Teeming Links – June 27, 2014

FireHead

Beware the man who has more influence on the future of reading than anybody else in the world: Jeff Bezos is simultaneously a visionary, an innovator, and a destroyer.

Pro Publica explains why online tracking is getting creepier. (Hint: It has to do with the merging of all the mountains of online and offline data about you.)

Meanwhile, Facebook has recently announced that it will start tracking users across the Internet using its widgets such as the “Like” button,” and it won’t honor do-not-track browser settings.

Helpfully, Pro Publica offers an illuminating look at Facebook’s complicated history of tracking you.

Feeling more antsy and irritable lately? Nicholas Carr says blame smartphones, which are turning us into patient and irritable monsters: “Society’s ‘activity rhythm’ has never been so harried. Impatience is a contagion spread from gadget to gadget.”

The Wall Street Journal briefly reports on Americans who choose to live without cellphones.

William Deresiewicz warns against uncritically buying into the apocalyptic rhetoric about the state of higher education, much of which comes from profit-minded billionaires who want to remake college for their own purposes: “The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. That have no use for larger social purposes. That decline to recognize the worth of that which can’t be bought or sold. Above all, that reject the view that higher education is a basic human right.”

A new survey of all 7 billion humans on planet earth — conducted by The Onion — finds that we’re surprised we still haven’t figured out an alternative to letting power-hungry assholes decide everything.

Two_Draculas-Bela_and_Vlad

On Point presents a 45-minute conversation about the deep and perennial fascination of Dracula in history, myth, and literature:

There is something about biting and blood that we never get over. Luis Suarez and his bite debated round the world in the World Cup. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the Victorian tale of castles and darkness that we still feel at our throats. That story has had amazing staying power. “I want to suck your blood!” and all the rest. Built off the story of Transylvania’s real Vlad the Impaler. Back to Europe’s long struggle with the Turkish caliphate. The story never dies. This hour On Point: the history and myth of literature’s great vampire — Dracula.

Historian Tim Stanley explains how Slender Man is a strongly Lovecraftian myth that became a violent reality.

E. Antony Gray gives a brief introduction to egregores and explains how Slender Man is a non-abstract and positively Lovecraftian example.

Writer, artist, and photographer Karen Emslie writes from first-person experience about the terror — and bliss — of sleep paralysis (while holding to a reductive neurobiological understanding of the phenomenon): “[S]leep paralysis has naturally spawned some very scary stories and films. But as a writer and filmmaker as well as a long-time percipient, I have another story to tell. Beyond the sheer terror, sleep paralysis can open a doorway to thrilling, extraordinary, and quite enjoyable altered states.”

(Note: I have personally never experienced the bliss of SP. For me it has always been pure, overwhelming, transformative horror.)

 

“Fire Head” image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Bela Lugosi as 1931 Dracula by Anonymous (Universal Studios) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Vlad Tepes by anonymous artist (Unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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 and GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES.

Posted on June 27, 2014, in Teeming Links and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. In the past I’ve had ghost alarm clocks wake me up on exam day by wiggling my toes . Today, after being fed up with the treatment I got about studying the connection between mental illness, mania or psychosis and insomnia with mediumship and shamanism, have decided to try leaving the occult for good . I’ve bought Simon’s Necronomicon , Agrippa’s grimoires, and started going to a local Cambodian buddhist wat, basically doing everything I can to shut myself off by myself . I had a restless night and woke up after having a nightmare that I had been abducted into someone else with a criminal past long on the run and now finally caught except I was the one going to be one in the cell. Before this I had a nightmare that I had gone to the bathroom and my soul had separated from my body . I basically have no idea what to do.. I value my university education and I think occult groups are wrong on a lot of things and don’t want to belong to them anymore. I’m shit scared today of losing the connection to my body in my sleep and I don’t agree with any of the other new age stuff out there like reiki or yoga and don’t want to be a part of that either . I’ve helped fund the documentary Crazywise on kickstarter and have been following people like Sean Blackwell talk about their experiences. I’ve really given up on society and other people when it comes to consciousness , and being interested in occultism while I’m a University student , born and raised in Canada, against elitism and gentrification.. I don’t want to live some absurd intellectual life where nobody else but me cares to learn the truth or study the implications of mediumship at the pop cultural level around the world. I don’t know how to express but I’ve been really upset about all of this today woke up too early and feel like shit . I can count the number of times I’ve had nightmares to do with paranormal sleeping experiences on hand.

  2. I can count sleep disturbances in my life basically on one hand . I have an interest in literary criticism and studies around the world to do with mediumship , particularly from S.Korea who are really public . I have vivid cherished memories of the early 90s wanting to know and study these things. Now I’m in University and can do it for real and the hubris around it just makes me feel really absurd . Like how I dare I care about the only thing I ever really cared about as a kid . How dare I question , raised in Montreal , the cleft between religious communities and reconciliation.

  3. I’m from Montreal . That explains everything about how I feel about religion or spirituality or whatever you want to call it . I feel like I have inherited this problem .

  4. Don’t give up man, persistence is ALL in this world. Yr comments on here have gotten me (and probably other people) interested in Asian shamanistic practices, esp. the Korean variety. I can understand why you feel under siege in University; thank yr lucky stars yr not in America! We don’t take kindly to “outside thinking”, at least in my experience. Yr particular interest isn’t shared by the majority, but its like being really into industrial noise music: Most people don’t get it, you have to find the people who do.

    As for occult dreams, I remember when I first started reading Ligotti’s early work, around the time I started meditating in earnest. I would lay down to take a nap and be assaulted by scenes of huge insect like creatures walking through run down Detroit streets. It was the classic Lovecraftian “artistically sensitive individual becomes afflicted with nightmares” scenario.

  5. I actually visited the Cao Daiist temple here finally and they’re vegetarian. The Cambodian temple I visited all they had advised me to do basically was do vipassana and unless you go to the 10 day retreat and meet with yogis you’re not going to get anything out of doing it yourself. People have been known to meditate for hours or weeks or months without any serious breakthroughs so what I did was bought a vietnamese mouth harp but it hasn’t arrived yet. I’m hoping to experiment with Rudolf Otto’s idea of numinous sounds. The other thing I hope to tool with is the magic squares in Agrippa’s philosophy of natural magic. it just came in the mail today.

    According to my theories it’s a limited probability field.

  6. like ok I knew they were vegetarian already but i think only part of the month and at least i know when its open now and could start attending but i don’t think i could hack it as a vegetarian. i’m not sure about them yet.

    it’s golden dawn vietnamese ancestor worship and they venerate shakespeare and victor hugo . and Graham Greene called it Walt Disney Fantasy Film on Acid . It’s like Kenneth Anger films but in real life.

  7. http://antruong.free.fr/english.html . I sometimes wonder if we live in Hell or something it’s too amazing to be real . reminds me of a thought-form or something I would find in a magical paradise next life but no it exists on earth and i just went there. but no its vegetarian and i’m like aaaahhhh my dreams are ruined.

  8. I needed to go visit them because there have been schisms and differences from the main temple in Tay Ninh . Browsing around online I actually found out that what I told you about Vo Vi before.. it’s like Vietnamese Reiki. That actually comes out of Cao Daiism . I spoke with Cao Daiists and they told me that in order to be initiated into their esoteric traditions I would have to be initiated to receive the lineage through the masters in Vietnam . So I’m up shit creek basically. It’s also possible that I could send some dread through the Air and find a lineage myself as I said through limited probability. I’d already done that before to the great chagrin of old occultniks..

    otherwise I’ll screw around with sigils and magic squares and that stuff . but since I have no understanding of what symbols to use now that I have a book on that it’d be easier I guess. I don’t know .

    I like fucking with my head.

  9. The other possibility is finding a sorcerer like Hien Van Nguyen or members who do seances and such might even have interest in western occultism and hang out and talk to them.

  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9f18s6gh-Q . the other plan b was checking out the meditation centre of this which is Montreal by jolicoeur metro . you see a few people from montreal and quebec in this video . it’s $10 reiki ahahahahaha 😉 . i didn’t want to seek out a shorter lineage but i might have to . i am left with little other choice i guess.

  11. I envy yr patience with obscure occult philosophy and practice! I can’t do any of that stuff, its just too much work, although “numinous sounds” would be a great name for a band!

    Thats totally bullshit that you can’t make breakthroughs in vipassana outside of retreat. I’m not that special, nor a particularly skilled meditator, and I made it to A&P, through the Dark Night up to Equanimity (cycling through nanas) several times by myself. I am striving for stream entry, like this guy, who also practiced on his own: http://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=88620

    That said, I don’t reccommend my path to other people because it involved a lot of needless pain and confusion but it sounds like yr already in that. Opening experiences can be extremely de-stabilizing at first as you know, but the way out is the way through. I’d find a Zen teacher and group in yr area and start sitting regularly. Zen has its baggage and it may not be yr thing at all but there could be people there who are advanced practitioners who can relate to what you’re involved with. Finally, even Crowley advised vipassana before magick, as it blows out the air of the ego and is a purification in itself.

    Insight practices can also be quite de stabilizing, especially without a teacher, but the concentration gained and the, well, insights are well worth it. Think of meditation as a base from which to build yr occult tower. I’m just trying to light a fire under yr ass to start practicing, because I don’t think these things should be separated.

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