Thursday, October 28, 2004
Science, Transcendent
As mentioned in my last post on this blog, the Science/Transcendence relationship presents our first challenge to understanding the nature of the ontological perspective I am trying to unfold. In order to move our understanding forward, it is necessary to introduce another triplet.

First, an aside. Previously, I used the term triumvirate to describe these related concepts. I must now apologize, as that word selection was intended only to avoid the need to introduce two terms from diametrically opposed religious perspectives in a single post. The word isn't very satisfying, since it has overtones of governance that don't seem appropriate in this context. The word I would prefer these triplets to be referred to as is trinity. Henceforth, this will be my term of choice.

Now I believe introductions are in order.

Our third trinity is that of Body, Mind, and Spirit. This introduction is somewhat isomorphically pleasing. If there is to be some guiding principle that allows us to unite our ontological disjoint, then a metatrinity seems just the thing. Aesthetics aside, this trinity is necessary in order to make sense of the relationships already discussed, as well as to prescribe the solution to the problem posed..

The very nature of Science deals with the underlying principles of the physical world in which we live. Attempts to introduce more abstract belief systems into science are categorically met with ridicule and outright derision: it is unlikely that you will see a glowing review of The Physics of Immortality in a scientific journal. From the perspective of Science, it would be perfectly fair to say that it has transcended the Spirit. Spirits, after all, are the ultimate chimerical concept, remaining by definition undetectable and immeasurable (despite the claims of some proponents in the field of Kirlian Photography).

Examining the relationship of Science to this latest trinity, the most obvious correlation is with the concept of Mind; after all, the Mind is the primary tool through which Science is advanced. However, this observation misses an important point: the "Mind", while less chimerical than the Spirit, is still shrouded in a cloud of Science whose basis is often questionable, and certainly not subject, in toto, to rigorous scientific examination. Science, it would seem, is ground firmly in the realm of the Body, whose physical nature is both unique and perfectly suited to scientific scrutiny. This, I believe, is the root of the problem.

As a species, we are uniquely qualified to reason at a level that allows us to derogate critical aspects of our existence; even those aspects directly responsible for this ability are subject to this capacity. Science, in extremis, relegates our existence to a complex collection of chemical reactions: nothing more, nothing less. It is this perspective that destroys both Religion and Magick. It is this perspective that must change.

Hopefully I have set the framework upon which the rest of the posts in this series will be based. We will, in turn, examine the two remaining relationships (Magick/Infancy and Religion/Ego), and their interactions with this final trinity. Armed with the knowledge we gain, we will then move on to the ultimate goal: a reconciling perspective that allows us to see all these relationships through a single, unified perspective.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Where Has the Magic Gone?
When broaching a subject whose theme smacks of the occult, the author must either be especially sensitive to the needs of their audience, or especially unconcerned with their reaction. Since either option fits me quite nicely, I will leave this ponderous issue behind, and allow its implications to serve as sufficient warning for those able to receive them; those without such capacity are unlikely to be impacted by the message anyway.

It has often struck me, like a bad case of heartburn, how jaded I have become as time passes over my body and soul. I look about, desperately seeking the spark that once ignited every everything I did with passion, but am left with naught but the glowing embers of glory past. Don't get me wrong-- I still consider myself quite capable and successful. It's just that the cause, the modus operandi, seems less inspiring than before. As is normal in the topsy-turvy world that serves as my perspective, I began to reflect on this issue a while back, and have stumbled upon an interesting premise that bears consideration.

I have always believed that the influencing forces in our universe are cyclic, and operate at a variety of levels, impacting their environment in similar ways. It is part of the nature of discovery to realize that two seemingly disparate observations are part of the same motive force, different not through cause, but through the observed effect. Such, I believe, is the case previously mentioned under consideration-- and magic is the key. Not the Lance Burton, Siegfried and Roy kind of illusion, but magic with a capital "m". In order to differentiate, I will refer to this force as Magick in this post, without deference to or acknowledgement of any group that might feel inclined to accept that spelling as endorsement of their perspective. Magick, after all, should be above that.

Magick is, undoubtedly, a significant aspect of mankind's history. Shamen, witchdoctors, and mystics have played an important role in our past. It is also without question that the conscious influence of Magick has declined, supplanted first by religion, and more recently by science, as the dominant framework of mankind's perspective. Magick, Religion, and Science form an ontological triumvirate through which all of human history can be examined. Further, their relationship is relatively linear, with each influence slowly taking over from its predecessor.

There is another triumvirate, related to the introspective ontology of self. Called (among other things) the stages of life, I will use the labels Infancy, Ego, and Transcendence, though other labels have been applied (including the tangled instance of Hinduism). These too are relatively linear, suggesting a potential correlation with the aforementioned ontological triumvirate.

Examining this relationship further, it seems that there is conflict. The Magick/Infancy relationship is deceptively simple. Science/Transcendence is problematic only if you refuse to believe modern dogma-- though in my view there is something...unsatisfying in the relationship. Finally, Religion/Ego seems nearly contradictory, as despite the effects of interjecting poorly motivated individuals into the mix, religion has in principle been purposefully devoid of ego.

It is my premise that each and every one of these associations is completely valid. Once our perceptions have been adjusted by removing the vicious coupling of our supra- and infra-ontological perspectives, the clarity that this understanding provides is significant. In future posts, I will discuss each of these pairs, as well as my view on how this knowledge can be used to improve our metalogical view. It should be an interesting journey, to say the least. I hope you enjoy it at much as I have.

Friday, June 11, 2004
Organic Architecture
Alexandrian architectural theory points out the difference between architecture that is alive, and architecture that is dead. Having spend most of my life in America, the concept of living architecture seems a bit bizarre.

However, I have, recently, spent some amount of time in England (including at the time of this writing) and have come to discover the meaning behind Dr. Alexander's words.

At first, I was just "impressed" with how the countryside "felt". There was nothing specific to which I could attach such feelings, so I based them on such things as "tourist fever" and "nostalgia". While these were undoubtedly factors in my perception, I have come to realize, on this trip, that it is not the only cause.

This time, armed with the refreshed knowledge of Archtitectural Patterns, I see them often. Just as he says, it is an amazing ability to look at a building and provide a list of a dozen or so patterns that completely describe why the building appeals at a lower level of conciousness. I actually feel sad when I notice a building that fails to achieve the goal ("Oh dear. Plates of glass."). The reason the distinction is so obvious in England is that a number of buildings here were built before the modern "architectural revolution" in which the organic, living architectural patterns were finally defeated.

So, if you ever find yourself in England, or anywhere in Europe, look around. Examine the architecture. You will find an extant model of many of the most effective Architectural Patterns. If you are fortunate enough to live there, appreciate the daily exposure you have to these things; it is, undoubtedly, a part of your environment that makes you special.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Qwan (Unmasked)
I have heard (though I have no real knowledge of this as "fact") that members of many ancient cultures would share their names only with those they trusted. A name is a powerful thing, capable of binding its owner to the will of a possessor. A name is powerful in another way as well: it indicates a personal value, a qualification that the subject is worthy of consideration as a differentiated member of a more general collection of "things".

While I admire the mystic qualities of the indescribable, (such as the proverbial sound of one hand clapping), I must admit that such things, by their very nature, are difficult to discuss. I have found quite the opposite problem with the word "aesthesis", which has a specific meaning, albeit one that is difficult to fathom outside of its Greek philosophical context. Imagine my joy when I discovered a most eloquent description of this term in Christopher Alexander’s "The Timeless Way of Building", a seminal work in the field of architecture.

In this book, Dr. Alexander describes the "quality without a name" that is the quintessential realization of perfect architecture. Many have taken his work beyond the field of architecture, using his "quality" as the driving force for improvement in their fields. This quality (often referred to as "qwan") is precisely what I mean when I speak of aesthesis. Dr. Alexander’s description realizes the challenges of describing this aspect, a challenge I have faced in the past-- but no more, thanks to his outstanding efforts.

I would recommend the book to anyone interested in a spiritual and intellectual journey into the realm of true quality; its expression, realization, and creation. If I have given this quality a name, it is an honor indeed. Regardless, I at least have the ability to provide a reference to what I mean by aesthesis that is both complete and utterly fascinating.

Thursday, June 03, 2004
Qwan Koan
“All that we do, every action we take, is performed within the confines of our space” the master said. The students looked in wonder, and nodded pensively. “How, then, does one create a space in which nothing is possible?” There was a great deal of silence, then one of the students spoke up.

“Master; if one creates a space in which a person has no room, then surely nothing can be done. That is the answer.”

The master nodded, and said “It is a most appealing perspective. Yet how do you prevent the person from thinking about their predicament? For, within their own space, surely this is still possible?”

The student continued: “Then, it is simply a matter of ensuring that the person does not live. In the same space, we need only arrange for their death, and the problem is solved.”

The master said to the student “What you fail to notice is that while it is a final act, death itself is still an action.”

At that time, another student noticed a plant sitting on the table. He lifted it off the table, and dropped it onto the floor. "Look," he said, "I have made a pot in which no plant can live."

The master smiled, and said, "It is just so."

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
A Smile a Day Keeps Depression Away
Hey Hey 16k - Anim by Rob Manuel - Song by MJ Hibbett

I have always considered myself a funny man, though this forum may not serve as the best demonstration. Still, when I find something with an interesting message AND a sense of humor, I feel the need to share. Hence the link.

I vividly remember the 16K days of computing on machines like the Timex Sinclair ZX-80. Programming was a real challenge then, as everything of value had to be done by hand. I soon upgraded to the awesome power of the Commodore 64, and the path of continuous hardware upgrades was started.

Of course, all of this is tangential to the real purpose of this post, which is to share a smile with The Others who experienced the dawn of personal computing. With that said, I am done.

Monday, May 10, 2004
Introductions are in Order
Well, the subject says it all, which isn't much. What are you likely to find here? Technical insight. Delusional ravings of a conservative madman. Game reviews. Maybe even serialized fiction. It's really is hard to tell.

If I grow accustomed to this method of communication, I will likely have to split up the many conversations in my head into a manageable collection. In the process of doing so, subject areas might even gain more general interest than their collective presentation. If that occurs, I apologize in advance. In any case, there ought to be something interesting in this mess. I hope you enjoy finding it.

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