‘Times of panic have long driven countries to mortgage civil liberties for a broader sense of security.’
The one great solace any democratic nation can take in a world that has and always will be shrouded in war, and death, and the threat of persecution, is that within their own borders, on their soil, the most fundamental of human liberties are protected.
The excessive powers granted to our security agencies and by extension to those who are supposed to represent us can only ever present the illusion of security, and even that only to those so dull-minded as to accept it without question; we are no safer now than we ever were.
The only real difference is that now those liberties, the thing that the bad guys ‘hate’ and that we so proudly claim sets us apart – that freedom that kept us warm like a lick of flame against the encroaching night – has been extinguished.
And may the appropriated God of the very countries we sacrifice that freedom in confected fear of forgive any of us that happens to look, sound or *think* like anything other that a happily oppressed servant of the facade.
I guess the age of entitlement truly is over. Enjoy the age of unfettered persecution.
A thousand quiet nightmares
Flutter in the dark
Unmercifully unshed tears
Glitter on my heart
A thousand faded memories
Like stars behind the moon
Do you hear the whispers too?
Like sixteen butterflies in swoon?
Do you wonder, as I do
What truth’s beyond the fold?
The questions beg for asking
That the answers may be told
I didn’t just stare into the abyss.
I leapt into its hateful bloody maw, opened my soul to the seething, whirling maelstrom, drinking down the madness whilst the monsters wept and clawed with twisted unseen hands, kicked with cloven hoof at the shining nightmares, the terrifying mercies that lurk ravenous and enduring within the shadows cast between beats of my raging heart.
I swallowed down the darkness. I tore the wings from angels and stole the fires of hell.
And I’m waiting.
That the human rights movement did not gain a lasting political foothold is one of the greatest and consequential failings of our epoch.
And with the great secular minds of our generation focused on the technology, environment and greater universe surrounding us, rather than the philosophical minefield of morality within, I hold no great hope for the birth of a new age of equality any time soon.
It’s midnight and the rain is falling
And I can’t sleep for thinking
It’s been six long months since I heard your angel voice
I wonder if the rain is falling
From the midnight sky looking down on you
Wonder if you thought of me today
And wonder mostly if I had any other choice
And if I get to sleep tonight
I know that I will dream about you
Just like every other night
That I listen to the rain without you
’cause I can’t sleep for dreaming of
The day I’ll hear your voice again
Blind Fools! Short sighted and assuredly blighted whelps!
Not of human cognisance will the desires and designs of the future be.
The next epochal leap of evolution will not be of our architecture, no! But of our demise.
Whatsoever unfortunate inheritant of our ravaged abode shall be born of the womb of our starved and smoking remains, baptised by the bloodied sodden ashes of our self-wrought ruin, milked upon the rotting teats of our decay; the morbid bequeathal of an empire that in vain glory and mesmerising ignorance, gluttonously ground itself to dust.
May Time and the Stars have such mercy on such a foul creature that can gestate within and survive the barren hell we carve around us even now that they see fit to burn and purge the mewling ghouls of humanity’s graves of any remaining trace of us; them that knew, that first and last had capacity to know, and still did nothing.
“Loneliness is to endure the presence of one who does not understand.” – Elbert Hubbard
This is the quote today on the Collins desktop calendar, and I gotta say, this Collin thinks that Elbert was onto something.
I guess the thing is, (and I don’t know that this is a widely appreciated point of view – particularly for those going through the kind of ordeal to which it applies) that that loneliness can be the starting point for a whole new understanding of who you are, and who you want to be.
So many of the people I care about – and/or the people *they* care about are hurting in their own lonely way right now.
To ALL of you beautiful people I can only say that I’ve navigated that darkness, and although I still carry some of it with me even now, for my part I’ve found that on the other side of loneliness is a new perspective on whatever it was that got you there in the first place.
You won’t always feel the way you feel now – hell, you may feel worse – but *that’s okay*.
You’ll want to break out of it. You might want to scream, to rage, to rain wrath and ruin on the cage you’re trapped in, and on yourself for being trapped there. And that too, is okay.
You might want to crawl into a dark silence deep inside yourself, away from the clash and din of a world that doesn’t make sense to you anymore, that spins so fast and loud around you that all you want is for it to stop so you don’t have to process what it means over the top of the loss of what it used to. This too, is okay.
It’s okay to feel alone. It’s okay to feel hurt. It’s okay to feel wretched and tired, and unforgiving and miserable and uncompromisingly ruined. It’s okay to feel all of these things because life doesn’t end when you do, and you’ll travel through that blackness, that void, and you’ll come out the other side.
And when you do, when you emerge on the other side of loneliness; you’ll find us waiting for you, and you won’t be lonely anymore. And you’ll realise that you were never really alone at all.
They chase you in the shadows, memories.
They chase you, and whether you stand and fight or run like the devil’s on your heels you change them, you make them in to something else.
You change them and you only ever make them better at chasing you.
I crawled into your skin last night
Ate your rage in the darkened chill
Bathed in a sea of unshed tears
Swallowed your screams
Drank your poison like milk
Bled while you slept
While you felt nothing
So you could feel nothing
“Remember remember the fifth of November!”
But you seem to’ve already forgot.
Plot if you must, just ‘ware who you trust
’twas a snitch that got ‘em all caught.
The Declaration of Internet Freedom
Is it a feckless display of entitlement from the privileged class that inhabit a realm of ideals beyond those to whom they grant no regard? Of course it is.
Will it achieve anything useful? Who knows.
Is it worth signing? Damn straight.
Knowledge was never power.
The freedom to seek, obtain, and to share knowledge; that’s power.
A power crucial to the equilibrium between any people that would claim themselves free, and the system they employ to govern it.
A power without which freedom cannot be said to exist, much less claimed.
A power which if denied constitutes nothing less than a declaration of war upon those that would seek to better themselves, to thrive, to learn. A war on freedom itself.
Mankind can claim no truly inalienable right bar one: the pursuit of such a freedom. It’s gain – and the gain of those myriad freedoms and powers it subsequently bestows are, and will be, the true gems of human achievement.
- The Metalogues
[Edit: Better. (via @quinnnorton)]
I’ll admit, I love it when science and esotericism collide. I was fascinated by ‘unexplainable’ phenomena as a kid, and the interest has carried along through to adulthood – during which the advances in science and technology have been such that many of these can now be more closely examined, opening new realms of understanding. So when I saw the headline Scientific Evidence Proves why Healers See the “Aura” of People bouncing around on Twitter, I got a little excited.
The initial link shared out by most hit Science Daily, but being a stickler for source info, I punched through the rabbit hole to the Alpha Galileo writeup, which provided references to both the University of Granada writeup (from where the info seems to have been originally pulled) and (finally!) the paper itself.
Eager eyes ablaze, I cracked open the paper and skimmed the abstract for all those juicy facts and figures.
Blah blah blah, photism, emotionally mediated synaesthesia, blah blah, The discrepancies found suggest that both phenomena are phenomenologically and behaviourally dissimilar.”
Surely there had been some kind of mistake. I mean, the headlines are pretty clear in their assertion that science had established a correlation.
I read through the research article, and sure enough, and while it references previous research that had established similarities, it also points out this research is contradictory, and it can be inferred (and later, in a sense, proven) that “the term emotionally mediated synaesthesia for the person–colour synaesthesia (on which the previous studies evidently found their conclusions) does not seem appropriate.”
Back to the ‘aura readers are synaesthesic’ thing though.
“None of these [aura readers] tested positive in the battery of synaesthesia or in the extensive interview. That is, they are not synaesthetes. They show neither frequent nor rare instances of synaesthesia.”
Pretty straight forward, right? Yet somehow the ’scientific media’ picked up the exact opposite view, so there has to be some kind of ambiguity down the line that confuses the matter. I kept reading
“Contrary to the hypothesis put forward by Ward (2004), we found a number of notable discrepancies, suggesting that the two phenomena are not alike.”
Oh, ok then. A little further maybe? No, wait – here’s AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH REITERATING THE CONCLUSION COMPLETE WITH A HANDY DESCRIPTION OF THE LIKELY ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR AURAS.
In summary, synaesthetes’ phenomenological experience seems to be qualitatively different from that of sensitives and clairvoyants. Claims made by people claiming to be psychic, or aura readers, can be alternatively explained by proven science. Duerden (2004b) shows how phenomena which arise as a consequence of the normal functioning of the human visual system can explain the purported direct experience of the aura. For instance, the complementary colour effect, which results from a temporary “exhaustion” of the colour-sensitive cells in the retina, could account for the presence of auric colours seen by a sensitive viewer when staring at a person. Staring at a darker object (a human figure) against a bright background may induce the perception of a bright “halo” around the object. This is due to a contrast amplification mechanism “built-in” to the human visual system, which allows for an efficient detection of edges. (See the original paper by Duerden, 2004b, for a detailed description of this and other optical illusions.) In any case, regardless of the plausibility of these scientific explanations of the aura, it seems clear that synaesthesia and the (esoteric) aura are phenomenologically and behaviourally dissimilar phenomena which plausibly have different neurocognitive backgrounds.
The UoG article, and those sites that regurgitated it, seem to have focussed solely on what has been provided as the ‘exception to the rule’ case given at the very end of the article:
“However you can find mixed cases, like a very religious grapheme–colour synaesthete or an aura reader with some subtypes of synaesthesia. This is the case of Esteban ‘The Faith Healer from Baza’”
Not quite content to just mark down the aura story to shitty journalism, I sent an email to E.G Milan, one of the researchers of the synaesthesia/aura study asking if he was aware that his work was being misrepresented. Here’s the [edited] reply:
Hi, yes I am aware of it. It is a funny situation that is out of my
control. However probably I am guilty of it, only in part, because in my
discussion with journalists in Spain we have focus the attention just in
one single case, a famous santon from the south of spain who shows some
forms of synaesthesia (Esteban de Baza: we prepare a new paper about this
single case), overall mirror-touch synaesthesia. From that information
they have made an implicit generalization: all aura readers are
synaesthetes and despite my efforts to explain that synaesthesia is not
an illness or is not a power, some newspapers offers the version of
synaesthesia like an illness and the conclusion that aura readers are
crazy people and others the oppositte, that synaesthesia is a power and
then that esoteric aura is demostrated. You can not eliminate prejudices
against or in favor of a belief. For me it is an interesting test of the
relationship between survival of ideas and the role of data. For me
things are complex and I like to discuss about the possible origins of
some beliefs but we never made any afirmation about extrasensorial powers
like real or false. The ms is there.It is about the relationship between
forms of synaesthesia (heterogenous person-color synaethesia) and aura.
So. After recovering from the nhilistic despair this ‘meh, my bad, can’t be helped’ response briefly wrought upon my mind, body and soul, (and presumably aura, should it actually exist – not that a synthaesthesiac would be able to confirm that mind you) I got on with my life. It’s not exactly like someone being wrong on the internet is the end of world, right? And then the Universe did her ‘smack you in the face with serendipity’ thing, and threw this at me via Twitter:
EdYong209: Odd Atlantic piece: we need bullshit sci journalism to get the meaty “contrarian” stuff? No. Just get it right 1st time
The article itself describes the claim/counter-claim/investigate/debunk cycle around science news, and finishes by suggesting:
Without the borderline false headlines, we don’t get the contrarian debunking part [ohai!], which is when we generally learn what the research really says. Without the cycle we might not ever learn anything about science at all.
Well, after my brief little foray into this cycle, I can only say that perhaps it’s not just journalistic integrity that needs to carry the burden of responsibility of accurately representing scientific research, but in some cases, that of the researchers themselves. Although, as this Forbes piece demonstrates, sometimes even that may not be enough.
Predictably (and cleverly, given how much I now want to read the book), this pushed a number of buttons, two of which I want to briefly discuss in detail.
‘But I don’t really give a damn about what “nothing” means to philosophers; I care about the “nothing” of reality. And if the “nothing” of reality is full of stuff, then I’ll go with that.’
Language is a thing. (See what I did there? Hold onto your britches, there’s bound to be more.) So wondering what exactly ‘thing’ meant – as opposed to what physics has supposedly decided it to mean – I went poking about the internet.
thing O.E. þing “meeting, assembly,” later “entity, being, matter” (subject of deliberation in an assembly), also “act, deed, event, material object, body, being,” from P.Gmc. *thengan “appointed time”
Breaking it down a little further:
-ing (1) suffix attached to verbs to mean their action, result, product, material, etc., from O.E. -ing, -ung, from P.Gmc. *unga (cf. O.N. -ing, Du. -ing, Ger. -ung). Originally used to form nouns from verbs and to denote completed or habitual action.
Now stick ‘th’ on the front of it (properly ‘Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ)’) and we start having fun.
has the sound of either a voiceless dental fricative [?], like th as in the English word thick, or a voiced dental fricative [ð], like th as in the English word the.
both of which provide (yeah ok, maybe just me) a little amusement.
Theta (uppercase ?, lowercase ? or ?;  Ancient Greek ??? [t?ta]; Modern Greek ???? [?ita];
UK: /?i?t/, US: /?et/) is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, derived from the Phoenician letter
Teth . In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 9.
Putting aside that 9 is probably the coolest number on the planet (see,that was another one – we just haven’t got quite far enough yet for you to know how hilarious it really was), from Theta we get this little gem:
In its archaic form [the cross within a circle] theta is used as a symbol for Earth.
and also as shorthand for
Thanatos (Greek: ??????? (Thánatos), “Death,” from ????? – thn?sk?, “to die, be dying”)
Now, this is a stretch (edit: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet), but the etymological jump to entropy there was simply too fun to not point out, particularly given:
the Egyptians used a symbol for Kosmos in the form of theta
a term which theologically (and by extension through Pythagoras is, ahem, philosophically)
used to denote the created Universe, not including the creator. […] also used synonymously with aion to refer to “worldly life” or “this world” as opposed to the afterlife or World to Come.
Check and mate. If you plan on postulating the superiority of physics over philosophy, perhaps it would be a good idea to use (or create) language more appropriate to your argument.
The second issue I want to point out is this whole ‘mathematics is the fundamental fundiment of everything’… thing.
So sayeth Krauss:
In the case of descriptive philosophy you have literature or logic, which in my view is really mathematics. Formal logic is mathematics, and there are philosophers like Wittgenstein that are very mathematical, but what they’re really doing is mathematics
logic can certainly be claimed to be a part of philosophy, but to me the content of logic is mathematical.
Continue reading Something From Something Something
The 25th of April
They herald the rising sun
They go back – every one
To their bombs and their tanks and their ships and their guns.
“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
If ever an evil thing existed, it must surely be the madness named war.
In their rapacious pursuit of a moral or material conquest the fathers of war become the midwives of ruin, birthing abomination; dark progeny suckled on blood, tears, fear and terror – a festering and infectious blight upon the very soul of humanity.
There is no skill, no art to war, save that employed in convincing the would-be dead to march steadfastly to their graves.
Lest we forget.
Beauty was never in the eye, but the MIND of the beholder. If you can’t see the majesty in a single act of courage, a quiet word of pained reflection or the fearsome rage of an unbridled heart then I put it to you that your very mind is poisoned, your soul but a pitiful shadow of what humanity has shown itself able to be.
If there is to be judgement, let it be measured upon the appreciation of beautiful things.
If there is to be damnation, let it be only that which a lack of this appreciation bestows.
If there is to be mercy, let it that such unpleasant minds may not always be so.
1981, 81, 81 We’ll have an awful lot of fun with HR1981
Taken to it’s dark conclusion it’s a permanent intrusion (no of COURSE we won’t misuse it) but it’s not like we’re imposing on your right to own a gun
We’re protecting all the children by assuming you’re a crook (in another year or two we’ll catalogue your each and every look)
In the age of information you ARE the threat to all our stations so do right by your great nation and ignore that shadow son
It’s just the friendly and benign approach of 1981.
I know, right?
I am the wind that whispers
Carrying voices long dead upon my wings
I am the silence of the moon reflected
From the surface of countless pools
My gentle touch pierces their their depths without trace
I am the shelter and the storm
The rain, the shine
The seeing and the seen
I am the eagle soaring
And the prey on which it dives
I am the humble and the profound
The life that is given
And that which takes it back to whence it came
I am the sword and the arm that wields
My wrath is volcanic fury
Spewing havoc untold
The dying star that engorges worlds
The wave that pounds until the very mountains crumble before me
I am the dew suspended on the edge of ruin upon a single strand of fragile web
The weaver and reaper both
It is my name sung by the very bones of the Earth
By the howl of the wolf
The cry of the raptor
The mute ruminations of distant stars
And I who call it
I am the heart
The very blood of all that lives
I am tenderness, I am rage
I am compassion, I am unmerciful fate
And it is my carcass feasted upon
I am all that has past
And I am all that portends
All possibility is contained within and becaused by my being
I am fear, courage, love and hate
I am blessing, and I am curse
I am understanding, and confusion
I am Order and I am Chaos
I am the reason and the rhyme
I am the nature of truth
And truth is my nature
I am all, and I am none
For truth cannot be contained
Said the cat to little Alice
“We’re all mad here!”
Said Alice to that grinning beast
“Madness I don’t fear.”
Said I to the madness
“Just leave me alone!”
The Madness spake so:
“Never while you’re flesh and bone“
“There’s a method to the mayhem?”
Says the puppet to the string
The string says naught,
Not a word, not a thing
“The end is nigh!”
Says the prophet to the mass
The bloodshot sky
Nods agreement with a crash
An eye for an eye;
Breath stolen on a whim
Inspires doubt in all of us,
You me her and him.
You needn’t fear the Darkness,
Bonnie lass, so wipe your tears
For the Darkness fears you and your innocence my dear.
So Madness descends
In it’s wake a kenning true
In all the world revolving
Nothings old, nothings new
All was once before
All will be again
All will be forgotten
All remembered in the end