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Calls for contributions to journals and books – ESSE

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Mar 232016

Film adaptations of Victorian and Edwardian Novels and Short Stories Cahiers victoriens et douardiens 82 Deadline for proposals: 31 December 2015

Chief editor: Luc Bouvard The reasons for the great success of Victorian and Edwardian novels for producers, screenwriters, film directors, actors and spectators are many. The first that comes to mind is the international popularity of the source materials from Wuthering Heights to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde through Tess or Howards End. The other reasons for this predestination of Victorian and Edwardian texts to be adapted to the big or small screen are now well known: theatrical adaptations previous to film; Eisensteins theory according to which such a novelist as Dickens could have invented the fundamentals of cinema; the novelists (such as Conrad) and directors (such as Griffith) common wish to make the reader and spectator see what they have imagined; the importance of illustrations accompanying those texts. Adapters have a vast range of possibilities from the most faithful transpositions in mini-series, which the BBC still deems a viable and advisable model, to the substantial changes in space-time contextualisations (21st-century South Africa or Toronto for new versions of Oliver Twist for instance), through to stunning modifications concerning the ending or the moral of the story. These alterations are to be considered as the visible tip of the adaptive iceberg. There are in fact many different ways of revisiting the source texts and it is the aim of this new volume to allow new analyses to emerge. Contributions could focus on the newly acquired type of gender relationships (feminist and neo-feminist approaches), on the space-or time-shifts from hypo- to hyper-texts (cultural studies) or on a new narratological point of view in the transposition process (narratological and intermedial studies). Comparing and ranking adaptations according to their fidelity to the source text is really not on the agenda and simply accounting for what has been lost or gained in the adaptation process is not enough, but rather a close analysis of what the interpreting third party has wished to throw into relief will be necessary. Thanks to the processes of renewal, critique, extrapolation, popularization, transculturalization (Robert Stam), this appropriation will be seen from the more positive angle of the inflections brought to the initial text and of the renewed relevance of the work and its authors ideas and preoccupations, thus avoiding fixation and museification. In the introduction to her book Adaptation Revisited (2002), Sarah Cardwell drew a parallel between the Darwinian definition of the term adaptation and the film and television adaptive practices, thus suggesting that one had to adapt or perish. If the well-known reception theory may also be used, we shall most particularly encourage more recent intermedial types of analysis. The studies may be grounded in McFarlanes 1995 neo-structuralist comparative methodology, in Sarah Cardwells 2002 pluralist approach as well as in Linda Hutcheons fundamental 2006 A Theory of Adaptation. Finally, the cross-fertilization between cinema and the other arts (intericonicity) and interfilmicity itself may also be useful to sustain these analyses. Suggested bibliography : CARDWELL, Sarah. Adaptation Revisited: Television and the Classic Novel. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002. ELSAESSER, Thomas & Malte HAGENER. Film Theory. An Introduction Through the Senses. Routledge, 2009. HUTCHEON, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. 2nd revised edition. London: Routledge, 2012. MCFARLANE, Brian. Novel to Film: An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. Oxford: OUP, 1996. NAREMORE, James (ed.). Film Adaptation. London: The Athlone Press, 2000. STAM, Robert and Allesandra RAENGO. Literature and Film; A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. Please send your submissions to Deadline for submissions : December 31st 2015.

(posted 4 September 2015)

This issue of Imaginaires will be dedicated to the study of British women travellers in the East, their accounts, their stories and their lives. The approach will be transversal (historical, sociological, literary). The orientalists, who were translators, adventurers, archaeologists, artists or writers embarked on the Oriental adventure, broke off their ties with their native country; some joined the secrets services and others decided to remain in the East. A few women took part in this mainly masculine circle, some were wives or sisters, and others only in search of adventure as artists or travellers.

To what extent were these women seeking independence, leaving and sometimes renouncing the West? What kind of discourse did these Westerners adopt facing the Orient? Did the orientalist vision reflect incomprehension, blindness, or envy and curiosity? This issue of Imaginaires seeks to reflect on these British women, from the XVIIIth to the XXth century, who experienced an Oriental adventure and were transformed by this elsewhere. What kind of voice did they choose? How did they look at this Other? And what description did they give of Oriental women? What did they see in the mirror of the Orient? What kind of Oriental experience did they have? What were their travelling conditions? In this issue, we exclude the Far East. We propose to explore the lives of these women, cut off from the Western society, who fled the British institutions, the class system and the strictness of English morals, in order to free themselves from a straightjacket. The word feminism, used at the end of the XIXth century, was associated with the protest movement of women and was often rejected by these travellers. However, these eccentric and free-minded women set themselves free thanks to their travels. Some lines are suggested in this study: Literature and exile. The Foucaldian dialectics of Knowledge and Power. The in-between state. The concept of nomadism introduced by Gilles Deleuze. Orientalism and imperialism in Edward Saids founding works. Feminism. The studies will go from travel stories and letters to biographies. They will also include the works of these women (translations, studies, archaeological discoveries, paintings, photographs). Various aspects of the Orient sometimes a reason for escape, sometimes an attraction toward the Other will be questioned. These orientalist visions could give rise to various micro-analyses. What is, in the end, these womens point of view?

Imaginaires is the review of the CIRLEP (Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches sur les Langues et la Pense), at the university of Reims. Please send your abstracts, in English or French, accompanied by a short biographical note by January 15th 2016 to: Laurence Chamlou

(posted 7 October 2015)

Editors: David Banks (Universit de Bretagne Occidentale), Emilia Di Martino (Universit di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa)

Communication of science to the general public is progressively more often recognized as an equally crucial responsibility of scientists to research, and scientific writing is being looked upon as public discourse to an increasing extent. However, while scientists are explicitly taught research methodologies, they mostly seem to be expected to naturally acquire the ability to communicate with other scientists, and they usually receive inadequate explicit training and do not seem to easily develop the skills needed to communicate scientific concepts to lay audiences. The present collection of papers, which will be submitted to a journal in linguistics once a suitable number of high quality submissions has been reached, aims to discuss the linguistic and discourse issues of contemporary scientific communication in light of recent views on the role and functions of science and scientists in society with the aim of practically contributing both to its advancement and to broad dissemination. Contributions are solicited that address the interface between language and science or amongst language, science and education, particularly approaching it via such methodologies as genre analysis, discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis and multimodal analysis.

Topics of interest may include (but are not limited to) the following: The historical development of scientific discourse; Scientific discourse and its context; Aspects of contemporary scientific discourse; Scientific writing as public discourse; Strategies for the communication of uncertainty; English in scientific knowledge construction and local hybridizing practices; The place of translating in science communication; Authorship, identity and genre; Language and peer review; Content and Language Integrated Learning: linguistic implications.

Select Bibliography Alastru Ramn Plo, Prez-Llantada Carmen (eds.), English as a Scientific and Research Language. Debates and Discourses English in Europe, Vol. 2, De Gruyter Mouton, 2015 Banks David, The Development of Scientific Writing. Linguistic Features and Historical Context, Equinox, 2008 Bauer, Martin W., The Evolution of Public Understanding of Science. Discourse and Comparative Evidence, Science, Technology and Society, Vol. 14, No 2, 2009, pp. 221-240 Curry Mary Jane, Hanauer David I. (eds.), Language, Literacy, and Learning in STEM Education: Research Methods and Perspectives from Applied Linguistics, John Benjamins 2014 Halliday, M.A.K. (ed. Jonathan J; Webster), The Language of Science, Continuum, 2004. Kueffer Christoph, Larson Brendon M.H., Responsible Use of Language in Scientific Writing and Science Communication, BioScience, Vol. 64, No 8, 2014, pp.719-724 Prez-Llantada Carmen, Scientific Discourse and the Rhetoric of Globalization: The Impact of Culture and Language, Continuum, 2012 Wallace, Carolyn S., Framing New Research in Science Literacy and Language Use: Authenticity, Multiple Discourses, and the Third Space’, Science Education, Vol. 88, No 6, November 2004, pp. 901914 Winter Stephan, Krmer Nicole C., Rsner Leonie, Neubaum German, Dont Keep It (Too) Simple. How Textual Representations of Scientific Uncertainty Affect Laypersons Attitudes, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Vol. 34, No 3, June 2015, pp. 251-272 Yore Larry D., Marilyn K. Florence, Terry W. Pearson, Andrew J. Weaver, Written Discourse in Scientific Communities: A conversation with two scientists about their views of science, use of language, role of writing in doing science, and compatibility between their epistemic views and language, International Journal of Science Education, Vol. 28, Nos 23, 15 February 2006, pp. 109141

Please send a 300-word abstract by 15 January 2016 (new extended deadline) to:

(posted 3 January 2016)

A collection of essays. Editors: Merritt Moseley (University of North Carolina, Asheville), Dieter Fuchs (Vienna University), Wojciech Klepuszewski (Koszalin University of Technology)

Kingsley Amis is predominantly famous for Lucky Jim, published in 1954, which remains a much-cherished classic, reprinted regularly and translated into many languages. This was, in fact, Amiss first published novel, as prior to writing Lucky Jim, he had written The Legacy, which remained unpublished. It seems that the title of his first, and failed, literary attempt, paradoxically heralded a long literary career, with a whole range of novels, poems, short stories, non-fiction, and other works. As a result, two decades after Kingsley Amiss death, we can reflect upon the legacy of one of the most distinguished English writers of the 20th century. Much has been written about Kingsley Amis and his oeuvre, be it in the form of numerous reviews, critical articles, and, most importantly, monographic volumes written by eminent scholars. What should also be mentioned are works of a biographical nature, the monumental biography and the edition of Amiss letters, both by Zachary Leader, being the case in point. However, Kingsley Amiss heritage is so rich and inspiring that there is still room for scholarly and critical analysis, room to discuss perspectives and voices. The aim of the volume is manifold and comprises predominantly Amiss literary works, all genres included, but also Amiss non-fiction, letters, and memoirs. A full picture of Amis and his achievement would not be comprehensive without including the people who influenced his life and works, such as his friend, Philip Larkin; his second wife, Jane Howard, also a writer; and his son, Martin Amis, who became an acclaimed writer himself. Possible areas comprise the following: -Amis as a poet -Amis and academic fiction -Amis in non-fiction -Amis and The Angry Young Men -Amis and women -Amis the critic -Amis in letters -The Bond Amis -Amis in film -Amis and friends -Amis and America -Amis and son -Amis on Amis -Amis in translation -Amis and SF -Amis and crime fiction -Amis on ageing -Amis on drink -Amis and politics -Amis in biographies -Amis and the English language However, any relevant contribution in the context of Kingsley Amis, his life and his works, is most welcome.

Please send a short proposal by 30 January and

(posted 12 November 2015)

An edited volume. Editors: gnes Gyrke, Senior Lecturer, University of Debrecen, Department of British Studies Imola Blgzdi, Senior Lecturer, University of Debrecen, North American Department

Affect studies has emerged as one of the most productive fields of analysis since the turn of the 21st century. Following in the footsteps of Teresa Brennan and Eve Kosofky Sedgwick, for instance, a number of scholars have explored the function of affect and emotion in literature, culture and social life. Relying on psychoanalytical as well as social theories, the affective turn has contributed to cultural studies in many ways: books focusing on gender, emotional politics, transnationalism, the moving image, political engagement and leadership theories from the perspective of emotion, empathy and affect were published, among many other studies that investigate the role of emotion in social life. Few critics, however, have investigated the intersections of emotion and location, particularly, urban space, in literary and visual texts. Henri Lefebvre has famously claimed that space expresses social relations, but does it also express emotional geographies? Can we talk about an urban sensitivity, as Heiko Schmid assumes, which provides a more sophisticated framework for city studies than Georg Simmels famous notion of the blas attitude, for instance? Can we read the moving image as a map that connects affects and space?

Our volume aims to explore these issues: we invite papers that investigate the affective dimensions of space in various post-1945 cultural contexts. We are particularly interested in comparative and cross-geographical analyses and encourage contributors to focus on the emotional geographies of iconic cities. Contributors are invited to explore one of the following themes: East-Central Europe as textual and spatial boundary Translocal empathy The place of trauma and aggression Urban geographies of sexuality Desire, utopia and the city Emotional border crossings Crime, guilt and the city Emotional geography of eating practices Obsession, addiction and city life Nostalgia and urban memory Marginalisation, exclusion and the city

Proposals are welcomed for papers within the field of literature, film, music, and the visual arts. Abstracts of no more than 500 words are due by January 30, 2016 and notification of selection will be made by February 15, 2016. Final papers of 7000-8000 words are due by May 30, 2016. Please send the abstract and your CV of no more than 3 pages to and

For more information on the Gender, Translocality and the City Research Group follow the link:

(posted 27 November 2015)

Western thinkers have long been fascinated by the possibility of creating new forms of organic and inorganic life. In Plato, Homer and Aristotle we read of the living bronze and gold statues modelled by the master craftsman Daedalus and the divine blacksmith Hephaestus, while in Ovids tales it is Pygmalion that fashions himself an ivory girl to love. Marking the beginnings of science fiction, Mary Shelleys Frankenstein imbues a patchwork monster with the breath of life, a fictional Thomas Edison creates what he believes to be the perfect female android in Tomorrows Eve, and in Karel apeks play from 1920, the Rossum factory churns out hundreds of thousands of robots that are indistinguishable from human beings. Influenced by Darwins revolutionary understanding of the notion of species and evolutionary change, other writers chose to turn their attention towards the human species itself and began to reflect on the possible evolution of the human into new forms of being. H.G. Wells contemplated the possible degeneration of man into creatures that descended from, but could no longer be recognised as, human, while in The Coming Race Edward Bulwer-Lytton created an elaborate fictional world in which mankind is succeeded by highly-technologised creatures whose capabilities far exceed those of Homo sapiens. In their dreams of extending the experience of human life to objects that were previously inanimate and in their portrayal of mankind as containing the germs of its own otherness, these texts disturb essentialist conceptions of the human and pre-empt our contemporary fascination with the figure of the posthuman.

Over recent decades several theorists have utilised the notion of the posthuman to describe a new phase in the history of humanity one that has evolved out of mans extended relationship with technology. In her now famous Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway describes a new form of life emerging out of the congress of man and machine; a joint kinship that defies the perceived boundaries between the organic and the inorganic, the human and the non-human. N. Katherine Hayles, meanwhile, argues that the human is being transformed into an amalgam, a collection of heterogeneous components, a material-informational entity whose boundaries undergo continuous construction and reconstruction (How we Became Posthuman). Under the banner of transhumanism, other thinkers have foretold of the coming of a technological singularity that will utterly transform the nature of the human species.

In distinction to these visions of the post or after of the human, a number of other theorists have chosen to use posthumanism to investigate more specifically how our perception of the human has been transformed and to recognise that what we have defined as human has always been inherently other. Whereas some theorists have chosen to write about a post- to the human, others have sought to articulate what they conceive of as the post- of humanism. Bringing these two positions together, the notion of the posthuman prompts us to think of that which comes after the human or humanism, while also inviting us to look back upon the evolution of the human, of language and of technology, or, as Cary Wolfe describes it, the prosthetic coevolution of the human animal with the technicity of tools and external archival mechanism [] all of which comes before that historically specific thing called the human (What Is Posthumanism?).

Marked by a curious temporality, the posthuman comes both before and after (What Is Posthumanism?; my italics) the human and humanism and prompts us to look backwards and forwards to our past and our possible futures. The title of this journal issue adds one more layer to this temporal deferral, inviting contributors to think about how contemporary theories of the posthuman are pre-empted by philosophical, literary and scientific works from earlier periods. Contributors are invited to look back upon works from the past that project themselves into imagined futures, other past texts that in their old age reveal the germinal roots of a more contemporary understanding of the human, or perhaps contemporary texts that seek to inscribe the posthuman into our human past.

In one sense, then, this issue seeks to explore a genealogy of posthumanism, tracing its roots and origins into the past. In addition, however, it invites us to question the very notion of genealogy itself. The conflation of the two prefixes proto and post may be understood as an invitation to reflect more closely on how the temporal ambiguity opened up by our use of the term posthumanism is inherent to any possible thinking of it. According to R. L. Rutsky, the posthuman cannot simply be identified as a culture or age that comes after the human, for the very idea of such a passage, however measured or qualified it may be, continues to rely upon a humanist narrative of historical change (Mutation, History and Fantasy in the Posthuman). If one is to truly speak of or speak as the posthuman, then this must necessarily entail a new understanding of time and history. By drawing attention to the strange temporality of a post that is always already a proto and a proto that is always already a post the title to this issue urges us to rethink the very notions of human temporality, evolution, history and genealogy.

We invite contributions related, but not limited to, the following: Past literary, philosophical, religious and scientific texts that speak of the future of the human, the possibility of human obsolescence, or, indeed, the promise of a higher order of human being; Philosophical, literary and scientific works whose representation of the human pre-empts that of current posthumanist thought; Contemporary texts that seek to rewrite or reinterpret the past through the lens of posthumanism; Explorations of how the origins of the human species, of technology, and of language may be rethought through understandings of posthumanism; A rethinking of the notions of temporality, evolution, genealogy and history from the perspective of posthumanism. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches, ranging across critical theory, literary and cultural studies, linguistics, as well as other disciplines in the humanities and the sciences. Contributors are advised to follow the journals submission guidelines and stylesheet. The deadline for abstract submission is January 31, 2016. Please send 1,000 word proposals to the editor of the volume who will answer any queries you may have. Articles selected for publication must be submitted by April 30, 2016. All submitted articles will be blind-refereed except when invited. Accepted articles will be returned for post-review revisions by June 30, 2016, and will be expected back in their final version by September 30, 2016 at the latest. Proposals and articles should be sent as attachments to

(posted 25 March 2015)

It has been sixty years since Lolita first appeared in its green-clad double volume in 1955 in Paris, published by Maurice Girodias (Olympia Press). During those six decades, the nymphet that Nabokov carved out of American poshlust made her way through all the clichs of magazines and tabloids, but also through the history of literature and the history of language (one can now look up the noun Lolita in dictionaries). Lolita also shaped a very specific way of being a reader, mainly because of its intertextual layering which plays with the stereotypes of Romantic poetry and detective novels, and because of its very unique narrative stance and traps. This way of being a reader has in its turn influenced writers, as can be traced in the novels numerous ripples in contemporary literature.

Yet, what could one hope to say about Lolita that has not been said in six decades of criticism, annotations and commentaries? As Brian Boyd states in his 2008 essay Lolita: What We Know and What We Dont (Cycnos, Volume 24 n1), critics have probably not yet unraveled all the threads of the delicate and intricate weave of the text: There is much, much more we need to learn about Lolita, Boyd claims.

This publication in Miranda (a peer-reviewed e-journal, following the double blind review standard) edited by the French Vladimir Nabokov Society thus offers to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Lolita with papers focusing on new readings or elements of research so far unknown or not yet exploited by critics. Contributors are invited to explore the following aspects, provided they deliver fresh elements and/or analyses: the context and history of the composition, publication and translation(s) of the book throughout the world; the reception of the novel throughout the years: censorship, misreadings, and (mis)appropriations of the nymphet figure in popular culture; resurgences and re-uses of the novels plot, characterization, or narrative stance in contemporary literature; any other unstudied or under-analyzed aspect of the text (annotation and interpretation of a specific motif, or of a large-scale feature).

Paper proposals must be submitted by January 31, 2016 at the latest. Participants will be notified by February 15, 2016 whether their proposal was accepted. Completed papers will be due at the latest on May 31, 2016, so that the double-blind peer-reviewing process can begin. Important: please note that acceptance of a proposal does not necessarily entail its publication, since the final publication in Miranda will depend upon the peer-reviewing procedure. 500-word proposals accompanied by a short bio should be sent to by January 31, 2016.

(posted 30 November 2015)

We welcome articles that focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics: Topics and areas for research that may be covered will therefore take into consideration: Theoretical and methodological openings and perspectives Convergences between literary texts and artistic media: hybridization and duality Literary creation arising from an extraliterary artistic element Works of art as mediators for writers The signifiers of artistic media within a literary text Other related topics proposed by those who wish to collaborate in the volume will be seriously evaluated by the Scientific Committee, in order to expand the exploration undertaken in the current issue of the Journal.

Submission Guidelines. If you are interested in contributing please submit an abstract (min. 10/max. 20 lines) and a short Curriculum Vitae by February 1st, 2016 to Authors will be notified by February 19th, 2016 and each accepted paper will have to be submitted (in either Italian, English or French) by June 1st, 2016. All contributions will be subject to a double blind peer review.

The issue, edited by Prof. Lorenzo Finocchi Ghersi and Dr. Laura Gilli, will be published in December 2016. Read the full call for papers.

(posted 30 September 2015)

The Journal of Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes announces the call for papers for the first 2016 special issue: ESP in Iran. The focus is on representing rich and diverse practice and research of English for Specific and Academic Purposes and the related fields. We hope to present the exquisite, scholarly work conducted in this country, which at the same time encompasses the specifics of the given environment, yet transcends it to universally applicable teaching and learning skills in this particularly demanding field of ELT. We invite scholars affiliated with institutions in Iran and elsewhere with the hands-on experience or research related to Iran, to contribute to this issue. The guidelines for contributions are available on the Journal website. The call for papers will be open until February 1st, 2016. It is our intention and hope that issues like this one will become our regular practice in our attempt to thoroughly represent this ever growing, ever more relevant, and already enormously rich area of language study.

Special issue editors: Reza Dashtestani (University of Tehran, Iran) Seyed Mohammad Alavi (University of Tehran, Iran) Majid Nemati (University of Tehran, Iran) Nadeda Stojkovi, Editor-in-Chief

(posted 30 November 2015)

The wonder opened up elsewhere. The things we dont do. Andres Neuman, The Things We Dont Do, The Paris Review (Summer 2015), 207-208 (p.208).

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth See The Road Not Taken, in Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken and Other Poems (New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1993), p. 1

Thanks to consciousness, am I not at all times elsewhere from where I am, always master of the other and capable of something else? Yes, this is true, but this is also our sorrow. Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. by Ann Smock (Lincoln, NE, and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), p. 134

Find a map and spread it out on your desk. Close your eyes and pick a random spot. Open your eyes and find out whether the place you picked is any better than where you are now. The chances are it isnt, and yet, to think of elsewhere often comes with the unspoken addendum, anywhere but here. And of course, elsewhere is so appealing because of the implicit promise that, elsewhere, there must be something else. To want to leave here is to ask: Is this all there is? Is there nothing else? But this desire or demand can be easily disappointed, either because elsewhere is always inaccessible, or because (and this is not necessarily different), once we are elsewhere, it becomes here.

Though often associated with suspended desire, elsewhere can also, contrarily, be an undesirable possibility kept at bay on purpose, if not an impending peril threatening to defamiliarise the here and now. Our fears and anxieties of what is not (yet) here, however, can become familiar to the extent that they are no less real than what is here already. This is not always a thing of terror. If elsewhere can be the unmappable dreamscape for fantasy and whimsy, the forever-delayed escape, elsewhere can also be a very real and habitable place. If we combine temporal and spatial coordinates, we might find ourselves thinking of someone, somewherehow can the world contain so many lives? Jeffrey Eugenides asks. It is rather extraordinary to consider, for a minute, how life necessarily entails simultaneous, parallel, but entirely separate existences, to the point of mutual affirmation. And for each here, there is at least one elsewhere-and all this in one single world. Elsewhere can be both a testimony to potential and possibility, as well as to the disappointment that there is nothing else. Because elsewhere should, by definition, be other than what is there, its already precarious existence depends entirely on the binary formula of which it is part. The term elsewhere must, a priori, be evasive. Otherwise, why would we be interested in it in the first place? And what can be more appealing than elsewhere and otherwise? Conversely, here is definite and definitive. Where else can we be but here? If we were to follow the vague direction of elsewhere, we would never be able to get there. Where is elsewhere? Nowhere, or at least, nowhere in particular. And so elsewhere opens up the possibility of possibilities, while itself being impossible. What is this impossible heterotopia, and what are its possibilities? It can be Thomas Mores Utopia, or it could be George Orwells or Margaret Atwoods dystopias. But must one only imagine elsewhere? To return to maps, elsewhere is Africa, what was to Marlows imagination the biggest, the most blank of blank spaces, ready to be made here. Or perhaps elsewhere is the orient as presented in Forster, where Indias a muddle. Novels like Things Fall Apart may evidence the violence of transposing elsewhere. The reality of elsewhere, then, seems also to place an ethical onus on both the notion of elsewhere. And what happens when people from elsewhere come here, as with immigration? Is not their anxiety of displacement simultaneously ours as well? Can elsewhere be demarcated by political borders? If not, is travel and travel-writing even possible, in going from here to here? Elsewhere is another culture. The vagabond, the wanderer, the peripatetic, itinerant, nomadichow do these figures problematise ideals of settling down into a here and now? Elsewhere is another now in another time. Can biography, history, or archaeology grasp the elsewhere, and how do they do it? It is the future, too, one we so often meet in fiction, what we realise is not yet present. But is fiction the elsewhere of what is real, or is it its essence? Where exactly are the other worlds presented in science fiction and fantasy, and are they further from the other worlds of Jane Austen or Franz Kafka? What is a parallel universe, and is fiction here, between the covers of this book? Where else? How far can we stretch the notion of elsewhere? How far does elsewhere extend? And conversely, how local, inward and internalised can elsewhere be? Elsewhere is another feeling. Perhaps all one needs to do is to think otherwise than being. Who is elsewise? Is it the other gender, the other race, the other religion, the other demographic? Elsewhere sometimes speaks back, its discourse being reverse. Is elsewhere only what is different to the same, or am I also, biologically, psychologically, temporally, philosophically, other to myself? Arguably, you can be elsewhere right here, just a pill away, from the elsewhere of illness to the here of well-being, or from boredom to ecstasy and back. So how close is elsewhere, really? In todays world, elsewhere can be very close indeed, as far as the closest cinema. How does film, in all its manifestations from documentary to detective drama, represent other places, other scenarios? Elsewhere can be even closer, as the clicking shutter of a camera. Is photography a representation of elsewhere, or itself? Elsewhere can be at your hands right now: is going to a different website going elsewhere? What about video games? Is the person you are chatting with online elsewhere, just as you are? With GoogleMapsTM perhaps just one click away, what stops us from going to Brazil or Australia? And so, having come back to maps, we realise how elsewhere can sometimes encourage paralysis, simulate and situate inertia, so that, having gone everywhere, one has gone nowhere.

In light of the above, the editors of antae welcome submissions on or around the topic of elsewhere. The authorial guidelines are available on, and the deadline for submissions to is the 29th of February, 2016. Issues and topics relevant to this publication include, but are not limited to: Thinking Elsewhere: Alterity, Ethics, Existentialism, Phenomenology, Ontology and Ontologies Elsewhere on drugs Elsewhere in Postcolonial Studies Writing Time Elsewhere: Biography, History, Archaeology, determinism and fatalism, death Elsewhere and International Politics, migration, borders and displacement Writing Space Elsewhere: Travel Writing, Science Fiction, Fantasy, heterotopias, the exotic Digital Elsewhere: the other spaces of photography, the internet, gaming, technology Identities elsewhere: minorities, marginalisation, cultures, myself, friendship Elsewhere in Film Studies Elsewhere and love, among other feelings Quantum elsewhere: parallel universes, exoplanets, terraforming, fictions of space

antae is an international refereed postgraduate journal aimed at exploring current issues and debates within English Studies, with a particular interest in literature, criticism and their various contemporary interfaces. Set up in 2013 by postgraduate students in the Department of English at the University of Malta, it welcomes submissions situated across the interdisciplinary spaces provided by diverse forms and expressions within narrative, poetry, theatre, literary theory, cultural criticism, media studies, digital cultures, philosophy and language studies. Creative writing is also accepted.

(posted 18 November 2015)

The Human (issn: 2147-9739) is an international and interdisciplinary indexed journal that publishes articles written in the fields of literatures in English (British, American, Irish, etc.), classical and modern Turkish literature, drama studies, and comparative literature (where the pieces bridge literature of a country with Turkish literature). To learn more about The Human: Journal of Literature and Culture and its principles, please see our manifesto on this page:

The Human is now inviting submissions for a special issue to be published in June 2016. The special issue will be devoted to the performance of masculinities on film in all of its diverse forms and multiplicity of cultural, social and historical situations. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, as are treatments that deal with global (both Western and non-Western) film or that bridge East and West. Less-covered subjects are most welcome. Areas of inquiry can include documentary, feature film, short film, and/or animation, focusing attention on the visual landscape of masculinity in world cinema and exploring the social, political and economic value of masculinities within global film production. Successful submissions will demonstrate originality, rigor and persuasive argumentation. View further details on the journals website: call-for-works. Completed essays of 4500-5500 words should be submitted no later than March 1, 2016, to guest editors, Robert Mundy and Jane Collins at

(posted 9 October 2015)

Interactive, transmedial, multi-modal, adaptive, therapeutic or global, narratives have been revealing an extraordinary pervasiveness in the current scenario of literary and non-literary communication. As a consequence of the progressive and rapid broadening of the focus of research from the forms traditionally reputed as authoritative (like literature), to storytelling meant as a mode of thought, peculiarly characteristic of the human species, speculation about the act of narrating has been continuously enriched with contributions from various and different fields and disciplines. Not to neglect the analyses of the symbolic universe, of the processes of identity construction, of the various modes the Self shapes itself in relation to others.

On the theoretic side, for example, we are attending to a redefinition of narratology in the light of new methodologies of investigation and criticism, which take into consideration the discoveries of neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists and the new centrality conferred to the reader; studies are being developed which interpret original works in their potential for interaction with the user or for transcoding towards media different from native; possible answers are being investigated to the big question about the role narratives have played in the adaptive-evolutive process of the human species; hypotheses and speculations are being carried out about their impact on humans wellbeing and sociality.

Stirred by the new learned attention and by seven-digit sales, narrative production has been diversifying itself in countless blends of genre, with different modes of fruition and a gradient of potentials for immersive transportation into fictional worlds: from the fragmentation of fanfictions on the web to the unchallenged emerging of a dominant kind of global novel.

The first issue of Comparatismi, the official digital periodical of the Board of Literary Criticism and Compared Literature, aims at hosting contributes representing as widely as possible the current range of approaches to narrative thinking, both in theory and in the practice of criticism; including studies both in close and distant reading on the most significant narrative modes in the world today, in literature, advertising, life-stories, television serials, cinema and graphic novels.

Contributes, in the form of articles ready for publication and inclusive of an abstract, should be submitted within 31st March 2016, following the instructions available on this website (see Online submissions). The texts selected to be submitted to peer review will be notified within 15th April 2016. The articles accepted after reviewing will be published in June 2016. Submissions in languages other than Italian (preferably English, otherwise French) are encouraged and appreciated.

For further information, please write to Francesco Laurenti ( or to Stefano Ballerio (

You can read the call for papers and submit your proposals here:

(posted 22 January 2016)

Edited by Marie Ruiz (Universit Paris Diderot, LARCA)

Migration in the Victorian era has been identified as a paramount feature of the history of worldwide migrations and diasporas. Contrary to popular belief, the Victorian era was not only marked by an extensive exodus from Britain to the USA and the British colonies, but the Victorians also experienced a great degree of inward migration with the arrival of Catholic Irish, and oppressed Jews and Germans, among others. Inward, outward and internal movements were sometimes a response to economic hardships and employment opportunities, but this cannot solely explain the extent of international migrations in the Victorian era.

In the Victorian period, mass migration played a significant role in shaping the nations identity, as well as Britains relationships with the outside world. This raises the question of the impact of migrations on the Motherland, as the Victorian migration trends also attracted numerous immigrants and transmigrants, who ended up remaining in Britain rather than emigrating to the USA or the British colonies. Yet, while the origins of these immigrants and transmigrants are now difficult to trace, the question of their potential impact on the Victorian society needs to be addressed.

This edited volume aims at offering a global perspective on international migrations in the Victorian era including emigration, immigration and internal migration within Britain. Papers relating to the following themes, though not exclusively, are welcome:

350-word abstracts, along with short academic biographies, should be submitted to The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 1, 2016.

(posted 23 March 2016)

The first issue of the ESSE Messenger online (Volume 25, Issue 1, Summer 2016) will have Childrens literature as theme for professional articles.

Please note that contributions sent to the ESSE Messenger should observe the Editorial Code and the Stylesheet.

Proposals should be sent to Adrian Radu, editor of ESSE, by 1 May 2016

See the ESSE Messenger website.

(posted 1 February 2016)

Special Issue Editor: Matthew J. Smith

This special issue of Christianity & Literature furthers the journals aim to investigate the complex relations between literature, drama, and Christian thought and history by bringing a critical eye to sacramental reading to examine its limitations, unseen investments, and unexplored promises.

DESCRIPTION: A dominant theme of recent years turn to religion in English studies has been the sacramental dimensions of texts and performances. Scholars have explored the interpretive deliverances of how texts enact and embody the cultural, epistemological, and metaphysical functions that Christian practice traditionally associates with sacramental devotion. Especially in their poetics and theatricality, texts and performances have been described as sacramental, incarnation, and eucharistic. Sometimes scholars connect these readings to an authors awareness of theological controversy, such that an author or playwright is thought to engage in theological debate through writing and performance. Other approaches focus on a broader cultural demand or gap in popular access to the transcendent, and literary production is understood to meet such demands for transcendence, justice, semiotic complexity, embodiment, or metaphysical depth. Yet these reading strategies e.g., sacramental drama, sacramental poetics, incarnational texts have been largely neglected from critical scrutiny and, at times, are only defined loosely or even analogically in connection with theological doctrines of penance, the trinity, and various historical versions of sacramental theology (transubstantiation, consubstantiation, memorialism, and so on). In fact, it has begun to be suggested that sacramental reading may in fact, almost ironically, contribute to a secularization thesis, where claims of literatures sacramental surrogation imply some sort of loss or dysfunction in sacred access in mainstream devotional culture. What do sacramental readings imply about the state of devotion in a given society? How, if at all, are such terms as sacramental, eucharistic, and incarnational any more than metaphorical when applied to literary production or to audiences? And does this reading strategy sometimes impose a sacred-secular binary anachronistically upon historical societies? Alternatively, does the language of sacramentality demand further investment and offer unique insight into semiotic and performative force of drama and poetry?

We invite essay submissions that question and explore the sacramental, incarnational, or eucharistic aspects of texts or performances from any historical moment. Submit essays (6,000-9,000 words) to Matthew Smith at by June 1, 2016. Christianity & Literature is a peer-reviewed journal published by SAGE.

(posted 4 November 2015)

Ed. Jakub Lipski, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz

Image [&] Narrative is seeking papers for a special tercentenary issue devoted to the work of Horace Walpole (1717-1797). Articles covering all aspects of Walpoles literary career are welcome, though preference will be given to those focusing on the correspondences between word and image. Possible topics may include:

Prospective contributors are invited to send in 300-word abstracts of papers by June 1, 2016. Preliminary selection will be made by the end of June, 2016. Complete essays of about 5000 words should be submitted b February 1, 2017. Final selectdion, following double-blind peer review, will be made by the end of June 2017. The issue will be published in September 2017, in the month of Horace Walpoles birth. Questions, expressions of interest and article proposals should be addressed to

To read more on the journals aims and scope, as well as the author guidelines, see

(posted 29 January 2016)

The academic journal Meridian critic invites contributions which celebrate the global cultural legacy of Shakespeare and Cervantes, in a year which marks the fourth centennial of their death. Submissions might address any related issues including, but certainly not limited to, the following:

Deadline for article submission: 1 June 2016. Please send the abstracts (ca 200 words), the full paper (up to 7000 words), as well as a brief biographical note (ca 400 words) to the following addresses:,

For details regarding style, please visit the following page:

We also welcome book-length studies in the field of literature, linguistics, and cultural studies published in 2015, to be reviewed in our journal. Please send the books to the following address: Meridian critic, Facultatea de Litere i tiine ale Comunicrii, Universitatea tefan cel Mare Suceava, Str. Universitii nr. 13, 720229 Suceava, Romania

(posted 1 February 2016)

A special issue (Summer 2017) of Womens History edited by Marie Ruiz (Universit Paris Diderot, LARCA) and Mlanie Gru (Universit Paris-Est Crteil Val de Marne, IMAGER)

Historians face a difficult task when dealing with historical documents, testimonials revealing or concealing truth. As objects of enquiry, documents, sometimes limited in what they can disclose, have very often resisted historians intentions to show reality. This is even more vivid in the context of womens history, a subjected topic that has undergone invisibility through male domination. In Policing Truth (1994), Leigh Gilmore argues that the notion of truth is intertwined with the notion of gender: man is a judge who has historically defined the rules and standards of truth in order to perpetuate patriarchal authority and male privilege. Barbara Kanners work of bibliomethodology, Women in English Social History, 1800-1914: A Guide to Research (1988), has been a major contribution to unveiling the existence of documents informing the participation of women in all fields of British history. This special issue of Womens History intends to address the subjectivity of historical documents, and the place left to women in the course of history. It gives a special place to historical evidence and iconic documents revealing womens resistance to patriarchal rule, whether in history, photography, film, or artistic representations. This volume focuses on the nature of historical documentation and its gender bias. It intends to address the question of subjectivity in womens history. The articles that will constitute this special issue shall focus on what documents have shown about women. The role of historians, witnesses, artists and writers shall also be included, as well as questions related to reality and objectivity in womens history. Contributions dealing with women as producers of documents are welcome. As an oppressed group, women have indeed seized the opportunity to write their personal and collective history on their own terms, to document their lives and claim their worth against the patriarchal rule. They have produced a wide array of documents, from text to image and film, revealing the reality of female experience. The question of perception and reception is also of interest as it determines what documents tell us about womens ability to find a place in history through their disruption of dominant cultures.

Proposals dealing with what documents can reveal about womens personal and collective history are welcome. They may include the following themes, though not exclusively:

5000-word articles, along with short academic biographies, should be submitted to both editors: and The deadline for submission of articles is June 1, 2016.

(posted 21 March 2016)

Legal Geography, a fairly recent phenomenon, investigates the interconnected, reciprocal and interdependent links between geography and law. This interdisciplinary field of study concerns the complex interrelations between law, space and society. Law can be geographically located, in physical settings and spaces it describes and codifies. Space affects law, in order words, geographies structure law, like the north-south divide in the UK between separate national English and Scottish legal systems within the same British state. On the other hand, law affects space in inverting the environment-law relation to look at how laws impact space. The perspective of critical legal geography/-ies looks beyond these binary categories to examine and challenge deterministic views of these intricate interrelations. A third way, then, might be identified, which transcends the strictures of the law/space space/law binaries, and allows these complex interrelations of the legal, spatial and social to be explored. It becomes useful to recognise that there is no analytical separation of law, space and society, no passive spatial structure, no two discrete realms, and no higher sphere above politics.

This journals edition attempts to contribute to a critical legal geography, studying law as a site of a struggle over geography (Sad) from the premises that space is socially and politically produced (Lefebvre et al.). The following questions may be considered, notably whether spatio-legal dimensions create spatializations in France and abroad. Also, does legal-decision making stem from the jurisdiction of a state, a region, a supranational construct, or does it take place at the very margins of confined spaces? It is conceivable to reflect on new dialectical implications between geography and law based on spaces in which such ideas as concrete and abstract, memory and identity, passages and transgressions, chaos and order collide. This might also include the critical assessment that law is somehow above geography, in a higher sphere divorced from its environmental contexts. Spatial claims and representations in legal and linguistic constructs might be evaluated. In addition, it might be interesting to look at geopolitics of law. What kinds of theoretical approaches can be adopted to interpret the interdisciplinary relationship of geography and law in order to critically engage readers and researchers in a constantly changing geographical world? Articles may concern various fields of studies and disciplines (geography, law, linguistics, literature, etc.).

A selection of articles will be published in the Journal Geographie de lEst (Universit de Lorraine). For more information, please go to: Articles (max. 50 000 signs), along with short academic biographies, should be submitted to The deadline for submission of articles is 15 September 2016.

(posted 18 February 2016)

Guest Editors: Sarah Falcus (Huddersfield) and Maricel Or Piqueras (Lleida)

The final decades of the twentieth century saw the rise of humanistic or cultural gerontology, and this has continued apace into the twenty-first century. Interest in English Studies has ranged across the disciplines and beyond, establishing connections with biomedicine, sociology and politics. This work includes studies and creative projects that both analyse and produce visual representations of ageing, from photography to film. In linguistics, explorations of language attrition in Alzheimers Disease provide humanistic perspectives on the experience and treatment of this form of dementia. Literary studies has seen explorations of the affect value of literary and cultural texts and analyses of the intersections of ageing and gender, race, sexuality and disability. There is also much work on late-life creativity and late style.

This issue seeks to extend the variety and multiplicity of approaches in cultural gerontology, contributing to the dialogue between English Studies and Ageing Studies. We welcome contributions that explore old age across the full range of literary and cultural forms.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Read the original post:

Calls for contributions to journals and books – ESSE

Brian Holtz

 Extropianism  Comments Off on Brian Holtz
Mar 232016

Created 1996-04 Species Confidential – For Human Use Only Updated 2007-04-25 Brian Holtz At Work In April 2002 I joined Yahoo! to work on Yahoo! Personals, the leader in on-line matchmaking. Before Yahoo I was with Sun Microsystems for eleven years. On my last project at Sun Microsystems I led a team that built a document and folder synchronization service between the SunONE Webtop and clients for PalmOS and Java. From 1996 to 1999 my team added to the Solaris desktop new features like PC Launcher, Java media player, address mgr, process mgr, and file finder. From 1993 to 1996 I designed the integration of ToolTalk into CDE (the Sun/HP/IBM standard Unix desktop). From 1990 to 1993 I helped develop ToolTalk: Sun’s C++-based cross-platform middleware for IPC among persistent distributed objects. In The Past I received an M.S. from the University of Michigan in 1990 and a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi HonorsCollege in 1987. I graduated from Ocean Springs High School in 1983 after we settled there in 1978 to complete my father’s career as an anesthetist in the Air Force. Before that we lived in Japan, Arkansas, Ohio, Canada, Michigan, Washington, and Texas (where I was born in 1965). My ancestors were German and Irish farmers who immigrated to northeastern Iowa in the middle of the 19th century. We are of species sapiens, genus Homo, family Hominidae, superfamily Hominoidea, infraorder Catarrhini, order Primates, subclass Eutheria, class Mammalia, superclass Vertebrata, subphylum Craniata, phylum Chordata, kingdom Metazoa, domain Eukaryotae, bioclade Ribonucleica. In Thought These are some of the questions addressed in my book: My book asserts a synthesis of metaphysical naturalism, ontological materialism, epistemological empiricism and positivism, mental functionalism, theological atheism, axiological extropianism, political libertarianism, economic capitalism, constitutional federalism, biological evolutionism, evolutionary psychology, and technological optimism.

The writers that have influenced and persuaded me most are Robert Nozick, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Milton Friedman, Julian Simon, Jared Diamond, Desmond Morris, and George Gilder. Influential — but not necessarily as persuasive — have been Carl Sagan, Mortimer Adler, Bertrand Russell, Karl Marx, Henry George, and Arthur Clarke. Lately I’ve been reading and admiring the work of Robin Hanson, Nick Bostrom, Max Tegmark, David Friedman, Michael Martin, Quentin Smith, Richard Carrier, Steven Pinker, Richard Posner, Virginia Postrel, and Brad DeLong.

Here is a library of interesting documents and images I’ve collected on the web.

At CSMIL in grad school, Dan O’Leary, Martin Sonntag and I designed and implemented a groupware editor called ShrEdit, which later inspired Sun’s CoEd ToolTalk demo.

Read more here:

Brian Holtz

 Posted by at 10:44 pm  Tagged with:

Mindjammer The Roleplaying Game Mindjammer Press

 Transhuman  Comments Off on Mindjammer The Roleplaying Game Mindjammer Press
Mar 202016

Transhuman Science-Fiction Roleplaying in the Far Future

It is the Second Age of Space. The light of human civilisation, which had flickered and threatened to die, burns bright again with contact with the thousand worlds of space. Humankind laughs, filled with the joys and power of a new-found youth, and strides forth to bring its message of hope and regeneration to the stars The Songs of Old Earth, Book I

The ENnie Award-winning transhuman science-fiction RPG setting returns, in a new edition updated and completely rewritten for the Fate Core rules. Containing all the rules needed to play, including:

Mindjammer The Roleplaying Game can be used to play in the New Commonality of Humankind, or as a complete and detailed transhuman space opera rules set for any science-fiction setting.

Never has there been a greater time of opportunity. Old certainties are dying; the universe is in flux, and for the first time in ten thousand years no one knows what the future will bring. So charge your blaster, thoughtcast your orders to the starship sentience, and fire up the planing engines come and defend the light of humanitys greatest civilisation as it spreads to the stars!

A complete standalone roleplaying game. This book is all you need to play.

Mindjammer The Roleplaying Game is the core rulebook in the Mindjammer line of transhuman science-fiction roleplaying adventure and novels. Join us as we travel through the New Commonality of Humankind, Old Earths greatest civilisation, and rediscover the lost colonies of the distant past.

Transhumanism is a major theme in Mindjammer. Everywhere hyperadvanced technology and synthetic intelligence are transforming humankind, changing individuals into something more than human something other. Play characters caught up in the turmoil of a transformative civilisation: humans, divergent hominids, uplifted animals, synthetic beings. You can even play a sentient starship character!

Characters who survive and thrive grow to be more capable and powerful. More than that, however, your Mindjammer characters can begin to push the very boundaries of what it means to be human. Mindjammer provides detailed rules for how your character can transcend human limitations: acquire multiple bodies, become the sentience embodied in an entire city or even world; step beyond the boundaries of time, language, and individuality. Choose the direction the evolution of the human species will take!

Mindjammer takes place in the far future. Its default setting, the New Commonality of Humankind, is over ten thousand years old, until recently an ancient and stagnant slower-than-light civilisation centred in Manhome, the solar system of Old Earth, and a handful of surrounding star systems. 200 years ago, the Commonality discovered faster-than-light travel, and has been expanding out into the galaxy, discovering lost colonies it settled by slower-than-light generation and stasis ship many thousands of years before.

The Commonality is at once strange and familiar. A vast interstellar shared consciousness called the Mindscape links all Commonality citizens by neural implant, tying the overstretched civilisation together. The Core Worlds around Old Earth are complex and highly advanced, as far from our 21st century and as incomprehensible as we are from the Stone Age. On the ever-expanding Frontier there are civilisations more like our own and just as many far stranger. Everywhere there is turmoil and conflict.

Human Space the theoretical limit of human colonisation by the Diaspora slower-than-light generation and stasis ships extends to a possible 10,000 light years from Old Earth, a sizable proportion of the galactic disk. Commonality Space the limit of current Commonality contact and integration over the past two centuries is much smaller, perhaps 3000 light years in diameter. The schematic below shows the hearts of the 27 Commonality sectors, including the Core Worlds.

Mindjammer is a Fate Core game. Its also standalone, meaning it contains all the rules you need to play. That includes the essentials from the Fate Core SRD, customised and dials set for this action-packed science-fiction setting. It also provides new rules derived from the Fate Core, many of which are released as Open Content under the Open Gaming License.

Mindjammers new rules include rules for creating and playing constructs such as starships, space stations, cities, installations, and vehicles; rules for organisations such as corporacies, governments, and armies and space navies, and for running conflicts between them; and rules for describing and even playing whole cultures. Derived from the Mindjammer 1st edition culture conflict rules but fully consistent with the Fate Core system, the culture rules allow you to run teams of culture agents manipulating entire cultures in the turmoil of Rediscovery.

One of the major features of the Mindjammer game is its emphasis on generating and playing in a science-fiction setting which feels deep and realistic. The rules for planets, star systems, and alien life have been developed with that in mind drawing on the current state of play in cosmology, planetology, and xenoscience, they provide a programmatic way to generate and describe encounters and encounter locations in a way which supports rich science-fiction adventure.

And thats not all. Although these rules are couched in the Fate Core context, theyre also very modular, and can be used in any science-fiction game. Do you want your science-fiction environments to include black holes, molecular clouds, protoplanetary disks, exotic biospheres, and rich and consistent ecosystems? Look no further.

Mindjammer The Roleplaying Game is the first in an extensive line of Mindjammer RPG products. Although the core book contains all the rules you need to play, we have a product pipeline of adventures, campaign packs, atlases, and sourcebooks detailing the New Commonality of Humankind and the Mindjammer universe. Coming soon:

Future products include the Commonality Atlas 1: The Darradine Restoration, The Black Zone, Twilight, Commonality Atlas 2: The Successor States, Solenine, The Comsentience Sourcebook, and much more!

This website itself is a content resource for your Mindjammer games.

Mindjammer is also the name of the first novel in the Mindjammer series, available now from Mindjammer Press! By ENnie award-winning RPG author Sarah Newton, its an action-packed tale of mind-bending technologies in the unimaginably far future, as the human race struggles to fulfil its transhuman destiny.

In the seventeenth millennium, the New Commonality of Humankind is expanding, using newly-discovered faster-than-light travel to rediscover lost worlds colonised in the distant past. Its a time of turmoil, of clashing cultures, as civilizations shudder and collapse before the might of a benevolent empire ten millennia old.

In the Solenine Cluster, things are going from bad to worse, as hyper-advanced technologies destabilise a society in chaos. Thaddeus Clay and his special ops team from the Security and Cultural Integrity Instrumentality are on the trail of the Transmigration Heresy. But what they find is something beyond even their imagining and something which could tear the whole Commonality apart!

Available now from DriveThru, (trade paperback / ebook) and (trade paperback / ebook), and hobby and game stores everywhere!

Complex, gripping, and the most original sci-fi youre likely to get G*M*S Magazine A very exciting and intelligently-written novel that should be on the reading list of every SF fan! Stargazers World William Gibson-like in the intensity of the ideas it introduce a heady mixture of action, crunchy science fiction elements and that perennial cyberpunk or transhuman question: what does human mean? Science-fiction may have a new star forming in its firmament. Shores of Night Thrilling adventure and mystery wrapped up with an inventive, mind-bending look at mankinds future. Howard Andrew Jones, author of The Desert of Souls

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Mindjammer The Roleplaying Game Mindjammer Press

 Posted by at 12:43 pm  Tagged with:

[ American Nihilist Underground Society (ANUS) :: Nihilism …

 Nihilism  Comments Off on [ American Nihilist Underground Society (ANUS) :: Nihilism …
Mar 122016

Home Site Map Nihilism

“Civilization is a disease which is almost invariably fatal.” – Dean Inge

This article attempts the impossible. It seeks to explain, in small form, a belief system that is at its heart not very complex, but to which the path from our current belief systems is complex and fraught with confusions, whether linguistic, or conceptual, or even image-oriented. There is no way it can succeed. However, all things must start somewhere, and so, for the sake of doing something where otherwise doing nothing is a path to certain failure, we sally onward in an attempt to provide another starting point for those seeking nihilism.

What Nihilism Is Not

After all, why believe in anything? – nihilism, like any form of organized thought, is a belief. You could be like so many five-cent sages and proclaim identification with a mainstream political belief, or consider yourself “cynical” and say nothing can be done, so turn on the TV, pop a beer and be through with it. That way, at least you’re personally insulated – you’ve declared a lack of a will to fight – and you can feel OK about being whatever it was before. Wiser observers might say you’re in the grips of a very complex but at heart mundane form of cognitive dissonance; you’re pointing to a difference between ideal and reality as a justification for inaction.

You could even take on the junior form of nihilism, which is a lack of belief in anything, otherwise known as fatalism, but really, it’s a developed form of the above. And don’t you feel silly buying into any of the ready-made political identities that are out there, and swearing your ideas match those of Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh, who are basically two different versions of the same fat “just sign here and it’ll all be okay” product? Maybe you take refuge in religion, but it’s about the same; instead of picking a path, you’re following one. This isn’t to say that all paths are wrong, and you should be some kind of “individualist” who concocts a “unique” formula of unrelated fragments of belief, and then proclaims everything would be OK if that impossibly self-contradictory regimen were followed.

Yet none of these are satisfying, because at the end of the day, you’re no closer to a coherent vision of what would change that which ails you. It’s naive to say it doesn’t bother you, either, because it’s clear that this society is what we call in business a “deathmarch”: a fundamentally flawed approach that immediately isn’t visible, and therefore is demanded by higherups, so we the workers apply it as best we can with the knowledge that someday, the shit’s gonna hit the fan and we’ll all suffer, but we’re not to blame because someone else is in charge. Of course, no one is really “in charge” here, as we’re just following mass trends and opinions, media and political constructs passed along for so many generations that it’s impossible to find someone who is definitively to blame, for whom we can have a comforting execution, then dust off our hands and proclaim the problem solved because we yanked out the bad guy.

Nihilism is a different sort of belief because, unlike almost all beliefs, it’s a conduit and not an endpoint. Most belief systems lay out a series of static objectives and claim if these are achieved, everything will be as peachy as it can be; the most dangerous are the Utopian ones, which promise an absolute near perfection that has little to do with reality. “Some day we’ll eliminate all war” and “free markets make free souls” both fall into this category. Believing such homilies is akin to thinking that if you buy the right guitar, you’ll be able to automatically create the best music ever, et cetera ad nauseaum. Nihilism does not claim a Utopian solution, and is in fact contra-Utopian: by the nature of its being a philosophical viewpoint, and not a mass trend around which you’re expected to rally, it defines itself as a way of viewing the world including such political mass trends. There is no ultimate solution, no absolute Utopia, only a better mental tool for perceiving and analyzing whatever situations arise. Unlike political rallypoints, it is a highest level abstraction, and one under which all other ideas form a hierarchy assessing their degrees of logicality.

Trendwhores and savvy political manipulators will try to group issues under any belief, including nihilism, thinking that a bullet point list makes it easy for the proles to agree on a course of action (so far, history suggests this is either outright lying or wishful thinking). It’s unlikely that such a thing could occur. Nihilists embrace “extreme” viewpoints because they have seen past the cognitive dissonance, and thus have no problem looking at the world analytically. It’s not extremity for extremity’s sake, which is almost always a psychological device for creating an impossible goal and thus, by claiming to labor toward it, removing responsibility of actually doing something pragmatic. One reason to detest extreme rightist, leftist and green communities is that this is their modus operandi: suggest something insane, then accuse all who don’t agree of selling out, and continuing to labor on with the attitude “only I know the truth, and the rest of you are pretenders, therefore, I’m better than you.” Can we be honest and refer to this as defensive egomania?

Nihilism needs no justification. It follows the pattern of nature, which is evolution: successive replacement of previous forms of organization (“order”,”design”) with better ones. There is no moral imperative to do any given act, only a practical one, in that if a proposed design works better even in some small way, those design details can be incorporated into the status quo, thus forcing it to the next level of evolution. Of course, making any changes introduces new powers and new problems, so the process of evolution continues ad infinitum, unless (as in the case of French and Italians) an evolutionary “harbor” is reached, by which adaptation balances adequately enough to an unchanging environment. If one is, for example, the remnants of a fallen empire, there is not much to do except to live well and not worry too much about greatness receding slowly into memory so far removed it is mythic legend and not a part of current reality.


I was arguing once with a fellow who, when I proposed a high-level abstraction, said, “But isn’t abstraction a Judeo-Christian thing, and therefore, bad?” He fell into the same trap that many at our universities have, in which they assume that language misleads us, therefore we must deconstruct and “go beyond” language, essentially creating incoherence. Look at it this way: some sentences are true, and some are not. Some abstractions make sense, and others do not. How do we tell? How well does each stack up to reality, and by that we mean the process through which reality is created and not its persistent objects, should be our yardstick. An abstraction of some fanciful world where a benevolent unicorn in the sky will sort good from bad, right from wrong, and lead us to a place called Heaven is an abstraction that has little to do with the world in which we live. It is a solipsistic abstraction: it applies to the desires of the individual human, and does not take into account the world in which all humans live. (Nihilists are brave enough to recognize the obvious: individual humans have different strengths and intelligences, and thus, not everyone can perceive or understand such an abstraction, and those who cannot will invent abstractions of a solipsistic nature to compensate – see “cognitive dissonance” above.)

If you take a highly abstract view at the real-world problems of creating a conscious creature, you will see rapidly that the major threat to such a being would be the possibilities of its own mind. Our strengths are our weakness. Because such a creature can imagine, and can predict, and can create in its mind a partial replica of the world to use in guessing what the potential outcome of any action might be – “sun and rain always come in spring, and things don’t grow in winter, so I’ll plant in spring, assuming that this pattern is consistent” – it is also susceptible to conceiving an inaccurate notion of how the world works, and/or becoming emotionally unstable and thus creating a solipsistic version. “When I bless the gods, winter ends and the spring comes” is such an example; a more insidious one is “If I do not harm others, no harm will come to me” (tell that to a band of raiding looters or pillaging Vandals). Still more developed is the root of cognitive dissonance: I will think on how things should be and content myself with that, since I cannot or do not believe I can effect change in reality. Each of these errors is formed from the fundamental mistake of assuming that what exists in the individual human mind is higher than reality as a whole, or can be used to compensate for tendencies in the whole. We die; it sucks; let’s invent “heaven” and perpetual life. Would not it be more ethical, more honest and above all else, more realistic, to simply admit we have no idea what follows death – if anything? (Add to this the complexity of a world we know through the progression of time, yet which might encompass additional or fewer dimensions in some other view, and you have a formula for endless unprovable conjecture taken as fact because well, we’d all like to believe we don’t die; to this I rejoin that if we’re all immortal, this means that the morons who afflict us daily are as well, which might make us reconsider the wisdom of “life eternal.”)

Humans, being highly abstract creatures, are prone to creating abstractions which make sense only in their mind. These are “dead end” or “ultra-discrete” abstractions, in that their only error is a failure of realization that the individual human is part of a larger world, which goes on with or without them. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to witness it, does it make a sound? Of course, but the forest won’t call it a “sound,” and no one will note it or talk about it. We can play definition games all day, and claim that either a sound only exists in the human mind, or that it’s external, but this is a case of redefining the word, not the phenomenon it describes. We might as well call a leaping predatory animal a tiger, and then be shocked and surprised (awed?) when groups of people fail to respond to our urgent warning, “Butterfly!” Similarly, we can call death “life eternal” if it makes us feel better, but that causes zero change to the phenomenon itself, which remains unknown to us. Thinking creatures have a great strength, which is their imaginative and analytical facility, but it is their greatest weakness: they can create “artificial” thoughts which do not relate to the world around them, and thus mislead themselves based on what they’d like to believe, not what they can know from an inspection of their world. There’s much talk about the scientific method – experiment based on conjecture, observe, conjecture, repeat – but isn’t it the same process we use in less formal incarnation to discover our world, from our time as babies nibbling on different objects to test their solidity, to our last moments on earth? In this sense, debugging a computer program or exploring a new continent or taking LSD is the same task as a scientific experiment. We observe the world, make theories about how it works, and then test those theories. Of course, the ones about death cannot be tested, and this opens a giant loophole for us to make a foundational theory about God or “life eternal,” and in order to support it, to invent many other illusions so that it seems like a realistic, complete system of thought.

This human problem – distinguishing the internal world from the external – is not unique to humans, but as they’re the only creatures with “higher” logical functions on earth, they are our only example. It is magnified as a problem when the question of civilization arises, because for the first time, groups must be instructed in organizing principles they cannot directly experience, e.g. “you grow grain, he’ll make bread, and that other guy will distribute it to the people at large.” Where individuals err in assuming their internal worlds are more real than external reality, civilizations err by finding popular assumptions that become law because people act according to them; whole civilizations have perished by upholding the rules that, in theory, will lead them to external life, but by denying reality allow crops to wither, invaders to intrude, decay of internal discipline to make people ineffective. Not everyone must be deluded, but when enough are, the future of the civilization becomes a deathmarch. If you want a working definition of nihilism from a political-philosophical perspective, it is an affirmation of the structure and process of reality, in dramatic contrast to the appearances of objects and the seemingly-real perceptions that turn out to be phantasma of our internal minds, and have nothing to do with external reality. Nihilism is facing facts: whether or not we get eternal life, we have to keep the crops going and invaders outside and internal discipline high, or we will collapse as a functional entity. “Structure” in this context would be understand of our world as it operates, including that people need grain to eat and need to act on realistic principles, or invaders, disease, and internal listlessness will condemn us all.

Currently, our society is a linear construction of opposites that do not exist in nature – they are purely perceptual within human minds: good/evil, profit/loss, popular/unpopular. The best product is not always a necessary product (iPod), nor the best product (SUVs), nor even a good idea (cigarettes), but, well, it’s popular and all that money goes back to its creator, so it is Good according to our lexicon. Similarly, we pick our leaders according to those favored by most people, and therefore, our leaders become those who make the biggest promises and find a way to duck the followthrough; since most people relying on such delusions are not rocket scientists, they quickly forget and go about their lives merrily assuming that because promises were made and the election was won, they’ll come true and everything will be A+ from now on. Some might argue that in nature there is profit and loss, but a quick study reveals that be false: in nature there is success or failure, and it has nothing to do with popularity, or all animals would be immortal. Similarly, some will argue that there’s good (heterosexual intercourse) and evil (anal intercourse) in nature, but when one sees the function of anal intercourse in nature (among apes, appeasing intruders) it is clear that no such judgment “exists,” except in our minds. In our minds… well, that’s not a logical test, according to any methods scientific or otherwise. It’s wishful thinking, in the common parlance.

What is most disturbing about this view, which invariably becomes popular in the later stages of civilization, is that it imposes a singular standard and form-factor upon each person and his or her desires, ambitions, needs – as well as what that person requires to stay alive and live well, a quantity often quite separate from what they think they desire (people, like lab rats, will often pick pleasurable sensations over long-term benefits, thus drink instead of investing their cash in future returns, u.s.w.). In such a mode of thought, we are all form-stamped by a bureaucratic, mechanical or social machine, according to what is popular, and therein we see the origin of this thought process: it selects what most people want to believe, over what is real. Through this mechanism, civilizations move into a senility formed of acting according to internal assumptions, and thus eventually coming into conflict with cold hard reality, whether it’s invading Vandals, crop failure, or internal discohesion. While that end in itself may be far off, the intermediate problem is that living in such societies is, at the lowest and highest levels of our perception, disturbing. Not only is there illusion taken as reality, but it is an illusion created out of what ideas are popular and therefore (because most people are not wise) contra-wisdom and contra-realistic. In later civilization, we all serve the whims of popularity and the illusions of the crowd, awaiting that future day when the shit finally hits the fan and we are forced to acknowledge our reliance on illusion.

What Nihilism Might Be

Solvents separate matter into its component parts. Nihilism could be viewed as a mental solvent which divides illusion from a realistic perception of individual and world as a continuous, joined, inter-reliant process. When one sees the world only in terms of appearance, and has no knowledge of structure, illusions and good idea look similar: death and “life eternal” are simply opposite extremes, not logical results of radically different processes. To someone dwelling in illusion, a fern is a green thing that appears in forests and sometimes, lawn gardens; to someone concerned with design and structure, a fern is a plant of a certain shape, genetic background, and place in an ecosystem whereby it appears when the right conditions – sunlight, soil, water, surrounding plants and animals – exist, and serves a certain role in its processing of sunlight to water and oxygen, strengthening the ground with root mass, and providing homes and food to other plants and animals. While to someone dwelling in illusion human societies may be measured in terms of how little they harm the retarded and infirm and insane, to someone grounded in reality, the only measure of a society is its long-term survival – whether they murder the retarded, or keep them in gilded cages, is completely irrelevant to that final determination (although resources expended on the non-productive is part of what determines success or failure). We can live in our own mental worlds, perhaps, but the world outside of us keeps going, and our interaction with it is the only determination of success or failure; the rest is entirely cognitive dissonance.

(A great and practical example for young people especially is the difference between music quality and hype/presentation. Many artists will be presented to you as “new”,”unique” or even “brutal,” but this has no bearing on the underlying quality of the music. Similarly, neither does production; if the music is well-composed, using harmony and melody and rhythm and structure well, it should be excellent music if played on a single acoustic guitar, a Casio keyboard, or as presented by the band on their label-financed heavy-production debut. Stuff that “sounds good” often is insubstantial, but has excellent production and an enigmatic image, but over time it fails to reward in the way that art does, by creating a poetry of life that enlightens and compels. It may not even hold up to musical scrutiny, when it is pointed out that behind the flutes and sirens and wailing guitars and screaming divas, the song is essentially a variation on a well-known and tedious ballad form or blues form. Hype and production are excellent ways to get people to buy a zero-value product, that is, a repetition of past successes, while getting them to convince themselves that they have found something new and enlightening. If you are a nihilist, you look past whether it “sounds good” or feels right or you like the image or it makes you feel like you’re part of some kind of revolution in behavior, and analyze the music: if it does not stand out from the usual patterns enough to be expressing something not new or unique but particular to its ideas, and demonstrative of those ideas, it’s hype and not reality. It’s “art” and not art. We can play word games here, too, but if you value your time and are not brick-stupid, you’ll see why it’s important to find the real art.)

Another way to view nihilism is transcendence of what we call, in the modern West, the “ego.” Egomania occurs through cognitive dissonance when, reality not being to our liking, we invent our own; at this point, we can either invent it and recognize it as unreal but symbolically evocative, something we call fantasy, or we can invent it and claim it as either a higher reality than the real world, or a reality that supplants existence. Egomania is assertion that our internal worlds are more real than the external world, which is paradoxical as the latter includes the former (we are necessarily accurately represented in the external world, but there is no assurance that it is accurately represented in our internal world). When we think egomaniacally, as most people in the West do, we see the world as limited to our own perceptions and desires, and ignore the continuity between self and external world; we also think according to the form of ourselves, meaning that we see all decisions, ethical and otherwise, as limited to individuals. This cuts us off from a holistic morality by which we might for example see our environment as an extension of ourselves, both as a parent and a process upon which we are dependent; it cuts us off from considering unpopular decisions that nonetheless are right, when we consider the direction of our civilization. Our modern conception of morality is one that regulates the rights, survival and treatment of individuals, but it has no capacity for a holistic morality which sees individuals, environment and civilization as interdependent entities and thus makes decisions at the level of what is best for that convergent nexus.

This brings us to the crux of a philosophical dilemma in the West. The separation of mind and body creates a duality in which we see thoughts and external reality as discrete, isolated entities. One is either an idealism, or a realist, in this view, and never the twain shall meet. From a nihilist perspective, idealism explains realism, in that reality is not simply physical appearance but a structure and process; a “design,” even if we decide there is no Designer (and for our daily lives: does it matter?). This conversion is accomplished by taking idealism, or “the philosophical doctrine that reality somehow mind-correlative or mind-coordinated-that the real objects constituting the ‘external world’ are not independent of cognizing minds, but exist only as in some correlative to mental operations” (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Second Edition), to its extreme, which is to assume that the external world and thoughts operate by a single mechanism; in that context, the world operates as an idea, and what is important in the world is not physicality or appearance but idea – design, concept, structure and process. Matching that supposition is an extension of realism, or a belief in the preeminence of external reality, which hyperextends to a study of how reality operates, and from that, a focus on its abstract properties. To analyze reality is to see that it operates like thought; to analyze thought is to see that the world operates much as thoughts do, and therefore, that putting thoughts into flesh is the supreme form of thinking.

Nihilism is a joining of these two extremes through a focus on the practical study of reality and a rejection of preconceptions brought on by anthrocentric viewing of the world, which is necessarily confined to the physicality of individuals and objects as they appear to humans. It is not an attempt to create an obligation, or an ideal, in and of itself, but a reduction of things to their simplest, most real elements so that higher ideals can be created, much as the creation of new civilizations produces a collective focus on the forging of something better than previous civilizations. F.W. Nietzsche wrote of the necessity of “going under” in modernity, and one interpretation of this is that one cannot create “higher” ideals when our concept of higher/lower is linear and predefined; one must remove all value and undergo a “reevaluation of all values,” focusing only on those which survive the test of a his “philosophical hammer,” much like knocking on a wall to find hollow areas. Nihilism is a going under in the form of removal of all value, and construction of values based on reality instead of potentially internalized abstraction. In a nihilist worldview, nothingness is as important as somethingness, as only nothingness can like a midnight predator carry away the somethingness that has outlived its usefulness, is illusory, irrelevant or fanatical. Nihilism is a mental discipline which clarifies outlook by disciplining the mind to understand the structure of reality, and exclude anything which regardless of appearance is not true to that understanding.

In this, it is possible that nihilists witness civilization as it actually is: an eternal process of birth, growth, and an aging brought about by self-obsession, leading rapidly to a distancing from reality, thus irrelevance and death. To remove all preconceptions of value is to have to re-invent value that is relevant to things as they are both right now and eternally, in that throughout history the basic rules of civilization have never changed; either there is a system of organization that makes sense, or there is illusion and ruin. Civilizations start out young and healthy, unified by whatever ideals made their members come together in the first place with the intent of building something new; when succeeding generations take this for granted, they drift into illusory ideals, at which point no “higher ideals” can overcome the illusion, because one cannot get “higher” than the notion of individual self-interest. One must instead go lower, to the state before civilization reformed, to re-design its ideals.

What Nihilism Does For You

If you live in a time when illusion is seen as reality, and reality is an unknown continent, nihilism can on a personal level save you time by removing illusion and leaving only what is honestly relevant to your life and existential happiness. A simple version of this is undergone by many in corporate America who, finding it relatively easy to succeed, then find themselves wanting less time in the office and more spent on those things that are eternally human to desire: family, friends, local community and increase of wisdom and balance in the self. The illusion is that money is more important than anything else; the actuality is that if you have enough, and you have the ability to do the things in life which are more important in the long term (imagine seeing your life from your deathbed) than money, it is not only sufficient but superior to a hollow existence where life is secondary to jobs and payment.

Further, nihilism drives away fears through illusion. If one believes public rhetoric, it will seem necessary to cower under the bed as if hiding from a host of fears: public ridicule, global warming, nuclear war, the Wrath of God, fascism, sodomy, drug users, hackers, Satanists. These vast apocalyptic fears operate for the most part as distraction, keeping our minds off the emptiness of modern life and the inevitability of our society facing consequences of its reckless action. What is important are not fears, but real threats and most importantly, how to fix them. Much like people who hide behind cynicism, most moderns fixate on “raising awareness” of problems, and rarely do anything to address them practically. This creates a culture of fear where in the name of amorphous fears, or balkanized infighting between political and ethnic groups, we miss the point: we can fix our civilization, but we’ll have to do it at a more basic level than politics, economics and social popularity afford.

Nihilism helps many lead better lives. When they cut out the meaningless garbage that infiltrates from television and other neurotic people, they can see their actual needs are simple and easily satisfied. From this, they can see how the larger unaddressed problems – the tedium of modern society, the pollution of nurturing environment, the degeneration of culture and heritage, our loss of wisdom as a civilization – can be important not only for the fragile individual but for future generations; nihilism leads people to holistic moral thinking.

(If you want it in boring, everyday terms, nihilism is a bullshit eliminator. If someone tells you something, look at it with eyes abstracted from everyday life and what people think and what is profitable; look toward what is real, and then find what ideals maintain that status. You like being alive, right? – If not, consider suicide. If you like living, you believe in life, and you’ll do what furthers life. Garbage is not life. Illusion in religious form, political form and social form is one part of this; another is overhyped garage bands, or oversold commercial rock, or trendy books that tell you nothing of importance. It is better to sit in silence and contemplate the universe than to fill your head with garbage. Do you need to watch the mundane movies and pointless TV shows, and entertaining commercial messages? Do you need a sports car? Will owning one more DVD, video game, or CD of not-that-great-after-all rock music help you? When you pull aside the curtains, the truth is there, naked like the contents of your lunch on the end of a fork – apologies to William S. Burroughs.)

The Doctrine of Parallelism

We’re going to make a sizable leap here. As said before, this is an introductory document, a toehold into a philosophical system, and not a complete explanation. When you accept that there is a structure behind reality that acts in the method of thoughts, and when you observe natural surroundings and see how consistent this is, you then are ready to think in parallel. Put simply, parallel thinking is the ultimate refutation of the linearity and binary morality of modern society. If we are to construct right and wrong, they are specific to the situation at hand. Some will condemn this as “situational morality,” but holistic morality is a form of thought that is best applied in specifics; after all, a different rule applies to the wolf than the dove, and different standards apply to the behavior of plumbers, computer programmers, and political leaders. Some will see this as relativism, but under analysis, it’s clear that relativism is one standard of morality applied with forgiveness for disadvantages to certain situations or experiences of individuals; the morality of thinking in parallel says that there is no one standard except reality itself, and that many different types of things acting in parallel create this.

One area where this can be seen is homosexuality. For most heterosexuals, having homosexual behavior occur in neighborhoods or other areas where children are present is not positive; they would rather raise their children according to heterosexual role models and behavioral examples. However, homosexuality occurs, and the best data available suggests that in most cases it is inborn; obviously, some are induced into homosexuality much as many heterosexuals are brought into forms of deviant sexual behavior, through sexual abuse or conditioning in youth (hence the desire for normal, heterosexual role models; most heterosexuals also do not want promiscuity, coprophagia, BDSM, etc. occurring around their children even if solely in a heterosexual context). So what to do with homosexuals, for whom being raised in a heterosexual society can be oppressive, and heterosexuals, for whom having homosexual behavior around can be equally oppressive and deleterious? We think in parallel: some communities will choose to be heterosexual, and others homosexual, and when they meet on neutral ground, it is likely that neither will assert its morality as a dominant, inviolate rigid code. Morality after all is not something we can prove exists, but something we derive from natural structure in order to establish a civilization of the type we desire. Some civilizations will endorse promiscuity and coprophagia, but in doing so, they miss out on some opportunities granted to civilizations with a more disciplined moral code. The converse is also true. There is no one law for the ox and the raven; to do so is to commit tyranny.

Another area where this can be applied is that of recreational chemicals, which is our modern shorthand for perception-altering drugs. Some communities will deny alcohol and cigarettes; some will embrace LSD and marijuana and mushrooms and perhaps even go further. It is likely that the two will never find common ground except where the question of drug use does not arise (Wal-Mart?). When we see experiments in drug legalization, like British Columbia or Amsterdam or Christiania in Denmark, we see an artificial gold rush toward hedonism caused by the fact that, worldwide, there are few relatively safe places to go take drugs. Were it such that in every continent there were some area where the rules on such things were relaxed, it is likely that those who seek drugs could go there and pursue them at a fraction the cost of illicit use. This would not only curb crime, but keep drug use out of normal (heterosexual and homosexual) neighborhoods where such things are not desired as unintentional role models for children, and the cost of drug use – including, let’s be honest, increased laziness and pizza consumption – is considered funds misspent that could otherwise be directed toward bettering other aspects of the community. There is no one rule. We cannot “prove” that drugs are good, or bad, but we can see how in some places they would be helpful and in others, destructive. Do the Hindu communities where marijuana is a sacrament have greater crime and pizza consumption? Would Amsterdam have as many problems if it wasn’t the world nexus of marijuana tourism?

The area most controversial where this could be applied is the taking of human life, and the enslavement of others. Some communities, such as a community formed by those who live according to the doctrines of black metal music, would not have any prohibition on honor killings, death in combat, or even brutal removal of ingrates. In their worldview, honest combat produces a survivor (“winner”) and one judged less able, the dead (“loser”). Most societies find this concept reprehensible, and would never permit it, so it makes sense to have communities where combat to the death, duels and other honor violence, are seen as a way of selecting the more capable citizens. Further, in many communities, it would be seen fit to work by the old Texas standard, “Judge, he needed killing,” whereby bullies, cattle thieves, morons and other undesirables could be removed with tacit consent of community. While many communities would prefer intricate and expensive legal systems, in some areas, if a person was known as a child molestor or cheat or thief, it would be cheaper and easier to look the other way while a local hotblood challenged that person to a fight and attempted to murder him. Cormac McCarthy describes such places in his book “Blood Meridian,” as they are also described in Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch”: lands where there is no law except strength, and as a result, where all citizens are ready for combat and by process of evolution, over generations become more apt at it. Are all peoples warrior peoples? Clearly not. Would all communities tolerate this? No. But much as we need plumbers and computer scientists, we need warriors, and if some greater threat manifests itself, it is probable that the people of these warlike communities would be esteemed as valuable combatants.

Another controversial area where localization – the best thought from the leftist side of things has emphasized this theory under that term – becomes preeminent is that of race. Even mentioning race, or that there are physical differences between races, is currently taboo in the West and will get you fired, removed from office, drummed out of volunteer capacities, blacklisted in industry and crucified in the media. History tells us that human races evolved under different climates and different pressures, and therefore have different abilities. We cannot “prove,” objectively, that any one collection of abilities is superior to another. Communities are united by common belief, and some communities will opt for this to be a unification of culture, language and heritage. Some communities will opt to be cosmopolitan, mixed-race communities like New York City. Others will choose to be ethnocentric and to defend their ethnic-cultural heritage as necessary to their future; this preserves their uniqueness, and is the only realistic basis for true diversity. Without this bond, you have Disneyland-style fake communities which give nods to heritage but are basically products of modern time. Let there always be Finns, Zulus, Germans, Basques, Cherokee, Aztec, Norwegian, and even Irish – this is diversity; this is multiculture; this is all of the good things that exposure to different cultures can provide. This is the only mature attitude toward race, instead of trying to produce, as the Bush administration has, one global standard of liberal mixed-ethnic democracy that essentially destroys culture and replaces it with malls and television. The race taboo is propelled by those without a clear cultural heritage who want to revenge themselves upon those who do, much as in high school those with low self-esteem tried to antagonize both nerds and class leaders.

Still another area where localization saves us from our current civilization’s misery is that of intelligence. A nihilist has no use for social pretense that says we are all equal; some are fit to be leaders by virtue of their natural intelligence, and no amount of education or government programs can make someone else be able for that position. Some prefer to correlate this with race, but a nihilist has no use for this, either: even within what George Santayana calls the “favored races” there are many completely stupid people, especially those with the worst kind of stupidity, which is a combination of cowardice and bad leadership skills. Few people mind a dumb person who is humble and follows orders well, but dumb people who agitate for change that benefits dumb people quickly destroy any civilization. Some localities may opt to admit anyone without regard to intelligence or character, but others will wish to only accept those of a commensurate mental level to the best of their populations, and will therefore exclude morons, blockheads, fools and ingrates. This conflicts with the idea of universal rights, and shows us why the concept is illusory: if morons have the “universal right” to move anywhere, what about people who want the right and freedom to live apart from morons? Modern society tells us that the way to do this is to earn enough money to live in an exclusive neighborhood, but even then, one must interact with morons daily for goods and services, in addition to dealing with those morons who inherited money or earned it through stupid means. Social Darwinism, or the idea that those who are the best and smartest earn the most money, has two holes: first, not all intelligent people opt to chase the money wagon and second, most morons are greedy, and many of them succeed through luck or persistence. A nihilist naturally laughs at the idea of correlating money to intelligence, and would prefer to live in a community where morons are excluded.

There are numerous issues that divide communities which can be resolved through this model. Anti-abortion devotees might need their own community, as there’s no way to make a law that both pro- and anti-abortion people will find fair. The constant combat between different groups, whether divided by sex or race or preference of values, exhausts our current civilization because so much of its time and energy is spent on internal conflict. The major reason that we choose this insane method is that it enables us to believe we are united by the form factor of being human, and therefore, that there is no need for belief beyond that. It enables us to ignore nature. However, as Carl Jung observed, by nature humans are of several different personality combinations, and those serve a role in the larger social construct (for example, a Meyers-Briggs “INTJ” personality will be a philosopher). There is no single archetype of human, but different types which match different roles in nature, much as there are different ecosystems for which there are specific combinations of host species. Our environment creates a pattern, and we evolve in a form that matches its unique contours; in the same way, humans have adapted to a self-created environment, civilization.

Paul Woodruff, in his book “Reverence,” pointed out that in modern times we have lost the ability to revere nature and our world. Part of our loss of reverence is this insistence on one-size-fits-all rules for civilization; we are so unstable as individuals that we want a solid, clear-cut, and absolute rule, but nature does not fit this pattern and so we override. One step to regaining reverence is to stop judging objects, actions and people by a linear binary (yes/no) rule and to start thinking in parallel. In some places, there should always be debauchery, and in others, there should always be quiet conservative living. Communities will shed people from newer generations who do not find that type of locality valuable, and those will in turn have to find their own living elsewhere, and define their own path. In this, we escape the illusion that a perfect social construct can be engineered for us all, and that by forcing us through it, something Utopian will emerge. Such illusions convince us to be passive, and to think solely in terms of governmental solutions applied by rote force, which limits our perspective on the manifold options available in almost every situation.

Nihilism in Politics

We define politics as the process of convincing large numbers of people to do something. No belief system can escape politics, unless it deals with the individual outside of civilization, at which point writing it down is hypocrisy. For this reason, although nihilism is a mental discipline and not a political platform, there are some areas in which nihilism will influence modern politics. The first and most obvious is that, unlike most who are either bought off or blind to the inadequacies of the status quo, nihilists will recognize that it is a deathmarch: an illogical path that will ultimately lead to failure, but because saying so is taboo and unprofitable, we all go along with it even though we march to our doom. Look into the future. Our earth will be more, and not less, polluted, because no matter what we do there will be more people than ever using technology and producing waste. A consequence of our population growth will be a lack of natural spaces to enjoy, because every single continent on earth will be divided up into salable land and covered in fences and concrete to the degree that unbroken wilderness will not exist. Nations will no longer convey a cultural identity or heritage, so we will all be citizens of the world and have what is offered in default of culture, namely Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and re-runs of “Friends.” Bred for jobs and obedience, we will lose the best of our people because they are no longer relevant in a world that prizes money and docility over leadership, wisdom, and independent thinking. Endless commercial messages will adorn our cities and, because there is no culture, most will spend time watching television or engaging in equally debasing virtual entertainment. Since leadership will be useless, most people will have such flexible spines that they will be utter whores, and conversation will be worthless and friendship a meaningless term. Won’t be much to live for, so instead, we’ll survive, and hope “someday” it will get better.

The cause of all of this disaster will have been a fundamental inability to deal with reality. Our society, wealthy and powered by cheap fossil fuels, grew at an exponential rate with an inverse relationship to the quality of intelligence, leadership ability and holistic moral outlook of its population. We’ve bred a horde of fools and bred out the quality intelligences, replacing them with “geniuses” like Jay Gould and Bill Clinton. Since consumption is the only logic we understand, we have consumed much of our planet, and focus on symbolic factors like global warming in order to avoid looking at the enormity of the problem. Our governments get better with their computers, cameras and social security numbers in order to ensure that dissidents are more quickly quashed, and they’ve found better methods than locking them up; instead, they proclaim them as taboo-breakers, and let the rest of the citizens boycott them as dangerous to future business. All of this comes too much attention paid to the popularity of ideas, and a denial that what is popular rarely corresponds to an intelligent response to reality. We’ve had leftist governments, and rightist governments, and neither have dealt with this underlying problem.

Nihilism is not a bullet-pointed list, but there are some clearly definable ideas that nihilists will embrace while others do not. Extreme ecology makes sense if you wish to preserve your planet’s life, which directly contributes to maintenance of its climate and land. Localization makes sense if you wish to spare us all from having to find one rule for diametrically opposed ideologues. Preservation of national identity, and granting local communities the right to exclude or murder morons and perverts and other unwanted detritus of the human gene pool, also makes sense. Giving the individual greater existential autonomy than a society of products to buy and jobs at which to serve is more realistic than assuming we can all be crammed into the same mould and out will come perfect, uniform citizens. Realizing that commerce as a motivator does not address the subtle and long-term issues of our society liberates us from having to constantly manipulate each other through money. Finally, recognition that popularity of an idea has no bearing on its fitness for our collective survival frees us from the tyranny of the crowd, and lets us have leaders again, who instead of finding out what is popular and espousing it, find out what is practical and pursue it. Nihilism ends the society of illusions by shattering the power of the Crowd. Societies age and die when popularity becomes more important than pragmatism, and nihilism offers us a way to “go under” this process by removing value and discovering it anew. In this sense, nihilism is immediately political, although it is unlikely that an organized nihilist political presence will be seen.

How to Apply Nihilism

The underlying control level which supports politics is public attitude. If the public is “educated” to expect a concept as positive, and another as negative, it is a trivial matter to associate political issues with one of the two and thus to manipulate them. This creates a metapolitical battleground where ideas and their valuation determines the future means of gaining intellectual currency for ideas; this translates into political power. While nihilism applies to political viewpoints, as shown above, it is primarily efficacious as a change in attitudes and values to those within society, and can be used from that level to later alter political fortunes.

More importantly for those who see to what degree our civilization has become stagnant, nihilism is a guiding force for analyzing the task of creating a future civilization, whether a breakaway colony or a restarting of life in the ruins. Such an outlook is not favorable to a need for instant gratification; unlike conventional politics, which prescribes highly polarized immediate actions which do not change the underlying structure, nihilist thinking proposes enduring changes made slowly through individual rejection of garbage values.

To apply nihilism, start by viewing the world as a nihilist: reject that which has no value in the context of the whole, or the structure of reality, and replace it with things of solid demonstrable value, as found in biology, physics and philosophy. Do what is necessary to have a quality life, but go no further down the path of luxury and materialism, because it is meaningless. Use nihilist principles wherever you are given a choice; if even a tenth of our population refused to buy junk food, its longevity would be limited. Contrast nihilist principles to the “normal” illusory view that most of the population prefers, using short and friendly but insightful statements to point out where null value can be replaced by something of meaning. When people bring up “problems,” give a few words that show where nihilism reduces the illusion to garbage, and suggest a better course of action. Abstain from all of the idiotic things people do, and apply yourself toward constructive tasks. Those who cannot both reject garbage and create better are unworthy of any accolades; they are passive and deserve whatever slavery this world will throw at them.

What is Nihilism?

Having discussed the modes of thought through which an individual passes in being a nihilist, it is now appropriate to use the dreaded “to be” construction to describe nihilism: nihilism is an affirmation of reality so that ideals based on the structure of reality can be applied to thought and action. Like Zen Buddhism, it is a form of mental clearing and sharpening of focus more than a set of beliefs in and of itself; this is why nihilism is a belief in nothing, being both a belief in nothing (no inherent belief outside of reality) and a belief in nothingness (applying nothingness to useless thoughts, in an eternal cycle that like our own thinking, balances a consumptive emptiness against a progressive growth and proliferation of idea). It is a freedom, in a way that “freedom” cannot be applied in a modern society, from the views that others (specifically, the Crowd) apply out of fear, and a desire to use this freedom to create a new and more honest human who can view life as it is and still produce from it heroic ideals. When Nietzsche spoke of the “super-human,” this was his concept: that those who could accept the literality of life and fate and yet still do what is required to create a braver, more intelligent, more visionary human, would rise above the rabble and become a new standard of humanity. While our current definition of “humanity” applies more to pity and blind compassion for individuals, the super-human would think on the level of the structure of reality as a whole, both thinking in parallel and holistically, doing what is right not to preserve individual life but to nurture overall design.

The best thinkers in all doctrines have reached this state of mind. While they may not call it nihilism, and many rail against the form of “nihilism” that is essentially fatalism, or a decision to declare all thoughts and actions impossible and thus to relapse into mental entropy, all have accomplished this clarity of mind and transcendent state of seeing structure and not appearance. Plato, in his metaphor of the cave, describes humanity as imprisioned in a cave of its own perceptual dependence on visible form, and portrays philosophers-kings – his “super-humans” – as those who leave the cave and, while blinded by the light of real day for the first time, find a way to ascertain the true nature of reality and then to return to the cave, to explain it to those who have seen theretofore only shadows. This state of mind is heroic in that one sees what is important to an overall process, and is willing to assert that higher degree of organization whatever the cost, thus combining a realism (perception of physical world “as is”) with an idealism (measuring the world in contrasts between degrees of organization in thought) into a heroic vision, in which life itself is a means to an end, and that end is a greater organization or order to existence as a whole. Nihilism is a gateway to this worldview.

The Crowd serve death because through their great fear of it, they create rules which do little more than restrict the best among us, who they fear because they cannot understand them. What defines a crowd is its lack of direction, and its need to be led, and if it is to be led, a preference for one among it who will throw out a popular idea and thus congeal its unformed will into some lowest common denominator which is actionable. Reality does not play by this game, because to adopt a constant lowest common denominator is to descend in both ideals and evolution, because that which applies evolutionary pressure is a striving for larger goals. The humans who were content without fire remained little more than apes; those who needed fire were driven into the northern climates, away from the easily nourishing jungle, and eventually thrust themselves forward toward other goals which supported the need for fire: organized civilization, language, learning, and the concept of ideals versus materialism, or a simple assurance of comfort. Evolution forced them to consider “reasons why” and therefore, the develop themselves in such a way that those who could understand reasons why could compel themselves to do what was otherwise inconvenient and uncomfortable. From this is the root of all heroism that produces the best of what society offers: philosophy, art, architecture and morality.

The Crowd creates a reality to serve its fears, and by imposing it, crushes realism, because to point out that the emperor wears no clothes is to offend and disturb the crowd. Why might a nihilist insist on accuracy in taboo matters such as eugenics, race and environmental needs to reduce population? — because the Crowd will go to its death before it will ever do such a thing. To notice reality is to point out that Crowd reality is a complete lie, an illusion, and a sick farce designed to supplant the flagging egos of those with low self-esteem and relatively low intelligence (attributes necessary to be a member of a crowd, and not an independent thinker or leader). Those who create civilizations are succeeded by those who could not do the same, and by virtue of this opulence, societies soon breed crowds that through their greater numbers demand to control reality. One either illustrates the lie of their artificial reality, and points society in another direction, or drowns in the weight of lowest common denominator demands; all societies perish this way. Before the invader at the gates can conquer, or the disease can enfilade the population, or internal strife can tear apart a nation, there must be a failure of organization and even more a failure of will toward something higher than that which is convenient and materially comfortable, commercially viable, popular, etc. Dying societies inevitably create a Satan or Osama bin Laden to which they assign blame for their failing, but it is within; this is why while a nihilist may recognize the truth about race or eugenics, it is impossible to logically blame Negroes or the retarded for the downfall of a society. Blame is not useful, but diagnosis is, and an accurate diagnosis suggests that ordinary capable people become misinformed and accept mediocre ideas, at the behest of the Crowd, and thus condemn themselves to doom. The Crowd will always exist, but in healthy societies, it is kept in check by the wisdom of others.

Much as there is a “super-man” possible in our future, in our past and present there are Undermen, who are those with no higher goals than philosophical materialism: a denial of all value outside the physical world and its comforts. Those who take this lazy attitude to the form of a political agenda are Crowdists, and they can be found in Left and Right alike, supported by those who are emboldened by pity, or the feeling of superiority one gets for helping someone of lesser ability or fortune. Nihilism addresses such illusions and negates them, using nothingness as a weapon to clear the earth so that somethingness can again take root. A nihilist has no use for pity or the kind of low self-esteem that needs the response of others in order to feel good about itself. Like Zen monks, or European knights, a nihilist acts according to what is right by the order of the universe, and does so independently of consequences, including personal morality. To be thus independent from social conditioning, which is not as much a process of evil governments/corporations (“Satan”) as by the neurotic concerns of peers (“the enemy within”), is to crush the worthless and destructive opinions of the crowd, so expect retribution wherever one of them has power. Yet to have this state of mind is not to blame them, or those who wield pity, as they are misinformed rather than malevolent, and with better leadership – achieved, in part by acting independently and thus putting the lie to their false “reality” – they will act in a better state of mind. It goes without saying that such people are incapable of becoming super-humans but, while thus obsolete for our optimal future, will be the parents and grandparents of those who, if bred according to rigorous evolutionary standards, will become superhuman.

To distill this to a simple equation: one can either accept negativity (death, defecation, loss, sorrow) in life, or one can use cognitive dissonance to create a pleasant-sounding reality which denies it while asserting only the positive comforts of life, but to do so is to miss out on the challenge of life. To accept good and bad together as a means toward the continuation of life, and as a necessary part of the evolution that shaped us from mice into apes into humans, is a fully mature attitude and one that only a small portion of the population can understand. Most of you reading this will not understand nihilism and physically cannot; breed well and hope your children are smarter.


“Reverence is the capacity for awe in the face of the transcendent.” – Paul Woodruff

When one is philosophically mature enough to look past good and bad and see them as component parts of reality which work in opposition to create a larger good, or “meta-good” as we might be tempted to call it, good and bad lose moral value in and of themselves. They become a means, where the end is the continuation of reality. Much as humans respond to nature in parallel structures, the destructive and the creative are balanced forces that maintain equilibrium of a sort; without forest fires, forests choke; without predators, species overpopulate and deplete food sources and become extinct; without war and predators, humans become fat, lazy and useless (whoops, no idea how that last one got in there). In this context, we leave behind binary, linear morality and see the world as a nihilist: a vast functional machine which permits us the experience of consciousness.

In popular lore, there is frequent mention of “mind over matter,” but this is usually interpreted to mean using the mind to convince the flesh to do things it would not ordinarily do, like run marathons and lift cars from runover children. The concept of transcendence is an evolution of this which harmonizes with the nihilist emphasis on structure over appearance as well as the idealist concept that thoughts define reality more than physicality. Transcendence occurs when, acknowledging all that is destructive and uncomfortable in the world, we take a greater delight in the idea of what we are accomplishing, not as much what it means in the anthrocentric valuation, but an appreciation of its design in the greater working of our universe. While we are a small part of that whole, transcendence has us find a place in it and to appreciate its design and significance in that context, even to the degree of “forgiving” the world for our suffering and eventual death, and thus lightening our burden by recognizing that physicality and demise are secondary in importance to achievement of idea, whether that is a moral concept, a symphony, a painting, or even a life lived normally according to moral principles in which there were intangible rewards like learning, time spent with family, and personal betterment achieved by facing fears and surmounting them, gaining new abilities.

It might be said that the ultimate process of idealism, in which reality is “mind-correlative” or composed of thoughts or thoughtlike phenomena, is transcendence, or the achievement of valuation of idea over all physical comfort or discomfort. It is not asceticism, per se, in that it is not gained through denial of physical existence, but on the contrary, asserts the importance of organizing physical existence according to idealized design. It converges with heroism in that the idealist in this context acts regardless of personal consequences, because if the world is idea, the only way to truly express that idea is by putting it into action in the world. This form of belief unifies the previously divided mind and body, and raises the human from the level of a reactionary animal to a planner and a creator who is also undivided from his or her natural role. Historically, two of the most important philosophers in European canon, Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, are united in this belief: Nietzsche sought a “pragmatic idealism” while Schopenhauer was a “cosmic idealist,” yet both appreciated the role of heroism in creating higher degrees of order. While Nietzsche derived his greatest inspiration from the ancient Greeks, Schopenhauer found great meaning in an ancient Indian text known as the Bhagavad-Gita, which introduces its view of philosophy through the viewpoint of a warrior concerned over the death and destruction he is about to unleash on his fellow humans. Through that question, the text explores the idea of placing idea over physical consequences by explaining that all reality is continuous will originating in a mystical source, and thus that while lives come and go the eternal order of reality remains, and creating a more organized harmony with that force is the goal of any heroic individual. As if proving parallelism through history, the ancient Greeks lauded similar concepts in their worship of heroic death and tragedy, in which triumph is found through assertion of higher ideal even when death and ruin inevitably follow. Praising what is right in a holistic sense over what is advantageous to the individual is the primary trait of all heroic, idealistic and nihilist philosophies.

In such modes of thought, the human being unifies imaginative and analytical facilities, using a method not dissimilar to science to interpret the world, and a method not far from art in projecting a next evolutionary stage, driven by such non-linear thought processes as informed emotion and calculated creativity. In the great transcendental thinkers of the West, most notably Ralph Waldo Emerson and Johannes Eckhart, the desire to merge these two seemingly disparate mental operations was the foundation of a spirituality based, as is Buddhism and ancient Christianity, on a quietude of the soul and a mystical state of mind in which one was “in” Nirvana or Heaven, a state of clarity both regarding life as suffering and a purpose and vision of what can give life meaning. All Romantic philosophies and art have this basis as well, and are equally mystical, as such states of mind cannot be achieved through linear description. Nihilism can be seen as a spiritual device for achieving this quietude of soul by abrading the meaningless and insignificant facts of physicality in order to clearly see the Idea, much as a philosopher leaving Plato’s cave would stand in reverent silence at the first glimpse of the sun. It is thus despite its primal origins as a “going under” through removal of meaning, a reevaulation of meaning and value, and a dramatic opposition to philosophical materialism, or the doctrine that the physical world and individual comfort are of overriding importance and thus outrank thought and idea.

Materialism is the essence of every destructive action taken by humanity, even though most who practice it would have no knowledge of it by that name. Most people, being well-meaning but misinformed and physically unable to undergo the cognitive process of holistic vision, drift toward materialistic ideas and strive toward what gives them personal physical comfort and wealth. In the modern time, materialism manifests itself in three primary fronts:

Commerce is the picking of the most popular product; oversocialization the organization of society according to who is most popular (usually he who promises alcohol, sex, and money); democracy is leadership not by what is right but what is popular. Materialism encourages the individual to think only of their own preference, and to limit thought at that which directly impacts individual comfort, and thus is blind to thinking for the whole of humankind and environment. When one thinks on that level, self-interest replaces finding the right answer according to the structure of the external world, and humans become solipsistic. Further, because materialism is an opposite to idealism, it causes the Crowd to gather and tear down whatever idealists dare rise among them. Only such a misinformed and dysfunctional thought process explains humanity’s ongoing attempted genocide of its environment, its contentment to labor in horrifically boring jobs, its seeming satisfaction with petty interpersonal strife and a lack of reverence toward humans and other life forms alike, and its reliance on a world of illusion whose empty values render individual souls empty, causing neurosis and anomie at all levels of existence.

(Many humans are so divided between mind and body that they prefer ideas of a solipsistic nature to physicality, much like some drug addicts prefer intoxication to reality. Nihilism allows us to see reality as the one and only expression of both life and thought, and therefore, to see the true stakes in our dilemma, especially regarding our environment, whose destruction – a process not of complete obliteration but of disrupting its complex internal mechanations, which require more land and sea and air than humanity – will not only be the greatest tragedy of our species, but an unforgivable offense.)

Nihilism is the soft earth at the start of a wooded path toward seeing life in a more developed way. Before this path, life seems to be suffering and boredom punctuated by horror (paraphrased from H.P. Lovecraft), without meaning or direction, even when one creates an absolute God and corresponding Heaven where things are otherwise. This state of depressed mind must be like that of the inhabitants of Plato’s cave, who find themselves bored at an endless procession of shadows yet unaware of another way. A nihilist is annointed with knowledge, and must return to the world at large to speak of the sun which filters through the woods toward the end of the path. There is hope; there is meaning; there is reason and purpose to life. Whether one is a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Muslim, this truth can spoken in a familiar language, as it has been discovered by the best thinkers of all religions and cultures. It is universal not only to humanity, but to all thinking beings. From nothingness comes everything, and when the two are seen as continuous, we are finally aware of the infinity of life and the great continuous gift that consciousness must be.

Says Who?

I am a writer. Therefore, I compile ideas, and write about them. This is my contribution in the great world in parallel. Yours may be different. We do not need a society solely composed of writers. You can understand these ideas, if you’re brave enough, and put them to work for you in whatever it is that you do: teaching, roadwork, computer programming, plumbing, soldiering, journalism, drug dealing, politics. It is important that you understand them, as nothing is worse than appearance without structure, as it has us chasing the ideals of our memories in a context in which they no longer apply. I am a writer, and so I write. Find your own path. If you follow any path of thought to its full logical conclusions, you will discover what is enumerated in introductory form in this article, and you will be ready, if you have inner integrity and a love for being alive, to take a stand for what you now believe: Bring your sword, bring your censure, bring your Cross – I have found it; I am ready.

(Inspired by conversations with Todd Spivak, lowtec and g0sp-hell. Dedicated to Anton Bruckner.)

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Nihilism – Conservapedia

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Mar 122016

Nihilism (IPA pronunciation: “na.lzm”) is the belief that life is, overall, meaningless. A true nihilist would have no loyalties, and no purpose. Friedrich Nietzsche argued that moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions lead to nihilism’s corrosive effects; cause the collapse of meaning, relevance, purpose, and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history.[1] An example of nihilism would be the question reportedly posed by Jared Loughner to a congresswoman whom he allegedly later shot:[2]

German political philosopher Leo Strauss argued that modern liberalism has within it a tendency towards nihilism. Faith in God is the opposite of nihilism. In government and politics, another example of the opposite of nihilism is the concept of natural rights, as formulated in the Declaration of Independence.

Major types of nihilism include:

In his book, The Decline of the West, German philosopher Oswald Spengler observes that pattern of nihilism was a feature shared by all civilizations on the verge of collapse.

Friedrich Nietzsche saw two kinds of nihilism in the world; pessimistic and joyous. Pessimistic nihilism was that created by the death of God in the minds of men, and corresponds to the idea that life is without meaning or value. Joyous nihilism was that experienced by those few who, like him, experienced the loss of an externally created and imposed moral structure as a liberation and not a great loss, and was the seed that let the herald Nietzsche proclaim the coming of the bermensch.

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Nihilism – Conservapedia

Top Ten Illuminati Symbols | Illuminati Rex

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Feb 242016

Top Ten Illuminati Symbols The Illuminati loves taunting the Profane by putting their symbols in plain sight for all to see. Only the Illuminati insiders are privy to the symbols true meaning. Symbols of the Illuminati are present on our currencies, and are plastered all over our television, movies and newspapers.

The All-Seeing Eye or the Eye of Providence is the preeminent symbol and most widely recognized symbol of the Illuminati.

The All-Seeing Eye as seen on the United States one dollar note.

The All-Seeing Eye was added to the original design of the Great Seal of the United States in 1776 by Pierre Eugne Du Simitire and remained on the Seal with the addition of an unfinished pyramid (see Illuminati symbol #2) when it was finally adopted in 1782. In 1935 the Great Seal was added to the $1 dollar note, the most widely circulated note on the planet, by President and Freemason Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Links to the Illuminati: To conspiracy theorists, the all-seeing eye represents the Eye of Lucifer. The Eye can see all and oversees its minions which are represented by the individual bricks of the pyramid. The 13 steps of the pyramid represent the 13 Illuminati Bloodlines which collectively rule over the planet. The year 1776 represent the founding of the Bavarian Illuminati by Adam Weishaupt.

US Government: The Eye is a representation of God who favors the prosperity of the United States. It is positioned above an unfinished pyramid representing the future growth of the United States. The 13 steps of the pyramid represent the original thirteen states. The year 1776 represent the birth of the United States.

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: There is no evidence that the Bavarian Illuminati used the eye in any of its rituals. However, they used the point within a circle, circled dot, circumpunct, or circle with a point at its centre a () to represent the Order.

Links to Freemasonry: The Master Mason learns that the All Seeing Eye represents the Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU) who watches and sees everything and will judge us according to our works.

The Freemasons also use the symbol. In Arcana of Masonry (p. 188), Masonic Historian Albert Churchward writes:

The point in the centre of a Circle is equal to the point at the tip of the Triangle, and this Glyph is equivalent to the Eye; the two are synonymous.

Other secret societies: In the Order of the Golden Dawn the represents Kether.

Masonic Vice-President Henry A. Wallace and Masonic President FDR added the pyramid to the dollar bill in 1935

All-Seeing Eye on the CBS logo

Original design for the Great Seal of the United States

Masonic tracing board, Germany 1770

The Illuminati Elite is represented by the capstone of the pyramid and the Profane by the stones.

The pyramid represents the top-down command structure of the Illuminati with the Illuminati plutocrats at the top and the peons at the bottom.

Links to the Illuminati: In Illuminati conspiracy theories the presence of a pyramid usually represents the top-down command structure of the Illuminati rulers of the universe. The theory has become more mainstream following the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement who refer to the rulers as the One Percent.

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: The pyramid was featured prominently at Minerval Assemblies of the Bavarian Illuminati. A carpet was laid out on the rooms floor featuring a Pyramid flanked on either side by the letters D and P on each of its side. (Deo Proximo God is near) There are stones scattered at the pyramids base.

The unfinished pyramid signifies that the goals of the Most Serene Order of the Illuminati are still incomplete. By working together, the Illuminati is able to make great strides towards completing their task for the glory of the Grand Architect.

Links to Freemasonry: The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Virginia is capped by a seven steps pyramid. The House of the Temple, the Headquarters for the Supreme Council of the southern jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite of Masonry is also capped by an unfinished pyramid.

Bavarian Illuminati pyramid vs. Great Seal pyramid

HW Bushs pet pyramid

Being There movie

Step pyramid surmounting George Washington Masonic National Memorial

DARPAs Information Awareness Office

Grave of Charles Taze Russell, Founder of the Jehovahs Witnesses

The owl was the symbol for Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. The Enlightened Ones see themselves as the wise rulers of the planet.

Owl at the Bohemian Grove

Links to the Illuminati: The Bohemian Grove, an exclusive elite 2,700-acre encampment situated in the Redwood forest of northern California features an owl on its logo. The planning meeting for the ultra-secret Manhattan Project is also rumored to have taken place at the Grove. It is also where Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan worked out a deal on who would run for President of the United States.

Owl on Dollar bill?

Bohemian Grove Napkin

Druid with Owl painting at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial

Justin Bieber Illuminati Minerval?

Illuminati Minerval Owl

Frost Bank Tower Austin, Texas

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: The owl is an important symbol for Illuminati Minerval. The owl was a symbol of Pallas Athena and represented wisdom and vigilance. The owl was also included on the Illuminati Minerval and Illuminati Minor medallions.

The eternal flame is a powerful symbol of the Enlightenment.

The Statue of LIberty

Links to the Illuminati: Illuminati researcher Dr. Stan Monteith claims that the Statue of Liberty is the pagan goddess Semiramis, the whore of Babylon a homewrecker and a harlot. She represents the destruction of the Old World Order and the creation of the New World Order.

Illuminati researcher Mark Dice claims that the Statue of Liberty is an Illuminati symbol. The statues radiant crowns rays are a symbol of the sun or Enlightenment. The Enlightenment represents Lucifer, the torch bearer.

The Olympic Flame torch rally was first introduced by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics. Prometheus gave fire (knowledge) to humans. For this transgression, the King of the Gods, Zeus punished Prometheus to have is liver eaten for eternity by an eagle.

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: Weishaupt was aroused by Zoroastrianism and philosophies of the ancient Parsees. He planned to use fire allegories in the symbols and rituals of the higher degrees of the Illuminati. The color red is prominent in the higher degrees of Illuminati Priest and Illuminati Regent.

Links to Freemasonry: The Statue of Liberty was designed by Freemason Frederic Bartholdi.

The name Lucifer literally means bringer of light.

Statue of Liberty

Columbia Pictures logo

Olympic Torch

Rockefellers Standard Oil

Prometheus at Rockefeller Plaza

The Illuminati and the practice and promotion of black magic

The Pentagram with Baphomets head at its center

Aka: Sigil of Baphomet, (two points up)

The name Baphomet first appeared as a pagan idol in the trial transcripts of the Knights Templar by the Inquisition.

The pentagram was originally a protection charm against demons. The inverted pentagram came to have its own distinctive meaning as a sign of evil especially after the publication of famed French occultist Lvi liphas publication of Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual in 1854:

A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates.

Links to the Illuminati: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson appointed French-born freemason Pierre Charles LEnfant to design Washington D.C. A pentagram is clearly visible in the street layout leading many to speculate whether or not LEnfant deliberately inserted Masonic symbols.

However, the pentagram is not complete. Rhode Island Avenue does not connect with Pennsylvania Avenue, leaving the pentagram incomplete. Freemasons often point to this as proof that the streets of Washington DC are not Masonic. If the masons are all powerful architects, why cant they get a pentagram right? The answer might be found in the wrings of Illuminatus Johann Goethe (nom de guerre: Abaris) and famous author of Faust:

Mephistopheles: I must confess, my stepping oer Thy threshold a slight hindrance doth impede; The wizard-foot doth me retain.

Faust: The pentagram thy peace doth mar? To me, thou son of hell, explain, How camest thou in, if this thine exit bar? Could such a spirit aught ensnare?

Mephistopheles: Observe it well, it is not drawn with care, One of the angles, that which points without, Is, as thou seest, not quite closed.

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: The Illuminati did not use the pentagram in its ceremonies.

Links to Freemasonry: The Order of the Eastern Star a female Masonic organization for wives and family of Freemasons uses the pentagram with two points up as its emblem.

Order of the Eastern Star

Ke$ha Die Young

Streets of Washington, D.C.

Washington posing Baphomet-style (As above, so below)

The Illuminati, the number of the Beast and the Anti-Christ.

six hundred sixty-six

Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

~ Revelation 13: 18 New King James Version (NKJV)

Links to the Illuminati: The number of the Beast is associated with the Anti-Christ who would eventually take helm of the Illuminati as he brings forth the New World Order. The music industry is a prime recruiting ground for the Illuminati. Illuminated musicians incorporate Illuminati symbolism in their work as a nudge to their Illuminati handlers.

The 666 numerals can also be found in corporate logos such as Taco Bell, Google Chrome and Vodafone. When AT&T changed the name of one of its subsidiaries to Lucent Technologies, Illuminati symbolism researcher Texe Marrs was quick to point out the new names similarity with Lucifer, and asked:

But, does AT&Ts new baby have horns? Does the name Lucent have any link to the name Lucifer? Could it be that, as one writer has suggested, Lucent stands for Lucifers Enterprise?

~ Texe Marrs, PROJECT L.U.C.I.D., 1996

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: Only deists and atheists could hope to reach the higher mystery degrees of the Illuminati. As such, they would have regarded Satan as a mythological figure.

Links to Freemasonry:

Lucifer, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable, blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish souls? Doubt it not!

~ Albert Pike, Moral and Dogma

Note: Fear of the number 666 is called hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. There will be a test.

Barcode/UPC 666

Monster Energy Drink 666

Vodafone 666 or KKK

Walt Disney 666

Google Chrome 666

A symbol of mortality and the Illuminatis mark on the Skulls and Bones

Skull reminds young initiates of their own mortality

Links to the Illuminati: The Skull and Bones is an elite fraternity at Yale University, a prestigious American university. Their headquarters is known as the Tomb. Theres a painting of skulls with the quote:

Who was the fool, who the wise man, beggar or king? Whether poor or rich, alls the same in death.

Wer war der Thor, wer Weiser, Bettler oder Kaiser? Ob Arm, ob Reich, im Tode gleich.

Links to the Bavarian Illuminati: The Illuminati Regent or Illuminati Prince initiation rituals consisted of three rooms which the initiate had to visit in succession. In the first room the candidate would find a skeleton with a sword and a crown at its feet. The candidate would then be asked if the bones were the bones of a king, a nobleman or a beggar. As in the Order of the Skull and Bones, the scene intended to make the candidate reflect on his own mortality.

Links to Freemasonry: The Master Mason carpet features a skull to remind the initiate of his own mortality, just as in the Illuminati and in the Skull and Bones.

Fools and Kings

Skull and Bones, 1948 The grandfather clock is always set at 8 oclock

Master Mason Tracingboard

Snakes, Dragons and Serpents and the lure of forbidden knowledge

Serpent from the Book of Genesis

The snake or serpent one of the most ancient symbols used in myths and was widely used throughout the world. They often act as guardians, such as the statue of Draco guarding the entrance of The City of London.

Snakes are identified with forbidden wisdom or knowledge as in the serpent in the Garden of Eden from Genesis.

Being poisonous, and generally dangerous to humans, the snake symbol is commonly used in western culture as a representation of evil.

Continued here:
Top Ten Illuminati Symbols | Illuminati Rex

War Against The Weak – Home Page

 Eugenics  Comments Off on War Against The Weak – Home Page
Feb 132016

THE BEST BOOK ON EUGENICS. Edwin Black has written what may well be the best book ever published about the American eugenics movement and the horrific events it spawned. Combining exhaustive research, a very readable style, and just the right touch of moral outrage, Black splendidly conveys the evil depth and breadth of eugenics philosophy, the pseudo-science and social theory that unleashed a half-century of war against society’s most vulnerable citizens.

Wesley Smith National Review

Gregory Mott Washington Post Book World

Gregg Sapp Library Journal

Daniel Kevles New York Times Book Review

Adrienne Miller Esquire Magazine

Starred Review Publishers Weekly

Ray Olson Booklist

Tony Platt Los Angeles Times Book Review

David Plotz Mother Jones Magazine

Paul Ranier Der Spiegel

Nancy Schapiro St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Carl Zimmer Discovery

Cynthia Dettelbach Cleveland Jewish News

Steve Courtney Hartford Courant

Mark Lewis Tampa Tribune

Jack Fischel The Forward

Amy DeBaets Ethics and Medicine

Read the rest here:
War Against The Weak – Home Page

 Posted by at 1:44 pm  Tagged with:

Rationalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Rationalism  Comments Off on Rationalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan 182016

In epistemology, rationalism is the view that “regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge”[1] or “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification”.[2] More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory “in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive”.[3] Rationalists believe reality has an intrinsically logical structure. Because of this, rationalists argue that certain truths exist and that the intellect can directly grasp these truths. That is to say, rationalists assert that certain rational principles exist in logic, mathematics, ethics, and metaphysics that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction. Rationalists have such a high confidence in reason that empirical proof and physical evidence are unnecessary to ascertain truth in other words, “there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience”.[4] Because of this belief, empiricism is one of rationalism’s greatest rivals.[according to whom?]

Different degrees of emphasis on this method or theory lead to a range of rationalist standpoints, from the moderate position “that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge” to the more extreme position that reason is “the unique path to knowledge”.[5] Given a pre-modern understanding of reason, rationalism is identical to philosophy, the Socratic life of inquiry, or the zetetic (skeptical) clear interpretation of authority (open to the underlying or essential cause of things as they appear to our sense of certainty). In recent decades, Leo Strauss sought to revive “Classical Political Rationalism” as a discipline that understands the task of reasoning, not as foundational, but as maieutic. Rationalism should not be confused with rationality, nor with rationalization.

In politics, Rationalism, since the Enlightenment, historically emphasized a “politics of reason” centered upon rational choice, utilitarianism, secularism, and irreligion[6] the latter aspect’s antitheism later ameliorated by utilitarian adoption of pluralistic rationalist methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology.[7][8]

In this regard, the philosopher John Cottingham[9] noted how rationalism, a methodology, became socially conflated with atheism: In the past, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, the term ‘rationalist’ was often used to refer to free thinkers of an anti-clerical and anti-religious outlook, and for a time the word acquired a distinctly pejorative force (thus in 1670 Sanderson spoke disparagingly of ‘a mere rationalist, that is to say in plain English an atheist of the late edition…’). The use of the label ‘rationalist’ to characterize a world outlook which has no place for the supernatural is becoming less popular today; terms like ‘humanist’ or ‘materialist’ seem largely to have taken its place. But the old usage still survives.

Rationalism is often contrasted with empiricism. Taken very broadly these views are not mutually exclusive, since a philosopher can be both rationalist and empiricist.[2] Taken to extremes, the empiricist view holds that all ideas come to us a posteriori, that is to say, through experience; either through the external senses or through such inner sensations as pain and gratification. The empiricist essentially believes that knowledge is based on or derived directly from experience. The rationalist believes we come to knowledge a priori through the use of logic and is thus independent of sensory experience. In other words, as Galen Strawson once wrote, “you can see that it is true just lying on your couch. You don’t have to get up off your couch and go outside and examine the way things are in the physical world. You don’t have to do any science.”[10] Between both philosophies, the issue at hand is the fundamental source of human knowledge and the proper techniques for verifying what we think we know. Whereas both philosophies are under the umbrella of epistemology, their argument lies in the understanding of the warrant, which is under the wider epistemic umbrella of the theory of justification.

The theory of justification is the part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability. Of these four terms, the term that has been most widely used and discussed by the early 21st century is “warrant”. Loosely speaking, justification is the reason that someone (probably) holds a belief.

If “A” makes a claim, and “B” then casts doubt on it, “A”‘s next move would normally be to provide justification. The precise method one uses to provide justification is where the lines are drawn between rationalism and empiricism (among other philosophical views). Much of the debate in these fields are focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.

At its core, rationalism consists of three basic claims. For one to consider themselves a rationalist, they must adopt at least one of these three claims: The Intuition/Deduction Thesis, The Innate Knowledge Thesis, or The Innate Concept Thesis. In addition, rationalists can choose to adopt the claims of Indispensability of Reason and or the Superiority of Reason although one can be a rationalist without adopting either thesis.

Rationale: “Some propositions in a particular subject area, S, are knowable by us by intuition alone; still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions.”[11]

Generally speaking, intuition is a priori knowledge or experiential belief characterized by its immediacy; a form of rational insight. We simply just “see” something in such a way as to give us a warranted belief. Beyond that, the nature of intuition is hotly debated.

In the same way, generally speaking, deduction is the process of reasoning from one or more general premises to reach a logically certain conclusion. Using valid arguments, we can deduce from intuited premises.

For example, when we combine both concepts, we can intuit that the number three is prime and that it is greater than two. We then deduce from this knowledge that there is a prime number greater than two. Thus, it can be said that intuition and deduction combined to provide us with a priori knowledge we gained this knowledge independently of sense experience.

Empiricists such as David Hume have been willing to accept this thesis for describing the relationships among our own concepts.[11] In this sense, empiricists argue that we are allowed to intuit and deduce truths from knowledge that has been obtained a posteriori.

By injecting different subjects into the Intuition/Deduction thesis, we are able to generate different arguments. Most rationalists agree mathematics is knowable by applying the intuition and deduction. Some go further to include ethical truths into the category of things knowable by intuition and deduction. Furthermore, some rationalists also claim metaphysics is knowable in this thesis.

In addition to different subjects, rationalists sometimes vary the strength of their claims by adjusting their understanding of the warrant. Some rationalists understand warranted beliefs to be beyond even the slightest doubt; others are more conservative and understand the warrant to be belief beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rationalists also have different understanding and claims involving the connection between intuition and truth. Some rationalists claim that intuition is infallible and that anything we intuit to be true is as such. More contemporary rationalists accept that intuition is not always a source of certain knowledge thus allowing for the possibility of a deceiver who might cause the rationalist to intuit a false proposition in the same way a third party could cause the rationalist to have perceptions of nonexistent objects.

Naturally, the more subjects the rationalists claim to be knowable by the Intuition/Deduction thesis, the more certain they are of their warranted beliefs, and the more strictly they adhere to the infallibility of intuition, the more controversial their truths or claims and the more radical their rationalism.[11]

To argue in favor of this thesis, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a prominent German philosopher, says, “The senses, although they are necessary for all our actual knowledge, are not sufficient to give us the whole of it, since the senses never give anything but instances, that is to say particular or individual truths. Now all the instances which confirm a general truth, however numerous they may be, are not sufficient to establish the universal necessity of this same truth, for it does not follow that what happened before will happen in the same way again. From which it appears that necessary truths, such as we find in pure mathematics, and particularly in arithmetic and geometry, must have principles whose proof does not depend on instances, nor consequently on the testimony of the senses, although without the senses it would never have occurred to us to think of them”[12]

Rationale: “We have knowledge of some truths in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature.”[13]

The Innate Knowledge thesis is similar to the Intuition/Deduction thesis in the regard that both theses claim knowledge is gained a priori. The two theses go their separate ways when describing how that knowledge is gained. As the name, and the rationale, suggests, the Innate Knowledge thesis claims knowledge is simply part of our rational nature. Experiences can trigger a process that allows this knowledge to come into our consciousness, but the experiences don’t provide us with the knowledge itself. The knowledge has been with us since the beginning and the experience simply brought into focus, in the same way a photographer can bring the background of a picture into focus by changing the aperture of the lens. The background was always there, just not in focus.

This thesis targets a problem with the nature of inquiry originally postulated by Plato in Meno. Here, Plato asks about inquiry; how do we gain knowledge of a theorem in geometry? We inquire into the matter. Yet, knowledge by inquiry seems impossible.[14] In other words, “If we already have the knowledge, there is no place for inquiry. If we lack the knowledge, we don’t know what we are seeking and cannot recognize it when we find it. Either way we cannot gain knowledge of the theorem by inquiry. Yet, we do know some theorems.”[13] The Innate Knowledge thesis offers a solution to this paradox. By claiming that knowledge is already with us, either consciously or unconsciously, a rationalist claims we don’t really “learn” things in the traditional usage of the word, but rather that we simply bring to light what we already know.

Rationale: “We have some of the concepts we employ in a particular subject area, S, as part of our rational nature.”[15]

Similar to the Innate Knowledge thesis, the Innate Concept thesis suggests that some concepts are simply part of our rational nature. These concepts are a priori in nature and sense experience is irrelevant to determining the nature of these concepts (though, sense experience can help bring the concepts to our conscious mind).

Some philosophers, such as John Locke (who is considered one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment and an empiricist) argue that the Innate Knowledge thesis and the Innate Concept thesis are the same.[16] Other philosophers, such as Peter Carruthers, argue that the two theses are distinct from one another. As with the other theses covered under rationalisms’ umbrella, the types and number of concepts a philosopher claims to be innate, the more controversial and radical their position; “the more a concept seems removed from experience and the mental operations we can perform on experience the more plausibly it may be claimed to be innate. Since we do not experience perfect triangles but do experience pains, our concept of the former is a more promising candidate for being innate than our concept of the latter.[15]

In his book, Meditations on First Philosophy,[17]Ren Descartes postulates three classifications for our ideas when he says, “Among my ideas, some appear to be innate, some to be adventitious, and others to have been invented by me. My understanding of what a thing is, what truth is, and what thought is, seems to derive simply from my own nature. But my hearing a noise, as I do now, or seeing the sun, or feeling the fire, comes from things which are located outside me, or so I have hitherto judged. Lastly, sirens, hippogriffs and the like are my own invention.”[18]

Adventitious ideas are those concepts that we gain through sense experiences, ideas such as the sensation of heat, because they originate from outside sources; transmitting their own likeness rather than something else and something you simply cannot will away. Ideas invented by us, such as those found in mythology, legends, and fairy tales are created by us from other ideas we possess. Lastly, innate ideas, such as our ideas of perfection, are those ideas we have as a result of mental processes that are beyond what experience can directly or indirectly provide.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz defends the idea of innate concepts by suggesting the mind plays a role in determining the nature of concepts, to explain this, he likens the mind to a block of marble in the New Essays on Human Understanding, “This is why I have taken as an illustration a block of veined marble, rather than a wholly uniform block or blank tablets, that is to say what is called tabula rasa in the language of the philosophers. For if the soul were like those blank tablets, truths would be in us in the same way as the figure of Hercules is in a block of marble, when the marble is completely indifferent whether it receives this or some other figure. But if there were veins in the stone which marked out the figure of Hercules rather than other figures, this stone would be more determined thereto, and Hercules would be as it were in some manner innate in it, although labour would be needed to uncover the veins, and to clear them by polishing, and by cutting away what prevents them from appearing. It is in this way that ideas and truths are innate in us, like natural inclinations and dispositions, natural habits or potentialities, and not like activities, although these potentialities are always accompanied by some activities which correspond to them, though they are often imperceptible.”[19]

The three aforementioned theses of Intuition/Deduction, Innate Knowledge, and Innate Concept are the cornerstones of rationalism. To be considered a rationalist, one must adopt at least one of those three claims. The following two theses are traditionally adopted by rationalists, but they aren’t essential to the rationalist’s position.

The Indispensability of Reason Thesis has the following rationale, “The knowledge we gain in subject area, S, by intuition and deduction, as well as the ideas and instances of knowledge in S that are innate to us, could not have been gained by us through sense experience.”[1] In short, this thesis claims that experience cannot provide what we gain from reason.

The Superiority of Reason Thesis has the following rationale, ‘”The knowledge we gain in subject area S by intuition and deduction or have innately is superior to any knowledge gained by sense experience”.[1] In other words, this thesis claims reason is superior to experience as a source for knowledge.

In addition to the following claims, rationalists often adopt similar stances on other aspects of philosophy. Most rationalists reject skepticism for the areas of knowledge they claim are knowable a priori. Naturally, when you claim some truths are innately known to us, one must reject skepticism in relation to those truths. Especially for rationalists who adopt the Intuition/Deduction thesis, the idea of epistemic foundationalism tends to crop up. This is the view that we know some truths without basing our belief in them on any others and that we then use this foundational knowledge to know more truths.[1]

Rationalism – as an appeal to human reason as a way of obtaining knowledge – has a philosophical history dating from antiquity. The analytical nature of much of philosophical enquiry, the awareness of apparently a priori domains of knowledge such as mathematics, combined with the emphasis of obtaining knowledge through the use of rational faculties (commonly rejecting, for example, direct revelation) have made rationalist themes very prevalent in the history of philosophy.

Since the Enlightenment, rationalism is usually associated with the introduction of mathematical methods into philosophy as seen in the works of Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza.[3] This is commonly called continental rationalism, because it was predominant in the continental schools of Europe, whereas in Britain empiricism dominated.

Even then, the distinction between rationalists and empiricists was drawn at a later period and would not have been recognized by the philosophers involved. Also, the distinction between the two philosophies is not as clear-cut as is sometimes suggested; for example, Descartes and Locke have similar views about the nature of human ideas.[4]

Proponents of some varieties of rationalism argue that, starting with foundational basic principles, like the axioms of geometry, one could deductively derive the rest of all possible knowledge. The philosophers who held this view most clearly were Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, whose attempts to grapple with the epistemological and metaphysical problems raised by Descartes led to a development of the fundamental approach of rationalism. Both Spinoza and Leibniz asserted that, in principle, all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, could be gained through the use of reason alone, though they both observed that this was not possible in practice for human beings except in specific areas such as mathematics. On the other hand, Leibniz admitted in his book Monadology that “we are all mere Empirics in three fourths of our actions.”[5]

Because of the complicated nature of rationalist thinking, the nature of philosophy, and the understanding that humans are aware of knowledge available only through the use of rational thought, many of the great philosophers from antiquity laid down the foundation for rationalism though they themselves weren’t rationalists as we understand the concept today.

Pythagoras was one of the first Western philosophers to stress rationalist insight.[20] He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic and scientist, but he is best known for the Pythagorean theorem, which bears his name, and for discovering the mathematical relationship between the length of strings on lute bear and the pitches of the notes. Pythagoras “believed these harmonies reflected the ultimate nature of reality. He summed up the implied metaphysical rationalism in the words “All is number”. It is probable that he had caught the rationalist’s vision, later seen by Galileo (15641642), of a world governed throughout by mathematically formulable laws”.[20] It has been said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom,[21]

Plato also held rational insight to a very high standard, as is seen in his works such as Meno and The Republic. Plato taught on the Theory of Forms (or the Theory of Ideas)[22][23][24] which asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.[25] Plato’s forms are accessible only to reason and not to sense.[20] In fact, it is said that Plato admired reason, especially in geometry, so highly that he had the phrase “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter” inscribed over the door to his academy.[26]

Aristotle has a process of reasoning similar to that of Plato’s, though he ultimately disagreed with the specifics of Plato’s forms. Aristotle’s great contribution to rationalist thinking comes from his use of syllogistic logic. Aristotle defines syllogism as “a discourse in which certain (specific) things having been supposed, something different from the things supposed results of necessity because these things are so.”[27] Despite this very general definition, Aristotle limits himself to categorical syllogisms which consist of three categorical propositions in his work Prior Analytics.[28] These included categorical modal syllogisms.[29]

Though the three great Greek philosophers disagreed with one another on specific points, they all agreed that rational thought could bring to light knowledge that was self-evident information that humans otherwise couldn’t know without the use of reason. After Aristotle’s death, Western rationalistic thought was generally characterized by its application to theology, such as in the works of the Islamic philosopher Avicenna and Jewish philosopher and theologian Maimonides. One notable event in the Western timelime was the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas who attempted to merge Greek rationalism and Christian revelation in the thirteenth-century.[20]

Descartes was the first of the modern rationalists and has been dubbed the ‘Father of Modern Philosophy.’ Much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings,[30][31][32] which are studied closely to this day.

Descartes thought that only knowledge of eternal truths including the truths of mathematics, and the epistemological and metaphysical foundations of the sciences could be attained by reason alone; other knowledge, the knowledge of physics, required experience of the world, aided by the scientific method. He also argued that although dreams appear as real as sense experience, these dreams cannot provide persons with knowledge. Also, since conscious sense experience can be the cause of illusions, then sense experience itself can be doubtable. As a result, Descartes deduced that a rational pursuit of truth should doubt every belief about reality. He elaborated these beliefs in such works as Discourse on Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, and Principles of Philosophy. Descartes developed a method to attain truths according to which nothing that cannot be recognised by the intellect (or reason) can be classified as knowledge. These truths are gained “without any sensory experience,” according to Descartes. Truths that are attained by reason are broken down into elements that intuition can grasp, which, through a purely deductive process, will result in clear truths about reality.

Descartes therefore argued, as a result of his method, that reason alone determined knowledge, and that this could be done independently of the senses. For instance, his famous dictum, cogito ergo sum or “I think, therefore I am”, is a conclusion reached a priori i.e., prior to any kind of experience on the matter. The simple meaning is that doubting one’s existence, in and of itself, proves that an “I” exists to do the thinking. In other words, doubting one’s own doubting is absurd.[33] This was, for Descartes, an irrefutable principle upon which to ground all forms of other knowledge. Descartes posited a metaphysical dualism, distinguishing between the substances of the human body (“res extensa”) and the mind or soul (“res cogitans”). This crucial distinction would be left unresolved and lead to what is known as the mind-body problem, since the two substances in the Cartesian system are independent of each other and irreducible.

The philosophy of Baruch Spinoza is a systematic, logical, rational philosophy developed in seventeenth-century Europe.[34][35][36] Spinoza’s philosophy is a system of ideas constructed upon basic building blocks with an internal consistency with which he tried to answer life’s major questions and in which he proposed that “God exists only philosophically.”[36][37] He was heavily influenced by Descartes,[38]Euclid[37] and Thomas Hobbes,[38] as well as theologians in the Jewish philosophical tradition such as Maimonides.[38] But his work was in many respects a departure from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Many of Spinoza’s ideas continue to vex thinkers today and many of his principles, particularly regarding the emotions, have implications for modern approaches to psychology. To this day, many important thinkers have found Spinoza’s “geometrical method”[36] difficult to comprehend: Goethe admitted that he found this concept confusing[citation needed]. His magnum opus, Ethics, contains unresolved obscurities and has a forbidding mathematical structure modeled on Euclid’s geometry.[37] Spinoza’s philosophy attracted believers such as Albert Einstein[39] and much intellectual attention.[40][41][42][43][44]

Leibniz was the last of the great Rationalists who contributed heavily to other fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, logic, mathematics, physics, jurisprudence, and the philosophy of religion; he is also considered to be one of the last “universal geniuses”.[45] He did not develop his system, however, independently of these advances. Leibniz rejected Cartesian dualism and denied the existence of a material world. In Leibniz’s view there are infinitely many simple substances, which he called “monads” (possibly taking the term from the work of Anne Conway).

Leibniz developed his theory of monads in response to both Descartes and Spinoza, because the rejection of their visions forced him to arrive at his own solution. Monads are the fundamental unit of reality, according to Leibniz, constituting both inanimate and animate objects. These units of reality represent the universe, though they are not subject to the laws of causality or space (which he called “well-founded phenomena”). Leibniz, therefore, introduced his principle of pre-established harmony to account for apparent causality in the world.

Kant is one of the central figures of modern philosophy, and set the terms by which all subsequent thinkers have had to grapple. He argued that human perception structures natural laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.[46]

Kant named his branch of epistemology Transcendental Idealism, and he first laid out these views in his famous work The Critique of Pure Reason. In it he argued that there were fundamental problems with both rationalist and empiricist dogma. To the rationalists he argued, broadly, that pure reason is flawed when it goes beyond its limits and claims to know those things that are necessarily beyond the realm of all possible experience: the existence of God, free will, and the immortality of the human soul. Kant referred to these objects as “The Thing in Itself” and goes on to argue that their status as objects beyond all possible experience by definition means we cannot know them. To the empiricist he argued that while it is correct that experience is fundamentally necessary for human knowledge, reason is necessary for processing that experience into coherent thought. He therefore concludes that both reason and experience are necessary for human knowledge. In the same way, Kant also argued that it was wrong to regard thought as mere analysis. In Kant’s views, a priori concepts do exist, but if they are to lead to the amplification of knowledge, they must be brought into relation with empirical data”.[47]

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Rationalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Cook Islands Maori Dictionary | Free Online Dictionary of …

 Islands  Comments Off on Cook Islands Maori Dictionary | Free Online Dictionary of …
Jan 132016

Post navigation Tavake the red tailed tropicbird (Phaeton rubricauda). Photo by G. McCormack.

tavake, n

1. Red-tailed Tropic bird (Phaethon rubricauda).

Kua akamneaia tna pare ki te iku tavake. His hat was decorated with tropic-birds tail-feathers.

Tavake iku-tea, White-tailed Tropic bird.

2. Large variety of breadfruit with long-fingered leaves and fruit that resembles the kuru patea.

E tavake tn kuru. That breadfruit is a tavake.

[Pn. *taweke.]

spiritual entities

See New Zealand Law Commission, Mori Custom and Values, 2001: 30 for New Zealand Maori equivalent.

war cries. Savage, S., A Dictionary of the Mori Language of Rarotonga, 1962: 19

Another meaning is sayings. Numerous totou (sayings) [New Zealand Mori whakatauk], identifying the connectedness of particular mountains, rivers or lakes, tribes and people, are constantly invoked to reaffirm anau tangata or unga tangata between people and their lands.

The ceremony and feast at the end of a battle was called akamoe-i-takau. Savage, S., A Dictionary of the Mori Language of Rarotonga, 1962: 16.

The word itoro which is sometimes used instead of ai tupuna is a coined word which shades it with a post LMS descriptive bias.

akateitei also means arrogant

vangeria, n. Gospel.

Kua ttia te vangeria ki te tene, the gospel was preached to the heathen;

kara ki te


1. (-a, -ia). (Wear) a necklace, garland, wreath, chaplet, scarf.

T ei nei au i tku ei poe prau, Im wearing my pearl necklace;

Eia tou ei, put on your lei (necklace of flowers);

Nku te ei tiare mori, nou te ei ara moa, mine is the gardenia necklace, yours is the pandanus one;

Ei Ktorika, rosary;

Ei ttauro, cross (crucifix) worn round the neck;

T tui ei ra a Runa m, Runa and the others are making wreaths;

Nai tia pare ei? whose chaplet is this?;

E ei i t tei uruuru ki runga i t kak, wrap your woollen scarf around your neck.

2. v.i. Encircled, ensnared, trapped, caught (in net, web, noose, snare, trap).

Kua ei te ika ki roto i te kupenga, the fish were caught in the net;

Kua ei te moa taetaevao ki roto i te pereere, the wild fowl was trapped in a snare;

Kua ptakaiti te rango i te eianga ki roto i te pngverevere, the fly struggled, caught in the cobweb. (see ei, tei(ei)). [Pn. *sei.]

ei, ai, locative particle. (The form ai is used when the preceding word ends in a, when, in traditional orthography it was often written as i and suffixed to the preceding word. E.g. tuatua ai is written tuatuai in Bibilia Tapu). A particle which relates the verb preceding it to an adverbial (time, place, reason, cause, purpose, means) or nominal antecedent. The antecedent to which ei refers may have been placed ahead of the verbal particle of the ei-clause for emphasis; Or it may occur in (or comprise) a preceding clause to which the ei-clause is linked.

1. Ei occurs in a main clause where the antecedent is

(a) an adverbial phrase fronted for emphasis (interrogatives are often topicalised in this way).

te Varaire te pa e akaruke ei, its Friday that the ship leaves / Friday is when the ship leaves (cf. the unmarked word order

ka akaruke te pa te Varaire, the ship leaves on Friday);

N te matangi i kino ei te rkau, its the wind thats spoiled the tree;

N tna vareae i rutu ei aia iku it was out of jealousy that he hit me;

I naea krua i tuatua ai i tn manako?, when did you two discuss that idea?;

Ei ea tua kaikai ei?, where shall we have our meal?;

E aa te mea i tuaru ei koe iia?, what did you drive him away for?

(b) an adverbial clause:

iku e t ra, kite atu ei au i te pa, as I was standing there, I caught sight of the ship;

(c) an adverbial conjunction:

u te r k opu ei, before the sun sets;

Mri ake koe i akatikaia mai ei au, thanks to you I was given permission.

2. Ei occurs in a subordinate (relative) clause.

Ko tia nei te puka tau i apai ei?, is this the book you were carrying?;

Ko ai te tangata tau i p ei?, who was the person you struck?;

E painapa tku i kai ei, it was pineapple(s) that I ate;

Ko tea toa tau i aere ei?, which shop was it you went to?;

E tpito tna maki i noo ei aia ki te kinga, it was stomach-trouble that he stayed home with;

Te ngi i rave mai ei koe, the place you got it from;

Te mataara e tae ei ki runga i tr maunga, the path leading up that mountain;

T pat ra rtou i te taua i akaruke atu ei au, they were cementing the floor when I left;

Ko te tumu t reira i aere mai ei au, thats the reason why I came;

I akapeaia e koe te tamaiti i au ei, what did you do to the child to make him cry?

3. Indicating the sequence of action in the second of two clauses, the verbal particle often being omitted from the second clause, (and) then.

Kia tae mai au, ka rote ei tua i tau ngi, let me get there, then well start ploughing your place;

K noo ttou kia p, ka aere ei, lets stay till its dark and then go;

Aere mai ki runga i te moenga, takoto ei, come on to the mat and lie down;

E taritari mai i te pt kpara ki te pae tai, tuku ei, carry the sacks of copra down to the beach and put them down there;

T aere nei au e tangata k angaanga ai, Im going to go and work for someone else.

4. In the construction

n (ttai tangata) ei, (somebody) said.

Kvea mai taku uri, n P ei, bring me my spear, said P;

Nna ai k inu aia i te kava nani, he said hed have some orange liquor;

e vaine mnea tika ai koe, n P mai ei kiku. Aere ki k atu, nku atu ei, auraka koe e tparu mai iku. E tika ai nku, nna mai ei, You really are a good-looking woman, says P to me. Get away with you, says I, dont you go flattering me. I really mean it, he says. [Pn. *ai.]

enguengu, v.i., fq. engu, groan, q.v.

Kua kite au e moemoe nna i tna enguenguanga, I could tell that she was having a dream from her groaning;

Kia tae atu au, t enguengu u ra aia n te mamae, when I got there, he was groaning with the pain. [engu RR.]


1. v.i., n. Groan, moan, grunt, (make a deep throaty noise.

E aa koe i engu ua ai i roto i tau moe inap?, why were you groaning in your sleep last night?;

Kua rongo au i tna enguanga i te anga aia ki runga i te patu, I heard him grunt when he banged into the wall;

Kua rongo au i te engu i vao, kre r au i aere ana i te kara, I heard moaning outside, but I didnt go to look.

2. v.t. Hum.

T engu u ra aia i te mene, hes just humming the song. [Np. *fe

eeu, (-a, -ia, ua, euia). Draw back or remove (covering, screen or lid).

Kua purara mai te verovero o te r ki roto i te are i tku eeuanga i te rai mramarama, the suns rays burst into the house when I drew the curtains;

Kua eeu aia i te riki kaingkai, she removed the tablecloth;

Eeua ake te moenga kia purmuia te repo, lift up the mat to sweep the dirt out;

eeke, v.i., intens. of eke1. Flow copiously, descend.

Kua eeke ua te toto i te putaanga tna katu i te rkau, the blood gushed when the pole struck him on the head;

Kua eeke ua te vai n roto i tna kinga, the water poured through his garden;

I n konei rtou i te eekeanga, they scrambled down this way. [eke1 rR.]

eeke, v.i., fq. eeke. Flow, q.v.

, n. Boil, carbuncle.

Kre e meitaki kia viia tou , n te mea kre i para, it wont do any good getting your boil lanced, it hasnt come to a head yet;

Paraia ki te vairkau , put a boil poultice on it;

eaea, v.i., fq. of ea. Rise to the surface.

Kua pou rtou ki roto i te vai kua eaea ki ttai tua i te kauvai, they dived into the water and came up on the other side of the river;

Kua pupui te aronga ruku i t rtou ao i t rtou eaeaanga, the divers let their breath out with a rush as they surfaced. [ea RR.]

eaa, what? A spelling of e + aa, q.v.

e, interj. Yes? What is it? What do you want? (reply to a call, polite, cf. eaa? which is discourteous).

Read the original:
Cook Islands Maori Dictionary | Free Online Dictionary of …

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Singularity (Posthuman transcension) – Palaeos

 Posthuman  Comments Off on Singularity (Posthuman transcension) – Palaeos
Dec 202015

In mathematics, a singularity is a point at which a given mathematical object is not defined or not well-behaved, for example infinite or not differentiable. In the natural sciences, a point in spacetime where the laws of physics break down, for example where gravitational forces cause matter to have an infinite density and zero volume (as in a Black Hole). In transhumanism and futurism, the end of history as we know it, the point (Technological singularity) at which accelerating change and technological progress becomes so rapid, or alternatively that an exponential growth of artificial intelligence surpasses human levels of intelligence, so that it becomes impossible to predict the nature of any post-singularity intelligence or technological civilization; see Acceleration Watch website for more. Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point and Sri Aurobindo’s Supramental transformation are metaphysical equivalents. The following provides a short and no doubt incomplete potted history of the theme of evolution and transcendence. MAK110419

German Idealism: a movement in philosophy, started with Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism, centered in Germany. Many prominent exponents include Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. See also Naturphilosophie. A prequel to Darwinian evolution. (Wikipedia glossary)

In the 19th century, universal histories proliferated. Philosophers such as Kant, Schiller and Hegel, and political philosophers such as Marx, presented general theories of history that shared essential characteristics with the Biblical account: they conceived of history as a coherent whole, governed by certain basic characteristics or immutable principles. For example, Hegel presented the idea that progress in history is actually the progress not of humankind’s material existence, but of humanity’s spiritual development. Concomitantly, Hegel presented a developmental theory of how the human spirit progresses: through the dialectic of synthesis and antithesis. Marx’s theory of dialectic materialism is essential to his general concept of history: that the struggle to dominate the means of production governs all historical development. (Wikipedia)

Russian cosmism: philosophical and cultural movement that developed in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century. It entailed a broad theory of natural philosophy combining elements of religion and ethics with a history and philosophy of the origin, evolution and future existence of the cosmos and humankind (including advanced technology and space exploration). Incorporated many ideas that would later be adapted by transhumanism. (MAK, Wikipedia)

Sri Aurobindo: (1872-1950) Indian evolutionary philosopher, yogi, and poet, who worked for freedom from British rule before giving up politics and developing his own vision of human progress and spiritual evolution. Together with his co-worker the French mystic Mirra Alfassa he taught the evolution of consciousness culminating in the emergence of a future supramental species and transformation of the world (in this context, the technological singularity is a naturalist equivalent). His ideas have some intriguing parallels with those of Teilhard de Chardin, and he integrated evolutionary thinking with Eastern philosophy the way Teilhard synthesised evolution with Christianity. Neither rejected Darwinism, although in contrast to theistic evolution, both understood evolution panentheistically as the emergence of the Divine out of matter (rather than separate from and above matter). MAK110419

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky: (1863-1945) Ukrainian interdisciplinary scientist; the father of Russian ecology. He helped establish the fields of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and of radiogeology. His ideas of noosphere were an important contribution to Russian cosmism. His 1926 book The Biosphere developed Eduard Suess’ earlier 1885 concept of the biosphere into the idea of life as a geological force, similar to James Lovelock’s Gaia theory. This is very different to the watered down biosphere of popular thought which is nothing but a mere envelope clinging to the surface of the planet (Teilhard also seems to describe the biosphere in this way, as an envelope). He also developed the idea of the noosphere, which he interpreted as the third stage in the earth’s development, mind as a geological force; here we see obvious parallels with transhumanism. Vernadsky influenced Teilhard de Chardin and no doubt vice-versa, when they met in Paris when he Vernadsky was lecturing at the Sorbonne in Paris, although Vernadsky’s theory of Earth evolution was purely materialistic, in contrast to Teilhard’s Panentheism. (MAK, Wikipedia)

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre: (1881-1955) French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of both Piltdown Man and Peking Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point and developed the concept of Noosphere. He came into conflict with the Catholic Church, and several of his books were censured. His primary work The Phenomenon of Man, set forth a sweeping account of the unfolding of the cosmos. He saw no contradiction between Darwinism and Theism, rejected traditional interpretations of a supernatural creator and creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of a panentheistic teleology. Teilhard envisaged the “within” (consciousness) and the “without” (matter) as complementary, each subject to its own evolutionary principle, which he called radial and tangential energy respectively. The former corresponds to the ascent of consciousness and evolution to divinity, the latter to evolution as described by Darwinian science. To this day, Teilhard remains one of the very few individuals whose work seamlessly integrates both evolutionary science and theistic religion, not in a dualistic supernatural context of theistic evolution, but in a holistic and pantheistic manner.

Although the two never met, and neither knew of the other’s work, Teilhard’s ideas have some intriguing parallels with those of Sri Aurobindo (although in terms of W.C. Snow’s “Two Cultures”, Teilhard arrives at spirituality from the perspective of the sciences, Aurobindo from the humanities). His ideas are also very similar to those of A. N. Whitehead, both beings strongly influenced by Henri Bergson. Seems to have been one of the very few who integrated the “Two Cultures”. Teilhard’s cosmology, but not his strict anthropocentrism, have been strongly influential in the New Age movement, Transhumanism, the Universe Story, Integral Theory, and other contemporary advocates of evolution of consciousness, while his term complexification has been adopted by contemporary systems science.

Omega point: in Teilhard de Chardin’s pantheistic evolutionary theology, the personal and transcendent state of maximum complexification, towards which the Earth is evolving, and associated or identified with Christ; the end of history, or of history as we know it. Enormously influential (generally second or third hand) on the new age movement. Similar to Sri Aurobindo’s independently arrived at but more radical concept of Supramental transformation, and the Transhumanist Singularity (perhaps direct or indirect influence re the history of ideas). The mathematical physicist and cosmologist Frank J. Tipler developed a materialistic “hard science” version of Teilhard’s Omega Point.

Teilhard’s work has been strongly criticised by Stephen Jay Gould. For Teilhard, evolution tends to greater complexity and consciousness; for Gould, there is no such thing as ascent or progress, only random natural selection. While Teilhard’s strong teleological approach is anathema to mainstream naturalist science (with a few exceptions such as Conway Morris) Gould’s equally extreme but diametrically opposite blanket denial that evolution results in the emergence of greater complexity hasn’t fared much better; as well as being contrary to the findings of systems theory it is mostly also rejected even by other evolutionists. MAK110419

Transhumanism is emergent philosophy analysing or favouring the use of science and technology, especially neurotechnology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, to overcome human limitations and improve the human condition. Dr. Robin Hanson describes it as “the idea that new technologies are likely to change the world so much in the next century or two that our descendants will in many ways no longer be ‘human’.” See also conscious evolution, singularity.(Wikipedia glossary)

Influences, precursors, and early developments can be found in the philosophy of Nietzche (the Superman who surpasses the current human species), the Russian Cosmism of Nikolai Fyodorov, the cosmology of Teilhard de Chardin, geneticist J.B.S. Haldane’s 1923 essay Daedalus: Science and the Future, which predicted that great benefits would come from applications of advanced sciences to human biology, speculations on space colonization, bionic implants, and cognitive enhancement by J. D. Bernal, futurologist FM-2030, who taught “new concepts of the Human” at The New School of New York City in the 1960s, computer scientist Marvin Minsky, who wrote on relationships between human and artificial intelligence beginning in the 1960s, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation of California, which froze recently deceased subscribers in the 1980s in the hope they would be revived by a future ultra-tech civilization, and the work of Eric Drexler, who in 1986 published Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which discussed the prospects for nanotechnology and molecular assemblers, and founded the Foresight Institute. In the late 1980s Max More and Tom Morrow (such eccentric names are not unusual here!) created his own particular transhumanist doctrine, called Extropianism and laid the foundation of modern transhumanism. Since then, many other forms of Transhumanism have emerged, including Posthumanism, Postgenderism, Singularitarianism, Technogaianism, Buddhist and Christian Transhumanism, and more. (From Wikipedia)

Integral to transhumanism is the idea of the Technological singularity, which refers to the postulated near-future emergence of greater-than human intelligence. The term was coined by mathematician and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, who argues that artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement or brain-computer interfaces could be possible causes for the singularity. Since the capabilities of such an intelligence would be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the occurrence of technological singularity is seen as an intellectual event horizon, beyond which the future becomes difficult to understand or predict. Nevertheless, proponents of the singularity typically anticipate such an event to precede an “intelligence explosion”, wherein superintelligences design successive generations of increasingly powerful minds. The concept is popularized by futurists like Ray Kurzweil and widely expected by proponents to occur in the early to mid twenty first century. (From Wikipedia)

Of course, it could be argued that in describing accelerating change, the transhumanists haven’t taken into account the sigmoid shape of the logistic growth curve, as shown on the right (diagram from John Wilkins’ Evolving Thoughts blog). However if the growth curve does indeed go all the way back to the Big Bang, I find it unlikely that after thirteen billion years it the curve would just coincidentally flatten out in the next few decades. A stronger objection is that these sort of exponential cosmic growth curves are simply an artifact of logarithmic time; the closer to the present an event is, the more we know of it, and hence the more information (and record of change) there is. However, even if this is the case, this still does not negate the fact that the cosmos seems to organise itself in progressively more complex configurations of matter and consciousness, as observed by Teilhard, Erich Jantsch, and others. MAK111014

The value of Transhumanism, Singularitanism, and other such speculations is that they point to a possible future direction that post-biological and post-human evolution might take, a new kingdom of life or threshold of increasable complexity. Such speculations are a popular element in contemporary science fiction, especially “hard science” writers such as Greg Egan, Alastair Reynolds, and Charles Stross. Interestingly, these themes tie in with early twentieth century visionary metaphysical ideas such as the Omega Point of Teilhard de Chardin and the Supramental transformation of Sri Aurobindo. If 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution have brought us this far, this is a possible and very optimistic glimpse of the future. Of course, the human experiment might just as likely end with a whimper or a bang in an anthropogenic sixth extinction. (MAK110716)

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Singularity (Posthuman transcension) – Palaeos

The Age of Cryptocurrency | How Bitcoin and Digital Money …

 Cryptocurrency  Comments Off on The Age of Cryptocurrency | How Bitcoin and Digital Money …
Dec 172015

On Wednesday night, Feb. 11, we were part of a special night at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street, a discussion on digital currency and the future of finance featuring former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers that took a look at the ways in which bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are going to effect, and be absorbed and adapted by, the financial system.

Nearly 300 people (the event sold out very quickly) filled the museums main exhibition hall to hear Summers, us, and a panel of experts talk about the future of finance, and digital currencys place in that future.

The museum occupies the old Bank of New York headquarters, a grand old Greek revival building on the corner of Wall and Williams street, a block away from Federal Hall and the New York Stock Exchange. That location and history made for a dramatic backdrop to what was decidedly a 21st century night of questions and discussions.

The media coverage ranged from the mainstream New York Times, which took a very straightforward angle with this write-up of Summers comments, to this decidedly cynical take from Animal New York. On Wednesday night, the Establishment wasnt afraid, Peter Yeh wrote. It was excited. Its members swarmed the CEOs after the panel ended to exchange business cards. Nothing is more traditional finance than that.

There was something to that take. This was one of the first times, if not the first, that the upstart cryptocurrency world met the staid traditional finance world on its own turf, and engaged it on its own terms. The night was less about disruption and more about evolution, and it seemed to us at least that at some point soon, theres going to be something in the museum to represent bitcoin, something that extends the line of history just one step further.

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Publication Day!

Jan. 27 has arrived, and with it, the publication of The Age of Cryptocurrency (and a massive blizzard thats about to dump two feet of snow on the east coast, but thats another story). We are extremely excited to have finally made it to this day. The reception so far has been really quite positive, and were anxious to see how the book does now that its on bookshelves.

Our weekend essay in the Wall Street Journal is a good primer on the promise of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, if you havent read the book yet. It will give you a taste of the direction were going in.

Also over the weekend, the Washington Post gave the book a very strong review. To their ample credit, Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey, veteran Wall Street Journal reporters, resist the common temptation to hype their trendy subject, the finance writer Daniel Gross said. Theyve written a reported explainer that patiently documents bitcoins rise, acknowledges its flaws and highlights its promise. Smart and conscientious, The Age of Cryptocurrency is the most thorough and readable account of the short life of this controversial currency.

Heres an excerpt from our Journal essay:

No digital currency will soon dislodge the dollar, but bitcoin is much more than a currency. It is a radically new, decentralized system for managing the way societies exchange value. It is, quite simply, one of the most powerful innovations in finance in 500 years.

If applied widely to the inner workings of our global economy, this model could slash trillions in financial fees; computerize much of the work done by payment processors, government property-title offices, lawyers and accountants; and create opportunities for billions of people who dont currently have bank accounts. Great value will be created, but many jobs also will be rendered obsolete.

Continue reading

The book doesnt arrive for another two weeks, but today we published our trailer on YouTube. For this, we performed a relatively simple experiment: we went out into Times Square, and asked people, what is bitcoin? You can see for yourself what they said.

Yes, that is Mike Casey making an ever so brief cameo toward the end.

The Economist this week came out with its review of The Age of Cryptocurrency, saying, essentially, that its a serious book worth reading, one that digs deep into the reasons that bitcoin is significant as a topic, beyond all the manic stuff you read in the media.

Heres a clip, though wed recommend reading the whole thing:

For any book on bitcoin to be worth reading, though, it has to delve further: into the crypto-currencys ideological and technical roots, for instance, or what it adds to the narrative of money, or even what its economic and political impact may be. The currencys dollar price may be three-quarters down on its peak, but the underlying technology also provides plenty of intellectual fodderand is unlikely to go away. So there is plenty to write about if you are serious.

Paul Vigna and Michael Casey, two journalists at the Wall Street Journal, are certainly serious.

The tone is somewhat dismissive of bitcoin (The rise and fall of the crypto-currency is good news for authors at least), and it treats some of the other bitcoin books out there harshly. But it does highlight many of the big-picture issues we explore: the debate about the nature of money, and where cryptocurrencies lie within that; the potential to bootstrap the unbanked into the modern world, a slow-rolling revolution in finance. All in all, its a very positive review and were really pleased to get our first notice from such an august name.

Mike and I both received our first copies of the U.K. version of our book in the mail today, from our publisher The Bodley Head.

Our editor at Bodley Head, Stuart Williams, cut the title down to simply Cryptocurrency, (you can see the Random House page here) but otherwise its the same book. And, yes, that is a bullet on the cover. They really went for a statement with the title and imagery, which we like.

Weve seen a couple of the galleys of our U.S. edition, but this is the first actual copy Ive had in my hands. We put in an awful lot of work between the day we signed the contract and today. It feels very good to have the book arrive, to see the culmination of all that work here sitting next to me.

Here is the book on Amazons U.K. site. One nice little touch on the dust jacket is that they priced it in pounds, and bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency is available in the U.K. beginning Jan. 29 (and Jan. 27 here in the U.S.)

Publishers Weekly gave The Age of Cryptocurrency a starred review; heres what they had to say:

While many readers understandably have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept of non-government-backed currency, journalists Casey (Ches Afterlife) and Vigna, who blog about cryptocurrency at the Wall Street JournalsMoneyBeat blog, here use their considerable expertise to make the Bitcoin phenomenon accessible.

They take a thorough, multidisciplinary approach to the topic, including a fascinating examination of the origin of money. The authors are appropriately cautious, warning that despite increased public awareness of Bitcoin, it remains a niche product, and the jury is still out on how far and how quickly it and other digital currency will spread.

However, newcomers will gain a better understanding of the revolutionary potential of digital currency, especially for the roughly 2.5 billion people from Afghanistan to Africa to even America who have been shut out of the modern finance system. And the explication of the non-currency applications of the concepts behind Bitcoinsuch as tamper-proof records of verified informationwill be valuable to any reader. Agent: Gillian McKenzie, Gillian McKenzie Agency. (Jan.)

Anyone who doubts that bitcoin and its imitators are at the early stage of altering fundamentally the global payments systemif not the nature of money itselfwill find it difficult to resist Michael Casey and Paul Vignas admirably clear and judicious account. If the word blockchain makes you want to call a plumber, or if you think Satoshi is some kind of raw fish, you need to read The Age of Cryptocurrency today. If youre already a bit-convert, youll still learn a lot. Niall Ferguson, author of The Ascent of Money

Anyone who views bitcoin as a voodoo concept must read this totally comprehensible narrative outlining the history of money and how bitcoin might become a new and better currency. For those confused by bitcoin concepts, this clearheaded and readable book sets forth credible reasons why bitcoin might or might not be an evolving economic miracle. Arthur Levitt, 25th Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission

An invaluable book: a fascinating field guide to the phenomenon in which three of the most powerful forces shaping our world todaythe reform of finance, technological innovation, and the rejection of traditional politicsmeet. Felix Martin, author of Money: The Unauthorized Biography

The Age of Cryptocurrency not only demystifies and explains bitcoin, but also shows where it fits into the cultural zeitgeist and where its pointed, and what that may mean for our financial system. John Mauldin, New York Times bestselling author of Endgame

The thought-provoking Age of Cryptocurrency was a pleasure to read. The authors have successfully demystified cryptocurrencies like bitcoin so that even a traditionalist like myself can understand them and embrace their potential. And the references to money were so spot-on, they even taught this old dog some new tricks. Edmund C. Moy, 38th Director of the United States Mint, 2006-2011

Vigna and Casey unlock the mysteries of cryptocurrencies and their implications for the future of financial transactions in an engaging, lucid, and thought-provoking account. The technological developments described in this book will someday affect every one of us and I can think of no better guide to what the future holds. Eswar Prasad, author of The Dollar Trap

Even to a bitcoin skeptic like myself, Vigna and Caseys book is a fascinating journey into the cast of characters and oddballs behind the movement into the digital currency realm. Barry Ritholtz, CIO, Ritholtz Wealth Management

Thorough, multidisciplinary approach to the topic, including a fascinating examination of the origin of money newcomers will gain a better understanding of the revolutionary potential of digital currencyAnd the explication of the non-currency applications of the concepts behind Bitcoinsuch as tamper-proof records of verified informationwill be valuable to any reader. PublishersWeekly, starred review

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The Age of Cryptocurrency | How Bitcoin and Digital Money …

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Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech: Nicholas Wolfson …

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech: Nicholas Wolfson …
Oct 032015

A powerful indictment of contemporary attacks on free speech, this book argues for a vigorous First Amendment jurisprudence protecting even offensive types of speech. In recent years, political activists, academics, and legal specialists have attacked traditional notions of free speech protection as they concern hate speech, obscenity, and pornography. They have called for changes in Supreme Court doctrine in defining the First Amendment and have argued that the traditional view of free speech actually creates and perpetuates a society in which the weakwomen, minorities, the poorhave no voice. While recognizing their fears, Nicholas Wolfson argues that it is impossible to separate bad speech from good speech without fatally compromising the uniquely American concept of free speech, and that efforts to modify our concept of free speech for a greater egalitarian good can only result in undue state influence over private speech. In a keenly argued analysis, he finds that, in the end, the preservation of free and vigorous speech requires a strong First Amendment protection for even the most hateful of speech.

Go here to read the rest:
Hate Speech, Sex Speech, Free Speech: Nicholas Wolfson …

The Best Definition of Singularity

 The Singularity  Comments Off on The Best Definition of Singularity
Sep 082015

The term Singularity has many definitions.

The everyday English definition of Singularity is a noun that designates the quality of being one of a kind, strange, unique, remarkable or unusual.

For a more specific definition of Singularity we can search The Wiktionary where we get the following five Singularity definitions:

1. the state of being singular, distinct, peculiar, uncommon or unusual 2. a point where all parallel lines meet 3. a point where a measured variable reaches unmeasurable or infinite value 4. (mathematics) the value or range of values of a function for which a derivative does not exist 5. (physics) a point or region in spacetime in which gravitational forces cause matter to have an infinite density; associated with Black Holes

What we are most interested in, however, is the definition of Singularity as a technological phenomenon — i.e. the Technological Singularity. Here we can also find a variety of subtly different interpretations of the definition of Singularity.

John von Neumann was quoted as saying that “the ever accelerating progress of technology … gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” His definition of the Singularity was that the Singularity is the moment beyond which “technological progress will become incomprehensively rapid and complicated.”

Vernor Vinge introduced the term Technological Singularity in his science fiction novel Marooned in Realtime(1986) and later developed the concept in his essay the Coming Technological Singularity (1993). His definition of Singularity is widely known as the event horizon thesis and in essence says that trans or post-human minds will imply a weirder future than we can imagine:

“Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. […] I think it’s fair to call this event a singularity. It is a point where our models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer and closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown.”

I.J. Good, who greatly influenced Vinge himself, never used the term Singularity itself. However, what Vinge called Singularity Good called intelligence explosion and by that he meant a positive feedback cycle within which minds will make technology to improve on minds which once started will rapidly surge upwards and create super-intelligence. This definition of Singularity is also known as the intelligence explosion hypothesis.

Ray Kurzweil is associated with the third and most popular interpretation of the Technological Singularity, often referred to as the accelerating change thesis. In his book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Kurzweil defined the Technological Singularity as:

“… a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian nor dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lifes, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself.”

Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine

Singularity is the point at which “all the change in the last million years will be superseded by the change in the next five minutes.”

James Martin, a world-renowned leading futurist, computer scientist, author, lecturer and, among many other things, the largest donor in the history of Oxford University.

Singularity “is a break in human evolution that will be caused by the staggering speed of technological evolution.”


Since all of the above refer to the same broad occurrence, I will simply define the Technological Singularity as the event, or sequence of events, likely to occur at or after the birth of Artificial Intelligence. (especially when AI surpasses human intelligence)

If anything, it has to be clear that we really do not know what the Singularity is (or will be) so we are just using the term to show (or hide) our own ignorance.

For more on this topic check out 17 Definitions of the Technological Singularity

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THE singularitiy, not the tech one. Not rated yet I am puzzled that THE singularity is barely mentioned on this site – the singularity before which time, space, matter and energy did not exist – (not

Singuarity or Chaos?Not rated yet Perhaps it will be the time when the number of recongized, recorded & real-time shared “patterns” will be so unfathomably large that all around “us” will

Singularity And The Infinite InvisibleNot rated yet The Universe continues to expand from its point of origin (Alpha point) since its inception at the Big Bang. As such, time itself expands along with it,

D’Count Lessismore of Moran-OvaNot rated yet D&D’s take on all this is: That super AI equals human irrelevance. The soon to come very few super power leaders will voraciously control

The third factor of intelligenceNot rated yet I am thinking of a new theory. At least to me it is new. I am thinking of the point when artificial intelligence is measured as equal or greater than human

The SarkhhoobadNot rated yet Singularity is best explained by the “sarkhoobad”, a mysterious phenomenon which if unraveled would shed light on many of the difficult to explain questions

bliss to ignorance ratioNot rated yet singularity transcends human comprehension as a linear event, therefore if it occurs we will be incapable of detecting its existence. time, place and

Albert Not rated yet I agree that human evolution is heading in this direction, namely trans humanism. Earth will probably experience another extinction event, so humans should

Time TravelNot rated yet I do not believe that there is much more to be done technologically (in a vastly more incomprehensible way) than what has already transpired with the exceptions

Ananda Jaisingh, VedantinNot rated yet Singularity means Brahman, satyam gyanam anantam, brahman as it is the source of all knowledge and therefore must be conscious, without limit or boundary,

Noone ScientistNot rated yet Singularity is the initial point which everthing that exist, has existed and will exist, is acted upon by the magic magnetic first particle of matter,

singularityNot rated yet We would not be able to recognise a singularity in a future sense, we would experience the now or the present event prior to the singularity,then pass

Mr. Ronald finn.Not rated yet Singularity is where everything meets you, no matter where you are or whatever you are doing it still relates to you and only you. A single direction without

Dr.Not rated yet A singularity is a point in the future where an intelligence explosion takes place.

Splitting of the SpeciesNot rated yet Single body, many minds vs many bodies single minds. Singularity? Iit means individualism while joining with many others in a single unit. Single does

Margie Call ) artistNot rated yet If because of exponential growth, and thoughts are things it seems to me everything would get so entangled that there will be a big bang that converts

Paul BennettNot rated yet In the “Electric Kool-aid Acid Test” it is ‘said’ that you are either “on the bus” or “off the bus” in the event of a technological singularity you will

George Anstadt MD FACPMNot rated yet the Singularity: When the relentless drive of DNA to survive commands a being with the power of artificial intelligence.

Good, Bad, WeirdNot rated yet The Singularity, as defined above, is an unknown unknown. That means this whole thing is a random event. In the future there is a point, which statistically

Continuation of the Human RaceNot rated yet The essence of what we call the human race has to be evolved into a form of transmittable energy that will transcend the limits of the observable universe.

The Universal Grand IllusionNot rated yet This will be the point when the self-absorbed intellectual elites reach the apex of the Ego, becoming convinced that we have fully digested the essence

human beingNot rated yet singularity is the moment when we have the capacity to understand all knowledge from the past and from the future in the present

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The Best Definition of Singularity

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Review of Our Posthuman Future

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Sep 072015

Francis Fukuyama, the well-known author of The End of History and the Last Man, takes on a subject far from his usual field of international political economy: biotechnology. Yet, in his introduction, he shows that there is indeed a link: his 1989 book met with a great deal of criticism, and one argument he found impossible to refute was that there could be no end of history unless there was an end of science. This new book takes that concept further, and considers the impact of modern biology on the understanding of politics.

Being a child of the 1950s, Fukuyama cites two books that were not only decisive in forming his worldview, and that of others growing up in the same period, but which act as templates for examining how our world might evolve. George Orwells 1984, which posits a world of centralized control, never came to be as such, partly because the Internet which developed is the opposite of the centralized system shown in this dystopia. But Aldous Huxleys Brave New World still gives us food for thought, as the biotechnology revolution gets underway. In Huxleys world, drugs were made to ensure that peoples every need and desire be met, essentially abolishing human nature. Fukuyama argues that, Huxley was right, that the most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and move us into a posthuman stage of history.

Fukuyama seems worried more by the possibility that the biotech revolution will have political consequences rather than any specific effect on individuals. He sees the potential for class wars, as the rich have access to drugs and techniques that make them, and their children, smarter, stronger, and longer-living. This is indeed a different issue than the more basic moral questions than arise, and he is right to raise it. For what would happen in a world, which is already strongly polarized between haves and have-nots, when the haves not only enjoy better goods, food and living conditions, but also life, by purchasing extra years of living, new organs when the old ones break down, or by designing their children before their births.

As the floodgates of biotechnology open, there are several areas of exploration that, unfortunately, get conflated or confused. The main issues are not limited to human cloning, which has gotten by far the greatest amount of press. Other issues involve cognitive neuroscience, and the possibility of controlling behavior; neuropharmacology, and the creation of drugs that enhance certain emotions and repress others; genetic engineering, where new plants and animals can be created, or where humans can be modified; and the prolongation of life, either through the use of chemicals or transplants, or other, as yet undiscovered techniques.

What Fukuyama succeeds in showing in this book is the extent to which the biotechnology revolution can and will affect us. Far beyond the simple debate over human cloning and stem-cell research, which have led to distinct camps digging into the trenches, defending either scientific or religious beliefs, the myriad issues involvedsome of which are already present, others which may or may not exist, according to the success or failure of scientistswill have a great effect on the future of our civilization. But will the effect be greater than other revolutions, such as the agricultural and industrial revolutions? Fukuyama calls for common sense and the regulation of experiments and applications, so mistakes are not made through precipitation.

In short, this is an essential book, for two reasons. First, because its lucid, objective presentation of the issues and their context allows the reader to understand what is at stake without undue religious or racist leanings which have often, over the years, been lurking behind many of these questions. And second, because, like it or not, these issues exist, and choices will have to be made, and soon.

Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn ( is a freelance writer and translator living in a village in the French Alps. You can find out all about him at his web site,

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Astronomy | Define Astronomy at

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Aug 292015

Contemporary Examples

Occult literally means hidden from view, which is why we use it both in astronomy and to refer to secret knowledge.

After To Die For, Affleck moved to New York and attended Columbia University for two years, majoring in physics and astronomy.

His specialty was astronomy, a subject in which he had made several major discoveries.

Cosmic ray observations are more challenging than many other forms of astronomy.

Muslims made many discoveries in mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, astronomy and psychology.

British Dictionary definitions for astronomy Expand

the scientific study of the individual celestial bodies (excluding the earth) and of the universe as a whole. Its various branches include astrometry, astrodynamics, cosmology, and astrophysics

C13: from Old French astronomie, from Latin astronomia, from Greek; see astro-, -nomy

Word Origin and History for astronomy Expand

c.1200, from Old French astrenomie, from Latin astronomia, from Greek astronomia, literally “star arrangement,” from astron “star” (see astro-) + nomos “arranging, regulating,” related to nemein “to deal out” (see numismatics). Used earlier than astrology and originally including it.

astronomy in Science Expand

astronomy in Culture Expand

The science that deals with the universe beyond the Earth. It describes the nature, position, and motion of the stars, planets, and other objects in the skies, and their relation to the Earth.

astronomy in the Bible Expand

The Hebrews were devout students of the wonders of the starry firmanent (Amos 5:8; Ps. 19). In the Book of Job, which is the oldest book of the Bible in all probability, the constellations are distinguished and named. Mention is made of the “morning star” (Rev. 2:28; comp. Isa. 14:12), the “seven stars” and “Pleiades,” “Orion,” “Arcturus,” the “Great Bear” (Amos 5:8; Job 9:9; 38:31), “the crooked serpent,” Draco (Job 26:13), the Dioscuri, or Gemini, “Castor and Pollux” (Acts 28:11). The stars were called “the host of heaven” (Isa. 40:26; Jer. 33:22). The oldest divisions of time were mainly based on the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the “ordinances of heaven” (Gen. 1:14-18; Job 38:33; Jer. 31:35; 33:25). Such observations led to the division of the year into months and the mapping out of the appearances of the stars into twelve portions, which received from the Greeks the name of the “zodiac.” The word “Mazzaroth” (Job 38:32) means, as the margin notes, “the twelve signs” of the zodiac. Astronomical observations were also necessary among the Jews in order to the fixing of the proper time for sacred ceremonies, the “new moons,” the “passover,” etc. Many allusions are found to the display of God’s wisdom and power as seen in the starry heavens (Ps. 8; 19:1-6; Isa. 51:6, etc.)

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Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 292015

Freedom is a novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and released on August 31, 2010.

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, and was ranked one of the best books of 2010 by several publications.

Freedom follows several members of an American family, the Berglunds, as well as their close friends and lovers, as complex and troubled relationships unfold over many years. The book follows them through the last decades of the twentieth century and concludes near the beginning of the Obama administration.

Freedom opens with a short history of the Berglund family from the perspective of their nosy neighbors. The Berglunds are portrayed as the most ideal liberal middle-class family, and they are among the first families to move back into urban St. Paul, Minnesota, after years of white flight to the suburbs. Patty Berglund is an unusually young and pretty homemaker with a self-deprecating sense of humor; her husband Walter is a mild-mannered lawyer with strong environmentalist leanings.

They have one daughter, Jessica, and a son, Joey, who early on displays an independent streak and an interest in making money. Joey becomes sexually involved with a neighborhood teen named Connie and begins to rebel against his mother, going so far as to move in with Connie, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend Blake, making Patty and Walter increasingly unstable. After several unhappy years, the family relocates to Washington, D.C., abandoning the neighborhood and house they worked so hard to improve. Walter takes a job with an unorthodox environmental project, tied to big coal.

The second portion of the book takes the form of an autobiography of Patty Berglund, composed at the suggestion of her therapist. The autobiography tells of Patty’s youth as a star basketball player, and her increasing alienation from her artistically inclined parents and sisters. Instead of attending an East Coast elite college like her siblings, she gets a basketball scholarship to the University of Minnesota and adopts the life of the athlete. She meets an attractive but unattainable indie rock musician named Richard Katz, and his nerdy but kind roommate, Walter Berglund. After her basketball career-ending knee injury, Patty suddenly becomes desperate for male affection, and after failing to woo Richard, she settles down with Walter, who had been patiently courting her for more than a year. We learn that Patty retained her desire for Richard and eventually had a brief affair with him at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin.

The novel then jumps ahead to New York City in 2004 and shifts to the story of Walter and Patty’s friend Richard, who has finally succeeded in becoming a minor indie rock star in his middle age. His hit album Nameless Lake tells the story of his brief love affair with Patty at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin in Minnesota. Richard is uncomfortable with commercial success, throws away his new-found money, and returns to building roof decks for wealthy people in Manhattan. Walter calls him out of the blue to enlist his help as a celebrity spokesman for an environmental campaign. Walter has taken a job in Washington, D.C. working for a coal mining magnate who wants to strip mine a section of West Virginia forest before turning it into a songbird preserve of future environmental value. Walter hopes to use some of this project’s funding to hold a concert to combat overpopulation, the common factor behind all his environmental concerns, and he believes that Richard will be able to rally well-known musicians to his cause. Meanwhile, Walter’s marriage to Patty has been deteriorating steadily, and his pretty young assistant Lalitha has fallen deeply in love with him.

In parallel, the Berglunds’ estranged, Republican son Joey attempts to finance his college life at the University of Virginia by taking on a dubious subcontract to provide spare parts for outdated supply trucks during the Iraq War. While at college, he marries his childhood sweetheart but dares not tell his parents. After visiting his roommate’s family in the DC suburbs, he also pursues his friend’s beautiful sister Jenna and is exposed to her father’s Zionist, neoconservative politics. After months of pursuing Jenna, when she finally wants him to have sex with her, he cannot maintain an erection. Later he becomes conflicted after making $850,000 selling defective truck parts to military suppliers in Iraq. In the end Joey gives away the excess proceeds of his profiteering, reconciles with his parents, settles down with Connie, and moves into a sustainable coffee business with the help of his father Walter.

Now, Richard’s re-appearance destroys Walter and Patty’s weakening marriage. Richard tries to convince Patty to leave Walter, but she shows Richard the autobiography she wrote as “therapy”, trying to convince him that she’s still in love with Walter. Richard deliberately leaves the autobiography on Walter’s desk, and Walter reads Patty’s true thoughts. Walter kicks Patty out of the house, and she moves to Jersey City to be with Richard, but the relationship only lasts six months. Later, she moves to Brooklyn alone and takes a job at a private school, discovering her skill for teaching younger children. When Patty leaves him, Walter has a catharsis on live television, revealing his contempt for the displaced West Virginian families and his various commercial backers. Local rednecks respond by dragging him from the platform and beating him up. He is promptly fired by the environmental trust, but his TV debacle makes him a viral video hero to radical youth across the nation. He and his assistant Lalitha become lovers and continue their plans to combat overpopulation through a concert to rally young people in the hills of West Virginia. Lalitha is killed in a suspicious car accident a few days before the concert is due to take place. Shattered, and having lost both of the women who loved him, Walter retreats to his family’s lakeside vacation house back in Minnesota. He becomes known to a new street of neighbors as a cranky old recluse, obsessed with house cats killing birds nesting on his property.

After a few years living in Brooklyn, Patty’s father dies and she is forced to settle the fight that erupts within her family of spoiled bohemians as they attempt to split up the much-diminished family fortune. This experience helps Patty to mature. After a few years of living alone, she appraises the emptiness of her life and honestly faces her advancing age. She decides to hunt down Walter, the only man who had ever really loved her. She drives to the lakeside cabin in Minnesota, and despite his rage and confusion, he eventually agrees to take her back. The book ends in 2008 as they leave as a couple to return to Patty’s job in New York City, after turning their old lakeside vacation home into a cat-proof fenced bird sanctuary, named in memory of Lalitha.

After the critical acclaim and popular success of his third novel The Corrections in 2001, Franzen began work on his fourth full-length novel. When asked during an October 30, 2002 interview on Charlie Rose how far he was into writing the new novel, Franzen replied:

I’m about a year of frustration and confusion into it…Y’know, I’m kind of down at the bottom of the submerged iceberg peering up for the surface of the water…I don’t have doubt about my ability to write a good book, but I have lots of doubt about what it’s going to look like.[1]

Franzen went on to suggest that a basic story outline was in place, and that his writing of the new novel was like a “guerilla war” approaching different aspects of the novel (alluding to characters, dialogue, plot development etc.).[1] Franzen also agreed that he would avoid public appearances, saying that “…getting some work done is the vacation” from the promotional work surrounding The Corrections and How To Be Alone.[1]

An excerpt entitled “Good Neighbors” appeared in the June 8 and June 15, 2009 issues of The New Yorker.[2] The magazine published a second extract entitled “Agreeable” in the May 31, 2010 edition.[3]

On October 16, 2009, Franzen made an appearance alongside David Bezmozgis at the New Yorker Festival at the Cedar Lake Theatre to read a portion of his forthcoming novel.[4][5] Sam Allard, writing for North By Northwestern website covering the event, said that the “…material from his new (reportedly massive) novel” was “as buoyant and compelling as ever” and “marked by his familiar undercurrent of tragedy”.[5] Franzen read “an extended clip from the second chapter.”[5]

On March 12, 2010, details about the plot and content of Freedom were published in the Macmillan fall catalogue for 2010.[6]

In an interview with Dave Haslam on October 3, 2010 Franzen discussed why he had called the book Freedom:

The reason I slapped the word on the book proposal I sold three years ago without any clear idea of what kind of book it was going to be is that I wanted to write a book that would free me in some way. And I will say this about the abstract concept of ‘freedom’; it’s possible you are freer if you accept what you are and just get on with being the person you are, than if you maintain this kind of uncommitted I’m free-to-be-this, free-to-be-that, faux freedom.[7]

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, particularly for its writing and characterization. Shortly after the book’s release, the front cover of a TIME magazine issue showed a picture of Franzen above the words “Great American Novelist,” making him the first author to appear on the front cover in a decade.

Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times and Benjamin Alsup of Esquire believed it measured up to Franzen’s previous novel, The Corrections. Tanenhaus called it a “masterpiece of American fiction,” writing that it “[told] an engrossing story” and “[illuminated], through the steady radiance of its authors profound moral intelligence, the world we thought we knew.”[8] Alsup called it a great American novel. “[9] In The Millions, Garth Risk Hallberg argued that readers who enjoyed The Corrections would enjoy Freedom. He also wrote that they’re “likely to come away from this novel moved in harder-to-fathom waysand grateful for it.”[10] An editor for Publishers Weekly wrote that it stood apart from most modern fiction because “Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving atincrediblygenuine hope.”[11]

Benjamin Secher of The Telegraph called Franzen one of America’s best living novelists, and Freedom the first great American novel of the “post-Obama era.”[12] In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones called him “a literary genius” and wrote that Freedom stood on “a different plane from other contemporary fiction.”[13]

Michiko Kakutani called the book “galvanic” and wrote that it showcased Franzen’s talent as a storyteller and “his ability to throw open a big, Updikean picture window on American middle-class life.” Kakutani also praised the novel’s characterization, going on to call it a “compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times.”[14]The Economist wrote that the novel contained “fully imagined characters in a powerful narrative.” The reviewer went on to say that it had “all its predecessor’s power and none of its faults.”[15]

Not all reviews were raving. Most lukewarm reviews praised the novel’s prose, but believed the author’s left-wing political stance was too obvious. Sam Anderson, in a review for New York magazine, thought the characterization was strong, but perceived the politics as sometimes too heavy-handed: “Franzen the crankmighty detester of Twitter, ATVs, and housing developments” occasionally “overpower[s] Franzen the artist […] but if crankiness is the motor that powers Franzen’s art, I’m perfectly willing to sit through some speeches.”[16]Ron Charles of The Washington Post also felt less favorably, remarking that it lacked the wit and “[freshness]” of The Corrections. Charles praised Franzen’s prose and called him “an extraordinary stylist,” but questioned how many readers would settle for good writing as “sufficient compensation for what is sometimes a misanthropic slog.”[17] In addition, Ruth Franklin of The New Republic believed the novel resembled a “soap opera” more than it did an epic, and that Franzen had forgotten “the greatest novels must […] offer […] profundity and pleasure.”[18]

Alexander Nazaryan criticized its familiarity in the New York Daily News remarking that the author “can write about a gentrifying family in St. Paul. Or maybe in St. Louis. But that’s about it. Nazaryan also didn’t believe Franzen was joking when he suggested “being doomed as a novelist never to do anything but stories of Midwestern families.”[19]Alan Cheuse of National Public Radio found the novel “[brilliant]” but not enjoyable, suggesting that “every line, every insight, seems covered with a light film of disdain. Franzen seems never to have met a normal, decent, struggling human being whom he didn’t want to make us feel ever so slightly superior to. His book just has too much brightness and not enough color.”[20]

Ross Douthat of First Things praised the “stretches of Freedom that read like a master class in how to write sympathetically about the kind of characters” with an abundance of freedom. Yet, Douthat concluded the novel was overlong, feeling the “impression that Franzen’s talents are being wasted on his characters.”[21]

Freedom won the John Gardner Fiction Award. Additionally, it was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The American Library Association also named it a notable fiction of the 2010 publishing year.

Oprah Winfrey made Freedom her first book club selection of 2010, saying, “this book is a masterpiece.”[22][23] US President Barack Obama called it “terrific” after reading it over the summer.[24]

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Illuminati – RationalWiki

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Aug 232015

The Illuminati, originally called The Order of Perfectibilists, was a small freethinker society founded in 1776 in Bavaria by a man named Adam Weishaupt. Among the group’s goals were the opposition of prejudice, superstition, and abuse of political power. In the universe that rational people agree to recognize as reality, the Illuminati ceased to exist in 1787, when Karl Theodor, Prince-Elector of Bavaria, had the group banned for conduct inciting people to rebel against state authority after some of the organization’s writings were intercepted.

In the parallel universe where the likes of Henry Makow and David Icke hang their hats (and the snakes living therein), they not only have continued to exist, but have developed such enormous capacity for secrecy, power, and control that the complete absence of evidence for their existence, power, and control …proves their existence, power, and control.

The spread of the Illuminati legend and continued belief in them today can be traced back to the book Proofs of a Conspiracy by John Robinson, a 1798 anti-Freemasonry book (the Freemasons and Illuminati are often regarded as one and the same by conspiracy theorists). Proofs of a Conspiracy has become a source of inspiration to many conspiracy theorists since its initial publication and has been reprinted by, among others, the John Birch Society. Many modern variations of the Illuminati conspiracy have them being a controlling influence in the New World Order. Another influential series was Mmoires pour Servir a l’Histoire du Jacobinisme by Abb Augustin de Barruel (1799).

The alleged continued existence of the “Illuminati” looms large in many conspiracy theories, tall tales by evangelical Satanic Panic-fakers like Mike Warnke and John Todd, crank anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic writings, pseudolaw theories, etc. Depending on which version of the “Illuminati” story one believes, they are either a Satanic, Masonic, Zionist, atheist, reptilian,[2] or secular financial conspiracy. Despite the many different versions of the conspiracy, each version claims to have evidence that they are correct. They secretly control world events and their symbol, the all-seeing eye, is on the back of the U.S. $1 bill. This belief, in whatever version, is patently ridiculous but it persists. When the Founding Fathers designed the Great Seal, the all-seeing eye was proposed by members of design committees who were not Freemasons (since conspiracy theorists regard Freemasons and the Illuminati to be practically the same). It was also not named the “all-seeing eye,” as the cranks believe, but rather the “eye of providence,”[3][4] a symbol for God[5].

Several 20th century conspiracy theory books such as those by William Guy Carr and Des Griffin combined John Robinson’s allegations about the Illuminati and Freemasonry with those of the hoax book, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, to come up with an explicitly anti-Semitic version of the Illuminati theory. Jack Chick and Alberto Rivera on the other hand promoted an anti-Roman Catholic variant of the theory, alleging the Illuminati was a creation of the Vatican.

Pat Robertson’s version, on the other hand, is just plain weird since it somehow touches on both the French Revolution and gay marriage.[6]

Robertson, it seems, has company among other theocratic media weirdos personalities. Rick Wiles is under the impression that the Illuminati is not only linked to the 9/11 attacks but that the new One World Trade Center is actually a tribute to what he terms the “Free Mason/Illuminati New World Order.”[7]

Mike Warnke and John Todd, mentioned above, are two fake “ex-Satanist” Protestant evangelists. They have both described the Illuminati as the highest level of Satanism. Warnke claimed he learned of the Illuminati when attending a high-level conference of Satanists and Witches, shortly before he dropped out of Satanism to join the Navy and convert to Christianity. Todd claimed to have been a member of the Illuminati himself, which he said was a high council of druids secretly working to destroy Christianity and make witchcraft the official religion of the United States. Belief in the Illuminati as a Satanic conspiracy continues to be held by many evangelical Christians, despite both Warnke and Todd being exposed as frauds.

To the true believer, exposing them as frauds only goes to show how far the Illuminati are willing to go to malign opponents.

To this day there are many Youtube videos of people claiming to be “ex-Illuminati” members, whistleblowers, etc. The only problem is why there are so many. Why doesn’t the Illuminati take these videos down? Oh, something as simple as an auto correct of “NWO” to “NOW” in the comments section will make people say the Illuminati doesn’t want people to know about the NWO, but they refuse to take down people who are blatantly saying they exist! Another problem is that all the stories have contradictions with each other. You would think these guys would be telling the same story, but no two stories are the same!

The Illuminati plays a role in books like Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! trilogy, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, and the joke religion of Discordianism.

It is also a kick-ass card game put out by Steve Jackson Games.

Not to mention video games that flat out depict the Illuminati as either an actual faction or even a playable one, such as Funcom’s “The Secret World”.

The Illuminati are “well-known” to be behind Hollywood[8] and the fnord Ford Motor Company.[9] It would seem that just about any organization you can name has been accused of being an Illuminati front.

They also have a “tendency” to put hidden symbols and clues to their existence around the world, and on money, for no apparent reason.[10] Nearly every popular culture icon, including television shows, politicians, musicians and any celebrity, are said to be somehow connected to the Illuminati in some way, from something as normal as a triangle[11] to a hand sign.[12][13] Maybe it’s because they want you to know their evil plans, or maybe it’s because they’re bored at their broadcasting job.[14]

Probably the best example of this would be Tupac Shakur, whose last album issued before his death, entitled The Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory, led to many theories.[15] The word “killuminati” (a portmanteau of the words “kill” and “Illuminati”) is interpreted as Pac saying that he is speaking out against them and killing Illuminati. The truth being that he heard about them in prison and used logic the majority of these conspiracy nuts lack, that is: “If this organisation is so secret, how the fuck does everyone know about it?”[16] There is also the claim that Tupac faked his death and will be coming back (since 2003[17])[18]. This is mainly because a while before he died, Tupac was planning on permanently changing his rap name to Makaveli after the 15-16th century writer Niccol Machiavelli.

An equally good example would be rapper Jay-Z, who is supposedly very high in the Illuminati’s hierarchy of celebrities. The hand gesture that he flashes has been cited as “proof” (in a very, very loose sense of the word) even though it’s meant to represent the diamond of Roc-a-fella Records and is thrown up as frequently as the “East” or “West” hand signs. Some has compared it to that Temple of Astarte logo.[19] He is also accused of selling his soul, amongst other things.[20] As with Tupac, theorists just turn to bullshit to prove their points, interpreting that the name of his newborn daughter, Blue Ivy, backwards (Yvi Eulb) is Latin for “Lucifer’s daughter,” even though there is nothing to imply this.[21] (Even the Church of Satan debunks this! [22] Jay Z has denied all these claims; his response to the conspiracy theorists can be heard in Rick Ross’s song “Free Mason.”[23]

It can be very difficult to find anyone who isn’t actually connected with the Illuminati. All of the claimed affiliations involve an occult symbol in a music video or photo (usually the “all-seeing eye,” the Star of David, or a Pentagram). This is most likely to get people talking and get publicity. For example, if Rihanna has a newspaper cutout that says “Princess of the Illuminati” in a music video, millions of people will go watch the video. In fact, there are even whole websites like this that are dedicated to finding pop stars who are part of the Illuminati. Basically, everyone.

Michael Jackson is a very interesting case. One faction of the conspiracy community considers him a member of the Illuminati, employed to brainwash the public. Another faction, however, says that Jackson was not a member, but actually was fighting to expose their control of the music industry and media. Jackson was supposedly killed for this very reason. Either way the theorists have all the bases covered.

Spelling Illuminati in reverse and entering it as an URL leads to the NSA website.[24] This is merely someone purchasing that domain and redirecting it to a government website as “inconclusive proof” even though anyone can do so.[25]

And finally, there is the trend of blaming the Illuminati for the death of apparently anybody with any degree of fame. This is usually explained as the assassination of those who were just about to expose the conspiracy, or as one of the Illuminati’s ritualistic, demonic “sacrifice.”[26]

Whenever so-called symbolism is refuted, the Conspiracy theorist usually says that the Illuminati “created” that refutation as a cover-up to make the symbolism less blatant.[27]

One has to wonder… If the Illuminati controlled all the media, why won’t they censor websites like PrisonPlanet and Vigilant Citizen? There are whole websites dedicated to “exposing” the Illuminati, but those are generally left alone!

There are many Youtube videos claiming that a popular singer like has “sold their soul” to the Devil. However, there are four major problems with this:

And the most obvious and common:

One popular type of Youtube video is to cherrypick what celebrities say in speeches, and shoehorn the Illuminati into it, even when the Illuminati have nothing to do with what they’re saying.[29]

If the UN even ACKNOWLEDGES a music video, then, that video is Illuminati.[30]

Celebrities are getting a lot of attention from this, so they’re getting less and less subtle with the imagery. Rihanna went as far as to have a music video with the words “Illuminati Princess”, and of course Mark Dice caught on to this before anyone else.[31] Lady Gaga is taking advantage of it to the point where she is starting to claim she’s having dreams about the Illuminati: though what she is exactly dreaming about varies.[32][33] Celebs are even going so far as to use terms such as “I swear to Lucifer” instead of “I swear to God”[34] and Katy Perry jokes about selling her soul to the Devil.[35]

When Amy Winehouse was killed, CTs made a big deal of how she made joke of refusing to “be molded into a triangle” in her last interview.[36] Of course, coincidences happen all the time, so this isn’t exactly proof on its own.

Often, theories will be made of symbolism over speculation. For example when Kim Kardashian was undecided on what to name her baby, everyone decided to throw in their shoehorning.[37] Only, they were blatantly wrong and didn’t even get the name right.

The Deus Ex series of games feature the Illuminati, though they are constantly fighting other shadowy organizations at the same time like the UN New World Order, or the Knights Templar, or a Corporate Takeover of Earth or something, or FEMA death camps (or were those run by the Illuminati?).

Unsurprisingly, whenever anyone tries to show evidence against the Illuminati, or refute bogus evidence for the Illuminati, said person is called a shill to spread disinformation,[citationneeded] or that the evidence against them was created by the Illuminati to keep people from believing they exist. This makes the theory unfalsifiable.

Youtube is the only website where you can blow the whistle and expose The Powers That Be without worrying about being assassinated. Due to this, it is advised that you only use Youtube[38] as a source, as you don’t have to worry about misinfo.

Seriously, though… Youtube is a horrible place to get evidence for… well, anything. It’s probably THE largest repository of crank videos, despite the fact that Google is often accused of being in the cahoots with the Illuminati. It’s a great place to find Conspiracy Documentaries and even lower-quality homemade ones. Some are as little as two-minute long montages of Mainstream Media[39], most stretch across about three hours of content, and a select few can be tens of hours long!

The bad thing about Youtube is that it actually gives nutjobs a way to get to otherwise sane, yet weak-minded skeptics. The type of “evidence” can range from a celebrity almost as crazy as them claiming the Illuminati Exist[40], those celebrities siblings claiming the same[41], and pretty much everything else. Expect every interview by the POTUS/Google/UN to be quote-mined, and expect a shitton of Illuminati whistleblowers too (And every other Conspiracy Theory too, actually).

Yes, these people can be fun to watch sometimes, but dear god, please tread lightly, don’t stay for too long, and make sure you aren’t logged in if you absolutely must watch these videos. And you’ll probably be better off if you steer clear from the comments, but that generally applies to any Youtube video that has comments anyway.

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Illuminati – RationalWiki – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Aug 172015


I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

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Jeremy Benthams Attack on Natural Rights |

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Jul 222015

June 26, 2012 essays

Smith discusses the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and why it so alarmed the defenders of natural rights.

In my last four essays, I discussed the ideas of Thomas Hodgskin. No discussion of Hodgskin would be complete without considering his great classic, The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted (1832). But in order to understand and appreciate this book, we need to know something about the doctrine that Hodgskin was criticizing, namely, the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). I shall therefore devote this essay to Bentham and then resume my discussion of Hodgskin in the next essay.

Natural-rights theory was the revolutionary doctrine of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, being used to justify resistance to unjust laws and revolution against tyrannical governments. This was the main reason why Edmund Burke attacked natural rightsor abstract rights, as he called themso vehemently in his famous polemic against the French Revolution, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). Burke later condemned the French Constitution of 1791, which exhibited a strong American influence, as a digest of anarchy.

Similarly, Jeremy Bentham, in his criticism of the French Declaration of Rights (1789), called natural rights anarchical fallacies, because (like Burke) he believed that no government can possibly meet the standards demanded by the doctrine of natural rights. Earlier, a liberal critic of the American Revolution, the English clergyman Josiah Tucker, had argued that the Lockean system of natural rights is an universal demolisher of all governments, but not the builder of any.

The fear that defenders of natural rights would foment a revolution in Britain, just as they had in America and France, alarmed British rulers, causing them to institute repressive measures. It is therefore hardly surprising that natural-rights theory went underground, so to speak, during the long war with France. Even after peace returned in 1815 a cloud of suspicion hung over this way of thinking. Natural rights were commonly associated with the French Jacobins Robespierre and others who had instigated the Reign of Terror so a defender of natural rights ran the risk of being condemned as a French sympathizer, a Jacobin, or (worst of all) an anarchist.

Thus did British liberalism don a new face after 1815, as an atmosphere of peace resuscitated the movement for political and economic reforms, and as many middle-class liberals embraced a non-revolutionary foundation for economic and civil liberties. The premier theory in this regard, which would become known as utilitarianism, was developed by Jeremy Bentham and popularized by his Scottish protg James Mill (the father of John Stuart Mill) and by many other disciples.

Bentham did not originate the utilitarian principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number; we find similar expressions in a number of eighteenth-century philosophers, such as Hutcheson, Helvetius and Beccaria. For our purpose, the most significant feature of Benthams utilitarianism was its unequivocal rejection of natural rights.

Natural rights, according to Bentham, are simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense, nonsense upon stilts So-called moral and natural rights are mischievous fictions and anarchical fallacies that encourage civil unrest, disobedience and resistance to laws, and revolution against established governments. Only political rights, those positive rights established and enforced by government, have any determinate and intelligible meaning. Rights are the fruits of the law, and of the law alone. There are no rights without lawno rights contrary to the lawno rights anterior to the law.

The significance of Bentham does not lie in his advocacy of social utility, or the general welfare, or the common goodfor this idea, by whatever name it was called, was regarded by many earlier classical liberals as the purpose of legislation, in contradistinction to its standard.

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Jeremy Benthams Attack on Natural Rights |

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Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

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Jun 202015

Libertarianism in the United States is a movement promoting individual liberty and minimized government.[1][2] The Libertarian Party, asserts the following to be core beliefs of libertarianism:

Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.[3][4]

Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17%- 23% of the US electorate.[5] This includes members of the Republican Party (especially Libertarian Republicans), Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and Independents.

In the 1950s many with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as “libertarian.”[6] Academics as well as proponents of the free market perspectives note that free-market libertarianism has spread beyond the U.S. since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties[7][8] and that libertarianism is increasingly viewed worldwide as a free market position.[9][10] However, libertarian socialist intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Colin Ward, and others argue that the term “libertarianism” is considered a synonym for social anarchism by the international community and that the United States is unique in widely associating it with free market ideology.[11][12][13]

Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater’s libertarian-oriented challenge to authority had a major impact on the libertarian movement,[14] through his book The Conscience of a Conservative and his run for president in 1964.[15] Goldwater’s speech writer, Karl Hess, became a leading libertarian writer and activist.[16]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of self-identified libertarians, anarchist libertarians, and more traditional conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements and organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society. They began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard’s The Libertarian Forum[17][18] and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance.[19]

The split was aggravated at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention, when more than 300 libertarians organized to take control of the organization from conservatives. The burning of a draft card in protest to a conservative proposal against draft resistance sparked physical confrontations among convention attendees, a walkout by a large number of libertarians, the creation of libertarian organizations like the Society for Individual Liberty, and efforts to recruit potential libertarians from conservative organizations.[20] The split was finalized in 1971 when conservative leader William F. Buckley, Jr., in a 1971 New York Times article, attempted to divorce libertarianism from the freedom movement. He wrote: “The ideological licentiousness that rages through America today makes anarchy attractive to the simple-minded. Even to the ingeniously simple-minded.”[21]

In 1971, David Nolan and a few friends formed the Libertarian Party.[22] Attracting former Democrats, Republicans and independents, it has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.[23]

Philosophical libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. The book won a National Book Award in 1975.[24] According to libertarian essayist Roy Childs, “Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia.”[25]

Texas congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination were largely libertarian. Paul is affiliated with the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus and founded the Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian-leaning membership and lobbying organization.

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Libertarianism in the United States – Wikipedia, the free …

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