Showing posts from December 16, 2018

5 Spirits of Yuletide Lore

It is that magical time of the year again, when countless children wait for Santa Claus to drop down the chimney and leave the annual stash of gifts and goodies under the Christmas tree. Meanwhile, others may revel in the idea of his less friendly counterpart, Krampus. All across the world, there are many strange folkloric creatures that embody the spirit of the season - for good and for ill. With Christmas once again upon us, we decided to take a look at the legends and folklore behind five age-old Christmas beings, and the traditions that accompany them.

Perchta springs from the Celtic traditions of the German Alps, a guardian of animals and traditions who emerges during the Twelve Days of Christmas. While she can appear as either a beautiful young woman or an elderly one, Perchta can always be identified by her odd foot. Even when she's in her human form, her foot remains that of a goose or a swan, and is said to reveal her true nature.
The earliest tales about Perchta …

We All Need To Stop & Smell The Roses

Too much to do. Not enough time to do it. Too many people with demands. Obligations. Commitments.

What’s going on? Why is there never enough time in the day to do what you need to do, and want to do? The average workweek seems to have gotten longer, a very small percentage of people take the vacation time they are owed and deserved, and those who do take vacation probably spend a lot of it checking in with their workplace. It seems America has become a society of finding out who can rush the fastest and farthest, and stave off a heart attack the longest in the process!

People drive fast, walk faster, all with purpose in the destination. The journey to get there is relegated to the back of one’s mind. So what if the scenery was spectacular on the walk to work; you have to beat that red light to cross the walkway and can’t pay much mind to it anyway! When driving, you might try to beat the light even though the pedestrian is still in the crosswalk, and when walking, you might march in …

Forbidden Thoughts We Push Away

We all have dark impulses. None of us wants them. Yet attempts to suppress them can turn them into agents of harm. Be forewarned: Forces at work in our culture's value system may be making us more vulnerable to forbidden thoughts--and less able to cope with them.

Have you ever thought of cheating on your spouse? What about slapping an obnoxious colleague? Or ramming some jerk on the freeway? Have you ever had thoughts about taboo or wild sex? Or divorce? Or leaving home? What about harming someone close? Or even harming yourself? Then there are the tamer varieties: Do you not fantasize about food, for example, when you are on a diet? Who has not gloated over someone else's misfortune or coveted a neighbor's house, car, or flashy lifestyle when we want to picture ourselves as perfectly content?

Few of us would dispute the notion that humans spend a great deal of time thinking thoughts we'd rather not have.

Most of us will never act out our forbidden impulses. Yet just …

Little Albert Experiment - Psychology's Black Eye

An eight-month-old baby with rosy cheeks sits in front of a camera. A man appears in the frame and places a live rabbit near the baby. Then the man brings over a small, squirming spider monkey on a leash. Then a dog. The baby, who would become known as Little Albert, seems to have a healthy curiosity about the animals.

But what happens next made the experiment a staple of psychology textbooks and brought it into the pantheon of unethical scientific research.

Dr. John Watson was a psychologist and considered the father of behaviorism. Building off of Pavlov’s work proving that you could “hardwire” certain behaviors into dogs, Watson suspected that the same would apply to humans. In the “nature vs. nurture” debate, Watson was at the extreme end of the nurture spectrum. “Give me a dozen healthy infants,” he wrote, “well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — docto…

2001: A Space Odyssey: The Best Sci-Fi Film of All Time?

When 2001: A Space Odyssey was first released, few would have predicted it would still be feted nearly half a century later. In fact few would have tipped it for even short-lived glory. At its premiere – its premiere – there were 241 walkouts, including Rock Hudson, who asked: "Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?"

Even its champions were stumped. "Somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring," thought the New York Times; "Superb photography major asset to confusing, long-unfolding plot," reckoned Newsday. But bafflement was the intention, explained its creators. Said Arthur C Clarke, whose 1948 story The Sentinel was the starting point for Stanley Kubrick (Clarke's novelization postdated the film): "If you understand 2001 completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered."

A cop-out? Far from it: 2001 is magisterial. Its impeccable serious-mindedness is nothing to scoff at; what some saw as ponde…

Looking Into The One Conspiracy Alex Jones Doesn't Like

I hate patriotism. I can't stand it, man—makes me fuckin' sick. It's a round world last time I checked. - Bill Hicks Bill Hicks was the angry voice of reason for the disenfranchised and foul mouthed street criminals of his time—he was the man who smoked in the face of cancer. If you don't know who Bill Hicks was, do yourself a favour, click into a new tab, Google the comedian, and watch everything he ever did as the man was a savant imo (then come back and read the rest of this article, please.)

Sadly though, the world only got to listen to his ramblings for a mere 16-years as he died from pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the young age of 32, however, in his short time above ground Hicks proved to be one of the most influential comics of all time. And as with any well known person who dies young—especially a controversial one—rumours have run rampant following his death.

In the case of Hicks' death, none of those rumours are more prolific, and bizarre, than the notion…

Is Death An Illusion?

After the death of his old friend, Albert Einstein said "Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us ... know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."
New evidence continues to suggest that Einstein was right, death is an illusion.
Our classical way of thinking is based on the belief that the world has an objective observer-independent existence. But a long list of experiments shows just the opposite. We think life is just the activity of carbon and an admixture of molecules: we live awhile and then rot into the ground.
We believe in death because we've been taught we die. Also, of course, because we associate ourselves with our body and we know bodies die. End of story. But biocentrism, a new theory of everything, tells us death may not be the terminal event we think. Amazingly, if you add life and consciousness to the equation, you can explain some of th…