Mentalist : Rational Mystic : Teacher

Mentalist

In psychology, mentalism is an umbrella term that refers to those branches of study that concentrate on mental perception and thought processes, in other words, cognition, like cognitive psychology.

In philosophy of mind, mentalism is the view that the mind and mental states exist as causally efficacious inner states of persons.

In entertainment mentalism is the art of psychological illusion; psychic entertainment, suggestion and thought reading.

Rational Mystic

Rational Mysticism, which encompasses both rationalism and mysticism, is a term used by scholars, researchers, and other intellectuals, some of whom engage in studies of how altered states of consciousness or transcendence such as trance, visions, and prayer occur. Lines of investigation include historical and philosophical inquiry as well as scientific inquiry within such fields as neurophysiology and psychology.

A Rational Mystic celebrates the fact that scientific method can be used to explore the universe in an objective way whilst not undermining the nature of personal experience.

Teacher

The word teacher can be applied to any who chooses or is invited to share information, experience or understandings.

In this context teacher refers to formal educator and informal provocateur.

Learning is the process through which we are encouraged to make meaningful connections.

If nurtured such can become knowledge, in turn becoming understandings which may lead to wisdom.

Wisdom is not learned it is earned

Posts

Cold Reading : Hype and Hyperbole

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Cold Reading : Hype and Hyperbole

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I was reading a comment on Facebook posted by a friend who works as a medium.

In essence her comment was along the lines of …

“Was reading an article earlier about how *cold readers* work (us mediums get accused of doing that ALL the time) :p OMG – They have to study body language, dress codes, tiny details like does the client have a bald patch where their wedding ring used to be. Possible social group, micro reactions and on and on an on. Sounds like a lot of study and hard work to me :-/ I’d rather just talk to *the dead* – MUCH simpler”

And is so many ways I can agree.

As presented in the description and obviously in the article being quoted, it is a lot of hard work.

However what is presented as Cold Reading is not, in my understanding Cold Reading and when used by sceptics to simply dismiss the work of ‘readers’, ‘psychics’ and ‘mediums’ such limited understanding will of course create issues, getting in the way of meaningful discussion.

The word COLD in Cold Reading merely implies that the ‘reader’ (or equivalent) has no prior information about the person they are giving information to. As opposed to WARM reading, when prior information is known or HOT reading where a lot of research has been done.

In many works cold reading is presented as some kind of Sherlock Holmes level of observation and deductive reasoning and perhaps to some extent that is true. HOWEVER many of the observations which are presented as things to ‘watch for’ are actually many of those things we unconsciously noted anyway. We have learned, as part of our socialization, many of the non-verbal cues Body Language books and their authors speak about.. In psychological terms understanding the nature of such cues helps us explore how to communicate more effectively – but does not make for creating a Cold Reader.

One of the other statements made by sceptics, which seems t support their idea that Cold Reading is ‘how its done’, is that ‘readers’ will use overly general statements which will apply to most people, but in the context of the ‘reading’ are heard as being very specific.

I often wonder as to the breadth of such sceptics observations. Whilst such criticism could be leveled at a few, it is not the experience of i have had of all, Working readers and psychics often give more than general information.

Of course there is something psychological going on in terms of the dynamics of the situation, but there could be more – much more.

So back to Cold Reading..

In many ways it is a natural process based upon the unconscious ways we make decisions about people. A process which evolved as part of our survival strategies, So the phrase itself is quite misleading.

It’s not simply about applying psychological techniques; it does require empathy and intuition – so we are already in the ‘ball park’ of non-specific connections with other people.

In my opinion what is interesting, perhaps, is that taking time to consider the nature of conscious and unconscious human communication actually increases intuitive processes. It doesn’t take too much of a leap that these intuitions can have a spiritual/transpersonal source if that is ones belief or philosophy.

 

 

 

 

Published: 24/08/2016 | Comments: 0

The Shaman II

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The Shaman II

 

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In the previous post (Shaman I) we explored the word ‘Shaman’ and some of the very specific connotations of the word. We also made the point, possibly in a round-a-bout way that shamanic practices exist within a cultural framework and in particular the stories, themes and archetypes.

Whilst Michael Harner can be applauded in his attempt to document shamanic practices, the idea that some kind of ‘core shamanism’ can be defined has be a major source of contention.

So what can we summarize from our previous discussion?

The Shaman is the traveler between the worlds.

Shamanic practice involves accessing altered states, different ‘levels’ of consciousness, in order to gather information, gain spiritual support from ‘power animals’, ‘totems’ and ‘ancestors’… and even that is such an oversimplification.

The role of the traditional healer and spiritual worker is not only about bringing wisdom to to their people; but also one of offering sound consul, material and spiritual advice.

a97dd180ce4891b43ac04133fe1f654eIn some ways we can make a tentative link between these roles and the ones defined by modern, neo-Druidry who define the ‘grades’ of Bard, Ovate and Druid.

  • Bard – the teller of tales; the keeper of the oral tradition
  • Ovate – the healer and oracle
  • Druid – the priest and law keeper

(and yes again I am possibly being over simplistic and even romantic here)

 

For the modern seeker of Shamanic wisdom there is the initial need to connect with their own roots; ancestry and culture. The shaman_medicine_woman_Manchuriatendency to look to others and steal their cultural traditions, what I have called elsewhere Spiritual Imperialism, is not the route. It is a question of looking within and around the spaces and places where you feel a connection – where you can hear the stories echo through the landscape.

The path is about recognising the interconnections and nodes on the web. Not in some overly simplified or complex conspiratorial way, but in a way that recognizes and acknowledges your own complicity in the chain of cause and effect.

It’s not about having seen Dances with Wolves several times; having read Bury My Heart and Wounded Knee, Royal Hunt of the Sun or one of the many (often Westernized) tales of native or traditional peoples. It is about finding within that thing which connects you emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally to your place/space.

In a shamanic sense it is a personal connection to ‘the land’ which gives the practitioner ‘power’; the magic within the landscape that brings the wisdom.

Lessons come from the stories, the myths and the ancestral archetypes and how these influence and lead to a deeper understanding of the journeys and vision quests undertaken by the shamanic practitioner.

In essence shamanic practice is based upon personal experiences of other worlds; worlds which are not transcendent but are immanent – to travel to them it is merely a question of accepting they are there and altering perception (hence trance work).

In traditional cultures the Shaman is ‘called’ to the role sometimes through dreams or signs which require specific interpretation.

However, shamanic powers may be “inherited”.

There have been reports of what is defined as a shamanistic initiatory crisis, a rite of passage for shamans-to-be, commonly involving physical illness and/or psychological crisis. Many traditions speak of a ‘shamanic death’ in which the individual makes a transition between who they once were and who they have now become.

The wounded healer is an archetype for a shamanic trial and journey. This process is important to the young shaman. S/he undergoes a type of sickness that pushes her or him to the brink of death. This happens for two reasons:

  • The shaman crosses over to the underworld. This happens so the shaman can venture to its depths to bring back vital information for the sick, and the tribe.
  • The shaman must become sick to understand sickness. When the shaman overcomes his or her own sickness, s/he will hold the cure to heal all that suffer. This is the uncanny mark of the wounded healer.

So the Shaman enter into the ‘training’ through some personal crisis, perhaps even a near death experience.

They may, from birth, have been ‘special’ and their words, insights and ‘visions’ respected from a young age.

Boundaries between the shaman and laity are not always clearly defined.

Among the Barasana of Brazil, there is no absolute difference between those recognized as shamans and those who are not.

At some level, most adults have abilities as shamans and will carry out the same functions as those who have a widespread reputation for their powers and knowledge. The Barasana shaman knows more myths and understands their meaning better, nonetheless the majority of adults also know many myths.

Among Inuit peoples the laity have experiences which are commonly attributed to the shamans of those Inuit groups. Daydream, reverie, and trance are not restricted to shamans but control over / alliance with helping spirits is the primary characteristic attributed to shamans.

The laity usually employ amulets, spells, formulas, songs. Among the Greenland Inuit, the laity have greater capacity to relate with spiritual beings. These people are often apprentice shamans who failed to complete their initiations.

The point here perhaps, is that few Shaman would call themselves Shaman.

They engage in ‘shamanic’ and ‘magical’ practices and their abilities are recognised by the people with whom they live, They recognize and celebrate their role, but do not brag or boast about the honours given by others.

Alan

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Published: 15/08/2016 | Comments: 0

The Shaman I

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The Shaman I

 

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It has been interesting to note that in the last few years the term “Shaman” has become increasingly used to describe a whole host of New Age and Complementary Approaches.

This only becomes an issue when we try to create New Age ‘glosses’ for the meaning of the word ‘Shaman’. Indeed strictly speaking the word ‘shaman’ has some very specific origins.

The word “shaman” probably originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia. According to ethnolinguist Juha Janhunen, “the word is attested in all of the Tungusic idioms” such as Negidal, Lamut, Udehe/Orochi, Nanai, Ilcha, Orok, Manchu and Ulcha, and “nothing seems to contradict the assumption that the meaning ‘shaman’ also derives from Proto-Tungusic” and may have roots that extend back in time at least two millennia.

The term was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552.

The term “shamanism” was first applied by western anthropologists to the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighboring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples.

Upon learning more about religious traditions across the world, some anthropologists began to also use the term to describe unrelated magico-religious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another.

(source wikipeadia)

Chuonnasuan,_the_last_shaman_of_the_Oroqen,_in_July_1994_(Photo_by_Richard_Noll)Nowadays the word seems to be applied to any or all who practice an Earth-based magical tradition. So by that token Wiccans, Druids, Pagans could all be described as Shaman/Shamanka…

The word shamanka is a complete Russian invention. In the Russian language, it is important to distinguish male from female. Anything feminine has an “a” at the end. Even with last names, women of the family will pronounce their names with an “a” at the end while men of the same family would not.

Shaman was a word that was used for both men and women by the Evenk and Buryat peoples. When the Russians started to use the word, they invented “shamanka” to describe a female shaman. This is not a traditional word among the natives.

(source: Circle of Tengerism)

So are all Neo-Pagans Shamans?

It has been suggested by anthropologists and other writers that there are some ‘core elements’ to what can be termed ‘shamanic’ practice and belief.

In 1972 Mircea Eliade attempted to define some key similarities in ‘shamanic’ practices ..

  • Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be benevolent or malevolent.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by malevolent spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on journeys or vision quests.
  • The shaman’s spirit can leave the body to enter the other worlds to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens and message-bearers.
  • The shaman can perform other varied forms of divination, scrying, throwing  bones/rune  and sometimes foretell of future events.

(source : Mircea Eliade, Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy Princeton University Press 1972)

A common element to all practices is the ability to journey between worlds in order to bring back information in the form of healing or guidance.

SB_-_Altay_shaman_with_drumMIchael Harner, in his book Way of the Shaman, attempted to synthesize the key elements of practice from a number of cultures to produce what has been termed core shamanism. Whilst Harner has faced criticism for taking pieces of diverse religions out of their cultural contexts and synthesising a set of universal shamanic techniques, his foundation does act in order to record shamanic practices which are, in many places, on the verge of extinction.

The anthropologist Alice Kehoe criticizes the term “shaman” in her book Shamans and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking. Part of this criticism involves the notion of cultural appropriation, or what I have called ‘spiritual imperialism’

She is very critical of  New Age and modern Western forms of shamanism, which, she sees as misrepresenting or diluting indigenous practices. In many ways the Disney-fication of ‘the Shaman’ and the practices of Neoo-Shamans reinforces racist ideas such as the Noble Savage.

Kehoe is highly critical of Mircea Eliade’s work on shamanism as an invention synthesized from various sources unsupported by more direct research. To Kehoe, citing that ritualistic practices (most notably drumming, trance, chanting, entheogens and hallucinogens, spirit communication and healing) as being definitive of shamanism is poor practice.

Such citations ignore the fact that those practices exist outside of what is defined as shamanism and play similar roles even in non-shamanic cultures (such as the role of chanting in Judeo-Christian and Islamic rituals) and that in their expression are unique to each culture that uses them.

It has been noted that Shamanic practices may originate as early as the Paleolithic, predating all organized religions, and certainly as early as the Neolithic period.

The earliest known undisputed burial of a shaman (and by extension the earliest undisputed evidence of shamans and shamanic practices) dates back to the early Upper Paleolithic era (c. 30,000 BP) in what is now the Czech Republic

In this sense, then, it could be suggested that Shamanic practices emerged as an attempt to understand the nature of the relationship between the individual and the Cosmos. In the absence of ‘science’ as we know it today, superstition and magical thinking provided a meaningful framework around which to understanding the ‘way of things’.

One hotly debated meaning of the word Shaman is that of ‘one who knows’ and whilst we can argue of word origins, it does seem likely that shamanic practice included the maintaining the history and the ‘codes’ of their society. Since these ‘codes’ are a reflection of a cultures belief and value system, the shaman, would hold a complex and comprehensive set of mores and ‘rules’ in their heads – which would manifest as wisdom or knowing. Moreover the fact that the shaman uses (and the audience understands) the differing modes of communication available to the express this information the shaman was free to express meanings in many ways: verbally, musically, artistically, and in dance and that meanings may be manifested in objects such as amulets, talismans and spirit tokens.

The shaman knows the culture of his or her community well and acts accordingly.

Thus, their audience knows the used symbols and meaning that is why shamanism can be efficient: people in the audience trust it.

(source: Hoppál, Mihály (2005). Sámánok Eurázsiában (in Hungarian). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-8295-3)

Perhaps we could view the rise in interest in Shamanism as a reflection of societies disconnection with their cultural and personal stories.

We seek to revive, re-invent or re-create a magical way of understanding the world because we have lost sight of our own place within it.

We look through lenses tinted with romanticism to a time when things seemed simpler, when we could trust or elders and leaders.

We assume that knowledge has been lost or is now ‘forbidden’ and wonder at the conspiratorial ‘they’ which keep us from accessing the ‘wisdom of  the ancients’ never really understanding that that ‘wisdom’ is here and now in both a rational and a mystical sense.

We continued to dis-empower ourselves by subscribing to ill-fitting spiritual ‘truths and dogmas’; ‘attachments’ to ideas of certainty; and the inability to realise that there are both rational (scientific) and mystical (personal) ways of exploring the nature of ourselves and the Cosmos.

We fail to question when we are certain and to listen when we doubt.

If Neo-Pagan or Modern Shamanism is to have a value then surely we could consider the following:-

a) We could appreciate that shamanic practices have a relevance within a culture and time and a place.

b) We could appreciate that past traditions can be a guide but not a dogma

c) We could appreciate that ideas, practices and approaches evolve

d) We could appreciate our own stories

e) We could value the shared themes within the stories of others whilst not stealing them

f) We could seek emotional, intellectual and spiritual balance

g) We could seek to walk, talk and be (act) in balance

h) We could recognise moments of wonder, awe and magick

i) We could appreciate and work to understand the nature of inter-connectedness

(more to follow)…

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Alan

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Published: 09/08/2016 | Comments: 0

Weekend Workshop – York

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Weekend Workshop – York

Transformational Journeys – Personal Alchemy

Really happy to be travelling “up-north” again this year to offer a weekend workshop. Lesley, the co-oridinator of the event in York has kindly posted on Facebook….

“Only five weeks to go and just a few places left. Contact me if you’re interested.
Alan Jones is the most riveting presenter I have ever come across, and challenges your mind and how you think. It’s fascinating stuff.”

“After being asked back following last years amazing weekend Alan is back with another weekend of mystical delights. Last year we explored the mind and its so many facets, and touched on so many other topic. This year Alan has responded to our requests andphpThumb_generated_thumbnail devised a fascinating weekend of transformational journeys and personal alchemy.

The weekend prices at £160 (per person) includes refreshments. You’ll need to bring a packed lunch. We also plan to have a meal in the local pub on the Saturday evening so please let me know if you plan to join us.

To book or ask any questions contact me; Lesley at lesleypeatfield@me.com 

Prepare to Expand Your Mind

Venue: Aldbrough Village Hall, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.

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Published: 28/02/2016 | Comments: 0

Just because we can – Should we?

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Just because we can – Should we?

 

Do you remember the story of Winnie The Two?

Back in March 2015 Winnie The Two became the first cloned dog from Britain.Born in South Korea on March 30th, Winnie was created from DNA taken from Rebecca Smiths 12 year old Daschund.

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Winne and Winnie the Two – an 11 Year difference between them

Rebecca had won a competition to have her dog cloned which covered the £60,000 costs.

Putting this amazing development into context, the first mammal to be cloned was Dolly the sheep, born in Edinburgh in 1996. Dogs were first cloned in South Korea in 2005, by Sooam Biotech scientist Dr Woo Suk Hwang and this is the first time a British dog has been reproduced.

WELL …

We now have the story of Richard Remde and Laura Jacques who started the New Year celebrating the birth of Shadow and Chance – cloned from their Boxer Dylan.

Dylan had died of a brain tumor last June and and in July Richard and Laura sent cells from Dylan to Korea and were told just before Christmas that two pregnancies had been established in surrogate dogs.

On Boxing Day Chance was born by caresrean section and Monday (4th Jan) Shadow was born naturally.

The bill was £67,000 but apat from the cost, this story could raise certain ethical and perhaps moral issues.

The cells were taken from Dylan when he had been dead for almost a fortnight and Laura had to remove the cells herself as no British Vet offered to help them for fear of losing their licence.

Chance and Shadow who remain in quarantine in South Korea until July

Chance and Shadow who remain in quarantine in South Korea until July

Now for the loving pet owners this technique is incredible and allowed them to have some degree of continuity with their beloved pet. However the similarities between their beloved pet and the cloned offspring may only ever be at a genetic level.

There’s absolutely no suggestion that the offspring will have the same temperament or personality of their donor parents.

Cloning animals through somatic cell nuclear transfer is simply inefficient. The success rate ranges from 0.1 percent to 3 percent, which means that for every 1000 tries, only one to 30 clones are made. Or you can look at it as 970 to 999 failures in 1000 tries.

Cloned animals that do survive tend to be much bigger at birth than their natural counterparts. Scientists call this “Large Offspring Syndrome” (LOS). Clones with LOS have abnormally large organs. This can lead to breathing, blood flow and other problems.

Because LOS doesn’t always occur, scientists cannot reliably predict whether it will happen in any given clone. Also, some clones without LOS have developed kidney or brain malformations and impaired immune systems, which can cause problems later in life.

Even though the DNA (genetic code) is identical but there is no certainty about their influences being expressed at the same stages of development as their ‘parents’.

As cells divide, their chromosomes get shorter. This is because the DNA sequences at both ends of a chromosome, called telomeres, shrink in length every time the DNA is copied. The older the animal is, the shorter its telomeres will be, because the cells have divided many, many times. This is a natural part of aging.

The telomere lengths of cloned animals, they found no clear answers. Chromosomes from cloned cattle or mice had longer telomeres than normal. These cells showed other signs of youth and seemed to have an extended lifespan compared with cells from a naturally conceived cow. On the other hand, Dolly the sheep’s chromosomes had shorter telomere lengths than normal. This means that Dolly’s cells were aging faster than the cells from a normal sheep.

Undoubtedly this is incredible science and an interesting technical achievement; it leads the way to all kinds of possibilities which could have amazing medical advantages in the future. The key difference between WInnie and Chance & Shadow is that the latter dogs were cloned from a dead pet – does this raise some questions for you.

It will be very easy for some to read this and emotionally rant about the ‘playing God’ or ‘Frannkenstein Scientists’ but the need is for a careful, informed and considered conversation about the moral, ethical, medical and spiritual dilemmas presented. It is a great pity that peoples views on this issue are likely to be very polarised and so debate may become less of a conversation and more of an opinionated argument.

Perhaps the key question has to be : Just because we can – Should We?

And the conversation needs to take place within a fully informed and non-hysterical forum – perhaps a forum of Rational Mystics?

Alan

Published: 08/01/2016 | Comments: 0

Do Doom-sayers ever really vanish?

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Do Doom-sayers ever really vanish?

 

I had an email today asking me to remove a link and tag to a particular person (who I will not name again for  sake of possible litigation) from an article written several years ago and published on one of my blogs. Not a problem, initially I couldn’t work out who it was and what I’d linked/tagged them in.

Then, when looking out the reference, I suddenly realised.

The blog was from a radio show I used to called The Real Twilight Zone and to be sure I did link to lots of outside sources in that particular show (and blog) related to Doomsday prophecies, 2012 apocalypse purveyors and other celestial event doom-sayers.

A little research confirms that this particular ‘doom-sayer’ has been slowly working to un-link his name from the prognostications which brought him into prominence.

As one source writes:

…. a crank scientist who enjoyed relative obscurity before using    XXXXXXXXXX  (a named pseudo-celestial event) to support his ideas. As a result, he became instantly famous among the conspiracy interested in the XXXXXX (event) and his work became incorporated in the cloud of bullshit surrounding it, much to his chagrin. In July 2011, he tried to remove criticism every mention of him from several websites….

Quote edited for legal reasons.

I guess the point of this brief ramble is to ask the question do prophets of doom, catastrophe and apocalypse ever really say “whoops I got it wrong”?

As it says in The Bible ..

If the prophet speaks in the LORD’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the LORD did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.  Deut: 18:22

History has shown that those who have incorrectly predicted global chaos have often taken one of the following routes..

a) Claim their message/calculation was in slight error and revised the date.

On the whole this excuse can only be used a couple of times, but in the meantime if there is economic mileage in their claims they can still sell the books, insurance or other related services.

b) Claim that by their own action or by the raising of consciousness the event was ‘avoided’

A good one this as it can’t be falsified.

c) Claim that they were given false information (by whom and for what reason) or that THEY (the conspirators) are trying to discredit their work.

Not a bad approach – the misunderstood eccentric or the misdiagnosed psychotic could earn some public sympathy

d) Seek to remove every connection between them and their predictions.

So they got their fifteen minutes; sold their workshops, books and survival strategies and now want to try to disappear. Not the easiest task… its taken the person who contacted me five years and I suspect, the internet being what it is, he will be uncovering traces and mentions of his work for many many more.

Surely the simplest approach would be to say – ‘whoops, got that one wrong’ and either hang-up your precognitive gloves and try a less troublesome occupation OR agree as to the tenuous nature of ones own theories. (A hallmark of good science but alas not all scientists, pseudo-scientists and philosophers).

Prophetic Errors

Marshall Applewhite, leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult, claimed that a spacecraft was trailing the Comet Hale-Bopp and argued that suicide was “the only way to evacuate this Earth” so that the cult members’ souls could board the supposed craft and be taken to another “level of existence above human”. Applewhite and 38 of his followers committed mass suicide on 26 Mar 1997.

Actually this is an example of an option not listed above – don’t be around when you’re proven wrong and in a very real sense you’re proven right. Since such actions are a kind of personal apocalypse.

Harold Camping predicted the Rapture would occur on September 6, 1994. When it failed to occur he revised the date to September 29 and then to October 2.. His fourth predicted date for the end was March 31 1995. When his original date failed to come about, Camping revised his prediction and said that on May 21, a “Spiritual Judgment” took place, and that both the physical Rapture and the end of the world would occur on October 21, 2011.

This would be Camping’s last prediction, he has since admitted he got it wrong and resigned his ministry.

José Luis de Jesús predicted that the world’s governments and economies would fail on June 20 2012, and that he and his followers would undergo a transformation that would allow them to fly and walk through walls.

Ronald Weinland stated Jesus Christ would return 29 Sept 2011. He had previously prophesied nuclear explosions in U.S. port cities by July 2008 as the blowing of the Second Trumpet of Revelation. After his prophecy failed to come true he changed the date for the return of Jesus Christ to May 27, 2012.

The so-called Blood Moon Prophecy, first predicted by Mark Blitz in 2008 and then by John Hagee in 2014. These Christian ministers claim that the tetrad in 2014 and 2015 may represent prophecies allegedly given in the Bible relating to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Oct 7 2015 : Chris McCann and the eBible Fellowship group predicted the destruction of the universe on this date, which is 1600 days after Harold Camping’s date of 2011 May 21. He said that there was “a strong likelihood that this will happen” and “an unlikely possibility that it will not”. (is that an example of hedging your bets?)

And as for non-events predicted by many …

Aug-Oct 2011 : There were fears amongst the public that Comet Elenin travelling almost directly between Earth and the Sun would cause disturbances to the Earth’s crust, causing massive earthquakes and tidal waves. Others predicted that Elenin would collide with Earth on October 16. Scientists tried to calm fears by stating that none of these events were possible.

Dec 2012 : The so-called Mayan apocalypse at the end of the 13th b’ak’tun. The Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid, Nibiru, or some other interplanetary object; an alien invasion; or a supernova. Mayanist scholars stated that no extant classic Maya accounts forecast impending doom, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresented Maya history and culture. Scientists from NASA, along with expert archeologists, stated that none of those events were possible.

FUTURE PREDICTIONS...

Jeane Dixon claimed that Armageddon would take place in 2020 and Jesus will return to defeat the unholy Trinity of the Antichrist, Satan and the False prophet between 2020 and 2037. Dixon previously predicted the world would end on February 4, 1962. (not a brilliant rack record then)

F Kenton Beshore bases his prediction on the prior suggestion that Jesus would return in 1988, i.e., within one Biblical generation (40 years) of the founding of Israel in 1948. Beshore argues that the prediction was correct, but that the definition of a Biblical generation was incorrect and was actually 70–80 years, placing the Second Coming of Jesus between 2018 and 2028 and the Rapture by 2021 at the latest.

Adnan Oktar – According to abjad interpretation of a hadith, this Sunni Muslim creationist claims that the Last Day will come about the year 2120

5 Billion Years from now give or take several million or so…

The end of our Sun’s current phase of development, after which it will swell into a red giant, either swallowing the Earth or at least completely scorching it. It is widely accepted by the scientific community that the earth will be destroyed around this time. However, as the Sun grows gradually hotter –  the Earth may become too hot for life in only a billion years from now

The point … well if you live your life according to prophecy then you’re never in the now. You’re feeding of anxiety and fear rather than being present.

Of course prophecy is interesting, and may offer ideas on how to approach life but to look towards the end (often and of which we have no control) is perhaps limiting life and our current potential.

mayan apocalypse

Published: 06/11/2015 | Comments: 0

Lessons from Babylon 5

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Lessons from Babylon 5

 

babylon-5-castBabylon 5 is an American space opera television series created by writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski,

Set between the years 2257 and 2262, it depicts a future where Earth has sovereign states, and a unifying Earth government. Colonies within the solar system, and beyond, make up the Earth Alliance, and contact has been made with other spacefaring species.

Described as “one of the most complex programs on television”, the various story arcs drew upon the prophesies, religious zealotry, racial tensions, social pressures, and political rivalries which existed within each of their cultures, to create a contextual framework for the motivations and consequences of the protagonists’ actions

At the beginning of the series, five dominant civilizations are represented. The dominant species are the Humans, Minbari, Narn, Centauri, and the Vorlons. “The Shadows” and their various allies are malevolent species who appear later in the series. Several dozen less powerful species from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds appear, including the Drazi, Brakiri, Vree, Markab, and pak’ma’ra. The station’s first three predecessors (the original Babylon station, Babylon 2 and Babylon 3) were sabotaged or accidentally destroyed before their completion. The fourth station, Babylon 4, vanished without a trace twenty-four hours after it became fully operational.

For fans and for those who never saw the series here are a few of the many philosophical moments that may well provide some moments of personal and spiritual reflection.

Earths Religion

Ivonova and The Immortal

 

The TechnoMage -Magic

 

The Wisdom of G’kar

Truth

Moments of Transition and Moments of Revelation

 

The Wisdom of Dalen

 

The Stone Garden

 

The Candle

 

The Soul

 

We Are Grey – Why Humans are So Special

 

 

Published: 26/09/2015 | Comments: 0

Lessons from Curie

Marie_Curie_1903

Lessons from Curie

Marie_Curie_1903

M. Curie 1903

Marie Skłodowska Curie ( November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.

She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes.

She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

(wikipedia)

That’s a pretty impressive set of achievements from a woman of whom Einstein said “Marie Curie is, of all celebrated beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted”.

Her work in physics. led to a better understanding of what we now know as ‘radio-activity’.

“The various reasons which we have enumerated lead us to believe that the new radio-active substance contains a new element which we propose to give the name of radium”

(On a new, strongly radio-active substance, contained in pitchblende), Comptes Rendus (1898)

Pierre_Curie_(1859-1906)_and_Marie_Sklodowska_Curie_(1867-1934),_c._1903_(4405627519)

Marie and Pierre Curie

A great deal of the work was completed in partnership with her husband Pierre.

In July 1898 Curie and her husband published a joint paper announcing the existence of an element which they named “polonium”, in honour of her native Poland.

On 26 December 1898, the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named “radium”, from the Latin word for “ray” In the course of their research, they also coined the word “radioactivity”.

In December 1903, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Pierre Curie, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics, “in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.”

At first, the Committee intended to honour only Pierre and Becquerel, but one of the committee members and an advocate of

Marie with her daughters

Marie with her daughters

woman scientists, Swedish mathematician Magnus Goesta Mittag-Leffler, alerted Pierre to the situation, and after his complaint, Marie’s name was added to the nomination – Marie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize.

On the 19 April 1906, Pierre was killed in a road accident. Walking across the Rue Dauphine in heavy rain, he was struck by a horse-drawn vehicle and fell under its wheels, causing his skull to fracture. Curie was devastated by her husband’s death.

On 13 May 1906 the physics department of the University of Paris decided to retain the chair that had been created for Pierre and to offer it to Marie. She accepted it hoping to create a world-class laboratory as a tribute to Pierre. So she became  the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.

in 1910 Curie succeeded in isolating radium; she also defined an international standard for radioactive emissions that was eventually named for her and Pierre: the curie.

In 1911 she was nominated for the  Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

This award was “in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.

During World War I, Curie saw a need for field radiological centres near the front lines to assist battlefield surgeons.

After a quick study of radiology, anatomy, and automotive mechanics she procured X-ray equipment, vehicles, auxiliary generators, and developed mobile radiography units, which came to be popularly known as petites Curies (“Little Curies”).

She became the director of the Red Cross Radiology Service and set up France’s first military radiology centre, operational by late 1914. Assisted at first by a military doctor and by her 17-year-old daughter Irène, Curie directed the installation of 20 mobile radiological vehicles and another 200 radiological units at field hospitals in the first year of the war. Later, she began training other women as aides.

In 1915 Curie produced hollow needles containing ‘radium emanation’, a colorless, radioactive gas given off by radium, later identified as radon, to be used for sterilizing infected tissue. It is estimated that over a million wounded soldiers were treated with her X-ray units.

Marie Curie died at the Sancellemoz Sanatorium in Passy, in Haute-Savoie, from aplastic anemia in 1934; a condition believed to have been contracted from her long-term exposure to radiation.[

The damaging effects of ionising radiation were not known at the time of her work, which had been carried out without the safety measures which were later developed.

She had carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket, and she stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the faint light that the substances gave off in the dark. Curie was also exposed to X-rays from unshielded equipment while serving as a radiologist in field hospitals during the war.

Her many decades of exposure to radiation had caused chronic illnesses (including near blindness due to cataracts) and ultimately her death, but she never really acknowledged the health risks of radiation exposure

Thoughts for Reflection and Inspiration

1 : All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.

2 : Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.

3 : I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale. We should not allow it to be believed that all scientific progress can be reduced to mechanisms, machines, gearings, even though such machinery has its own beauty.

4 : I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.

5 : Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted in something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

6 : Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

7 : One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.

8 : There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth.

9 : We cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individual. Toward this end, each of us must work for his own highest development, accepting at the same time his share of responsibility in the general life of humanity—our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.

10 : Humanity needs practical men, who get the most out of their work, and, without forgetting the general good, safeguard their own interests. But humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit.

11 : I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.

12 : I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.

13 : Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

14 : First Principle : Never let oneself be beaten down by persons or events

BBC Documentary about Marie Curie

Some basin Physics if you’re interested…

Published: 11/09/2015 | Comments: 0

Lessons from Sagan

carl-sagan (1)

Lessons from Sagan

Carl-Sagan

The Scientist with the Heart of a Poet

At least that’s the way I would describe Carl Sagan.

He was a true skeptic who was able to express his understandings of the Universe in ways which reached and inspired millions. Sagan always advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and the Hugo Award.

Sagan’s ability to convey his ideas allowed many people to understand the cosmos better—simultaneously emphasizing the value and worthiness of the human race, and the relative insignificance of the Earth in comparison to the Universe.

Sagan wrote frequently about religion and the relationship between religion and science, expressing his skepticism about the conventional conceptualization of God as a sapient being.

For example:

Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws.  

(1980) [Originally published 1979]. Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science

And subsequently …

The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying … it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity

 (“Quotes on Religion – Carl Sagan”. Atheism.about.com.)

On Atheism he wrote:

An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.

Despite, or perhaps because of, these views Sagan was very much a ‘spiritual’ man…

 “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.

The historical record makes clear that religious teaching, example, and leadership are powerfully able to influence personal conduct and commitment… Thus, there is a vital role for religion and science.

marijuana-quote-carl-sagan1-e1303944450131Sagan was a user and advocate of marijuana.

Under the pseudonym “Mr. X”, he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered.

The essay explained that marijuana use had helped to inspire some of Sagan’s works and enhance sensual and intellectual experiences. After Sagan’s death, his friend Lester Grinspoon disclosed this information to Sagan’s biographer, Keay Davidson. The publishing of the biography, Carl Sagan: A Life, in 1999 brought media attention to this aspect of Sagan’s life.

Not long after his death, widow Ann Druyan had gone on to preside over the board of directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a non-profit organization dedicated to reforming cannabis laws

Sagan Quotes for Reflection and Inspiration

1 Science : Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

2 Imagination : Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

3. Love : For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

4 Citizenry : Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.

5.Openness : It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas …

6 : Thinking : In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.

7 : The Need To Learn : We’ve arranged a society based on science and technology, in which nobody understands anything about science and technology. And this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is going to blow up in our faces. Who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it?

8 : On Animals : who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.

9 : Truth : The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities.

10 : Death : I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

11 : Religion : Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever it has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?

12 : Observing Creativity There’s a part of me making, creating the perceptions which in everyday life would be bizarre; there’s another part of me which is a kind of observer. About half of the pleasure comes from the observer-part appreciating the work of the creator-part (written as Mr X)

13 : Shamanic Insight ? : I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs. The heightened sensitivity in all areas gives me a feeling of communion with my surroundings, both animate and inanimate. Sometimes a kind of existential perception of the absurd comes over me and I see with awful certainty the hypocrisies and posturing of myself and my fellow men (written as Mr X)

14 : The Cosmos : The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

15 Awe : The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.

16 Self-Deception : Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.

17 Travel : National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. Travel is broadening.

18 The Earth : We have heard the rationales offered by the nuclear superpowers. We know who speaks for the nations. But who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for Earth?

19 : Learning : Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.

20 : Humanity : Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations. We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.

21 : Skepticism : The major religions on the Earth contradict each other left and right. You can’t all be correct. And what if all of you are wrong? It’s a possibility, you know. You must care about the truth, right? Well, the way to winnow through all the differing contentions is to be skeptical. I’m not any more skeptical about your religious beliefs than I am about every new scientific idea I hear about. But in my line of work, they’re called hypotheses, not inspiration and not revelation. (from Contact)

22 : Religious Doctrine : You see, the religious people — most of them — really think this planet is an experiment. That’s what their beliefs come down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing around with tradesmen’s wives, giving tablets on mountains, commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what words they can say and what words they can’t say, making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and like that. Why can’t the gods leave well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of incompetence. If God didn’t want Lot’s wife to look back, why didn’t he make her obedient, so she’d do what her husband told her? Or if he hadn’t made Lot such a shithead, maybe she would’ve listened to him more. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why’s he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design, he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business if there was any competition. (from Contact)

23 : Searching : All my life, I’ve wondered about life beyond the earth. On those countless other planets that we think circle other suns, is there also life? Might the beings of other worlds resemble us, or would they be astonishingly different? What would they be made of? In the vast Milky Way galaxy, how common is what we call life? The nature of life on earth and the quest for life elsewhere are the two sides of the same question: the search for who we are.

24 : Beauty : The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. Information distilled over 4 billion years of biological evolution. Incidentally, all the organisms on the Earth are made essentially of that stuff. An eyedropper full of that liquid could be used to make a caterpillar or a petunia if only we knew how to put the components together.

25 : On Books : What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

26 : Earth and Sky : As the ancient myth makers knew we’re children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure on this planet we’ve accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage, propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we’ve also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience and a great soaring passionate intelligence, the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity. Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the Cosmos an inescapable perspective awaits.

27 : Our Place in The Universe : Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. We gaze across billions of light-years of space to view the Universe shortly after the Big Bang, and plumb the fine structure of matter. We peer down into the core of our planet, and the blazing interior of our star. We read the genetic language in which is written the diverse skills and propensities of every being on Earth. We uncover hidden chapters in the record of our origins, and with some anguish better understand our nature and prospects. We invent and refine agriculture, without which almost all of us would starve to death. We create medicines and vaccines that save the lives of billions. We communicate at the speed of light, and whip around the Earth in an hour and a half. We have sent dozens of ships to more than seventy worlds, and four spacecraft to the stars. We are right to rejoice in our accomplishments, to be proud that our species has been able to see so far, and to judge our merit in part by the very science that has so deflated our pretensions.

28 :Evidence : Appeal to ignorance — the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa (e.g. There is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore UFOs exist — and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Or: There may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we’re still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

29 : Religion Again : Let’s say there’s a molecule that produces a religious experience… a natural molecule that the body produces whose function it is to produce religious experiences, at least on occasion? …So let’s call it “theophorin”…What could the selective advantage of theophorin be? …to suit us for the quest that was, according to Dostoyevsky, to strive for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship and obey.

30 : The Pale Blue Dot 

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

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Pale Blue Dot : Documentary 

 

Pale Blue Dot Extract

 

 

sagan1

Published: 31/08/2015 | Comments: 0

Lessons from Einstein

einstein

Lessons from Einstein

Einstein_laughing

From Einsteins writings we can cull some quotes, some ideas and some possible ideas for personal reflection and growth. Although revered as a scientist, he was a ‘militant pacifist’ and as interested in philosophy as he was in science.

His formula E=MC2 was a formula which helps unpick the nature of the Universe, but it led to the development of  the atomic bomb and so description became prescription something which haunted Einstein throughout his later life.

The Optical Delusion of Consciousness

 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Einstein

einstein

Here are 30 of Einsteins Inspiring Quotes ….

1. Follow Your Curiosity “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

2. Perseverance is Priceless “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

3. Focus on the Present “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

4. The Imagination is Powerful “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

5. Make Mistakes “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

6. Live in the Moment “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

7. Create Value “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

8. Don’t be repetitive “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

9. Knowledge Comes From Experience “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.

11. Never Give Up “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”

12. Ask Questions “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning”.

13. Understand “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

14. Be Your Truth  “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”

15. Stand Up For Peace : The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

16 Balance Your Thinking : Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

17 Observe : Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

18 Question More : The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

19 Focus Your Attention : Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

20 Humanitarianism : Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile

21 Be Awed : He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

22 Mastery : Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.

23 Rational Mysticism : Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

24 Compassion : Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

25 Justice : In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

26 Be Open To Mystery : The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

27 Keep It Simple : If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

28 Be Intuitive : There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.

29 Religion : True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.

30 Be Now : The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

” “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.”

I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil.

I am a deeply religious nonbeliever – this is a somewhat new kind of religion.

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

Albert Einstein

“More the knowledge, lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge, more the ego.” -Albert Einstein

Documentary : Einstein How I See The World

 

Published: 26/08/2015 | Comments: 0