Friday, December 7, 2012

Wolfson on Secrecy

"The duplicitous nature of secrecy is such that in order to be a secret, the secret cannot be disclosed as the secret it purports to be, but if the secret is not disclosed as the secret it secretly cannot be, it cannot be the secret it exposes itself not to be." (Eliot Wolfson, "Kabbalah," in The Brill Dictionary of Religion, 4 vols., Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2006, 1052-57, 1052)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Aramchek Proverb

In every fnord we skip or freedom we steal, the mind-forg'd black iron prison we heal.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Asprem on Sledge's approach to Dee

Drawing on the anthropological theory of “interpretive drift”, suggested by Tanya Luhrmann in her seminal research on 1980s witchcraft in Britain, Sledge suggests that the process of interpretation, experience, and rationalization is not formed by already fixed beliefs, but rather that this process itself may lead to an “epistemic transformation”. In short, action, even in this case a degree of deception, may well be an integrated part in meaning making and construction of belief systems, rather than the other way around:
We would argue that the second Enochian language begins to exist somewhere between being created and being discovered by Kelly under a state of increasingly pronounced epistemological inclusivity between the angelic revelation, his own thoughts, and the dizzying alterations in his consciousness brought on by the effects of the sessions themselves and / or mental illness. (32).
In short, the four types of considerations come together to form if not a mechanism then at least a plausibility structure from which the angel conversations could emerge. This is in itself a welcome and refreshing demystification of the material, even though it is not without its problems.

Corbin on Celestial Ascent in Avicenna

The Celestial Ascent (Mi'raj-Namah)

"You see, my son, through how many bodily things in succession we have to make our way, and through how many troops of daemons and courses of stars, that we may press on to the one and only God" — so Hermes expresses himself, addressing his disciple Tat to invite him to an upward journey whose goal corresponds with that which Hayy ibn Yaqzan proposes to his adept. In referring to the Hermetic corpus we are by no means seeking to define the "historical" origins of the motif of the celestial ascent, either in general or in the spiritual world of Islam; we are in the presence of an archetype whose many exemplifica-tions, in every sphere of the history of religion, are produced and reproduced by virtue of a deeper necessity than that for. which historical causality is called upon to account.

The necessity of an archetype means something entirely different from the propagation of a "commonplace." In speculative mysticism in Islam this exemplification will be likely to take the form of a ta'wil of the celestial ascent (mi'raj) of the Prophet; this ascent will itself presuppose the cosmological schema whose essential data were sketched in the foregoing chapters. It is such a book of celestial ascent in Persian (Mi'raj-Namah) that is attributed by the majority of the manuscripts to Avicenna but by some to Suhrawardi, in whose work Hermes personifies precisely the hero of the mystical upward journey from sphere to sphere of the "celestial Occident." Thus the admonition cited above from the Hermetic corpus figures here spontaneously in its place, as one of the many testimonies to the same vision. We may take it as unlikely that the Mi'raj-Namah about to be briefly analyzed is the work of Suhrawardi; nor is it any more probable that it is the work of Avicenna, although we have in it a book whose composition is con-temporary with him. Hence its spiritual teaching is of considerable interest. Like all treatises developing the same theme, it presents the typical chart of the soul's celestial itinerary in its upward journey toward its country of origin. It is the same "track" that the itinerary of the Avicennan Recital of the Bird will follow; and it is for this reason that this particular Miraj-Namah requires mention here, whether or not it is the work of Avicenna. For the Recital of the Bird, as mental effectuation of the journey into the Orient to which the closing words of the Recital of Hayy ibn Yaqzan invites, is eo ipso connected with all the literature that has developed around the Mi'raj. The real meaning of the connection must be indicated at once. If Avicenna wrote his own Mi'raj-Namah, it will be precisely his Recital of the Bird; just as Suhrawardi's Mi'rdj-Ndmah is his Recital of Occidental Exile. By this we mean that both recitals testify to the fact that their narrators, each in the measure of his own spiritual experience, reproduced the case of the Prophet, relived for and by themselves the exemplary spiritual condition typified in the Mi'raj.

By experiencing this in their turn, they have performed the ta'wil, the exegesis of their soul. Whereas to write a commentary in the margin of the per-sonal Mi'raj of the Prophet, even a ta'wil of his Mi'raj, is still to advance no further than the situation of a commentator; however intelligent he may be, the pyre commentator will not write a Recital of the Bird in the first person. Now, it is in this situation that the penetrating commentator on the Mi'raj-Namah summarized below would remain if he did not from the first foreshadow the passage to the hikayat, to the personal "recital."

Without this horizon, the situation would be precisely that of the com-mentators on Avicenna's and Suhrawardi's recitals. Their ingenious ta'wil is only an exegesis of the texts, without exegesis of the soul. It leads backward, hitherward, to the theoretical data that preceded the vision; this they explain, showing quite capably "what it means," but without seeing or making seeable what it sees. Thereby the vision itself vanishes; its plastic aspect, corresponding to the soul's most secret anticipations, is destroyed; the symbol becomes superfluous and at the same time is degraded into allegory. Now, the experiential interest of the Avicennan recitals consists in the fact that, suddenly, the tissue of conceptual patencies and speculative discourse was broken, and there was the face-to-face with a person, even if the encounter took place only in the anticipation and the ardent desire that summons it but that also eo ipso is already experiencing it. In order that the author of a recital of "celestial ascent" may declare in closing: "It is I who am in this recital" —or else, like Avicenna at the end of the Recital of the Bird, may wrap himself in humor out of modesty— the case of the Prophet in his Mi'raj must have presented itself not as a simple historical case, whatever its historicity, but as an exemplary case that the mystic was called upon to reproduce. This presupposes an increasing approximation to this archetypal value. On this point we are indebted to the great Spanish Arabist Asin Palacios for researches whose fruits have not yet all been gathered. His demonstrations in regard to Muslim eschatology in The Divine Comedy had aroused memorable reactions among Romanists. The similarities assembled were undeniable, but they did not yet constitute positive proof of the "historical fact." The question remained: how could Dante have had direct knowledge of the Muslim eschato-logical representations, especially as presented in the literature of the Mi'raj? It was thirty years before renewed researches proved the existence and the dissemination of Castilian, Latin, French, and Italian translations from as early as the thirteenth century, with the result that the fact appeared not only possible but highly probable. After the monumental work in which the eminent Italian historian Enrico Cerulli brought together such a large number of translations and texts, it remains proven that the Western world was well acquainted at the period with a certain number of eschatological representations current in Islam, and the possibility that Dante himself had knowledge of them can no longer be denied. However, we are not here called upon to enter the maze of controversies that are all the more easily revived because their presuppositions are generally unavowed. There is simply the fact that these comparative researches have brought to light a whole literature on the subject of the Mi'raj, the recital of the celestial ascent, the connections between which and our Avicennan or Suhrawardian visionary recitals we have just indicated.

~Henry Corbin
Avicenna and the Visionary Recital

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuning a piano Tunes the brain

Here's an interesting BBC Article on research about the effects of piano tuning on the brain. Evidently there are changes in the hippocampus reminiscent of what happens with taxi drivers, whose brains "grow on the job." Of course this appeals to me as a former pizza+airporter driver (who never had the benefit of a GPS, just handy maps and sometimes a good dispatcher), and as somebody who has spent a lot of time fooling around trying to tune a guitar. However, what really struck me, and got me thinking about magic, was this distinction between "pitch space" and navigation in the usual sort of space. "Our study is consistent with a form of navigation in pitch space as opposed to the more accepted role in spatial navigation." I would be interested to see the results of studies on the brains of experienced ceremonial magicians, who get a lot of training in the navigation of ritual space. Same goes for practitioners of the ancient, medieval, and renaissance arts of memory (...too bad we can't study their living brains--unless anybody knows a good neuro-necromantic ritual).

I'd love to get perspectives from any perspectives on this notion of occult training in navigating ritual space. How does it compare to learning to get around in the real world, or in the spaces of harmony?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Weber on Ecstasy

"Ecstasy as an instrument of salvation or self-deification, our exclusive interest here, may have the essential character of an acute mental aberration or possession, or else the character of a chronically heightened idiosyncratic religious mood, tending either toward greater intensity of life or toward alienation from life. This escalated, intensified religious mood can be either of a more contemplative or a more active type. It should go without saying that a planned methodology of sanctification was not the means used to produce the state of acute ecstasy. The various methods for breaking down organic inhibitions were of primary importance in producing ecstasy. Organic inhibitions were broken down by the production of acute toxic states induced by alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs which have intoxicating effects; by music and dance; by sexuality; or by a combination of all three - in short by orgies. Ecstasy was also produced by the provocation of of hysterical or epileptoid seizures among those with predispositions toward such paroxysms, which in turn produced orgiastic states in others. However, these acute ecstasies are transitory in their nature and apt to leave but few positive traces on everyday behavior Moreover, they lack the meaningful content revealed by prophetic religion.

"It would appear that a much more enduring possession of the charismatic condition is promised by those milder forms of euphoria which may be experienced as either a dreamlike mystical illumination or a more active and ethical conversion. furthermore, they produce a meaninful relationship to the world, and they correspond in quality to the evaluations of an eternal order or an ethical god such as are proclaimed by prophecy. We have already seen that magic is acquainted with a systematic procedure of sanctification for the purpose of evoking charismatic qualities, in addition to its last resort of the acute orgy. For professional magicians and warriors need permanent states of charisma as well as acute ecstasies." (Sociology of Religion, tr. Fischoff, London, 1963, p. 157-58)

stolen from borbor_chan on LJ

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Critical Reduction

"The New Critics, the best of them skilled technicians in the art of close reading, narrowed their study to individual ­poems, each seen as an airtight mechanism or operating system that, if painstakingly dissected, would yield its hidden meaning, usually reducible to a cluster of ironies and paradoxes."

From this NYT article: Harold Bloom: An Uncommon Reader

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The "Mask of Agamemnon"

(we actually don't know who it's a mask of)

Frank Herbert Quote

“A creature who has spent his life creating one particular representation of his selfdom will die rather than become the antithesis of that representation”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Speculative Geographies

Looks like a very interesting anthology of quality writing on place.
My twitter friend @claudiakincaid has a chapter that looks especially fun:

Karen Gregory—Geography of Intimacy
A psychogeographic passage through three New Yorks, and an ethnography of its psychic storefronts

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weber on Providence/Magic

Belief in providence is the consistent rationalization of magical divination, to which it is related, and which for that reason it seeks to devaluate as completely as possible, as a matter of principle. No other view of the religious relationship could possibly be as radically opposed to all magic, both in theory and in practice, as this belief in providence which was dominant in the great theistic religions of Asia Minor and the occident. No other so emphatically affirms the nature of the divine to be an essentially dynamic activity manifested in God's personal, providential rule over the world. Moreover, there is no view of the religious relationship which holds such firm views regarding God's discretionary grace and the human creature's need of it, regarding the tremendous distance between God and all his creatures, and consequently regarding the reprehensibility of any deification of "things of the flesh" as a sacrilege against the sovereign God. For the very reason that this religion provides not rational solution of the problem of theodicy, it conceals the greatest tensions between the world and God, between the actually existent and the ideal.
- Economy and Society, ed. G. Roth and C. Wittich (Berkeley: University of California Press), 527
(borrowed from the LJ borbor_chan)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Carolyn Hax (out of context)

"Yes, counseling, ASAP. You seem to think it won't change anything, but I wager it will -- in part because yours is a situation that's very hard to sustain when spoken out loud. The stories you're telling yourself are credible only in your own mind, and trying to articulate them to someone else is often a quick way to expose that."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My buddy Ihsan on Napoleon

I think nowadays the French have a much more sober view, but up until a few decades ago Napoleon was seen as a national hero. Though Napoleon rampaged across much of Europe, it was under the pretense of liberating various peoples and forging a "universal republic"--all of which now sounds rather George Bushian, but unlike Bush Napoleon was a brilliant general (aside from the Russian debacle) who restored national pride, and his belief in the Enlightenment was compromised but genuine (hence enduring achievements like the spread of the Napoleonic code). He was a warlord for the age of romanticism. You also have to remember that American perceptions of Napoleon are colored by the reactions of the British, for whom Napoleon was a pint-size antichrist.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Beat Generation Tarot

Beat Tarot

The Fool: Neal Cassady
The Magus: John Clellon Holmes
High Priestess: Joanne Kyger
The Empress: Carolyn Cassady
The Emperor: Kenneth Rexroth
The Heirophant: William Burroughs
The Lovers: Allen Ginsberg
The Chariot: Alan Watts
Strength: Herbert Huncke
The Hermit: Peter Orlovsky
Wheel of Fortune: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Justice: LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka)
The Hanged Man: Jack Kerouac
Death: Lucien Carr
Temperance: Diane DiPrima
The Devil: Norman Podhoretz
The Tower: Joyce Johnson
The Star: Wally Hedrick
The Moon: Hettie Jones
The Sun: Gregory Corso
Judgement: Michael McClure
The World: Gary Snyder

Sunday, June 24, 2012

LOTR vs. Atlas Shrugged?

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

see also


Tori Amos Tarot Attributions

The Fool - I have to learn to let you crash down... Where are the velvets when you're coming down?
The Magician - This is not really happening. You bet your life it is.
The High Priestess - These tears I've cried, I've cried 1000 Oceans... and I would cry 1000 more if that's what it takes to sail you home.
The Empress - She's chasing tornados: I'm just waiting calmly.
The Emperor - Thunder wishes it could be the snow. Wishes it could be as loud as she can be. These gifts are here for her, for you, for me.
The Hierophant - God sometimes you just don't come through... I gotta find why you always go when the wind blows.
The Lovers - He's getting in too deep in Underwater City where she swims and swims.
The Chariot - I took a taxi from LA to Venus... And then when it all seemed clear, just then you go and disappear.
Strength - I got me some horses to ride on as long as your army Keeps perfectly still.
The Hermit - Sometimes I hear my voice and it's been here: Silent All These Years.
Wheel of Fortune - Test my tether to see if I'm still free.
Justice - you still look pretty when you're putting the damage on.
The Hanged Man - Why do we crucify ourselves every day? / nine inch nails and little fascist panties tucked inside the heart of every nice girl.
Death - They say Confucius does his crossword with a pen.
Temperance - Made my own pretty hate machine... I need a big loan from the girl zone.
The Devil - Father Lucifer you never looked so sane... nothing's gonna stop me from floating.
The Tower - These precious things let them break their hold on me.
The Star - Centuries, secret societies, our commander's still Space Dog.
The Moon - We'll see how brave you are. We'll see how fast you'll be running.
The Sun - You say you don't want it, again and again, but you don't really mean it.
Judgement - I know we're dying and there's no sign of a parachute... so we scream at cathedrals, why can't they be beautiful? Why does there gotta be a sacrifice?
The World - I think it's perfectly clear: we're in the wrong band... don't be afraid to open your eyes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keynes on Inflation

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become 'profiteers,' who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
via Wikiquote 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simplicius on the Role of the Philosopher

"But we should investigate which place the philosopher will take in the city. Isn't it most of all the human-producing one, the one that crafts trustworthy and respectful citizens? For his job will be none other than to purify himself and the others for a life in accordance with nature fitting for a human being."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Melky Cabrera on Teamwork

"We have a good team around here," Cabrera said with Romo translating. "Everybody's comfortable. Everybody's pushing for each other. It feels good they're talking about me that way, and I feel the same."

Janor Hypercleats Burning Monk quote

"See that burning monk? I think he's trying to say that no matter
how bad the pain is you can still keep your shit together. Now
cut off one of his fingers and let's light a joint with it."
 -- Janor Hypercleats

does anybody know how to find the recording online or for purchase?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ramachandran vs. Harold Bloom in The Pleasures of the Audiobook

“Language comprehension and production evolved in connection with HEARING probably 150,000 yrs ago and to some extent is ‘hard wired’; whereas writing is 5000 to 7000 years old—partially going piggyback on the same circuits, but partially involving new brain structures like the left angular gyrus (damage to which disrupts reading writing and arithmetic). So it’s possible LISTENING to speech (including such things as cadence, rhythm and intonation) is more spontaneously comprehensible and linked to emotional brain centers —hence more evocative and natural.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tom Robbins on the Phenomenology of Magic

"The inertia of objects is deceptive. The inanimate world appears static, “dead” to humans only because of our neuro-muscular chauvinism … Look deeper. You’ll need a magnifying glass … On the atomic and sub-atomic levels, weird electrical forces are crackling and flaring, and amorphous particles are spinning simultaneously forward and backward, sideways and forever at speeds so incalculable that expressions such as “arrival,” “departure,” and “have a nice day” become meaningless. It is on these levels that “magic” occurs."
from his novel "Skinny Legs and All"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

semi lucid dream

I had one of those weird semi lucid dreams the other night; knew that something strange and familiar was going on and that it wasn't ordinary reality, but wasn't quite getting that it was a dream. Meanwhile moving through all kinds of strange rooms and landscapes and clumsily practicing various superpowers. I'd like to do that without the weird sense of menace from all the dream people who are irritated with me for not knowing the rules.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Twitter Hashtag Gags

from my twitter feed

Game of Tweeps: A Song of Klout and Followers #lessinterestingbooks
The Psychedelic Quietism #lessinterestingbooks
The Politics of Non-Game Ecstasy #lessinterestingbooks
The Dunwich Hoarder #lessinterestingbooks
The Joy of Deduction #lessinterestingbooks

The FAQ of Imaginary Beings #GamerBorges
(redacted -- older version read Screen for FAQ)
The Story of the Two Dreaming Gamers #GamerBorges
The Disinterested Killer Ninja Gaiden #GamerBorges
Hakim, The Masked Dyer of HDTV #GamerBorges
Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Game Genie Code Taxonomy #GamerBorges
Super Mario, Author of the Quixote #GamerBorges
Batman: Arkham Archive of Babel #GamerBorges
The Garden of Forking Counterspells #GamerBorges

The Music of Ludwig Van #HPLcutup
How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Succumb to Eldritch Madness Three Days Later #PKDHPLcutup
Beyond the Wall of Hynpogogic Hallucination #PKDHPLcutup
The Nameless Conapt #PKDHPLcutup
A Scanner Dismally #PKDHPLcutup
The Lurking Android #PKDHPLcutup
Flow My Tears, The Outsider Said #PKDHPLcutup
The Three Stigmata of Eldritch Laughter #PKDHPLcutup

Time is Out of Jarry #PKDcutup
The Penultimate Destination #PKDcutup

A Song of Gubbish and Kipple #PKDGRRMcutup
Throne Players of Titan #PKDGRRMcutup
The Electric Sandking #PKDGRRMcutup

Finnegan's Dead Man's Party #JoyceBoingoCutup
A Portrait of the Artist as Only a Lad #JoyceBoingoCutup
American Iconoclast #AlternateRealityTV
The Slope #AlternateRealityTV
The Jersey Shire #AlternateRealityTV
Keeping up with the Balderdashians #alternaterealitytv

The Longest Zardoz #CombinedMovieTitles
Children of Mad Men #CombinedMovieTitles
An American Werewolf in Paris, Texas #CombinedMovieTitles
The Repo Man Who Knew Too Much #CombinedMovieTitles
As Good As It Gets Over It #CombinedMovieTitles @mitdasein
Videodrome Killed The Radio Star #CombinedMovieTitles
Bee Season of the Witch #CombinedMovieTitles
@TragicMoe Children of a Lesser Subgenius #RedactedCombinedMovieTitles

IMHO=In My Humblebrag Opinion #netacronymsexposed

Hyporion #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations
Ring Whirled #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations
Setmancer #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations
A Canticle for Leibniz #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations
Slush Crash #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations
Slaughterhouse Pi #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations
A Maze of Depth #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations

The Flaming Limits #NonEuclideanBands

like an adept / transmutin' for the very first time #AlchemicalMadonna

and a couple from my followers:

Jesse Markham ‏ @tadjemiii
@t3dy At The Mountains of Mindfulness #lessinterestingbooks

Bethany Hughes ‏ @exiledfromrain
@t3dy Allan Quaternion #NonEuclideanSFTitleMutations

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Auden quote

"To attempt the most difficult seems to me the only thing worthwhile. At least I know what I am trying to do, which most American writers don't, which is to live deliberately without roots. I would put it like this. America may break me completely, but the best of which one is capable is more likely to be drawn out of one here than anywhere else." - W.H. Auden to E.R. Dodds, 1940

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marcuse on Art

"The work of art cannot be comprehended in terms of social theory, neither can it be comprehended in terms of philosophy. Art has its own language and illuminates reality only through this language. (It) communicates truths not communicable in any other language: it contradicts... What appears in art as remote from the praxis of change demands recognition as a necessary element in a future praxis of liberation... Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who could change the world." -Herbert Marcuse Bogartted from J Karl

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Against the notion that "there's nothing new under the sun"

It's easy to see that since social conditions are always changing, we always need to make new statements about how to navigate them. Maybe the universal laws of nature are fixed, and physicists eventually will stop discovering rules of moving bodies, but the problem of understanding how human nature runs up against these rules will always perplex the true artist.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Carolyn Hax on Hurt vs. Disappointment

You say you’re hurt; I think your word choice offers you a way off your dangerous line of thinking. Hurt is a byproduct of rejection — it’s, “I didn’t get cake because the person serving it doesn’t like me.” Disappointment, on the other hand, is, “I didn’t get cake because it was gone by the time I got there.”
from this column

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cary Tennis quote

"Four months sober is its own special condition. It may manifest as confusion or certainty, clarity or dullness, energy or lethargy, high or low, but it is an edge; it is a liminal state out of which a strange future is being born."
Since You Asked

Monday, January 30, 2012

Neuroscience of Happiness guy defends computational theory of mind

from Salon
"One perhaps controversial claim your book makes early on is that the brain can literally, rather than metaphorically, be thought of as a computer – and following from this, that an identical, non-biological computational device could be created (as in artificial intelligence). Is this idea widely accepted in the field of philosophy of mind today? In philosophy of mind I would say, maybe 50/50. It used to be very popular when Hilary Putnam formalized the solution of functionalism with regard to minds: the idea that what the system does is what matters, not what it is made of. But then he repudiated his stance and it gets a bit complicated. I think as far as the -isms go in philosophy, there’s a blend between an old-fashioned school (mid-1950s), which says the mind is literally what this brain does, it’s this brain’s mind. But then you have to admit there are very simple philosophical arguments that when certain changes are made to the composition of the system, its function would not matter. For instance, right now you and I are interconnected cognitive mental states. So if I tell you, Look at your hand and count your fingers, while I’m looking at mine, we both see five fingers. We have the number five in our minds; what does it reside in? It’s definitely not your neurons because your neurons are yours and my neurons are mine. So it cannot be those neurons specifically; it’s what those neurons do. So if you accept that, the question then becomes, is it a slippery slope? Where does it stop, what can you do with or to a system without disrupting the mind that exists in it? And that’s a question that would take much longer than a couple of minutes to get into."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brain Recording Device in a Chick Tract

"Chick tracts are ammonium nitrate for the soul."
-Mark Dery, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Flash Drive

My wife has to buy another one because I left ours on the top of the car and drove away. There's an esoteric allegory about spiritual meditation in there somewhere.

Clear2GO Water Bottle with Filter

replacement filters

nursing books


Monday, January 16, 2012

Burroughs on Magic, Jimmy Page

Since the word “magic” tends to cause confused thinking, I would like to say exactly what I mean by “magic” and the magical interpretation of so-called reality. The underlying assumption of magic is the assertion of ‘will’ as the primary moving force in this universe–the deep conviction that nothing happens unless somebody or some being wills it to happen. To me this has always seemed self-evident. A chair does not move unless someone moves it. Neither does your physical body, which is composed of much the same materials, move unless you will it to move. Walking across the room is a magical operation. From the viewpoint of magic, no death, no illness, no misfortune, accident, war or riot is accidental. There are no accidents in the world of magic. And will is another word for animate energy. Rock stars are juggling fissionable material that could blow up at any time… “The soccer scores are coming in from the Capital…one must pretend an interest,” drawled the dandified Commandante, safe in the pages of my book; and as another rock star said to me, “YOU sit on your ass writing–I could be torn to pieces by my fans, like Orpheus.”

I found Jimmy Page equally aware of the risks involved in handling the fissionable material of the mass unconscious.


I turned to Jimmy Page: “Of course we are dealing here with meditation– the deliberate induction of a trance state in a few people under the hands of an old master. This would seem on the surface to have a little in common with a rock concert, but the underlying force is the same: human energy and its potential concentration.” I pointed out that the moment when the stairway to heaven becomes something actually POSSIBLE for the audience, would also be the moment of greatest danger. Jimmy expressed himself as well aware of the power in mass concentration, aware of the dangers involved, and of the skill and balance needed to avoid them…rather like driving a load of nitroglycerine.

“There IS a responsibility to the audience,” he said. “We don’t want anything bad to happen to these kids–we don’t want to release anything we can’t handle.” We talked about magic and Aleister Crowley. Jimmy said that Crowley has been maligned as a black magician, whereas magic is neither white nor black, good nor bad–it is simply alive with what it is: the real thing, what people really feel and want and are. I pointed out that this “either/or” straitjacket had been imposed by Christianity when all magic became black magic; that scientists took over from the Church, and Western man has been stifled in a non-magical universe known as “the way things are.” Rock music can be seen as one attempt to break out of this dead soulless universe and reassert the universe of magic.

William Burroughs on Led Zeppelin at Arthur Magazine

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peter Brown on the Christian adoption of the term "pagan"

The adoption of paganus by Latin Christians as an all-embracing, pejorative term for polytheists represents an unforeseen and singularly long-lasting victory, within a religious group, of a word of Latin slang originally devoid of religious meaning. The evolution occurred only in the Latin west, and in connection with the Latin church. Elsewhere, "Hellene " or "gentile" (ethnikos) remained the word for "pagan"; and paganos continued as a purely secular term, with overtones of the inferior and the commonplace.
Peter Brown, in Glen Warren Bowersock, Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Oleg Grabar, eds., Late Antiquity: a guide to the postclassical world, 1999, s.v. "Pagan".
via Wikipedia on Paganism