Tag Archives | Philosophy

Transmuting Historical Trauma

Naas Siddiqui writes at Mad in America:

My first memory is from when I was three years old. I witnessed a mass shooting at my hometown mall. My mom and I hid behind a bookcase in the bookstore. Later on in my life, I would read the newspaper archives and learn that something like ten people were wounded and three killed, including a two-year-old toddler shot right through the heart. The young woman who opened fire was described as a violent schizophrenic.

* * * * *

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder in my early 20s (I’m 33 now). I’ve experienced six instances of what might be called “psychotic episodes” in my life, each lasting from three weeks to several months. These episodes may have been the most meaningful and the most misunderstood times in my life.

These surges from the unconscious, as I prefer to call them, contain mystical elements, biblical themes and eastern spirituality.

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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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Are Republicans Evil?

518lVFil1OLDavid Swanson writes at CounterPunch:

Andrew Bard Schmookler’s new book is called What We’re Up Against: The Destructive Force at Work in Our World — And How We Can Defeat It. I’ll spare you some suspense; the evil force he has in mind is the Republican Party. Here’s a video of a speech the author gave when he was running for Congress as a Democrat in a district gerrymandered Republican. As in the book, Schmookler calls out Republicans in the speech as promoting an unprecedented evil force in U.S. culture.

He has in mind wars, torture, environmental destruction, racism, sexism, promotion of plutocracy, defense of gun proliferation, widespread dishonesty, and the valuing of partisanship above all else. Republican cap-and-trade is denounced by Republicans as socialism. Corporate healthcare schemes developed by Republicans are attacked as death panels, once they’re advanced by a Democrat.

Schmookler traces the problem to the joining of racism and corporatism in a single political party since the civil rights movement, to the growth of corporatism, and to the ability of affluent people working short hours to get into trouble.

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Adults Are the Problem

children's day
Marian Wright Edelman writes at the Children’s Defense Fund:

It is time for adults of every race and income group to break our silence about the pervasive breakdown of moral, family, and community values, to place our children first in our lives, and to struggle to model the behavior we want our children to learn. School children don’t need one more “Officer Slam” as some students referred to the White South Carolina school resource officer who this week shamed the nation with his violent ejection of a 16-year-old Black female student from her classroom for a nonviolent offense. A very welcome counter narrative took place when a White female police officer in Washington, D.C. after diffusing a potentially volatile conflict between two groups of Black teens, then charmed with a “dance off” a defiant teen-age girl who had refused to leave.

Any parent who has gone through the challenges of adolescence could only admire the quick thinking and agile footwork of the D.C.

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So You Say You Are An Anarchist?

heroes - [anarchy in palermo IV]

Saying you are an anarchist is an instant way to grab some credibility. It gives one a certain cachet to opine that anarchy is the way to go. Government and the police? Fuck that, right? Yet many people who give credence to the thought of anarchy really don’t get what the whole scene is all about.

Could you roll with being an anarchist? Disinfo spoke to Gerard Casey, a Professor in the School of Philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland, and is also an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He has published a monograph on the libertarian economist, Murray Rothbard, and his most recent book is Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State.

Do we need governments for peace and security?

No. Human beings lived together for most of their history without a state and while their existence was far from idyllic, they could not have survived unless peace and security made the order of the day.Read the rest

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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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A Tribute to Alan Watts


“I have tried for years, as a philosopher, [to say what reality is], but in words it comes out all wrong: in black and white with no colour. It comes out that life is a perfectly and absolutely meaningless happening —nothing but a display of endlessly variegated vibrations, neither good nor evil, right nor wrong—a display which, though marvelously woven together, is like a Rorschach blot upon which we are projecting the fantasies of personality, purpose, history, religion, law, science, evolution and even the basic instinct to survive. And this projection is, in turn, part of the happening. Thus, when you try to pin it down you get the banality of formal nihilism, wherein the universe is seen as a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

But this sense of “turning to ashes in one’s mouth” is the result of trying to grasp something which can only come to you of itself.Read the rest

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You Talkin’ To Me?


Tricking Passengers,

Your driver spent the week working on a treat, getting San Francisco TAXI: Life in the Merge Lane… (Book 2) out the door. (See cool promo vid at end of this blog!) Thus, please indulge as we ride along with a Halloween scare of yore…



I call-in to Citizen’s to let whomever know I’m coming in. I’m on the schedule today, but with no assigned medallion.

Bryce answers the driver’s line and sounds frazzled. I write it off to the busy time of the morning – getting day drivers out on the road while at the same time processing incoming night drivers’ keys, medallions, and gate money, etc.

So, Bryce tells me I “can sleep-in and have a cab later… or come in now and screw someone”.

Only half-awake I return all groggy,

“Wait. What are my options?”

I did Halloween with the kids last night and I really need the sleep.… Read the rest

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How Much Consciousness Does an Octopus Have?

Octopus fanned-out
Over at Wired, Emily Reynolds explores the mysteries and ethics of consciousness. Will we ever be able to quantify it?

What about an iPhone? And how much consciousness can we meaningfully ascribe to someone in a coma?

Animals ranging from parrots to elephants continue to challenge our perception of consciousness, long-held as a uniquely human trait. But the reaches of consciousness don’t stop at animals. As artificial intelligence gets smarter, we are faced with moral dilemmas of how machines could one day not just think but also feel.

The ethics of consciousness, not just in humans but also animals and machines, is complex. To try and make sense of it, research is currently underway to develop a method for objectively measuring consciousness — a formula that could explain how aware any living, or artificial, being is.

Continue reading.

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