Tag Archives | Culture

Western Culture, 2000 AD

Cover of 2000 AD prog. 1 (Feb 26, 1977 IPC Magazines Ltd). Art by Kevin O'Neill.

Cover of 2000 AD prog. 1 (Feb 26, 1977 IPC Magazines Ltd). Art by Kevin O’Neill.

Prophets are the incarnation of a dilemma. Their message is quintessentially esoteric, yet they are driven to make it exoteric. As all dilemmas, this cannot be solved, and the usual outcome is the immolation or downfall of the prophet, unless exceptional circumstances temporarily suspend this predicament. Moreover, that there should be the initiate (the prophet) and the uninitiate (the disciples), has become a rather indigestible concept.

Indeed, traditional values such as the teacher-disciple relationship, training, patience, methodicalness, and constancy, have been lost in the sacred and profane spheres alike. For example, in the figurative arts, think for a moment of Jackson Pollock, who based his life’s work on trying to reproduce in paint the patterns made by his long-lost father urinating on stone. Such paintings, to which I used to refer, perhaps flatteringly, as “unappetising spaghetti”, are on display in many major museums the world over.… Read the rest

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Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT

dmtNew book on DMT, one of the weirdest psychedelic neurotransmitters this side of the milky way, by Graham St. John. The West has known about DMT since the 50s, yet we know extremely little about how it has impacted society since then. This is surprising, considering how earth-shattering the experience is. Perhaps its ability to elude linguistic description is partially to blame. Or perhaps there is more than meets the eye to its history and true impact.

Via The Nexian:

A great new book has been published that explores the rise of DMT in our culture. Knowing where we’ve been with this enigmatic molecule and how it has become entangled within our culture is vital to understanding where we are going as the second psychedelic rennaisance continues to unfold into the future. Herein you will also find art donated by DMT-Nexus members Cyb and Art Van D’lay.

Since the mid-1950s, the psychoactive compound DMT has attracted the attention of experimentalists and prohibitionists, scientists and artists, alchemists and hyperspace emissaries.… Read the rest

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Initiation, Individuality, and the Alchemy of Danger

samuraiDanger, and an appreciation of one’s mortality, is of importance for most spiritual traditions, from Freemasonry to the Zen-informed worldview of the Japanese Samurai. In the Masonic Ritual, we find, for example, the initiate being met with a dagger and caused to lay on the ground as if dead, often — e.g., in England — on a “carpet” representing the grave. For the Samurai, the danger was profoundly real and ever-present. He faced death in duels or on the battlefield, or at the whim of his master, who could order him to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) at any moment.

In regard to both Western and Eastern forms of esotericism and spirituality, Craig Williams, author of Tantric Physics Vol I: Cave of the Numinous is, for me, one of the most interesting thinkers around today. He has been a practitioner of Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra, Jyotish and Vedanta for more than 25 years, and is also a Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostic Aeterna, and an adept of Esoteric Voudon.… Read the rest

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How we became the heaviest drinkers in a century

Collection of Glasses
Chrissie Giles on her generation’s climb to Peak Booze.

I first met alcohol in the late 1980s. It was the morning after one of my parents’ parties. My sister and I, aged nine or ten, were up alone. We trawled the lounge for abandoned cans. I remember being methodical: pick one up, give it a shake to see if there’s anything inside and, if there is, drink! I can still taste the stale, warm metallic tang of Heineken (lager; 5% alcohol by volume) on my tongue. Just mind the ones with cigarette butts in.

Other times we’d sneak a sip of Dad’s Rémy Martin VSOP (cognac; 40%) when he wasn’t looking, even though we didn’t like the taste. It came in a heavy glass bottle that he kept in the sideboard. He’d pour himself a glass at night, the ice cubes clinking as he walked to his small office to make phone calls.… Read the rest

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Cobra Gypsies [Documentary]

Documentary filmmaker, Raphael Treza, goes on an adventure with Indian gypsies in his newest film.


Filmmaker Raphael Treza traveled to northern India and lived among an ancient tribe known as the Kalbeliya for three months. Cobra Gypsies is the vibrant and enlightening document of that journey. The Kalbeliyas are a highly spirited people; ebullient in their celebration of life and colorful custom. Although many of them have never before met a foreigner prior to Treza’s arrival at their camps, the tribes-people seem unguarded in their enthusiasms to share their culture.

The tribe is shown in comfort with the oftentimes inhospitable environment which surrounds them. In the midst of bee swarms and venomous lizards, they search for one of the most dominant symbols of their tribe – the cobra. In one particularly illuminating segment of the film, Treza is taken on an excursion to hunt the cobras, which are widespread inhabitants of the region.

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Why are stoners always portrayed the same in film?

Still from "Dazed and Confused"

Still from “Dazed and Confused”

Over at Dazed Digital, Charlie Graham-Dixon explores the “stoner” stereotype that’s heavily reinforced in cinema.

via Dazed Digital:

You guys, entrenched perceptions around weed are changing. Via seven short films and one feature-length documentary, The New York City Cannabis Film Festival aimed to showcase “entertaining and educational films about cannabis that further transform, stimulate, change, and share the expanding horizons of cannabis culture in the city of New York.”

Weed and movies have always been inextricably linked. From bombastically OTT anti-drug propaganda films like Reefer Madness (1938) and Assassin of Youth (1937)  through to modern day rehashes (geddit?) of stoner comedies like Pineapple Express (2008) and the Friday films – Hollywood has proven its fascination with getting high. And as American attitudes towards weed have fluctuated from shrieking negativity to shoulder-shrugging acceptance, so too has Hollywood, the lightning rod of America’s preoccupations and anxieties.

For many, the bond between film watching and smoking is strong.

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The life and death of the creative computer virus

QG2mL8f-QEz9j-JrVe7cmQ-defaultRhett Jones via Hopes&Fears:

The early 90’s were a renaissance for a certain type of computer virus. Today, we think of a virus as an insidious thing that hides and wreaks various forms of havoc like destroying a nuclear facility; never peaking its head up intentionally. But there was a time when viruses were more playful and made their presence known with creative and occasionally funny graphics or animations via “payloads.” We recreated the payloads of old school viruses featured in the “wanted list” from Central Point’s ’91 anti-virus ad in high-res glory. “You could get by with an anti-virus program. Then again, so could these,” the ad warns. Check ’em out (below) from the safe confines of your browser window, downloadable for your creative remixing needs.

While early computer viruses were certainly capable of destruction and minor havoc, they were often designed simply for the hackers’ own amusement and to deliver what’s known as a “payload.”It might be a message that tells you that cybertron69 has owned you, or it might be an elaborate animation with a political message.

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Sarah Silverman: Anger Over “Political Correctness” is a Sign of “Being Old”

“To a degree, everyone’s going to be offended by something,” Silverman said in an interview with Vanity Fair’s Krista Smith. “So you can’t just decide on your material based on not offending anyone. But, I do think it’s important, as a comedian, as a human, to change with the times. I think it’s a sign of being old if you’re put off by that.”

h/t AlterNet.

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The Lost Spiritual Path in Wes Anderson’s Films

11783040314_4e4dae9a6c_zOn elephant journal, I explore what happened to the aspect of Wes Anderson’s older films in which a white male undergoes a transformation to a new paradigm of living:

About a decade ago, acclaimed director Wes Anderson started taking some flak for what critics perceived as repetition of childish content, or content he had imagined in his youth. I didn’t agree with the Hollywood echo chamber at the time, but I also never really got Anderson’s films until “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004). Despite being a twentysomething, I related far too much to Bill Murray’s rendition of a man in mid-life crisis.

As I reacquainted myself with Anderson’s back catalogue (and discovered his feature debut, “Bottle Rocket”, from 1996), I started to notice symbols, character types and traits that reappear in a seemingly intentional way: the overachieving kid, the has-been adult, the disgruntled wife, ex-wife, or widow and even the pregnant woman.

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