Teeming Links – May 1, 2015

fire-head

Don’t say you weren’t warned: artificial telepathy might turn out to be a nightmare. “Will the next generation of telepathy machines make us closer, or are there unforeseen dangers in the melding of minds?” (Aeon)

What is the future of loneliness in the age of the Internet?  “As we moved our lives online, the internet promised an end to isolation. But can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance?” (The Guardian)

An Even More Dismal Science: “For the past 25 years, a debate has raged among some of the world’s leading economists. At issue has been whether the nature of the business cycle underwent a fundamental change after the end of the ’30 glorious years’ that followed World War II, when the economy was characterized by rapid growth, full employment, and a bias toward moderate inflation. . . . Today, a degree of consensus has emerged. There is no longer much point in questioning whether the glory days are over.” (Project Syndicate)

Astrobiology research scientist Lewis Dartnell considers a pertinent question: Could we recreate industrial-technological civilization without fossil fuels? (Aeon)

Weird realism: John Gray on the moral universe of H. P. Lovecraft: “The weird realism that runs through Lovecraft’s writings undermines any belief system — religious or humanist — in which the human mind is the centre of the universe.” (New Statesman)

George Lucas rips Hollywood and laments the digital dumbing of Internet culture: “George Lucas offered a bleak assessment of the current state of the film business during a panel discussion with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, saying that the movies are ‘more and more circus without any substance behind it’ . . . . The man who took bigscreen fantasies to bold new worlds said he never could have predicted the smallness of popular entertainment options on platforms such as YouTube. ‘I would never guess people would watch cats do stupid things all day long,’ said Lucas.” (Variety)

Arch-skeptic Michael Shermer writes about an anomalous event that shook his skepticism to the core: “[T]he eerie conjunction of these deeply evocative events gave [my wife Jennifer] the distinct feeling that her grandfather was there and that the music was his gift of approval. I have to admit, it rocked me back on my heels and shook my skepticism to its core as well. I savored the experience more than the explanation. The emotional interpretations of such anomalous events grant them significance regardless of their causal account. And if we are to take seriously the scientific credo to keep an open mind and remain agnostic when the evidence is indecisive or the riddle unsolved, we should not shut the doors of perception when they may be opened to us to marvel in the mysterious.” (Scientific American)

The Return of the Exorcists: “With papal recognition of an international group of exorcists comes a renewed interest in their ministry and role in the pastoral work of the Church.” (The Catholic World Report)

Case Study: The Horror Genre: “Unlike the western or gangster film, where there are a few fairly hard and fast rules in terms of the environment that the action might take place in, or indeed the nature of the characters that are ranged against one another, the horror genre can encompass an extraordinarily wide range of environments, characters, threats and subtexts. This is perhaps one of the major reasons that the horror film has remained popular — or has been able to reinvent itself when its popularity seemed to be on the wane. But what exactly does the horror genre consist of?” (Routledge, from the companion website for the textbook AS Media Studies: The Essential Introduction)

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 May 1, 2015, in Teeming Links and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Film and television is better than it ever was thanks to services like Kickstarter, DramaFever and Netflix . I can see so much more wacky stuff than I ever used to.

    Your link to an article about exorcisms followed directly by an intense horror seeking classroom activity is a riot. For some reason I never considered how polarizing the emotions in horror are, we yearn for it so strongly and yet in the same space like in the same book or film that we put on because we want some horrific catharsis we’re caught in drama usually people representing ourselves being ruined and overcome with the stuff. As a viewer I often consider myself as “someone who likes horror”, as opposed to someone who “dislikes horror” but for some reason I cannot explain I never think of how both of those views are integral for the horror itself. I’ve frequently wondered what a horror story about liking horror would even look like, without it being horrific, yet still being horrific. Closest thing I could come up with might be Ghostbusters. It’s a cultural phenomenon that has childish joy in apocalypse. Star Wars would be another one. I find very little to nothing repelling about Ghostbusters though. There’s a film called Nang Nak from Thailand based on a phenomenally popular ghost story, it’s example of, unlike Sadako from Ringu, a truly endearing ghost that is both horrific and intimate, a man is haunted by his own wife and her undying love, it’s both intensely horrific and intensely erotic even romantic. That’s really an amazing film. But unlike Mama by Del Torro there is nothing grotesque about the relationship even though the wife coming back to haunt would be characterized as a hungry ghost.. like the recent Australian film Babadook but again far less explicitly grotesque, I also consider Nang Nak to really be about Buddhist enlightenment itself. It’s very much a Buddhist movie. Must be seen to be believed to anyone with a passing interest in Buddhism or even intense interest in Buddhism, should totally change your understanding of enlightenment and spirituality. Makes me want to go join a Thai temple right this second .

  2. I’m curious actually about the similarity between Ghostbusters and Nang Nak, in their respective indigenous cultural contexts. Both films have an erotic encounter with the daemonic in a domestic space. I find myself thoroughly marked by the Whitley Strieber late-night television era that I don’t think will ever go away so have ironically decided to investigate the Canadian theosophists however my expectations are very low considering they represent everything that I detest about the new age healthcare marketplace I’m mainly investigating it to satiate my curiosity and for research to see where else it goes. Much as I have been checking out Anglicanism after reading Arthur Machen I’m checking out theosophy after reading Algernon Blackwood.

    I grew up in a cultural situation where like… the dominant point of view of the new age by far was pessimistic. And I had been witness in early to mid teens of the very highest point of Japanese cyber punk mysticism, Ghost In The Shell having been released in 1995 was in all ways the answer or solution to the problem presented by Strieber’s work which was what does it all mean..

    and the answer I’ve found is I guess a kind of night-mare asceticism. More traditionally religious. Nang Nak is an example of this night-mare asceticism. A view of religious asceticism has horror as its perfect compliment. It’s a very traditionally buddhist point of view as ascetics did their significant work in charnel grounds. Yet much of the theosophical point of view I guess would be that laying on of hands ontology that Marcel Mauss would dispute.

    I want to be the fish people in Shadows Over Innsmouth. I am a primitive consciousness without cultural understanding of free gifts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *