Showing posts from January 20, 2019

Alan Moore: Art is Magic

“In order to be able to make it you have to put aside the fear of failing and the desire of succeeding. You have to do these things completely purely without fear, without desire. Because things that we do without lust or result are the purest actions that we shall ever take.” -Alan Moore
I have a great appreciation for Alan Moore. It is an inarguable fact that he helped transform the medium of comic books into something quasi-respectable. His run on Swamp Thing alone brought a new consciousness to comics. With the help of the inimitable illustrator J. H. Williams III, he created my all time favorite series Promethea. He is the architect behind Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell (if you’ve only seen these works adapted as film, you have not experienced the genius of Alan Moore). However, as much as I love Alan Moore the writer, I am most interested in the Alan Moore the magician. Last night I watched The Mindscape of Alan Moore and was amaze…

'Stoned Ape' Theory & Human Evolution

Imagine Homo erectus, a now-extinct species of hominids that stood upright and became the first of our ancestors to move beyond a single continent. Around two million years ago, these hominids, some of whom eventually evolved into Homo sapiens, began to expand their range beyond Africa, moving into Asia and Europe. Along the way, they tracked animals, encountered dung, and discovered new plants.
But that’s just the version of our origin story that happens to be widely accepted by scientists.
A more radical interpretation of these events involves the same animals, dung, and plants but also includes psychedelic drugs. In 1992, ethnobotanist and psychedelics advocate Terence McKenna argued in the book Food of the Gods that what enabled Homo erectus to evolve into Homo sapiens was its encounter with magic mushrooms and psilocybin, the psychedelic compound within them, on that evolutionary journey. He called this the Stoned Ape Hypothesis.
McKenna posited that psilocybin caused the primit…

8 Difficult Philosophical Questions That We'll Never Solve

Philosophy goes where hard science can't, or won't. Philosophers have a license to speculate about everything from metaphysics to morality, and this means they can shed light on some of the basic questions of existence. The bad news? These are questions that may always lay just beyond the limits of our comprehension.
Here are 8 mysteries of philosophy that we'll probably never resolve.
1. Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
Our presence in the universe is something too bizarre for words. The mundaneness of our daily lives cause us take our existence for granted — but every once in awhile we're cajoled out of that complacency and enter into a profound state of existential awareness, and we ask: Why is there all this stuff in the universe, and why is it governed by such exquisitely precise laws? And why should anything exist at all? We inhabit a universe with such things as spiral galaxies, the aurora borealis, and SpongeBob Squarepants. And as Sean Carroll note…

Inside the Mind: Psychopath

To be sure, most psychopaths neither have Hannibal Lecter’s brilliant mind nor his rather peculiar culinary taste. They usually do not eat the liver of their victims. And yet, Lecter’s character does illustrate one of the conundrums of psychopathy: they can be socially cunning if they want to. They are able to seduce their victims into a dark alley, and, seconds later, turn into cold blooded rapists or murderers. Unlike most murderers, who act in the heat of a passion, and later feel guilty about what they have done, psychopaths feel no such remorse.
So far, the dominant understanding of psychopathy was that they basically lack emotions such as fear or distress. If you clap your hands behind someone’s back, she will startle, and you can measure how her palms get sweaty. If you do that with individuals with psychopathy, experiments have shown that their response is flattened. They barely startle and their hands stay dry. Now imagine, if you had never felt real fear or distress, how co…

The Rise & Fall of Nikola Tesla

By the end of his brilliant and tortured life, the Serbian physicist, engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla was penniless and living in a small New York City hotel room. He spent days in a park surrounded by the creatures that mattered most to him—pigeons—and his sleepless nights working over mathematical equations and scientific problems in his head. That habit would confound scientists and scholars for decades after he died, in 1943. His inventions were designed and perfected in his imagination.
Tesla believed his mind to be without equal, and he wasn’t above chiding his contemporaries, such as Thomas Edison, who once hired him. “If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack,” Tesla once wrote, “he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of such doing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety percent of his labor.”
But what his contemporaries may have been lack…

The Failed Conspiracy To Cover Up The Underground Railroad

Okay, so my original plan this morning was to try and find a conspiracy that dealt with African Americans since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but I quickly realized that there's probably a lot of horrible conspiracies that were (and might still be) specifically targeting anyone that wasn't "white." As if that means anything anymore. These days there are still racial tensions in most places, but at least we figured out, most of us anyway, that "white" doesn't mean white. If you live in America, there's a strong chance that if you shake the ancestral tree you'll find that most of us aren't just plain and simply "white". And that goes for most races of people. Unless you're from a country where literally everyone has the same skin color (which is basically impossible these days).
So, I wasn't sure how to go about looking for conspiracies that specifically worked against African Americans in the United States. Sadly this…

Near-Death Experiences & DMT

Near-death experiences are one of the most puzzling phenomena in psychology. A near-death experience is when a person appears to be clinically ‘dead’ for a short period –when their heart stops beating, their brain registers no sign of activity, and the other 'vital signs' indicate death – and yet they report a continuation of consciousness. This may happen following a cardiac arrest, for example. For a few seconds or minutes, a person may show no biological signs of life, and yet when they are resuscitated, report a series of remarkable experiences.
NDEs have never been satisfactorily explained in neurobiological terms. Various theories have been suggested, such as hallucinations caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, undetected brain activity (during the period when the brain appears not to be functioning), the release of endorphins, a psychological ‘depersonalisation’ in response to intense stress, and so on. All of these theories have been found to be problematic. For ex…