Tag Archives | Society

The Religion With No Name

This head of Odysseus was discovered in 1957 on the west coast of Italy between Rome and Naples, on the grounds of the former villa of the Roman Emperor Tiberius at Sperlonga. The original sculpture likely dates to the 1st century BC. Source: Wikimedia Commons

This head of Odysseus was discovered in 1957 on the west coast of Italy between Rome and Naples, on the grounds of the former villa of the Roman Emperor Tiberius at Sperlonga. The original sculpture likely dates to the 1st century BC.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Brian C. Muraresku via grahamhancock.com

“The man of a traditional culture sees himself as real only to the extent that he ceases to be himself. Plato could be regarded as the outstanding philosopher of ‘primitive mentality’ – the thinker who succeeded in giving philosophic currency and validity to the modes of life and behavior of archaic humanity.”1

Mircea Eliade

The Real Hippies

What’s become of religion these days? Seriously. More than a billion people across the planet are religiously unaffiliated. That includes one in every five Americans and Europeans, and – believe it or not – almost half of the British public. Impressive as those numbers are today, just imagine the future of the Western world.

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Al-Namrood album artwork

Way More Metal Than You Are.

Do you know what’s totally metal? Being in a Black Metal band, but being unable to perform. Because if you do play a gig, you could wind up with your head chopped off.

That’s what the metal lifestyle is like in Saudia Arabia, as this Vice interview with ‘Mephisto’  from Black Metal band Al-Namrood attests. Read on, headbangers:

Black metal bands have never been keen on religion. However, in parts of the world where religion can actually be oppressive, bands inspired by Bathory and Mayhem and Burzum are few and far between.

That’s presumably because it’s a lot easier to be in an anti-Christian metal band in the US, than in an anti-Islamic metal band in Saudi Arabia. In America, your obstacles extend to overhearing your mom tell a friend you’re just “going through a phase.” In Saudi Arabia, you face social ostracism and the possibility of imprisonment or death.

With that in mind, you’ve got to give it to Saudi Arabia’s only black metal band, Al-Namrood, whose lyrics include all sorts of things that could get them executed.

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Project Elysium: VR to revive deceased loved ones

A development screenshot from Project Elysium.

A development screenshot from Project Elysium. Paranormal Games.

Mark Walton via Ars Technica:

How far is too far when it comes to pushing the boundaries of virtual reality? As VR devices grow ever more sophisticated—and the tools to create software for them ever more accessible—where do we draw the line between what’s ethically acceptable in the real world and what’s ethically acceptable in the virtual world?

One of the developers putting this question to the test is Australia-based Paranormal Games. Project Elysium, its entry into the upcoming Oculus VR Jam 2015, treads some shaky moral ground by promising to create a “personalized afterlife experience,” reuniting people with loved ones who have passed on. Exactly how the developer hopes to do this isn’t clear at this point (it will be required to showcase screenshots by April 27, followed by video footage the week after to be eligible for the jam’s grand prize), although a screenshot from Project Elysium’s development does show a friend of the studio being transformed into a 3D model.

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Hubble Space Telescope: 25 Years Exploring the Cosmos

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Jasmine Wright and Margaret Myers Via PBS.org:

Hubble’s contributions to space exploration are countless. Its images, explains Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, have shown the first definitive detection of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. They also have provided measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, and detection (along with ground-based telescopes) of acceleration in that expansion, caused by mysterious “dark energy” that appears to be pushing the universe apart.

“Hubble will go down in history as having changed the textbooks by totally revolutionizing humanity’s view of the universe, and our place in it,” Wiseman says.

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How a PhD in linguistics prepared me for motherhood

peasap (CC BY 2.0)

peasap (CC BY 2.0)

Annabelle Lukin

Unlike most newborns, on his arrival into the world, my newly-minted son found himself in the arms of someone well-versed in the the most fiercely contested question in contemporary linguistics: is language innate?

Are babies born with grammar hard-wired into their brain? Or is language something bestowed by culture and socialisation?

The early exchanges of gaze, attention and vocalisations with my baby in his first hours, days and weeks were experienced against the melodrama of modern linguistics’ greatest schism. This happens to revolve entirely around the role of mothers and significant others in the development of a child’s language.

In the story of how language emerges in the child, as told by Noam Chomsky, nature is largely the lone hero. The child comes with a “language organ” already installed in her or his brain, as a sudden and isolated gift of evolution – out of nowhere, all-at-once, fully formed and forever unchanging.… Read the rest

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Considering ‘The Philosophy Of The Web’

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Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

 

Tania Lombrozo via Public Radio East:

We associate technology with the shiny and new. But humans have been using technology to change the environment and themselves since at least the lower Paleolithic period, when our ancestors were making stone tools.

Is the technology of today fundamentally different? In particular, does it change the way we think of ourselves or our relationships to each other and the environment? Does it change the way we think about what exists (metaphysics), about what and how we can know about it (epistemology), or about how we ought to live (ethics)?

These are traditionally philosophical questions, but they’re questions that some have been revisiting in light of one of today’s most pervasive developments: the rise of the Web.

A few weeks ago, two of us at 13.7 (Alva Noë and myself) participated in a workshop at the Googleplex on the “Philosophy of the Web.” The workshop was organized by Harry Halpin, a research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab who has been at the forefront of this emerging area of philosophy.

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Art Profile: Seishiro Matsuyama

flying saucer kingdom

This was originally published on The Moot Art Gallery.

Manic vibrancy pulsates in us everyday. We are saturated in light and colour so much so that it causes some people to become over-saturated and subsequently die or, even worse, imprisoned in a sea of grey misery (depression). It is a struggle, a constant war. Colour poses a risk as does the continual bombardment of information that we face in most of our daily routine. With an array of materials, from the high end products of oil and silicone to human excrement, crayon wax and markers, we choose materials and their instruments that lead to the exorcism of these bombardments of a techno-gizmotronic society. One by one the information is stored in log books, on sheets of paper, on the screen of a computer laptop, or hand held smartphone device via cloud storing technology to be contextualised for ourselves and for the enjoyment and the wellbeing of others.… Read the rest

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White Fragility

Georgie Pauwels (CC BY 2.0)

Georgie Pauwels (CC BY 2.0)

Robin DiAngelo writes at the Good Men Project:

I am white. I have spent years studying what it means to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless, yet is deeply divided by race. This is what I have learned: Any white person living in the United States will develop opinions about race simply by swimming in the water of our culture. But mainstream sources—schools, textbooks, media—don’t provide us with the multiple perspectives we need.

Yes, we will develop strong emotionally laden opinions, but they will not be informed opinions. Our socialization renders us racially illiterate. When you add a lack of humility to that illiteracy (because we don’t know what we don’t know), you get the break-down we so often see when trying to engage white people in meaningful conversations about race.

Mainstream dictionary definitions reduce racism to individual racial prejudice and the intentional actions that result.

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Self-Help and Existential DIY

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Everybody’s got qualms. Nobody I know is assessing their reality and the realities around them as something to be thrilled about. Even spirited people draped in “joie de vivre have their misgivings, and their vibrancy is in spite of them, not without them. There is a brand of millennial millenarianism wherein a palpable feeling of tension and accumulating energy on the cusp of discharge is identified as a harbinger of doom and gloom: we all feel the anxiety and the prickliness, the shakiness of the old foundational assumptions about the ways of the world. Things can be better. Things aren’t working the way they used to, or at least the way they are supposed to. Government is corrupt, unresponsive, increasingly authoritarian and in bed with Big Business, all while Big Business wrecks the planet so the rich get can richer and the poor get poorer.… Read the rest

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Hal Hefner’s “They Live” Inspired “Consume” Series

Artist and storyteller Hal Hefner has created a gorgeous series of poster style art pieces called “Consume” inspired by the 1988 John Carpenter film “They Live,” which, as each commercial break passes, seems to be more of a prescient (and depressingly accurate) warning of the totalitarian conformist consumer dystopia to come, much in the vein of “Network” or “1984,” than some mere sci-fi, space, alien slugfest starring wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper and a host of everyman character actors.

Channeling pop culture icons, ad campaigns that have been scratched into the surface of all of our brains by endless repetition, the aforementioned alien overlords and graffiti artist gone good Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama poster, Hefner has given us each a pair of those special sunglasses that we can’t just take off and ignore anymore.

Static Hopelessness or Hope and Change we can actually Believe in?

BUY MORE STUFF. BE HAPPY.… Read the rest

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