This week’s collection of recommended articles, essays, blog posts, and (as always) an interesting video or two, covers economic collapse and cultural dystopia; the question of monetary vs. human values; the ubiquity of disinformation in America and the accompanying need for true education of the deeply humanizing sort; the ongoing debate over climate change and its apocalyptic implications (including the apocalyptic implications of one possible means of dealing with it); the possibility of an Armageddon-level solar storm; the ongoing attempt to use the Internet for mass mental and social control, along with advice about protecting your privacy online; the clash between, on the one hand, neurological reductionism and scientism, and, on the other, more expansive ways of understanding science, consciousness, human life, and the universe; the rise of a generation of parentally-dominated college students in America (and its implications for art, psychology, and culture); religious controversies, both current and historical; the practice of eating corpses for medicine; the prospects for artistic achievement in the 21st century; the question of Lovecraft’s paranormal beliefs; Stanley Krippner’s career as a parapsychological researcher respected by both skeptics and believers alike; and a capsule summary of current UFO evidence.
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Americans: Too broke to go bankrupt
Blake Ellis, CNNMoney, May 7, 2012
This year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to be too broke to file for bankruptcy. The average cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, the most common form of consumer bankruptcy, is more than $1,500, according to recent research submitted to the National Bureau of Economic Research. As a result, anywhere between 200,000 and one million consumers are estimated to be unable to afford that steep cost this year…”For lots of people, bankruptcy has been taken off the table as an option because of the severe fees involved,” said Jialan Wang, co-author of the report…That means many of the Americans who have seen their debt snowball out of control due to events like job loss, foreclosure or a medical emergency during the economic downturn are now left without their last financial lifeline, she said.
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America’s idiot rich
Alex Pareene, Salon, May 7, 2012
Teaser: The 1 percent is complaining louder than ever. There can be no reasoning with people this irrational.
Some unknown but alarming number of ultra-rich Americans are now basically totally delusional and completely divorced from reality. This is now an inescapable fact, confirmed by multiple media accounts of billionaire thought and an entire special issue of the New York Times Magazine. Here’s a brief list of insane things that are apparently common knowledge among the billionaire class: That President Obama and the Democratic Party have treated wealthy finance industry titans maliciously and unfairly. That the fact that they are perversely wealthy and growing richer during a period of mass unemployment and staggering debt is a sign that the economy is functioning correctly. That poor people, and not the finance industry, are responsible for the financial crisis and subsequent recession. That the ultra-wealthy are wealthy because they are smarter and work harder than everybody else, and that they are resented for their success. That the ultra-wealthy in general, and finance industry executives in particular, are the victims of widespread prejudice akin to that faced by ethnic minorities. There can be no reasoning with people this irrational. Any attempt to do so will fail, as Barack Obama, whose main goal is to maintain, not upend, the system that made these people so disgustingly wealthy, is learning.
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What Money Can’t Buy
Tana Wojczuk, Guernica, May 1, 2012
Teaser: Michael Sandel on a society where everything could be up for sale.
Author Michael Sandel’s new book What Money Can’t Buy is troubling in the best sense of the word — it “troubles” the complacency with which Americans have received the rapid encroachment of the market into private life. In the post-Freakonomics world, economics has expanded exponentially, not only into the global market but into areas of life not previously governed by market forces…Sandel’s book provides a framework that challenges readers to see the world differently. This shift is a bit like the moment in the cult classic They Live (see Jonathan Lethem’s book-length criticism of the film) when the hero puts on a pair of bodacious ray-ban sunglasses and suddenly sees billboards advertising sunny vacations in fact read “OBEY.
[NOTE: The rest of the piece is Wojczuk’s interview with Sandel, who is a Harvard professor, and who at one point states his thesis in a nutshell: “Economics has increasingly become the science of human behavior in general, and it’s all the more unlikely to think that it can possibly be value-free — and, in fact, it isn’t. Economics rests on un-argued assumptions that need to be examined.”]
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Disinformation on Every Front
Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, May 5, 2012
[Bear in mind as you read this rambling but worthy screed that the author is, yes, the same Paul Craig Roberts who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, and is credited as a co-founder of Reaganomics, and is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service.]
Some readers have come to the erroneous conclusion that the Matrix consists of Republican Party disinformation, as if there is no disinformation from the left. Others think that propaganda is the business of Obama and the Democrats. In fact, propaganda from the right, the left and the middle are all part of the disinformation fed to Americans…It is interesting that it is only presidents who work to reduce conflict [e.g., Nixon and China, JFK and communism, Reagan and the COld War] who become targets for assassination…[A]mericans are told that education is the answer to unemployment. Get that university degree and live happily every after…“Education is the answer” serves the colleges and universities who want the tuition payments. It serves the companies who make student loans. It helps the offshoring corporations disguise that they are the main cause of unemployment…Americans plugged into the Matrix are programmed to believe that they have correct information provided by a varied and “independent media.” In fact the media is owned by 5 or 6 mega-media companies run by corporate advertising executives and Washington…Across every front Americans are fed lies…But who cares? Back to the Matrix and the “reality show.”
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Democracy and Education: On Andrew Delbanco
Richard Wolin, The Nation, May 2, 2012
[In his new book College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, Columbia University professor Andrew Delbanco observes that] “It is a pipe dream to imagine that every student can have the sort of experience that our richest colleges, at their best, provide. But it is a nightmare society that affords the chance to learn and grow only to the wealthy, brilliant, or lucky few.” To judge by all the evidence available, American higher education today more closely approximates the dystopian image of the “nightmare society” than it does the egalitarian “pipe dream” that would be more in keeping with the democratic aspirations of our founding…The postwar project of democratic expansion is steadily being reversed, to the point where today, as Delbanco convincingly demonstrates, the college admissions process serves to reinforce the prerogatives of class and economic privilege rather than diminish them…His point is that by subjecting the ends of higher education to a series of extraneous criteria derived from the marketplace, we risk distorting the very purpose and meaning of the college experience: to provide young people with the capacities of critical thought and the requisite material knowledge to transform themselves into mature individuals and engaged, cosmopolitan citizens…Delbanco’s main objective in College is to redeem the meaning and value of a liberal arts education in the face of superordinate cultural trends — the commodification of knowledge, globalization, the communicative distractions of digital technology and social media — that have compromised the existence of the meditative space necessary for robust character formation and the cultivation of individual autonomy.
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Politics Aside, Climate Research Faces Real Uncertainties
Paul Basken, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2012
[T]he truth, often obscured by the fog of politics, is that the scientists are genuinely uncertain about how fast the warming is happening, what and how strong the negative effects will be, and how quickly those problems will begin showing up in your neighborhood. That uncertainty has helped make them vulnerable to critics who have a long list of reasons for doubting virtually any science-based warnings, including the consensus hammered out by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that carbon-dioxide emissions must be reduced…153 years after the British physicist John Tyndall proved that the earth’s atmosphere has a greenhouse effect by showing that water vapor absorbs infrared radiation — “there’s just a lot we don’t understand” about how the climate is responding to the increase in temperatures being thrust upon it, says Kim M. Cobb, an associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology…Still, a large majority of scientists believe [the IPCC’s estimates about the likely extent of global warming by the end of this century] are certain enough to require a move away from fossil fuels…In fact, climate scientists can list several facts on which they’re clear: Increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon produce warming; the polar latitudes and equatorial regions are warming faster than middle latitudes where most people live; and heat waves are intensifying. Regional variations will be significant, and identifying them is another fundamental challenge for climate research.
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The Climate Fixers
Michael Specter, The New Yorker, May 14, 2012
Teaser: Is there a technological solution to global warming?
The heavy industrial activity of the previous hundred years had caused the earth’s climate to warm by roughly three-quarters of a degree Celsius [by 1991], helping to make the twentieth century the hottest in at least a thousand years. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, however, reduced global temperatures by nearly that much in a single year. It also disrupted patterns of precipitation throughout the planet. It is believed to have influenced events as varied as floods along the Mississippi River in 1993 and, later that year, the drought that devastated the African Sahel. Most people considered the eruption a calamity. For geophysical scientists, though, Mt. Pinatubo provided the best model in at least a century to help us understand what might happen if humans attempted to ameliorate global warming by deliberately altering the climate of the earth…For years, even to entertain the possibility of human intervention on such a scale — geoengineering, as the practice is known—has been denounced as hubris…David Keith, a professor of engineering and public policy at Harvard and one of geoengineering’s most thoughtful supporters, [says] “it is hyperbolic to say this, but no less true: when you start to reflect light away from the planet, you can easily imagine a chain of events that would extinguish life on earth”…There is only one reason to consider deploying a scheme with even a tiny chance of causing such a catastrophe: if the risks of not deploying it were clearly higher.
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Hot enough for you? Warmest May to April ever for U.S
Reuters, May 9, 2012
The contiguous U.S. states posted record warmth from May 2011 through April, and drought conditions spread across more than a third of this area during the first months of 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA.L said on Tuesday…It was the warmest ever May-to-April period in the lower 48 states. It included the second-hottest summer, fourth-warmest winter and the warmest March. Twenty-two states posted record warmth for the period…The U.S. Climate Extremes Index was a record 42 percent for the first four months of the year, more than twice the average value.
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Space weather expert has ominous forecast
Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2012
Teaser: Mike Hapgood, who studies solar events, says the world isn’t prepared for a truly damaging storm. And one could happen soon.
A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt. This isn’t the premise of the latest doomsday thriller. Massive solar storms have happened before — and another one is likely to occur soon, according to Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England. Much of the planet’s electronic equipment, as well as orbiting satellites, have been built to withstand these periodic geomagnetic storms. But the world is still not prepared for a truly damaging solar storm, Hapgood argues in a recent commentary published in the journal Nature…”A serious concern would be whole regions losing electrical power for some significant time. Here in the U.K., the official assessment is that we could lose one or two regions where the power might be out for several months.”
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How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet
Kate Murphy, The New York Times, May 2, 2012
[NOTE: More than just recommended reading, this one is necessary reading. Along with a host of other practical tips, it mentions two free services I already switched to a few months ago: Zoho mail (to replace Google mail) and the DuckDuckGo search engine (to replace Google).]
You know that dream where you suddenly realize you’re stark naked? You’re living it whenever you open your browser. There are no secrets online. That emotional e-mail you sent to your ex, the illness you searched for in a fit of hypochondria, those hours spent watching kitten videos (you can take that as a euphemism if the kitten fits) — can all be gathered to create a defining profile of you. Your information can then be stored, analyzed, indexed and sold as a commodity to data brokers who in turn might sell it to advertisers, employers, health insurers or credit rating agencies. And while it’s probably impossible to cloak your online activities fully, you can take steps to do the technological equivalent of throwing on a pair of boxers and a T-shirt. Some of these measures are quite easy and many are free. Of course, the more effort and money you expend, the more concealed you are. The trick is to find the right balance between cost, convenience and privacy.
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The Internet’s Battle for Our Digital Souls
Dominic Basulto, Big Think, May 10, 2012
Harvard neuroscience researchers have just confirmed what many of us have suspected all along: social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are “brain candy” for Internet users. Every status update, every tweet, every pin is a micro-jolt delivered squarely to the pleasure centers of our brains. We get approximately the same type of pleasure from talking about ourselves on social media as we do from having sex. As Facebook bulks up to take on new challengers after its much-anticipated IPO next week, is it possible that the battle for future dominance on the Internet will actually take place inside our heads? Emotions, visualizations and new ways to stimulate our senses suddenly matter more than ever on the Internet as companies figure out how to turn us all into Pavlovian subjects lusting after the next viral meme. Getting the neuroscience right, quite simply, is the key to future billion-dollar valuations…What’s alternately terrifying and inspiring is how all this thinking about emotions, visuals and sensory stimulation is starting to flow through to the actual strategies of leading Internet competitors… Companies are looking for ways to get inside our heads, to tinker with the very neurochemical transmitters that make us human.
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The brain — it makes you think. Doesn’t it?
David Eagleman and Raymond Tallis, The Observer, April 28, 2012
Teaser: Are we governed by unconscious processes? Neuroscience believes so — but isn’t the human condition more complicated than that? Two experts offer different views.
DAVID EAGLEMAN: We have discovered that the large majority of the brain’s activity takes place at this low level: the conscious part — the “me” that flickers to life when you wake up in the morning – is only a tiny bit of the operations…[P]eople are nuanced, complicated, contradictory. We act in ways that are sometimes difficult to detect by simple introspection. To know ourselves increasingly requires careful studies of the neural substrate of which we are composed.
RAYMOND TALLIS: It does not follow [from the truth that our brains are a necessary component of consciousness] that our brains are pretty well the whole story of us, nor that the best way to understand ourselves is to stare at “the neural substrate of which we are composed”. This is because we are not stand-alone brains. We are part of community of minds, a human world, that is remote in many respects from what can be observed in brains. Even if that community ultimately originated from brains, this was the work of trillions of brains over hundreds of thousands of years: individual, present-day brains are merely the entrance ticket to the drama of social life, not the drama itself. Trying to understand the community of minds in which we participate by imaging neural tissue is like trying to hear the whispering of woods by applying a stethoscope to an acorn.
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The Science Delusion
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, The Huffington Post, January 1, 2012
[S]cience is being held back by centuries-old assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The sciences would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun. The biggest scientific delusion of all is that science already knows the answers. The details still need working out, but the fundamental questions are settled, in principle. Contemporary science is based on the philosophy of materialism, which claims that all reality is material or physical. There is no reality but material reality. Consciousness is a by-product of the physical activity of the brain. Matter is unconscious. Evolution is purposeless. God exists only as an idea in human minds, and hence in human heads. These beliefs are powerful not because most scientists think about them critically, but because they don’t. The facts of science are real enough, and so are the techniques that scientists use, and so are the technologies based on them. But the belief system that governs conventional scientific thinking is an act of faith.
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The Primacy of Consciousness (video)
Peter Russell looks at how he study of consciousness is changing the way science looks at the world. Trailer for the Science and Non-Duality Conference, 2010. One thing science knows is that our experience is a construct. Sensory information is processed by the brain giving raise to our own experience. This construct appear to have shape color and solidity. What is the world out there actually like? Physics shows that when we look at matter it is mostly empty space. We therefore observe this nothingness, and it is our mind that gives it the appearance of solidity — which is the conclusion reached by mystics through the ages. Maybe it is not a nonduality of matter but a nonduality of consciousness we should explore. The new hard question is not how the brain gives rise to consciousness but: how do our minds take on all the different forms that we experience as reality? The nondual perspective to this question is that all is one, that there is no difference between form and emptiness, mind and matter. Could this nondual perspective heal the split between science and spirituality?
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Don’t Pick Up (or The Case for Breaking Up with Your Parents)
Terry Castle, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2012
Teaser: Why kids need to separate from their parents.
This is the play-date generation. There was a time when children came home from school and just played randomly with their friends. Or hung around and got bored, and eventually that would lead you on to something. Kids don’t get to do that now. Busy parents book them into things constantly — violin lessons, ballet lessons, swimming teams. The kids get the idea that someone will always be structuring their time for them…Parental engagement even in the lives of college-age children has expanded in ways that would have seemed bizarre in the recent past. (Some colleges have actually created a “dean of parents” position — whether identified as such or not—to deal with them.) The “helicopter parents” who hover over nearly every choice or action of their offspring have given way to “snowplow parents” who determinedly clear a path for their child and shove aside any obstacle they perceive in the way…The questions Goya raises remain awful and unremitting, more than 200 years later. Is the rule of life eat or be eaten, even if what you consume is your own child? (One of the most terrible things about “Saturn Devouring His Son” is surely the fact that the headless, half-eaten “child” has the proportions not of a newborn infant, but of an adult human being.) Should we resist our creator’s authority? When and how and why? Or should we let ourselves be murdered in his name? When and how and why? Such questions lie at the heart of great literature too. What the early novel dramatizes, it seems to me, is nothing less than a radical transformation in human consciousness — the formation of a new idea. For better or worse, the ferocious, liberating notion embedded in the early novel is that parents are there to be fooled and defied (especially in matters of love, sex, and erotic fulfillment); that even the most venerated traditions exist to be broken with; that creative power is rightly vested in the individual rather than groups, in the young rather than the old; that thought is free. The assertion of individual rights ineluctably begins, symbolically and every other way, with the primal rebellion of the child against parent. So where are we today? Are we in the midst of some countertransformation? A rolling back of the Enlightenment parent-child story? Are we returning to an older model of belief — to a more authoritarian and “elder centric” world?…[I]t is indeed the self-conscious abrogation of one’s inheritance, the “making strange” of received ideas, the cultivation of a willingness to defy, debunk, or just plain old disappoint one’s parents, that is the absolute precondition, now more than ever, for intellectual and emotional freedom.
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Family Battle Offers Look inside Lavish TV Ministry
Erik Eckholm, The New York Times, May 4, 2012
[NOTE: Thank Jaysus, and thank him loudly, that this is finally happening. TBN has been a cancerous mole on a festering boil on the ass-end of American television’s lunatic fundamentalist Protestant fringe for far too long.]
For 39 years, the Trinity Broadcasting Network has urged viewers to give generously and reap the Lord’s bounty in return. For 39 years, the Trinity Broadcasting Network has urged viewers to give generously and reap the Lord’s bounty in return…Now, after an upheaval with Shakespearean echoes, one son in this first family of televangelism has ousted the other to become the heir apparent. A granddaughter, who was in charge of TBN’s finances, has gone public with the most detailed allegations of financial improprieties yet, which TBN has denied, saying its practices were audited and legal…The lavish perquisites, corroborated by two other former TBN employees, include additional, often-vacant homes in Texas and on the former Conway Twitty estate in Tennessee, corporate jets valued at $8 million and $49 million each and thousand-dollar dinners with fine wines, paid with tax-exempt money…The lavish perquisites, corroborated by two other former TBN employees, include additional, often-vacant homes in Texas and on the former Conway Twitty estate in Tennessee, corporate jets valued at $8 million and $49 million each and thousand-dollar dinners with fine wines, paid with tax-exempt money…On the air, the Crouches combine uplifting talk with encouragement to give to the Lord, and so be repaid. This “prosperity gospel” is shared by several televangelists who appear on TBN. But many conventional Christian leaders regard it as a sham.
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America’s True History of Religious Tolerance
Kenneth C. Davis, Smithsonian magazine, October 2010
Teaser: The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record.
In the storybook version most of us learned in school, the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. The Puritans soon followed, for the same reason. Ever since these religious dissidents arrived at their shining “city upon a hill,” as their governor John Winthrop called it, millions from around the world have done the same, coming to an America where they found a welcome melting pot in which everyone was free to practice his or her own faith. The problem is that this tidy narrative is an American myth. The real story of religion in America’s past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side…From the earliest arrival of Europeans on America’s shores, religion has often been a cudgel, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the “heretic” and the “unbeliever” — including the “heathen” natives already here…Even as late as 1960, Catholic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy felt compelled to make a major speech declaring that his loyalty was to America, not the pope. (And as recently as the 2008 Republican primary campaign, Mormon candidate Mitt Romney felt compelled to address the suspicions still directed toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)…America can still be, as Madison perceived the nation in 1785, “an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion.” But recognizing that deep religious discord has been part of America’s social DNA is a healthy and necessary step.
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The Gruesome History of Eating Corpses as Medicine
Maria Dolan, Smithsonian.com, May 7, 2012
Teaser: The question was not “Should you eat human flesh?” says one historian, but, “What sort of flesh should you eat?”
Not long ago, Europeans were cannibals. [University of New England in Australia English lecturer Louise] Noble’s new book, Medicinal Cannibalism in Early Modern English Literature and Culture, and another by Richard Sugg of England’s University of Durham, Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians, reveal that for several hundred years, peaking in the 16th and 17th centuries, many Europeans, including royalty, priests and scientists, routinely ingested remedies containing human bones, blood and fat as medicine for everything from headaches to epilepsy. There were few vocal opponents of the practice, even though cannibalism in the newly explored Americas was reviled as a mark of savagery. Mummies were stolen from Egyptian tombs, and skulls were taken from Irish burial sites. Gravediggers robbed and sold body parts…Beth A. Conklin, a cultural and medical anthropologist at Vanderbilt University who has studied and written about cannibalism in the Americas…finds a distinct difference between European corpse medicine and the New World cannibalism she has studied. “The one thing that we know is that almost all non-Western cannibal practice is deeply social in the sense that the relationship between the eater and the one who is eaten matters,” says Conklin. “In the European process, this was largely erased and made irrelevant. Human beings were reduced to simple biological matter equivalent to any other kind of commodity medicine.”
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Out of the wilderness
Charles Murray, The New Criterion, May 2012
Teaser: On major artistic accomplishments.
Given what we know about the conditions that led to great accomplishment in the past, what are the prospects for great accomplishment in the arts as we move through the twenty-first century?…[Due to unprecedented social and cultural factors in America, America now shares “The Europe Syndrome,”] a conception of humanity that is devoid of any element of the divine or even specialness. Humans are not intrinsically better or more important than other life forms, including trees. The Europe Syndrome sees human beings as collections of chemicals that are activated and, after a period of time, deactivated. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time between birth and death as pleasantly as possible. I submit that this way of looking at life is fundamentally incompatible with a stream of major accomplishment in the arts…Religiosity is indispensable to a major stream of artistic accomplishment. [I mean belief systems and philosophies that] articulate a human place in the cosmos, lay out understandings of the ends toward which human life aims, and set standards for seeking those ends…A secular version of this framework exists, and forms a central strand in the Western tradition: the Aristotelian conception of human happiness and its intimate link with unceasing effort to realize the best that humans have within them…Whether it happens in a theological or Aristotelian sense, I believe that religiosity has to suffuse American high culture once again if there is to be a renaissance of great art…The elites who shape the milieu for America’s high culture have managed to avoid thinking about those fundamental questions for a century now. Sooner or later, they’ll find it too hard.
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Daniel Harms, Fortean Times, June 2004
Teaser: Was the most influential horror writer of the 20th century a believer in the paranormal? Daniel Harms examines the evidence.
Given the power of his vision, many have speculated on just how much Lovecraft knew about the occult. Some occultists hail him as the prophet of a new Dark Age, claiming that his fiction bears genuine traces of ancient knowledge and re-emerging archetypes from the depths of our collective unconscious. Yet, all too often, their conclusions are based on guesswork, rather than the evidence of his own writing. Fortunately for us, he had perhaps one of the best-documented lives in literary history, writing approximately 100,000 letters over his 46 years. Through these letters, and other newly discovered sources, a glimpse into the reality of Lovecraft’s occult lore is finally possible.
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The Psychic World of Stanley Krippner: A quest to document ESP
Joe Eskenazi, SF Weekly, April 25, 2012
For the better part of the past 40 years, Krippner, 79, has been a psychology professor at San Francisco’s Saybrook University, a small graduate school near Jackson Square established in 1971 by the founders of psychology’s humanistic movement. He has penned close to 1,000 papers on subjects as far-reaching as childhood creativity, combating soldiers’ post-traumatic stress disorder, and worldwide shamanistic rituals. He has won more laurels from more organizations than he can keep track of, including several lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association — the world’s largest organization of psychologists and the definer of mainstream thought in the field. And yet, among Krippner’s cavalcade of papers are the following eye-openers: “LSD and Parapsychological Experiences,” “The Paranormal Dream and Man’s Pliable Future,” and “An Experiment in Dream Telepathy with the Grateful Dead”…”Stan belongs on the Mount Rushmore of parapsychology,” says fellow ESP researcher Charles Tart. James “The Amazing” Randi, perhaps the world’s most prominent skeptic, also offers Krippner his benediction: “There are so few things in this field you can depend on, and there are so many people who are prejudiced and biased. But I can depend on Stan. And I don’t think he’s biased at all”…There are mystic healers perched on jungle mountaintops and tweed-suited aristocrats of academia perched within ivory towers. There are strident “believers” who equate a refusal to accept ESP as established truth with scientific bigotry and dubious scholars who insist the tenets of parapscyhology would undermine the laws of physics that gird our universe. And Krippner is the hub that connects them all. Like the shamans he studies, he moves effortlessly between any number of worlds.
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