Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sheeple in the Year of the Sheep: Illusion and Illumination

Mainly in Asian countries and communities, 2015-2016 is the year of the Sheep, according to the Lunar calendar. Image Source: CNN.

How do we see Sheeple in the Year of the Sheep? Does the Lunar New Year's conciliatory message resolve the trend toward Millennial alienation, conflict and aggression? Can the values of Asia's Year of the Sheep or Goat, such as pacifism, collective action and creativity, ease the tensions caused by western gnosticism? In yesterday's post, I outlined how gnostic beliefs provide the background "social pathology of the political religions." Gnosticism built the central myth of our time: the four-fold Enlightenment illusion of rationalism, of higher knowledge through conflict, of control of the nature, and of human power over the earth. In today's post, I consider the Lunar New Year's symbols as a solution to this problematic myth, despite the fact that 'sheeple' are ridiculed by today's gnostically-minded.

Image Source: Pyramids and Sheeple.

Image Source: Seeking Alpha.

Image Source: Democratic Underground.

Image Source: Red Pill.

Image Source: XKCD.

"Making XKCD slightly worse." Image Source: Simon Software.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Lunar New Year's Conformity and Gnostic Alienation

Gnostic symbols. Image Source: MISTÉRIOS DE RENES-LE-CHÂTEAU.

How are the astrological symbols and messages of Asia's Lunar New Year relevant to Millennial life? The Year of the Goat or Sheep encourages conformity and pacifism, conciliation and acceptance of authority, but allows for creativity and a healing of past wrongs. These values oppose the confrontational and competitive alienation of the Millennial mind, which calls for leaders, not followers.

What is the origin of this confrontational alienation? This spring, Pacifica Graduate Institute in California is pondering the central myth of our time in a debate on Carl Jung's Red Book. I would argue that the Millennial myth derives from the Enlightenment era's hyper-rationalism, and an associated arrogance inflated by mechanistic advances in industry, science and technology.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year! Welcome the Year of the Goat

Image Source © Barbara Giordano via Fine Art America.

Today marks the start of the Asian New Year. Some of us are eating some amazing food which symbolizes luck, long life, happiness and prosperity, like Jiaozi dumplings, made to resemble ancient Chinese coins, and incredible cookies, like Kuih Loyang cookies (honeycomb, beehive or rose cookies) and Kueh Bangkit, melt-in-your mouth tapioca coconut cookies (recipes here and here). Spring rolls are made look like gold bars. Octagonal trays of togetherness celebrate the lucky number 8. Whole fish make wishes for abundance. Fa gao cakes, or 'fortune' cakes, steam in different colours, ideally rising in their bamboo steam baskets into a big smile (recipes here and here). Sweets bring sweetness to life in the coming year: check out traditional Chinese candies at Aji Ichiban (here), one of Hong Kong's largest candy and snack stores and an international franchise. People exchange ornately designed red and gold envelopes (Ang Pow envelopes) full of money. Fortune asked Chinese astrologers what was in store for us in 2015; they said 2015 would be all about the economy. It is not a year for risks, but still a year when the arts, writing, publication and all forms of creativity are highly favoured. Avoid conflict. Make home and the best comforts of domesticity your priorities. And in the year of the Goat or Sheep, "master the soft sell," "be a shepherd."

Tea Eggs symbolize wealth (recipe). Image Source: Everyday Maven.

Sweets are popular at Asian New Year's celebrations. On the left, dragon cookies; top left Kuih Kapit, or love letter, cookies; top right, Kuih Rose cookies; bottom, pineapple tarts. Image Source: Illuminant Partners.

A selection of last year's New Year's delights in Singapore, from top: Nian Gao tarts at the Fullerton Hotel; Golden Piglet Shortcakes at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Koi-shaped Nian Gao steamed cakes filled with durian or mango-citrus pulp at the Peony Jade restaurant; and Fortune of Gold apricot and passionfruit poundcake at the Goodwood Park Hotel. Image Source: The Dining Table.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Modernity, Myth and the Scapegoat: Martin Heidegger, J. R. R. Tolkien and ISIL

Heidegger, at the centre of the photo, in the era of Nazi academia. Image Source: Le phiblogZophe.

Two paths diverged in the wood. I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. In 2014, the private notebooks of German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) - muse of Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida and Hannah Arendt - saw print. The publication of the so-called Black Notebooks confirmed that Heidegger's philosophy grew out of support for the Nazis and an essential anti-Semitism. Oceans of ink have been spilt over what Heidegger meant by Dasein, or Being-in-the-World (his union of subjective, objective and conscious perspectives with the world at large), but this elaborate existential debate completely misses the historical context which informed Heidegger's thought. Heidegger associated his cherished idea of Authentic Existence with the values of agrarian Europe. For the German philosopher, rootless Jews were part of a new, supranational world of corporate industry, banking and trade. Jewish precursors of globalization contributed to an inauthenticity of being, a life whereby everyday people, distanced from the soil, became phantom slaves in a technology-driven world that destroyed traditional culture.

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt (1854-1856). Image Source: Wiki.

It is too simplistic to dismiss Heidegger's thoughts on being and time as aspects of the Nazi narrative. But it is also wrong to say that his ideas can be read separately from their Nazi context. Heidegger was in the same ballpark, and that demands a serious reappraisal of his ideas.

In building their Aryan mythology against the Jews, the Nazis ironically appropriated the Hebraic concept of scapegoating. The scapegoat was originally an early Archaic, pre-Classical improvement (dating from around the seventh century BCE) on the sacrificial rites of other ancient societies. Scapegoating, a mental gambit which is alive and well today, occurs when one projects one's sins onto a goat and sends it off into the desert to die; this leaves one free from blame and responsibility, and able to get on with life without feeling guilty for one's wrongdoings.