Tag Archives | Philosophy

Questlove: How Hip-Hop Failed Black America

Questlove2enhancedUber-hip man about town Questlove writes the first of “six essays looking at hip-hop’s recent past, thinking about its distant past, and wondering about the possibility of a future,” for Vulture:

There are three famous quotes that haunt me and guide me though my days. The first is from John Bradford, the 16th-century English reformer. In prison for inciting a mob, Bradford saw a parade of prisoners on their way to being executed and said, “There but for the grace of God go I.” (Actually, he said “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford,” but the switch to the pronoun makes it work for the rest of us.) The second comes from Albert Einstein, who disparagingly referred to quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” And for the third, I go to Ice Cube, the chief lyricist of N.W.A., who delivered this manifesto in “Gangsta Gangsta” back in 1988: “Life ain’t nothing but bitches and money.”

Those three ideas may seem distant from one another, but if you set them up and draw lines between them, that’s triangulation.

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The Importance of Living: Lin Yutang Meets the Dude – An Esoteric Take on ‘The Big Lebowski,’ Part 2

[Readers may wish to read An Esoteric Take on The Big Lebowski prior to reading this post]
Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, drone, time for this one to come home
Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, die, time for this one to come alive
And hold my life until I’m ready to use it
Hold my life because I just might lose it
Because I just might lose it
Lin Yutang

Lin Yutang

– from Paul Westerberg’s Hold My Life

There are a few works out there, be they novels, movies or even pieces of music, that manage to make the esoteric, exoteric. Such works rarely surface, though, because the shallow machinery of the publishing, movie and music industry is mostly allergic to them. As I was re-reading Lin Yutang’s masterwork, The Importance of Living, I found so many passages that seem custom-made for the Dude, the now-legendary leading character in the Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski, that I thought it might be fun to explore the points of departure and arrival of both works, in tandem.Read the rest

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Technology And The Concentration Of Power

microchipVia the Webstock Conference lecture Our Comrade The Electron, Maciej Cegłowski on the internet as a force for centralizing, rather than dispersing, power:

Technology concentrates power. In the 90’s, it looked like the Internet might be an exception, that it could be a decentralizing, democratizing force. No one controlled it, no one designed it, it was just kind of assembling itself in an appealing, anarchic way. The companies that first tried to centralize the Internet, like AOL and Microsoft, failed risibly. And open source looked ready to slay any dragon.

But those days are gone. We’ve centralized the bejesus out of the Internet now. There’s one search engine (plus the one no one uses), one social network (plus the one no one uses), one Twitter. We use one ad network, one analytics suite. Anywhere you look online, one or two giant American companies utterly dominate the field.

And there’s the cloud.

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Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers

Pic: Existential Comics (C)

Pic: Existential Comics (C)

Courtesy of Existential comics (“A philosophy comic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also jokes.”) comes a tale of Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers.

What happens when Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Immanuel Kant, Michel Foucalt, and Jacques Derrida sit down for a game of D&D?  Well, lines like these:

“The orc-paladin relationship is nothing more than an oppressive power structure, which can be traced back to the medieval relationship between the priesthood and the lepers.”

Here’s one frame. Click here to read the full comic.

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Disinfonaut Gabriel Roberts Interviews Dr. Rick Strassman for VICE

PIC: DMT the Spirit Molecule (C)

PIC: DMT the Spirit Molecule (C)

Gabriel D. Roberts writes to share an interview he conducted with Dr. Rick Strassman, author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, for VICE:

Dr. Rick Strassman, author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, is responsible for groundbreaking research on dimethyltryptamine that reopened the legal doors for serious psychedelic study after decades of stagnation. Between 1990 and 1995 Dr. Strassman helped 60 patients enter the void and then documented their experiences at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. Aside from his scientific observations, he has also suggested that DMT might have ties to stories of alien abduction, and that the release of DMT from the pineal gland into a fetus roughly seven weeks after conception “marks the entrance of the spirit.”

My third book, The Quest for Gnosis, was released last month and features interviews with many of the leading minds in psychedelic study, including Dr.… Read the rest

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I Experienced Complete and Utter Harmonization of the Third Eyeball With Author and Disinfonaut, Gabriel D. Roberts.

Author, fellow Disinfonaut and great beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts.

Author, fellow Disinfonaut and great beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts.

An exerpt from my interview with Author, fellow Disinfonaut and amazing beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts:

“… Let’s be honest, there’s a lot to hate, especially from fundamentalist perspectives… It’s hard to break out of it and once you do, you violently oppose it because you recognize that you were under a spell… I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know where to go and directly from there, I went into a drug binge in which I was trying to bury my feelings… But, what I’ve found is whatever you want to call ‘God’ it’s much bigger than the things that are in these little books…”

You know those beautiful and rare occasions where you speak to someone for the first time and find that your personal philosophies seem to line up almost completely?  For me, Author and fellow Disinformation contributor Gabriel D.Read the rest

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Daniele Bolelli: The Drunken Taoist Takes On Gnosis

The following is from the new book, THE QUEST FOR GNOSIS, available now.Dan22

Mr. Bolelli is the author of the book, Create Your Own Religion: A How To Book Without Instructions. His perspective on life, death and everything in between has always intrigued and inspired me and I just had to have a talk with him for The Quest For Gnosis.

GDR: So… you’re called the “Drunken Taoist.”

DB: Sure.

GDR: Why is that? What’s the story behind that?

DB: Um… Drunken Taoist I guess, you know how in kung fu movies you’ve got the old drunk guy who looks like crap and always manages to defeat these burly, strong, younger, better, faster attackers and nobody can quite figure out how. The Drunken Taoist is the power of weirdness: It’s an unorthodox approach, that no one can quite figure out why it works, but it does.

GDR: Right.… Read the rest

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A Short Introduction to Confucianism

[disinfo ed.'s note: The following is excerpted from The Great Equal Society : Confucianism, China and the 21st Century by Young-oak Kim and Jung-kyu Kim]

Confucius 02

 

Benevolence is the most comfortable house of man, and righteousnessis his only straight path. Alas for them, who leave the tranquil dwelling empty and do not reside in it, and who abandon the right path and do not pursue it? – Mencius, 4a-10

Confucius and religion

Confucius was born in a religious environment. His father was a descendent of the Shang people, who were exceedingly zealous in their religious beliefs. What little we know about the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BCE), which preceded the Zhou, comes from their religious relics: vast amounts of bronze ritual vessels and so-called “oracle bones.” The latter mainly consist of turtle shells and bones, which turned out to be extremely valuable because of the inscriptions they contained. Oracle bones are China’s oldest texts.Read the rest

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Alejandro Jodorowsky On Creating Your Soul Through The Tarot

Legendary surrealist filmmaker, artist, magician, and tarot card expert Alejandro Jodorowsky reveals how the tarot allows the nature of reality to unfold:
If you use the tarot to see the future, you become a conman, a charlatan. For me the tarot was something more serious. It was a deep psychological search. When you see the tarot, you see that chance exists, that synchronicity exists, everything is linked. When you deeply enter that dimension that i call the dance of reality the world dances around you and gives you what you seek. We need something to help us pass on to another dimension. The creation of an androgynous thought that leads to a superior mind. When you are linked to everyone there are no enemies.
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