Reports: North Korean State Media Announced Nuclear Program Shutdown-4/21

Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea-4/21 Bill Gertz, Admiral urges rapid U.S. buildup of hypersonic and medium-range missiles to counter China threat ...

Why Clinton’s Donors May Be Investigated In $84 Million Money Laundering Scheme-4/21

Guess Who Was CNN DOJ Reporter When Comey Told Trump He Was Being Pressured by CNN about Dossier?-4/21 Valerie Jarrett’s daughter Laura!

Congress Pursues Clinton for Hiding Fusion GPS Payments-4/20

Comey, Clinton, McCabe and Lynch Officially Referred For Criminal Investigation-4/19

Developing: Obama CIA Chief John Brennan Made Secret Visit to Russia Around Same Time as Fusion GPS Produced anti-Trump Memos-4/20

HERE THEY ARE=> Complete Memos of Comey’s Meetings With Trump Published Online-4/20

Detailed Analysis: Fired FBI Chief James Comey Lies and Lacks Candor At Least 40 Times in Private Memos-4/20

Nunes, Gowdy And Goodlatte Go Nuclear After Comey Memos Released-4/20

DNC Sues Over Russia, Trump, Wikileaks-4/20

Democrats Announce Dream Platform Including Reparations to Blacks and Free College for All-4/20

Hillary Clinton on Election Night: ‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President’-4/20

Wells Fargo will pay $1BILLION in fines to settle probe into wrongdoing including opening fake accounts and charging customers for products they didn't want-4/20

'I make 100K a year... (I'm tenured) I will never be fired': Barbara Bush-hating professor now faces investigation by her school over hate-filled rant calling the beloved ex-first lady racist-4/19

Fresno State professor who bashed Barbara Bush as an 'amazing racist' also called Trump supporting farmers 'f******g stupid' seen in profane video-4/21

Fresno State Might Lose Serious Money Over Prof’s Anti-Barbara Bush Tweets-4/20

Liberal Elites With Private Armed Security and David Hogg Launch NoRA to Take on the NRA-4/21

'He made love to me expertly...and it was thrilling': ABC News reporter is revealed to have been intimate with Fidel Castro while also serving as a secret intermediary between the Cuban leader and the US government-4/21

US government accidentally sends a strange conspiracy theory file describing 'remote mind control' and 'forced memory blanking'-4/20

Bill Gates backs a $1 billion plan to cover Earth in 'Big Brother' satellites capable of streaming 'live and unfiltered' HD footage of the planet-4/20

Study: Republicans more persuasive than scientists on ‘climate change’-4/20

The NYT’s ‘Ridiculous’ Obsession With Scott Pruitt-4/20

'Homelessness, dirt and trash, open drug use and robberies... it's disgusting': San Francisco tourism chief is forced to tell the truth about his town as he begs city bosses to clean it up-4/18

Starbucks manager, who called police on two black men for trespassing, claims loitering was an ongoing problem and someone once chased her around the store when she asked him to leave-4/17

Starbucks to close all company-owned stores on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-bias education day-4/18

Black man demands free Starbucks coffee as ‘reparations’ — white barista immediately complies-4/18

Could YOU live off-grid? Quirky forest eco-village created by couple who were tired of modern life now houses 600 people in four communities - and some of the homes were built for just $20,000-4/17

Art Bell's life at Coast to Coast-4/15

Boomers Embrace Luxury Van Life-4/21 WSJ, Empty nesters and retirees abandon RVs for the freedom and mobility of converted high-end vans ... I prefer a nice camper on top of a pickup. Same mobility but more room. Less money too. A friend of mine starting making Mercedes conversion vans not too long ago. They are awesome. Editor

Fiery Thoughts ...

El Morya:

Supermundane I, 196. Urusvati knows how people filled with hate will attempt to destroy even the indestructible! There was a time in Athens when heralds officially proclaimed that those citizens who dared even to utter the names of Pericles, Anaxagoras, Aspasia, Phidias, and their friends would be driven into exile. The mobs, urged on by officials, demanded the destruction of the statue of Zeus, because it reminded them of the despised Phidias.

 

If the names of these accused were found in manuscripts, the fearful citizens hastened to burn the writings, regardless of their value. Those who were particularly cautious even avoided passing by the houses of the accused citizens. The sycophants rushed to write epigrams describing in insulting terms the downfall of Pericles. Anaxagoras was depicted as an ass braying in the public square. And the circumstances surrounding the death of Socrates are known to everyone.

 

 

 

The Thinker (Plato) said, "We know the names of Pericles, Anaxagoras, Aspasia, and Phidias, but not the names of the judges who condemned them. We remember the statues by Phidias, but not those who wanted to destroy them. We might hope that this shame of humanity has taken place for the last time in history, but I fear that such a hope is only a dream. "Man is a social animal, but human herds do not know how to graze in peace, and do not realize that horns should be used only in defense. Even a bull can be an example of decency.

 

May thought direct humanity toward the Infinite." The Thinker also said, "The Guides are concerned about the preservation of Beauty.

 

Phidias was cast into prison, and by this act humanity cast itself into darkness. People are amazed at their cruel fate, but have they not earned it themselves? "O, government authorities, O, persecutors of Truth, your names have faded away, but your burden has become heavy. Only recently We met a leper who does not remember what truth he had reviled." Thus warned the Thinker, and each one of Us, at certain times and in Our own way, has uttered the same words.

 

 

People do not like to listen to those ideas that they have decided beforehand not to accept. In the cruel hour of fratricidal strife people invoke the name of Christ, and false witnesses take oaths on the most sacred objects. Such irreverence is all the more blasphemous. People are not afraid to utter a false oath or to ridicule the faith of others. They always find time for criticism and slander, but they have no time for labor. They may at times think about community, but do not know how to cooperate, even in their daily life. Truly, Urusvati knows that it is impossible to destroy the indestructible.

 

 

Supermundane I, 222. Urusvati knows how sometimes a single word can distort the whole theory of cosmogony. The philosopher said to the citizens, "You should feel that Earth is like the center of the Universe, then you will realize the entire duty and responsibility of man." But his followers misconstrued one of his words and an entirely different concept of the world was created. Many examples can also be cited of how people have distorted the essence of the Teaching, because words have different meanings in different languages. There have always been innumerable dialects, with even neighboring clans using their own idioms. In the past there were also so-called sacred languages, which were used by the priests and hierophants.

 

 

Certain sacred words infiltrated the popular language and were wrongly used. In that way, the breakdown of languages has taken place in all centuries. One should not easily excuse unworthy deeds on the basis of misunderstandings due to differences in language. Unfortunately, shameful deeds are the result of evil willfulness and envy. If one examines the reasons for the persecution of the best minds of different nations, and compares the reasons for the persecution and banishment of Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Socrates, Plato, and others, one can observe that in each case the accusations and reasons for banishment were almost identical and unfounded.

 

But in the following centuries full exoneration came, as if there had never been any defamation. It would be correct to conclude that such workers were too exalted for the consciousness of their contemporaries, and the sword of the executioner was ever ready to cut off a head held high.

 

 

Pericles was recognized in his time only after people had reduced him to a sorry state. Only in that state could his fellow citizens accept him as an equal! A book should be written about the causes of the persecution of great individuals. By comparing the causes is it possible to trace the evil will. I advise you to write such a book. Let someone do it! Through research it will be possible to discover the inner similarities between the persecutions of Confucius and Seneca. Our Brothers and Sisters suffered persecution, and Our memory preserves many such events. Joan of Arc, Aspasia, and a whole list of gloriously heroic women of various centuries can be named. We do not regret experiencing such trials, but there is a need for reflecting on them, because each persecution retards an urgent plan. However, even this We turn to Good. The Thinker used to say, "I wonder, do you persecute me or drive me onward?"

 

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SECRET EMPIRES: Joe Biden and John Kerry’s Sons Struck Billion-Dollar Deal with the Chinese Government 10 Days After Biden Trip to China-3/15

Obama, Biden cronies made billions off China trade deals and regulatory policies: Report-3/21

China, Russia Stepping Onto Prophetic Stage-4/12 Spirit Daily, Covers several NDE prophecies including Ned Dougherty. Pretty much what i believe and have for a long time. Editor Part 1 video

cover

A Summary of Ned Dougherty's NDE Prophecies I posted this years ago. Click on book to go to Amazon. Editor


Ned Dougherty on God in our lives and America

Will the Rapture occur on April 23?-4/13 OMG, my eyes glossed over listening to this guy. Editor

Rising from the ruins: Seven ancient sites including Egypt's Luxor Temple and the Parthenon in Greece are restored in fascinating video-4/1

Discovery of 70,000-year-old African Settlement Challenges Previous Theories-3/16 Ancient Origins, Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznan have unearthed a very ancient village, which dates back an incredible 70,000 years, according to a news announcement in PAP. The settlement is the oldest known early Homo sapiens site with sizeable permanent structures in Africa and points to a much more advanced level of human development and adaption in Africa in the Middle Palaeolithic than previously realised. It also contradicts previously held beliefs that construction of permanent structures did not occur until the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and settling in the colder parts of Europe and Asia. The discovery was made at an archaeological site in the Affad District of Southern Dongola in northern Sudan. The site, known as Affad 23, consists of traces of light wooden structures, remnants of a village and utility areas, such as a large flint workshop, and an area for butchering animals for meat, which was placed away from the centre of the village. The fossilised remains of animals at the site demonstrates that the ancient inhabitants of the village hunted large game, such as hippos, elephants, and buffalo, medium-sized species, such as gazelle and antelope, and small monkeys and rats. The ancient artifacts and fossils had been preserved in the alluvial deposits formed by an ancient channel of the Nile in the Affad region. ...

At Reverse Spins:
The Golden Age Civilization in the Sahara Desert
70,000 years ago

On Bells, Whistles, Hats, and Number Sets: An interview with Jett Watt on Buddhist Iconography and Himalayan Art-3/24 Buddhist Door, By Anne Wisman-- Jeff Watt is one of the world’s foremost scholars and curators of Tibetan and Himalayan art. He is the director and chief curator of Zhiguan Museum, Beijing, a visiting professor at Sichuan University, a guest lecturer at Oxford University, and executive director of the non-profit responsible for the Himalayan Art Resources website—perhaps the most comprehensive online database and resource for Himalayan art and iconography. From 1999–2007, Watt was also the founding curator of the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, which is home to one of the largest collections of Himalayan and Tibetan art in North America.
After dropping out of school at the age of 17 to undertake monastic vows from the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Watt studied extensively in India, Canada, and the US, with teachers such as Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, and Sakya Jetsun Chimey. He disrobed in 1985, but continued to translate sacred Tibetan and Sanskrit texts, which lead to a deep interest in Buddhist iconography. Buddhistdoor Global recently had an opportunity to speak with Prof. Watt, and discuss his seminal work on Himalayan art and the Himalayan Art Resources website, which is now hosts more than 100,000 images, over 5,000 subject pages, an organic outline (mind map) numbering over 1,000 pages, and images from in excess of 1,000 museums and private collections. This week the website celebrates its 20th anniversary, coinciding with Asia Week celebration of Asian art in New York City.
Buddhistdoor Global: What first sparked your interest in Himalayan Buddhist art?
Jeff Watt: At the very beginning, I was actually more interested in Daoism but I found that, for me, Daoist beliefs didn’t go far enough in the areas I wanted them to. In addition, I felt Daoism had a strong element of Chinese culturalism—it was very Sino-centric—which made it less accessible to foreigners. So I moved on to Buddhism; to Guangdong Pure Land Buddhism to be precise.
I had a very nice teacher back in 1971/72, from Hong Kong. Although I was the only Western student among his 150–200 students, he would always translate the teachings into English as well. He was so very kind. It was on his recommendation that I went to study with a Tibetan teacher. I have always preferred the foundations of Buddhism over the bells and whistles, the hats and trumpets. And in Tibetan Buddhism there are a lot of hats and trumpets. So from the early 1970s, I spent a lot of time with what I describe as the Tibetan form of Indian Buddhism. There are some forms of Tibetan Buddhism which are indigenously Tibetan, but what I studied was more Indian Buddhism as studied in Tibet. Out of the major Tibetan lineages, the Sakya and Gelug Schools are more Indian and the Karma Kagyu and the Nyingma are more indigenous. They have been Tibetanised and are more revelation teachings.
Originally I wasn’t interested in art or art history at all. Himalayan art has three areas: art history, religious studies, and iconography. I had an interest in iconography, which is understanding the subject matter of the image or statue: the narrative figures, the symbols used, understanding the colors, and the meaning. In the early 1980s, I was doing a lot of translating work and a lot of these texts were about deities. I became very interested in the images that I came across, portable paintings and murals, etc.,  and their subject matter. I started asking people who was depicted in the painting, and what the painting was about. I became intrigued because most of the time, people couldn’t tell me; most of the time people didn’t know. If you show a Gelugpa lama a piece of Nyingma art, or vice versa, and ask them what is depicted, they will generally not know, or they’ll try to place it in their own context. . ...

Cutting: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change, by the evil planet killer Marc Morano-3/6

2018 World Forecast Highlights-2/2 Richard Nolle

AI didn’t decode the cryptic Voynich manuscript — it just added to the mystery-3/18 Claims about AI ‘cracking’ the 600-year-old code were just wishful thinking ...

Henry Corbin, Suhrawardi, and the Lost Knowledge of the Imagination-3/20 Reality Sandwich, by Gary Lachman-- ... The need for a change of being in order to receive certain kinds of knowledge is at the heart of the ‘angelized Platonism’ that the French philosopher and scholar of Persian mysticism Henry Corbin found in the tenth century gnostic master Suhrawardi. Suhrawardi was born in 1155 near the present-day towns of Zanjan and Bijar Garrus in northwest Iran; he is named after his birthplace, Suhraward. After studying Aristotle and Avicenna in Maragheh and then logic in Isfahan, Suhrawardi embarked on a ‘knowledge quest’ or ‘initiatory journey’, a not unfamiliar activity for esoteric scholars. This took him through Anatolia, where he came into contact with Sufi schools and masters, including Fakhr al-Din al-Mardini. Like Suhrawardi himself, Fakhr al-Din al-Mardini combined mysticism with rigorous logic, a union that Suhrawardi looked for in other seekers of truth. Suhrawardi adopted the Sufic way of life, embracing an ascetic practice, wearing the rough suf wool, from which the Sufis get their name and surrendering himself to the ecstasies of sama, the Sufi music. But he also maintained a strict philosophical discipline, subjecting his ecstasies to severe criticism and analysis. His work was ‘addressed precisely to those who aspire at once to both mystical experience and philosophical knowledge’ and should, he said, be transmitted only to ‘him who is worthy, chosen from among those who have given evidence of a solid knowledge of the peripaticians’ philosophy [Aristotle] while their hearts are nevertheless captured by love for the divine Light.’ It was clear to Suhrawardi, as it was to other ‘imaginative knowers’, that what was needed in order to arrive at real ‘truth’, was thought and feeling working together in a creative polarity, not in opposition. Suhrawardi reached Aleppo in 1183 and he soon became friends with the city’s governor, al-Malik al-Zahir, the son of the great Salah ad-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, known to the west as Saladin. Suhrawardi became al-Mailk’s tutor, a position envied by the local scholars, who already scorned Suhrawardi because of his heretical beliefs and skill in dialectics, which he displayed to their regret in their debates with him. He was obviously influenced by the words of the ‘philosophers’, which for devout Muslims was a term of abuse. Soon the scholars’ enmity toward Suhrawardi would prove fatal. The philosophers who influenced Suhrawardi came from pre-Islamic Persia, ancient Greece, and Egypt. Together their ideas formed a potent blend of Zoroastrianism, Plato, and the wisdom traditions of Alexandria, what Suhrawardi called a ‘philosophy of Light’, a tradition of esoteric metaphysics that was handed down from sage to sage, Suhrawardi believed, through the ages. In 1186 Suhrawardi tried to capture its essence in Hikmat al-Ishraq, translated as Oriental Philosophy and also as The Philosophy of Illumination, the book that sent Corbin on his hermeneutical quest. Suhrawardi wrote of an initiatic chain, a school of adepts reaching back into the dim past, and which included the fabled Hermes Trismegistus, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus and others. All were informed by the same primal revelation, the prisca theologia or ‘primal theology’, which it was his task to resurrect. These ideas did not go down well with the orthodox jurists, ulama, and mullahs of Aleppo. They accused Suhrawardi of practicing magic and prophecy, and said he would lead the people and their governor, Saladin’s son, astray. They petitioned Saladin for Suhrawardi’s execution saying he was corrupting the young, the same charge as the council of Athens had brought against Socrates. Saladin accepted their petition and ordered Suhrawardi’s death. Suhrawardi voiced a spirited defence and al-Malik al-Zahir at first refused to carry out his father’s command, but eventually he had to concede. It remains unclear exactly how Suhrawardi met his death; some accounts say he was starved to death, others say he was strangled, still others say he was beheaded or crucified. But sometime in 1191 – some accounts put the date further on – Suhrawardi died. Henceforth he was known, not only as the Shaikh al-Ishraq, the ‘Master of Illumination’, but also as the Shaikh al-Maqtl, the ‘murdered Master’. If Suhrawardi’s mission was to resurrect the ancient philosophy of Light, we can see Corbin’s own mission as carrying on Suhrawardi’s work in the modern world. ...

One of Descartes’ most famous ideas was first articulated by a woman--Teresa of Ávila-4/1 Quartz, by Olivia Goldhill -- The 17th century thinker René Descartes is seen as the father of modern philosophy: A man who was entirely original, whose work marked a clear divide from earlier thinkers, and who laid the foundation for modern thought with his focus on self-knowledge of the individual mind. But that narrative is “unquestionably false,” says Christia Mercer, a philosophy professor at Columbia University. Indeed, “people in his period did not think Descartes was the father of anything,” she adds. Though the philosopher was renowned in his day for his work on physics and natural philosophy, it wasn’t until the 19th century that historians portrayed Descartes as a major break with the past. This idea has endured in part because, while historians searched for the great male thinkers who might have influenced Descartes’ ideas, they missed the female philosopher who came before him: Teresa of Ávila. Today, Descartes’ theory of knowledge, set out in his Meditations on First Philosophy, is considered one of the most important works in the Western canon. The ideas laid the groundwork for all his subsequent thinking on self-knowledge, which Descartes is most famous for today. Even those who’ve never read philosophy have likely heard of Descartes’ maxim, “I think, therefore I am.”
But in a paper published in Philosophical Studies last year, Mercer shows how closely the foundational stages of Descartes’ Meditations mirror Teresa of Ávila’s work. Teresa, a 16th century Roman Catholic nun, was hugely influential and well-regarded in Descartes’ time. She was a prominent Spanish mystic, known for her writings on personal meditation as a path to forming a relationship with God. The word “mystic,” however, has a broad, vague meaning—and it veils the fact that Teresa was a philosopher. “The category ‘mystic’ allows us to throw someone in that container, shut the lid, and assume that that person isn’t a thoroughgoing philosopher,” says Mercer. “It so happens that a lot of women have been put in that category.” ...

Image of woman bishop who spread the gospel in the Fifth Century is revealed by researchers who say Jesus had many more female disciples than previously thought-4/1

Glastonbury: archaeology is revealing new truths about the origins of British Christianity-3/24 The Conversation, by Roberta Gilchrist-- New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for the earliest settlement of the site by 200 years – and reopens debate on Glastonbury’s origin myths. Many Christians believe that Glastonbury is the site of the earliest church in Britain, allegedly founded in the first or second century by Joseph of Arimathea. According to the Gospels, Joseph was the man who donated his own tomb for the body of Christ following the crucifixion. By the 14th century, it was popularly believed that Glastonbury Abbey had been founded by the biblical figure of Joseph. The legend emerged that Joseph had travelled to Britain with the Grail, the vessel used to collect Christ’s blood. For 800 years, Glastonbury has been associated with the romance of King Arthur, the Holy Grail and Joseph of Arimathea. Later stories connected Glastonbury directly to the life of Christ. ...

     
 


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The Puzzle Of Quantum Reality-3/24 NPR, by Adam Becker-- There's a hole at the heart of quantum physics. It's a deep hole. Yet it's not a hole that prevents the theory from working. Quantum physics is, by any measure, astonishingly successful. It's the theory that underpins nearly all of modern technology, from the silicon chips buried in your phone to the LEDs in its screen, from the nuclear hearts of the most distant space probes to the lasers in the supermarket checkout scanner. It explains why the sun shines and how your eyes can see. Quantum physics works. Yet the hole remains: Despite the wild success of the theory, we don't really understand what it says about the world around us. The mathematics of the theory makes incredibly accurate predictions about the outcomes of experiments and natural phenomena. In order to do that so well, the theory must have captured some essential and profound truth about the nature of the world around us. Yet there's a great deal of disagreement over what the theory says about reality — or even whether it says anything at all about it. Even the simplest possible things become difficult to decipher in quantum physics. Say you want to describe the position of a single tiny object — the location of just one electron, the simplest subatomic particle we know of. There are three dimensions, so you might expect that you need three numbers to describe the electron's location. This is certainly true in everyday life: If you want to know where I am, you need to know my latitude, my longitude, and how high above the ground I am. But in quantum physics, it turns out three numbers isn't enough. Instead, you need an infinity of numbers, scattered across all of space, just to describe the position of a single electron. This infinite collection of numbers is called a "wave function," because these numbers scattered across space usually change smoothly, undulating like a wave. There's a beautiful equation that describes how wave functions wave about through space, called the Schrödinger equation (after Erwin Schrödinger, the Austrian physicist who first discovered it in 1925). Wave functions mostly obey the Schrödinger equation the same way a falling rock obeys Newton's laws of motion: It's something like a law of nature. And as laws of nature go, it's a pretty simple one, though it can look mathematically forbidding at first. Yet despite the simplicity and beauty of the Schrödinger equation, wave functions are pretty weird. Why would you need so much information — an infinity of numbers scattered across all of space — just to describe the position of a single object? Maybe this means that the electron is smeared out somehow. But as it turns out, that's not true. When you actually look for the electron, it shows up in only one spot. And when you do find the electron, something even stranger happens: The electron's wave function temporarily stops obeying the Schrödinger equation. Instead, it "collapses," with all of its infinity of numbers turning to zero except in the place where you found the electron. So what are wave functions? And why do they only obey the Schrödinger equation sometimes? Specifically, why do they only obey the Schrödinger equation when nobody is looking? These unanswered questions circumscribe the hole at the heart of quantum physics. The last question, in particular, is notorious enough that it has been given a special name: the "measurement problem." The measurement problem seems like it should stop quantum physics in its tracks. What does "looking" or "measurement" mean? There's no generally agreed-upon answer to this. And that means, in turn, that we don't really know when the Schrödinger equation applies and when it doesn't. And if we don't know that — if we don't know when to use this law and when instead to put it aside — how can we use the theory at all? The pragmatic answer is that when we physicists do quantum physics, we tend to think of it only as the physics of the ultra-tiny. We usually assume that the Schrödinger equation doesn't really apply to sufficiently large objects — objects like tables and chairs and humans, the things in our everyday lives. Instead, as a practical matter, we assume that those objects obey the classical physics of Isaac Newton, and that the Schrödinger equation stops applying when one of these objects interacts with something from the quantum world of the small. This works well enough to get the right answer in most cases. But almost no physicists truly believe this is how the world actually works.

Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies: 500 AD to the Present Hardcover-4/5 by Simon Young and Ceri Houlbrook--
From Amazon description: What do we know about fairies? A treasure trove of newly digitised information accessed here shows that the Disney image of Tinkerbell is but a weak shorthand for the plethora of different kinds and types inhabiting the British and Irish Isles. Fairy sightings are deeply tied to local areas; even the names can be different. In, for example, Cornwall they are `piskeys'; in parts of Southern and Midland England they are 'pharises'; in Ireland they are sidhe ('si'). But as the new information from digitised local historical sources shows in exciting ways, their local character varies: in Sussex they are puckish but kind, but in the Scottish Highlands or Ireland you might end up dead after an encounter. Are fairies still with us? Yes they are. Included with the book are new sightings of fairies up to the present. In fact, it turns out that there are even travelling Fairies who reached Canada and New England.


The dream after the masked ball, by John Anster Fitzgerald
Source: Getty

Confessions of a fairy hunter-4/5 Times Higher Education,  By Simon Young-- The mere mention of fairies in academic circles can bring derision. Yet the field is a rich one that has much to offer open-minded, multidisciplinary scholars, writes Simon Young
I first came to fairies after a brush with mortality in my mid-thirties. I’d been trained as a medievalist, but under the strain of my treatment, the Monumenta Ger­maniae Historica lost their charms: the memory of their leather covers, their weight in my hand, their smell, still make me nauseous almost a decade later. I’d like to say that the fairies flew in through the window, but they actually came out of the pages of books read in convalescence. The obsession grew slowly. It started with pencil scratches in margins. It turned into a blog. Then it became articles: I mapped boggart place names while my children were falling asleep; I transcribed forgotten fragments of 19th-century fairylore as students took exams. By 2013, it had got serious and expensive. I was dumpster-diving, trying to rescue the lost manuscript of a recently deceased fairy expert (I succeeded eventually). A year later, I was setting up an online survey of supernatural attitudes and experiences, the Fairy Census. Last summer, I had an Oxford graduate surreptitiously photograph a couple of thousand pages of Edwardian fairy archives in the Bodleian Library. More recently, our postwoman delivered to me a volume that I co-edited with Ceri Houlbrook, an early career researcher at the University of Hertfordshire, on British and Irish fairies. Reading the chapters again does not, as I had hoped, dim the obsession. It only makes it burn a little brighter, underlining all the new mysteries to plumb, the new sources to chase.
Obsessions are supposed to bring at least some benefits. Trainspotting gets its adherents out of the house on Sundays; Dungeons and Dragons teaches rudimentary social skills; Tetris hones spatial intelligence. But what are the benefits of an obsession with fairies? Well, by far the most important is that you come into contact with many curious and, frequently, wonderful people. In recent years, I’ve had messages from scores of men and women who have fairy issues in their lives: one requested advice on the right hill on which to enjoy a midnight shamanic fairy meeting; another told of a kitchen haunted by goblins. And I’m often asked whether I can see a fairy in this particular CCTV footage or in that photograph. My replies to such correspondents tend to be polite but necessarily brief. I also, however, find myself in contact with those who are, in much the same way as I am, fascinated by the idea of an invisible commonwealth coterminous with our own world. This is the most enjoyable consequence of writing and speaking about fairies, for there are a surprisingly large number of fairy lovers (and professional fairy sceptics) out there. All too predictably, they are often artists, folklorists, mystics or writers. But there are also servicemen, scientists and engineers, members of thinktanks and even Gulf millionaires. Most keep their interest very quiet because fairyism is a love that dare not speak its name. There is a distaste towards fairies among the chattering classes, and that distaste is particularly strong among academics. Study witches, ghosts or vampires, and you will pass through any Oxbridge dinner successfully. However, fairies are about as welcome as Heineken at high table. I teach Italian history in Siena and have long experienced a milder version of this. My colleagues treat my interest in fairylore and the supernatural as a forgivable but not a lovable eccentricity. For someone interested in the subject, this stance is frustrating because fairies have so much to offer the researcher and teacher. They demand a multidisciplinary approach, combining the likes of anthropology, art history, comparative mythology, folklore, history, literature, theatre, philology and onomastics (the study of proper names). Fairies can be found (with different labels) in most places and periods, inviting comparative work. And while they may vex professors, they are objects of fascination in the lecture hall: say the word “fairy” and students look up from their iPhones. ...

Real Magic, Prominent researcher and synesthete says real magic is frontier science-4/7 Psychology Today, by Maureen Seaberg-- Dean Radin, Ph.D., has pursued the most mind-boggling fringes of science — ESP, telepathy, and other wonders — earnestly and with excellence for decades. He is the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (link is external) (IONS) in Petaluma, CA, a next-level research and educational organization founded by the late astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. Dr. Radin also worked on the United States government's top-secret psychic espionage program, known as Stargate. His new book, Real Magic (link is external) (Harmony, April 10), is a triumph of an open mind over limitations. As his publisher points out, what was magic 2,000 years ago is scientific fact today. No less than Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge, calls it, "A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.” His publisher states: "Radin has spent the last 40 years conducting controlled experiments that demonstrate that thoughts are things, that we can sense others' emotions and intentions from a distance, that intuition is more powerful than we thought, and that we can tap into the power of intention (think The Secret, only on a more realistic and scientific level). These dormant powers can help us to lead more interesting and fulfilling lives. " The book begins with a history of magic, continues on to a review of the scientific evidence for it, and concludes that magic will play a key role in the frontiers of science. And he is a synesthete. This is our Q & A:
Please tell me about your new book.
DR
: The unique aspect of Real Magic, which may end up in the occult, metaphysical, or religious section of most bookstores, is that it's really about science, and in particular what happens when science looks at the full nature of reality, including unusual subjective experience and consciousness. Because I want to promote it as a science book, I sought endorsements from my scientific colleagues, so I'm very grateful that it has been endorsed by two Nobel Laureates, a president of the American Statistical Association, a program director from the National Science Foundation, and etc. I could have asked historians, notables in the human potential arena, and ceremonial magicians for endorsements. But there are plenty of books available from those angles. This one is different. ...

The Consciousness Deniers-3/24 New York Review of Books, by Galen Strawson -- What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience. Next to this denial—I’ll call it “the Denial”—every known religious belief is only a little less sensible than the belief that grass is green. The Denial began in the twentieth century and continues today in a few pockets of philosophy and psychology and, now, information technology. It had two main causes: the rise of the behaviorist approach in psychology, and the naturalistic approach in philosophy. These were good things in their way, but they spiraled out of control and gave birth to the Great Silliness. I want to consider these main causes first, and then say something rather gloomy about a third, deeper, darker cause. But before that, I need to comment on what is being denied—consciousness, conscious experience, experience for short. What is it? Anyone who has ever seen or heard or smelled anything knows what it is; anyone who has ever been in pain, or felt hungry or hot or cold or remorseful, dismayed, uncertain, or sleepy, or has suddenly remembered a missed appointment. All these things involve what are sometimes called “qualia”—that is to say, different types or qualities of conscious experience. What I am calling the Denial is the denial that anyone has ever really had any of these experiences. Perhaps it’s not surprising that most Deniers deny that they’re Deniers. “Of course, we agree that consciousness or experience exists,” they say—but when they say this they mean something that specifically excludes qualia. Who are the Deniers? I have in mind—at least—those who fully subscribe to something called “philosophical behaviorism” as well as those who fully subscribe to something called “functionalism” in the philosophy of mind. Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett. Ned Block once remarked that Dennett’s attempt to fit consciousness or “qualia” into his theory of reality “has the relation to qualia that the US Air Force had to so many Vietnamese villages: he destroys qualia in order to save them.” One of the strangest things the Deniers say is that although it seems that there is conscious experience, there isn’t really any conscious experience: the seeming is, in fact, an illusion. The trouble with this is that any such illusion is already and necessarily an actual instance of the thing said to be an illusion. Suppose you’re hypnotized to feel intense pain. Someone may say that you’re not really in pain, that the pain is illusory, because you haven’t really suffered any bodily damage. But to seem to feel pain is to be in pain. It’s not possible here to open up a gap between appearance and reality, between what is and what seems. ...

Who was Mary Magdalene? Debunking the myth of the penitent prostitute-3/24 The Conversation, by Dorothy Ann Lee-- Who was Mary Magdalene? What do we know about her? And how do we know it? These questions resurface with the release of a new movie, Mary Magdalene, starring Rooney Mara in the titular role. The question of how we know about her is a relatively simple one. She appears in a number of early Christian texts associated with the ministry of Jesus. These texts comprise Gospels written in the first and second century of the Common Era (CE). The earliest of them are included in the New Testament, where Magdalene plays a significant role. She also appears in later Gospels, which were not included in the Bible and come from a later period in early Christianity. The answer about who she was and what we know of her is more complex. In Western art, literature and theology, Mary Magdalene is portrayed as a prostitute who meets Jesus, repents of her sins, and pours oil on his feet in a gesture of humility, penitence and gratitude. She is sometimes depicted kneeling at the foot of the cross, hair unbound, emphasising the sinful past from which she can never quite escape, despite being declared a saint. The tradition of the penitent prostitute has persisted in the Western tradition. Institutions that cared for prostitutes from the 18th century onwards were called “Magdalenes” to encourage amendment of life in the women who took refuge in them. The word came into English as “maudlin”, meaning a tearful sentimentality. It is not a flattering description. Artistic depictions continued to emphasise Magadelene’s sexuality in various ways, under a facade of piety. In another twist on the same theme, she is presented as the wife of Jesus, most notably in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003). The tradition of Mary Magdalene as the archetypal penitent whore, whose sexuality somehow manages to persist beyond her conversion, can be dated to a sermon preached by Gregory the Great in the sixth century CE. Admittedly, there are a confusing number of women called “Mary” in the Gospels and we might assume Pope Gregory was tired of distinguishing between them. He reduced them to two: on the one hand, Mary, the mother of Jesus, perpetual virgin, symbol of purity and goodness, and, on the other, Mary Magdalene, promiscuous whore, symbol of feminine evil from which the world must be redeemed.
A disciple of Jesus
Yet nowhere in the Gospels is Mary Magdalene associated either overtly or covertly with sexuality. The four Gospels of the New Testament present her in two significant roles. In the first place, she is a disciple of Jesus: one among a band of women and men from Galilee who believed in his message of love and justice and followed him in his ministry. Secondly, Magdalene is a primary witness in the Gospels to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Unlike many of the other disciples, she does not flee when Jesus is arrested. She remains at the cross when he dies and later visits his tomb to find it empty, with a vision of angels declaring his resurrection. Mark’s Gospel, which we now know to be the earliest Gospel to be written, speaks of Magdalene as a disciple of Jesus who has followed him from Galilee along with other women, but it does not mention her until the crucifixion. These women disciples now stand near the cross, despite the danger in being present at the execution of a dissident. Three of them, including Magdalene, visit the tomb on Easter morning where they meet an angel who informs them that Jesus has risen from the dead (Mark 16:1-8). The women’s subsequent departure from the tomb is ambiguous, and they leave in fear and silence, which is where the manuscript of Mark’s Gospel abruptly ends. An ending added later makes mention of the risen Jesus making an appearance first to Magdalene. In Matthew’s Gospel, Magdalene meets the risen Christ as she leaves the tomb, this time with only one other female companion, who is also called “Mary” (Matt 28:1-10). In Luke’s account, Magdalene appears at the cross and at the empty tomb to hear the angel’s words, but she and her female companions are not believed when they convey the message of the resurrection to the apostles (Luke 24:1-11). ...