Archive | History

Human Life and the Quest for Immortality

Romano - Allegory of Immortality

Romano – Allegory of Immortality

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

John Danaher is an academic with interests in the philosophy of technology, religion, ethics and law. He blogs at http://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com.

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Human beings have long desired immortality. In his book on the topic, cleverly-titled Immortality, Stephen Cave argues that this desire has taken on four distinct forms over the course of human history. In the first, people seek immortality by simply trying to stay alive, either through the help of magic or science. In the second, people seek resurrection, sometimes in the same physical form and sometimes in an altered plane of existence. In the third, people seek solace through the metaphysical/religious concept of the soul as an entity that houses the essence of our personalities and which will live on beyond the death of our physical bodies. And in the fourth, people seek immortality through their work or artistic creations.… Read the rest

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To Resist and to Survive: A Conversation with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

indigenous_peoples_history

Dunbar-Ortiz’s book An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States is out now

 

Stephyn Quirke writes at Earth First! Newswire:

It’s been said that education is what you are left with after forgetting everything you learned in school. And unfortunately for us, American history books already forgot to mention a few things: like human beings inhabiting North America for over 20,000 years prior to Europeans. In fact, the Europeans our history books call the “original Americans” and “Founding Fathers” didn’t start calling themselves Americans until they started to see themselves becoming more like the indigenous peoples they encountered – a special kind of free people who belonged to this land.

Inside the U.S., it is almost impossible to get a standard education in U.S. history and come away with the knowledge that the United States was founded on genocide – the largest in world history up to that time.

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The Official History of Monopoly Is a Fraud

MagiePatent2Page1.png

First page of patent submission for second version of Lizzie Magie’s board game, submitted in 1923 and granted in 1924.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of America’s best-selling board game, Monopoly. And while many folks might fib about their age, Hasbro’s accounting of the game’s birth is quite the tall tale.

The true story is revived in a new book by journalist Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, just released by Bloomsbury. I also cover the game’s origins in my documentary PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes, showing how a folk game was co-opted by a big company to become a billion-dollar industry.

I had set out to use a Monopoly metaphor to make the issues of campaign finance more relatable. Since practically everyone played the game in childhood, it has a nostalgic connection, though in hindsight it does teach some rather insidious lessons, such as felony crime.

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The Anarchist Cookbook: Burn After Reading

Anarchist cookbook“In 1971, William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to making bombs and drugs at home. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print,” writes Gabriel Thompson at Harpers:

In September 10, 1976, during an evening flight from New York to Chicago, a bearded passenger handed a sealed envelope to an attendant. The note began: “One, this plane is hijacked.” In the rest of the letter, the passenger, a Croatian nationalist named Zvonko Busic, explained that five bombs had been smuggled onboard, and that a sixth had been placed in locker 5713 at Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Busic added that the pilot should radio the authorities immediately and that further instructions would be found with the bomb in the locker. “[It] can only be activated by pressing the switch to which it is attached,” he added, “but caution is suggested.”

While the captain notified air traffic control, Busic entered the cockpit wearing what looked like three sticks of dynamite attached to a battery.

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How Iron Age Literacy Spawned Modern Violent Extremism

owo20150226aBy Valerie Tarico via IEET:

Why aren’t Muslim and Christian extremists extremely peaceful? The answer lies in the Iron Age setting of the Bible and Quran—when literate cultures replaced the Golden Calf with the Sacred Text. Diplomats, religious leaders, and peacemakers of many stripes keep insisting that ISIS isn’t about Islam. They point to a host of other factors including colonialism, injustice, lack of economic opportunity, and hopelessness. They’re not altogether wrong, but they are missing the tyrannosaurus rex in the room.

At one level, ISIS cannot be about “Islam,” because Islam is as varied as the number of sects or even the number of adherents that claim the label, some of whom are pacifist mystics, and most of whom abide by the dictates of compassion and by the secular laws that govern the countries where they live. So, to say ISIS is about Islam is to say something far too broad and nonspecific to be either substantially true or useful.

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Welcome to Gibtown, the Last ‘Freakshow’ Town in America

“With the demise of the carnival, an important slice of American history risks being lost – but the residents of Gibsonton, Florida, are trying to keep the legacy of the town’s famous ‘freaks’ alive,” report Kim Wall and Caterina Clerici for the Guardian:

For those who didn’t quite fit elsewhere, Gibtown was a utopia. Its first settlers, the Giant, and his wife, the Half-Woman, ran a campsite, a bakeshop and the fire department. The post office catered to little people with extra-low counters, and the beer hall had custom-built chairs for the Fat Ladies and the Tallest Man. Special zoning regulations allowed residents to keep and train exotic animals in their gardens. Siamese-twin sisters ran a fruit stand. Three factories manufactured Ferris wheels and carousels.

Gibtown. Photo: janhatesmarcia

Gibtown. Photo: janhatesmarcia

 

Or at least that’s how Ward Hall, aka the King of Sideshow, remembers it.

In the golden days of American carnival, all roads led to Gibsonton, Florida.

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Young Goodman Brown

r reeve (CC BY-ND 2.0)

r reeve (CC BY-ND 2.0)

“Young Goodman Brown” By Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), 1835

YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.

“Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “pr’y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”

“My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee.… Read the rest

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Marquis de Sade’s Descendant in Discussion With Victoria’s Secret for “Sade” Lingerie Line

I'd like to offer this up as a working prototype. Nothing says sexy like a portrait of the man who inspired the word "sadism" over the crotch.

I’d like to offer this up as a working prototype.
Nothing says sexy like a portrait of the man who inspired the word “sadism” over the crotch.

Marquis de Sade’s name may be coming to a pair of panties near you! The notorious, libertine author of The 120 Days of Sodom, has a rather ambitious descendant, Hugues de Sade. H. de Sade has created a whole line of products around Marquis and is now in talks with Victoria’s Secret for a potential Sade lingerie line.

via The Smithsonian Mag:

Enthusiasm in France for his notorious 18th-century ancestor is now such that the count has begun his own line of luxury goods, Maison de Sade. He started with Sade wine, from the family’s ancestral region of Provence, with the signature of the marquis on the label. He also offers scented candles and soon plans to add tapenade and meats. “It is quite natural,” Hugues explained.

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Ancient Clay Tablet Contains Customer Complaint — circa 1750 BC

Photo Cred: Reddit user tbc34

Photo Cred: Reddit user tbc34

There’s a clay tablet at the British Museum that contains something social media users know all too well: a customer complaint. Apparently the wrong grade of copper ore was delivered to Nanni, and this severely pissed Nanni off.

The above photo was uploaded to Reddit yesterday by tbc34. Another Redditor, labarna, shared this translation taken from Leo Oppenheim’s book “Letters from Mesopotamia”:

Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:

When you came, you said to me as follows : “I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.” You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: “If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!”

What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt?

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Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy

Can central banks create booms and busts by manipulating the money supply? Do they do this in order to create a public consensus for economic, political, and social change? Professor Richard Werner, a monetary and development economist at the University of Southampton, says they can do this, and that they are doing this. This is what the Bank of Japan did in the 80s and 90s, and that is what the European Central Bank is doing at this very moment.

The documentary “Princes of the Yen” reveals how Japanese society was transformed to suit the agenda and desire of powerful interest groups, and how citizens were kept entirely in the dark about this. Professor Richard Werner was a visiting researcher at the Bank of Japan during the 90s crash, during which the stock market dropped by 80% and house prices by up to 84%. He experienced first hand how actors inside the Bank of Japan deliberately adopted policies to further an agenda contrary to the interest of the majority of Japanese society.… Read the rest

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