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Thursday, March 20
Sunday, January 13
by Ron on January 13, 2008 10:43AM (PST)
...Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the alternative-culture best seller “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl” — and a guest on “Coast to Coast AM” — has introduced a young and savvy audience to the school of millenarian thinking that has gathered around Mayan calendrics. To do so, he has employed viral marketing and a tireless schedule of public appearances at bookstores, art spaces, yoga studios and electronic-music festivals...
Over breakfast at Cafe Gitane in Manhattan, Pinchbeck told me recently that “there’s a growing realization that materialism and the rational, empirical worldview that comes with it has reached its expiration date.”... “Apocalypse literally means uncovering or revealing,” Pinchbeck went on, “and I think the process is already under way. We’re on the verge of transitioning to a dispensation of consciousness that’s more intuitive, mystical and shamanic.”
Far from its origins, divorced from its context and enlisted in a prophetic project that it may never have been designed to fulfill, the Mayan calendar is at the center of an escalating cultural phenomenon — with New Age roots — that unites numinous dreams of societal transformation with the darker tropes of biblical cataclysm. To some, 2012 will bring the end of time; to others, it carries the promise of a new beginning; to still others, 2012 provides an explanation for troubling new realities — environmental change, for example — that seem beyond the control of our technology and impervious to reason. Just in time for the final five-year countdown, the Mayan apocalypse has come of age. ... more »
Monday, January 7
by Ron on January 7, 2008 11:48AM (PST)
Here's an interesting article re the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) Project. I disagree with the article's conclusion (it omits the vast online support to be provided to olpc students), but I think it deserves further discussion here on SCIY. What do you think?
At the Consumer Electronic Show this week, the One Laptop Per Child foundation was supposed to make two announcements—the number of computers it sold under the Give One, Get One holiday program and a new olpc machine made jointly with Intel. But now Intel has pulled out or been pushed out of the project with olpc, depending on who you believe. It’s a mess and a mess of huge dimensions that encompasses a conversation of profit vs. nonprofit, nationalism vs. colonialism, technology vs. pedagogy, rote vs. experiential learning, Western design vs. Eastern design, good intentions vs. bad intentions. It doesn’t get bigger, or nastier. ... more »
Friday, December 28
by Ron on December 28, 2007 10:41PM (PST)
Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within is a feature length documentary which invites the viewer to rediscover an enchanted cosmos in the modern world by awakening to the divine within. The film examines the re-emergence of archaic techniques of ecstasy in the modern world by weaving a synthesis of ecological and evolutionary awareness, electronic dance culture, and the current pharmacological re-evaluation of entheogenic compounds.
Within a narrative framework that imagines consciousness itself to be evolving, Entheogen documents the emergence of techno-shamanism in the post-modern world that frames the following questions: How can a renewal of ancient initiatory rites of passage alleviate our ecological crisis? What do trance dancing and festivals celebrating unbridled artistic expression speak to in our collective psyche? How do we re-invent ourselves in a disenchanted world from which God has long ago withdrawn? Entheogen invites the viewer to consider that the answers to these questions lie within the consciousness of each and every human being, and are accessible if only we give ourselves permission to awaken to the divine within. ... more »
Thursday, June 14
by Ron on June 14, 2007 04:22PM (PDT)
In linguistics, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (SWH) states that there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. Although it has come to be known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, it rather was an axiom underlying the work of linguist and anthropologist Edward Sapir and his colleague and student Benjamin Whorf.
... “We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds—and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way - an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one, but its terms are absolutely obligatory; we cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of data which the agreement decrees." (Whorf, 1940, pp. 213–14) more »
Tuesday, May 15
by Ron on May 15, 2007 07:27PM (PDT)
In 1965, archeologists found the remains of a lost Tairona religious center and called it the 'Lost City.' It is a three-day hike in dense jungle to witness a true wonder of the past. It is believed that there are two more lost cities. -- These highlands are inhabited by the Gods and the spirits of the dead. A universe of signs and symbols, this territory is a veritable "open book" which is their bridge to the world and their collective history.
The Kogi believe the Sierra Nevada to be the 'Place of Creation' and the 'Heart of the World'. They call themselves the Elder Brothers of humanity and consider their mission to care for planet. They understand how the planet works as an integrated unit rather than the separation of all things in our worlds. -- Much like other ancient tribal civilizations, that still exist on the planet, they believe themselves to be the custodians of the planet Earth here to keep things in balance.
They achieve this through meditation wherein they communicate with all living things on the planet - humans, animals, plants, rock, etc. -- They live in Aluna, an inner world of thought and potential. From Aluna they astral travel or remote view to places both on and off the physical planet. Their sacred lands are perceived as a metaphysical symbol of cosmic forces within the whole world - an oracle of the natural balance and health of the planet. ... more »
Wednesday, March 28
by Ron on March 28, 2007 05:23PM (PDT)
A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization. The quality of municipal town planning suggests knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene. The streets of major cities such as Mohenjo-daro or Harappa were laid out in perfect grid patterns. The houses were protected from noise, odors, and thieves.
As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and the recently discovered Rakhigarhi, this urban plan included the world's first urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans. The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus Empire, were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in some areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls. The massive citadels of Indus cities, that protected the Harappans from floods and attackers, were larger than most Mesopotamian ziggurats...
Although some houses were larger than others, Indus Civilization cities were remarkable for their apparent egalitarianism. All the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with low wealth concentration. ... more »
Monday, March 26
by Ron on March 26, 2007 11:12AM (PDT)
This informative list of annotated links compiled by Resurgence Magazine includes interesting initiatives in the areas of Activism, Agricultural Development, Ecology, Economics, Education & Community, the Internet, Political & Corporate, Publishing, and Scientific Principles. The few I’ve had a chance to check out so far look like they’re indeed doing important work; e.g., ISEC (the International society for Ecology & Culture), which I’ll post more info about in my next article. — Recommended. more »
Sunday, January 14
by Ron on January 14, 2007 10:11PM (PST)
"Prophets Facing Backward," my book under discussion here, claims that the cluster of social constructivist, feminist and postcolonial theories that deny any cognitive distinctions between warranted knowledge and collectively accepted beliefs ... have provided philosophical justifications for [a] kind of populist interpretive flexibility ...
Set against the backdrop of the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, the book argues that the relentless debunking the very idea of universally valid, bias-free facts has received in the hands of its many academic critics, has added to a culture of doublethink where truth has becomes infinitely malleable, open to all kinds of nativist, pseudo-scientific and faith-based interpretations.
Intellectuals, whose job it is to challenge such mystifications, I argue, have betrayed their calling by condemning the very possibility of impartial and universally valid truth that can cut through cultural and national boundaries. This betrayal has made it easier for the religious right to present itself as the defender of the tradition, dressed up as “alternative science”, which it claims has been unfairly rejected and willfully suppressed by the secular elite. The logic of deconstruction of modern science simultaneously provides the logic for the construction of “sacred sciences” by the resurgent religious-political movements that have sprung up among the Hindus, Christian and Muslims alike.
It is indeed high time for science studies to get engaged in the thorny issues raised by the attempt of religious extremists to take on the prestige of science for their objectively false and outdated cosmologies. It is gratifying to note that the debate I began in the "Prophets" has now been joined. My colleagues from science studies and postcolonial studies have done me the honor of critically engaging with the concerns I have raised regarding the political dangers of epistemic multiculturalism in this age of religious fundamentalisms. In this essay, I will respond at length to the issues my critics have raised in their readings of the "Prophets." ... more »
Saturday, January 13
by Ron on January 13, 2007 09:26PM (PST)
The leading voices in science studies have argued that modern science reflects dominant social interests of Western society. Following this logic, postmodern scholars have urged postcolonial societies to develop their own "alternative sciences" as a step towards "mental decolonization". These ideas have found a warm welcome among Hindu nationalists who came to power in India in the early 1990s. In this passionate and highly original study, Indian-born author Meera Nanda reveals how these well-meaning but ultimately misguided ideas are enabling Hindu ideologues to propagate religious myths in the guise of science and secularism.
At the heart of Hindu supremacist ideology, Nanda argues, lies a postmodernist assumption: that each society has its own norms of reasonableness, logic, rules of evidence, and conception of truth, and that there is no non-arbitrary, culture-independent way to choose among these alternatives. What is being celebrated as "difference" by postmodernists, however, has more often than not been the source of mental bondage and authoritarianism in non-Western cultures. The "Vedic sciences" currently endorsed in Indian schools, colleges, and the mass media promotes the same elements of orthodox Hinduism that have for centuries deprived the vast majority of Indian people of their full humanity.
By denouncing science and secularization, the left was unwittingly contributing to what Nanda calls "reactionary modernism." ... more »
Wednesday, January 10
by Ron on January 10, 2007 07:16PM (PST)
My name is David Ulansey. I am a Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and before I came to CIIS I taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Boston University, Barnard College (Columbia University), the University of Vermont, and Princeton University. My specialty is the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world, especially the ancient Mystery religions, Gnosticism, ancient cosmology, and early Christianity.
My publications have focused on the ancient mystery religion of Mithraism. ... more »
Friday, December 8
by Ron on December 8, 2006 02:49PM (PST)
...In our culture, we tend to move into cities that push nature away from us. In our mental environment, we do the same thing. Most people live within a very conventionalized set of notions that are deeply imbedded in a larger set of notions. When we go to the physical edges, such as the desert, jungle, and remote and wild nature, and when we go to the mental edges with meditation, dreams, and psychedelics, we discover an extremely rich flora and fauna in the imagination. This realm is ignored because of our tendency to see in words, to build in words, and to turn our backs on the raging ocean of phenomena that would otherwise entirely overwhelm our metaphors...
If we ask what has caused this blindness, we might answer that it's the satanic spirit of science. In the seventeenth century, the spirit of Satan was portrayed in Milton's Paradise Lost, with a whole taxonomy of various demons and fallen angels that acted as malevolent powers, such as Mammon, the demon of commercial greed. The primary sin of Satan and of the other fallen angels like Mammon was pride, the turning away from God toward their own self-sufficiency. This was the beginning of the whole humanist illusion that turned away from the spirit world and declared humans to be self-sufficient. From this point of view, all gods, demons, and spirits are projections of the human mind, creating a kind of anthropocentric universe. ... more »
Tuesday, December 5
by Ron on December 5, 2006 09:53AM (PST)
...Jeffrey Sachs...is not a simply a do-gooder but one of the world’s leading economists, head of the Earth Institute and in charge of a UN panel set up to promote rapid development. So when he launched his book The End of Poverty, people everywhere took notice. Time magazine even made it into a cover story.
But, there is a problem with Sachs’ how-to-end poverty prescriptions. He simply doesn’t understand where poverty comes from. He seems to view it as the original sin. “A few generations ago, almost everybody was poor,” he writes, then adding: “The Industrial Revolution led to new riches, but much of the world was left far behind.”
This is a totally false history of poverty. The poor are not those who have been “left behind”; they are the ones who have been robbed. The wealth accumulated by Europe and North America are largely based on riches taken from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Without the destruction of India’s rich textile industry, without the takeover of the spice trade, without the genocide of the native American tribes, without African slavery, the Industrial Revolution would not have resulted in new riches for Europe or North America. It was this violent takeover of Third World resources and markets that created wealth in the North and poverty in the South. ... more »
Saturday, November 18
by Ron on November 18, 2006 03:04PM (PST)
Terence McKenna is a psychedelic explorer, ethnopharmacologist and theorist of time. Rupert Sheldrake is a controversial biologist, best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance, the idea that there is an inherent memory in nature. Ralph Abraham is a chaos mathematician and pioneer in the field of computer graphics.
TERENCE: In our culture, we tend to move into cities that push nature away from us. In our mental environment, we do the same thing. Most people live within a very conventionalized set of notions that are deeply imbedded in a larger set of notions. When we go to the physical edges, such as the desert, jungle, and remote and wild nature, and when we go to the mental edges with meditation, dreams, and psychedelics, we discover an extremely rich flora and fauna in the imagination. This realm is ignored because of our tendency to see in words, to build in words, and to turn our backs on the raging ocean of phenomena that would otherwise entirely overwhelm our metaphors.
RALPH: It's true. We have to misuse our language even to talk about these things.
RUPERT: If we ask what has caused this blindness, we might answer that it's the satanic spirit of science. In the seventeenth century, the spirit of Satan was portrayed in Milton's Paradise Lost, with a whole taxonomy of various demons and fallen angels that acted as malevolent powers, such as Mammon, the demon of commercial greed. The primary sin of Satan and of the other fallen angels like Mammon was pride, the turning away from God toward their own self-sufficiency. This was the beginning of the whole humanist illusion that turned away from the spirit world and declared humans to be self-sufficient. From this point of view, all gods, demons, and spirits are projections of the human mind, creating a kind of anthropocentric universe.
TERENCE: Humans are said to be the measure of all things.
RUPERT: This is humanism. To adopt the alternative tradition of animism and to recognize the living spirits and souls of all nature is profoundly repugnant to humanism, yet it is the common ground of all human civilization, thought, and tradition. As in Goethe's Faust, the paradigmatic scientist sells his soul to the devil in return for unlimited knowledge and power. The guiding spirit of modern science, according to the Faust myth, is a satanic demon, a fallen angel called Mephistopheles. ... more »
Thursday, November 9
by Ron on November 9, 2006 02:41PM (PST)
This is another experimental audio file. It's a 5-minute talk by Terence McKenna, a cultural anthropologist who spent many years doing participant observation research with indigenous tribes in Central and South America. The experiences he had with the Shamans of those tribes led him to believe that humanity is in the midst of a major cultural transformation that's being mediated by an "Attractor that lies ahead in the temporal dimension."
"Human history represents such a radical break with the natural systems of biological organization that preceded it, that it must be the response to a kind of Attractor, or dwell point, that lies ahead in the temporal dimension... It's almost as though this object in hyperspace, glittering in hyperspace, throws off reflections of itself, which actually ricochet into the past––illuminating this mystic, inspiring that saint or visionary––and that out of these fragmentary glimpses of Eternity, we can build a kind of map of not only the past of the universe, of the evolution and ingression into novelty, but a kind of map of the future. ... more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler