Tag Archives | Religion

These Mean Streets

These Mean Streets

It’s dark. It’s early. It’s Monday.

And my new “medicine” didn’t keep me from a sleepless night.

Still, I am cabbie. And this is San Francisco. There are paratransits, dregs and (yyyaaawwwnn) suits all in need of transport across this great city. (And a landlord in wait of rent.)

I shall persevere!

Stumbling in through the lot of ‘ol Citizen’s Cab, I’m headed towards Kojak in the office. However, en route, I spot a grey Nissan Altima over by the hose sporting a suction-cupped smartphone and tell tale “U” sign adhered inside of its windshield. There’s an older black man with a SF Giants baseball hat – with the price tag still dangling on the brim – washing down the tax… er, his car.

Hey! It’s Crooks! (Sometimes taxi driver, sometimes Uber scab.)

“Hey, Crooks! Can’t you read? That sign behind you says it’s a $50 fine for washing personal vehicles!… Read the rest

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

Religious Children are Meaner

See, Sunday School just makes kids meaner! From the Guardian:

Children from religious families are less kind and more punitive than those from non-religious households, according to a new study.

Sunday school

Academics from seven universities across the world studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and morality.

They found that religious belief is a negative influence on children’s altruism.

“Overall, our findings … contradict the commonsense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World, published this week in Current Biology.

“More generally, they call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that secularisation of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness – in fact, it will do just the opposite.”

Almost 1,200 children, aged between five and 12, in the US, Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey and South Africa participated in the study.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Gattaca was too hard-hitting a film in its original form

The above clip, the original ending of Gattaca, could not be shown in theaters. Go ahead and watch it, nothing will be spoiled. The very last line claims that if the ability to fully sequence the DNA code was achieved earlier in history, YOUR birth may never have taken place. Needless to say, pre-showings of the film revealed that viewers didn’t appreciate that being the final message — so it was cut.

Needless to say that despite the low IMDB score, the bomb at the box office, and the mediocre special effects, Gattaca presents us with a scary and grave—but realistic—portrayal of the “not too distant future.” Those who have seen the film may not be surprised to know that NASA ranked it the #1 most realistic sci-fi film.

In one scene, police line up several suspects and one character states, “this is where invalids go.” Other than this line, there’s no direct reference that, in the world of Gattaca, “invalids” had to “register” and be forced to live in substandard housing projects.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Writer and Musician Michael Garfield Discusses Consciousness, Psychedelics, Technology and More on Midwest Real

Via Midwest Real

michaelgarfield.net - more reviews


Michael Garfield can only be described as a polymath. At times, exchanging words with him feels kind of like speaking to a library with a mouth. I’m not really sure how he does it (I promise, I’m not just glad-handing).

Aside from being well-read and spoken, Michael is also something of a serial creative. He’s writer with credits on sites like Big Think and Reality Sandwich, he paints and makes music.

For more on Michael, head to his site.

Photo: Reid Godshaw

For dozens more podcasts like this, head to midwestreal.netDig the show? Stop on by our iTunes channel to review and subscribe.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Americans Becoming Less Religious

It’s hard to believe this is true if you listen to the rhetoric in the Republican Presidential debates, but apparently the American public is becoming less religious, per Pew Research:

Is the American public becoming less religious? Yes, at least by some key measures of what it means to be a religious person. An extensive new survey of more than 35,000 U.S. adults finds that the percentages who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services all have declined modestly in recent years.

But the Pew Research Center study also finds a great deal of stability in the U.S. religious landscape. The recent decrease in religious beliefs and behaviors is largely attributable to the “nones” – the growing minority of Americans, particularly in the Millennial generation, who say they do not belong to any organized faith. Among the roughly three-quarters of U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

The 25 Most Important Zombie Movies Ever Made

dawn of the dead main 25

Jim Vorel via Paste Magazine:

From the living dead to the walking dead to the typing dead, zombies have completely and utterly suffused 21st century culture. And that’s a pretty weird phenomena, when you think about it.

It’s not like this was always the case. Go back to the ’80s, and to wax poetic about George Romero-esque zombie films would have been the hallmark of a nerdy, acne-ridden high school student in a John Hughes movie. The idea that a TV show like The Walking Dead could be one-upping Sunday Night football in TV ratings? That would seem patently impossible.

Yes, zombies have come a long way, as has our appreciation for them. We live in a society that has become profoundly geekier in the last 15 years, and adopted the once secretive and insular totems of geek culture as its own. But it’s not just us who has evolved, it’s the zombies themselves—the creatures, their films and the people who made them.

Read the rest
Continue Reading