Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's and the Egyptian Book of the Dead

In Lost Light: An Interpretation of Ancient Scriptures (published in 1940, and available here for reading online in its entirety using the top link in the left-hand column which says "read online" or for download as a pdf using the link just below that one), Alvin Boyd Kuhn spends an entire chapter (entitled "Weighed in the Balance," beginning on page 480) discussing the concept of "judgment day" or the "judgment of the soul" found in ancient sacred texts and traditions.

On page 490, he specifically addresses a tradition that "the dead are summoned before the divine tribunal to be judged upon the day of doom, which occurs each New Years Day!"  But he cautions, as he does throughout the book, that these kinds of ancient traditions are misinterpreted if we try to understand them literally.  

What this ancient tradition really means, according to Kuhn, is that those of us in a current incarnation in the physical world (whom the ancient texts refer to as "the dead," in that the soul's descent into a physical body is a kind of "death" or "entombment in flesh," but which is only a temporary condition) are undergoing a kind of judgment day year in and year out (that is to say, "constantly" during this incarnation).  Further down on the same page, he explains: "If the Day of Doom came once each year on New Year's Day, it was set only as an annual commemoration of a fact which was perpetual, constant, persistent throughout life."

He then goes on to explain that the famous depictions of the "weighing of the heart" in the "Hall of Judgment" or the "Hall of Two Truths" in the scrolls that have collectively come to be known (somewhat incorrectly) as the Egyptian Book of the Dead do not actually refer to an event that takes place in some other realm in the afterlife: just like everything else in the Book of the Dead (in Kuhn's interpretation) it has to do with things that we need to know about here and now, in this incarnation (this life)!

He writes:
As argued in an earlier chapter, the Spiritual Guides of humanity gave the race a code of religious instruction that was meant to apply to the world in which it was given, not to a succeeding one.  The seers were not concerned with teaching mankind about the supervening consciousness of the discarnate life.  They taught humanity how to live in the world in which the teaching was imparted, well assured that philosophic behavior of life here would put them in favorable condition to meet the exigencies of the life of rest following the day on earth.  They were vastly concerned to instruct mortals in what it behooved them to learn here, as this was the only realm in which progress could be made, -- unless it be contended that one makes greater progress in sleep at night than in one's waking life by day.  481.
And again, on page 484 Kuhn avers that the sojourn of the soul on earth during each incarnation is in fact the Hall of Judgment: "The horizon line between the two cherubim is the place of the Great Balance.  The two Horus forms or lion gods are the two pillars of justice, and the judgment is the long series of decisions which the man himself renders as he journeys across." (Italics in original).

Even more graphically, Kuhn unpacks his thesis near the end of the chapter:
Man has entered the Gotterdammerung; he stands within the twilight.  He stands on the mounts both of crucifixion and transfiguration, with the shadow of the two beams of the cross or the scales falling athwart his body.  Every act, word and thought of his causes those arms of the scales to move up or down, according as he gives an impulse to spiritual or to sensuous expression.  In their motion they write the scroll of his book of life, alternately upon outward feature and inner character.  Every movement of the bars is a decree of judgment for him.  Taht-Aan, the scribe and recorder, is filling the pages of his book.  496.
This passage certainly makes the whole process sound dreadfully ominous, as if the Book of the Dead taught the impossible doctrine that every sin would have to be avoided in order to avoid having one's heart tossed to the dreadful demon, Ammit, to be devoured.  But Kuhn elsewhere explains that the process of passing through the scales in each incarnation was seen as the essential part of the progress towards overcoming incarnation:
To come forth guiltless from the scales may now be seen to convey the deep significance of the soul's emergence from earth life between the two horizons, washed clean and gloriously spiritualized.  If the judgment had been adverse, the soul would have been cast to the monster Am-mit, which only means, however, return to animal incarnation until final purification.  491.  
It is clear from explicit statements and analysis elsewhere in the book that by "animal incarnation" Alvin Boyd Kuhn here does not mean incarnation in the form of what we call "an animal," but rather he means that the soul would incarnate again as a man or a woman -- taking on a physical body again -- as part of the process.  

As he says all the way back on page 41, "As the Egyptian most majestically phrases it, the soul, projecting itself into one physical embodiment after the other, 'steppeth onward through eternity.'"  And again on page 251 he writes that the Egyptians believed that, "The soul is as the bee gathering sweet honey of immortality from the flowers of life experience on earth." 

And yet again on the same topic, Kuhn writes on page 273 that "In this light it may be seen that the whole of the negative and lugubrious posture of theology as to 'sin' and 'death' as its penalty, might be metamorphosed into an understanding of the natural and beneficent character of all such things in the drama." That is to say, in Kuhn's analysis, because "sin" describes lessons that can only be learned as an incarnation of the divine spark of a soul united to the animal body of the flesh (a pure spirit cannot sin, and neither can a non-human animal -- only a man or woman, who is a combination of the spirit and the animal together can do so), and because by "death" the ancients meant "incarnation of the spirit again," the whole process is transformed from being a fearful one into a positive or beneficent one.

In light of all the forgoing discussion, and the point made way at the top that all this was metaphorically said to have taken place among "the dead" (that is to say, those incarnated right now) on New Year's Day, it is interesting to speculate as to whether the famous "negative confessions" which are found accompanying the scene of the weighing of the heart in the Hall of Judgment (the Hall of Two Truths) in the scrolls of many ancient copies of the Book of the Dead might have some relationship to our ongoing tradition of the "New Year's Resolution."

The so-called "negative confessions" were often forty-two in number, and are associated with Spell 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.  Professor Raymond O. Faulkner (1894 - 1982) said that the name "negative confession" was self-contradictory, and that a better name for it would be "the declaration of innocence."  Here is a portion of the forty-two declarations, as translated by Professor Faulkner (on pages 31 and 32 in this edition of his translation, published posthumously in 1990):
O Far-strider who came forth from Heliopolis, I have done no falsehood.
O Fire-embracer who came forth from Kheraha, I have not robbed.
O Nosey who came forth from Hermopolis, I have not been rapacious.
O swallower of shades who came forth from the cavern, I have not stolen.
O Dangerous One who came forth from Rosetjau, I have not killed men.
O Double Lion who came forth from the sky, I have done no crookedness.
O Flame which came forth backwards, I have not stolen the god's-offerings.
O Bone-breaker which came forth from Heracleopolis, I have not told lies.
Those of us who try to make New Year's resolutions each year might do worse than to select from among the "declarations of innocence" in Spell 125 of the Book of the Dead any that personally resonate.  Some of the confessions that are most compelling to me personally include:
O Disturber who came forth from Weryt, I have not been hot-tempered [see discussion in this previous New Year's post].
O Owner of horns who came forth from Asyut, I have not been voluble in speech.
Alvin Boyd Kuhn's insight that subject matter of the Book of the Dead applies to our sojourn in this life is indeed revolutionary, and worthy of careful consideration.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Blackfish and mind control

The powerful documentary Blackfish is discussed in this previous post.

That post noted that Blackfish is an important film on many levels.  One of those levels, of course, is the question of the treatment of the orcas shown in the movie, especially in light of the evidence that these amazing and intelligent creatures are highly social, highly emotional, and -- by almost any definition of the word -- sentient.

But -- as important as that question is -- another very profound aspect of the film is the question of how this kind of treatment could have gone on for so long and been not only tolerated but bathed in a kind of wholesome glow by the public at large.  After watching the film, one asks oneself how it is possible for almost all of us to have collectively failed to see through the glamorous spectacle to the foundation of captivity and exploitation that propped it all up?

While there has always been a vocal but relatively tiny minority trying to bring attention to the moral issues surrounding the keeping of orcas and other intelligent sea mammals in captivity, most of us (and I include myself in that group) did not really think too much on the issue until the movie Blackfish came out.  So, one really important question that this fact raises, it seems, is the question of how something that (in retrospect) is so wrong could have gone largely unnoticed and unremarked-upon by so many for so long.  How could we all have been so collectively "hypnotized" that we didn't really "snap out of it" until the movie Blackfish snapped us out?

This question is related to the question of "mind control," which this previous post asserted can be thought of as the opposite of "consciousness" -- the kind consciousness which John Anthony West described as that thing whose acquisition the ancients believed was the goal of our existence in this life, during an important 2008 interview.  What techniques of hypnosis so clouded our judgment that it basically hid the question of captive orca shows behind a smokescreen and kept us from paying serious attention to it, until the film Blackfish blew the smoke away?

The question has important ramifications for other areas of our lives, especially if we suspect that there are other areas where we are collectively hypnotized and where the shouting of a vocal but relatively tiny minority seems to be having no effect.  Remember that in the previous post on mind control, master pickpocket and "gentleman thief" Apollo Robbins told us that "Actually, it's often the things that are right in front of us that are the hardest things to see -- the things that you look at every day, that you're blinded to."

One of the most powerful aspects of the Blackfish movie is the courageous testimony of the former trainers who, as young men and women, were employed to perform in the orca shows and who now have reached the conclusion that what they were participating in was wrong.  Their testimony about the experience is not one-sided, either: they talk about the remarkable experience of bonding with the animals, the excitement of participating in amazing shows in front of crowds.

I can very much relate to their mixed emotions as they reminisce about the good aspects of their time in an industry they now see as including a very dark underside, because I myself spent a large portion of my young adult years in the US Army, and can testify to the very same kinds of memories of camaraderie and amazing experiences, even though I now have a completely different perspective regarding the bigger picture of what the young men and women in the military are being used for.

Very early in the film (near the 2-minute mark, in fact) there are several interview clips in which trainers reflect on the circumstances that attracted them to the idea of becoming a trainer in the first place.

More than one of them mentions the spectacle of seeing a show themselves, when they were young (perhaps as a child, or as a teen).  One of them specifically tells about seeing "the night show at Shamu Stadium" and describes it as being "very emotional, you know, popular music, and I was very driven to want to do that."

The footage of the shows themselves gives the viewer a chance to see some of the components that he is talking about, and they are the same as those that surround the public face of the military in many countries (certainly in the US): there is music, there is costume (with all the trainers typically dressed in distinctive wetsuits, which are all the same), there is the attractiveness of youth (young men and women in their 20s or early 30s, fit and active and fearless in the face of danger).

What is it about this kind of pageantry that turns us from critically-thinking, analyzing, conscious human beings into a roaring crowd?  There is certainly something going on with these components of pageantry that are used by the producers of orca shows, or by the military in its parades.  Maybe it is related in some way to the concept Apollo Robbins discussed in his talk on "misdirection" and pickpocketing -- getting the part of our minds that he calls "Frank" to turn around, to access our memory bank, during which time "Frank" cannot monitor the incoming signals in the same way that he normally does.

This is not to say that spectacle, pageantry, or being part of a cheering crowd is inherently wrong -- it's not.  But seeing the way it can be used to throw up a sort of "smokescreen" to our analytical reasoning, it might be a good thing to be aware of its power as a potential tool for "mind control." If you happen to be watching Blackfish with teenaged children, for example, you might point out the fact that more than one trainer mentions such shows as having a very powerful impact on their career choice, and you might discuss together other areas where these elements might be used to turn off the critical judgment that seems to have been so sadly lacking in the analysis of the orca captivity question for so long.

Another mind control tool mentioned by a trainer in a powerful piece of testimony (shown in the clip above) is the use of ridicule to quell dissent and to shut someone up who is raising questions about the morality of behavior that they perceive to be wrong.

In the clip, which begins around the 36-minute mark in the film itself, former trainer Carol Ray is describing the heartbreaking story of the decision made by the park management to permanently separate the young whale Kalina (the first orca successfully born in captivity, on September 26, 1984) from her mother Katina, and the grief that Katina exhibited after they took her child from her.

Speaking of the young whale Kalina, Ms Ray ruefully relates:
It was decided by the higher-ups that she would be moved to another park when she was four, four-and-a-half years old -- and that was news to us as trainers that were working with her.  To me it had never crossed my mind that they might be moving the baby from her mom.  The supervisor was basically kind of mocking me: "Oh, you're saying 'Poor Kalina'?" You know: "What's she gonna do without her Mommy?"  And, you know, that of course just shut me up.
How many of us can relate to Carol's experience of having someone else shame them into going along with something that we knew was wrong, or not continuing to speak out against it?  The mocking that she is describing can be very powerful.  Again, this is the kind of thing that -- if you're watching Blackfish with your children, for example -- you might point out to them afterwards, so that they can be forewarned and forearmed when they come up against that sort of pressure in their own lives (and they most certainly will).  Children of even a fairly early age will probably already be able to relate to this subject from personal experience.

Radio show host and teacher Mark Passio has a lot to say about the subject of mind control in all of its various forms, and he discusses the subject extensively on his radio programs and videos.  His podcast archive contains hundreds of his previous broadcasts, and he gets into this subject almost right away in some of the very first episodes in the series.  If you go to his website and go back to the very beginning of his podcast archive, you will find that he gets into this subject right away, and that at around podcast number 12 he launches into a formal investigation of fourteen of the most common techniques of mass mind control -- fourteen!

One very attractive aspect of Mark Passio's talks is his willingness to utter what he calls "three of the most powerful words in any language: I WAS WRONG." They are words that I myself have had to admit about a lot of beliefs I have held in the past. The courage of the former trainers interviewed in the Blackfish video who, by their participation in the documentary, are effectively saying the same thing is to be commended, and cannot be overstated.

The very first mind control technique that Mark Passio discusses in his list of the fourteen most common is the technique of obfuscation -- making a subject seem complicated when it is really very simple.  Again, the Blackfish documentary provides an outstanding opportunity to study this very concept.

It might seem that the question of whether keeping orcas in captivity and forcing them to perform for their meals of frozen fish is a complicated subject, one with many nuances and not something that can be turned into a black-and-white, cut-and-dry issue.  After all, as some people bring up in the film, seeing orca shows at marine parks can inspire millions with a love of the oceans and of the magnificent marine life that they see at the marine parks but might otherwise never see.  In response to the film the major participants in the marine park industry have put forward some of these arguments, which you can read for yourself here and here.  You can also read about some other responses they have sent out through publicity agencies, and you can read some counter-arguments or rebuttals to their arguments here, and here, and here.

A great example of cutting through the obfuscation to get to the very heart of the issue can be seen in an interview that comes in the Blackfish film just after the Carol Ray discussion of Katina and Kalina shown above.  In that interview, which is found around the 38-minute mark in the film, former trainer John Hargrove is discussing another incident in which a young orca was separated from its mother, and the heartrending cries that the mother made when her baby was taken from her.  The whales in question were Kasatka (the mother) and Takara (her daughter):
When they separated Kasatka and Takara, it was to take Takara to Florida.  Once Takara had already been stretchered out of the pool, put on the truck, driven to the airport, Kasatka continued to make vocals that had never been heard before.  They brought in the senior research scientists, to analyze the vocals.  They were long-range vocals.  She was trying something that no one had even heard before, looking for Takara.  That's heartbreaking.  How can anyone look at that and think that that is morally acceptable?  It's not.  It is not OK.
John Hargrove is right.  The issue is just as clear and as simple as that.  And, by extension, the whole issue of keeping sentient, intelligent orcas whose natural habitat is the entire ocean for years and years in small constricted tanks (Katina has been in captivity since October of 1978) for our amusement is not morally acceptable -- it is wrong.  To say that some good outcome, whether it is "greater awareness" or "scientific research" justifies such long-term captivity and mental torture of the whales is reprehensible. In fact, to claim that the best way to foster widespread love of the oceans and of ocean life is to do the things to the whales that are revealed in the film Blackfish, and to imprison them for life, is grotesque.

These questions about the orca question are pretty well settled by the documentary.  But the questions that it raises about us, about our ability to be asleep to things about which we should be outraged, those questions are not settled by the movie at all.  They are stirred up and left for us to ponder.

About what other things going on right in front of our very eyes, day in and day out, can we ask with former trainer John Hargrove, "How can anyone look at that and think that that is morally acceptable?"

Friday, December 27, 2013

How to tell if you're under mind control

How to tell if you are under mind control of some form:

1.  You display any of the symptoms exhibited above by Danny Kaye aka Hawkins aka The Great Giacomo ("King of Jesters, and Jester of Kings"), from the 1956 motion picture The Court Jester.

2.  You attended any level of schooling in a modern nation-state after the year 1926.

3.  You are terribly concerned about your own personal contribution to global warming but completely oblivious to evidence pointing to ongoing geoengineering (and if anyone brings the subject up to you, you become agitated at them and call them an outrageous "conspiracy theorist," rather than exhibiting any outrage at the people involved in spraying chemicals from aircraft over populated areas, crops, your own home, etc).

4.  You can muster no sense of outrage over increasing surveillance of your everyday activities, and when told that the state now spends millions placing sophisticated video and audio recording devices in public places such as transit buses, or that they tap into your iPad using WiFi and record your cache of recent geophysical location data, you nod absently and forget you ever heard about it.

5.  You readily and uncritically accept media accounts of major traumatic events which always seem to point to the need for increased state authority over the individual, without conducting any of your own "due diligence," and you repeat phrases such as "more surveillance" or "every command" in a sort of absent, monotone voice.  You become agitated at the mention of possible alternative explanations and refuse to entertain them in your mind -- in fact, you act as though someone has convinced you that such thoughts might burn you if you touch them.

6.  You cannot entertain possible alternative accounts of ancient history, whether they involve advanced ancient civilizations whose accomplishments upset the conventional narrative of a generally unbroken line of steady Progress from primitive times to our modern superiority, or whether they involve catastrophic explanations for geological features rather than the tectonic paradigm that has become the only acceptable geological model.  Serious mention of such alternative possibilities causes you agitation and powerful negative emotional response.

Of course, if you were actually under the spell of a Griselda (Gri-who-lda?) the way "Giacomo" is in the video clip above, you would probably dismiss any suggestion that you were actually under any kind of outside influence whatsoever (angrily deny it, in fact).  Forms of mind control are really the opposite of what we might call "consciousness," and consciousness -- according to symbolist, Pythagorean, and illuminator of magical ancient Egypt John Anthony West -- is the goal of human existence according to all the ancient cultures and ancient sacred scriptures (see discussions here and here for example).

Since, based on the above list (and the list could go on and on) we're all under mind control to some extent, moving from a state of "hypnosis" to greater levels of consciousness should be one of the areas to which we pay a lot of attention in this world.

The video clip below shows a recent "TED talk" given by entertainer and "gentleman thief" Apollo Robbins, in which he demonstrates and discusses the art of "misdirection," or as he puts it, "controlling someone's attention" in order to be able to almost perfectly "predict human behavior."  

He begins his talk by saying that such an ability would be "the perfect super-power -- actually kind of an evil way of approaching it."  He then goes on to say that "Actually, it's often the things that are right in front of us that are the hardest things to see -- the things that you look at every day, that you're blinded to."

Apollo Robbins then gives an entertaining demonstration of his "super-power," proving to the audience that it really is possible (as he puts it at about the 2:30 mark in the video) to so manipulate the attention as to enable others to "steer your perceptions" and "control your reality."  He explains that there are proven techniques to "exploit" (his word) the "gateway to the mind" and by doing so to cause another person to miss things that are taking place right before his or her very eyes.

At the end of his remarkable demonstration, Apollo Robbins talks straight to the audience and says,
Attention is a powerful thing.  Like I said, it shapes your reality.  So, I guess I'd like to pose that question to you: If you could control somebody's attention, what would you do with it?
And on that note, throwing it back to all his viewers (including all of us through the magic of the web), he ends his presentation.

Fresh beets and Thomas Jefferson

All of the beets shown above came from a single square foot of garden, and went into tonight's dinner.

They are shown with a nickel (on the far right) for size comparison, because a nickel has a profile of Thomas Jefferson, and Jefferson knew that food and freedom go together (see this previous post and this previous post).

The discovery of vast offshore fresh groundwater reserves (i.e., under the seafloor)

Recently, in the journal Nature, scientists and researchers Vincent E. A. Post, Jacobus Groen, Henk Kooi, Mark Person, Shemin Ge, and W. Mike Edmunds published a study entitled "Offshore fresh groundwater reserves as a global phenomenon."  

The study can be read online here, which allows you to see the first page, and read the rest for a fee of $3.99, but you can also read some of the many articles discussing the importance of this new finding for free online, such as this one, and this one, and this one, and this one.

Reader Terry B., who has alerted me to important new discoveries many times in the past, notified me of this important new development soon after the study was published near the beginning of this month and noted that it seems to be yet another piece of evidence which supports the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.  

Sure enough, Dr. Brown agrees that the new finding of large amounts of relatively fresh water (fresher than seawater) trapped underneath the seafloor along the offshore continental shelves around the world is a finding that is difficult to explain using conventional theories, but one that accords quite well with the hydroplate theory.  Dr. Brown has already mentioned this important new discovery, in the section on this page of his book (which is available in its entirety on the web, or for purchase in hardbound print edition here) entitled "Earth's Major Components," where he writes:
Low-salinity water is being discovered far below continental shelves worldwide.  Why would water, typically less salty than sea water, be found beneath the sea floor?
At the end of that question, he provides a footnote (footnote 6) to the article published earlier this month in Nature discussing the vast offshore reserves of fresh water being discovered below the surface of the continental shelves (at depths of up to 3000 meters beneath the seafloor).

While scientists had long known of the existence of some subsurface freshwater discharge from onshore reserves which penetrated out into the shelf offshore, it was previously assumed that such intrusions were fairly limited in scope, both around the world and in terms of how far out from the shore they could reach.  The authors of the new article conducted tests which indicate that the phenomenon of fresh water beneath the seafloor is extremely widespread, found on continental shelves around the globe, and that these trapped pockets of water can be found extremely far out from shore -- at least as far as 100 kilometers from shore, and possibly further!  

The amount of fresh water trapped beneath the surface on continental shelves may be 500,000 cubic kilometers, or 120,000 cubic miles of fresh water -- a hundred times more than all the water that mankind has extracted from aquifers beneath the surface onshore since 1900, according to lead researcher and author Dr. Vincent E. A. Post!  That much fresh water cannot be explained by simple groundwater discharge from onshore sources, the article explains, and so another mechanism must be proposed.  But what could account for so much fresh water trapped beneath the surface of the continental shelf, which itself is beneath the salty ocean?

The study's authors propose a possible mechanism: during ice ages, sea levels were much lower, and so areas now offshore were once on land.  These areas collected rainwater (called "meteoric" water), and then later when the ice ages came to an end (or, more precisely, an "interglacial" period in between ice ages), that meteoric groundwater was trapped below the surface as the sea levels rose -- and it is still there today.  For this reason, the recent article calls these newly-discovered freshwater reserves offshore "Vast Meteoric Groundwater Reserves" or VGMRs.

There may be some problems with this explanation, such as the question of how the ground that was porous enough to let the freshwater in during the glacial period, became such an excellent sealant that the freshwater was able to stay mostly fresh once the glacial period ended and the salty seawater filled back in over it.  Certainly that could have happened in some unique conditions, but how could it have happened over such a vast extent of the continental boundaries, and to distances of over 100 kilometers from the present shore?

We have already seen in previous discussions that the hydroplate theory does argue that the sea level was in fact much lower, in the centuries immediately following the catastrophic flood (the flood which left so much evidence around the planet that it is very difficult to deny that it took place).  During those centuries, the combination of warmer oceans and colder continents did in fact lead to much greater levels of precipitation, and to an Ice Age, and so some aspects of the proposed mechanism from the article in the journal Nature may have taken place.  But, such runoff would hardly explain the vast amounts of water being discovered today, and its ability to remain much less salty than the ocean above for so many years. 

The hydroplate of Dr. Brown, which has a habit of already being ready to provide excellent explanations for evidence that scientists discover years after Dr. Brown published his predictions, has a very good explanation for the fresh water that is now being detected.  In the caption to Figure 59, found on this page of his online book and reproduced above, Dr. Brown explains where all that fresh water might have come from (and, at the same time, why continental shelves are found on the edges of the continents worldwide -- something that tectonics does not really have a good way of explaining).  Referring to the diagram shown above (in terms of "left" and "right" as the viewer looks at the image), he writes:
The velocity and erosion power of escaping SCW [supercritical water] increased to the right and as it jetted upward.  This beveled the edges of each hydroplate, forming today's continental shelves and continental slopes.  Because the water's pressure decreased as it approached the right edge, the hydroplate sagged downward, constricting flow and increasing erosion even more.
During the flood, thick layers of sediments blanketed the granite crust.  Included in those sedimentary layers were aquifers -- deep, permeable, sedimentary layers filled with generally salt-free water.  Today, some of those aquifers lie below the continental shelf which constitutes part of the sea floor.
Also, before the flood, much of the SCW water in the subterranean chamber migrated into the spongelike openings (blue dots) in the chamber's roof and floor.  As temperatures in the SCW exceeded about 840 degrees F (450 degrees C) its dissolved salt precipitated (out-salted, as explained on page 122).  Therefore, it should not be surprising that low salinity water is found under the sea floor, but most geologists are surprised.
Certainly more study of the newly-discovered phenomenon of VGMRs is warranted before we can tell which explanation is a better fit for the majority of the evidence.  However, it would certainly seem that the discovery of these vast reserves of fresh water may well constitute yet another example of a geologic phenomenon which causes conventional theories some difficulty, but which accords well with the events proposed by the hydroplate theory.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Eve thank-you to all my readers

This Christmas Eve, I would like to send out a heartfelt "Thank You" to all readers of the Mathisen Corollary blog around the world.  The winter solstice-Christmas season is a fitting time of the year for spending some time in reflection and gratitude, and as I do so I was prompted to write a post expressing my gratitude to all of you who have taken the time to visit and to share feedback through the years.

The Christmas story expresses the universal truth that the cosmic pattern, the Word or Logos, has been incarnated in the flesh of every man, woman and child: every one contains an immaterial spirit united with physical matter.  As Alvin Boyd Kuhn explains in Lost Light: An Interpretation of Ancient Scripture,  "It was a reference in ancient theogony to the descent of the Logos (the cosmic counterpart of the Christos in man) from the spiritual side of God's nature alone, as distinct from its progenation from the union of spirit with matter. [ . . . ]  We are assured again and again that we are all sons of God and sons of the Highest" (47).

He goes on to argue, as he does in all of his writings, that this same pattern is expressed by the "antecedent careers of such world saviors as Dionysus, Osiris, Sabazius, Tammuz, Adonis, Atys, Orpheus, Mithras, Zoroaster, Krishna, Bala-Rama, Vyasa, Buddha, Hercules, Sargon, Serapis, Horus, Marduk, Izdubar, Witoba . . ." (48).

Reflecting on this concept, one could hardly do better than to go out into the dark night this week, when the stars of the heavenly pattern are absolutely breathtaking.  Orion rises in the east in all his glory, followed by his consort the star Sirius, associated by the Egyptians with the goddess Isis the mother of Horus.  

In the photograph above, from an image taken by the Hubble Telescope, the stars of Orion can be seen in the right side of the frame, while the bright star Sirius is the enormous orb seen at the lower edge of the frame.  The bright star to the left at roughly the same level as orange Betelgeuse in Orion's shoulder is Procyon, the brighter of the two stars in Canis Minor, the Little Dog.  The band of the Milky Way also runs right between Orion and Canis Minor, and Orion's upraised arm (on the Betelgeuse side) extends right into it.

Nearby in the night sky, although not in the photograph above, you will also be able to see Taurus the Bull, the Pleiades pointing the way to Aries the Ram, Auriga the Charioteer near to the horns of the Bull, and the Twins of Gemini with the beautiful planet Jupiter nearby.  The Moon is rising later and later each evening (truly a spectacular sight in its own right), giving several hours of good stargazing after sunset, especially for viewers in the wintery northern hemisphere right now (moonrise is around midnight currently).

The ancients saw each individual man, woman and child as a microcosm of the macrocosmic pattern seen each night in the infinite heavens of outer space.  Several previous posts have examined this ancient truth, including this one which discusses the way this pattern takes on human form through the helix pattern of DNA.

This means that every person you encounter today is, according to the ancient wisdom recorded in the scriptures and sacred traditions of the world, an incarnation of the cosmic pattern, a unique individuated bearer in physical form of the Logos.  And this means, of course, that every reader of this is as well, which fills me with profound respect and gratitude for each one of you!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Osiris and the Winter solstice (December solstice) 2013

The earth is presently hurtling towards that instant in time when its axis points most directly away from the sun (for the axis "protruding" out of earth's north pole, in the northern hemisphere) and most directly towards the sun (for the axis "protruding" out of earth's south pole, in the southern hemisphere) -- that is to say, the moment of the December solstice.

For those in the northern hemisphere, this moment is the winter solstice, although it is the summer solstice for the southern hemisphere.

Previous posts discussing the solstices compared the earth to a sailing ship of old: if the north pole is the spar protruding from the bow of the ship, and the south pole is the lantern at the stern of the ship, then the December solstice is that moment in which the lantern points directly at the sun as the ship circles the sun (in this metaphor, the "ship" stays pointed in the same direction, even as it orbits the sun).  For diagrams see this previous post.  

For other posts discussing the mechanics of the solstices and equinoxes, see also "Winter Solstice 2011," "Important cross-quarter day approaching!" "Summer Solstice 2013," and "The Hobbit and Summer Solstice," among others.

Also, this excellent post from Deborah Byrd at EarthSky gives some good discussion of the mechanics of the solstices, as well as pinpointing the time that earth will pass through the December solstice this year: at 17:11 Greenwich Mean Time tomorrow (21 December), which will be 9:11 am the same day (21 December) for North America's Pacific coast (at least for those on California time).

For observers in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice is that point at which the sun's arc finally ceases its downward (southward) motion.  It has been rising further and further south (along the eastern horizon), and arcing across the sky at a lower and lower angle (closer and closer to the southern horizon) ever since it passed the point of the June (summer) solstice.  Now it ceases that "descending" motion and begins to ascend again -- back towards the summit of the summer solstice.

The ancient Egyptians symbolized this point of the sun's commencing its northward-upward journey with profound allegorical imagery.  The Sun embodied the life-giving principle, and its commencement of the return back towards the north and the plant-growing time of the year was described as the rising of the mummified god Osiris.  The line between the lowest point on the zodiac wheel (the winter solstice) and the highest point (the summer solstice) was like a pillar in their symbology -- and that pillar was described as the backbone of Osiris, the life-giving backbone which supported the whole world and in fact supports the whole universe.  

For diagrams of the wheel of the zodiac, see for instance the circular zodiacs shown in this previous post. Those zodiac wheels are discussing the ages-long "movement" of the solstice points through the different houses of the zodiac, which is a function of precession, but if you draw a vertical line from the lowest point on those wheels (at the line between the signs of Sagittarius the Archer and Capricorn the Goat, extending upward to the line between the signs of Gemini the Twins and Cancer the Crab, which looks more like a Lobster on those particular zodiac wheels) then you will have an idea of the ancient "pillar" which the ancient Egyptians described as the "backbone of Osiris."

This pillar, a pillar of great importance -- a life-giving pillar -- was called the Djed column by the Egyptians.  Some early Egyptian scholars spelled it the "Tet" column or the "Tat" column, although they usually placed a small dot under both "t"s in the word, to show that they should be "voiced" (so that it would sound more like "Djed").

In Ancient Egypt the Light of the World, the insightful nineteenth-century scholar, thinker, and elucidator of the mysteries of ancient Egypt, Gerald Massey, says this of the Djed column:
[. . .] the tat pillar [. . .] was founded in the winter solstice as the figure of a stability that was to be eternal.  In the mythos the tat is a type of the sun in the winter solstice that has the power of returning from the lowest depth and thus completing the eternal road.  In the eschatology it is the god in person as Ptah-Sekeri or Osiris, the backbone and support of the universe.  Horus erecting the tat in Sekhem was raising Osiris from the sepulchre, the father re-erected as the son in the typical resurrection and continuity of the human spirit in the after life.  190.
The image above shows the Djed column, with its stylized "backbone" shape, surmounted by two arms (which often represent the ka), and an Ankh, the cross of life.  In this particular image, which comes from the Papyrus of Ani, which contains texts from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the arms are holding up the Sun, and thus the symbology of the Djed pillar, the Ankh of life, and the now-ascending life-giving Sun all work together to convey the concepts discussed above and tend to validate the assertions of Gerald Massey regarding the backbone of Osiris and the winter solstice.

These are important things to understand and to contemplate on this December solstice, 2013.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exposing the for-profit prison industry -- of orcas

Blackfish (2013) is a powerful and deeply disturbing documentary about the amazing whales known as orcas or killer whales, and the story of orcas in captivity.

The documentary centers around the life of a captive male orca named Tilikum, who was taken from the wild at a young age and turned into a performance whale.  The film explores the impact that decades of captivity and confinement have on the whale, and the tragic consequences.

The story of the capture of killer whales in the wild is heartbreaking, especially when the film documents the extraordinary loyalty and affection that orcas demonstrate within their family units (pods).  The scenes of the capture of baby orcas shown during the film is particularly disturbing in light of the descriptions given by Howard Garrett, an orca researcher and the co-founder and director of the Orca Network (bio on this page), beginning at about the 24:00 mark into the film (he can also be seen in the trailer clip above at about 1:09).  He explains:
They live in these big families.  And they have lifespans very similar to human lifespans.  The females can live to about a hundred, maybe more; males to about fifty or sixty.  But -- the adult offspring never leave their mother's side.  
Each community has a completely different set of behaviors.  Each has a complete repertoire of vocalizations -- with no overlap.  You could call them 'languages.'  The scientific community is reluctant to say any other animal but humans uses languages, but -- there's every indication that they use languages. 
Note that these aspects of orca society correlate very strongly with scientific research discussed in this earlier blog post entitled "Dolphins and Consciousness," in which dolphins appear to call to one another using specific "names" -- indicating that dolphins are aware of the individual identities of other dolphins, and that they are aware of their own identity as well.

Several scenes in Blackfish seem to demonstrate the same thing in killer whales -- only instead of the cries of joy and recognition which were recorded in the dolphin study, these orcas are seen issuing plaintive cries of bereavement and grief when their children or their mothers are taken from them.

The behavior of the orcas when being rounded up for capture indicates highly intelligent awareness and even levels of tactics which seem to indicate conscious thought -- and to indicate that the whales had learned from previous encounters with humans and formed plans that might be effective based on what they had seen before (Herman Melville described the same sort of deliberate tactical planning in Moby Dick):

Blackfish also centers its focus on the tragic loss of life of two young trainers when Tilikum deliberately seizes them and drags them under the waters of the tank -- incidents which took place at two different theme parks in two different countries, twenty years apart.  Another young person was apparently killed  when he snuck into the park and stayed overnight, and decided to enter Tilikum's tank.  It also focuses on the horrible death of another young trainer in a similar incident with a killer whale at a park in the Canary Islands, as well as other non-fatal attacks which are shown in horrifying video footage.  

The poignant reflections of former trainers who participated in performances with those whales and who now regret the treatment of these intelligent mammals by the theme-park industry is juxtaposed with callous and blatantly false statements and court testimony from the theme park's corporate representatives and executives, who are seen changing their story several times to try to cover up the systemic problems inherent in keeping orcas in captivity for decades and making them perform for handfuls of fish.  One of the park's representatives goes so far as to speak for the deceased trainer and say that if she were speaking today she would insist that the attack was her fault.

Blackfish is an important film on many levels.  

The film's ability to convey the absolutely eye-opening information about the sentience and level of individual care and affection which seems to characterize the relationships that these majestic animals form with one another is a tremendous achievement in and of itself.  

The bravery of the former trainers (and former whale-hunters) who told their stories, and who were big enough to admit in front of perhaps hundreds of thousands of people that what they did in the past, which at the time they thought was right, they now see as being wrong, is also profoundly moving.  

The expose of the cruelty of an industry which places animals in captivity for its own profit, and which forces the most intelligent of those animals to perform for audiences, and then tries to argue that the life these sentient beings have is better than what they would have in the wild, should ignite a firestorm of outrage and lead to people demanding change, as well as a lot of self-reflection as to how we (each of us) could ignore and even support such inhumanity without so much as a second thought.

But the film raises questions that go even beyond these.  The more we reflect on it, the more doors it seems to open onto other aspects of modern life which should elicit some soul-searching.  

The film's up-close profile of orcas might cause us to examine our whole relationship with animals, and the world-view which sees their exploitation for entertainment or a host of other purposes as completely acceptable simply because of their position in the "food chain."  For other posts which touch on some of these issues, see here and here.

The evidence presented in the film of callous attempts by corporate representatives to cover-up and sugar-coat the full truth surrounding the tragic deaths of the young trainers who were working for their company "on the front lines" (so to speak) invokes uncomfortable parallels with other hierarchical structures in which those at the top display little or no loyalty to those at the bottom of the pyramid.  The company's willingness to blame the trainers who lost their lives, saying it was their mistake alone and in no way indicates any kind of a systemic problem, is despicable -- but it is sadly not unfamiliar.  Readers of Tom Wolfe's classic nonfiction examination of the test pilot programs of the 1950s and 1960s, The Right Stuff, will find the automatic institutional blame of the deceased victim to be eerily familiar (and more recent examples could be mentioned, but viewers of Blackfish can probably come up with several on their own).

Finally, for all of us who have enjoyed killer whale shows -- either as children growing up or as parents taking our children to see them -- the film causes some very uncomfortable reactions.  Those shows cannot be all bad, can they?  There is something very magical about the interaction of human beings with wild animals, especially wild animals who are as beautiful and intelligent as orcas (or dolphins, or elephants).  But the revelation that these shows are built on a foundation of absolute imprisonment and exploitation of those majestic creatures is unavoidable after watching Blackfish.  

The cognitive dissonance that this realization generates should cause us to question what else in our world we accept uncritically -- hypnotized perhaps by the glamorous costumes, the thrilling music, the grandiose spectacle -- but which is actually built upon a foundation of absolute imprisonment and exploitation?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gardening in this life, and the life hereafter

Here's a video of a TED Talk given by Ron Finley, about gardening.

It should inspire many people to get out and grow, even if they previously thought that they couldn't garden, for one reason or another.

Here's a link to Ron's website, which features some beautiful photographs, as well as information about Ron and his interests, and more information about urban "guerrilla gardening."  

It also features some quotations from Ron, including this one: 
Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city.  Plus, you get strawberries.
This quotation, plus Ron's successful stand against agents of the State (in this case, the City of Los Angeles)  who tried to deny him his natural-law right to grow his own food in the premises of his own home, as well as the connection he draws in the video above between the destruction of health and the removal of food options by those who, in conjunction with the power of the State, exert enormous control over and restrictions of the available food choices worldwide, reveal that the issue of growing food is a profoundly moral issue that goes far beyond the thoughts most people have when they hear the word "gardening."

In this previous post, Thomas Jefferson (who had a few things to say about liberty and tyranny) was seen to have written back in 1785: "Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and our diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now."  

These are words to think about carefully, since the government (or, to be more accurate, the State) seems to be moving more and more in the direction of "prescribing to us our medicine and our diet," and has actually been doing so for quite some time.  That post also mentioned "guerrilla gardening" and London's Richard Reynolds (although at the time I was unaware of Ron Finley's work and his successful stand for gardening and against local tyranny).

On an even deeper level, it is also very noteworthy that the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead ascribes a very high level of importance to the individual's ability to garden, a fact which does not seem to get the kind of publicity that it deserves.

In his explication of the significance of the 110th chapter of the Book of the Dead, Gerald Massey (whose analysis was discussed in this previous post) says:
This was the subterrestrial or earthly paradise of the legends.  When the manes comes to these elysian fields he is still in the earth of eternity, and has to prove himself an equal as a worker with the mighty khus (khuti), who are nine cubits high, in cultivating his allotment of arable land.  The arrival at Mount Hetep in this lower paradise or heaven of the solar mythos precedes the entrance to the Judgment Hall which is in the domain of the Osiris below, and the voyage from east to west in the Matit and the Sektit bark of the sun, therefore it is not in the ultimate heaven or the upper paradise of eternity upon Mount Hetep.  Ancient Egypt the Light of the World, 207.
In other words, the departed soul in its travels must be able to garden a plot of land, and apparently must do so in a kind of gardening competition or contest, in which its continued ascent towards the land  of light is at stake! Not only that, but the contest of gardening involves proving the ability to equal the work of beings who are nine cubits in height, and (as I have discussed in my 2011 book) there is evidence to suggest that the Egyptian cubit was 21 inches rather than the standard 18 inches, which means that these underworld gardeners are 15 feet, nine inches tall!

While we can be glad that chapter 110 does not tell us that we will have to prove ourselves equal in a game of basketball with the mighty khus or khuti, this information gives us a clear indication of the importance that skill at cultivating our allotted plot of land will have in the life to come, according to the ancient Egyptian sacred texts.  It also indicates that the Egyptians held a very high regard for the cultivation of the soil, and that they believed it was something that everyone should learn how to do, and that everyone should take the time to learn how to do well, if their physical circumstances permit it.

With all of this in mind, it would seem that we should all devote some time during this life in working the soil, wherever that soil may be, if our health and circumstances permit it.  As Ron Finley says, gardening is transformative: "It's amazing what a sunflower will do."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The mummy and the sevenfold soul

In Ancient Egypt: the Light of the World (1907), the prolific scholar of ancient Egypt Gerald Massey (1828 - 1907) makes the assertion that the reason that the ancient Egyptians practiced mummification was not, as most of us were taught, so that the deceased could use it again in the afterlife.  

Rather, as he argues in Book 4 of that work, entitled "Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Mysteries of Amenta," the creation of the mummy was a way of making the deceased into a type of the Osiris, "an image of durability and continuity, a type of the eternal, or of Osiris-karast in the likeness of a mummy" (216).

Massey explains that the journey into the afterlife did involve the soul of the departed in the form of a risen mummy, but that this was a spirit mummy, and not the physical mummy that remains in the tomb. Crucial to understanding this process is Massey's argument that the ancient Egyptians understood the human soul to be composed of seven stages or seven constituent parts, and that the unification of all of them must take place in the afterlife in order to make the image of the Osiris perfect or divinized in the image of Horus.  Only then could the just spirit be made perfect and experience the life everlasting.

Massey lists the seven constituent parts of the full permanent soul on page 203:
  1. The khabit or dark shade
  2. The ba or light shade
  3. The ab or breathing heart
  4. the sekhem or power to re-arise
  5. the sahu or soul-body
  6. the khu or glorified spirit
  7. the ka or higher soul
Massey declares that "it is a mistake to suppose with some Egyptologists, like M. de [. . .], that the new existence of the deceased was begun in the old earthly body" (213), and again that "it is entirely false to represent the Egyptians as making the mummy and preserving it for the return of the soul into the old earthly body" (215).  The departed received a spiritual or glorified form of the mummy, and ultimately sought to be united with the ka, and Massey explains that the preservation of the features of the departed (along with the very artistic portrayals of the deceased in the tomb) played a critical role in helping the spirit to remember its identity.

He writes: "His mortal personality having been made as permanent as possible in the mummy left on earth, the manes rising in Amenta now sets out to attain the personality that is to last forever" (208).  Unlike the body that is left behind in the tomb, the ka or higher soul accompanies the shade on its journey in the afterlife, and the goal of the departed is to pass from the state of a shade to the state of the ka, and reunify all the constituent parts of the soul.  Massey explains:
When the manes has become a khu, the ka is still a typical ideal ahead of him; so far ahead or aloof that he propitiates it with offerings.  In fact, he presents himself as the sacrificial victim that would die to attain conjunction with his ka, his image of eternal duration, his type of totality, in which the seven souls were permanently unified in one at last.  The ka has been called the double of the dead, as if it simply represented the doppelganger.  But it is not merely a phantom of the living or personal image of the departed.  It serves also for the apparition or revenant; it is a type rather than a portrait.  It is a type that was prenatal.  It images a soul which came into existence with the child, a soul which is food and sustenance to the body all through life, a soul of existence here and of duration for the life hereafter.  Hence it is absorbed at last in the perfected personality. [. . .] This is because the ka was the type of personality, seventh of the seven souls attained as the highest in which the others were to be included and absorbed.  In the vignettes to chapter 25 of the Ritual the deceased is shown his ka, which is with him in the passage of Amenta, not left behind him in the tomb, that he may not forget himself (as we might say), or, as he says, that he may not suffer loss of identity by forgetting his name.  Showing the ka to him enables the manes to recall his name in the great house, and especially in the crucible of the house of flame.  When the deceased is far advanced on his journey through Amenta, his ka is still accompanying him, and it is described as being the food of his life in spirit world, even as it had been his spiritual food in the human life.  203 - 204.
So an important part of the integration of all the sevenfold constituent parts of the soul into the the highest state in which all the parts were included and absorbed was the remembrance of the identity of the individual.  Far from a loss of the individual identity (or a re-absorption into a pantheistic state of undifferentiation), the goal of the unification and transformation of the soul in the afterlife included the affirmation of the individual's unique identity.

Massey states:  "Preserving the human mummy perfectly intact was a mode of holding on to the individual form and features as a means of preserving the earthly likeness for identifying the personality hereafter in spirit.  The mummy was made on purpose to preserve the physical likeness of the soul" (212).

Massey based these assertions on his close analysis of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which in the 1800s and early 1900s was usually referred to as "the Ritual," and which Massey argued should be properly called "the Ritual of Resurrection".  Modern scholars often refer to it as the Book of Going Forth by Day.  But Massey, both in the passage above and elsewhere, emphasizes that its contents were not just for the eternal soul after death, but also during the life in this body as well.  In fact, the ancient Egyptians emphasized the memorizing of certain passages of the Book of the Dead during this life.

Even some of the most modern scholars emphasize the same things.  For example, in his excellent new  (2001) translation of and commentary on the Book of the Dead (using the Papyrus of Hunefer and also the Papyrus of Ani), Dr. Ramses Seleem states: 
The roads, ways, gates, hours, laws, and guardians of life after death are explained in detail in The Book of the Dead.  And even though a copy of the book is buried with the deceased, it is better to learn this divine knowledge by heart and live it in this lifetime, so the words can become flesh (truth).  Only then does The Book of the Dead in this life become the book of life in death.  15.
And again, and even more powerfully, he explains:
The spiritual concepts contained in The Book of the Dead explain life in its continuity and the condition of the reincarnated soul both in this life and in the Dwat.  This is in direct contrast to the emphasis on death and dead relics that can often be seen in modern museums. [. . .]
The Book of the Dead is, in reality, the Egyptian book of life -- life now, life hereafter, and life everlasting.  A copy was buried with the deceased to give the soul the tools to secure his or her future in the life hereafter.
The deceased entered Ementet (the land of the dead) with a papyrus scroll in one hand.  The question that lay ahead was how well the deceased person had established truth in his or her lifetime against the powers of evil.  12-13. 
All of these assertions correlate very well to the analysis of the self-taught Egypt scholar Gerald Massey, writing for the most part over a hundred years earlier.  Together, they should serve to awaken us to the importance of the concepts that the Egyptians were discussing.

It is also interesting to note that Gerald Massey's discussion of the sevenfold soul, and the discussion that these principles are just as important in this life as in the life hereafter, seems to have some potential correspondence with the fact that the Vedic and Hindu traditions assert that we have seven chakras and that it is vitally important to activate all seven.  This concept would also seem to connect to previous discussions about our vital organs and their connection to the visible planets.

Alvin Boyd Kuhn has stated that Gerald Massey is among the most discerning of the Egyptologists, and that he was "a scholar of surpassing ability whose sterling work has not yet won for him the place of eminence which he deserves."  Perhaps this discussion of the sevenfold soul and the importance of the Egyptian Book of the Dead will stimulate readers to examine his works for themselves.  An excellent list with links to many of his texts can be found here.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thoughts on David Carradine, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, and the concept of enlightenment

December 8 is the birthday of actor David Carradine (1936 - 2009), who became famous as the star of the ground-breaking television series Kung Fu.

Previous posts have discussed the way that television series portrayed the use of physical force in a way that was entirely different than almost every television show and movie produced in the US up to that time (and, unfortunately, the vast majority of those produced since then as well).  One of the distinguishing features of that portrayal was the idea that the use of physical force is sometimes legitimate and even necessary, but only to prevent actual physical violence initiated by another.  

The show also attempted to explore some of the precepts of both Buddhism and Taoism, both of which have very ancient roots (and both of which seem to incorporate "precessional numbers" which are also found in ancient cultures from other parts of the globe, being incorporated for example into the Great Pyramid of Giza and the layout of Teotihuacan in modern Mexico).

One of the previous posts linked above explored some of these concepts in conjunction with Simone Weil's 1940 essay, "The Iliad, or the poem of force," which argued that one of the worst aspects of the use of violence is the fact that it turns another living soul into a thing, and that it ultimately does the same to the one who employs violence as well.  

In contrast, the Kung Fu series displayed a sensibility to the fact that a person is not a thing.  Many of the situations portrayed in the series involved displays of racial prejudice by "less-than-enlightened" characters hurling a variety of racial slurs against the main character (and others around him), such as the situation shown in this sequence from the "pilot episode" of the show.  Of course, the purpose of all such slurs, whether racist or otherwise, is to try to turn another person into a thing in much the same way that physical violence does.

Based on the above discussion, it is clear that the television series Kung Fu was actually exploring the concept of "enlightenment" in some way.  

One thought-provoking definition of "enlightenment" is offered by speaker and teacher Mark Passio in one of the many podcasts available on his What on Earth is Happening website.  In the podcast entitled "WOEIH Show #022" (which can be found on this page of his website), beginning at 1:19:15 Mark Passio says:
People ask me sometimes, "What is enlightenment?"  And I say: enlightenment is the full and complete understanding of every being's sovereignty and the total willingness to accept the responsibility to honor that complete sovereignty in all others.  That's enlightenment.  That is what enlightenment is.
It is interesting to consider this definition of enlightenment in conjunction with the various situations and scenes depicted in the Kung Fu television series.  It is also interesting to consider in light of the fact that the idea for that groundbreaking series almost certainly came from Bruce Lee, as discussed in this previous post, containing links to a 1971 interview in which Bruce Lee laments that up until that time, most kung fu pictures were "done mainly for the sake of violence."

In addition to being the birthday of David Carradine, December 8 is also the day that John Lennon was murdered.  Some have argued that there is evidence that the circumstances surrounding the deaths of both David Carradine and John Lennon may have been very different from the story that has been given to the public.  Some have argued the same thing about the death of Bruce Lee.  

There is no doubt that there are very powerful forces at work in the world which are diametrically opposed to the concept of "every being's sovereignty" and the "responsibility to honor that complete sovereignty in all others."  This fact, and the fact that these forces do not always act completely at random but sometimes act in concert and with great deliberation, makes the anti-violent messages of John Lennon, Bruce Lee, and David Carradine's Kung Fu, as well as the definition of violence from Simone Weil and the definition of enlightenment offered by Mark Passio, more urgent than ever.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Comet ISON rapidly approaching perihelion, and some thoughts on fear-mongering, manipulation, and thinking for yourself

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) is plummeting towards the Sun, and is now approaching perihelion (its closest point of approach).

The comet will slingshot around the sun at 2pm Eastern time on November 28th (which is 11am Pacific time, and since Pacific standard time is 8 hours behind Greenwich time, that means it will be 1900 Greenwich or Universal Time).

For intrepid observers who wish to try to observe the comet at or near perihelion, this helpful article from Sky & Telescope explains how to do it.  Note that you will have to block the Sun with a solid object, and use your naked eye.  Do not use a telescope or binoculars, which magnify the light and channel it right into your eyeball, and which can cause serious permanent damage.

Of course, you will have to be on a section of the globe that is facing towards the sun during the hours that Comet ISON is making its slingshot turn around the Sun -- that is to say, it will have to be daylight where you are, although if the Sun is just dropping below the horizon of the Earth's curvature, that would be a very handy "object" that you could use to block out the Sun and look for the comet.  If it is night-time where you are when the comet is reaching perihelion, you will be unable to see the comet's perihelion turn from that location using normal vision, since the entire bulk of our planet will be in your way.

That article also says that the comet will be within one "sun diameter" of our daystar during the three hour period from 1700 UT until 2000 UT (which is from 12 noon Eastern time or 9am Pacific standard until 3pm Eastern time and 12 noon Pacific).

Depending on the comet's condition after its "sungrazing" journey around the turn, it could become a spectacular object in the night sky (visible just prior to sunrise and just after sunset), and in some scenarios could become bright enough to see during full daylight.  And, as we have been told over and over, conditions could also lead to a scenario in which Comet ISON doesn't become very spectacular at all.

The video embedded above shows NASA footage of Comet ISON approaching the Sun over the  five-day period from 20 November through 25 November, composed of HD images snapped by the STEREO-A spacecraft and its Heliospheric Imager.  Here is a link to a page about the STEREO spacecraft (there are two of them, working in tandem, as you might expect) containing an outstanding graphic animation which shows where STEREO A was located when it took the sequence shown above.  The still-frame shot below shows where STEREO A was in relation to Comet ISON, the Sun, the Earth, and the planet Mercury on November 24 (near the end of the video sequence shown above).

Using the upper diagram, you can see why the Sun is located just out of the field of view to the right edge of the video above, and why Mercury is seen to the left and our planet Earth to the right.

In the video at top (not shown in the animation or the screenshot) you can also see very clearly Comet 2P/Encke, the comet with the shortest period of all known comets (only 3 years per round trip).  It is actually visible from the beginning of the video, heading "downwards" as if it wants to intersect the more "horizontal" path of Comet ISON.  Encke does not show much of a tail until towards the end of the video, so it looks in the video much the way a satellite looks moving through the night sky to a viewer on earth -- but it is a comet, not a satellite.

There are actually five comets visible in the night sky from the northern hemisphere right now for those using binoculars or small telescopes, including C/2013 R1 Lovejoy (the most easily-visible of them all right now, discussed briefly in this previous post, and currently visible to the naked eye in the pre-dawn morning sky near Bootes the Herdsman, who sits near the Big Dipper smoking a pipe which is very close to the handle of the Dipper),  Comet C/2013 V3 Nevski (just discovered this month!), Comet C/2012 X1 LINEAR, Comet 2P/Encke, and Comet ISON.  Descriptions of these comets, and directions for locating them in the sky, can be found on the Comet Chasing page from Skyhound, the makers of SkyTools 3 observing software.  The Comet Chasing page also describes a comet visible with small telescopes and binoculars to viewers in the southern hemisphere, as well as other comets visible only for those with larger telescopes.

Until the discovery of Comet Nevski, the appearance of four comets in the sky at the same time (with one of them, ISON, getting so much notoriety from various commentators) was prompting some comparisons to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (who are found in the book of the Revelation or Apocalypse -- both words literally mean "the unveiling," although the word "Revelation" is the way to say "unveiling" that is descended from the Latin, and the word "Apocalypse" is the Greek way to say it).  They are described in Revelation chapter 6.

Here is an article from Clyde Lewis of Ground Zero Media that pulls together an impressive array of connections between the comets, predictions in the Revelation, the Maya calendar cycle that was the subject of so much discussion at the end of last year, and worrisome current events (including volcanic eruptions).  The article also points out that elsewhere in the Revelation (in fact in Revelation chapter 8:10-11), a great star is described which fell from heaven, "burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters" -- the name of this star is called Wormwood.

While not mentioned in that "Four Horsemen" article, there have been several troubling articles appearing on various internet sites arguing that dangerous levels of radiation or radioactive materials from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are now reaching the west coast and beginning to play havoc with marine wildlife.  However, some analysts have challenged some of these sensationalist claims, such as this article from deep-sea biologist Andrew David Thaler published on the Southern Fried Science blog.  Personally, I do not buy all of Andrew Thaler's arguments in this article, and believe some of those arguments are not well supported (at one point, he engages in a blatant ad hominem attack with no other evidence cited besides the ad hominem attack itself).

This controversy highlights the importance of doing some of your own "due diligence" when it comes to investigating matters that might be of great importance to your future.  When it comes to questions about the status of the fallout from the Fukushima disaster or questions about whether the current array of comets (and Comet ISON in particular) have anything to do with ancient apocalyptic prophetic literature, it is probably advisable to avoid being swept up by those who want to stir up fear (for whatever reason).  At the same time, while being wary of "fear mongering," it is equally important to avoid making the opposite error of complacency, or of too-rapidly dismissing possible dangers that might really be associated with these events.  For instance, just because some articles about the impact of the Fukushima radiation might be deliberately misleading and designed to create the maximum amount of fear and uncertainty among the widest possible number of people, it does not mean that we can dismiss the dangers of Fukushima altogether, or brand everyone who sounds an alarm bell on the subject as a "fearmonger."

For the record, none of the above statements should be interpreted as an accusation that Clyde Lewis's "Four Horsemen" article is being deliberately misleading or engaging in speculative fearmongering.  His article draws a number of interesting connections to a variety of ancient and modern subjects, and he tells his readers several times during the article that it is not meant to be read as a declaration that the apocalyptic doom some were trumpeting at the end of 2012 was "off by a year" and due at the end of 2013, but that on the other hand he thinks all these matters are worth being aware of.  That seems to be a responsible enough way to approach the subject.

However, I personally believe that the Maya calendar event of December 2012 referred to an astronomical event caused by the phenomenon of precession, and that "end of the world" prophecies  in sacred traditions around the world and across millennia generally refer to the end of a precessional age, not to physical or geological catastrophes that take place on the planet (they are referring to events in the sky).  Previous posts explaining the concept of precession include this one (which contains a video) and this one (which should make the impact of precession on the position of the stars completely clear).  For discussions of the Maya Long Count and 2012, and the connection to precession, see "The Maya Long Count and Galactic Alignment: the work of John Major Jenkins," and "The Staggering Implications of the Maya Long Count," among other posts from last year.

Similarly, I believe that most if not all of the events described in the book of the Revelation (or the Apocalypse) also refer to celestial phenomena.  For some discussion of this subject, see "The Scorpion and the Smoky Abyss."  That article discusses some verses in Revelation which some have taken to be referring to literal events on earth (for example, identifying the "locusts" of Revelation chapter 9 as helicopters in some horrific modern war that was being described by a vision given in ancient times), but which probably refer to constellations (the locusts of chapter 9 probably refer to the zodiac constellation of Sagittarius).  As Clyde Lewis states in the article linked above, the Four Horsemen have very clear astronomical connections as well.

However, just because those ancient sacred texts may not have been written to be understood in a strictly literal manner does not mean that certain people might not be using them as a script to try to follow: after all, the fact that millions of people believe that those ancient texts refer to literal events could give a huge boost in potential "fearmongering impact" to anyone who wanted to manipulate current events in conjunction with widely-known ancient verses.

Here is a link to a recent interview on Red Ice Radio with Richard C. Hoagland, who states during the second half of the interview that he believes Comet ISON might actually have been manipulated by humans who have access to extremely advanced forms of space travel (the so-called "secret space program") in order to arrive on specially-selected dates at a location and elevation which would produce significant numbers when measured from the site of major ritualistic events in early 2014 (such as the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics).

Whether or not you agree with this theory (I personally have not seen enough evidence to make a dogmatic assertion either way on that one, although it is certainly worth investigating), all of the above discussion seems to argue the importance of understanding the principles of the mechanics of the celestial objects whirling through our solar system, as well as the connections to the ancient sacred traditions of mankind, all of which reveal an extremely sophisticated scientific understanding of celestial phenomena, as well as a level of interest in these phenomena which implies their belief that these events are of more than just "academic interest" to men and women living on this planet.

When it comes to issues of major potential impact on our lives, we owe it to ourselves to do some analysis of our own and reach our own conclusions, and to avoid letting others tell us how to think, or manipulate us through fear.