I crave the small, tactile simplicity of my new Kindle Paperwhite in its purple leather cover, which is currently home to what would make up around three boxes of physical books, but whose screen’s digital imprint is flattened of all memory and association. It’s soulless and almost weightless. On the other hand, the smug little ereader has not broken my spirit and my knees in the way that disposing of half my library has done, driving me to tears, rage and paracetamol.
Every library both embraces and rejects. Every library is by definition the result of choice, and necessarily limited in its scope. And every choice excludes another, the choice not made. The act of reading parallels endlessly the act of censorship.
The idea that I was building a library to bequeath to the next generation is one of the greatest fallacies of my life. The next generation don’t want old books – they don’t seem to want books at all.
Linda Grant, I Murdered My Library
The past is the cosmopolitan’s mother country, the universal fatherland, an endless library.
Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night
The library fell silent from its usual magical chatter as if all the books waited with bated breath to see
Josephine McCarthy, The Last Scabbard
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 25th, 2014
Eddy Stevens’ Magical Paintings Capture The Bond Between Woman And Horse — Ellyn Ruddick-Sunstein, Beautiful/Decay
- UNEARTHED IN PARIS: The Tomb of Golden Dawn Founder S.L. MacGregor Mathers — David Griffin, Golden Dawn Blog [HT Spiral Nature]
Considering the importance of the Vault of the Adepti to the Golden Dawn and of the Tomb of the Founder, Christian Rosenkreutz, to the entire Rosicrucian movement, the discovery of the tomb of the Golden Dawn’s Rosicrucian founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers (nearly 120 years after his death), is an event of unparalleled Rosicrucian and magickal importance.
- The Necklace of Power — Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, The Starry Cave
Sacred necklaces, guias or elekes are a form of talismans with a rich and long history both as sacred decoration, as an extension of the witches ladder or cord and in the form of prayer beads, they be the Hindu mala or the Catholic rosary to Freya’s brisingamen. In Lucumi a set of elekes are given to mark the first step towards initiation where the candidate binds himself to the godparents responsible for giving the elekes.
- 12 Undeniable Signs That The Illuminati Is EVERYWHERE — Julia Edelman, CollegeHumor [HT disinformation]
No one is safe, but especially you (I don’t know why, you just seem sort of fragile and susceptible to accidents). At any rate, the Illuminati grows stronger every day, and it is only a matter of time before they control every aspect of your life — no detail too small. It would be too dangerous to overlook the evidence. Let this carefully curated list of Illuminati hotspots guide you, strike fear into your heart, and who knows, maybe even protect you. Godspeed.
- Tim Lambesis quoted at Christian Heavy Metal Band Frontman Admits He’s Actually an Atheist — Kyle Chayka, Time [HT disinformation]
In the process of trying to defend my faith, I started thinking the other point of view was the stronger one.
In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands.
- A Reader Writes of his Experience Among the Dark Enlightenment Types — Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It! [HT disinformation]
The thing about nascent movements like this is that it’s hard to know when to pay attention and when to ignore them. If you ignore them they can grow in the dark, like mushrooms on dung. If you make too much fuss, you can attract idiots–particularly extremist idiots–who automatically assume that anything normal people find objectionable must be awesome, radical, and “not PC” and therefore good.
- Dan Harms has been posting a series about “Charm Stick” objects at Charm Sticks and Charm Wands: A Little-Noted Item of Folklore, More on Charm Sticks and Charm Wands and Charm Wands and Charm Sticks: The Final Chapter? over on Papers Falling from an Attic Window.
According to Hughes, these curious shepherd’s crooks first appeared in the 1770s as part of a fashion fad, possibly inspired by ceremonial maces. They saw a resurgence in the 1820s, and they continued to be known throughout the nineteenth century. The first clue that we have as to their use as “charm sticks” is in Soames’ Curiosities of Literature, from 1847, dealing with superstitious practices in Devon.
At this point, it seems that the glass rods were originally created as fashion accessories, which later became associated with disease and good luck, and later became explicitly connected with spirits.
- Five False Rumors About Aleister Crowley — Brandy Williams, Star and Snake
His behavior is minutely chronicled by his biographers; whatever we think of him, we should at least get the facts of his life straight.
- Nathan Kesling, tweet
— Nathan Kesling (@nathan13109) June 24, 2014
- Sarah Veale, tweet
Came across a great term for prostitute-witches in antiquity: Witch-bawd.
— Sarah Veale (@sarahveale) June 24, 2014
- Older Than the Rolling Stones — Douglas Quenqua, The New York Times [HT disinformation]
Could it be that Stonehenge was actually a prehistoric glockenspiel?
“Everybody’s been running a silent movie of prehistory for so long,” [Paul Devereux] said. “We’re only just now trying to recover the soundtrack.”
- An Occult History of the Television Set — Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG [HT Spiral Nature]; about Stefan Andriopoulos’ Ghostly Apparitions: German Idealism, the Gothic Novel, and Optical Media
The origin of the television set was heavily shrouded in both spiritualism and the occult, Stefan Andriopoulos writes in his new book Ghostly Apparitions. In fact, as its very name implies, the television was first conceived as a technical device for seeing at a distance: like the telephone (speaking at a distance) and telescope (viewing at a distance), the television was intended as an almost magical box through which we could watch distant events unfold, a kind of technological crystal ball.
Andriopoulos’s book puts the TV into a long line of other “optical media” that go back at least as far as popular Renaissance experiments involving technologically-induced illusions, such as concave mirrors, magic lanterns, disorienting walls of smoke, and other “ghostly apparitions” and “phantasmagoric projections” created by specialty devices. These were conjuring tricks, sure—mere public spectacles, so to speak—but successfully achieving them required sophisticated understandings of basic physical factors such as light, shadow, and acoustics, making an audience see—and, most importantly, believe in—the illusion.
- A Journey To Avebury: Stewart Lee Interviews Julian Cope — Stewart Lee, The Quietus
[Julian] Cope’s sentence structures collapse into rhythmic repetition and editorially suspect sub-clause clusters, three at one point all ending in the same three words, and all heroically deliberate. One section attempts to convey a character’s drugged confusion by repeating variations on the same three letters for five pages. The fool persists in his folly. He becomes wise. Likewise the eighty minute drones of cope’s Queen Elizabeth records were a conscious choice. “Yes,” he agrees, “I didn’t just stumble across a sound and then forget to turn it off. And I worked really hard on the cadences of the book, on the rhythms. That’s the musician part of me. People will get it who wish to get it but I don’t want to turn on tossers.”
“It’s like Christianity,” Cope says, brilliantly comparing his fiction debut with a major world religion of some 2000 years standing, “If you’re going to stand on street corners shouting you’re only going to pick up people who are utterly lost. I don’t want people attaching themselves to me who are lost. I want them to already be in some way on a trip. It’s demanding but great art is demanding. I really wanted to write something that people could complete themselves.”
- There Are No ‘Sheeple’ — Marcel Voltlucka [HT disinformation]
Just remember that you were likely a “sheep” once too.
Alas, this sort of insular arrogance is not only more prevalent than we’d like to admit, it’s our own worst enemy. The idea of stupid, hopeless “sheeple” evokes the contempt that a hardcore Statist has for human ability, reason, freedom, and – for lack of a better word – spirit.
- The occult conspiracy hidden in the new emoji — Jess Zimmerman, The Daily Dot
In short, the bell, book, and candle are used to damn people to hell. And sure, they’re all objects, but they’re not the same kind of objects! What are they doing together? What’s going on?
- Four Imperatives — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
Drink, eat, have fun, make love.
- A Third Century A.D. Inscription from Eumeneia — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
I did not have much wealth or much property for my livelihood, but I worked hard and gained a modicum of learning. This enabled me to assist my friends, as far as I was able, freely putting the ability I had at the disposal of all. Helping anyone who was in need was a joy to me, as, in the case of other people, prosperity brings joy to the heart. Let no one deluded in his wealth harbour proud thoughts, for there is one Hades and an equal end for all. Is someone great in possessions? He receives no more, (but) the same measure of earth for a tomb. Hasten, mortals, gladden your souls at all times as (allegedly) a pleasant way of life is also the measure of existence. So, friends. After this, no more of this—for what more is there?
- Let’s Agree to Disagree, Part II — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
Many men tend to contradict on every point,
but contradicting rightly’s out of vogue.
Well, as for them there’s one old saw that’s all we need:
‘you can keep your opinion, I’ll keep mine.’
But the intelligent are soon persuadable
by reason, and they’re easiest to teach.
- Why I left the OTO — Psyche, Spiral Nature
It’s no secret that in the Gnostic Mass, this central rite, involves a (fully dressed) priest, a (usually naked) woman on the altar, a simulation of hetero sex initiated by the priest, and a simulation of fellatio performed by the priestess. There’s a lot more involved — more people, more symbolism, magick words, all that great stuff — but these two roles are fixed. A woman may never serve as the priest, and a man may never lay upon the altar. When I asked about that, the instructor burst out laughing, “What, with some dude’s dong on the altar?” He was amused and horrified in equal parts.
I should stress that I don’t hold this lodge at fault, nor, necessarily, its members. They’re passing along the tradition as it’s given to them. Ok, they weren’t challenging it — true — but they didn’t invent it. They made it clear that any deviations in the performance of the Gnostic Mass meant it was no longer an OTO rite. This was it. I could learn to accept it, or leave.
- Warburg Institute: library saved from Nazis awaits its fate: Collection could be broken up in legal action over 1944 deed of trust — Jack Grove, Times Higher Education
Four years after Warburg’s death, the collection of about 80,000 books, many rare Renaissance volumes, was moved to London as Nazism took hold in 1930s Germany. However, the University of London is now seeking to challenge the status of the deed of trust it signed in 1944 when accepting the collection.
That document promised to maintain and preserve the collection “in perpetuity” as “an independent unit” – a pledge that now appears onerous as the Warburg runs a reported £500,000 annual deficit.
Professor Grafton meanwhile raised concerns over the future of the “highly skilled librarians” at the Warburg, which also has a small number of academic staff who supervise arts and humanities graduate students each year.
Further, there is speculation that a court defeat would mean that the collection would return to Hamburg where much of the Warburg family is still based. The US-based branch of the Warburg family are also known to have taken a keen interest in the case.
If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
Odd Scraps of Magical Wisdom exhibit from the Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University runs through Aug 25th, 2014.
“The word occult describes a broad variety of ideas, beliefs, and practices. For some, the term has an entirely negative connotation, referring to black magic, devil worship and other such scary stuff. And some simply laugh at anything occult-related. But for many others, the term is applied liberally to a host of familiar interests, including astrology, Spiritualism, divination, magic, Tarot, alchemy, extra-sensory perception or ESP, and many types of ‘pseudoscience’ including palmistry, phrenology and numerology. The unifying theme along the way remains stepping outside of the mortal coil to explore the mysterious side of the universe.
However which way you define occult, it is true that a dichotomy of opposing practices may be found throughout the Western Esoteric Tradition, one tending toward the benevolent and the other, toward the malicious. Referred to as the Right-Hand and Left-Hand Paths, these opposing practices involve, in simpler terms, the use of white and black magic. Students of the Western Esoteric Tradition are as diverse as students of any other discipline, so resulting views vary wildly. A surprising number of organized religions also feature occult elements, including Neo-paganism, Wicca, Vodun (voodoo), Santería, Qabalah, and New Age – as well as some schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, in fact.
In 2005, Hugh C. Hyde, known for his continued support of SDSU’s Living Writers series, made a generous donation of books belonging to his father, Lawrence Kaye Hyde. The collection, referred to by Kaye as his “occult library,” features over 2,000 titles on esoteric topics including the great majority of titles in this exhibit. Special Collections invites you to explore the secret teachings and many mysteries of the universe through the eyes of scholars, philosophers, mystics, whack jobs, and maniacs. We suspect you may be surprised to find occult roots in something very ordinary and familiar to you.”
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 26th, 2014
“Unconditional Forecast. It is a Black Sun. 100% Certainty.” — Space: 1999, “Black Sun,” November 1975 [via]
- Professor Bergman in Space: 1999, “Black Sun” [HT Unmann-Wittering]; from the thin-blue-line dept.
“There is a thin line between science and mysticism.”
- Reginald Dalton in Blackwood’s Standard Novels, Vol X; from the gpoy dept.
“Suddenly the clock strikes twelve, and the Frater Bibliothecarius whispers, ‘Dinner!’ […] the western sun staining with admonitory glories the painted window over against the successful negociator, the sudden half-sorrowful, half-ecstatic departure.—There is a life and truth about the whole affair that must send their charm into every bosom and force, even from the man that prefers a book to a title-page, a momentary echo of, ‘I should like to dine with this Nongtong-paw.'”
- “Before the Garden Gnome, the Ornamental Hermit: a Real Person Paid to Dress Like a Druid” — Allison Meier, Atlas Obscura; from the we’ll-make-great-pets dept.
“The ornamental hermit vanished at the end of the 18th century. In The Hermit in the Garden, [Gordon] Campbell chronicles the remains in a ‘catalogue of hermitages,’ listing whether they are destroyed, extant, or never built at all. However, the humble hermit may not have left us entirely. As Campbell argues, ‘the garden hermit evolved from the antiquarian druid and eventually declined into the garden gnome.'”
- “The future of the library catalogue“, a presentation from Facet Publishing about Catalogue 2.0: The Future of the Library Catalogue, edited by Sally Chambers; from the met-a-data-for-drinks dept.
- Amy Brose quoting presenters at Library Tech Conference 2014, via tweet [HT Nancy Sims]; from the golem dept.
“if there is a theme from this conference it is the library should help the community create things.”
- “Black Mirror” — Arts University Bournemouth; from the get-to-the-art-of-the-matter dept.
“Black Mirror is a new research network based at the Arts University Bournemouth. The intent of the network is to explore the influence and role of enchantment, esotericism, the occult and magic in modernist and contemporary art. […] To document the project, a special series of peer-reviewed publications will be issued by Fulgur Esoterica.”
- “Vatican Library to digitise archives with Japanese support” — BBC News Europe; from the but-what’s-the-cocaine-and-condoms-for dept.
“The Vatican Library has begun digitising its priceless collection of ancient manuscripts dating from the origins of the Church. The first stage of the project will cover some 3,000 handwritten documents over the next four years. […] Eventually, the library says it hopes to make available online all its 82,000 manuscripts.”
- “Snowden At SXSW: Encryption Is ‘defense Against The Dark Arts In The Digital Realm’” — Ellen Rolfes, PBS Newshour; from the gonna-wash-that-horcrux-right-out-of-my-hair dept.
“‘We need to think about encryption not as black magic but as something that works,’ [Edward] Snowden said. “It’s the defense against the dark arts in the digital realm.'”
- Laverna — “Store your notes anonymously and encrypted”
- Loomio — “The world needs a better way to make decisions together.”
- Kardbord — “Fast, simple, real-time collaboration.”
- Hermetic Library anthology artist Galen Wade‘s Iconoclast
- Hermetic Library anthology artist The Implicit Order‘s It’s Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song
- “How to become a Mage (or Fairy): Joséphin Péladan’s Initiation for the Masses” — Sasha Chaitow; from the art-you-here-to-a-muse-me dept.
“Immensely prolific, discredited during his lifetime, Joséphin Péladan (1858–1918) constructed a vast, complex, yet coherent oeuvre with the purpose of demonstrating the transformative power of art by manifesting the highest ideals on the material plane, in response to the social decadence he perceived in in-de-siècle French society. Central to Péladan’s vision was his conception of artists as initiates: select individuals who could bring a small part of the divine into the mundane sphere. […] His goal was to inspire his readers to seek a more ideal existence through a form of self-initiation that he dubbed kaloprosopia, an art of transformation of personality through a life lived as a work of art.”
- “When did Thelema become the Westboro Baptist Church?” — Nick Farrell; from the thelemites-as-tourists dept.
“Where were the Thelemites who disagreed? If these three are wrong in their interpretation of the Book of the Law then why aren’t people pointing out their error? Why is it left to outsiders to be horrified that a modern religion can go this way? If they continue to permit this sort of anti-evolutionary thinking, they will end up in same position that Christianity is.”
- “Embracing Questions” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature; from the thelemites-as-scientismists dept.
“For instance, Crowley was quick to experiment with rituals, invent news approaches to magic and initiation, and challenge established structures and groups. Now we find advocates within the Thelemic community bristling at any kind of experimentation.”
- Richard Feynman quoted in “We need more scientific mavericks” — The Guardian Letters; from the where-is-your-science-now dept.
“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”
- John Selden quoted at “Disputes in Religion” and “A Magnificent Feast” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti [also]; from the mind-your-own-business dept.
“Disputes in religion will never be ended, because there wants a measure by which the business should be decided. … One says one thing, and another another; and there is, I say, no measure to end the controversy. … It is so: it is not so: it is so: it is not so; crying thus one to another a quarter of an hour together.”
“How glorious soever the church is, every one chooses out of it his own religion, by which he governs himself, and lets the rest alone.”
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, quoted at “Bumblehive” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti; from the welcome-to-the-matrix dept.
“There is a place in the middle of the world, ‘twixt land and sea and sky, the meeting-point of the threefold universe. From this place, whatever is, however far away, is seen, and every word penetrates to these hollow ears. … Here is Credulity, here is heedless Error, unfounded Joy and panic Fear; here sudden Sedition and unauthentic Whisperings. Rumour herself beholds all that is done in heaven, on sea and land, and searches throughout the world for news.”
- And now, this important announcement from Mad Malik (aka Greg Hill) — Adam Gorightly, Historia Discordia; from the we-love-you-spider dept.
“In the event of severe political supression, a private communication system can still function for those who had the foresight to establish one. […] It requires little maintenance whether used or not, but the result is a large ‘spiderweb’ network.”
- “Learning Magic” — Ian Corrigan, Into the Mound; from the no-man-is-an-island dept.
“The new student should not plan on being a unique genius.
Instead, the new student should read traditional books and find a working teacher (that applies to learning magic, gymnastics or saxophone). Plan to spend a few years doing exercises and experiments, duplicating previous efforts, and building skills. Of course we all pursue our little personal schemes along the way, and eventually we get enough skill to actually try them.
There’s no short-cut. You can’t just ‘listen to your heart’. You have to listen to other people.”
- “Magicians are Opinionated Assholes” — Rufus Opus, Head for the Red; from the here-we-are-now-entertain-us dept.
“A group of powerful egomaniacs with really healthy levels of self-esteem are likely to behave a lot like we really do in real life.”
- “The Suitcase At The End Of The Earth” — Gordon White, Rune Soup; from the i-and-i dept.
“One of chaos magic’s least-used constructs is the possibility that you lack an authentic self. If you are so inclined, it provides you with a gringo, late-capitalist variant of Buddhist ‘non-being’. Seeing the world this way offers you supreme performative flexibility.”
- Interview with Jim Morrison by Lizzie James; from the take-a-mask-from-the-ancient-gallery dept.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your senses for an act. You give up your ability to feel and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
- “A triangular book about alchemy” — John Coulthart, feuilleton; from the one-less-corner-to-land-on-your-toe-tho dept.
“from the Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts at the Internet Archive, not only a triangular book but one where most of the pages are written in a symbolic alphabet”
- “Where were globally known Religious Figures born? [1850 — 1950]” — Pantheon: Mapping Historical Cultural Production, Macro Connections Group at MIT Media Lab.
- Mentions of keywords Aleister Crowley and Thelema in books from 1800-2008 — Google Books Ngram Viewer.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
A volvelle, with tattwa tides and astrological aspects, made by a Whare Ra temple member [via]
- “Shroud of Turin: Could Ancient Earthquake Explain Face of Jesus?” — Megan Gannon, livescience; from the but-was-it-nocturnal dept.
“Now, a study claims neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake that rocked Jerusalem could have created the iconic image, as well as messed up the radiocarbon levels that later suggested the shroud was a medieval forgery. But other scientists say this newly proposed premise leaves some major questions unanswered.”
- shota-purinsu, a Tumblr comment; from the you’re-my-medicine-open-up-and-let-me-in dept.
“Jesus also affirms the homosexual relationship between the Roman Centurion and his ‘slave’. The particular Greek word used to refer to this special slave was ‘pais’. Greek language studies and contexts show that a ‘pais’ was a male love slave. Regular slaves were called ‘dolos’. The Centurion makes this distinction clearly when he asks Jesus to heal his slave (pais), and then to prove his status he tells Jesus that his slaves (dolos) go when he tells them to. But this slave (pais) was special. He was the Centurion’s lover.
Hearing this, Jesus was so amazed he says he had not found ANYONE ELSE who had such great faith. He then blesses the Centurion and heals his male lover.”
- Bosch’s “600-years-old butt song” — Amelia, chaoscontrolled123 [HT The Appendix]; from the then-a-band-of-demons-joined-in dept.
“Luke and I were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens … I decided to transcribe it”
- Neoliberalism’s War Against the Radical Imagination — Henry Giroux, Tikkun; from the perhaps-a-lunatic-was-simply-a-minority-of-one dept.
“Democracy loses its character as a disruptive element, a force of dissent, an insurrectional call for responsible change, and degenerates into an assault on the radical imagination, reconfigures itself as a force for bleaching all ethical and moral considerations, and thrives in a state of exception, which in reality is a state of permanent war.”
- “OC’s Favorite Occultist Musician Writes a Song About Gun Violence. Strange? Yes.” — Joel Beers, OC Weekly, with Lon Milo DuQuette; from the it’s-all-I-think-about-dolls-and-guns dept.
“He says that those people who passionately believe that a disarmed populace under tyrannical rule is a problem have a well-taken point. But that notion, ‘still comes from a consciousness platform of fear,’ he says. ‘And if that is the focus of your life, you’re missing out on a great deal. It’s not that there’s nothing to be afraid of, but if that’s going to be the primary focus of your life, you’ve already surrendered. And if fear is the reason you want to arm yourself, you’re probably the last person who needs to be armed for all of our safety.'”
- “No One Cares About Your Damn Religion” — Larry Womack, Huffington Post’s The Blog; from the when-I-use-a-word-it-means-just-what-I-choose-it-to-mean dept.
“Was the Christian God cool with slavery? Slave owners sure thought so — and had plenty of Biblical canon to support it. Abolitionists disagreed. Did God want women to vote? Not according to anti-suffragists. Suffragists were convinced otherwise. If society continues this descent into level-headed compassion, fifty years from now people will be claiming that God is pro-fur and factory farming. When one cannot defend a belief in the current context, moving the framework back a few thousand years and putting the blame on God is a pretty good fallback strategy.
I know, I know. There’s only one God and he is not at all ambiguous: he agrees with you. It’s all right there in the Bible or whatever holy book you believe in, as you have decided to interpret it. It’s perfectly clear, right?”
- “Camels Had No Business in Genesis” — John Noble Wilford, The New York Times; from the heffalumps-and-woozles dept.
“The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr. Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads.”
- “Beyond Naturalism: On Ronald Dworkin” — Michael Rosen, The Nation; from the trouble-in-the-forest dept.
“In short, while materialism encourages that characteristically modern form of political collectivism in which sacrifices that bring about the greater good are taken to be morally imperative, at the same time it leads to a world of individuals who have a sense of their own absolute uniqueness and importance—if only to themselves. The attempt to find a standpoint that can integrate this radical individualism with the claims of the common good is the great underlying ethical and political problem of modern life. It also gives a framing perspective to Ronald Dworkin’s marvelous little book, Religion without God, and helps explain how a brilliant young lawyer like Dworkin should have ended up pondering issues of theology.”
- “The Conservative Crusade For Christian Sharia Law” — Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast; from the it’s-only-hypocrisy-when-someone-else-does-it dept.
“And in the past few years, we have seen pro-life Christian groups successfully lobby State legislatures to restrict access to abortions. They have also raised religious, not public policy, objections to the government funding birth control.
But here’s the alarming thing: These views are no longer the fringe of American politics. They are increasingly becoming mainstream conservative fare.”
- “Bible Passages that Could Get You Killed” — Candida Moss, The Daily Beast; from the stunt-driver-closed-track dept.
“Where Coots is different is that he was just following the Bible as he interpreted it. Coots was just reading the Bible literally. It’s something that many Americans do on a daily basis. But God’s Holy Word is more dangerous than you’d think.”
- Flea, via tweet.
“I like myths. I put a lot of credence in them.”
- Disputed quotes attributed to Albert Einstein, Wikipedia [HT The Kill Van Kulls].
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
- “Bruise, Trash, Write” — Lilith Saintcrow.
“I am not so sure. But I know I won. Every word I wrote is burned into me, flesh and blood and breath. By throwing them away, I made them even more mine, something nobody could take away even if they killed me, secrets hidden inside me, in the only places I had left.
Now I write other stories. Between the bars, I catch glimpses of those things. Exorcism is an ongoing process.”
- Giordano Bruno quoted in “Giordano Bruno: Divinity Reveals Herself in all Things” — Donald Donato, In puris naturalibus.
“Divinity reveals herself in all things. Everything has Divinity latent within itself. For she enfolds and imparts herself even unto the smallest beings, and from the smallest beings, according to their capacity. Without her presence nothing would have being, because she is the essence of the existence of the first unto the last being.”
- “After 400 Years, Mathematicians Find A New Class Of Shapes” — Higher Perspective [HT Reality Sandwich].
“The work of the Greek polymath Plato has kept millions of people busy for millennia. A few among them have been mathematicians who have obsessed about Platonic solids, a class of geometric forms that are highly regular and are commonly found in nature.
Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. Also, they believe that their rules show that an infinite number of such classes could exist.”
- “Wikipedia-size maths proof too big for humans to check” — Jacob Aron, New Scientist; from the now-i-am-the-master dept.
“If no human can check a proof of a theorem, does it really count as mathematics? That’s the intriguing question raised by the latest computer-assisted proof. It is as large as the entire content of Wikipedia, making it unlikely that will ever be checked by a human being.
‘It might be that somehow we have hit statements which are essentially non-human mathematics,’ says Alexei Lisitsa of the University of Liverpool, UK, who came up with the proof together with colleague Boris Konev.”
- “Math Explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles and Winning the Lottery” — David J Hand, Scientific American; from the a-glitch-in-the-matrix dept.
“A set of mathematical laws that I call the Improbability Principle tells us that we should not be surprised by coincidences. In fact, we should expect coincidences to happen. One of the key strands of the principle is the law of truly large numbers. This law says that given enough opportunities, we should expect a specified event to happen, no matter how unlikely it may be at each opportunity. Sometimes, though, when there are really many opportunities, it can look as if there are only relatively few. This misperception leads us to grossly underestimate the probability of an event: we think something is incredibly unlikely, when it’s actually very likely, perhaps almost certain.”
- “Vitruvian Man Had a Hernia” — Laura Crothers, Slate; from the not-so-perfect-after-all-eh-mister-man dept.
“Throughout history, anatomical illustrations have been made using the recently deceased as models, and many of Leonardo’s sketches were no exception. Ashrafian says that the man who served as Leonardo’s model for his illustration of human perfection probably had a hernia. If the model was a corpse, the hernia may have been what killed him. If he was a live model, he may ultimately have died from its complications.”
- Mold destroys 600,000 library books — Ellie Papadakis, The Maneater; from the tolle-lege dept.
“The MU Libraries have more than 3 million books in their collections, and they ran out of space to store those books years ago.
Recently it was discovered that 600,000 books, approximately 20 percent of MU’s entire collection, were covered in mold. The damaged books were being stored in an underground cavern north of Interstate 70. The cavern, Sub Terra, is run by an independent company.
The books in storage were lesser-used books that the libraries did not have room for in their open stacks. Some of the stored texts were published prior to the Civil War.
Library administrators will not be able to save all 600,000 texts because there is not enough money in library funds to do so.”
- “Canadian libricide” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing; from the where-is-your-science-now dept.
“Back in 2012, when Canada’s Harper government announced that it would close down national archive sites around the country, they promised that anything that was discarded or sold would be digitized first. But only an insignificant fraction of the archives got scanned, and much of it was simply sent to landfill or burned.”
- John Griogair Bell, Hermetic Library, via tweet.
“We should always fear the fate of our libraries, historically proven and currently demonstrated”
- The Report — Hugh Howey, Author Earnings.
“It’s no great secret that the world of publishing is changing. What is a secret is how much.”
- “The Secret History of the Venus of Willendorf” — Alexander Binsteiner, Past Horizons.
“Microscopic investigations on the world famous statuette from the Gravettian period (30,000 to 22,000 years ago) carried out at the Natural History Museum in Vienna revealed three incredible insights, and when taken together tell a secret story of this Palaeolithic figurine and her creators.
· The limestone from which the 11cm high Venus had been carved, comes almost certainly from the region around the Moravian city of Brno 136km to the northeast of Willendorf.
· The source of the flint blades discovered with the figure was North Moravia, a further 150km to the north.
· The Venus had once been completely painted with red ochre, and given the ritualistic associations of this material meant that the figure was more than likely a cultic object.”
- “Feeding Spirits and Bones” — Sarah Anne Lawless.
“Old Man and Old Woman settled their ancient bones back into the remnants of creatures native to their wild domain, no doubt having missed their shrine and the once regular offerings to be found there. The Moon’s candle was restored to its place above breasts and belly carved from stone, surrounded by offerings. She eats beeswax greedily like blood offerings, leaving nothing behind. A candle lit to welcome the spirits back with sweetest incense burned and fresh water poured to sate their hunger. The spirits sigh happily, the new house sighs like a person with a once empty belly filled. Even breathing feels easier now with the altar and all its spirits in their proper place of reverence.”
- Poem by Sulpicia quoted in “Valentine’s Day: Ancient Festival Of Sexual Frenzy” — Donna Henes, Huffington Post’s The Blog.
“At last love has come. I would be more ashamed
to hide it in cloth than leave it naked.
I prayed to the Muse and won. Venus dropped him
in my arms, doing for me what she
had promised. Let my joy be told, let those
who have none tell it in a story.
Personally, I would never send off words
in sealed tablets for none to read.
I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask
for gossip. We met. We are both worthy.”
- T Thorn Coyle, via tweet.
“Happy Lupercalia! Blessed Full Moon! (If you see half naked boys running w goatskin whips, you may wish to stay out of their way. Or not.)”
- Eliphas Levi quoted by T Thorn Coyle, via tweet.
“It is necessary to DARE what must be attempted.”
- “Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People: Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic.” — Chris Mooney, Slate.
“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.”
- Colleen Fenley, via facebook comment.
“disagree, awful poster… delete”
- John Griogair Bell, via tweet.
“If you’re going to cover your eyes and plug your ears, at least have the courtesy and self-awareness to also shut your mouth.”
- “Chèvres en équilibre” [HT Bryan Fuller]; from the let-the-goat-come-to-you dept.