Teeming Links – August 6, 2013

FireHeadImage courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

James Howard Kunstler was in rare form in a recent salvo against the pervasive and putatively hopeful (but actually despairingly awful) wish, especially here in America, that techno-industrial society might continue to survive indefinitely instead of doing what it’s actually in the very earliest stages of beginning to do: implode, collapse, and transform into something else. So I preface this latest offering of recommended and necessary reading with a generous chunk of that piece, which you are hereby encouraged to go read in full.

The permanent contraction of techno-industrialism is necessary because the main fuel for running it has become scarcer and rather expensive, too expensive really to run the infrastructure of the United States. . . . To put it as simply as possible, the main task before this society is to change the way we live. The necessary changes are so severe and represent so much loss of previous investment that we can’t bring ourselves to think about it.

. . . Many of those aforementioned swindled, misled, and debauched lumpen folk (having finally sold off their Ford-F110s) will eventually see their prospects migrate back into the realm of agriculture, or at least their surviving progeny will, as the sugar-tit of federal benefits melts away to zero, and by then the population will be much lower. These days, surely, the idea of physical labor in the sorghum rows is abhorrent to a 325-pound food-stamp recipient lounging in an air-conditioned trailer engrossed in the televised adventures of Kim Kardashian and her celebrated vagina while feasting on a KFC 10-piece bundle and a 32 oz Mountain Dew. But the hypothetical grand-kids might have to adopt a different view after the last air-conditioner sputters to extinction, and fire-ants have eaten through the particle-board floor of the trailer, and all the magical KFC products recede into the misty past where Jenny Lind rubs elbows with the Knights of the Round Table. Perhaps I wax a little hyperbolic, but you get the idea: subsistence is the real deal-to-come, and it will be literally a harder row to hoe than the current conception of “poverty.”

Somewhere beyond this mannerist picture of the current cultural depravity is the glimmer of an idea of people behaving better and spending their waking lives at things worth doing (and worthy of their human-ness), but that re-enchantment of daily life awaits a rather harsh work-out of the reigning deformations. I will go so far to predict that the recent national mood of wishful fantasy is running out of gas and that a more fatalistic view of our manifold predicaments will take its place in a few months. It would at least signal a rapprochment of truth with reality.

— James Howard Kunstler, “The Dreamtime,” Clusterfuck Nation, July 29, 2013

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The Snowden Time Bomb (Project Syndicate)
“In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, world leaders repeated a soothing mantra. There could be no repeat of the Great Depression, not only because monetary policy was much better (it was), but also because international cooperation was better institutionalized. And yet one man, the American former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, has shown how far removed from reality that claim remains.”

The Quality of Life (Ribbonfarm)
A semi-companion piece to “The American Cloud,” written by the same author, published recently at Aeon, and included here in the July 26 edition of Teeming Links. “Human life, modeled by economists, measured by bureaucrats, and celebrated by statisticians, seems to miss the point in some deep way.”

How we are gentrified, impoverished and silenced — if we allow it (New Statesman)
John Pilger on the real-world Huxleyan situation that now confronts us as we’re in danger of becoming perfectly adjusted to and conditioned by an deeply insane societal situation.

Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon (The Washington Post)
“The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for The Post, Washington’s leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation’s politics and policy. . . . [F]or much of the past decade, The Post has been unable to escape the financial turmoil that has engulfed newspapers and other “legacy” media organizations.”

Okay, Here’s the Real Reason Why Jeff  Bezos Bought The Washington Post (Forbes)
“Amazon’s purchase of The Washington Post represents the next logical step in ‘owned media,’ the purchase of a major media outlet by a major marketer in order to sell directly to the public. In effect, e-commerce is starting to play the role once solely reserved for advertising, monetizing content through promoting the sale of products and services.” [NOTE: As stated in the Post article above, it’s actually not Amazon but Bezos personally who is the buyer in this epic transaction. But the upshot remains the same.]

Antibiotic resistance: The last resort (Nature)
Health officials are watching in horror as bacteria become resistant to powerful carbapenem antibiotics — one of the last drugs on the shelf.

Mind_and_Cosmos_by_Thomas_NagelThe Heretic (The Weekly Standard)
Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? “Nagel’s touchier critics have accused him of launching an assault on science, when really it is an assault on the nonscientific uses to which materialism has been put.”

The New Theist (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
How William Lane Craig became Christian philosophy’s boldest apostle. Prominent “new atheist” Sam Harris has called him “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.”

Among the Immortals (The Weekly Standard)
Does Schumann belong there? “Schumann fought for the cause of good music, but what was truly at stake, it seems, was his own sanity: He eventually threw himself into the Rhine in a failed suicide attempt and ended up in a straitjacket in an asylum. Here is a figure troubled enough for the 21st century!”

Supernormal_by_Dean_RadinDr. Dean Radin Urges Science to Examine the Supernormal (Skeptiko)
Interview examines the connection between ancient yoga practices and the science of extended human consciousness. “We’re in the modern age now and what science is able to do is study not the depths of enlightenment but we certainly can study the very place where mind and matter meet. It’s where the deep subjective and deep objective meet, and that is psychic phenomena.”

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on August 6, 2013, in Arts & Entertainment, Economy, Health & Medicine, Paranormal, Religion & Philosophy, Society & Culture, Teeming Links and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Science examining the supernormal,

    The absolute biggest problem in the new age community and in interests surrounding psychic phenomena are two things.. #1 is that mediumship in countries like Vietnam , Korea, and Thailand is widespread but it isn’t getting any attention. There is more out there than just yoga and reiki or qi gong there is also Vietnamese mediumship and etc. If they would take a look at it and the writings on Victorian spiritualism they would be shocked with the similarity; the initiation rite, the Self-Loss in giving oneself over to the realm of hungry ghosts, is the same principle as the spirits feeding on the energy of the sitters at a seance. Consider the Cao Daists who founded their synergistic religion of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, traditional Vietnamese Len Dong (mediums) and Catholicism, after freemasons divined it through a ouija board during a seance, during the french occupation. This is -literally- Vietnamese spiritualism. But the similarity between the two exist none the less even elsewhere in S.Korea the infilling of the holy spirit is interpreted as ki, and shamans who converted to Christianity lead congregations. This is one fallacy that the new age intellectuals are not grasping is how widespread these practices really are and how similar they are. It’s the most obvious places to go look for this kind of thing, but no one cares?

    The other problem with them is why I come to teeming brain and enjoy reading from you guys here is the connection between channeling and mediumship, with supernatural horror fiction and insanity. If you study Vietnamese mediumship or S.korean there is a mixture of enthralment with the subject matter and being a shaman how wonderful.. but the dominant view is the affliction and slavery of the reality that comes out of ego death and subservient consciousness. Their, or Victorian, kind of mediumship is nothing that can be turned off or on at will. It is permanent. Once the threshold is crossed, they’re stuck with it. They can’t wake up one day and choose not to be a shaman for the next week.

    Yoga has this glorification glaze over the whole thing which is frankly untenable with the harsh reality for those most traditional cultures wherein mediumship is really the mainstream. It doesn’t get more widely practiced than Vietnam, and it doesn’t get more syncretic. So why don’t these doctors and scientists put their money where their mouth is and fucking GO THERE. Isn’t that the obvious place to go look!? This is a country where mediums have been assisting the government relocating bodies for proper burial, that are so good at it that the communist government that had formerly outlawed it became convinced of its veracity. They’re just that good.

    But even people I have spoken to in real life, strangers, who told me about their interest in reiki.. They’re very two faced about it. On the one hand in public they will laud how great it is, and they will be very supportive and recommend others to get attunement. Note, reiki is like a Nu-Therapeutic Touch but with a Shinto twist, anyway.. But on the other hand they will be living with the reality of what it means to be a medium who channels which is the loss of sole sovereignty of the energy in their bodies, coming and going to forces beyond their control, and they will be deeply disturbed by this. Why? Because nobody admits publicly that this is the reality.

    But study S.Korea, study Vietnam, etc.. . Because there is an intellectual honesty and genuine curiosity. Because it is not whitewashed to be some idealized thing. These people who feign interest in psychic phenomena are really hypocrites because of this.

  2. Here was a good podcast with the author of Sinister Yogis , David Gordon White. http://newbooksinreligion.com/2011/11/01/david-gordon-white-sinister-yogis-university-of-chicago-press-2009/

    This is the yoga that they don’t want you to know about . The recognition of mediumship, and channeling, which is both give . I also learned astral projection from ancient sanskrit debates about it and was pretty fascinated by that. One of the best books on paranormal stuff I’ve ever read he goes over the stuff they don’t want you to know with a really great amount of detail and from different angles.

    S.Korean horror movie about yoga.. brilliant.. influenced by their perception of traditional korean shamanism. This film syncretizes the nature of channeling with shamanism to its forgone conclusion to sorcery and witchcraft .

  3. I had actually emailed this film to David Gordon White as a recommendation for him to check it out and he replied to me that he’d try to find it sometime and it seemed neat. It’s really exactly what his book is about.

  4. By not disclosing the empathetic range of channeling, the dark side and the light side, the give and the take, so to speak, they are not being taken seriously by the public because of this. They’re shooting themselves in the foot. Where is the catharsis? Where is the tragedy? If this perspective was given to people they would really see it for what it is, by the human beings touched by it.

  5. Shamans and mediums in Vietnam or Korea they’re low class. This is not something for upper class people as has been the perspective in Japanese Shinto as a hidden art for an elite connection to the emperor. no no no. . . Anyway. They don’t meditate. They wouldn’t know how. They feel daemonic dread, have experiences of temporal distortion, and offer themselves to the Lost Souls, the ones without a family to worship them or whose bodies are unrecovered etc.. the wilderness according to Hans Peter Duerr, or the nether-world, they give themselves over to those spirits. Not the elite, but the forgotten the lost and the down trodden. They sympathize with this world. and the Self-Loss involves the implicit faith in the Maussian obligation to reciprocate. It is felt it is empathetic. We tell stories around the campfires at night to stimulate new young shamans… It is those emotions and a sympathy for that world that brings initiation into mediumship. These people don’t meditate.

  6. I need to become a better writer. Fuck,
    Does this make more sense?

    Summary of what I was trying to say backwards,
    Yoga has a vampiric nature which scholars like David Gordon White have penetrated into. There is a side to it connected to shamanism and communion wit the undead.
    If channeling is objective, I channel and believe there is an objective current you can trace through any tradition around the world, due to Vietnam’s and S.Korea prevalence of shamanism/mediumship it deserves more attention. When you compare David Grodon White’s work to shamanism in east Asia, it connects.
    Scientists need to consider trans national, and syncretic approaches, as well as indigenous western ones.
    My blog traces , beginning from spiritualism, and east-asian popular media available in north america, a common thread that brings terror together.
    A different picture emerges.
    My angle of vision is different. I see spiritualism, this is what I was brought up with in the 1990s as popular media, Vietnam and S.Korea connect to this
    When I have looked at yoga, David Gordon white’s research is what matches.

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