Out with the Old…

I was listening to the latest Sam Harris podcast today and ran across an interesting take on something that should be familiar to most Western Ceremonial Magicians. Eric Weinstein was talking about finding meaning in license plate numbers as he drives around (don’t we all do that when we first start on the Path?) and the way he explained it was:

“…it’s important to notice what it feels like to discern meaning where there is no meaning… it’s important to get in touch with the “as if madness” experience in order to guard against madness; so I’m hoping to suspend my insistence on Truth for periods of time…”

I’m not sure about the connection with madness, per-se… and I’m wondering if that wasn’t just a ploy designed to wrap up the thought before getting interrupted. I realized when he said that that another good reason for discerning meaning where there is none is to prevent intellectual ossification (my term… it didn’t appear in the podcast, as far as I know). The belief that one particular way of looking at things must serve as the filter through which we see everything else from that point forward seems to be common in most philosophies and pretty much all religions. Adherence to a strict theology makes us less able to evaluate contrary ideas on their own merit. On the other hand, by constantly playing fast and loose with one’s synaptic network, so to speak, one might stand a chance of maintaining enough mental flexibility to recognize a true Epiphany when it finally does come.

It’s ironic that avoiding intellectual ossification was one of the main points that Sam was trying to convey just moments earlier… that there’s no logical reason to use one or more points-of-view which happen to have been elaborated thousands of years ago over new points-of-view developed by one’s own reason in the present time. Of course, that’s easier said than done and when most people start on any sort of Philosophical or Spiritual Path, they’re usually not capable of the kind of deep reasoning that would discern the “true meaning” of the Universe at first glance… so we may need to use ancient philosophy and religion as a crutch for a while… in order to bootstrap our thinking to the point where we *can* reason with some depth on the Universe and our purpose within it. But I expect that we all have to eventually drop the rhetoric and design our own systems based on First Principles.

Posted in Magick, Philosophy, Thelema | Leave a comment

Misunderstanding Multitasking

I was listening to an interview with the authors of the new book The Distracted Mind on NPR this morning and they touched on a favorite pet peeve of mine that centers on a basic misunderstanding of the term multitasking. According to Wikipedia, the first published use of the term “multitask” appeared in an IBM paper describing the capabilities of the IBM System/360 in 1965. Is is only recently that the term has been used in the common vernacular to refer to the apparent ability of humans to “concentrate” on more than one task at a time.
Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Technology | Leave a comment

Farewell to a Legend

I don’t imagine anyone capable of reading these words hasn’t already heard that the musical legend David Bowie is no longer with us. There’s not much I can add to the seemingly endless stream of articles and posts bidding farewell, but I felt moved to ruminate on what his passing meant to me personally.
Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Music | Leave a comment

Japanese addresses

This is just a quick note to help simplify the Japanese postal address system. It’s different from the system used in the US and many other countries but once you understand the theory, it’s really not that confusing.
Continue reading

Posted in Japan | 1 Comment

A “PC” analogy

Anyone who has been poking around on this blog or the static web site it replaced knows I was once involved with Scientology. An old-time friend of mine, who also dabbled a bit in Scientology many years ago, recently asked me what I felt I got from OT3, whether it was worth it, and whether it really resulted in becoming super-human.
Continue reading

Posted in Scientology | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the Xperia Z2 smartphone

After exactly two years as a smartphone user, I recently traded up from a Fujitsu Arrows Z to an Xperia Z2. I did a lot of research online to discover what people liked and didn’t like about the phone before making the leap. After all… $800 is a lot of money, even if about 2/3 of it eventually comes back in the form of carrier subsidies (more on that in a future post if anyone is interested). This post is meant to return the favor so future prospective buyers can benefit from my short experience with this model.
Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Cost of living in Japan (and elsewhere)

I’ve just discovered a web site called Numbeo (http://www.numbeo.com). It was created by a guy who used to work for Google Ireland. The idea is to have regular people from around the world submit prices in their areas for certain common commodities and services and to use the results to compare the cost-of-living among various cities. Since I am often asked what it costs to live in Tokyo, I’ve bookmarked this page as my new standard answer.
Continue reading

Posted in Japan | Leave a comment

The two-edged sword of freedom (part 42)

Among the many social forums in which I tend to roam, I also happen to be one of many moderators on a forum whose name I won’t mention (since this post derives, at least in part, from a conversation on a private section of that forum). The issue was a recent change to the rules allowing (perhaps even obligating) moderators to edit posts that contain personally-identifiable information like email addresses and/or physical addresses. The issue is not one of free advertising (which is also an issue on this particular forum) but “protecting” newbie posters from mistakenly revealing information they might not have otherwise. One of the reasons given was that moderators have an “obligation” to protect users from themselves.
Continue reading

Posted in Rants | Leave a comment

Where there’s smoke…

Have you heard? Nokia recently announced the “Nokia X” — a new phone that’s based on Android… but it doesn’t have any Google apps and isn’t compatible with Google Play. It uses a “Windows Phone style shell” which I assume is referring to the main UI. The apps will come from the presumably extensive collection on Nokia’s own app store.

It would be interesting to sit on on some of their Marketing meetings. They must be convinced that if they gold-plated a turd and stamped “Nokia” on it, people would buy it. Apple?… maybe. Nokia?… they must be smoking something pretty good over there.

No Android fan is going to buy this thing with a Windows UI and no access to Google apps. Windows fans won’t buy it because it’s got Android inside. And iOS users… well… they won’t buy anything that doesn’t start with an “i”. So it must be targeted at Nokia fanboys who are willing to bet that the company might be around for a while to service the phones when they break and to write 10,000 new apps to replace the ones you can’t download from Google.

If you hail from the States, don’t look for this thing on shelves any time soon. Rumor has it they don’t intend to market in North America.

Smart move…

Posted in Current events, Rants, Technology | Leave a comment

Let not one know well the other

(a discourse on myriad diverse matters)

0. Learn first — Oh thou who aspirest unto our ancient Order! — that Equilibrium is the basis of the Work. If thou thyself hast not a sure foundation, whereon wilt thou stand to direct the forces of Nature?

Of all the material published by Crowley, one of my favorite documents is Liber Librae. In this paper can be found a summary of the proper “attitude” of a Magician. The spirit of Librae, however, is not new. These same concepts are to be found in the Fourth Knowledge Lecture of the Order of the Golden Dawn, in the section entitled “On the General Guidance and Purification of the Soul.” What IS new is Crowley’s attempt to marry the diverse concepts of science and religion into one cohesive system. These two seemingly diverse sides of our Thelemic coin form just one of the many manifestations of the dichotomy of Hod vs. Netzach — the battle between the Head and the Heart.
Continue reading

Posted in Magick, Old posts, Thelema | Leave a comment