Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Hymn to the Setting Sun, and the ultimate mystery of life

The Egyptian Book of the Dead (or the Book of Going Forth by Day, as it is often called today) refers to the texts found on numerous scrolls stretching across a period of over a thousand years, with contents that have connections to the earlier Coffin Texts painted on the sarcophagi and even earlier Pyramid Texts carved into the walls of certain surviving ancient pyramids. 

The texts found on these scrolls are not always the same "chapters" of the Book of the Dead -- there is no single "Book of the Dead," but rather many variants found on many different scrolls, each containing a selection of textual chapters (sometimes called "spells") and pictoral "vignettes."  Some of the chapters are more commonly used than others, and all of them are usually referred to by chapter numbers first established by Karl Richard Lepsius (1810 - 1884) in 1842.  You can find a listing of the chapters here.

One feature found in multiple scrolls are various Hymns to the Sun, which Lepsius generally categorized as Chapter 15 of the Book of the Dead.  There are Hymns to Rising Sun and Hymns to the Setting Sun.  A discussion of the Sun Hymns and an example of a Hymn to Ra in his Rising can be found here.  In Lost Light: An Interpretation of Ancient Scriptures (1940), discussed in this previous post among others, and available here for reading in its entirety online, Alvin Boyd Kuhn focuses on some lines from a version of "a Hymn to the Setting Sun" found in the Book of the Dead papyrus of the Eighteenth Dynasty scribe Nekhtu-Amen.

The entire text of this version of "a Hymn to the Setting Sun," translated into English by E. A. Wallis Budge (1857 - 1934), can be found beginning at the bottom of page 11 and continuing through the first part of page 13 in this 1901 collection of texts from the Book of the Dead, all translated by Budge and prefaced by an introduction from Epiphanius Wilson (1845 - 1916).  It reads, in part:
The Osiris of the gods goeth as a leader through the That (underworld), he crasheth through mountains, he bursteth through rocks, he maketh glad (?) the heart of every Khu.  This composition shall be recited by the deceased when he cometh forth and when he goeth in with the gods, among whom he findeth no opposition; then shall he come forth by day in all the manifold and exceedingly numerous forms which he may be pleased to take. [The Osiris . . . saith:] "A hymn of praise to Ra at eventide [when] he setteth as a living being in Baakha.  The great god who dwelleth in his Disk riseth in his two eyes and all the Khus of the underworld receive him in his horizon of Amentet; they shout praises unto Heru-khuti (Harmachis) in his form of Tem, and they sing hymns of joy to Ra when they have received him at the head of his beautiful path of Amentet."  He (i.e., the deceased) saith: "Praise be unto thee, O Ra, praise be unto thee, O Tem, in thy splendid progress.  Thou hast risen and thou hast put on strength, and thou settest like a living being amid thy glories in the horizon of Amentet, in thy domain which is in Manu.  Thy uraeus-goddess is behind thee; thy uraeus-goddess is behind thee.  Hail to thee, in peace; hail to thee, in peace.  Thou joinest thyself unto the Eye of Horus, and thou hidest thyself within its secret place; it destroyeth for thee all the convulsions of thy face, it maketh thee strong with life, and thou livest.  It bindeth its protecting amulets behind thy members.  Thous sailest forth over heaven, and thou makest the earth to be stablished; thou joinest thyself unto the upper heaven, O Luminary.  The two regions of the East and West make adoration unto thee, bowing low and paying homage unto thee, and they praise thee day by day; the gods of Amentet rejoice in thy splendid beauties.  The hidden places adore thee, the aged ones make offerings unto thee, and they create for thee protecting powers.  The divine beings who dwell in the eastern and western horizons transport thee, and those who are in the Sektet boat convey thee round and about.  The Souls of Amentet cry out unto thee and say unto thee when they meet thy majesty (Life, Health, Strength!), 'All hail, all hail!'  When thou comest forth in peace there arise shouts of delight to thee, O thou lord of heaven, thou Prince of Amentet.  Thy mother Isis embraceth thee, and in thee she recognizeth her son, the lord of fear, the mighty one of terror.  Thou settest as a living being within the dark portal.  Thy father Tatunen lifteth thee up and he stretcheth out his two hands behind thee; thou becomest a divine being in the earth.  Thou wakest as thou settest, and thy habitation is in Manu.  Grant thou that I may be venerated before Osiris, and come thou [to me], O Ra-Tem.  Since thou has been adored [by me] that which I wish thou shalt do for me day by day.  Grant thou victory [unto me] before the great company of the gods, O Ra who art doubly beautiful in thy horizon of Amentet, thou lord of Maat who dwellest in the horizon.  The fear of thee is great, thy forms are majestic, and the love of thee is great among those who dwell in the underworld."
All parentheticals, ellipses, and bracketed interpolations in the above quotation are found in the original passage as published by Budge in 1901.

The modern reader may find the above Hymn to the Setting Sun to be extremely obscure and difficult to interpret, and may wonder what on earth this text found in a tomb and written down over 3,200 years ago (probably from material that is even older) has to do with his or her life today!  

If the modern reader has been exposed to conventional education at any level, he or she will probably also have been told numerous times and with a great degree of certainty and finality that the Book of the Dead described the journey of the soul in the afterlife, and contained spells to help the soul navigate the mysterious realms it would encounter after death.  Such opinions will only add to the opinion of most readers that the chapters of the Book of the Dead may have some cultural interest to those studying the strange beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, but nothing of practical value to anyone who does not believe that the afterlife looks anything like the one Egyptians imagined and described in their texts and their art.

Alvin Boyd Kuhn argues, however, that these modern teachings fall into the trap of literalism, and that the ancient Egyptian texts were not primarily concerned with an imagined afterlife at all: they were intended to convey profound truths about this life, and they used exquisite and carefully-conceived metaphorical and allegorical vignettes in order to do so.  In his radical interpretation, the texts in the Book of the Dead, like all other ancient sacred scriptures and all the other sacred traditions preserved around the globe, were designed to restore sleepy or amnesiac human beings to full consciousness, urgently and brilliantly presenting a vision of the human condition and the meaning of this life which the ancients believed we forget to some degree in each of our successive incarnations in the material world.

Thus, to the degree that one is interested in the question of human consciousness and what we are doing here in this life, these texts from so many hundreds of centuries ago are as pertinent today as they were when they were sealed in a tomb and slowly covered over the ages by the blowing sands of Egypt.  

But, to understand what they are trying to tell us, we must understand the language of the metaphor which the ancients were using.  One of the keys to doing so is to understand the central metaphor of descent into this life in the world of matter on the part of our spiritual nature as a kind of a "death."  This argument, which Alvin Boyd Kuhn discusses throughout the six hundred-plus pages of Lost Light and supports with overwhelming amounts of evidence, is discussed in part in the previous post entitled "The horizon and the scales of judgement," and we can immediately see that the important concept of the horizon is found in the above quoted Hymn to the Setting Sun as well.  

One of the metaphors which the ancients used in order to convey this vision of human existence as a cycle of incarnation in matter followed by re-ascent into the spiritual realm was the cycle of the heavenly bodies, including that of the sun, which plunges nightly beneath the horizon (matter) only to rise again each morning clothed in fire into the upper realm of the heavens. 

In the above hymn from the Book of the Dead, Alvin Boyd Kuhn zeroes in on just a few of the lines, found towards the end of the quoted passage, specifically: "Thou settest as a living being within the dark portal; . . . thou becomest a divine being in the earth.  Thou wakest as thou settest . . ." (Kuhn, 512).  These assertions Kuhn describes as "wisdom of transcendent importance."  He goes on to explain why:
The declarations of ancient wisdom that we are divinized on earth and that the soul awakes as it sets, or incarnates, are mighty items of knowledge for benighted morals.  But it has been set forth that the descent is a swoon and a going into oblivion, the very sleep of "death."  Now it is pictured as an awakening.  Here again is exemplified the doubleness of esoteric methodology in picturing the two aspects and movements of being.  But the paradox in all these reversals of imagery is readily solvable.  The soul does fall under a spell of Lethe when enshrouded in dense body; nevertheless it finds in that very state the beginning of its true awakening to a higher sense of reality than ever before.  This world is "the place of establishing forever," of bringing purely latent capacity to dynamic realization.  There is involved here the ultimate mystery of life, which is the necessity of the soul's "death" in matter to gain a new birth.  512-513.
The ultimate mystery of life!  That sounds like something that might be pertinent even to modern readers!  

What Kuhn is describing as this "ultimate mystery" is the question of why a soul would incarnate in this physical material world at all, and the answer expressed in this hymn from the Book of the Dead is that the soul awakens when it "sets" (enters the material world), it becomes a living being in the dark portal of the underworld (this incarnate life), it becomes "a divine being in the earth."  Somehow, the ancients taught that there are lessons and experiences which the soul can only profit from when enfleshed in physical matter, subjected to the pesky laws of physics, and placed on this earth to interact with other beings in the material realm.

Elsewhere in Lost Light, Kuhn elaborates further on this teaching, citing other ancient sources to back up his assertions, including the ancient philosopher Plotinus (AD 205 - AD 270), whose teachings have been discussed in previous posts (well worth revisiting) such as this one, this one, and this one.  Kuhn explains the importance of soul's coming into this material world on page 190 of Lost Light, saying:
The world took form upon the model of divine ideas, Plato affirms.  In us men a god is striving to stamp his lines of beauty and grace upon the features of an animal!  The God-word was fleshed so that it could preserve and finally transfigure the mummy with its splendor.  But -- and let ultra-idealists be advised! -- spirit had to have plastic matter upon which to imprint its form and comeliness, else it would have remained forever unknown.  The visible manifestation of latent wisdom, power and love could be achieved only by the spirit's encasement in a body.  Matter, so derided by extreme "spiritual" theory, is the womb in which alone divine conceptions can be brought to birth.  So that the fleshing of soul works  the miracle of its own anointing.  Flesh is the way and the means by which man, the divine thought, is christened with an ever fuller measure of the oil of beatification.
Note that Massey was writing in 1940 and the convention then was to say "man" or "men" to include all men and women, as in "mankind" or "humanity," and he specifically states in other passages that his assertions apply to all men and women, and that in fact bifurcation into the two different sexes is only a temporary condition that is part of this physical incarnation -- the soul in its disincarnate form is androgynous (see for instance the discussion on 229 and on pages 498-512).  He refers to the soul as "she" in the following passage, which also asserts the importance of incarnation for the soul to discover truths which could never be learned without taking on a form of matter:
The earth is thus the place of critical interest in the whole cycle.  The life wave is sent forth to return with a harvest of more abundant life.  Now it is only as spirit contacts and overcomes the inertia of matter that it brings its own potentialities to birth.  Abiding eternally on its own plane, as Platonic philosophy says, it remains non-productive.  It must go forth, seek adventure, meet with opposition, wrestle with the powers that would choke it, and achieve its new cyclical victory in a world of adversity.  As Plotinus writes, "It is not enough for the soul merely to exist; she must show what she is capable of begetting."  Here is the model and the genius of all romance, all drama.  And the earth is the scene of this conflict between the embryonic immortal and the titanic mortal forces.  And where the earth stands in the chain of planetary bodies, the physical body of man stands in the chain of vehicles or vestures which compose each individual.  The human body is the seat and arena of the great conflict of personal destiny.  Without dwelling in and mastering the body of flesh, the individual soul, as says Plotinus, would never know her powers.  She would be spiritual, as she was from the start; but she would dream her existence away without ever becoming consciously aware of her latent creative capabilities, if she did not incarnate.  Incarnation is evolution's method of setting the seal of reality upon conscious life.  This is the office of earth-life in the cycle and of incarnation for the individual soul.  And it is the crucial point in all philosophy, as it is the critical point in individual destiny.  As for the soul her pathway to heaven runs through earth, and on it she goes to her "death" to be born anew.  284.
Thus the Hymn to the Setting Sun, seemingly so obscure and so specialized to the belief-system of such a distant and mysterious civilization as that of ancient Egypt, becomes immediate and of tremendous importance to every individual inhabiting a body on this earth today!  It, along with the other ancient teachings found in every part of the globe, concerns our true nature (which we are constantly in danger of forgetting or never even learning), and our purpose for coming here in the first place.  "There is involved here the ultimate mystery of life."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Titanic conspiracy, due diligence, natural law and mind control

The night of April 14 through April 15 marks the anniversary of the catastrophic sinking of the famous RMS Titanic, along with the appalling loss of over 1,500 lives in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.  

After leaving the US Army and reading more about the details of the Titanic catastrophe, and in particular the contrasting actions of Captains E.J. Smith of the Titanic, Stanley Lord of the Californian, and Arthur H. Rostron of the Carpathia, I often wondered why the actions of these three captains were not used as a valuable leadership study for officers.  Later, after encountering some of the analysis which challenges the official story (that is to say, the "conspiracy theory" which examines evidence that the Titanic disaster was actually deliberate, at least in the sinking of the ship itself if not the horrendous loss of so many lives), the fact that such an obvious potential study in action and inaction in the face of disaster was never actually mentioned in all the days I spent at West Point or in the Regular Army as an officer on active duty becomes (perhaps, if any of those theories are correct) more understandable.  

For the record, such leadership studies and discussions were a nearly constant feature of life both as a cadet at West Point and an officer in the 82nd Airborne and 4th Infantry Divisions.  We studied and discussed (over and over, on not just one but on multiple occasions) the actions of the officers involved in the Breaker Morant incident during the Boer War (for example), or of the officers involved in the airborne invasion of Holland (which were dramatized in the movie A Bridge Too Far).  But the actions of the officers involved in the Titanic disaster were never even mentioned.  Perhaps this is because those actions took place on ships at sea (perhaps officers in the Navy discuss them all the time -- I don't know).  However, it is also possible that they are not discussed because there appears to be strong evidence suggesting the possibility that something more was at work than an accident at sea, and that too much examination of the facts of the case would suggest this possibility even to young officers or cadets without much -- or any -- knowledge of the sea.

It is a fact that the US Congressional investigation, conducted by a Senator who was famously not personally familiar with the ocean or with maritime operations (and who was lambasted in the media for that fact, particularly by the media in Great Britain), uncovered the fact that Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian (the ship closest to the Titanic on the night that the Titanic sank) was told by his officers during the night of rockets being fired by a ship nearby, but that he neither came to the deck nor even ordered his wireless operator to be awakened to turn on the wireless set; had he done so, the wireless operator would have heard the multiple distress signals being broadcast by the wireless operators on Titanic

Further, the US Congressional inquiry, as well as the subsequent British inquiry, determined that there was a "suspicious lack of any entries about rockets in the Californian's log" and that the pages of the "scrap log" -- an informal log which the officers use to record entries prior to recording them in the official log for the record -- pertaining to the night of April 14 to 15 were missing, while the rest of the log was intact (the quotation is from page 194 of Daniel Allen Butler's book Unsinkable, which notes that the transcript and official findings of both the American and British formal inquiries into the disaster call attention to this same suspicious fact regarding the log of the Californian)*. The captain of the Californian's failure to get up from his nap on the settee in his chartroom, or even to order the wireless to be activated and the wireless operator to be roused upon multiple reports of white rockets being fired nearby, is well-nigh inexplicable, and it is clear that both inquiries found his actions inexcusable and culpable and said so.

It is also curious, as some of the documentaries examining the possibility of a conspiracy in the Titanic disaster have noted, that the passenger liner Californian was making its way from England to Boston without any passengers on board, and that it had stopped for the night quite close to the point where Titanic would eventually founder.  Some astute analysts of the disaster have wondered at the fact that Californian was sent on that mission despite the fact (well-known to Titanic historians) that there was a major coal strike going on throughout Great Britain, and that coal was difficult to come by at the time that Californian and Titanic left England.

Lord's inexcusable inaction could be contrasted with the commendable -- and, in fact, heroic -- action of Captain Arthur Rostron of Carpathia, who immediately ordered his ship to steam at full speed towards the reported location of Titanic the moment his wireless operator perceived that Titanic was in distress.  While Californian was probably eleven miles away, Carpathia was about fifty-eight miles away, and it took Rostron about four hours to arrive on scene -- the Titanic sank only two hours after Carpathia began steaming towards her.  Nevertheless, Rostron and his ship's crew were responsible for rescuing those in the lifeboats when they arrived, and the captain of the Carpathia made several correct decisions in order to get there as quickly as possible, including cutting off heat and hot water to the rest of the ship in order to maximize the steam available for locomotion, and doubling the lookouts both aloft and on deck in order to watch for ice as the steam plowed through the ice fields at night towards the site of Titanic's distress call.

Rostron's clear-headed and decisive action also contrasts sharply with the aimless inaction of the captain of Titanic, and with the haphazard and desultory loading of lifeboats on the stricken ship.  The videos included on this page, however, contain the analysis of those who suggest that there is evidence that the Titanic was deliberately sunk, possibly as an insurance scam -- a theory which would explain the lack of real concern among the captain and officers, if they had been told that Californian would be standing by in the vicinity in order to pick everyone up before the ship went down.  

Many of those who believe Titanic was sunk deliberately believe that it was actually Titanic's sister ship Olympic which was sunk -- that Olympic had been badly damaged by the same Captain Smith in an earlier event for which her captain was found culpable, and that because of this culpability, the insurance coverage would not pay for the repair of the fundamental structural damage on the Olympic.  Instead of just "eating the loss" (and probably going out of business), this theory proposes that the owners of Olympic and Titanic switched the ships, dressed the damaged Olympic up as Titanic, and then sank it on purpose on its maiden voyage.  Those holding this theory often posit that Californian was maneuvered into place to await the rescue of the crew and passengers, and that Lord either erroneously failed to realize that the signals being sent were from the ship he was supposed to rescue (perhaps because the pre-arranged signals were supposed to be colored rockets and all those reported by his officers were white rockets), or did not see the signals because one or both ships were in slightly the wrong place (this theory is harder to maintain, in light of the fact that an engineer of the Californian went and made a sworn affidavit that the officers on his ship had said they had seen rockets and had reported them multiple times to their captain, who remained on the settee in the chartroom the entire night, and in light of the missing pages in the Californian's scrap log, which probably mentioned the rockets).

A more sinister theory suggests that, although the captain and officers of the Titanic had been told a ship was coming to rescue them, Lord had been told not to do so in order to deliberately cause the loss of life of some of those aboard Titanic, in particular those with a powerful voice against the formation of a central bank in the United States (a central bank which was, in fact, created in the year following the disaster).

Thus, while the Titanic disaster was never used as a leadership laboratory for cadets or officers while I was at West Point or in the US Army, this horrendous tragedy should be carefully examined for the possibility that the "conventional narrative" may be very far from the truth of what actually took place.  The videos embedded on this page (links to those videos are here, here and here) present numerous pieces of evidence which suggest the strong possibility of conspiracy in the sinking of the ship.  Among the evidence which suggests this possibility are minute differences between the Olympic and Titanic which suggest that the ship which sailed on April 12 may have been the damaged Olympic and not Titanic, the fact that several notable passengers including J. P. Morgan (a strong advocate for the creation of a central bank in the US) booked passage on the ship and then made excuses to miss the voyage, the fact that Titanic had trouble finding enough men to shovel coal in the engine rooms despite the fact that work was scarce elsewhere and times were difficult with high unemployment, reports that Titanic listed suspiciously to one side just as the damaged Olympic was known to do, and many others, in addition to the very suspicious activities of Captain Smith, Captain Lord, and the desultory fashion in which the lifeboats were loaded (which directly contributed to the death toll being even larger than it might otherwise have been).

On the other hand, at least one of the videos (this one) presents some strong evidence which suggests that Olympic and Titanic were not in fact switched, and indeed concludes at the end that such a switch never did happen.  Even without a switch, it is still possible that Titanic (the real one, in this case) was sunk deliberately for other reasons, although without the insurance scam and switch excuse, getting the captain and crew to go along with a plan to deliberately sink the ship would seem to be much more difficult and perhaps impossible (if Smith was culpable for the damage to Olympic, and faced with intense pressure to go along with the insurance scam to prevent the business failure of the White Star Line due to his own error, his decision to go along with such a plan -- especially if he had been told that the Californian would be nearby to prevent loss of human life -- might be more easily understood).

Whatever the reader's actual conclusion about these momentous events, the importance of doing proper "due diligence" and not simply rejecting the possibility that history may be different than we have been led to believe should be overwhelmingly obvious from the foregoing discussion.  There is a regrettable tendency among some individuals to loudly denounce any investigation into the possibility that conspiracies of powerful men (or women) could arrange tragic catastrophes for their own nefarious purposes, and to say that such investigation is somehow unseemly, or even an insult to those who died or whose lives were horribly altered by such events.  However, this impulse is completely wrong-headed, and it is even possible that some of those protesting so loudly against such inquiry have their own reasons to try to steer others away from conducting such due diligence.  To the extent that these major events impact each of our lives, we have every right to do our own examination of the evidence and to refuse to simply take someone else's analysis of the situation as the "final word" simply because conventional opinion tells us to.  

Furthermore, trying to find out the true picture in no way does disrespect to those who did in fact lose their lives in those events (such as the over 1,500 souls who perished in the Titanic disaster), or to their family members.  In fact, if the events and motives behind such incidents were radically different than the world has been led to believe, then papering over the truth with a less-disturbing lie would be in no way more respectful to the memories of those who died, or to their grieving relatives and friends.  Those who lost loved ones would most likely want to know the truth, and those who perished deserve the truth and not a fabrication that serves the interests of those whose machinations may have been responsible for those deaths.

Further, if in fact powerful forces are at work behind such historical events as the Titanic disaster, then there are dire implications for everyone alive today, because it means that there are people who will not balk at the outright murder of over a thousand innocent men, women and children in order to achieve their selfish and illegal ends.  If this is in fact the case, then others are at risk if such hideous crimes are allowed to be whitewashed by history, and the villains left to continue to use similar tactics again.  If those crimes enable those murderers to gain even more power and control, it is even possible that failure to discover those crimes makes others even more vulnerable to the possibility of future actions by those who have already demonstrated their willingness to kill innocents in order to get their way.

It is only by searching out the truth of history and making it known that such incidents can be stopped, by good men and women who believe that no one has the right to violate natural universal law by murdering others, and who refuse to tolerate or condone or overlook such heinous violations and crimes against nature and humanity.

This year, as the fateful anniversary of April 14-15 approaches, supporters of natural law everywhere should make the effort to examine the evidence surrounding the awful sinking of the Titanic in 1912, both for the sake of those who lost their lives that night and for the sake of those alive in the world today, a world that was profoundly changed by that disaster.

Furthermore, whatever their conclusion as to the evidence surrounding the Titanic, we should all commit to the same level of due diligence into other disasters which profoundly alter the course of human history and the world in which we live, and to rejecting those who tell us that the "official narrative" is the only possible account of these major events, and that anyone who dares to question the official narrative should be marginalized, discredited, and ashamed of themselves for even daring to look at the facts for himself or herself.  These are the witting or unwitting voices of mind control.  

Far from being a reason for shame or ridicule, such investigation is the only way to honor those whose lives have been harmed or ended as a result of such incidents, and the only way to seek justice if in fact there is enough evidence to determine that conspirators have been at work, and to prevent such conspirators or those who emulate them from doing even worse in the future. 

* Note that Daniel Allen Butler's Unsinkable does not put forward any actual conspiracy theories such as those discussed in this post nor condone them in any way; however, his description of the actions of the captain of the Californian, and the findings of the American and British inquiries, certainly describe  evidence which those investigating the possibility of conspiracy would find very pertinent to that investigation.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The horizon and the scales of judgement

In ancient Egyptian texts, such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, there is much usage of the symbol of the horizon.  In the Book of the Dead, for example, the Sun-God Ra is often described as rising on the horizon, and sinking to rest on the horizon.  

In the "Hymn of Praise to Ra When He Riseth Upon the Horizon, and When He Setteth in the Land of Life" (which can be found in this online transcription of E. A. Wallis Budge's translation of various Book of the Dead texts contained in the British Museum, a bit more than half-way down the very long web page, in a section entitled "APPENDIX (from the Papyrus of Nu, Sheet 21)" we read:
Those who have lain down in death rise up to see thee, they breathe the air, and they look upon thy face when the disk riseth on the horizon. 
Immediately before that, in "Another Chapter of the Coming Forth of a Man by Day Against His Enemies in Khert-Neter" which can be found on the same web page in the "APPENDIX (from the Papyrus of Nu, Sheet 13)" we read:
I have divided the heavens.  I have cleft the horizon.  I have traversed the earth in his footsteps.  I have conquered the mighty Spirit-souls because I am equipped for millions of years with words of power.
These are obviously very important and moving passages, but what do they mean?  Conventional academia teaches that these passages, along with the rest of the Book of the Dead, express the Egyptian hope for the soul in the afterlife, that the souls of those who "have lain down in death" will somehow rise up to see the sun again and breathe the air again, and that this hope is somehow connected with the knowledge of "words of power."  

Alvin Boyd Kuhn, however, (whose work has been discussed in previous posts such as this one, this one, and this one) gives a very different interpretation, and one which he backs up with hundreds of pages of evidence from these and other ancient sacred texts.  He argues that the conventional reading just described falls into the trap of literalism -- of reading as literal a piece of literature which was never meant to be understood literally, but which instead attempts to convey profound and nearly-ungraspable truths in the form of symbols and metaphors through which those truths can in fact be apprehended.  The Book of the Dead, he argues, is not talking about those who are literally dead, but rather those on earth right now, who are metaphorically passing through the underworld, who can be described as "the dead" because they are in fact immortal spirits who have taken on the physical mortal flesh of material existence. 

Using this understanding, the metaphor of the horizon becomes, in Alvin Boyd Kuhn's reading, a wonderful symbol of human existence, because it depicts the union of the spiritual realm (the sky) and the material realm (the earth beneath).  It symbolizes the human condition, because in our incarnate state we are a union of soul and matter.  In Lost Light, Kuhn writes:
And the horizon is half way between heaven and earth, typing, as always, spirit and matter, the two ends of being.  The momentous information, then, which is vouchsafed to man in this recondite fashion is that he, as a creature in a stupendous cyclical evolution, stands at the point exactly midway between the beginning and end of the complete area to be traversed.  [. . .]
[. . .] this fateful line would at the same time mark the boundary between the two natures in man's constitution, the earthly and the heavenly.  449-450.
Kuhn goes on to explain that once this metaphor is understood, all the imagery in the ancient Egyptian texts referring to a great battle which is fought "on the horizon" can be understood to refer to the great metaphorical battle which each individual must wage during his or her time in this material realm in which the spirit is enmeshed in earthly matter.  This world in which we find ourselves, composed of "the earthly and the heavenly," is the place where we must learn to reconcile the two natures.  Kuhn declares:
Straight and clear is Egypt's proclamation of this sterling truth: "He cultivates the Two Lands; he pacifies the Two Lands; he unites the Two Lands."  Man is "the god of the two mysterious horizons," and the glowing pronouncement of his final evolutionary triumph is given in the words: "Thou illuminest the Two Lands like the Disk at daybreak."  451.
Closely related to the symbology of the horizon is the symbology of the Judgement Hall in the Egyptian scriptures.  Here again, the conventional interpretation of the famous Judgement Hall scenes in the Book of the Dead is that the text refers to a judgment which takes place over the soul in the afterlife, but Kuhn demonstrates that, like the metaphor of the horizon, the Hall of Judgement symbolizes the soul's journey in this life, during which our daily actions and experiences, our "living activity and expression," is measured and recorded as if in a book (451).  Below is an image from the famous Hall of Judgement vignette in the version of the Book of the Dead found in the Papyrus of Ani.

In fact, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn demonstrates in Lost Light, our judgement in the horizon of this life and in the scales of the Hall of Judgement are closely related.  For one thing, the Judgement Hall in the Book of the Dead is also referred to as the "Hall of Two Truths," and we have already seen that the symbology of the horizon depicts the "two truths" of mankind's human condition -- that we occupy the boundary between the realms of the earthly and the heavenly, and that we embody and encompass both aspects in our human nature (Lost Light, 483).  Also, the scales of judgement are often described as being located upon the horizon, or upon a hill or mount, which is a terrain feature which suggests the horizon.

Intriguingly as well, the zodiac sign of the Scales of Judgement -- Libra -- is located upon the "horizon" of the zodiac wheel, for Libra begins just at the border formed by the September equinox, where the ecliptic path of the sun crosses below the celestial equator again after the summer months in which the sun's daily ecliptic path has been above that line (see diagram below).  As Alvin Boyd Kuhn writes about this symbology:
And this at once opens the way for the introduction of the whole range of symbolic values connected with the sign of Libra, the Scales of the Balance, and the Scales of Judgment.  And precisely at the horizon's western terminus stands the Libra sign!  The Judgment is a corollary aspect of the horizon typism and will be treated in a following chapter.  451.

We can now see that there are plenty of cogent reasons for interpreting the passages in the Book of the Dead, including those cited at the beginning of this essay, as describing the condition of the individual soul in this life, and not in a life hereafter.  But what are the implications of the Book of the Dead's teachings which declare our earthly incarnation to be a "battle at the horizon," or a "weighing of the heart" in the scales of truth?  And what does the Book of the Dead mean to tell us when it depicts the triumphant soul declaring that it is "equipped for millions of years with words of power"?

We have already seen in a previous meditation upon the Hall of Judgement scenes in the Book of the Dead that the texts surrounding the scene put a great emphasis upon the soul "telling the truth" or "not going about with deceitful speech while upon the Earth."  And, we have seen in our examination of the famous command inscribed in stone at the Oracle at Delphi that "Know thyself" appears to have been understood by Plato and by other philosophers including Plutarch as a command to realize that we are immortal souls enfleshed in a body during successive incarnations which each have an important purpose.  If this is the case, then the Book of the Dead's emphasis upon "declaring the truth" and on "not going about with deceitful speech" while we are here between or upon the horizons -- while we are being weighed and measured in the balance-scales of the Hall of Two Truths -- may also be telling us that an important part of our activity in this life includes first learning (or, more precisely, remembering) the truth of our true human condition, appreciating all the ramifications of this truth, and then speaking and acting in a way that acknowledges this truth about who we are.

Acting deceitfully (or "going about with deceitful speech") would then include efforts to deny or obscure the truth that, as Kuhn eloquently describes it:
this life is the period of its [the soul's] trial and testing.  The soul is drawn here to exercise her undeveloped powers, as Plotinus has so well told us.  Without such a testing she would remain forever ignorant of her own latent capacity, or would never bring it to expression.  Here is where she is thrown into the scales of balance, in Libra on the horizon, and here is where she is being weighed.  485-486.
One way this truth is obscured is by those who insist that ancient scriptures such as the Book of the Dead were anciently understood literally and woodenly, describing a fantastic judgement scene in an afterlife-world: an interpretation which obscures all the teachings we discover when we see that these texts employed exquisite metaphors to convey profound truths about our human condition in this life itself.  It is this knowledge, Alvin Boyd Kuhn tells us, that the ancient Egyptians believed to be the touchstone for the soul during the daunting passage through the material life in each successive incarnation.  He writes:
The Ritual [that is to say, the Book of the Dead] speaks of the secret knowledge of the periodicities and cycles of incarnation as requisite to render safe the passage through all the trial scenes in the Judgment Hall [that is to say, the trials of this life here on earth].  The salvation of the deceased depended on his having the facts treasured up in his memory.  As the soul walked through the valley of the shadow of death, his security depended upon his knowledge that he was a divinity threading his way through the dark underground labyrinth of matter.  His memory of his intrinsically deific nature would be his safeguard; and this memory was his book of life and character, for it was his own self, come hither to purify itself of dross.  489-490.
These, then, constitute the "words of power" which equip the soul "for millions of years."  That is to say, it is the soul's memory of its eternal, divine nature that equip it for the long journey through successive incarnations over vast stretches of time, and which safeguards the soul from being swallowed up in the animal nature of the physical body, forgetting where it came from.

We should all be grateful to Alvin Boyd Kuhn for illuminating the esoteric truths contained within the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and for demonstrating the importance of approaching those texts esoterically, rather than literally.  And, we should be grateful as well to the ancient sages who composed those incredible texts, and passed on their understanding of the human condition to generations who would live thousands of years after the kingdom of Egypt had been buried beneath the sands of time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Did the ancients somehow know about DNA?

Conventional history tells us that the double-helix structure and base-pairing characteristic of the DNA molecule was not "discovered" until the twentieth century, based upon the work of scientists Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling, James Watson, Francis Crick, and Erwin Chargaff, primarily in the 1950s and 1960s.

Erwin Chargaff (1905-2002) in particular was responsible for the insight that DNA molecules contain roughly equal proportions of adenine and thymine (one of the "base pairs" in the DNA molecule) and of guanine and cytosine (the other "base pair").  Since that time, high school students everywhere have had to memorize the letters A-T and G-C in conjunction with their introduction to the molecular structure of DNA.

It is fascinating to note that the first four signs of the zodiac wheel after the ecliptic "crossing" of the celestial equator at the spring equinox (shown in the diagram above) are Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer (readers who astutely note that the motion of precession has long ago "delayed" the sky and moved the constellation Pisces into the heliacal rising position once occupied by the constellation Aries during the Age of Aries should note that in astrological terms, the "signs" are considered to remain in the positions shown above, for cogent reasons that are beyond the scope of this particular post).

Is it mere "coincidence" that the base pairs of the DNA molecule begin with the same four letters as the first four signs in the zodiac (A, T, G and C), and that they actually "pair" in a manner consistent with the order of the zodiac signs (A with T, and G with C, just as Aries is next to Taurus and Gemini next to Cancer)?

Of course, skeptical readers will note that the names for the DNA nucleobases were generally given by different researchers operating in different decades during the mid- to late-1800s, and that their names almost certainly were not chosen in order to relate in any way to the zodiac signs (adenine, for example, was named after the pancreas, from which the first samples in which adenine was isolated were taken and which organ in Greek is named aden, while guanine is apparently named after the word for bird droppings or guano).  And so it would seem on the surface that the connection between the zodiac and our modern understanding of the DNA molecule and its structure and base pairing is purely coincidental.  

Nevertheless, even if no plausible argument can be made for an actual connection between the letters A-T-G-C in the DNA molecule, and the letters A-T-G-C in the first four constellations of the zodiac cycle, it certainly seems to be a singular example of serendipity, synchronicity, or the collective unconscious working itself out over the course of thousands of years.

Further, while the letters A-T-G-C may not be among the evidence which argues for ancient understanding of the DNA molecule long before the work of Franklin and Gosling, Watson and Crick, and that of Erwin Chargaff, there is in fact other evidence which suggests that the ancients did in fact display flashes of insight which make us wonder whether they might somehow have had inexplicable knowledge of the importance of the DNA molecule, and even the structure of DNA.

One oft-cited example is the fact that the ancient symbol of the caduceus features two intertwined serpents very reminiscent of the double-helix structure of DNA.  Further, some ancient art including the images from ancient Sumer and Babylon depicted on this page (disregard the discussions of "Nibiru," "Planet X," and the "Annunaki" as outside the scope of this particular post as well) clearly seem to be very suggestive of modern understanding of the structure of DNA.

Jeremy Narby, author of Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge has an interview on the web located here in which he discusses a theory which attempts to explain how the mankind may have acquired knowledge of the importance of DNA and its helictical structure long before the advent of "modern science."  He believes that it is very possible -- and that in fact there is evidence to conclude -- that shamanic techniques can give human beings access to knowledge which modern scientific methods only confirmed much later, in recent decades.  In fact, he notes that shamans regularly describe visions involving intertwining serpents, and associate these serpents with something shared by all the multifarious life-forms in our world.  In the interview, he makes the assertion that:
Both shamans and molecular biologists agree that there is a hidden unity under the surface of life's diversity; both associate this unity with the double helix shape (or two entwined serpents, a twisted ladder, a spiral staircase, two vines wrapped around each other); both consider that one must deal with this level of reality in order to heal.  One can fill a book with correspondences between shamanism and molecular biology.
Note that in an image about four-fifths of the way down that long web page, Dr. Narby includes an image from the tradition of western alchemy which he believes has clear resemblance to chromosonal DNA, and which certainly predates the work of Franklin, Gosling, Watson and Crick by centuries.

There is other evidence, particularly from ancient sacred traditions and mythology, which strongly suggest that mankind somehow knew far more about the importance of DNA than we moderns have been led to believe.  This evidence will be addressed in my next book.

This evidence has nothing (directly) to do with the synchronicity involving the letters A-T-G-C and the first four signs of the zodiac, although the ancients clearly taught that mankind reflected the cosmos on a "microcosmic" level, a concept discussed in previous posts such as "The extra-zodiacal decans in macrocosm and microcosm," "More on macrocosm and microcosm," "Human internal organs connected to solar system planets?" "Okeanos," "The judgement of Paris," and "Giordano Bruno, 1548-1600."  

If each strand of our DNA is composed of base pairs whose initials reflect the initials of those first four zodiac signs (each of which is considered the "leader" of a grouping of three other signs, categorized as the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water signs of the zodiac), then we can truly say that -- however the serendipitous confluence came about, the naming of the DNA base pairs symbolizes on a profound level the fact that each of us embodies a tiny cosmos.

Much more could be said on this subject.  Even better than saying it, however, might be to contemplate it in respectful silence.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Taking your picture against your will is a violation of natural law

Previously, in the post entitled "Crazy Horse against mind control," we saw that it is widely believed that Crazy Horse never allowed anyone to take his photograph.  

Certainly the historian Stephen E. Ambrose believed that no one was ever allowed to take Crazy Horse's picture.  Some believe that Crazy Horse did once pose for a portrait when he was young, but even if that is the case (and it is disputed point and one that is by no means proven), it is indisputable that Crazy Horse believed that his image belonged to him and that it was not allowed to be taken without his permission.  Whether he gave that permission once in his lifetime or whether he never gave that permission is not as important as his attitude towards his inherent natural right to consent or not consent to having his image taken by someone else.

It is no small point to ask whether, as I believe, Crazy Horse was right and no one has a right to take your image without your permission or whether, as some are trying to argue today, anyone stepping foot outside of his or her home concedes this right and may be photographed with impunity by anyone (including corporations and the state).

Recently, an article appeared in Wired magazine's UK version entitled "Get ready to have your biometrics tracked 24/7," in which a panelist participating in a discussion of biometrics, security, and privacy voiced the opinion that:
Biometric systems are becoming much more accurate and ubiquitous.  It is impossible not to be identifiable by some kind of signal you're leaving behind.  Accuracy is going up almost exponentially and we are dealing with concerns about privacy and how we map that.  But trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle.  The information is out of the bottle already -- we have to deal with the issues surrounding it now.  Embrace the challenge of what we've got, embrace understanding it and focus on what we can do with that new data.
By biometric systems, this panelist (who is an employee of IBM with a title of "Programme Leader at IBM's Emerging Technology Group) is referring to sensors deployed in public places which capture images of people's faces and gather other data from their bodies, and which use computer technology such as facial recognition, gait analysis, or a wide variety of other traits in order to identify individuals, know where they are at any given moment, know where they have been, and assemble data about their habits, preferences, and activities.

The panelist from IBM is also quoted as saying:
We're fighting the wrong battle when we ask should we stop people being observed.  That is not going to be feasible.  We need to understand how to use that data better.  I've been working in biometrics for 20 years, and it's reaching a tipping point where it's going to be impossible not to understand where people are and what they are doing.  Everything will be monitored.  It's part of the reason why when we put together the definition of biometrics it included biological and behavioral characteristics -- it can be anything. 
So, there are clearly individuals who believe that there is no inherent right over your image and your "biometric data" (including biological and behavioral characteristics), and that the individual must renounce any expectation of ownership over such data and simply accept that this data does not belong to the individual but to whatever entity wishes to "monitor" it.

Such a position can be described as diametrically opposed to that maintained by Crazy Horse.

Granted, these quotations come from one individual, voiced at some panel somewhere, and perhaps be dismissed as one man's opinion and nothing to become concerned about.  However, the individual voicing this opinion can probably be accurately described as a fairly senior individual at a major corporation; he apparently has been at IBM since 1997, and in his present role as "Programme Leader" at their Emerging Technology Group for fourteen years, and we can assume that his views probably reflect the views of that corporation rather accurately and that after that much time in that position this individual is by no means a "loose cannon."  Further, this view is apparently held by other individuals who are involved in "putting together the definition of biometrics" (note the use of the word "we" in the final sentence of the second quotation shown above).

So, which view is closer to the truth?  Does the individual have a right to determine who takes his image (and by extension, his other biometric data which can be apprehended by modern sensors)?  Or, as the representative from IBM says, should we concede that in modern civilization "everything will be monitored" and the individual needs to realize that "trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle"?

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that I believe this to be question of "natural law" (or "universal law").  The concept of natural law, as articulated by philosophers such as Lysander Spooner, states that "anybody and everybody" has an inherent right to be free from coercion or the threat of violence against his or her own person, ideas, and property.  This right is equal among all individuals, without distinction, by virtue of birth, and is not granted by anyone else, and it is not subject to anyone else's approval or disapproval.

Spooner applied this concept to the practice of slavery, which was "legal" in the United States during most of his lifetime, and which he opposed as a horrible violation of the natural law rights of the individuals who were enslaved under that illegal system.  He did not concede that "trying to stop slavery would be fighting the wrong battle," that slavery was like a genie that was already "out of the bottle" and that we simply need to "embrace the challenge of what we've got."  He stood up to argue that slavery was an outrage to natural universal law and that it should be abolished, and he did so strenuously and tirelessly in spite of the chorus of voices that argued that it was impractical or ridiculous to try to end an institution so widespread and one considered so economically essential to so many people and  corporations, and to the state itself.

If Spooner is right, then a natural law right is enjoyed by every human being simply by virtue of being born: it is not dependent upon race, nation, geography, economic circumstance, or time period.  If Crazy Horse was correct in asserting his right to determine who captured his image on film in the 1800s, and if such a right was his by virtue of natural universal law, then such a right still belongs to every human being alive today, regardless of the voices arguing that the march of technology has done away with that right ("not going to be feasible," says the representative from IBM).

But is the right to one's image and biometric data really a natural-law right?  Is it not hyperbole to draw a parallel between Spooner's arguments against slavery, in the face of the "respectable" voices of the 1800s who argued that slavery was a fait accompli, and those today who oppose the respectable voices of major corporations who argue that biometric surveillance is a similar fait accompli?

To answer that question, one need only change very slightly the assertion of the representative from IBM, and imagine that he were to put forward the argument that individuals must consent to being photographed, facially recognized, biometrically tracked, and otherwise surveilled within their own homes at any and all times.   What if he had instead declared:
We're fighting the wrong battle when we  ask should we stop people being observed in their own homes.  That is not going to be feasible.  I've been working in biometrics for 20 years, and it's reaching a tipping point where it's going to be impossible not to understand where people are and what they are doing in their own homes.  Everything will be monitored.  [. . .] trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle.  The information is out of the bottle -- we have to deal with the issues surrounding it now.  Embrace the challenge of what we've got, embrace understanding it and focus on what we can do with that new data we are collecting in your own home.
Would such a declaration go against natural universal law?  To ask the question is to answer it.  Such a declaration would be a hideous affront to natural law, and the individual's inherent right to be free of the threat of coercion or violence in his or her person, ideas, and property.  Lysander Spooner himself declared that natural law is so inherent and innate that it is generally obvious to every human being on the planet by the time they are seven or eight years of age.

If the assertion that others have the right to film you and collect other biometric data from you in your own home is an obvious violation of the natural universal law rights inherent to every individual, then can we possibly argue that such surveillance ceases to be a violation the moment an individual steps out his or her door?  Can anyone seriously maintain the position that the moment they step outside their own personal residence, they somehow grant to any other individual, corporation, or agent of the state the right to seize their photographic image, video imagery, and biometric data?

Because it is virtually impossible to conduct one's entire life without leaving one's personal residence (even if only to get food), maintaining that it is wrong to take someone's image (and other data) without their consent in their home but somehow OK to take it from them anywhere and everywhere else they happen to venture is clearly an illogical and erroneous position.

Furthermore, anyone who does maintain such a position, who says "you have a right to be free from the seizure of your image and data at home, but if you step outside your door you forfeit that right -- so if you don't want your image and data seized just STAY AT HOME ALL THE TIME" is basically consigning anyone who disagrees to having their image and data taken from them to a form of imprisonment: a virtual "house arrest" for life.

Some, of course, have argued that anyone who is not a criminal should not worry about giving up their data, being photographed, videoed, and essentially tracked wherever they happen to go.  "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you don't have anything to fear" from such surveillance, the argument typically runs.

This argument is wrong on many levels.  On the most basic and fundamental level, those who make such an argument should be shown that pervasive surveillance is morally wrong: it violates natural law.  If seizing an individual's image and biometric data against his or her will is wrong, then that should be the end of the argument -- if someone else says "you don't have anything to fear" from such behavior, even if it is wrong, they are arguing a secondary point, a secondary point which is trumped by the primary and superior point that such behavior is morally wrong, whether anyone has anything to fear from it or not.

Crazy Horse apparently had religious or spiritual beliefs that caused him to not want his image to be taken or his "shadow stolen" by a camera.  Someone else declaring that he really "had nothing to fear" from having his image taken would be making an irrelevant point: he did not want his image taken, and so he did not have to concede to having it taken, whether or not someone else thought he had something to fear.

In order to make this point perfectly clear, we could use a different analogy.  We could imagine that instead of having one's image and biometric data seized by other individuals, corporations, or governments, we were instead discussing having one's body groped randomly by strangers whenever venturing out into public.  What if someone were to argue that the moment anyone stepped foot outside of his or her house, he or she should consent to being groped by several other individuals, as well as by agents of whatever corporations or businesses he or she visited on that trip, and also by various representatives of the federal, state, and local governments of the area?  What if they were to maintain that such groping was just a part of one's everyday trip to the store to get groceries, or the gas station to buy gas, or drive downtown to meet some friends for dinner?

Would that be a violation of the natural law which Spooner said gave every individual the right to be free from violence or the threat of coercion against his or her person, ideas and property?  Of course it would -- it would be an intolerable violation, and no one would willingly concede to such an absurd proposition.  No amount of speeches from subject-matter experts telling us to "embrace it" would possibly convince anyone that such behavior was not a violation of their person and a violation of natural law.  No amount of patronizing platitudes telling us that no permanent harm is done by such groping would convince us that it is in any way permissible.  They might say, "Don't be silly, you have nothing to fear," as some voices argue regarding the collection of biometric data, but if a behavior is wrong and a violation of natural universal moral law, then it is wrong -- all other arguments are secondary to that first question.

Additionally, as has been argued in previous posts such as this one, the very idea of constant surveillance is a giant step on the road to enslavement, and that such surveillance (by design) forces changes in the behavior of those being surveilled, and that it also leads to changes in speech and ultimately changes even in thinking.  Thus, such surveillance is a pernicious form of mind control, and those who employ it are lining up on the wrong side in the war against consciousness -- the very consciousness that ancient civilizations believed was the ultimate goal of human existence (see for example this previous post).

Because, as Spooner himself observed, natural law is so deeply ingrained in each of us, convincing people to act against natural law takes a lot of effort.  We inherently know that the opinions expressed by the IBM representative quoted above are false, and that they are in fact abhorrent.  We know that seizing people's imagery and biometric data routinely and without their consent is a form of violence, and a violation of their inherent dignity as individual human beings.  In order to overcome that resistance, and get people to come around to an opinion that such surveillance is "impossible" to stop, that it's just "not going to be feasible" to think our images and our data belong to us, and that we all need to "embrace the challenge, embrace understanding it" and let our bodies be remotely groped by the sensors of whatever corporation or government entity want to have their way with our data, those corporations and government entities are going to have to employ an awful lot of propaganda, hypnotism, and mind control.

In fact, this article in Wired, ensuring that the comments of the learned representative from IBM get the widest possible distribution, may well be seen as part of that long and difficult campaign -- the endless layers of soft imagery and suggestion that result in mass mind control.

Ultimately, this discussion uncovers a much larger question, and one which was front and center during the life of Crazy Horse as well, and that is the question of whether, in order to enjoy the benefits of modern civilization, one must necessarily give up one's inherent natural-law rights.

I believe that the answer to that question should theoretically be "no," but there are many voices who seem to argue that civilization cannot survive or move forward without trampling on the natural universal rights of individuals, both within its borders and without them (certainly this was true during the nineteenth century and the life of Crazy Horse, as the agents of the United States seized the lands of the Native Americans, killed those who opposed or resisted such seizure, and ultimately murdered Crazy Horse after he made peace and put down his weapons).

Those voices which argue that the violation of natural-law rights is an inevitable and even necessary aspect of civilization, and that we should all "embrace" that fact should be opposed at every point.  They are wrong -- as wrong as the voices who said during the same nineteenth century that slavery was a foregone conclusion, and that it was "just not feasible" to get rid of such a vital institution.  If enough people reject the hypnotizing voices trying to lull them into acceptance of such violations of their natural rights, then such institutions (like slavery) can be overturned, regardless of how impregnable they appear.    

It turns out that Crazy Horse's resistance to having his picture taken has incredible relevance for every single one of us in the modern world.

Below are a few relevant links for further examination of this subject:

  • "11 Body Parts Defense Researchers Will Use to Track You," Wired magazine, 01/25/2013.
  • "Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform," Wired magazine, 05/10/2013.
  • National Population Register: My Identity My Pride, official website of the government of India, explaining that it is mandatory for every citizen above the age of five must report to local "enrollment camps" to have their "biometric attributes" collected by the state, including a photograph (suitable for facial recognition software identification), ten fingerprints, and two iris images.  Note the use of blatantly propagandistic slogans such as "My Identity, My Pride" in the title of this biometric data-collection campaign -- evidence which supports the assertions made in the above blog post that people inherently know such mandates are a violation of national law and that to overcome their inherent resistance, mind control techniques are routinely employed.  The video advertisements supporting this biometric-data campaign in India are rather striking examples of the level of propaganda being employed: the ads feature evocative images of Indians reaching down into the very earth of their homeland and smearing it over their faces or the faces of others, as if to say that the biometric features of the individual belong to the land itself, and by extension the state.
  • Sistema Federal de Identidad Biometrica, the official video from the government of Argentina promoting their "SIBIOS" system of biometric identification for all citizens.  A similar level of propaganda to that seen in the advertisement from India is evident here as well.  
  • A clip from the 2002 film Minority Report (shown at the top of this post), which apparently was referenced by the same IBM Programme Leader at the Emerging Technology Group during his remarks in the March 2014 Nesta debate.  According to the Wired article, the IBM speaker said that the kind of personalized advertising triggered by biometric-recognition software shown in the film is now a reality, but, "The only thing they got wrong is you won't recognize you're being scanned -- the flashing red light in the film is for effect, but all that's now feasible."  Distopian movies such as Minority Report -- especially those of the high quality of Minority Report, which has entered the popular consciousness and has become synonymous with, among other things, pervasive technological surveillance -- can operate on many levels simultaneously, serving as a warning on one level, but also serving more broadly as a form of Hollywood mind control, to advance the very agenda of the inevitability of these kinds of technologies that we see being put forward by the IBM spokesperson highlighted in the recent Wired article.  Were there any other speakers who said anything remotely interesting in the Nesta debate on biometrics?  If there were, Wired didn't see fit to report on them whatsoever.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Know thyself

(please scroll down to read the post)

In an important dialogue by Plato known as the Phaedrus, the discussion examines the subject of self-knowledge, the meaning of the concept of "knowing oneself," and the role of love in that quest for self-knowledge.  

The command to "know thyself" was famously said to have been inscribed upon the temple at Delphi, and Plato has Socrates refer somewhat ironically to this famous dictum early in the Phaedrus.  As Socrates and Phaedrus are walking along the path of the stream of the Ilissus, Phaedrus asks Socrates whether  he was correct in deducing that it was "somewhere about here that they say Boreas seized Orithyia from the river" (referring to a famously beautiful daughter of a legendary king of Athens, who was seized by the god of the north wind, Boreas, and carried away to be his bride, becoming the mother of two of the heroes who sailed on the Argos in search of the Golden Fleece -- the incident is described by the later Roman poet Ovid in Metamorphoses Book VI, lines 979 through 1038).  

Socrates says he believes the abduction took place about a quarter of a mile lower down, and not where the two are currently walking.  Phaedrus then asks Socrates whether he believes the story to be true.

Plato has Socrates reply with a wonderful passage in which Socrates says he would be "quite in the fashion" if he disbelieved the tale, and if he came up with some kind of rationalistic explanation for the mythological story, such as if he were to soberly explain that the myth originated when the maiden was blown by a gust of wind over the edge of some steep rocks to her death (quotations from the Phaedrus used in this discussion come from the translation of Reginald Hackforth, 1887 - 1957).  

Socrates then goes on to say that such theories are "no doubt attractive" but are merely the "invention of clever, industrious people who are not exactly to be envied," (a masterful example of "damning with faint praise") -- in other words, that those pedantic scholars who spend their time trying to reduce mythological stories to literal episodes from some imagined history are completely misguided, and that those who indulge in manufacturing such theories deserve more to be pitied than to be taken seriously.

Plato then has Socrates declare of those who want to reduce every myth to some kind of historical, literal episode:
If our skeptic, with his somewhat crude science, means to reduce every one of them to the standard of probability, he'll need a deal of time for it.  I myself have certainly no time for the business, and I'll tell you why, my friend.  I can't as yet 'know myself,' as the inscription at Delphi enjoins, and so long as that ignorance remains it seems ridiculous to inquire into extraneous matters.  Consequently I don't bother about such things, but accept the current beliefs about them, and direct my inquiries, as I have just said, rather to myself, to discover whether I really am a more complex creature and more puffed up with pride than Typhon, or a simpler, gentler being whom heaven has blessed with a quiet, un-Typhonic nature.  By the way, isn't this the tree we were making for? 229e - 230b.
It is undoubtedly no accident that Plato has Socrates refer to the inscription from the temple at Delphi at this particular point in the dialogue, nor that Socrates illustrates his ongoing quest to obey that dictum with a reference to a mythological being (Typhon, and the question of whether or not he, Socrates, is "more puffed up with pride than Typhon").  

Through Socrates, Plato is here clearly slamming those who completely miss the point of the "ancient treasure" of mythology, and telling us in no uncertain terms that the purpose of the myths is not to preserve some historical, literal event from the past (albeit in slightly exaggerated form, with a girl falling to her death from some rocks transformed into a beautiful maiden being abducted by the god of the bitter north wind), but rather that the purpose of the myths has to do with the Delphic inscription "KNOW THYSELF."  To drive the point home, Plato has Socrates illustrate by telling Phaedrus that he himself applies the myth of Typhon to his own examination of himself, and the danger of becoming "puffed up with pride" (like Typhon).

This little passage from the Phaedrus, it seems, sheds some extremely helpful light on the famous dictum from Delphi.   It reveals that, far from being a mere collection of fanciful tales, or even a compendium of ancient historical events embellished with touches of the fabulous, the sacred myth-traditions of the world were actually an exquisite set of instruments designed to facilitate the quest for self-knowledge, and the removal of the ignorance which Socrates says should be the primary object towards which we devote our time and energy.

But how, exactly, do the sacred mythologies enable us to emerge from our state of ignorance into greater self-knowledge?

As the conversation in the Phaedrus moves on from the above passage, it plunges first into a discussion of the nature of love, and then proceeds from there into a discussion of the soul and its incarnation.  In 245c - 245e of the dialogue, Socrates determines from his foregoing examination of love that the soul is immortal, that it comes into a body and "besouls" the body, and that (at the beginning of section 246), that "it must follow that soul is not born and does not die."

This, in fact, is precisely what the ancient mythologies of the world teach us, using an exquisite system of metaphor, according to the penetrating analysis of Alvin Boyd Kuhn, in works such as his Lost Light (1940).  Through their beautiful allegories, the myths are teaching us just what Plato has Socrates expounding in the Phaedrus: that soul is immortal, that we descend into the body only to rise up again into the world of spirit, and descend into the body again, as many times as necessary to obtain the gnosis (and overcome the ignorance) that Socrates and the inscription at Delphi are talking about.  

In fact, we could tentatively explicate the myth of Orithyia being seized by the wind-god from the river as a metaphorical depiction of the aspect of the soul's journey when it leaves the world of the incarnation (the river, or the body -- the body being composed largely of water and minerals, the lower elements) and returns again to the realm of the spirit (the realms of air and fire, the higher elements or those more illustrative of the spiritual sphere).

The later philosopher (and priest of the oracle at Delphi) Plutarch, in his own dialogue examining the meaning of the inscriptions at Delphi (including the mysterious inscription of the letter "E" at Delphi, which is a subject for another discussion at another time), certainly seems to hint at the same interpretation.  In his famous essay On the 'E' at Delphi, Plutarch puts these words into the mouth of his own mentor, Ammonius (beginning in section XVII and carrying on into section XVIII and XIX):
All mortal nature is in a middle state between becoming and perishing, and presents but an appearance, a faint unstable image, of itself.  If you strain the intellect, and wish to grasp this, it is as with water; compress it too much and force it violently into one space as it tries to flow through, and you destroy the enveloping substance. [. . .]  "It is impossible to go into the same river twice," said Heraclitus; no more can you grasp mortal being twice, so as to hold it.  So sharp and so swift its change; it scatters and brings together again, nay not again, no nor afterwards; even while it is being formed it fails, it approaches, and it is gone.  Hence becoming never ends in being, for the process never leaves off, or is stayed. [. . .]  Yet we fear (how absurdly!) a single death, we who have died so many deaths, and yet are dying. For it is not only that, as Heraclitus would say, "death of fire is birth of air," and "death of air is birth of water"; the thing is much clearer in our own selves. [. . .] What then really is?  That which is eternal, was never brought into being, is never destroyed, to which no time ever brings change."
This concept is closely related to the discussion posted over a year ago concerning the myth of Narcissus, a discussion which helps to outline the importance of the concept of love in this whole discussion (the concept of love being the springboard in the Phaedrus which Plato uses to launch into his examination of this topic).  In a post examining some of the assertions of the neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus entitled "Plotinus and the upward way," we saw that
Plotinus seems to teach that love of beauty is an entry-gate to the upward way, but that the "lesson" for the lover of beauty is to learn to disentangle from being enamored with one specific embodied form (whatever form that lover of beauty is enamored with) and to see that specific form of beauty as a pointer to "beauty everywhere" (this being the very opposite of Narcissus, who could only see beauty in himself), and ultimately to the "One Principle underlying all."
Again, this conclusion has strong resonances with the theme of Plato's Phaedrus.

As we begin to wrap up this examination, we might pause on the myth-metaphor of Narcissus, another figure who (like Orithyia) is pictured next to an enchanting body of water.  As we saw in that previous examination of Narcissus, certain ancient philosophers appear to have interpreted his myth as symbolic of the descent of the soul into this incarnational world, and his fate as a warning against certain tendencies (perhaps even tendencies related to those which Socrates examined himself for, when he referenced the puffed-up self-pride of Typhon).  Socrates would surely laugh at us and imply that we were wasting our time if we were to try to go on a scholarly quest to uncover the "historical Narcissus" and to identify some particularly handsome or vain young prince from history who might have inspired the "legend of Narcissus."  Such stories are intended to provide us with a tool for self-reflection and ultimately self-knowledge, knowledge about the human condition and our purpose in this life (or this incarnation, if you believe the interpretation that the ancients and Alvin Boyd Kuhn espouse).

If the famous command from the oracle at Delphi to "Know thyself" was intended to tell us to learn that (in Plato's words) our physical existence is temporary and that in reality, "soul is not born and does not die," and that (in Plutarch's words) "we fear (how absurdly!) a single death, we who have died so many deaths," then it follows that those who -- either mistakenly, or malevolently -- try to reduce the myths to literal or historical interpretations are doing the world a great disservice.  They are placing a tremendous obstacle in the path of those who would learn the truth about the human condition, knowledge which is essential in the pursuit of that Delphic command.  

Unfortunately, such "clever, industrious people who are not exactly to be envied" are perhaps even more prevalent in our day than they seem to have been in the time of Plato, Socrates, and Phaedrus.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chemtrails and methane hydrates: a chilling theory proposed by Dane Wiginton

Previous posts on this blog have discussed the "chemtrail" or "geoengineering" phenomenon, which is often dismissed as a "conspiracy theory" (see for example the patronizing Wikipedia article on the subject).

The first direct mention of this topic on the pages of this blog was on July 03, 2013, in a post entitled "Due your own due diligence: Geoengineering."  That post noted that while many "debunkers" loudly deny that any deliberate spraying is taking place, "if deliberate geoengineering is taking place without informing the human beings who are potentially impacted by that activity, then there are potentially enormous ramifications.  Because the potential ramifications are so severe, everyone should take the time to investigate this issue for himself or herself."

Less than six months later, an article appeared in California newspapers describing deliberate "cloud seeding" operations involving the use of aircraft spraying chemicals such as silver iodide into the atmosphere in order to impact weather patterns and precipitation!  Here is a blog post from November of 2013 discussing that article, which openly admits to ongoing aircraft-based climate modification programs, quoting people involved in this aerial spraying program (one of whom has the official-sounding title of "director of weather modification").

In spite of the clear evidence that such spraying is in fact taking place, on such a scale that some individuals actually have job titles like "director of weather modification," Wikipedia and other sites continue to make fun of the "chemtrail conspiracy theory" and assert that "This theory has been refuted by the scientific community: such trails are simply normal contrails" (screen shot below from Wikipedia entry "Chemtrail conspiracy theory," accessed 03/19/2014):

The fact that these spraying programs are going on is undeniable: the real questions are "Why?" and "What impact will these programs have?"  The illegality of such programs should not really be in question, as discussed in the previous post entitled "Who has the right to spray silver iodide on his or her neighbors?" -- a question which natural law answers with a resounding: "No one."

Recently, Dane Wiginton of appeared on Red Ice Radio to outline a frightening thesis which he believes explains the deliberate, worldwide spraying campaigns, and it is a bombshell.

Every individual who cares about investigating this topic should listen to it in its entirety, and visit Geoengineeringwatch to learn more about it, but Dane's thesis in short is that the perpetrators of these massive spraying campaigns have seen data suggesting that warming temperatures worldwide, and particularly warming ocean temperatures, are releasing methane hydrates which are trapped in ice beneath the surface of the world's oceans, and that these methane hydrates entering our atmosphere will contribute to a cycle of further warming, releasing even more methane hydrates in a runaway cycle that could threaten all life on earth.  The massive, unauthorized, unannounced, secretive, and illegal spraying campaign (according to Dane's theory) is the desperate attempt by state actors to slow the cycle before it is too late.  (Another place to hear the interview is on this page from Geoengineeringwatch itself).

Geoengineeringwatch has several articles discussing the methane hydrate threat, many of which can be found on this page (which is a page of search results for the term "methane" on that website).  This article in particular, entitled "Methane and the risk of runaway global warming," gives a good outline of the potential danger Dane describes in his interview and in other talks and presentations which can be found on the Geoengineeringwatch site.

Methane hydrates are very real, and they are actually a phenomenon which Dr. Walt Brown discusses in some detail in his books about the hydroplate theory.  As the Geoengineeringwatch articles explain, our planet contains massive reserves of methane hydrates, most of them trapped in subsurface ice along the continental shelves of most of earth's continents, as well as beneath the Arctic ice cap.  Dr. Brown's book explains that origin of these vast quantities of methane hydrates poses something of a problem for conventional geological theories, but (as with so many other pieces of evidence on our planet, some of which are listed at the end of this post*) the hydroplate theory has a very satsifactory explanation for these methane collections.

At the bottom of this page in the online version of his book on the hydroplate theory, Dr. Brown describes the earth's methane hydrate reserves:
Since 1970, methane has been discovered inside ice molecules mixed within sediments lying up to 1000 feet below the deep ocean floor off coastlines.  The ice molecules form microscopic cagelike structures encasing one or more methane molecules.  The total energy value of this methane-ice combination, called methane hydrate, is at least twice that of all the world's known coal and oil combined! 
Later, in the section of this page entitled "Recovery Phase," Dr. Brown describes the forces which he believes led to the creation of all these methane hydrates -- the massive sediments which were released during a catastrophic worldwide flood poured off the continents at the end of the catastrophic flood event and into the massive depressions of the ocean basins, which had been created as a consequence of the sequence of events he describes in the previous phase of the catastrophe:
Sediments, mixed with organic matter and its bacteria were swept with draining flood waters onto the new ocean floors.  There, the bacteria fed on the organic matter and produced methane.  Much of this methane combined with cold, deep ocean waters to become vast amounts of methane hydrates along coastlines.
Elsewhere (in caption below the image of flaming ice, which is burning because it contains methane, and which is shown at the bottom of the page with the first methane hydrate quotation above), Dr. Brown explains that "water will freeze at slightly warmer temperatures if it is under high pressure and contains dissolved methane," and that "such temperatures and pressures exist 2,000 feet or more below sea level.  There, vast methane deposits are found trapped in ice on and under the deep seafloor, primarily along coastlines."  These principles of chemistry and physics explain the mechanisms which caused the methane hydrates to form, and Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory and the evidence that the earth once experienced a catastrophic global event which flooded the earth and which caused massive amounts of sediments infused with the remains of pre-flood vegetation explains the original source of the methane.

Whatever the source of the methane, however, Dane Wiginton's theory that the massive chemtrail campaign is a desperate attempt to prevent this methane from escaping due to warmer ocean temperatures has some logical coherence, and deserves to be examined further to see if it fits the available evidence better than alternative explanations for the undeniable geoengineering efforts that have been taking place for many decades, but which appear to have accelerated in recent years.

If readers choose to reject his explanation, then the question remains: what reason do we propose in its place?  The reason for the spraying can be debated, but the fact of the spraying should be beyond debate at this point.  If the situation really is as dire as Dane Wiginton and the articles on suggest, then investigating this issue is extremely important for every man and woman on the planet.

For those who argue that the recent freakish waves of cold weather, snow and ice experienced by the eastern US should dispel any arguments that the earth or its oceans are heating up, Dane presents evidence in his talk and on his site that these "polar vortices" and other unusual winter weather events are being deliberately and artificially engineered to hit the eastern portion of North America, while simultaneously creating warmer and drier conditions along the western portion of the continent and up into Canada, Alaska and the Arctic itself.  He argues that California's current historic drought conditions are probably part of this phenomenon.  He also believes that if the chemtrails are in fact being sprayed in order to try to stop a runaway methane-hydrate release, they are actually doing more harm than good and will have the effect of destroying the earth's natural systems and preventing the planet from healing itself, while threatening to create all kinds of new and unforeseen problems at the same time.

Like so many other issues of great importance facing men and women on the planet today, there appears to be an active disinformation campaign surrounding the existence and purpose of geoengineering, and individuals will have to do their own research and analysis and arrive at their own conclusions, without "outsourcing" that analysis to traditional media outlets (or to websites such as Wikipedia).  The correct way to proceed is to examine the evidence, examine the competing theories which attempt to explain that evidence, and conduct analysis to determine which theory best explains the preponderance of the evidence available at this time.  This process is recommended by Dr. Brown himself (who invites readers of his theory to conduct that type of analysis on all the assertions that he makes using the hydroplate theory), and it applies to the subject of chemtrails no less than it does to the subject of the earth's geological features and formations.

Below are some photographs of palm trees under severe duress due to the ongoing drought conditions in California, with chemtrails visible in the background.  Below those photographs is a "footnote" containing links to previous posts discussing evidence worldwide which supports the hydroplate theory.

* Some of the evidence supporting the hydroplate conclusions, discussed in previous posts:

And many, many more.