How fascinating! I, a human, was not aware that humans engaged in such behavior! I must consider how can I help my human friend, who I love as a human, using the twin marvels of science and technology!
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 11th, 2014
Mihai Mihu’s LEGO diorama for “Lust” from Dante's Inferno
- “The Householder’s Guide to Form and Deed” — Scott David Finch (author of A Little World Made Cunningly), Spiral Nature
“After putting myself in too many people’s shoes, and seeing the world through everyone else’s eyes for too long, I start to become a warped and weary alien to myself. I no longer recognize my own face and I need to recharge. This is when I head to my studio to sit.”
- “How to Become a Living Douche! The Impressively Embarrassing Occultism of EA Koetting” — Thad McKraken, disinformation
“I have to confess that what I’ve found mindblowing about exploring the Occult is that the church has slandered it as being daemon worship, and because of that, a group of gothed out weirdoes have decided that they love the idea worshipping Satan. Even though the Occult doesn’t actually involve that (it’s about mastering your daemons and making contact with your Holy Guardian Angel), they’re just going to make it about that anyway because they’re just…so…hard.”
- “Dreamscripts in the Waking World” — William Kiesel, The Brooklyn Rail
“One of the signs which has become a trademark of being in a dream is the inability to read the written word or at other times to decipher numbers on a clock face or elsewhere. Such figures most often appear to blur before the eyes. There are times when the oneiric traveller is blest with clarity of vision wherein the characters in the given instance are crystal clear, but such instances are typically rare. It is significant that there is a crossover between the experience of legible and illegible scripts in both the waking and dream worlds.”
“With the use of oneiric praxis, sigils of the wake world can be brought to the dreamscape, as well as drawing the dream texts upon the waking consciousness. No doubt the viewing of sigillic devices could produce the atmosphere of the dream in the waking consciousness of one unaccustomed to seeing such scripts.”
- “Caveat Lecter” — Houghton Library Blog [HT Harvard Library]
“Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame [The destiny of the soul] (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin.”
- “Earth’s backup: Sending religious texts to the moon” — Paul Marks, NewScientist
“The first artefacts to shoot for the moon could be three religious and philosophical texts. The Torah on the Moon project, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been courting private firms to deliver a handwritten Jewish scroll, the Sefer Torah, to the lunar surface. If they succeed, later flights will carry Hindu scriptures called the Vedas and the ancient Chinese philosophical work, the I-Ching.
Each document will be housed in a space-ready capsule designed to protect it from harsh radiation and temperature changes on the moon for at least 10,000 years.”
- “The Samuelson Clinic releases “Is it in the Public Domain?” handbook” – UC Berkeley School of Law [HT Boing Boing]
“These educational tools help users to evaluate the copyright status of a work created in the United States between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act. Many important works—from archival materials to family photos and movies—were created during this time, and it can be difficult to tell whether they are still under copyright.”
- “Handbook to figure out what’s in the public domain” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“This is probably the most esoteric question that normal people from all walks of life have to answer routinely; the Samuelson Clinic has really done an important public service here.”
- Book of Soyga or Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor [PDF], edited and translated by Jane Kupin, Twilit Grotto [HT Joseph H Peterson]
“Here begins the book Aldaraia in accordance with that which our authorities proclaimed to us; they were from God and from the celestial parts and it was revealed to them in the desert about celestial matters.”
- “The Self-Sacrifice of Our Own Individuality” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
“We perform our task correctly only when we don’t force our own mind into every ancient book that falls into our hands; but rather read out of it what is already there.”
- “The Anagogic Role of Sunthemata in the Sacramental Liturgy of Pseudo-Dionysius” — Jeffrey S Kupperman
“The Neoplatonic writings of the 6th century writer known as pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite have influenced, and continue to influence, Christian theologians and esotericists, amongst others, to this day. Typically, a handful of Dionysius’ topics are discussed: his angelology, his sacramental theology, and his treatment of the divine names are on the top of the list. This paper treats one of these subjects, Dionysian sacraments”
- “Occultic and Masonic Influence in Early Mormonism” — Joel B Groat, Institute for Religious Research
“The evidence of Joseph Smith’s close connection to occultism and Freemasonry, and how this influenced the origin and development of the LDS Church is not well known outside of scholarly circles. This article summarizes the evidence for Joseph’s personal involvement in both Freemasonry and occultism, and their influence on the Mormon religion.”
- “Christopher Lee makes heavy metal Don Quixote” — BBC News
“Actor Sir Christopher Lee is marking his 92nd birthday by releasing an album of heavy metal cover versions.
Two of the songs come from the Don Quixote musical Man of La Mancha, which was a Broadway smash in the 1960s.
‘As far as I am concerned, Don Quixote is the most metal fictional character that I know, the Hobbit star said.
‘Single handed, he is trying to change the world, regardless of any personal consequences. It is a wonderful character to sing.'”
- “Of course Thelema is satanic” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature
“Thelema rejects all these notions that enslave humanity to a deity that would demand certain beliefs and actions and punish those who disobey. Satan represents the rejection of this belief system and the exultation of the individual. Is Satan central to Thelema? No. Is Satan mentioned in Thelema? Yes, frequently.”
- “On the ‘itch’ within the Witch” — Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, The Starry Cave
“I believe Traditional Witchcraft is a poetic reality humming the nocturnal mysteries of Night. I believe the Witch is concerned with Solace and comfort, the same solace we find resting in the Night. I believe the Witch is a creature tied to the land whose heart is a crossroad where the fire of Need gushes forth from the fountain of the soul like a veiled spring of fiery droplets of gold and silver.”
- “The Rosicrucian Vision” — Christopher McIntosh, New Dawn Magazine
“The word ‘Rosicrucian’ is one that most readers will have heard many times. Yet if I were to ask for a definition of the word I would probably be given a wide variety of different answers. I might be told that it was something to do with esoteric Christianity, with alchemy, or with Cabala. All of these things are part of the answer, but not the whole answer.
So what is Rosicrucianism? For the time being let us call it a current of thought and ideas which has been flowing through history for at least three and a half centuries and probably quite a bit longer, sometimes underground, sometimes coming to the surface, but always pushing human beings towards certain goals. I say that we can trace the current back three and a half centuries because that was when it first came to the surface. So let us go back to that moment in history.”
- “Pagan God From Bronze Age Caught By Unsuspecting Fisherman In Siberia” — Yasmine Hafiz, The Huffington Post; from the it-has-the-innsmouth-look dept
“Nikolay Tarasov was fishing in a river near his home in Tisul, in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, when he caught something unexpected—and very old.”
“Museum curators dated the figure to over 4,000 years old. Carved in horn which was later fossilized, the Bronze Age figurine shows a pagan god.”
- “Circumambulating the Alchemical Mysterium” — Aaron Cheak, Reality Sandwich; an excerpt from Alchemical Traditions: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde
“Alchemy may be described, in the words of Baudelaire, as a process of ‘distilling the eternal from the transient’. As the art of transmutation par excellence, the classical applications of alchemy have always been twofold: chrysopoeia and apotheosis (gold-making and god-making)—the perfection of metals and mortals. In seeking to turn ‘poison into wine’, alchemy, like tantra, engages material existence—often at its most dissolute or corruptible—in order to transform it into a vehicle of liberation. Like theurgy, it seeks not only personal liberation—the redemption of the soul from the cycles of generation and corruption—but also the liberation (or perfection) of nature herself through participation in the cosmic demiurgy. In its highest sense, therefore, alchemy conforms to what Lurianic kabbalists would call tikkun, the restoration of the world.”
- “Plaidoyer for historical-critical Steiner research. Using the methodological example of Rudolf Steiner as a possible character in the Mysteriendramen.” — David W Wood
“A main thesis of this paper is that one of the ways for Rudolf Steiner research to become more scientiﬁc is to proceed in accordance with a genuine historical and critical methodology. It attempts to show that even though some of Steiner’s chief critics support this method in theory, they often fall short of a historical-critical approach in practice. Using the example of the unresolved problem of whether Steiner could be a character in his own Mysteriendramen, the author provides a number of methodological, historical and biographical indications for approaching this problem. He tries to demonstrate the fruitfulness of this method by addressing the question of Steiner as a drama character from the new perspective of literary pseudonyms. In conclusion, he maintains that a scholarly historical-critical approach to spiritual science was advocated by Steiner himself.”
- “What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences? The field of neurotheology uses science to try to understand religion, and vice versa.” — Lynne Blumberg, The Atlantic
“Since everyday and spiritual concerns are variations of the same thinking processes, [Andrew] Newberg thinks it’s essential to examine how people experience spirituality in order to fully understand how their brains work. Looking at the bigger questions has already provided practical applications for improving mental and physical health.”
- “Intolerance and Fanaticism” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
“Men find it very hard to apply a little criticism to the sources of their beliefs and the origin of their faith. It is just as well; if we looked too close into first principles, we should never believe at all.”
- “Paradise Found: The ideal(ized) vision of Paul Gauguin.” — Daniel Goodman, The Weekly Standard [HT Arts & Letters Daily]
“Gauguin’s art depicts Tahitians as they are sleeping, worshipping, and engaging in other quotidian activities. But whereas Cheever, Chekhov, Roth, John Updike, and other literary artists used their keen perceptive abilities in the pursuit of sober realism, Gauguin put his artistry to the purpose of imaginative proto-surrealism.
Gauguin, who rejected European cultural and religious constraints, thought of himself as a savage in the eyes of the civilized world. Oviri (1894, his personal favorite amongst all his sculptures) and many of his other works were regarded as radical for a variety of reasons, not least because they subverted traditional, conventional ideas of feminine beauty.”
- “We need to talk about misogyny and sexism” — Psyche, Spiral Nature
“Equality. That’s the secret agenda, folks. Feminism isn’t about women first, it’s about women too.”
- “Congo: A Group of Chimpanzees Seem to Have Mastered Fire” — World News Daily Report; from the fake-news-but-wouldn’t-it-be-wild-if dept.
“It is however, the first time that a group of these primates develops some technical concepts as elaborate as these on their own. A few individual apes seem to have originally developed a rudimentary technique of rather poor efficiency, but the group gradually improved it through experimentation and observation over the last few months. They are now able to create and maintain a fire, which they have been using mostly to scare off predators and cook some of their food.”
- “On the Seventh Day, We Unplug: How and Why to Take a Tech Sabbath” — Brett & Katie McKay, The Art of Manliness
“Taking a weekly Tech Sabbath allows us to step off this wheel of endless sameness. It’s a ritual that pushes us out of the norm, to pursue different activities, and use different parts of our brains. In so doing, it refreshes and rejuvenates our minds and spirit. It provides the motivation to unhook our wired craniums from the matrix of cyberspace and explore the pleasures of the real world.”
- “Kircher & Schott’s Computer Music of the Baroque” — Phil Legard, Larkfall
“Here is a piece of music, which was composed with a sort of 17th century computer called the Organum Mathematicum, devised by Athanasius Kircher and fully described by his pupil and assistant Gaspar Schott”
- “Mihai’s Inferno: The 9 circles of Hell made in Lego” — The Brothers Brick [See also Boing Boing, MOCPages]
“Mihai Mihu completed a series of creations depicting the 9 circles of Hell. While staying true to the theme of poetic justice served to the sinners, Mihai portrays the punishments through his own interpretations. The recurring architectural elements and portrayal of the sinners tie the scenes together in a way that’s easy for the viewer to transition through. In this short interview, the builder talks about his project and the individual circles of Hell.”
- “Techne: The State of the Art” — Damien Wolven [HT Joshua Madara]
“If we really think that whatever kind of mind we generate from these efforts is going to be anything like us, then we’re probably in for a big surprise. We have to be prepared for—as opposed to scared about—the possibility that any machine intelligence will have vastly different concerns from us. “Occult Wisdom” means knowledge hidden from those who don’t know how to look for it and, without an understanding of how these new minds will experience our world, humanity will never know everything we might.
As I’ve explored these ideas, over the years, I’ve found that the most valuable approaches have often come from the intersections that others might overlook. The intersection that’s been most useful to me is at the center of weird science, philosophy, religious studies, pop-culture, and magic. I’ve written articles, taught classes, and organized conferences arguing that “The Magical” is one of the most useful-but-underused tools we have for rethinking and understanding these ideas.”
- “The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net” — mikejuk, Slashdot
“If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks? Put more bluntly, ‘Does the human brain have similar built-in errors?’ If it doesn’t, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it?”
- “We Aren’t the World” — Ethan Waters, Pacific Standard [HT Eleanor Saitta]
“The potential implications of the unexpected results were quickly apparent to Henrich. He knew that a vast amount of scholarly literature in the social sciences—particularly in economics and psychology—relied on the ultimatum game and similar experiments. At the heart of most of that research was the implicit assumption that the results revealed evolved psychological traits common to all humans, never mind that the test subjects were nearly always from the industrialized West. Henrich realized that if the Machiguenga results stood up, and if similar differences could be measured across other populations, this assumption of universality would have to be challenged.
Henrich had thought he would be adding a small branch to an established tree of knowledge. It turned out he was sawing at the very trunk. He began to wonder: What other certainties about “human nature” in social science research would need to be reconsidered when tested across diverse populations?”
If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 4th, 2014
“Stunning Digitally Composited Star Trail Photos [by Justin Ng] of the Night Sky over Singapore” — EDW Lynch, Laughing Squid
- “Transtheism or Numinalism” — April D DeConick, Forbidden Gospels Blog
“I am continuing to think about this word that we don’t yet have to describe a religious point of view that sees all conventional religions as inadequate human constructions, that have not been able to communicate the experience of an ultimate reality that transcends us. […] I am thinking now about these possibilities: 1. Transtheism […] 2. Numinalism”
- “Free” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti
“Be not of any Faction: A wise Man is always free.”
- “‘Muslim Gospel’ Revealing the ‘Christian Truth’ Excites the Da Vinci Code Set: Jesus Christ on a Cross: Not.” — Annette Yoshiko Reed, Religion Dispatches
“For [John] Toland, this was not just another apocryphon. From this ‘Turkish Gospel being fathr’d upon Barnabas,’ he claimed to have been led to recover “the original plan of Christianity” as centered on Jewish-Christian beliefs that ‘Jesus did not take away or cancel the Jewish Law in any sense whatsoever.’
This, Toland argued, was the very oldest form of Christianity, only it was lost to history when ‘converts from the Gentiles… did almost wholly subvert’ it. On the basis of the Gospel of Barnabas, Toland characterized the most ancient Christianity as harmonious with Islam as well: its account of Jesus, after all, was perfectly conformable to the traditions of the Mahometans [i.e., Muslims], who maintain that another was crucified in his stead; and that Jesus, slipping thro’ the hands of Jews, preach’d afterwards to his disciples, then was taken to heaven.”
“At least from the evidence now at hand, there’s little to support the theory that the GBarn is authentically ancient. The question, rather, is why this possibility continues to arise again and again despite the paucity of evidence. Why is the idea of this gospel—and speculation about its possible suppression—so compelling to modern readers? How has on-line speculation about a Syriac manuscript of an obscure apocryphon risen to the status of e-Rumor, spreading widely through social media and persisting for years?”
- “Virginia County Board: Followers Of ‘Pre-Christian Deities’ Forbidden To Deliver Opening Prayers” — Matt Staggs, disinformation
“… I’m assuming deities contemporaneous with Christianity are just fine, so grab your Pope cards and take the next flight to Chesterfield, Subgenii: These folks clearly need ‘Bob’ and his redeeming message of Slack.”
- “Leonardo Ulian’s Technological Mandalas Signify Worship of Technology” — Sara Barnes, Beautiful/Decay
“Artist Leonardo Ulian offers another interpretation of the mandala with his assemblages of electronic components, copper wire, and more. The intricate, finely detailed works radiate the innards of what makes technology tick. Ulian crafts smaller geometric patterns within a larger, more general shape that become more impressive once you see close up shots of his handiwork.”
- “Inside the Church of Scientology’s New $14 Million Compound” — Nelson Groom, VICE
“The outside of the building melds surprisingly well with its surroundings. However, this all changes when you walk inside. As soon as you step through the entrance, the vibrant lighting and futuristic decor make you feel like you’re on the set of the latest terrible sci-fi dystopian flick. It’s prompt validation that this is not your average church.”
- “‘Be Here Nowish’ is a Queer, Spiritual Comedy from the Creators of ‘Every Woman’” — Liz Armstrong, VICE
“Be Here Nowish had a soft launch last month and now emerges in its entirety, picking up where the main characters, fuck-ups in their own right, left off, finding themselves in Los Angeles among a group of freaky devotees of a guru played by Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio.
Adam, are you personally involved in any of the kooky spiritual stuff that’s going on in Los Angeles?
Adam [Carpenter]: Does Pilates count?
- “How to achieve altered states of consciousness” — Jarred Triskelion, Spiral Nature
“Entering altered states of consciousness has a dramatic effect upon a ritual. Everything becomes more profound, from the smell of the incense, to the colour of the candlelight, to the feel of your wand in your hand.”
- An interactive Enochian resource from Keep Silence: Spirits of the Great Table
- “Abolish the Week! It’s unnatural. It’s unnecessary. Why the seven-day week has got to go.” — Ben Schreckinger, Slate Culturebox
“But whence the week? Throughout history, human societies have found it useful to divide time into groups of days shorter than a lunar month. One of the most common uses of this cycle has been to establish a regular market day, though just how regular varies. At one point, the Basques evidently employed a three-day week. For centuries, China, Japan, and Korea employed a 10-day week. Other societies have employed four-, five-, six-, eight-, and nine-day weeks.”
- “Vampires, Ghosts, and the Legacy of Antiquity” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio
“So were vampires ghosts? Were ghosts vampires? These days most of us can easily distinguish between a vampire and a ghost and would consider them two very different phenomena. Examples from antiquity, however, suggest a blurring of these distinctions which lasted until the modern era. This overlap in the supernatural has caused much consternation among scholars who study the undead, complicating what would otherwise be neat categories.”
- “Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” — Mallory Ortberg, The Toast [HT Rob Bricken]
“‘This is really more of a question for the Economics of Potion-Making, I guess. What time are econ lessons here?’
‘We have no economics lessons in this school, you ridiculous boy.’
Harry Potter stood up bravely. ‘We do now. Come with me if you want to learn about market forces!’
The students poured into the hallway after him. They had a leader at last.”
- “Restoring the Lost Sense: May 29, 2014” — Craig Conley, Abecedarian
“How consciousness bends the body: an illustration from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception by Max Heindel, 1911.”
- Taliesin Gilkes-Bower quoted at “Lighting a 7-Day Candle for Saint Google” — Max Pearl, Cluster Magazine; see also “St. Google Prayer Candles”
“You know, Saint Isidore of Seville was declared the patron saint of the Internet and computers by the vatican. You can imagine confession as the ultimate data-mining and blackmail tool. The church had to coerce people with the idea of infinite hell to get them to confess, and they could still lie if they wanted to! Now we just give away access to every single piece of ourselves for free. So the need for protection from Saint Google is very real.”
- “A footnote about the publishing industry” — Charlie Stross, Charlie’s Diary
“But the trouble with disruption is that it’s dangerously close to detonation. You can end up destroying what you sought to shake up and take over.”
- “Burning the MRA Playbook (Or, #YesAllMRAs)” — Chuck Wendig, terribleminds
“We get flicked in the nuts by a badminton birdie we’ll double over for 20 minutes, moaning and rocking back and forth. Our balls are like little yarn-bundles contained in a thin, wifty sack of outlying flesh. They unspool like bobbins of delicate thread when damaged. Women on the other hand push entire people out of their lady-realms like divine fucking beings.”
- Post-Culture Review, via tweet
"Does this look infected to you?" [points at entire existence]
— Post-Culture Review (@PostCultRev) May 29, 2014
If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Tragic Posture and Tragic Vision: Against the Modern Failure of Nerve by John A Ruprecht, Jr.
This wide-ranging meditation combines several elements: a rehabilitation of the concept of tragedy, a condemnation of the “tragic posture” as a feature of modern reflection, and theory about continuity and discreteness in religion. Author Ruprecht first sets himself against his contemporary theorists Alasdair MacIntyre and George Steiner, whom he takes as exponents of the (false) tragic posture of fatalistic pessimism. Then, in order to clarify what he understands as the (true) tragic vision, he begins with the classics, focusing especially on Sophocles’ Antigone as an exemplar. He moves from there into Hegel’s ideas about tragedy, and then to Nietzsche’s. He is not in perfect concurrence with either of these thinkers, but he sees their ideas as a tonic against the tragic posture, even if Nietzsche seems to court it in his later works.
Finally, Ruprecht takes issue with Nietzsche’s “Dionysus versus the Crucified” motto, postulating instead (like some of the Romantics whom Nietzsche criticized) that Jesus was a sympathetic development of Dionysus rather than an oppressive reaction against the pagan tragic ideal. He makes his case by championing the gospel of Mark as a tragic “performance,” focusing on the garden of Gethsemane, and indulging in a full comparison of the four canonical gospels with respect to this episode. In this longest section of the book, Ruprecht conspires with Frank Kermode (whose Genesis of Secrecy he repeatedly cites, though not always in agreement) to get me to view Mark as the best of the four Evangelists, whether or not he is the most “primitive.”
Particularly in the chapter on Nietzsche, and in a related appendix regarding the history of the Parthenon, Ruprecht insists on continuity over discreteness in religion and human experience generally. His opposition to the “tragic posture” is in large measure an objection to a modern exceptionalism (even if what is supposedly exceptional about modernity is its suckitude). I am rather sympathetic to this argument, without taking it to perennialist extremes — and Ruprecht doesn’t — but he also seems to want to view the question of technology (yes, he’s read his Heidegger) as a more peripheral or even cosmetic aspect of the modern condition, with its most significant consequences in degradation of the natural environment. This attitude makes me want to protest: Moore’s Law isn’t just a river in Egypt. [via]
Present Shock Philip K Dick is a video from Imperium Pictures with Douglas Rushkoff speaking about Philip K Dick.
“Philip K Dick got, almost like an Escher painting, you know, this kind of feedback loop between ourselves and our reality and our observation, and this kind of snake-eating-its-tail quality of human experience; and, then, how that would be amplified or realized by technology … to the point where, if you look at him optimistically, it stops mattering.”
“Tiffany Shlain, award-winning filmmaker, speaker, and founder of The Webby Awards, shares how living in today’s over-connected world has led her family to unplug for one full day every week. They call them their ‘Technology Shabbats,’ they’ve done it every week for over three years, and it’s completely changed their lives.”
Personally, I’ve advocated for what I’ve called “power down days” where one avoids as much technology and electronics as possible, not just or primarily focused on the idea of going offline, from one sunrise to at least the next sunrise, including becoming more in tune with natural light ameliorated only by candles if necessary. Unfortunately, I tend to most fully implement this on occasions when the power actually goes out during storms than regularly, but every time I realize again how useful and wonderful it would be as a consistent personal practice or as a regular magical retirement and retreat.
This practice would, of course, entitle you to add at least “Dr+” to your Magic Code.