Archive | April 18, 2013
My personal involvement with shamanism started some 30 years or so ago whilst on what may appear at first sight to be a totally unrelated path.
At an early age I developed a deep interest in the mystical side of our nature, it was as if I was instinctively drawn towards anything that was different or had a freakish nature and was coupled the suspicion that there was much more going on in the world than met the eye. I would spend hours exploring the overgrown orchard and the abandoned farm that backed onto my parents property, the place seemed to be virtually alive with the spirits of nature who had reclaimed the land as their own.
As the years progressed I became ever more interested in the possibilities of our human potential.… Read the rest
The botched handling of the TEDx Whitechapel talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock continues to cause waves, now via an open letter to TED by Deepak Chopra, MD. FACP, Stuart Hameroff, MD, Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., and Neil Theise, MD, published at Huffington Post:
One of modern science’s great strengths is that any questionable finding dies a quick death if it’s invalid. The safeguards are mainly two: Your new finding must be repeatable when other researchers run the same experiments, and peer review by qualified scientists subjects every new finding to microscopic scrutiny. So it surprised the millions of admirers of TED, whose conferences attract wide attention to new, cutting-edge ideas, when that organization decided to practice semi-censorship.
The flap is over two videos of TEDx talks delivered in the UK in January that were summarily removed from TEDx’s YouTube channel (TEDx is the brand name for conferences outside the main TED events that are allowed to use the TED trademark, such as TEDxBoston or TEDxBaghdad — so far, about 5,000 such events have used the name).
Via Common Dreams, on the insistence that Western political figures of power should not be criticized upon their deaths, Glenn Greenwald writes:
There’s something distinctively creepy – in a Roman sort of way – about this mandated ritual that our political leaders must be heralded and consecrated as saints upon death. This is accomplished by this baseless moral precept that it is gauche or worse to balance the gushing praise for them upon death with valid criticisms.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with loathing Margaret Thatcher or any other person with political influence and power based upon perceived bad acts, and that doesn’t change simply because they die. If anything, it becomes more compelling to commemorate those bad acts upon death as the only antidote against a society erecting a false and jingoistically self-serving history.
Your teachers’ lives may be more exciting than they seem. Via the Kansas City Star:
Tyler Deaton landed a job in February to teach pre-calculus at Lancaster High School near Dallas. But students Googled and found news stories from Kansas City with allegations that Deaton’s wife, Bethany, 27, was murdered as part of a coverup by a religious cult to hide a series of sexual assaults. The group’s supposed spiritual leader? Tyler Deaton.
Deaton has not been charged in his wife’s death. The person who has, Micah Moore, was part of Deaton’s religious group and lived with the couple at a house in Grandview. Other witnesses told authorities of a group who were making sex part of their religious experience and that men in the group sexually assaulted Bethany Deaton. Moore said Bethany Deaton was killed for fear she would talk, according to court documents.
When word spread through the halls of Lancaster last week, district officials suspended Deaton.
The Drunken Taoist himself, Daniele Bolelli, returns to discuss his new book Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book Without Instructions.
… Read the rest
So is it better to die old in obscurity or young in the limelight? From Reuters:
The price of fame can be high with an international study on Thursday finding that people who enjoy successful entertainment or sporting careers tend to die younger.
Researchers Richard Epstein and Catherine Epstein said the study, based on analysing 1,000 New York Times obituaries from 2009-2011, found film, music, stage performers and sports people died at an average age of 77.2 years.
This compared to an average lifespan of 78.5 years for creative workers, 81.7 for professionals and academics, and 83 years for people in business, military and political careers.
The Australian-based researchers said these earlier deaths could indicate that performers and sports stars took more risks in life, either to reach their goals or due to their success…
What should policymakers do in the aftermath of this kind of event? Nothing. This is a singular event, and not something that should drive policy. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent this sort of thing 100 percent.
By definition, news is something that almost never happens. The brain fools you into thinking the news is what’s important. So what should we be afraid of? Car crashes. Global warming. It feels insensitive to say it so close to the tragedy, but it’s true. Things so common that they’re no longer news — that’s what kills people.
The damage from terrorism is primarily emotional. To the extent this terrorist attack succeeds has very little do with the attack itself. Imagine if the bombs were found and moved at the last second, and no one died, but everyone was just as scared.
Via UbuWeb, avant-garde jazz great Don Cherry visually and aurally enacts the Surrealist poetry of Andre Breton, turning 1973 Paris into another realm altogether:
Don Cherry, trumpet, illustrating an Andre Breton poem in various Paris locations.
Breton poem read by Anthony Braxton.