, an inherently experiential activity. It cannot be taught as a purely scholastic subject. The living heart of the process must come from the teacher's own personal experience. Nevertheless, there is a vast fund of codified material on the subject which is the product of some of the most intelligent and deeply illumined human beings ever to walk the earth. This literature is worthy of attention. Most of the points given in this book are drawn from the Tipitaka, which is the three-section collected work in which the Buddah's original teachings have been preserved. The Tipitaka is comprised of the Vinaya, the code of discipline for monks, nuns, and lay people; the Suttas, public discourses attributed to the Buddha; and the Abhidhamma, a set of deep psycho-philosophical teachings.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:09 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



spirited celluloid

The Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films

jaybird found this for you @ 16:02 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



relativistically speaking...

Phillip Scribner: The Inside-Out Encyclopedia

The Wholeness of the World was given to me by a stranger I met recently at a Midwestern airport when I was delayed between flights. I am not quite sure what to make of it. Having taught philosophy for over a quarter century, I thought what he told me at the time made surprisingly good sense. And after reading what he gave me, I wonder why I shouldn't accept it. But it is not up to me. Others need to consider it... He called it an "inside-out encyclopedia," but in order to explain what he meant by that... let me tell you the story about our encounter...

I was in line at one of those indistinguishable airport food dispensaries deciding whether to have a bagel and cream cheese with my coffee. A delayed flight had left me with a couple of hours to kill, but for some reason, I was feeling rather cheerful . Having accidentally bumped into a young man getting into line, I said I was sorry, and to coat my apology with a little humor, I quipped, when the bagel was delivered, "That's not a real bagel. That's a Wonder Bread imitation of a bagel."

"That's just your interpretation of it," the young stranger replied brightly. "They surely see it as a real bagel."

His comment had the ring of relativism. Perhaps he was a multi-culturalist or a victim of deconstructionism, the now fashionable relativism in literature studies. As an old fashioned philosophy teacher, I tried to draw him out. "But isn't that just your interpretation of what I am saying? Aren't you just commenting on my comment?"

"Well, yes, I suppose so," he said in a more somber tone, "but that doesn't mean there isn't a truth of the matter about the bagel. I'm no relativist. In fact, I believe there is an absolute truth."

jaybird found this for you @ 11:53 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



not all who wander are lost


"Gypsies" in the United States [via plep]

Several groups, all known to outsiders as "Gypsies," live today in the United States. In their native languages, each of the groups refers to itself by a specific name, but all translate their self-designations as "Gypsy" when speaking English. Each had its own cultural, linguistic, and historical tradition before coming to this country, and each maintains social distance from the others.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:50 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



{ Monday, 21 March, 2005 }

relaunching wingspan

May I kindly direct your attention to the renewed and re-visioned Wingspan blog...?

I started it as an mp3 blog, but never really did anything with it. There's a little project I've been working on, possibly for book 3, which I'm in the process of serializing and will be posting regularly to Wingspan Fiction Log.

It is the biography of a certain Polish immigrant and philosopher whose contributions to the study of consciousness and ontology have been hailed by some and ignored by many. He is often quoted on this website, for better or worse.

I don't know how regularly the installments will come, hopefully weekly. This should turn out to be an amusing project, so stay tuned, or, as Isadore himself once said, "stay enmeshed in a reality which has long since run out of room for more witnesses, so there's a little show off to the side..."

jaybird found this for you @ 23:23 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



a medium of metaphor


One man's homage to creation in sand [19 meg .wmv]

and an interview with the Hungarian Sandman [both via MeFi]

...The sand cannot be corrected, so while working I do not have a control, no motion control. I do not have any opportunity, which cartoonists do, such as the tracing paper phase, during which they either draw the lines or scan them in the computer. In my head I have to know the guiding line along which the whole process is running, since as I remove it, it will no longer have a 'before' or an 'after', which is also true of puppet films. At the same time, it gives opportunity for a great deal of improvisation and I can also divert from the script. That is why I usually do several minutes longer sections than what is required, because improvisation gives freshness to the whole. I divert in many directions both in thought and form, and that's when the good ideas are born.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:44 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



what does mysticism have to teach us about consciousness?

Plenty. [via Orlin Grabbe]

Mystical experiences may represent... a simple form of human consciousness. Usually our minds are an enormously complex stew of thoughts, feelings, sensations, wants, snatches of song, pains, drives, daydreams and, of course, consciousness itself more or less aware of it all. To understand consciousness in itself, the obvious thing would be to clear away as much of this internal detritus and noise as possible. It turns out that mystics seem to be doing precisely that. The technique that most mystics use is some form of meditation or contemplation. These are procedures that, often by recycling a mental subroutine, systematically reduce mental activity. During meditation, one begins to slow down the thinking process, and have fewer or less intense thoughts. One’s thoughts become as if more distant, vague, or less preoccupying; one stops paying as much attention to bodily sensations; one has fewer or less intense fantasies and daydreams. Thus by reducing the intensity or compelling quality of outward perception and inward thoughts, one may come to a time of greater stillness. Ultimately one may become utterly silent inside, as though in a gap between thoughts, where one becomes completely perception- and thought-free. One neither thinks nor perceives any mental or sensory content. Yet, despite this suspension of content, one emerges from such events confident that one had remained awake inside, fully conscious. This experience, which has been called the pure consciousness event, or PCE, has been identified in virtually every tradition. Though PCEs typically happen to any single individual only occasionally, they are quite regular for some practitioners. The pure consciousness event may be defined as a wakeful but contentless (non-intentional) consciousnes.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:41 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



history of the vernal equinox

The Vernal Equinox, Saint Cuthbert's Feast Day, and Eggs

While the Vernal Equinox was an important point of passage in the year, the actual method of marking the festival varied from village to village and people to people. Rituals and invocations for abundance in the new crops being planted would often be held during the new moon closest to the Equinox (traditionally a good time to plant). In some places this was also the time when promises were made between lovers for the Handfasting Ceremony that would come at Midsummer. In a very real sense the ceremony was an expression of hope and trust in the new lives that would blossom in the warmth of summer.

Even the latter day celebration (comparatively speaking) of Easter acknowledged the significance of the Vernal Equinox. The Council of Nice decreed in 325 A.D. that "Easter was to fall upon the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox."

jaybird found this for you @ 11:33 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



would martian life rock our world?


Mars still alive, experts agree

New data from Europe's Mars Express spacecraft suggests liquid water, active volcanism and large glaciers scoured the Red Planet in recent times. Images from the probe's stereo camera show there was geological activity in the last few million years - just yesterday in geological terms. Signs of a huge frozen sea on Mars hint the planet could still hold the right conditions for microbial life.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:30 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Sunday, 20 March, 2005 }

equinox meditation

The birds know it is here; their orchestrations are vibrant, exalting, and brazen with an upward thrust of life resurrecting from the hardened, ice-worn earth. The trees know it is here; they sway to a warming wind, seducing the sap through every vein-like twig, ribald with buds disparate to burst. The sky knows it is here; the light is being played with, toyed by the clouds, reflected and danced in bold movements, and every color is set free to make temporal masterworks for your eyes only.

I could feel it in the syncopations of the symphony last night, in the gradual rapture of Ravel's "Bolero." With delicate grace, something wonderful begins to flow in rivulets of motion through each row of instruments and careful flickers of strumming hand and measured breath. Something sensuous and glorious awakens! Layer upon layer of life is lain, to boisterous conclusion; such is the pleasure of watching Spring traipse into the world, reviving and kissing each blessed atom of creation...

The winter recedes now, and with its retreating floes of ice and quiet, so goes that which it claimed in its fierce cold. Names go with it, ideas, misgivings and curses at the darkness are folded into its woolen cloak and taken into the night, a ghost to be absorbed by the stars. Spring can handle the empty husks of our lost dreams, it will use them for the creation's labor of verdant and vivid vistas. This is an uprising.

Thank you for this turn. I know that it is a given, that it must and will always happen, but thank you nonetheless. I cannot let this morning slip by, like the many forgotten days of gray winter. The time of sleep is over, and you awoke me so tenderly this morning, like a newfound lover with gentle fingers. Soon, though, passion will be the rule, and should I slumber you will shake me with your bright and powerful days. You will entice me to follow you with a brimming sun of celestial words of love. And I will honor you by living genuinely; what more could you ask that I would so freely give?

As sound waves from bowed string and breath-blown reed of a Spanish ballet, move through us all in a symphony of bright green hope-fulfilled pleasure. Spring, make a holy soil from the ashes of our broken thoughts. Turn it, seed it, make it a ground ready for your artful hand. I can feel you inside me, and aside from restoring an attitude of generative zest, I can feel you planting a mystery. I do not know what this is, and I will watch as the petals unfurl hour by hour, until I and this world and all I love within it are overtaken by the vivacious blooms of your secret rituals.

This dancer before us is truly calling up the wild, and by Goodness, let us follow and grow as Spring takes hold, and roots through every soul.

jaybird found this for you @ 10:37 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 19 March, 2005 }

13 things that do not make sense

Placebos, dark matter, horizon problems, oh my!

Not-so-constant constants: In 1997 astronomer John Webb and his team at the University of New South Wales in Sydney analysed the light reaching Earth from distant quasars. On its 12-billion-year journey, the light had passed through interstellar clouds of metals such as iron, nickel and chromium, and the researchers found these atoms had absorbed some of the photons of quasar light - but not the ones they were expecting.

If the observations are correct, the only vaguely reasonable explanation is that a constant of physics called the fine structure constant, or alpha, had a different value at the time the light passed through the clouds.

But that's heresy. Alpha is an extremely important constant that determines how light interacts with matter - and it shouldn't be able to change. Its value depends on, among other things, the charge on the electron, the speed of light and Planck's constant. Could one of these really have changed?

jaybird found this for you @ 19:02 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



squid vicious


Dosidicus gigas

There is an alien intelligence residing deep within the Monterey Bay, a bizarre life form that appears to be proliferating by the thousands in cold black waters far below the surface. It resides within creatures that have three hearts, primate-like stereoscopic eyes, blue blood and brains large enough to suggest they are among the smartest creatures on earth. They are giant raptorial predators with a taste for flesh. Growing up to seven feet long and occasionally bigger—possibly much bigger—these carnivores seize their prey with two lightning-fast, hook-laden tentacle clubs, draw it into a squirming nest of eight arms and proceed to tear chunks of flesh from its body with a disproportionately large, razor-sharp, parrot-like beak.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:59 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



a whispering crowd


Susan Hiller's "Witness"

jaybird found this for you @ 10:52 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



{ Friday, 18 March, 2005 }

gravity

The web of influence and (in)tention

All beings have weight. If you throw them in the water they will cause waves. All beings have gravity, but this doesn’t just mean they fall down a lot. They each exert a field of attraction on every being, a subtle pull that influences and is influenced by the pull of every other thing. The earth pulls us to it, the moon pulls the tides and our blood, the stars pull each other and hold it all together. We are stars too, centers of our own web of attractions, and what strange attractors indeed. We attract through us the influence of all that crosses our attention, consciously or not, and change our relationship to the entire world in every moment. Imagine a cluster of spheres attached to each other by strings; move one and it readjusts the tension between all the rest. Our muscular system works the same way, in tensile integrity that continually keeps the system in balance (tensegrity, made known by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes). The whole universe is balanced in this tension, a great nexus of affect and reciprocation. Nothing is not involved, nothing is not affected, even our atoms “know” when another moves on the other side of the world, because they all move. They are all one medium, waves in the sea of particles that make us up, and it is only our attention to the particular waves of influence that separates them into distinct beings. Attention is etymologically to be stretched away from something, to be made more tensed, to be apart from what we attract and are attracted to. Knowing is being affected, interpreting the tensions into separate things in whatever degree one can be aware of their distinct level of detail. In this sense a rock knows something about falling into Earth’s pull, if not much else. Earth itself knows what it’s like to attract countless beings to its surface and about circling the sun. We exist as nodes in this web of mutual attraction, interfaces in Indra’s network, not reflecting all the other reflections but influencing all the other influences, or interpreting all the other interpretations.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:23 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



black hole made of gold

Lab fireball 'may be black hole'

A fireball created in a US particle accelerator has the characteristics of a black hole, a physicist has said. It was generated at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider... in New York... which smashes beams of gold nuclei together at near light speeds. Horatiu Nastase says his calculations show that the core of the fireball has a striking similarity to a black hole.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:01 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



The Kybalion

The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece

From old Egypt have come the fundamental esoteric and occult teachings which have so strongly influenced the philosophies of all races, nations and peoples, for several thousand years. Egypt, the home of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, was the birthplace of the Hidden Wisdom and Mystic Teachings. From her Secret Doctrine all nations have borrowed. India, Persia, Chaldea, Medea, China, Japan, Assyria, ancient Greece and Rome, and other ancient countries partook liberally at the feast of knowledge which the Hierophants and Masters of the Land of Isis so freely provided for those who came prepared to partake of the great store of Mystic and Occult Lore which the masterminds of that ancient land had gathered together...

jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



vital scalability

World in a Water Drop

Ecologists know that when it comes to habitats, size matters, and now a new study finds that contrary to earlier beliefs, that maxim holds true right down to the tiny plants at the bottom of many oceanic and freshwater food chains. The study... is important because it shows that tiny microbes follow the same diversity patterns as larger organisms... Though there are few rigorous mathematical laws in ecology, that relationship between the size of a habitat and the range of species in it has been observed for nearly all organisms.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:27 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Thursday, 17 March, 2005 }

33-ish

Just so it's recorded for the ever-curious posterity, today is my "Conception Day." That's right folks, I know that the parental scrump begat me on this day 33 years ago today. If I had pro-lifer friends, I'd be getting presents now... hic.

jaybird found this for you @ 23:25 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



if the shoe fits...

Mystery shoe saga stumps couple

Pairs of shoes are being left in mysterious circumstances outside a remote farmhouse in Lincolnshire. Jason and Claire Foster, who live near Market Rasen, do not know who is doing it or why they have left as many as four pairs of shoes at one time. The family have video footage, which shows an elderly couple driving by in a green vehicle depositing the shoes. Mrs Foster said that although it was scary at first, she was rather hoping some of the pairs might fit.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:52 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



speaking through art


Finding a Voice

The urge to make associations with her work is almost unavoidable. Just for starters, they are bundled, wrapped, enfolded, sheltered, clothed, enveloped, and bandaged. They are also tough: raw, knotted, controlled. They are made slowly with accretions of "found" materials wrapped in place, much as a spider encases a fly in her web.

These found materials, to put it bluntly, are mostly stolen, or "appropriated," to use proper art-speak. But art-speak is inappropriate for discussing Scott's work. We can't begin to know what is going on inside her, for not only is she profoundly deaf, she doesn't speak, and she is also developmentally disabled, having been born with Down's syndrome almost 60 years ago. She has been making these forms for less than 10 years, but her "body of work" - certainly an appropriate term - is large and growing.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:42 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



the altruism game

Charity begins at Homo sapiens

In the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami last year, people from the world's richest countries were falling over each other to make donations to help rebuild the lives of the survivors. Perhaps it was the conjunction of this terrible natural disaster with the consumerist orgy of Christmas that spurred so many of us to greater generosity. Whatever the reason, conspicuous donation suddenly became the vogue. Individuals, and even entire countries, competed to see who could send most money to people on the other side of the world whose identity they did not know and who they were highly unlikely ever to meet. What an odd species we are.

Not that Homo sapiens is the only species in which individuals bestow kindness on others. Many mammals, birds, insects and even bacteria do likewise. But their largesse tends to be reserved for their genetic relatives; this makes sense in evolutionary terms, because by helping someone who shares many of your genes you improve the chances of propelling this common DNA into the future. Humans are different, for we cooperate with complete genetic strangers - workmates, neighbours, anonymous people in far-off countries. Why on earth do we do that?

jaybird found this for you @ 11:38 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Trickster at the Crossroads

West Africa's God of Messages, Sex and Deceit [via Orlin Grabbe]

The very nature of the orisha is to be alive in the most fundamental sense we know — though our own human lives. Though they possess godlike powers, the orisha are not transcendent beings, but are immanent in this life, bound up with ritual, practice, and human community. They are accessible to people, combining elements of both mythological characters and ancestral ghosts. Like both of these groups of entities, the orisha are composed of immaterial but idiosyncratic personalities that eat, drink, lie, and sleep with each other's mates. Though West African tradition does posit a central creator god, he/she is generally quite distant, and the orisha are, like us, left in a world they did not create, a world of nature and culture, of sex, war, rivers, thunder, magic, and divination. The orisha are regularly "fed" with animal blood, food, and gifts, and during rituals the gods frequently possess the bodies of the faithful. Their behavior draws from the full range of human experience, including sexuality, mockery, and intoxication.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:37 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 16 March, 2005 }

no tomorrow like tomorrow

On Revolutionary Optimism

The depredations of this system are no longer symptomatic of a class that is aggrandizing their power, but of a class astride a system that -- almost like like the yeast used to make a bottle of wine, that expands madly toward its own point of no return to extinction -- is in an inevitable decline. That's hard to see sometimes, because they have accumulated so much power, and because that system has so penetrated every dimension of our lives all over the world. And the chieftains of communications have so monopolized the images we see of the world and the interpretations of that world to which we are exposed that this power is magnified, while this decline is denied and minimized. But recognizing the accumulation of insults to humanity in this system's billions of daily doses of misery and defeat does not imply that we have failed by failing to defeat the system in each and all of its symptomatic forms.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:06 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



hide and seek wit the eternal self

Thought Experiments On The Nature Of Identity

The sum total of my experiences may have made me who I am today, but if my memory of them is taken away, I am still the same person, and in this sense "I" am more closely identified with the collection of habits, propensities, aptitudes, dispositions and so on that exist even absent any memory of the past. In effect, as long as my future life is likely to proceed in a more or less contiguous fashion from past, that seems to be enough for me to identify my "self." In effect, if my future memories will be consistent with my past ones, I still consider myself to be continuous with the past self that I can no longer remember. It is a curious situation that most people seem willing to accept that the self is not memory, and yet our identity seems so constrained by what we have done in the past.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:03 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



there is no mountain, then there is

There is no stream of consciousness [via corpus mmothra]

What is all this? What is all this stuff around me; this stream of experiences that I seem to be having all the time?

Throughout history there have been people who say it is all illusion. I think they may be right. But if they are right what could this mean? If you just say "It's all an illusion" this gets you nowhere - except that a whole lot of other questions appear. Why should we all be victims of an illusion, instead of seeing things the way they really are? What sort of illusion is it anyway? Why is it like that and not some other way? Is it possible to see through the illusion? And if so what happens next.

These are difficult questions, but if the stream of consciousness is an illusion we should be trying to answer them, rather than more conventional questions about consciousness. I shall explore these questions, though I cannot claim that I will answer them. In doing so I shall rely on two methods. First there are the methods of science; based on theorising and hypothesis testing - on doing experiments to find out how the world works. Second there is disciplined observation - watching experience as it happens to find out how it really seems. This sounds odd. You might say that your own experience is infallible - that if you say it is like this for you then no one can prove you wrong. I only suggest you look a bit more carefully. Perhaps then it won't seem quite the way you thought it did before. I suggest that both these methods are helpful for penetrating the illusion - if illusion it is.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:57 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



tiny bubbles...


Collapsing bubbles have hot plasma core

They call it a star in a jar: when sound waves crush bubbles of gas in a liquid, energy is released in a dramatic burst of heat and light. Now the first detailed measurements of the phenomenon have shown that the molecules in the gas really do create a pinpoint of plasma, the energetic soup of ions and electrons found in every star. The research raises hopes that the effect, called sonoluminescence, might one day be used as an almost limitless source of energy.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:44 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 15 March, 2005 }


Rains prompt rare wildflower display in Death Valley [via MeFi]
Flikr galleries here and here.

A rare burst of color is softening the stark landscape of Death Valley, with clusters of purple, pink and white wildflowers dotting the black basalt mountainsides and great swaths of golden blooms bordering the blinding white salt flats on the valley floor. The winter storms that brought mudslides and death to Southern California dropped 6 inches of rain on this thirsty desert - three times more than usual - encouraging wildflower seeds to sprout. Experts say this kind of show comes once in a lifetime. The flowers have adapted to the desert by developing seeds with coatings so thick or waxy that they can hibernate for decades. Only continued heavy rains will coax them to grow. Then, when there's just the right amount of moisture, sunlight and warmth, "it's all systems go..."

jaybird found this for you @ 19:49 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



how time flies

Not where we expect it

The old man shields his eyes against the fierce light of the Altiplano and considers the question. When he talks about his ancestors, does he mean the Incas? No, he replies in a sort of Spanish creole, he means his great-great-grandfather. And with his right hand he makes a rotating gesture up and forwards from his body. The Incas, he adds, came way earlier. And with the same hand he sweeps even further forward, towards the mountains on the horizon.

In the next video clip, the researcher asks a woman to explain the origins of her culture. She starts by describing her parents' generation, then her grandparents', and so on, extending her arm further and further in front of her as she does so. Then she switches to talk about how the values of those earlier generations have been handed back to her (her hand gradually returns to her body from out front), and how she will in turn pass them on to her children (she thumbs over her shoulder).

The man and woman belong to an Amerindian group called the Aymara, who inhabit some of the highest valleys in the Andes - in their case, in northern Chile. The researcher is Rafael Núñez, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, who is interested in how we develop abstract ideas like time. Núñez now believes that he has definitive evidence that the Aymara have a sense of the passage of time that is the mirror image of his own: the past is in front of them, the future behind.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:45 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



we're doing the cosmic slop

Can trance-dancing save the planet?

A few of us, myself included, have made public fools of ourselves already by answering in the affirmative, and even giving some tentative reasons why. Here I want to try to introduce a new way of thinking that complements and deepens what's already been proposed by people like Fraser Clarke and Terence McKenna. They see psychedelicized mass trance dances as the only quick, viable antidote to the egotism at the base of the western, techno-industrial "mega-machine" maniacally chomping away at the life-fabric of the planet.

This different line of thought is based on a simple but profound idea first expressed by the philosopher and teacher of temple dances G.I. Gurdjieff, who died in 1949. His idea is almost completely unknown, outside of readers of his hard to read book All and Everything. If true, it has staggering implications for ourselves, for our planet, even for our entire solar system. I don't expect anybody to automatically take it as Goddess's given truth, but it's worthy of some serious attention.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:43 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



paglia on poetry and prose

Characteristically Strong Words...

Artists are makers, not just mouthers of slippery discourse. Poets are fabricators and engineers, pursuing a craft analogous to cabinetry or bridge building. I maintain that the text emphatically exists as an object; it is not just a mist of ephemeral subjectivities. Every reading is partial, but that does not absolve us from the quest for meaning, which defines us as a species. In writing about a poem, I try to listen to it and find a language and tone that mesh with its own idiom. We live in a time increasingly indifferent to literary style, from the slack prose of once august newspapers to pedestrian translations of the Bible. The internet (which I champion and to which I have extensively contributed) has increased verbal fluency but not quality, at least in its rushed, patchy genres of e-mail and blog. Good writing comes from good reading. All literary criticism should be accessible to the general reader. Criticism at its best is re-creative, not spirit-killing. Technical analysis of a poem is like breaking down a car engine, which has to be reassembled to run again. Theorists childishly smash up their subjects and leave the disjecta membra like litter.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:42 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



{ Monday, 14 March, 2005 }

Culture as anesthetic

The Numbing of the American Mind

Here's the basic situation. On the one hand: the Web, satellite cable TV, PalmPilot, DVD, Ethernet - Virtual Environments everywhere. On the oth­er hand: cloning, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics - Vir­tual Beings everywhere. Someday, when people (or whatever they are) look back on our time, all this will appear as a single development, called some-thing like 'The Information Revolution," and the lesson of that revolution will have been this: what counts is the code. Silicon - or carbon-based. Ar­tifact or animate. The difference between them is disappearing. This is not science fiction. This is really happening. Right now, in an Atlanta hospital, there is a quadriplegic with his brain directly wired to a computer. He can move the cursor with his thoughts.

The moving cursor doesn't really need explaining - it comes down to digital bytes and neurochemical spikes. What needs explaining is our equa­nimity in the face of staggering developments. How can we go about our busi­ness when things like this are happening? How can we just read the article, shake our heads, turn the page? If creatures from outer space sent a diplomatic mission to the U.N., how long would it be before we were taking that in stride? Before Comedy Central send-ups were more entertaining than the actual crea­tures? About six months?

Soap-opera politics. The therapy industry. Online communities. Digital effects. Workshops for every workplace. Viagra, Prozac, Ritalin. Reality TV. Complete makeovers. Someday, it will be obvious that all the content on our information platforms converges on this theme: there is no important dif­ference between fabrication and reality, between a chemical a pill introduces and one your body produces, between role-playing in mar­ital therapy and playing your role as a spouse, between sell­ing and making, campaigning and governing, expressing and existing. And that is why we moved on after September 11, after an event that seemed so enormous, so horrific, so stark, that even the great blob of virtuality that is our pub­lic culture would be unable to absorb it. But it could. It has.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:47 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



seeing tiny elephants?

The Possibility of Pygmy Pachyderms in India

It’s a quest in the literal sense of the word. Ecologists of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and officials of the Forest Department are set to trek the state’s forests in search of the ikallaana, the mythical dwarf elephant. Aimed at conclusively confirming or denying the presence of this species, scientific teams will also undertake DNA mapping of samples of dung collected from areas where tribals claim to have seen the dwarf elephant. A DNA study from dung samples is the first-of-its-kind experiment in solving a decades-old mystery. Three teams are already scouring the dense forests of Agasthyavanam and Neyyar, hoping to chance upon the kallaana somewhere. Ecologists and veterinarians, however, are strongly divided on the possibility of finding one.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:42 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



The Developmental Spiral

An Unexplained Physical Phenomenon [via reality carnival]

When we consider history in terms of trend reversals in differentiated networks (with widely varying, nonclonal nodes), rather than in terms of disruptive technological punctuations, we can can see the possibility for defining another, even less arbitrary set of developmental eras. Furthermore, the most clear and possibly most valuable cusps and inflection points (trend reversals) seem to be those involving not just isolated environments, but the entire network of the leading edge of local intelligence.

Using this methodology, we can state that Earth's techno-bio-socio-political networks arrived at a kind of singularity, or global phase change, about thirty years ago, when a number of trends broke and are now accelerating in a reverse direction. Circa 1970, shortly after humanity's first foray into the "beautiful desolation" of space, we reached a peak in global nuclear arms buildup, and simultaneously passed an inflection point in total world population and total world energy consumption (this latter point is still little known among futurists, but is a result of the stunning energy efficiency of each new generation of our increasingly intelligent machines). As I've written elsewhere, a "technological contraceptive" of relentless force is rapidly spreading across the planet, superceding our primal urge to reproduce with even deeper desires for personal and child development. We are learning social self control amid a world of plenty.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:39 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



long live the monarch


Chain Saw Thins Flocks of Migrants on Gold Wings

The number arriving this winter was the smallest since Mexico and the World Wildlife Fund began keeping records in the 1970's, down three-quarters from the winter before, the wildlife fund and independent biologists said. Biologists and nature lovers say bad weather is not the whole story. They warn that logging in Mexico and herbicides in the United States have endangered these almost miraculously migratory insects, which flutter thousands of miles. Hardier genetically altered corn and soybean crops in the United States and Canada, in the breadbasket areas that are the monarch's main summer conjugal grounds, have enabled farmers to use stronger herbicides to eliminate weeds. That has drastically depleted the supply of flowers on which the butterflies feed, as well as common milkweed, on which the monarch lays its eggs in the spring and summer and on which its larvae feed, several biologists say.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:38 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Sunday, 13 March, 2005 }

half-awake summary

There's a cabinet full of best intentions
Where he stores his starts and universes to be.
With frugal care when the need arises
Another world is prepared with the sweetest dexterity
And I awake from a dream to some new place.

It's been a life of hide-and-seek
Full of characters vibrant or meek, stellar or freaks
And all you can do is to surrender to the tide.
Won't you bless the calvalcade of mysterious players
Made from some hand in some fit of random love?

All I want, ye old gods, is a promise of wholeness
Some icon to live for like the setting disc of sun
That assures in its flames that dualities shall be reconciled
An immolation of the barriers which obscure cosmic reason
Making ash from the refuted taboo of dead nations.

And even as he writes, the first buds are bursting through
And the birds are cantankerous with first light of day
And it may be enough to sustain the search for that promise
For wholeness may just be a seed within that awaits a tender flow of faith,
All reconciled within, and made whole without.

jaybird found this for you @ 01:07 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 12 March, 2005 }

starbirth


Newly seen force may help gravity in star formation

"We are seeing star formation at its embryonic stage... Previous observations have captured the shape of such gas clouds but have never been able to peer inside. The detection of X-rays this early indicates that gravity alone is not the only force shaping young stars."

jaybird found this for you @ 19:27 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



1.618


Golden ratio linked to beauty and order in nature

It occurs in nature as the golden angle, 137.5 degrees, calculated from 360 - 360/. When leaves grow on a stem, they need to be offset from one another at just the right angle so each leaf maximizes its exposure to sunlight and minimizes the shadow it casts on leaves below it. No matter which plant you examine, each successive leaf will be offset from the previous one by 137.5 degrees. Examples of spirals in nature whose diameters vary by a ratio of phi can be found in flowers, pine cones, pineapples and even mollusk shells, prompting scholars' claims of the number's ubiquity.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:15 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



a child remembers her 'past life'

Sweet Swarnlata

Swarnlata Mishra was born to an intellectual and prosperous family in Pradesh in India in 1948. When she was just three years old and traveling with her father past the town of Katni more than 100 miles from her home, she suddenly pointed and asked the driver to turn down a road to "my house", and suggested they could get a better cup of tea there than they could on the road.

Soon after, she related more details of her life in Katni, all of which were written down by her father. She said her name was Biya Pathak, and that she had two sons. She gave details of the house: it was white with black doors fitted with iron bars; four rooms were stuccoed, but other parts were less finished; the front floor was of stone slabs. She located the house in Zhurkutia, a district of Katni; behind the house was a girl's school, in front was a railway line, and lime furnaces were visible from the house. She added that the family had a motor car (a very rare item in India in the 1950's, and especially before Swarnlata was born). Swarnlata said Biya died of a "pain in her throat", and was treated by Dr. S. C. Bhabrat in Jabalpur. She also remembered an incident at a wedding when she and a friend had difficulty finding a latrine.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:02 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



How we perceive biological motion

Flanker-interference paradigm

You might think... biological motion is “hard-wired” into our brains — and it is indeed a good indicator that this might be so, but other animals can also learn. It’s possible that we learn to perceive biological motion, or that we rely on higher cognitive processes to understand it. This is the “top-down” versus “bottom-up” question: does the mind first simply look at the image we see and then later try to determine what it is? Or do we determine what we are looking at early on in the visual process and then later figure out what to do with that knowledge?

jaybird found this for you @ 07:56 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Friday, 11 March, 2005 }

The depths of feeling

New Study Provides Insights Into The Brain's Remembrance Of Emotional Events

Those of us who are old enough to remember the Kennedy assassination are usually able to remember the initial announcement almost as if it's a movie running in our heads. That's because there is a well-known tendency for people to have enhanced memory of a highly emotional event, and further, a memory that focuses especially on the "gist" of the event. In other words, people who remember the words "President Kennedy is dead" will remember the news extraordinarily well. But at the same time, they will likely have no more recollection of extraneous details such as what they were wearing or what they were doing an hour before hearing the news than they would for any other day in 1963. Neurobiologists have known both these phenomena to be true for some time, and a new study now explains how the brain achieves this effect.

In the new study, researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Iowa College of Medicine show how the recollections of gist and details of emotional events are related to specific parts of the brain. In an article appearing in this month's Nature Neuroscience, the authors report that patients with damage to an area of the brain known as the amygdala are unable to remember the gist of an emotional stimulus, even though there is nothing otherwise faulty in their memory. The study shows that the amygdala somehow focuses the brain's processing resources on the gist of an emotional event.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:21 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Science's Lost Souls


The Context of Wonder

The atoms in my brain and body today are not the same ones I had when I was born. Nevertheless, the patterns of information coded in my DNA and in my neural memories are still those of Michael Shermer. The human essence, the soul, is more than a pile of parts—it is a pattern of information.

As far as we know, there is no way for that pattern to last longer than several decades, a century or so at most. So until a technology can copy a human pattern into a more durable medium (silicon chips perhaps?), it appears that when we die our pattern is lost. Scientific skepticism suggests that there is no afterlife, and religion requires a leap of faith greater than many of us wish to make.

Whether there is an afterlife or not, we must live as if this is all there is. Our lives, our families, our friends, our communities (and how we treat others) are more meaningful when every day, every moment, every relationship and every person counts. Rather than meaningless forms before an eternal tomorrow, these entities have value in the here-and-now because of the purpose we create.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:16 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



How the Mother-Goddess Became the Mother of God

It all began in Syncretic Provence...

The Neolithic Ligurians, from the scanty evidence of the Camonica valley pictoglyphs, seem to have worshipped a mysterious Mother-Goddess of the kind described by anthropologists such as Marija Gambustas. Part of this larger complex of beliefs was the tradition of the Mother-Goddess as the animating spirit of grottoes and sacred wells or springs. Our Lady Underground, a common label given to the Black Madonnas so popular in the 12th and 13th centuries CE, derives from these ancient Mother-Goddess traditions.

The Ligurians of Provence also worshipped a version of Our Lady Underground. This was first Hellenized then Romanized into a local cult of Diana as patroness of the springs, or the nympheum. Remains of these temples can be found in the temple of Diana at Nimes and at the very ancient nympheum of Glanum, but the traditions associated with the worship of Our Lady Underground all but disappeared as she merged during the early Christian era into the Virgin Mary.

Curiously enough, it is the name, Mary, which provides us with the broader connection. The last of the ancient Neolithic people to be overwhelmed by the eastern cultures, in this case Rome in the late third century, were the Basques of the southwestern coast of France and northern Spain. In Basque folklore there survived prominent traces of the Neolithic goddess religion. The pagan Basques worshiped the natural world; they thought of the sky as a kind of thunder god, Ortzia, and the earth was a mother goddess known as Mari.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:14 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



friendship and the speed of light

What were Einstein and Gödel talking about?

Einstein freely indulged his appetite for heavy German cooking; Gödel subsisted on a valetudinarian’s diet of butter, baby food, and laxatives. Although Einstein’s private life was not without its complications, outwardly he was jolly and at home in the world. Gödel, by contrast, had a tendency toward paranoia. He believed in ghosts; he had a morbid dread of being poisoned by refrigerator gases; he refused to go out when certain distinguished mathematicians were in town, apparently out of concern that they might try to kill him. “Every chaos is a wrong appearance,” he insisted—the paranoiac’s first axiom.

Although other members of the institute found the gloomy logician baffling and unapproachable, Einstein told people that he went to his office “just to have the privilege of walking home with Kurt Gödel.” Part of the reason, it seems, was that Gödel was undaunted by Einstein’s reputation and did not hesitate to challenge his ideas. As another member of the institute, the physicist Freeman Dyson, observed, “Gödel was . . . the only one of our colleagues who walked and talked on equal terms with Einstein.” But if Einstein and Gödel seemed to exist on a higher plane than the rest of humanity, it was also true that they had become, in Einstein’s words, “museum pieces.” Einstein never accepted the quantum theory of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Gödel believed that mathematical abstractions were every bit as real as tables and chairs, a view that philosophers had come to regard as laughably naïve. Both Gödel and Einstein insisted that the world is independent of our minds, yet rationally organized and open to human understanding. United by a shared sense of intellectual isolation, they found solace in their companionship. “They didn’t want to speak to anybody else,” another member of the institute said. “They only wanted to speak to each other.”

jaybird found this for you @ 07:54 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



your loyal vicar in a rather silly play


(It's supposed to look bad)

jaybird found this for you @ 00:33 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Thursday, 10 March, 2005 }

Coarse Play

By the time you read this, I'll be twiddling my thumbs backstage waiting for the lights to come up on another round of slapstick. I'm making my last appearance on stage in hopefully a good long while tonight for a trio of short plays written in the "Coarse" style of British acting. As you can glean from the coarse attribute, it's essentially intentionally bad acting and many things gone wrong, all to hopefully hilarious effect. I'm playing an actor playing a vicar (while dressed as a bishop) who has no-so-cleverly pasted his lines into his Bible.

I've been wanting a theatre break for some time and I'm looking for at least six months to a year free from the time-eating rigors of live entertainment. I've got school to think about and laying out a new book (I'm starting work of a fictional biography, rather challenging). I've said that I'll take a break before and quickly backed down for the right part. I'll try, anyway.

I will post pics probably over the weekend.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:52 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



happier endings


Scan indicates King Tut not murdered

The results of a CT scan done on King Tut's mummy indicate the boy king was not murdered, but may have suffered a badly broken leg shortly before his death at age 19 -- a wound that could have become infected... The remains of Tutankhamun, who ruled about 3,300 years ago, showed no signs that he had been murdered -- dispelling a mystery that has long surrounded the pharaoh's death.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:47 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



101 Zen Stories

Here is the way

Subhuti was Buddha's disciple. He was able to understand the potency of emptiness, the viewpoint that nothing exists except in its relationship of subjectivity and objectivity. One day Subhuti, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall about him. "We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness," the gods whispered to him. "But I have not spoken of emptiness," said Subhuti. "You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness," responded the gods. "This is true emptiness." And blossoms showered upon Subhuto as rain.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:43 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



two by Thomas de Zengotita

Reality is so passe[via y2karl on MeFi]
"Real isn't real enough," writes Thomas de Zengotita in "Mediated," his spectacular widescreen critique of contemporary American culture. "That's the telltale sign of an otherwise invisible tipping point in the historical balance between representation and represented. It marks a threshold of saturation, the point beyond which no real entity can survive in popular culture..." The defining feature of our culture, according to de Zengotita, is our mass narcissism. He refers to this as the "flattered self, a self that exists in its very own field of representations, that constructs its own identity, chooses what it wants to be." We got to be that way primarily because of the astonishing abundance of opportunities that have practically defined the 20th century, perhaps best illustrated by the fact that, in a single afternoon, the average American is exposed to more vibrant sensations in greater variety than was Constantine or Henry VIII or Napoleon over a whole lifetime.
Closure for You, Jedermensch ein Übermensch
What would Nietzsche have to say about cloning if he were alive today? It's hard to know, but one thing's for sure; he would not be noodling around on the practical margins, he would not allow experts to reduce this fabulous eventuality to mere policy. He would plunge straight to the metaphysical heart of the matter, to the delicious and terrible dilemmas that cluster around the possibility of self-replication. And so will we, because one way to interpret this account of mediation I have offered is to say that we have now realized—but democratically—the concept of the Overman, the Übermensch. That Olympian figure was to earn his standing by dint of self-overcoming, you may recall. That meant self-creation. Nietzsche thought of this as the most demanding of all projects, to be undertaken only by the rarest and greatest spirits in history. But the enterprise of self-construction turned out to belong to everybody. Nietzsche thought a lot about how the herd was flattered by its shepherds, but even he couldn't foresee the extent of that flattery's effects or the technological modalities of it's expression. The possibility of cloning yourself is the ultimate representational achievement, the archetype of simulation, the final form of flattery.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:40 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 09 March, 2005 }

rethinking organic life

Hydrogen And Methane Sustain Unusual Life At Sea Floor's 'Lost City' [via Orlin Grabbe]

The hydrothermal vents at the ocean bottom were miles from any location scientists could have imagined. One massive seafloor vent was 18 stories tall. All were creamy white and gray, suggesting a very different composition than the hydrothermal vent systems that have been studied since the 1970s. Scientists who named the spot Lost City knew they were looking at something never seen before when the field was serendipitously discovered in Dec. 2000, during a National Science Foundation (NSF) expedition to the mid-Atlantic....

Microorganisms at Lost City live in highly alkaline fluids that are nearly as caustic as drain opener... whereas organisms inhabiting black-smoker vents are well adjusted to acidic fluids.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:13 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



spew and froth


Mt. St. Helens Volcano cam

jaybird found this for you @ 15:54 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



hauling goods

Cult of the Cargo [via MeFi]

Belief in cargo reflects long-standing beliefs in Melanesian cultures. The exchange of goods and objects of wealth are a fundamental way in which communities and social relationships are maintained. Through generous giving, individuals gain power. The 'big man' is the one who has the most to give, who is followed by his community and may even become a local prophet. This focus on wealth was linked to a belief that the ancestors continue to have influence over a community long after their death. Melanesians believe that ancestors speak to them in dreams, providing instructions for 'proper living' and foresight of the future. They further believe that their ancestors will one day come back to life, bearing unimaginable wealth and secure the long-term future of their community. Cargo prophets were just another sort of traditional island leader...

In the native view, the Christians worshipped the god Anus. He created Adam and Eve and gave them cargo of canned meat, steel tools, rice in bags and matches. He took it all away when they discovered sex and he sent a flood to destroy them, but he gave Noah a big wooden steamboat and made him the captain so he would survive. When Ham disobeyed his father his cargo was taken away and he was sent to New Guinea. Now his descendants were being given a chance to reform and regain their cargo. All through the twenties the natives patiently worked hard, sang hymns and prayed to Anus. But by the thirties it became clear that the missionaries were lying; they had been good Christians and worked hard, but it was the foreign bosses who did no work that got all the cargo.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:46 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink



feeling mousy

Mice to grow human brain cells

It will look like any ordinary mouse, but for America's scientists a tiny animal threatens to ignite a profound ethical dilemma. In one of the most controversial scientific projects ever conceived, a group of university researchers in California's Silicon Valley is preparing to create a mouse whose brain will be composed entirely of human cells.

Researchers at Stanford University have already succeeded in breeding mice with brains that are one per cent human cells. In the next stage they plan to use stem cells from aborted foetuses to create an animal whose brain cells are 100 per cent human... Last week, however, the university's ethics committee approved the research, under certain conditions. Prof Henry Greely, the head of the committee, said: "If the mouse shows human-like behaviours, like improved memory or problem-solving, it's time to stop."

jaybird found this for you @ 07:43 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 08 March, 2005 }

paper jam on the pizza

Using an inkjet printer to make din-din
It is not quite the stuff of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but the fare coming out of Homaru Cantu's kitchen is just as bizarre. In Roald Dahl's famous children's book, chewing gum is made to taste like a three-course meal. Cantu, a cordon-bleu chef, has modified an ink-jet printer to create dishes made of edible paper that can taste like anything from birthday cake to sushi.

"You can make an ink-jet printer do just about anything," says Cantu, who is head chef at the Moto restaurant in Chicago, US, and a keen advocate of the high-tech kitchen. The printer's cartridges are loaded with fruit and vegetable concoctions instead of ink, and the paper tray contains edible sheets of soybean and potato starch. Cantu then prints out tasty versions of images he has downloaded from the web.

Tongue firmly planted in cheek, I wonder exactly what those tasty images could be?

jaybird found this for you @ 20:03 in High Weirdness | | permalink



Hans Bethe

Quantum Physics made relatively simple [via MeFi]

In 1999, legendary theoretical physicist Hans Bethe delivered three lectures on quantum theory to his neighbors at the Kendal of Ithaca retirement community (near Cornell University). Given by Professor Bethe at age 93, the lectures are presented here as QuickTime videos synchronized with slides of his talking points and archival material.

Intended for an audience of Professor Bethe's neighbors at Kendal, the lectures hold appeal for experts and non-experts alike. The presentation makes use of limited mathematics while focusing on the personal and historical perspectives of one of the principal architects of quantum theory whose career in physics spans 75 years.

jaybird found this for you @ 15:56 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



cosmic snow job

Study Suggests Giant Space Clouds Iced Earth

Eons ago, giant clouds in space may have led to global extinctions, according to two recent technical papers supported by NASA's Astrobiology Institute. One paper outlines a rare scenario in which Earth iced over during snowball glaciations, after the solar system passed through dense space clouds. In a more likely scenario, less dense giant molecular clouds may have enabled charged particles to enter Earth's atmosphere, leading to destruction of much of the planet's protective ozone layer. This resulted in global extinctions, according to the second paper.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Building Gab

The Complex Evolution of Language

...Perhaps only one thing makes human language unique. They call this special ingredient recursion. Roughly speaking, it's a process by which small units--such as words--can be combined into larger units--such as clauses--which can be combined into larger units still--sentences. Because units can be arranged in an infinite number of ways, they can form an infinite number of larger units. But because this construction follows certain rules, the larger units can be easily understood. With recursion, it's possible to organize simple concepts in to much more complex ones, which can then be expressed with the speech-producing machinery of the mouth and throat.

According to the almost-everything hypothesis, all of the components of language may not have all gradually evolved together as an adaptation. Instead, much of it was already in place when recursion evolved. It's even possible, they suggest, that recursion didn't even evolve as part of language, but for another function, such as navigation. By happenstance, it also fit together with the other elements of language and voila, we speak.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:51 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Monday, 07 March, 2005 }

vegitative state

New research opens a window on the minds of plants

Hardly articulate, the tiny strangleweed, a pale parasitic plant, can sense the presence of friends, foes, and food, and make adroit decisions on how to approach them. Mustard weed, a common plant with a six-week life cycle, can't find its way in the world if its root-tip statolith - a starchy "brain" that communicates with the rest of the plant - is cut off. The ground-hugging mayapple plans its growth two years into the future, based on computations of weather patterns. And many who visit the redwoods of the Northwest come away awed by the trees' survival for millenniums - a journey that, for some trees, precedes the Parthenon.

As trowel-wielding scientists dig up a trove of new findings, even those skeptical of the evolving paradigm of "plant intelligence" acknowledge that, down to the simplest magnolia or fern, flora have the smarts of the forest. Some scientists say they carefully consider their environment, speculate on the future, conquer territory and enemies, and are often capable of forethought - revelations that could affect everyone from gardeners to philosophers.

jaybird found this for you @ 19:17 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



manipulating the big g

Taming Gravity

Ever since electricity was tamed in the 19th century, the idea of manipulating gravity by altering an electromagnetic field has been the subject of intriguing experiments and occasional bursts of irrational exuberance. Physicists insist that because gravity is a basic force of nature, constructing an antigravity machine is theoretically impossible. But recently, and not without some reluctance, they have begun to consider another possibility. Several highly respected physicists say it might be possible to construct a force-field machine that acts on all matter in a way that is similar to gravity. Strictly speaking, it wouldn't be an antigravity machine. But by exerting an attractive or repulsive force on all matter, it would be the functional equivalent of the impossible machine.

While an operational device is at least five years in the future, developers of what can be loosely termed a force-field machine say it has cleared major theoretical hurdles...

jaybird found this for you @ 15:06 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



superconducting quantum bits!

First Evidence For Entanglement of Three Macroscopic Objects [via orlin grabbe]

First evidence for entanglement of three macroscopic objects has been seen in a superconducting circuit built at the University of Maryland. By examining an electrical circuit operating at temperatures near absolute zero, the researchers have found new evidence that the laws of quantum mechanics apply not just to microscopic particles such as atoms and electrons, but also to large electronic devices called superconducting quantum bits (qubits)

jaybird found this for you @ 11:04 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



go analyze yourself

Verbal/Linguistic

96%

Intrapersonal

89%

Interpersonal

86%

Visual/Spatial

75%

Musical/Rhythmic

54%

Logical/Mathematical

50%

Bodily/Kinesthetic

46%

The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences

jaybird found this for you @ 07:19 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Sunday, 06 March, 2005 }

¿numero uno?

Let's try something more realistic

No concept lies more firmly embedded in our national character than the notion that the USA is "No. 1," "the greatest." Our broadcast media are, in essence, continuous advertisements for the brand name "America Is No. 1." Any office seeker saying otherwise would be committing political suicide. In fact, anyone saying otherwise will be labeled "un-American." We're an "empire," ain't we? Sure we are. An empire without a manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is ineradicable. We're No. 1. Well...this is the country you really live in:

jaybird found this for you @ 22:57 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



teachings of the great way

Turn the Pages of the Diamond Sutra

Thus have I heard. Upon a time Buddha sojourned in Anathapindika's Park by Shravasti with a great company of bhikshus, even twelve hundred and fifty. One day, at the time for breaking fast, the World-honored One enrobed, and carrying His bowl made His way into the great city of Shravasti to beg for His food. In the midst of the city He begged from door to door according to rule. This done, He returned to His retreat and took His meal. When He had finished He put away His robe and begging bowl, washed His feet, arranged His seat, and sat down... [text]

jaybird found this for you @ 16:37 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



ecstatic archetypes

The Shaman, The Monk, The Fool, and the Transhuman

As time passed I concluded that the Shaman opened doors but that the Monk walked through them. The Shaman left the earth, floated up into another dimension to view life from the above but after a few hours, it was the Monk who had to blaze the trail, making for the psychic landmarks the Shaman had spotted from the higher dimension. The work of the Shaman is terrifying, that the Monk, arduous. Where the core virtue of the Shaman is courage, the core virtue of the Monk is perseverance.

For those few with both courage and perserverence, a synthesis appears to be possible, but though many aspire to it, few realize it. This archetype finally coalesced for me when I began to study Tarot, revealing itself in the symbolism of the Fool. The Fool has a foot in each world. He maintains enough ego to negotiate the world of Maya, but the ego is his servant not his master. In contrast to the Monk, the Fool feels the burdens of the world lightly, fairly floating off the ground.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:31 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



little ditty

For praise of distant worlds
Or, distance in this world
Miles to coerce and tempt
To beg for exploration
To implore us to be positively lost.

Oh map, crumpled on the floor,
Jump to life and throw us a Holy Quirk
Let exaltation be our guide in unknown territory
Displace us from the conundrums of little thinking
And dissolve us in the vast sky,
To rain down again as eager travellers.

jaybird found this for you @ 00:40 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Saturday, 05 March, 2005 }

Ghosts in a machine

What is it that triggers the brain to produce a religious experience?

For years brain researchers shied away from exotic experiences such as hallucinations, near-death experiences or “intimations of the divine”, on the grounds that there was no way to study them scientifically. But as consciousness has become an academically respectable topic, it has become harder to ignore “altered states”. If memory and imagination can be linked to the activity of groups of neurons, couldn ’t the experience of being “at one with the universe” just be the result of brain cells firing?

jaybird found this for you @ 20:04 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



welcome wagon

The sidebar population hereby adds six new weblogs to it's happy village of interconnected infoglots. Please do pay a visit:

  • Spurious
  • Mouse Musings
  • The Daily Grail
  • Northanger
  • How to save the world
  • Nootropia

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:45 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



    return of the mummy


    Archaeologists uncover bead-covered mummy

    Archaeologists uncovered three coffins and a remarkably well-preserved mummy in a 2,500-year old tomb discovered by accident - after opening a secret door hidden behind a statue in a separate burial chamber...

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:01 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



    { Friday, 04 March, 2005 }

    out-foxing

    In the orange glow of streetlight
    An unremarkable bend in the road
    There was a rustle in winter's brittle weeds
    And I knew by what I glimpsed
    That life continues as it should
    For I just saw a fox tonight.

    And this brassy jazz on the radio
    It may as well be a transmission
    From some other star, so perfect
    In its language, just as sleek and subtle
    As the two wise eyes behind a mask of untamed earth
    Exaltation, for I just saw a fox tonight.

    We know to be weary of tricks
    And to beware the deceits which trap and snare
    And to avoid being foiled by our own hunger
    We must own each dark corner of inner night
    And all that lurks within,
    Mystery, for I just saw a fox tonight.

    The frigid breath encases our throwaway thoughts
    In frost, that crystalline wardrobe of reclamation
    And in the morning there are so many curiosities
    Scattered along the ground, a million efforts
    Transmuted in the stillness, changed into another,
    Concentration, for I just saw a fox tonight.

    Somewhere in your heart there are tracks to follow
    Laid down by a beastie who knows not your whims
    And yet, you're on the trail to find out
    To meet in a clearing of the soul, no streetlights,
    Just animus, raw life, breathing in unison for having seen
    For I just saw a fox tonight.

    jaybird found this for you @ 23:38 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    quiet day

    It's been a quiet day for me; I've been home sick and I'm rather exhausted. I think this happened the last time I broke a fast, and a friend tells me that this is fairly normal, as the body is detoxing. It's nice to have a rest, but it would've been lovely to rest without the ugly side effects (I'll spare the details). I sure could use a tissue fairly right now. Ugh.

    Tomorrow may be a more active day around here.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:06 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    mysterious things, small packages


    'Hobbit' Brain Supports Species Theory
    Scientists working with powerful imaging computers say the spectacular "Hobbit" fossil recently discovered in Indonesia had distinctive brain features that could justify its classification as a separate — and tiny — human ancestor. The new report, published Thursday in the online journal Science Express, seems to support the idea of a sophisticated human dwarf species marooned for eons while modern man proliferated.

    More info and analysis on The Loom.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:45 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



    { Thursday, 03 March, 2005 }

    The Media will eat itself


    Gannon just a tip of the propaganda iceberg. What ho, Titanic?

    Every president has sought to manipulate the media. But historians say that Bush, unhappy with what he calls "the filter," is courting controversy in his quest for innovative formats. Several conservative commentators have been paid to trumpet Bush policies in their work; one recipient, Armstrong Williams, is being investigated by the Federal Communications Commission. And two agencies have disseminated pro-Bush videos that look like TV newscasts, without disclosing the Bush sponsorship - a breach of federal law, according to the Government Accountability Office.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:59 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Queer Geek Fiction

    Strike a Pose by Donnard Sturgis [via bb]
    As I walked to the girls’ apartment I really noticed buildings for the first time that I’m sure that I had passed hundreds of times. Funny how not having a home will do that. Most of Glamtasia was made up of Art Deco buildings. The majority were two and three-story boxes, some with palm-filled courtyards. The ornamentation was very drag queen: Egyptian, Greek and even Mayan motifs were plastered on buildings in a tropical climate. The vibrant blues, pinks, greens, and yellows were painted on as heavy as some of my eye shadow.

    When I stood in front of the apartment building a feeling of dread surged from my stomach and made me sick. This place was a fucking dump. But I had no choice, and I promised myself it would only be for a couple of months. I rang the buzzer as I stared into the tiny camera above the door. The door lock chirped a soft click and I made my way to the third floor. The door to the apartment was slightly open. I knocked.

    Ooh, a cliffhanger! Click the link for extremely well written drag queen sci-fi.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:52 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



    Mapping Gender

    How Gay Men Navigate
    Gay men employ the same strategies for navigating as women - using landmarks to find their way around - a new study suggests. But they also use the strategies typically used by straight men, such as using compass directions and distances. In contrast, gay women read maps just like straight women, reveals the study of 80 heterosexual and homosexual men and women... The hypothesis is that homosexual people shift in the direction of the opposite sex in other aspects of their psychology other than sexual preference. That is, gay men may take on aspects of female psychology, and lesbians acquire aspects of male psychology.

    In short: You flyin'? We get you there.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:43 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink



    on the down low

    Engineers devise invisibility shield

    The idea of a cloak of invisibility that hides objects from view has long been confined to the more improbable reaches of science fiction. But electronic engineers have now come up with a way to make one... Types of invisibility shielding have been developed before, but these mostly use the chameleon principle: a screen is coloured to match its background, so that the screened object is camouflaged... But the invisibility shield proposed... is more ambitious than this. It is a self-contained structure that would reduce visibility from all viewing angles.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:25 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



    { Wednesday, 02 March, 2005 }

    variations on communion

    Entheogens and the Origins of Religion

    Evolutionary science has amassed much evidence that the ancestors of man were primate cousins living in the forests and grasslands of Africa. Religious origins certainly grew out of primitive man’s struggle to define and control his surroundings. Prehistoric man would have respected and hailed the elements such as lighting, thunder and fire for their frightening and destructive power; and he would also have had respect for power mind altering substances found in nature, the most powerful being grassland mushrooms containing psilocybin.

    Religious scriptures from several traditions mention mind-altering substances directly, and some scholars believe many other passages contain metaphors for psychedelics. If this is true for the existing scriptures, and churches historically have condemned the practices, one can only imagine what the heavily edited and suppressed scriptures may have contained on this subject. I hope to illustrate a few examples of modern scholarship and anecdotes that point to mind-altering substances that may have shaped early religious visions, religious scripture, and even our own minds.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:28 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



    too many other things to worry about?

    Why death is no big deal (it's not what you think)

    I lost a friend last week. These things happen - I'm bad at people, after all - but I can't say I'm not pissed off. Last week I also talked to a nice lady who was great at describing loss, the details of loss, the amputated future, the lack of company. Because I'm bad at people it took me a long time to remember she was so well-informed because her husband died a while ago. I mean, ages ago, but she hasn't forgotten him. Which is odd, isn't it ? She wants to be able to talk to her husband, I want to be able to talk to my friend - but we shouldn't. We should be over it.

    How do I know? Because I should be caring about how a bony tart and a petulant clothes horse choose to christen their spawn. I should be fretting over whether a lack of established royal precedent at Windsor register office will cause Camilla to spontaneously combust... Then I would be part of the real world, the things that matter, the questions that deserve every scrap of media attention they get.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:19 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    become a cyborg

    Human Area Networking Technology

    It "turns the surface of the human body into a data transmission path at speeds up to 10 Mbps between any two points on the body... Bluetooth, infrared communications (IrDA), radio frequency ID systems (RFID), and other technologies have been proposed to solve the "last meter" connectivity problem. However, they each have various fundamental technical limitations that constrain their usage, such as the precipitous fall-off in transmission speed in multi-user environments producing network congestion... RedTacton takes a different technical approach. Instead of relying on electromagnetic waves or light waves to carry data, RedTacton uses weak electric fields on the surface of the body (*4) as a transmission medium. A RedTacton transmitter couples with extremely weak electric fields on the surface of the body. The weak electric fields pass through the body to a RedTacton receiver, where the weak electric fields affects the optical properties of an electro-optic crystal. The extent to which the optical properties are changed is detected by laser light which is then converted to an electrical signal by a detector circuit.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:09 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



    what will i put on today?

    The Masks We Wear


    I first became conscious of my masks when a wise man, to demonstrate an emotional healing process, asked me to share something about myself I really liked. I promptly replied, “My smile.” and smiled broadly. I have always been complimented on my smile. Now this wise man knew that often those things we best like about ourselves are protective masks or patterns which conceal our true identity. Employing a technique termed “exaggerating the pattern”, he asked me to smile. When smiling became uncomfortable, I would stop. He would smile and prompt me to smile again.

    As we continued, I became increasingly uncomfortable, then sad, and finally began to cry. Thus I discovered my Mask of the Smiling Face, a mask I had fashioned as a very young child to conceal my real feelings. As the adult, I was still wearing this mask to conceal anger, grief, and disappointment, and often found myself smiling inappropriately.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:15 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



    { Tuesday, 01 March, 2005 }

    alchemical poetry

    Simon Forman: Of the Division of Chaos, circa 16th Century

    Then out of this Chaos, the four elements were made:
    Heat and cold, moist and dry, in like wise,
    Which are the beginning of all creatures wide,
    That under the globe of Luna do abide.
    The quintessence (that some men it call)
    Was taken out of the Chaos before the four elements all:
    Which is the first being, as we may descry,
    And uncorruptible, whereof was made the sky,
    And celestial bodies all, which do never die.

    jaybird found this for you @ 19:50 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



    the last hours of Hunter S. Thompson

    "He gave his body everything it wanted."

    The literary champ was sitting in his command post kitchen chair, a piece of blank paper in his favorite typewriter, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot through the mouth hours earlier. But a small circle of family and friends gathered around with stories, as he wished, with glasses full of his favored elixir — Chivas Regal on ice. "It was very loving. It was not a panic, or ugly, or freaky," Thompson's wife, Anita Thompson, said Thursday night in her first spoken comments since the icon's death Sunday. "It was just like Hunter wanted. He was in control here."

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:44 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



    art cabal

    Eye of the Illuminati [via ?]

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:40 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



    Umberto Eco

    The Gorge

    Gragnola and I talked about everything. I would tell him about the books I was reading, and he would discuss them passionately. “Verne,” he would say, “is better than Salgari, because he’s scientific. Cyrus Smith manufacturing nitroglycerin is more real than that Sandokan tearing his chest with his fingernails just because he’s fallen for some bitchy little fifteen-year-old.”

    Gragnola taught me about Socrates and Giordano Bruno. And Bakunin, about whose work and life I had known very little. He told me about Campanella, Sarpi, and Galileo, who were all imprisoned or tortured by priests for trying to spread scientific principles, and about some who had cut their own throats, like Ardigò, because the bosses and the Vatican were keeping them down. Since I had read the Hegel entry (“Emin. Ger. phil. of the pantheist school”) in the Nuovissimo Melzi, I asked Gragnola about him. “Hegel wasn’t a pantheist, and your Melzi is an ignoramus. Giordano Bruno might have been a pantheist. A pantheist believes that God is everywhere, even in that speck of a fly you see there. You can imagine how satisfying that is—being everywhere is like being nowhere.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:40 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink




     
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    Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe

     

    0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.

    1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.

    2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .

    3. The rewards of being true to yourself  are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.

    4. You’ll also see that  knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.

    5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.

    6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.

    7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.

    8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and  being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.

    9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.

    9 ½ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?

    9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.

    10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.