Teeming Links – June 20, 2014

FireHead

Pandemic plague? Nuclear holocaust? Lethal asteroid strike? No worries: in case of planetary disaster, plans are afoot to use the moon as off-planet storage for the religious, cultural, and even genetic trappings of humanity.

Meanwhile, back here on earth, philosopher Mary Midgely (currently 94 years old) warns of impending catastrophe in a culture of scientism where philosophical problems are reduced to physical science and human beings to neurons.

Tonia Lombrozo, UC Berkeley psychology professor and writer on neuroscience and philosophy, considers the effects of neuroscientific determinism on beliefs about free will.

In his new book The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning, theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues 1) that science is fundamentally limited, and 2) that this is not at all a depressing or defeatist recognition: “Not all questions have answers. To hope that science will answer all questions is to want to shrink the human spirit, clip its wings, rob it from its multifaceted existence. . . . [T]o see science for what it is makes it more beautiful and powerful, not less. It aligns science with the rest of the human creative output, impressive, multifaceted, and imperfect as we are.”

Astrophysicist Adam Frank finds Gleiser’s perspective invigorating: “[Gleiser] has found a roadmap for making all science our science. There is no need to root scientific endeavor in some imagined perfect cosmic perspective or demand that, at root, it provide a full-and-comprehensive account for all being. Science is all the more astonishing, all the more remarking [sic], for simply illuminating our being.”)

Scott Adams (yes, the creator of Dilbert) observes that the Internet is no longer a technology but a psychology experiment.

Paul Waldman reflects on the Orwellian underside of our “glorious and ghastly” digital transition from mass media to micro-niche media:

Whether you’re spewing out your anger or bestowing a smiley-faced blessing on an article or video that brightened your day, the media industry wants and needs to know. Every editor tracks how many likes and tweets each piece of journalism produces, hoping all those atomized individuals will signal their approval or their displeasure and pass it along. As the price for our re-individualization, we’ve laid ourselves bare. The National Security Administration knows whom you’ve called, and maybe what websites you’ve visited. Google knows what you’ve searched for and tailors the ads you see to products it knows you’re interested in. Facebook holds on to every photo you’ve posted and thought you’ve shared; the company can now track where your cursor hovers when you lazily peruse that ex-girlfriend’s page. You can express your consternation about the latest revelation of domestic spying, right after you show the world a picture of your children. We’ve built our own personal panopticons from the inside out, clicking ‘I accept’ again and again, and we didn’t need a tyrannical government’s help to do it.

Jill Lepore identifies what’s wrong with the reigning gospel of “disruptive innovation”: it’s not some universal societal law but simply “competitive strategy for an age seized by terror.”

Arthur Krystal writes in defense of (the idea of) a literary canon: “The canon may be unfair and its proponents self-serving, but the fact that there is no set-in-stone syllabus or sacred inventory of Great Books does not mean there are no great books. This is something that seems to have gotten lost in the canon brawl — i.e., the distinction between a list of Great Books and the idea that some books are far better than others.”

Tim Parks observes that novels themselves are changing under the pressure of a culture of perpetual distraction that saps the “the very special energies required for tackling a substantial work of fiction.”

Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf highlights 100-plus pieces of the best journalistic and nonfiction writing from 2013.

Michael Hughes offers a concise and nifty account of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and its enduring influence on occult, esoteric, spiritual, and popular culture.

BBC News Magazine writer Jon Kelly traces the lasting allure of the flying saucer.

Atlantic writer Megan Garber recounts the story of Kenneth Arnold, the man who introduced the world to flying saucers.

Visions of my comics-saturated childhood: remember the truly awesome UFO Flying Saucer comics from Gold Key? (And remember their truly awesome covers?)

UFO_Flying_Saucer_Gold_Key_1

Thelemic visions, magickal texts, and the tedium of transgression: Erik Davis interviews Gary Lachman about his new biography of Aleister Crowley.

Gnosticism, Lovecraft, and the labyrinth of biblical interpretation: Erik Davis interviews Robert M. Price about his new book Preaching Deconstruction.

 

“Fire Head” image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 June 20, 2014, in Teeming Links and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I had just ordered Agrippa’s Philosophy Of Natural Magic Three Books Of Occult Philosophy and his Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy . Precisely because I am interested in Golden Dawn like stuff and astral gates and so on but without being involved in occult societies who have been hostile to me for studying anthropology and spiritual emergence crisis . I’ve decided to fuck them all withdrawn from them and try explore other means and ways of understanding things.

  2. I’ve been speaking back and forth with a user on reddit as well who has started studying vietnamese and other traditions of sorcery to experiment with placating through making offerings to various characters he’s had “hallucinations” of apparently to great success. I showed them the experiments into things like “avatar therapy” and the work of Dr. T. M. Luhrmann and basically managed to convince them that there is an argument to be made that it could be at least worth a short . Many occult groups would have kicked them out or told them to see a doctor . Apparently this person I’ve been talking to has had wonderful success with the vietnamese understanding of angry ghost placation . I find the occult community really ethnocentric and closed minded so I want nothing to do with them basically for the time being.

  3. Depending on someone’s level of functioning, the potential of turning ill, distressing psychic experiences around exists , and if the person simply tries opening a negotiation and dialogue, for reconciliation, and trusting I guess the weight of the thing into the noetic understanding of consciousness.. that if a ghost is angry there’s a good chance they’re right and to figure what they want etc… you can weight it in such a way and get good results. The important point is that illness , derangement and distress, can turn, is not permanent, and easily dealt with .

    I am extremely pleased and excited also to report that the documentary Crazywise has been fully funded up until now and reached all of its goals . It’s one of the most hyped projects on kickstarter. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/829396017/crazywise-rethinking-madness-a-documentary-film .

    I regard such a film as this to be the swan song of my generation . It was the kids born in the mid 80s and later who fell into psychiatric services en masse, and if there is such a thing as the “illuminati”, their idiocy was in letting that machine run away on itself . Pharmacological genocide. I’ve physically lost people to death not only from suicide but organ failure. It’s not a joke and I have to fight against and be strong against anyone who would support the ‘status quo’ .

  4. I have an interest in anthropology, psychology neurology philosophy etc.. I don’t see total uselessness in those fields but for my professional life those fields are mostly useless to me so I have found sanctuary in english criticism and english literary study .

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