Author Archive | drokhole

Cast Out the Beam: Manly P. Hall Offers a Thorough Course in Self-Examination and Actualization

“Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” — Matthew 7:3

“A good disposition is invincible, if it be genuine.” — Marcus Aurelius

Have been trying to think of different ways to highlight, sell, and summarize this one, but it simply deserves an entire listen. So, if you can set aside the time:

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Wall of the Words: Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky Face Off in Heated Email Exchange

…it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
– Shakespeare’s Macbeth


Presented without commentary (because Sam Harris, as usual, provides an excessive amount of his own…both before and after).

Via Sam Harris’ blog:

The Limits of Discourse

For decades, Noam Chomsky has been one of the most prominent critics of U.S. foreign policy, and the further left one travels along the political spectrum, the more one feels his influence. Although I agree with much of what Chomsky has said about the misuses of state power, I have long maintained that his political views, where the threat of global jihadism is concerned, produce dangerous delusions. In response, I have been much criticized by those who believe that I haven’t given the great man his due.

Last week, I did my best to engineer a public conversation with Chomsky about the ethics of war, terrorism, state surveillance, and related topics.

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The Eternal Quest: Manly P. Hall and the Holy Grail

holy-grail“This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause” 

– (lyrics from The Impossible DreamMan of La Mancha)

Bridgekeeper: Stop. What… is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yel…
[he instantly gets flung off the bridge]

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

In her book The Myths We Live By, philosopher Mary Midgley describes myths as not mere lies or fairy tales, but as networks “of powerful symbols that suggest particular ways of interpreting the world.”  In other words, a myth is more accurately an image/understanding of the world, and doesn’t have to begin “once upon a time…

But when in that myth-form, like those of our more ancient “myths,” we in modern times become lost in literalist interpretations and squabbles – and lost are the deeper truths they have to offer.  … Read the rest

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Beyond Words: Manly P. Hall Teaches You How to Read

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” Tyrion Lannister

Ever wish you could get the most out of the material you read? From articles to books to academic papers to opinion pieces, there is a sea of old and new information out there (more like an overwhelming tsunami of it) that’s not only become increasingly difficult to keep up with and sift through, but to comprehend in the first place. In this lecture (“Mind and the Book“), Manly P. Hall doesn’t offer a “one weird trick” shortcut, but a deeply involved, integrative, and discerning discipline. It’s genuinely some of the best advice on reading (including its foundational importance and principles) that I’ve ever come across – and he puts it in such shatteringly obvious and crystallizing terms that the toolkit he provides will be sure to stick with you regardless of what you may read (and how “hard” it may be to understand).… Read the rest

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The Fiefdom Will Soon Be Complete: Wall Street Buying Up Farmland



Not merely satisfied with purchasing our foreclosed homes en masse and charging us to rent them back (thanks to a crisis they created), Wall Street has set their sights on America’s fertile soils. Sing it with me! This land is their land, this land is their land…

Via Tom Philpott at Mother Jones:

In a couple of posts last fall, I showed that corporations don’t do much actual farming in the United States. True, agrichemical companies like Monsanto and Syngenta mint fortunes by selling seeds and chemicals to farmers, and grain processors like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill reap billions from buying crops cheap and turning them into pricey stuff like livestock feed, sweetener, cooking oil, and ethanol. But the great bulk of US farms—enterprises that generally have razor-thin profit margins—are run by independent operators.

That may be on the verge of changing. A recent report by the Oakland Institute documents a fledgling, little-studied trend: Corporations are starting to buy up US farmland, especially in areas dominated by industrial-scale agriculture, like Iowa and California’s Central Valley.

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Reductionist Neurophilosopher Dr. Patricia Churchland Awkwardly Ends Skeptiko Interview After Views Are Challenged

Pic: US Govt. (PD)

Pic: US Govt. (PD)

Was host Alex Tsakiris being too aggressive and disrespectful towards the good doctor? Or was Dr. Patricia Churchland – Oxford educated, MacArthur Fellowship awarded, highly regarded academic and author of recent you-are-your-brain book Touching a Nerve – simply ill-prepared for her long-standing beliefs, rooted in scientific materialism, to be contested?


(Interview and transcript also available over at Skeptiko)

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RSA Looks to Elevate the Discussion on Spirituality

PIc: Indrajit Chatterjee (CC)

PIc: Indrajit Chatterjee (CC)

“The capacious term ‘spirituality’ lacks clarity because it is not so much a unitary concept as a signpost for a range of touchstones; our search for meaning, our sense of the sacred, the value of compassion, the experience of transcendence, the hunger for transformation.

There is little doubt that spirituality can be interesting, but what needs to be made clearer by those who take that for granted is why it is also important. To be a fertile idea for those with terrestrial power or for those who seek it, we need a way of speaking of the spiritual that is intellectually robust and politically relevant.” – Jonathan Rowson

Between explaining it away as an artifact of the brain and militant rejection of it as leftover cultural/scientific ignorance, spirituality has long been anathema to academic circles (and many corners of the YAY SCIENCE! internet community).  If it’s discussed at all, it’s from the proposition of wishful fairy stories, peppered with a healthy amount of contempt and ridicule.  Read the rest

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Manly P. Hall Reveals the Stories in Our Stars (or, Astrotheology: On the Astronomical Origins of Myths)

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 8.50.31 AMMost people’s eyes glaze over at the mention of “astrology” these days. Mainly because the first things that spring to mind are spirituality-for-entertainment crystal gazers and a list of general-to-the-point-of-meaningless life forecasts next to the Sunday comics (and now, apparently, a divination system to compete with/outperform other scam artists on Wall Street). Manly P Hall isn’t interested in the horoscope-ified version either, but in examining how it was the ancients studied the stars and their locations, the significance of their movements, and mapping them in constellations. Also, how various myths are mapped to celestial (including planetary and solar) motions.

Hall distinguishes it here as “astro-theology,” and, being a more sophisticated take on the subject, I figured it would be appreciated by disinfonauts (and simply deserves a wider audience, as is).  Archetypes, deep symbolism, degrees of consciousness, the Solar Hero Myth (and its many iterations), how these thoughts still effect and pervade our lives – Hall covers a great deal.  … Read the rest

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David Foster Wallace Offers a Lesson in Mindfulness to Graduating Class: ‘This Is Water’

“I don’t know who discovered water, but it definitely wasn’t a fish.” – Terence McKenna

Its been well said that familiarity breeds indifference.  It can also breed, or rather lead, to a life lived on auto-pilot.  Enter a helpful reality check from David Foster Wallace:

On a related note, wish I could take credit for the following insight, but it comes from London Real’s Brian Rose after smoking DMT for the first time:

“When we’re in our own consciousness; we don’t know we’re in it – because we’re swimming around in this water all the time.  And when we perturb it, then we get to see the water that we’re in is actually water.  We get to see that what we’re in, what we think is just normal life, is this consciousness.  And it’s nice to perturb it every now and then because it gives you an appreciation of your own consciousness, it allows you to observe yourself outside of your normal day.  

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Anti-advertising is the New Advertising

A great essay over at Aeon Magazine reveals how the establishment wants you to know they have gone total anti-establishment and hey, buy our product, we’re on your side!

In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner injected an eight-year-old boy in Gloucestershire with cowpox. Reasoning that absorbing a small amount of the virus would protect the child from a full-strength attack of smallpox in the future, Jenner’s bold experiment founded the practice of vaccination. Two hundred years later, the marketing industry has cottoned on to Jenner’s insight: a little bit of a disease can be a very useful thing.

If you’re one of the more than 7 million people who have watched the global fast-food chain Chipotle’s latest advertisement, you’ll have experienced this sleight of hand for yourself. The animated short film — accompanied by a smartphone game — depicts a haunting parody of corporate agribusiness: cartoon chickens inflated by robotic antibiotic arms, scarecrow workers displaced by ruthless automata.

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