Monday, December 29, 2008

British Atheist Prescribes Christianity for Africans

It sounds incredibly condescending, perhaps, and you'd expect the guy to get--I can't help it!!! --crucified by his fellow atheists and the PC crowd alike. Still, Matthew Parris makes a good case, and any jingoist Hindus or Thelemites reading his editorial can replace "Christianity" with "bhakti" and the argument still holds. Indeed, when he describes the "direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God...smash[ing] through" any socio-political "framework," however oppressive or omnipresent, you'd think he was describing the very K&C of the HGA...

The obligatory Kalibhakta disclaimer: I'm not an expert on Malawi or any other part of Africa, or Africa as a whole. I can't speak to Parris's argument from that standpoint. But, he's a valuable witness to the fact that spiritual practice changes people for the better, helps them to evolve into better selves who are better in tune with the world. This miraculous fact is easy for me to forget, and it's easy to forget to be grateful to Kali for pushing me to evolve, and so I thank Her for sending me reminders, especially in the deliciously unlikely form of a Times op-ed vaunting evangelism.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


I love 'em... each a mini-laboratory of human cognition, an ant-farm map of the intersections between mind and matter-- and of the co-creative properties of the two...

surely a crowning wonder of nature is the endless ductility of the human mind, able to stretch, bend, twist-tie, and pretzel itself through, around, under, and beyond all possible beliefs... like taffy through a radiator... regardless of evidence... in fact, for the True Believer evidence against is always evidence for, and vice versa.

As my Christmas present to you, here's a round-up of some of the newer conspiracy theories that have come across the desk here at

Beethoven and the Illuminati! I don't think of old Ludwig Van as much of a team player, so he probably wasn't on the front lines of the conspiracy. Still, like the Beatles 130 or so years later, he lent his considerable tunesmithing talents to the cause.

Obama's birth certificate! A meta-conspiracy story with commentary by Michael Shermer and other wacko-watchers.

The appropriately-named Jim Marrs
is one of the grandaddies of con-think, and unlike the majority of his brethren, he can write. Interestingly (or frighteningly?), as I've watched his career over the years he's drifted nearly into the mainstream, and is now published by Harper obviously They got to him!

YOU SHOULD NEVER * EVER * OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS! So we are told by this useless advice is supplemented by scores of sea serpents, bigfoots, bunyips, and assorted dragons and ABCs. I used to shun cryptozoology as a wanna-be conspiracy-- it seemed so er, fluffy... but this was before I understood the tie-ins with creationism. Believing in the continued existence of pterosaurs actually makes you a cognitive radical!

...but--there really WERE no dinosaurs, you dodo-head! Jurassic... FAKE!!!!

It's all TRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUE!!! Well, not really, but human history has given us enough self-interested cooperation in the name of squashing The Other Guy that it's no wonder that people try on conspiracy theories like pullover sweaters.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good Overview of Tantra

Article by Swati Chopra...

...but no bricks for me, please... :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Soul Wars, Part II (The Caliphate Strikes Back)

"we haue neuer as yet opened vnto any man the truth of our dwelling, neither of our ruling, neither what our power is, neither haue we giuen any man any gift, or learned him any thing, except he promise to be ours."
--A demon, qtd. in
The Historie of the damnable life, and the deserved death of Doctor Iohn Faustus

"An Egyptian Coptic Christian woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for failing to uphold her Islamic identity—an identity she did not know she had..."

So sayeth a news story reprinted in
Christianity Today. Bahia Nagy El-Sisi and her sister were both imprisoned last year because their dad briefly converted to Christianity--in 1962.

The result of dad's quickie convenience conversion? "All of [the sisters'] children and grandchildren would be registered as Muslims," their lawyer said. I'm not sure
Christianity Today would agree, but consider the benefits, by comparison, of selling one's soul to the devil:
  1. kids and grandkids not damn'd
  2. unlimited wealth
  3. " " power
  4. " " knowledge
  5. classic poems writ about ye
  6. possibility of leveraged deathbed buyout by JC, Unlimited
  7. Mormons probably don't posthumously convert soul-sellers
Before anyone in Provo or Teheran goes, er, ballistic, it's not my point to unfavorably compare one religion or other to an eternity of bondage to the Evil One. But--it's interesting how the Faustian bargain mirrors salvation, and how both soul-selling and soul-saving use commerce as their model. I'm not the first person, by a couple of millennia, to note these similarities, but what fascinates me are the circumstances under which one can and cannot make a trip to the celestial return counter and undo the deal. (Or, in the case of those Mormon conversions of the dead--the celestial T. J. Maxx??)

But then again--it is fascinating how just plain alike they are. You sell your soul to Jesus for the Get Out of Hell Free card, you sell your soul to Satan for Heaven in the here and now. The commercial motif, though, obscures the real meaning of the transactions: surrender. What is supposed to horrify us about Faust is how cavalierly he treats his immortal soul, how readily he pimps it off to Mr. D--but we're also meant to cringe at how we, too, lust for what we cannot have and how close we, too, are to doing such a deal. We may not care for knowledge; it could be any one of a number of material objects we price higher than our soul, and the object ultimately doesn't matter for it is merely an idol, a golden calf standing in for God. The Faust story's warning seems to be: giving up your soul is shockingly easy when it's for the wrong reasons and damnably hard when it's for the right One (and as material beings we shouldn't be so surprised at how suasive for us is the tangible).

Of course that damnable word, "surrender," hath been placed at the heart of my spiritual path by None other than Kali herself, my personal God, the particular beam of light that's shone through the treetops and down onto my path through this forest of signs, this material selva oscura. To trust Her has been the meaning of it all; to give to Her--not even sell or be saved, for there's no Hindu souk of ultimate knowledge or final redemption--has been the way revealed to me. Give it all to me and I won't promise you anything, She sexily coos--but that's not really true, for our surrender opens the way to the clearing the woods where Her light is all, and though we are naked and no trees shelter us, Her enfoldment waxes absolute...

For me as Her child there's been no moment of conversion, no contract or bill of sale, finalized or otherwise. It's been more like how transactions work in practice, not on paper--I think of when Sophia and I bought our house, how it was sort of "ours" when we made the offer, but then the paperwork had to be approved by the mortgage company, but then everyone had to sign it at the closing...but then it wasn't "final" until it was entered at the courthouse... and of course the mortgage isn't paid off yet, so--we live as though we own a house, drilling holes in the walls and taking down the horrid old window treatments...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jewcy: Why Ramakrishna Matters

Dude... awesomeness!!!!

Wonderful overview/judeo-view of one of the founders of my spiritual tradition (though he was chronologically last, I always think of him as first among equals with Ramprasad Sen and Krishnananda Agamavagisa)...

any time I spend ranting about what a great article this is would be time taken from reading it...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spiritual Warfare

I don't do much battling with principalities and powers these days, but the war goes apace. The good old USA was, about a week ago, 8 million popular votes away from electing a demon-fightin' veep, and skirmishes extend (we shouldn't be surprised) beyond the voting booths and thawing tundra and into the hereafter. Mormons are baptizing dead Jews and Catholics (and God knows who else) to try to annex them into Mormonhood, while live Jews and Catholics bridle at this incursion upon their soul-territories.

"Jews are particularly offended by baptisms of Holocaust victims," we are told, "because they were murdered specifically because of their religion." No, really???? Makes sense to me, but then again I'm from a non-proselytizing religion so goofy that it teaches that all the other religions are true, too (just don't tell a Hindu fundamentalist). Meanwhile, the Mormon Department of Defense is sounding defensive: "We don't think any faith group has the right to ask another to change its doctrines"--meaning, I'm pretty sure, "Shut up, Jews," since if the shoe were on the other foot and mass giyurim for dead Mormons were being held in Jerusalem, I doubt the LDS would wax so ecumenical.

The Mormon spokesperson went on, "If our work for the dead is properly understood ... it should not be a source of friction to anyone."

But--if you accept the idea of a soul that can be converted/ won/ redeeemed/ atoned for/ whatevered only by certain approved methods, you have opened the door to just the kind of "friction" that's going on here. What many people buy into without knowing it is a system in which their religion's technology of soul-washing is implicitly salutary and protective, and everyone else's technologies are a sham or, worse, demonology--a spiritual attack. And if you buy into the Mine Is the Best (or One True) Religion game, then just by "properly understanding" the Other Side's motives, you've conceded valuable real estate, opened the gates to the Trojan horse. This is why the refusal to understand has such cognitive status and such honor attached to it (secularists never get this), and it's how real wars of all kinds start. The cure begets the disease...

It all reminds me of a Burroughs routine from The Place of Dead Roads:
The most arbitrary, precarious, and bureaucratic immortality blueprint was drafted by the ancient Egyptians. First you had to get yourself mummified....Then your continued immortality...was entirely dependent on the continued existence of your mummy....

Mummies are sitting ducks. No matter who you are, what can happen to your mummy is a pharaoh's nightmare: the dreaded mummy bashers and grave robbers, scavengers, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes. Perhaps a mummy's best friend is an Egyptologist: sealed in a glass case, kept at a constant temperature... but your mummy isn't even safe in a museum. Air-raid sirens, it's the blitz!
The whole hilarious meditation can be found in a Google Books search and, if I'm remembering right, is included in the WSB documentary Commissioner of Sewers.

And now, a clever, neatly-packaged ending... hmmm... well, I found when I Googled "spiritual warfare" that nearly every phenomenon from arrogance to tornadoes can have a demonic cause. Still, I'm actually very sympathetic to the point of view expressed by one of these sites, especially its list of "The main ways of fending off the Devil."

Oh, so there's my moral! Stay open, trust God, and you never know what She'll show you. I didn't go into this post thinking I'd end up recommending (unironically) a web page about sluggin' it out with Satan...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Limits of Achievable Reality

The Union of Shiva and Shakti

My Al-Anon sponsor, one of several mind-blowing spiritual teachers Kali has seen fit to send me, called me the other day. "We were sitting around before a meeting, talking about you, and no one could believe what's happened and where your Higher Power has taken you--it really goes to show that we don't write the script--" for our lives, for the universe...for the next five minutes. Oh, we collaborate with the Author sometimes...but...

A lot has happened since I started this blog, some of it on schedule and some of it just plain unscripted and, if the writing were left to me, unscriptible. During the worst times--not that I've had bombs dropped on me or been diagnosed with metastatic cancer, but we all have bad times...during the worst times I fell back on the childish mantra God has a plan for me and it's better than anything I can imagine. I'd say this over and over, not believing, just repeating, begrudging the Deity Who (my teachers assured me) endorsed such contemptible platitudes, such infantile trust. I'd say it and say it and say it and somehow I started believing it enough to keep going, though a wolf pack of voices in the dim mental wilds still howled that I was fooling myself, that doom would rise as sure as the sun...but as the Mundaka Upanishad advises, I strung the arrow of my Self on the bow of mantra and let fly. The wolves fled, the sun rose, but no doom. It's not, it turns out, so bad being God's child...and in fact, Her plan has turned out to be as improbable and miraculous as a Bollywood romance.

Saturday Sophia and I are getting married. For years she was my friend and I dared not even think about her in any other way (though it took everything I had not to think those thoughts). The first full post I ever wrote on WiHW has Sophia's name encoded in it; she was the one I could tell about weird experiences and weird ideas that I'd share with no one else save Grigorss (and he's safely 3000 miles away, ensconced in his Hollywood mansion). Being with her was sheer heaven, no matter how stressed we were or what private hells we were enduring (we never talked about those)...but nothing was ever going to happen between us. It was too late and we'd made choices that were too different. So there was no point thinking about it... but I did, chastely (listen, people--for me, that's saying a lot!!!), hopelessly...and when it unexpectedly did become possible for something to happen, Sophia very kindly but firmly told me that it wasn't going to, ever.

And my Guardian Angel said the same thing, but Her version had an "unless." At first, all I could hear was the no... because the "unless" involved all those horrid spiritual disciplines centering on giving up, surrendering, trusting God, placing no expectations upon people or events, facing the fact that the universe owes me nothing--that my fondest, deepest desires might be nothing but self-defeating daydreams. My dear Angel, infinitely loving but strict as hell, seemed bent on turning me into an Aghori, and, ya know, eating charred remains from a skull-bowl might not have seemed half-bad compared to the mini- Dark Night I felt falling around me (at least it would have been more colorful than sitting down at the computer every day to work on the research project I had going).

To make it short, I had to completely surrender Sophia, give her away to God, release all wishful claim to her and any expectation of any future anything involving the two of us, down to an innocent cup of coffee at Starbucks. We didn't talk or see each other for months, and I surrendered and surrendered, aided by a magnificently apocalyptic Kurse Go Back song whose refrain goes "Every human has the right / to be mentally free." Sophia had that right, and I did, too--free of my obsession with her, free of my need to find a Beloved, a soul-mate, The One. I flung my heart against the iron gate of my wants, against the black bars of what I thought should be, could be...hammered the black iron didn't shatter. It just wasn't there any more. And I was outside the walls, the walls I'd mistaken for a horizon.

Sophia and I started talking, and we started hanging out (I know I'm tellling the story at cartoon speed), and we found that hanging out or talking on the phone or chatting online or emailing each other was all we wanted to do. She was depressed and I wrote her a horoscope every day (unfailingly accurate since it always covered whatever she'd just told me she was going through). She wrote me staggeringly insightful emails and elegant, witty cards--and even poems! We found out the hard way that pay phones in Paris automatically disconnect your call after an hour. We skittishly, gingerly began to weave our lives, our hearts together...and the strands held, strong as spider's silk, and so we wove more. Sophia gave me the immeasurable gift of her trust, I still don't know how, and...we're getting married Saturday. She is her Divine Mother's image--well, actually, we are, together, creating this love, this life, hand in hand, heart in heart.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Southern Gothic

Sophia, me, and the kids are driving down a country road; it's close to sunset. We're going to meet her uncle at his cabin in the woods so we can borrow his pressure washer.
We turn onto a dirt path, heading west, and the reddened sky looms over us, bleeding through tall dark trees.

"This is starting to look like Evil Dead 2," I say.

Sophia says, "Everything in my family looks like Evil Dead 2."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why Sophia Is My Shero

Because at 2:00 in the morning, when there's sewage backing up into our house so fast it's outpacing an eight-gallon Shop-Vac and I'm swearing like Harlan Ellison uncovering a copyright violation, she can think of reasons to be grateful.

* * *
Guru, since you say that gratitude is the most beautiful thing on earth, what is the effect of gratitude on man and God?

Sri Chinmoy: When an individual offers gratitude to God, immediately his receptivity increases. His vessel becomes large. Then God is able to pour more of His Blessings into the person or enter more fully into that vessel with His own divine Existence. God is infinite, but only according to our receptivity can He enter into us. God is like sunlight. If I leave this window open, sunlight will come in here. If I keep all the other windows closed, it cannot come in there. The more we offer gratitude, the more we increase our receptivity and capacity. The more windows we open, the more God enters into us with Light, abundant Light, infinite Light. When we offer gratitude, immediately God's Light comes pouring into our being.

from A Galaxy of Beauty's Stars

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Apologia, Inc.

Apologia, Inc. strikes another blow in the eternal war with True Unbelievers, Ltd. ... Roger Scruton, a little less inscrutable and a little more lucid than usual, has penned an anti-Dawkins/Dennett, et al. whup-down in the virtual pages of Axess... teetering at times perilously close to stained-glass Cartesianism, though lite on the piffle (but, my goddess, what was all that folderol about various "conditions" and how "astonishing" they all were/are/is????).

I set it as my blog epigraph today, but since epigraphs on Blogger don't show up in the archives (they didn't used to, anyway), I want to share with you one of my favorite lines from Scruton's essay, in all its direct, noble, Henry Adams-esque beauty: "The great tapestry of waves and particles, of fields and forces, of matter and energy, is pinned down only at the edges, where events are crystallized in the observing mind."

OK, I wouldn't have gone with a passive verb in the final clause. But... a lovely and important riposte to the wishful thinking of materialists everywhere and their dorm-room dream of atoms and the void--the Real as a load of billiard-ball kibbles scrupulously adhering to the Ideal Gas Law... Scruton gets into a very interesting and admirably pithy meditation on consciousness as he approaches his peroration (even giving a shout-out to my homie Krishna!!!), including further wonderful observations that I'm tempted to quote but want to make you read because Scruton is one of the good guys and seems to evolving towards the tantric-empiricist school that includes, among others, Yours Truly and chaos theory rock star Stuart Kauffman (I swear I'm going to blog about Kaufman's new book, and the linked day... )...

if you ever wondered what Nietzsche meant by "God is dead," and how that could actually be an affirmation and how Nietzsche could actually be a deeply spiritual writer--the answer is in the last three paragraphs of Scruton's essay, though he's a bit more nostalgic, it sounds like, for the C of E than for the Eleusinian Mysteries.

What else is going on? Sophia and I are finally scheduled to close on our new house tomorrow, after many scary and frustrating delays... "Temple of Doom" might not be the best name for it, since it's not just mine but Sophia's and her kids'... "Temple of Webkinz"?? "Temple of Cartoon Network"? "Temple of Algebra"? It will be a temple of love... and poetry... and the Divine in all Her polyfloral, mellifluously shifting forms... growing vinelike up the walls of matter to kiss Herself in the sunlight of spirit...

Friday, June 13, 2008


I killed the spider.

James wouldn't stay away, and though it isn't necessarily the man's job to deal with bugs, I felt it was my dharma and not Sophia's. Sophia, Kali bless her, is such a kind and compassionate and loving person that she was nearly beside herself, feeling bad for me (and my intended prey) in this unfortunate no-win choice. The spider, for her part, sensed what was coming; though she had endured daily visits from curious onlookers without so much as stirring in her web, on the Fateful Morning when I lifted the rusted water meter cover, she immediately began to run...

but you can't outrun Death, or Raid, and soon the deadly dark jewel of an arachnid writhed among the cast-off silk strands and insect corpses of her own death-dealing, and, with merciful speed, writhed no more. Before spraying I apologized and said a mantra a couple of times, so the black widow might have a good rebirth... which maybe she's had by now, two weeks hence--maybe her nimble legs now twitch in a finch's egg or amble their obedient way through ant tunnels... maybe her little dandelion soul blew over the road and over dusty vacant lots into a gray silk sac between fence wires, from which scores of baby spiders now burst into summer's fireball birth...

some to die in a day, some to spin webs of their own, some to mother the next meteor-spray of spiderlets to spread silk throughout the land... to adorn branches and fences with deadly, lovely strands... to weave the future...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On the Preservation of Life

Psychedelic non-Asian religious art
"Gimme a break, Dalai Lama," squeaked my co-worker as I captured the spider in the Styrofoam cup and whisked it towards the door, towards freedom and safety.

The co-worker and I had both recently seen Brad Pitt as Heinrich Harrer in
Seven Years in Tibet--let's get the monks to do zomezing induztriouz und blonde, like digging a ditch! But--nooooo, the pajama boys work in slo-mo lest their spades bisect a worm. That's the stereotypical Buddhist ethic, and though I am not a Buddhist I'm often confused with one since I follow one of Those Eastern Religions Where They Chant, Worship Psychedelic Posters, and Don't Kill Anything.

And I do try not to kill anything...though I am too literal-minded to be a vegetarian:
I didn't snuff the chicken (nugget) or imprison the (veal) calf. My non-killing includes spiders and all manner of bugs and, yes-- worms, even the maggot that crawled out of the bird that Sophia, her son, and I buried after it had, a couple of days earlier, collided with a shed window. I mourned for the little fly larva's dislocation into a harsh new world of non-bird-innards; I worried that it would starve.

My non-killing is arguably not even a religious tic, since I've always been this way. I felt bad for bugs even as a kid--but no, not
always--since I do remember a time when, armed with my clear plastic bug-catcher, I scoured the grasses and shrubs in search of the velvet ant, the eyed elater, the wheel bug, only to clap the lid on when I found them and leave them in not-so-benign neglect until they perished.

How old was I then? 4, 5, 6--yet at some point in my childhood I remember a thought-tide that soaked me:
the old ways are wrong (was I 8?)... the bugs have to go free, and that the older kids who stomped on puffer fish they pulled up from crab traps were another, savage species. And that non-violent me has become "me," has replaced and superseded and overwritten all previous Kalibhaktas--and has made me feel pretty good about myself. I don't have to bear the guilt of the killers, but don't have to bear the silliness of the Vegans, either.

But becoming a part of Sophia's family is changing this. Her son, James, is 6 and at that bug-catching, stone-turning, frog-adopting age, the age of discovery. As his accomplice in many of his expeditions I've found myself faced with a choice: tell James to leave the caterpillar or the spider or the frog or the turtle alone (and interrupt his discovery of the world, his own search for the Mind underlying nature, and for his own Mind) or let him catch and maybe kill a worm or bug (and feel the guilt--but also feel the perspective, so speciesist but so irresistible: what is the life of one worm for a moment in the awakening of one boy?).

To embrace God is to embrace death, as part of the Plan, and for me it is also to embrace the awakening Self within everyone... the Self that stumbles over its alphabet until one day it can read
Five Little Ducks with no help; the Self that wonders why we must die; the self in whose inner Smithsonian resides a discarded chicken bone found in the Target parking lot...the Self who grows beyond childish things to see the Light beyond its inner horizon, the opening Eye in the triangle of the heart.

I don't mean to romanticize childhood (or death...or God...)...not that they need romanticizing... but James is my teacher in his approach to the creation, which he approaches
as a creation: why this? why that? --as if there are whys, which the 25-year-old me scoffed at but the 44-year-old me knows to be true. There are whys, and we're here to find them and because them, to discover and inhabit them. Chaos theory tells us that you can't unscramble an egg, and common sense tells us that to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs... and the dead face a better, evolutionary future, the Gita and other scriptures tell us... the dead bug and the dead Myanmar flood victim...and this may not make death any happier an occasion, but it shows us death's true role: Creator, Mother of beauty... James's awakening to his place in the world can only take place in the world, and the world, famously, notoriously, is soaked in death, soaked in the twinned essences of its bursting and withering blossoms, its knowing and unknowing leaves, its red and black, and sun and moon, and sex and death flowers...its cocoons and webs.

But who can know any of this? Who can know a cosmos without touching, without catching, without imprisoning or capturing some part of it, some part to compare to one's heart, some speck to press to the cheek of our intuition and feel its pulse, its kinship? We should let it go, lest it die, but our lives depend on the deaths of others, our histories as species or individuals rest upon mountains of dead...and we want to live and so we try to care for the worms, the spiders...the black widow Sophia let alone, that one that dwells in the water-meter cave in her front yard--she ordered Jim to steer clear and surely he will (the meter's also guarded by fire ants)... the web of danger, of mystery: our longing to embrace the world, our fear of being embraced...our deep sense that our life, our dear, close heartbeat, is but a brief breeze in some limitless sky.

(P.S. And now Sophia tells me that the meter reader will kill the black widow the next time he comes...and that she almost went out and got it... oh my god, the humanity-- or arachnidity, I guess... I'm reminded of the time--surely I blogged about this?? --
early one morning driving through north Texas, a not-yet-fully-launched radio station playing "Feliz Navidad" over and over and over though it was June, and the mist rising over the highway, and as far as the eye could see: turtles, turtles in their dozens and hundreds, each creeping across the road that was filling up with more and more cars, and thus more and more potentially crushed and suffering reptiles. I wanted to save every last turtle, and I squirmed in my seat as the car rushed on, but there was literally a turtle every few feet, and the road stretched for miles... there was no saving them even for a squadron of do-gooders. Eventually my Al-Anon kicked in and I understood: I am not responsible for every turtle in Texas; each of them has its own fate, as do I, each of us a star with its own path, twinkling in life or in death in the body of our great Mother Sky... )

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

As Above, So Below

Science Daily: "Brain Waves Pattern Themselves After Rhythms of Nature."
Math dude: Consciousness = chaos...hallucination is to "reality" as branch is to root.

Online Dreammachine:

yours truly has been fantasizing about this since I first got a personal computer, back in the day of the 286. Fractint became WinFract became Fractal eXtreme, and lo, still there was no virtual Dreammachine...until now. And it do have to sit close to the monitor, and other details of set and setting doubtless apply (I first used it while blasting The Who By Numbers and sipping absinthe; think, rather, Out of Stillness, yogic breathing, and incense...).

One morning in my youth I was riding a train, had been up all night on ginkgo and gotu kola, reading Nicole Brossard (talk about set and setting!) and I closed my eyes in exhaustion just in time for the train to enter a forest and the sun to fragment itself into limitless flashing daggers speeding between the trees...the light-play resolved itself variously into sea-waves and peacock feathers--an entire visual field of Krishna's peacock feathers elaborating themselves into flames of thought footnoting Nicole's Lovhers... it was Her, calling...

Friday, April 18, 2008

At Last--a Fractal Approach to Evolution

This interview is very exciting, and it's followed by some good links.

Sample quotes: "Scientists usually study natural selection at a single level, such as genes or individuals or even a population...but it takes place at all these levels simultaneously, and what happens at each scale resonates through the web of life..."

"Neo-Darwinian evolution isn't fixated at one level. It's being applied at different levels -- but in a given study, only at one level. There's been arguments: Dawkins argues that it happens at the gene, others at the level of individuals, and others at the level of species -- but there's now more of a growing consensus that it happens at all these different levels, and we don't understand how that comes about."

"When you get into the notion of different levels, you deal with problem of selection at different time scales -- for instance, when you talk about a particular individual, it's about what happens during their lifetime. They either make or don't make children. When you talk about human populations and human dynamics ... what's the time scale over which selection is happening there? It's not individual anymore. It's a longer scale altogether.... What time scales are relevant? It seems you end up with lots of different possible time scales. How do you unify all these different mechanisms taking place? And why are there all these different levels? That's the fundamental thing that makes life complex. And those points aren't accounted for by Darwinian evolution."

I've said before on this blog that, in my Crackpot Theory of Everything, evolution is the primary spiritual and physical mode of expression, the Divine Mother's signature in four-dimensional space. I remember fondly and with only a little embarrassment talking with one of my co-workers about creationism, and my talking turned into a mini-rant and I spurted out something like "So you have these chemical processes that give rise to amino acids that resolve themselves into photosynthetic organisms which, over countless millennia, become thinking entities that are able to uncover and reflect upon their own ultimate origins. That is the greatest story ever told!"

Ancient seers told this story, too; is it naive to think that the quantitative and visionary accounts are two groping hands each with their peculiar purchase on the elephant?

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Drab, Euclidean Underpinnings of Atheist Thought

Richard Dawkins writes: "Intelligent, creative, complex, statistically improbable things come late into the universe, as the product of evolution or some other process of gradual escalation from simple beginnings. They come late into the universe and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it."

Two problems:

1. Why say that anyOne went to the trouble of "designing it"? Replace this Attic notion of agency with a more cybernetic, self-organizing framework and all watchmaker quibbles evaporate.

2. Who says complexity must arise from complexity? Here the venerable don sounds like a creationist! Kali's secret name is z2 + c.

Milton's Muse

From a very nice hosanna to Milton in the Guardian:

In the second and third personal interventions in Paradise Lost, he talks of how he has fallen on "evil days" and "evil tongues" and is surrounded by dangers, but in spite of this is able to receive his "celestial patroness" or, as he called her, his Christian muse, Urania. She comes to him sometimes early in the morning, sometimes in the night, when she "dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires / Easy my unpremeditated verse."

The extraordinary claim that he takes his verses as dictation from a celestial being establishes his unshakable belief in himself against the disparagement of his enemies. Singled out from above in this way, he was all the same sensible enough to edit his heavenly Muse. After dictating what she had given him, and he had memorised, to one of the friends or assistants who came to write for him, he set about cutting extensively, and revising. Did he really believe in Urania and her night-time visits? No doubt he believed with one part of his mind. She may have hovered between allegory and symbol, among other inhabitants of his imagination, bright seraphim with angel trumpets, gloomy Dis who ruled the underworld, wood and mountain nymphs, Pan, Apollo and Robin Goodfellow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beautiful Blog Post

From Patricia Bralley... "God is peering through right now... In this moment."

My Crackpot Theory of Everything

I don't have the whole thing yet, elaborated fully into all its geometrical, ethical, world-historical, metaphysical, and nutritional aspects...but I'm workin' on it. Not workin' all that hard, I'll admit, but...I think about it once in a while.

The Crackpot Theory of Everything seems to be a stage each of us must go through at some point, in some incarnation or other, as we walk the spiritual path. It's even part of certain systems, like the A.A. is part of the long slog towards the B.S., so to speak. I certainly haven't the slightest wish to be "the leader of a school of thought" and I must not be all that far towards my own mystical B.S. degree since I have no "proposals for [the Universe's] welfare and progress" seems to be progressing just fine on its own (this progress, in fact, which my CTE conflates with evolution and divine entelechy, is central to the forthcoming
Kalibhakta Explains Everything [Llewellyn Press, 2012]).

These musings are prompted by a skim of a summary of Yeats's
A Vision, the poet's CTE and considered by him his finest work, all those lake isles and rough beasts notwithstanding. Do you have to have hallucinations of grandeur to concoct a CTE? Well, get this, from the mouth of the bard: "I send you the introduction of a book which will, when finished, proclaim a new divinity." (Imagine how he'd brag if he'd just written Chess for Dummies!) Admittedly, Yeats is writing at a remove from himself; he cloaked A Vision within a frame tale in which a white male (of course) travels to The East (of course) to uncover a complex (of course) system of hidden (of course) knowledge. Kalibhakta (of course) is interested in it because a) it's weird and b) it involves Yeats's own theory of the Holy Guardian Angel--that Being of psychological or spiritual or archetypal origin Who hath appear'd in many guises throughout time, from Sumerian spirit guides to WiHW's dynamic co-star, Laura (artist's conception above).

I'm sure I can be more, er, scientifique than Yeats, right? I mean, it's 2008! Vive la pocket protector! You got your Supreme Architect of the Universe, Who reveals Herself in Her unfolding (creation + how we perceive/imagine it), becoming, for those who recognize Her, the Source of Love and Joy-- the very love and joy She uses to call us to consciousness of Her and awaken our inner light, thus mirroring on the micro scale the evolution of the entire species, Universe, Multiverse... each positron and "random" event actually a point in Her Mandelbrot Set of self-revelation... well, that's a little abstract, but... OK, how about this: everything you see around you manifests divine Intelligence and Will, but none of it makes sense until you put it together for yourself-- assemble the pieces into your personal catechism or CTE...
but you lose the game if you get too attached to your want the game you're playing with Deep Black to be an Evergreen.

So lemme see... the Goddess! Angels! The Grail! Eastern tantra! Western tantra! Isis! Eleusis! Chaos! Self-organization! Hypnagogia... paranomasia... elephantoplasty...! A dollop of Engelbreitian Splenda! A smattering of dark elegance!

That's the blurb-in-progress...