by Mark Strauss
Born in 1601, Athanasius Kircher has been hailed as the "last Renaissance Man" owing to his scholarly works in fields as diverse as biology, geology, medicine and technology. Among his most remarkable books was Mundus Subterraneus, a study of the Earth's interior that might have inspired Jules Verne.
Kircher wrote his 1664 opus some three decades after he undertook an expedition inside Mt. Vesuvius — around the time it had experienced its first major eruption in centuries. The interior of the volcano, he wrote, was, "all up and down everywhere, cragged and broken, while its chamber was "made hollow directly and straight." The bottom of the crater was"boiling with an everlasting gushing forth, and streamings of smoke and flames, and employed in decocting Sulphur, Bitumen and the melting and burning of other kinds of Minerals."
As The Public Domain Review notes:
It was within this hollow mountain that Kircher really began to develop the theories he set down so many years later in Mundus Subterraneus, to envision what it might be like even deeper within the earth, and how the mountains and fires and rivers and oceans might somehow all be connected.
He sketched two diagrams, depicting how fire (image above) and water (below) were flowed within the Earth and on its surface.
"The whole Earth is not solid but everywhere gaping, and hollowed with empty rooms and spaces, and hidden burrows." he wrote, explaining that, deep below, it holds many great oceans and fires, interacting with one another through passageways that reached all the way to the planet's core. In Kircher's view, volcanoes, though awe-inspiring, were "nothing but the vent-holes, or breath-pipes of Nature," while earthquakes were the "proper effects of sub-terrestrial cumbustions."
Kircher added that "the fire and water sweetly conspire together in mutual service." The lunar tides push "an immense bulk of water" through "hidden and occult passages at the bottom of the Ocean... into the intimate bowels of the Earth." The oceans, which would freeze without the fires, also kept the fires in check to prevent "unlimited eruptions." The "secret make-up of the mountains" is that they are hollow and serve as reservoirs. Hot springs and fountains, he believed, are produced where underground water passageways intersect with the fire channels.
Album: Beyond Darkness and Wonder
The following letter was addressed to a contemporary journal by Mme. Blavatsky, and was submitted for publication in The Daily Graphic, who had been taking the lead in the discussion of the curious subject of Spiritualism.
AWARE in the past of your love of justice and fair play, I most earnestly solicit the use of your columns to reply to an article by Dr. G. M. Beard in relation to the Eddy family in Vermont. He, in denouncing them and their spiritual manifestations in a most sweeping declaration, would aim a blow at the entire spiritual world of to-day. His letter appeared this morning (October 27th). Dr. George M. Beard has for the last few weeks assumed the part of the “roaring lion” seeking for a medium “to devour.” It appears that to-day the learned gentleman is more hungry than ever. No wonder, after the failure he has experienced with Mr. Brown, the “mind-reader,” at New Haven.
I do not know Dr. Beard personally, nor do I care to know how far he is entitled to wear the laurels of his profession as an M. D., but what I do know is that he may never hope to equal, much less to surpass, such men and savants as Crookes, Wallace, or even Flammarion, the French astronomer, all of whom have devoted years to the investigation of Spiritualism. All of them came to the conclusion that, supposing even the well-known phenomenon of the materialization of spirits did not prove the identity of the persons whom they purported to represent, it was not, at all events, the work of mortal hands; still less was it a fraud.
Now to the Eddys. Dozens of visitors have remained there for weeks and even for months; not a single séance has taken place without some of them realizing the personal presence of a friend, a relative, a mother, father, or dear departed child. But lo! here comes Dr. Beard, stops less than two days, applies his powerful electrical battery, under which the spirit does not even wink or flinch, closely examines the cabinet (in which he finds nothing), and then turns his back and declares most emphatically “that he wishes it to be perfectly understood that if his scientific name ever appears in connection with the Eddy family, it must be only to expose them as the greatest frauds who cannot do even good trickery.” Consummatum est! Spiritualism is defunct. Requiescat in pace! Dr. Beard has killed it with one word. Scatter ashes over your venerable but silly heads, O Crookes, Wallace and Varley! Henceforth you must be considered as demented, psychologized lunatics, and so must it be with the many thousands of Spiritualists who have seen and talked with their friends and relatives departed, recognizing them at Moravia, at the Eddys’, and elsewhere throughout the length and breadth of this continent. But is there no escape from the horns of this dilemma? Yea verily, Dr. Beard writes thus: “When your correspondent returns to New York I will teach him on any convenient evening how to do all that the Eddys do.” Pray why should a Daily Graphic reporter be the only one selected by G. M. Beard, M. D. for initiation into the knowledge of so clever a “trick”? In such a case why not publicly denounce this universal trickery, and so benefit the whole world? But Dr. Beard seems to be as partial in his selections as he is clever in detecting the said tricks. Didn’t the learned doctor say to Colonel Olcott while at the Eddys’ that three dollars’ worth of second-hand drapery would be enough for him to show how to materialize all the spirits that visit the Eddy homestead?
To this I reply, backed as I am by the testimony of hundreds of reliable witnesses, that all the wardrobe of Niblo’s Theatre would not suffice to attire the numbers of “spirits” that emerge night after night from an empty little closet.
Let Dr. Beard rise and explain the following fact if he can: I remained fourteen days at the Eddys’. In that short period of time I saw and recognized fully, out of 119 apparitions, seven “spirits.” I admit that I was the only one to recognize them, the rest of the audience not having been with me in my numerous travels throughout the East, but their various dresses and costumes were plainly seen and closely examined by all.
The first was a Georgian boy, dressed in the historical Caucasian attire, the picture of whom will shortly appear in The Daily Graphic. I recognized and questioned him in Georgian upon circumstances known only to myself. I was understood and answered. Requested by me in his mother tongue (upon the whispered suggestion of Colonel Olcott) to play the Lezguinka, a Circassian dance, he did so immediately upon the guitar.
Second – A little old man appears. He is dressed as Persian merchants generally are. His dress is perfect as a national costume. Everything is in its right place, down to the “babouches” that are off his feet, he stepping out in his stockings. He speaks his name in a loud whisper. It is “Hassan Aga,” an old man whom I and my family have known for twenty years at Tiflis. He says, half in Georgian and half in Persian, that he has got a “big secret to tell me,” and comes at three different times, vainly seeking to finish his sentence.
Third – A man of gigantic stature comes forth, dressed in the picturesque attire of the warriors of Kurdistan. He does not speak, but bows in the oriental fashion, and lifts up his spear ornamented with bright-coloured feathers, shaking it in token of welcome. I recognize him immediately as Jaffar Ali Bek, a young chief of a tribe of Kurds, who used to accompany me in my trips around Ararat in Armenia on horseback, and who on one occasion saved my life. More, he bends to the ground as though picking up a handful of mould, and scattering it around, presses his hand to his bosom, a gesture familiar only to the tribes of the Kurdistan.
Fourth – A Circassian comes out. I can imagine myself at Tiflis, so perfect is his costume of “nouker” (a man who either runs before or behind one on horseback). This one speaks more, he corrects his name, which I pronounced wrongly on recognizing him, and when I repeat it he bows, smiling, and says in the purest guttural Tartar, which sounds so familiar to my ear, “Tchoch yachtchi” (all right), and goes away.
Fifth – An old woman appears with Russian headgear. She comes out and addresses me in Russian, calling me by an endearing term that she used in my childhood. I recognize an old servant of my family, a nurse of my sister.
Sixth – A large powerful negro next appears on the platform. His head is ornamented with a wonderful coiffure something like horns wound about with white and gold. His looks are familiar to me, but I do not at first recollect where I have seen him. Very soon he begins to make some vivacious gestures, and his mimicry helps me to recognize him at a glance. It is a conjurer from Central Africa. He grins and disappears.
Seventh and last – A large, grey-haired gentleman comes out attired in the conventional suit of black. The Russian decoration of St. Ann hangs suspended by a large red moiré ribbon with two black stripes-a ribbon, as every Russian will know, belonging to the said decoration. This ribbon is worn around his neck. I feel faint, for I think I recognize my father. But the latter was a great deal taller. In my excitement I address him in English, and ask him: “Are you my father?” He shakes his head in the negative, and answers as plainly as any mortal man can speak, and in Russian, “No; I am your uncle.” The word “diadia” was heard and remembered by all the audience. It means “uncle.” But what of that? Dr. Beard knows it to be but a pitiful trick, and we must submit in silence. People that know me know that I am far from being credulous. Though an Occultist of many years’ standing, I am more sceptical in receiving evidence from paid mediums than many unbelievers. But when I receive such evidences as I received at the Eddys’, I feel bound on my honour, and under the penalty of confessing myself a moral coward, to defend the mediums, as well as the thousands of my brother and sister Spiritualists against the conceit and slander of one man who has nothing and no one to back him in his assertions. I now hereby finally and publicly challenge Dr. Beard to the amount of $500 to produce before a public audience and under the same conditions the manifestations herein attested, or failing this, to bear the ignominious consequences of his proposed exposé.
124, East Sixteenth Street, New York City
October 27th, 1874
H. P. Blavatsky
Mrs. Josephine Cables Aldrich, an author, editor, and philanthropist prominent in the early Theosophical Movement, led the original lodge of the Hermetic Order of Luxor in Rochester, New York, a city known in esoteric circles for the founding of the Spiritualist movement and mediumship. Mrs. Aldrich was also, at one time, Secretary of the Theosophical Society of the United States. She later transformed the Rochester Theosophical Society into the Rochester Brotherhood and became its President.
The young Josephine Cables was raised by her two, strict Puritan grandmothers, who believed in free use of the rod as necessary to save a child's soul from destruction. These lessons had a sharp impact on Ms. Cables' understanding of humanity and the need for mercy, compassion, and justice.
Leading the Hermetic Order of Luxor from her home, Ms. Cables (later Mrs. Cables Aldrich) taught that the Golden Rule was the best maxim for morality and happiness, and gave instruction for the betterment of humanity by word and deed. In 1882, Ms. Cables began published The Occult World, a paper devoted to advanced thought and reform.
A brief biography of Mrs. Cables Aldrich appears in the 1894 book entitled, A Woman of the Century: fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life, edited by Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore.
Artist: Trans Am
Track: Insufficiently Breathless
Album: Volume X
Written and Directed by Andrew Paynter
Shot and Edited by Wes Sumner
Time: Saturday, August 23, 1:00 PM Pacific Standard Time
Length: 5 hours
Participation: group video call with Q&Q. Click here to join.
Ultraculture University is presenting an online intensive workshop to help you understand and unlock, discover, refine, and enact your True Will. The workshop will discuss the following (per Ultraculture's website):
- Understanding what the True Will is, through the lens of Western esotericism, Hinduism and Buddhism. What do the world’s great spiritual traditions say about the True Will—and how does it relate to free will, fate, destiny and the great scientific debate of Nature vs. Nurture?
- How to begin the process of mapping the True Will by charting one’s personal history, journalling and active dreaming
- How to use your astrological birth chart to determine external influences on your personality, as well as to clearly understand the karmic lessons you’re meant to learn in this lifetime
- How to separate your True Will from the external wills superimposed on you by parents, schooling, peers, career pressures and even the forces of karma
- Once you’ve begun to isolate and understand the rudiments of your True Will, how to begin projecting it into the world by creating artistic altars, writing it out, enacting it and consistently defining and refining it through trial and error while training the skills and core strengths necessary for carrying it out
- Understanding what the universe does when you’re getting it right: Synchronicity and flow states
- Understanding what to do when you’re not getting it right: Getting stuck in life and the Alchemy of turning bad situations into productive learning experiences to strengthen your will
- Cultivating patience and self-love on the path
by John Horgan
SOURCE: Scientific American
For decades, I’ve been only dimly aware of Rupert Sheldrake as a renegade British biologist who argues that telepathy and other paranormal phenomena (sometimes lumped under the term psi) should be taken more seriously by the scientific establishment. Since I’m one of those fuddy-duddy establishment doubters of psi, I never bothered to examine Sheldrake’s work closely. But I was intrigued, and amused, by the vehemence of his critics, notably John Maddox, the long-time editor of Nature, who once called Sheldrake’s views “heresy” that deserved to be “condemned.”
Sheldrake probably provokes such strong reactions in part because he is a product of the scientific establishment—more specifically, of Cambridge University. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry there in 1967 and became a fellow and director of studies in biochemistry and cell biology. He gradually became dissatisfied with current theories of biology. He presented an alternative framework—involving his theory of morphic resonance (explained below)–in his 1981 book A New Science of Life, which Maddox, in a now-famous Nature editorial, called “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.”
Sheldrake, undaunted, went on to write more popular books, including Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999), The Sense of Being Stared At (2003), Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (1994) and, most recently, Science Set Free (2013). The latter calls on modern science to shed its restrictive materialism and reductionism, advancing some of the same arguments that philosopher Thomas Nagel does in his recent book Mind and Cosmos (which I reviewed here).
The reason I’m telling you about Sheldrake is that less than two months ago, we were both speakers at a festival in Hay-on-Wye, England, and were put up in the same boarding house. (I participated in several sessions at the festival, including one about Big Data that I reported on here.) I spent lots of time talking to Sheldrake during the festival and after it, when we spent an afternoon tramping around a heath near his home. (I also met Sheldrake in 1997 at a scientific reception in London, but we only spoke briefly.)
Sheldrake is terrific company. He is smart, articulate and funny. He does a hilarious imitation of the late psychedelic scholar Terence McKenna, his friend and co-author, whom I met in 1999 and profiled here. There is an appealing reasonableness and gentleness in Sheldrake’s manner, even when he is complaining about the unfairness of his many critics.
He possesses, moreover, a deep knowledge of science, including its history and philosophy (which he studied at Harvard in the 1960s). This knowledge—along with his ability to cite detailed experimental evidence for his claims–make Sheldrake a formidable defender of his outlook. (For more on Sheldrake’s career and views, see his website, http://www.sheldrake.org.)
At one point Sheldrake, alluding to my 1996 book The End of Science, said that his science begins where mine ends. When I asked him to elaborate he said, “We both agree that science is at present limited by assumptions that restrict enquiry, and we agree that there are major unsolved problems about consciousness, cosmology and other areas of science… I am proposing testable hypotheses that could take us forward and open up new frontiers of scientific enquiry.”
Since its original publication in 1949, In Search of the Miraculous has been hailed as the most valuable and reliable documentation of G. I. Gurdjieff's thoughts and universal view. This historic and influential work is considered by many to be a primer of mystical thought as expressed through the Work, a combination of Eastern philosophies that had for centuries been passed on orally from teacher to student. Gurdjieff's goal, to introduce the Work to the West, attracted many students, among them Ouspensky, an established mathematician, journalist, and, with the publication of In Search of the Miraculous, an eloquent and persuasive proselyte.
Ouspensky describes Gurdjieff's teachings in fascinating and accessible detail, providing what has proven to be a stellar introduction to the universal view of both student and teacher. It goes without saying that In Search of the Miraculous has inspired great thinkers and writers of ensuing spiritual movements, including Marianne Williamson, the highly acclaimed author of A Return to Love and Illuminata. In a new and never-before-published foreword, Williamson shares the influence of Ouspensky's book and Gurdjieff's teachings on the New Thought movement and her own life, providing a contemporary look at an already timeless classic.
Artist: The Contrarian
Track: Dweller on the Threshold
One of the greatest American filmmakers, television director, visual artist and musician is David Lynch. Lynch is an advocate of the use of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in bringing peace to the world. His passion to help students learn the TM techniques has launched the David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and Peace. In this video, David Lynch answers a couple of questions on his understanding of how TM can affect creativity and overall learning and expansion of the human mind.
In June, 1936, while a new railway was being constructed near the city of Baghdad workers uncovered an ancient tomb. In the excavation that followed it was determined that the tomb was built during the Parthian period which ranged from 250 BCE to 250 CE (+/-).
According to most texts the "voltic pile," or electric battery, was invented in 1800 by the Count Alassandro Volta. Volta had observed that when two dissimilar metal probes were placed against frog tissue, a weak electric current was generated. Volta discovered he could reproduce this current outside of living tissue by placing the metals in certain chemical solutions. For this, and his other work with electricity, we commemorate his name in the measurement of electric potential called the volt.
The little Parthian jar found in ancient Western Iranian territories of Greater Iran (now Iraq), suggests that Volta didn't invent the battery, but reinvented it. The jar was first described by German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig in 1938. The jar was found in Khujut Rabu just outside modern Baghdad and is composed of a clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Sticking through the asphalt is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. When filled with vinegar - orany other electrolytic solution - the jar produces about 1.5 to 2.0 volts.
The jars are believed to be about 2000 years old from the Parthian period (The third Iranian dynasty ruled roughly 248 BCE to 28 April CE 224), and consist of an earthenware shell, with a stopper composed of asphalt. Sticking through the top of the stopper is an iron rod. Inside the jar the rod is surrounded by a cylinder of copper. Konig thought these things looked like electric batteries and published a paper on the subject in 1940.
World War II prevented immediate follow-up on the jars, but after hostilities ceased, an American, Willard F. M. Gray of the General Electric High Voltage Laboratory in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, built some reproductions. When filled with an electrolyte like grape juice, the devices produced about two volts.
- See more at: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/parthian_battery.php#sthash.rhDwkDA2.dpuf
by Woodhouse Creative
Official selection of 2011 Fargo Film Festival
Vimeo Staff Pick
Inspired by Arthur Machen's short story, "The White People"
SOURCE: PBS NEWSHOUR
The skeletal remains of a 13,000-year-old teenage girl pulled from an underwater cave below Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula provides fossil evidence for a persistent, but mostly resolved question on the descendants of early Americans.
Native Americans and the earliest American skeletons, known as paleoamericans, have markedly different faces, skulls and teeth, which has raised questions about their origins, and whether their ancestors traveled along separate migration routes. But most geneticists agree that Native Americans descended from Siberians who traveled to America via a land bridge over the Bering Strait toward the end of the last glacial period. This study supports that. An alternative theory suggests they had different ancestral origins, possibly in southeast Asia, Europe or Australia.
By studying the mitochondrial DNA from the girl’s wisdom tooth — that’s genetic material inherited from the mother — researchers have determined that she derives from the same genetic lineage as early Native Americans, and likely descended from those who crossed the Bering Strait.
The girl, along with at least 26 animals, many of them now extinct, including Saber Tooth tigers, giant ground sloths and cave bears, were found in the cave, after possibly plunging down the 100-foot trap to their death. It’s like a tar pit without the tar, said Jim Chatters, an archaeologist and paleontologist and lead author of the paper. Researchers believe her broken pelvis is a result of that the fall.
"One of the most profound advances in science in recent years is the way researchers from a variety of fields are beginning to formulate the problem of consciousness in mathematical terms, in particular using information theory. That's largely thanks to a relatively new theory that consciousness is a phenomenon which integrates information in the brain in a way that cannot be broken down. Now a group of researchers has taken this idea further using algorithmic theory to study whether this kind of integrated information is computable. They say that the process of integrating information is equivalent to compressing it. That allows memories to be retrieved but it also loses information in the process. But they point out that this cannot be how real memory works; otherwise, retrieving memories repeatedly would cause them to gradually decay. By assuming that the process of memory is non-lossy, they use algorithmic theory to show that the process of integrating information must noncomputable. In other words, your PC can never be conscious in the way you are. That's likely to be a controversial finding but the bigger picture is that the problem of consciousness is finally opening up to mathematical scrutiny for the first time."
The Plato’s Cave allegory explained using graphics from The Legend of Zelda.
Ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s Allegory of the Cave explains human perception with a hypothetical of man living in a dark cave and only experiencing shadows of the real world.
The Allegory of the Cave, compares “…the effect of education (παιδεία) and the lack of it on our nature”…
Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
Westinghouse is a feature-length documentary about the life and times of George Westinghouse, his companies, legacy, personality, partnership with Nikola Tesla and conflict with Thomas Edison.
George Westinghouse is considered Americas greatest industrialist and the only man who would go up against Thomas Edison, and win.
His victory over Edison during the Battle of the Currents set the stage for the entire future of electric power. The Westinghouse air brake is considered one of the most important inventions in history.Automobile shock absorbers, railroad signaling and the modern day weekend all owe their existence to the man who Andrew Carnegie called A genius who cant be downed.
Artist: Active Child
Track: Hanging On
Album: You Are All I See
Video director: T.S. Pfeffer & Robert McHugh
This section is dedicated to all the brave Persian women that were wisely running the country for thousands of years. In Persia, women enjoyed a level of gender equality unmatched even to this day! Female emperors ruled over the many dynasties of the Persian Empire. Many ancient Persian cities and states were ruled by women and had their army totally under control of female commanders. The significant role of women in Ancient Persia both horrified and fascinated the ancient Greek and Roman male-dominated societies. Women in Persia were very honored and revered, they often had important positions in the Courthouse, Ministries, Military, State and Treasury Department, and other official administrations. Persian queens had large private estates and personal armies. Recent works on the role of women in ancient Persia show great participation by women in all facets of life beyond imagination, indicating not only their autonomy and independence, but the existence of an equal social system which accepted the authority and independence of women. The fortification tablets at the Ruins of Persepolis also reveals that men and women were represented in identical professions and that they received equal payments as skilled laborers and that gender was not a criterion at all (unlike our modern world). New mothers and pregnant women even received wages far above those of their male co-workers as gratitude. There is much evidence that the principles of Zoroastrianism lay the core foundation to the first Declaration of Human Rights in the Persian Empire set by Cyrus the Great since the rulers of Persia were Zoroastrians and relatively liberal and progressive.
It is essential for Women to know and understand their glorious history of the past, because without it, they will not be able to plant their place in the future. Our so called civilized modern world still has a long way to go in terms of gender equality. Freedom & Equality does not come free and no one will ever deliver it to us in a silver platter. We must build relationships that are unimpeded by gender-based distinctions and discrimination.
Most scholars today agree that women internationally step by step became second rate citizens and lost all their power, autonomy, independence, rights and consistently assigned a passive role in the society as soon as Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and especially Islam) became widespread. The gendering of those religions is oppressively male . The creator in Genesis is presented as an Old Male Sovereign Outsider who relate to the world by way of command. It is a male story of power, a story of hierarchical command and control. Religious discrimination against women is still alive and thriving! The texts of the Torah, Bible and Quran preach discrimination against women, degradation and subjugation of women, and even violence against women! They teach that women are not only inferior, but also must obey men, because “God” tells us that men are their masters (justifying all manner of religion-justified nastiness directed against them). In other words, the texts of these so-called “holy books” systematically ensure a second-class status for women . (Mothers of Creation, who make up a little over half of the world’s population).
Artist: Blackbird Blackbird
Video directed by Samuel Pressman