Sunday, July 5, 2015

Occultist father of rocketry 'written out' of Nasa's history

from Jack Parsons was a founding member of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab, with some crediting him as being one of the "fathers of rocketry" and others joking that JPL was actually Jack Parsons' Laboratory, but you won't find much about him on Nasa's websites. Parsons' legacy as an engineer and chemist has been somewhat overshadowed by his interest in the occult and, and has led to what some critics describe as a rewriting of the history books.

"He's lived in the footnotes since his death. He's a forgotten figure," says biographer George Pendle, author of Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parson (Jack's full name).
Pendle did an "archeological dig" into Parsons' life after finding a mention of him in a science book. "The more I dug, the more bizarre and extreme the story seemed."
In short: Parsons played a critical role in the formation of rocket science and was instrumental in building the rockets that were eventually used in the Space Race. However, he also believed in magic, was involved in the early stages of Scientology and had an extremely colourful sex life. For that reason, Pendle speculates, Parsons' was a figure who didn't fit into the mould of the Industrial Complex. "Wernher von Braun -- a former Nazi -- was much a much easier fit than Parsons," says Pendle. "A lot of people would be shocked to find out that the space programme was founded by a man who held orgies in his Pasadena mansion."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Anatomy of the Deep State

from There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. 

During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: In the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War.
Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country…

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Anti-Theology of the Body

from To ask what the legacy of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body might be for future debates in bioethics is implicitly to ask what relevance it has for current debates in bioethics. And this creates something of a problem, because there is a real sense in which it has none at all — at least, if by “relevance” one means discrete logical propositions or policy recommendations that might be extracted from the larger context of John Paul’s teachings so as to “advance the conversation” or “suggest a middle course” or “clarify ethical ambiguities.” Simply said, the book does not offer arguments, or propositions, or (thank God) “suggestions.” Rather, it enunciates with extraordinary fullness a complete vision of the spiritual and corporeal life of the human being; that vision is a self-sufficient totality, which one is free to embrace or reject as a whole.

To one who holds to John Paul’s Christian understanding of the body, and so believes that each human being, from the very first moment of existence, emerges from and is called towards eternity, there are no negotiable or even very perplexing issues regarding our moral obligations before the mystery of life. Not only is every abortion performed an act of murder, but so is the destruction of every “superfluous” embryo created in fertility clinics or every embryo produced for the purposes of embryonic stem cell research. The fabrication of clones, the invention of “chimeras” through the miscegenation of human and animal DNA, and of course the termination of supernumerary, dispensable, or defective specimens that such experimentation inevitably entails are in every case irredeemably evil. Even if, say, research on embryonic stem cells could produce therapies that would heal the lame, or reverse senility, or repair a damaged brain, or prolong life, this would in no measure alter the moral calculus of the situation: human life is an infinite good, never an instrumental resource; human life is possessed of an absolute sanctity, and no benefit (real or supposed) can justify its destruction.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Entertainment Division of the Military-Industrial Complex

from It was Frank Zappa who said that “Government is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex”. But he didn’t just mean the elected politicians. He meant the whole shadowy apparatus that governs our thinking and which is building to a screaming pitch in 2012 to support the “beyond black” alien agenda at the heart of Western governments.

The seeds of the present conflagration of misinformation and disinformation on the military-owned internet were sown at the beginning of the 20th century by a cabal of occultists, intelligence agents, psychologists, space agency operatives and the CIA.

And a new movie, due out in the autumn and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix, will raise further questions about those relationships … although it probably won’t answer them.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Doors of Precession: Lunar Deities and the Sacred Landscape of the Neolithic Peoples

from The doors of precession were opened by our ancestors eons ago when our deepest sense of the infinite was reaffirmed through scientific observation and the belief in something much larger and more powerful than ourselves. The moon afforded our first glimpses of eternity through careful observation of its changing face. Not only did it act as a guide through the seasons of the year, but miraculously, the moon showed change over longer periods of time. The doors to the precessional cycles of the moon and the stars were accessible and the worship began. Both woman and man became a vital part of the process, and the moon became a symbol of life, death and regeneration. As progenitor of growth, the moon opened the doors to the mystery of time, and the evidence of the moon's power over the ebb and flow of the tides, over the lives of plants and animals, and over the human cycles took definite mythological form.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Is Atheism Irrational?

from We know well atheistic attempts to explain religion away. Marx, for example, claims that religion is the opiate of the people. Religion, Nietzsche contends, is weakness lying itself into power. According to Freud religion is a defensive illusion created in the face of “the crushingly superior force of nature.” As influential as these ideas are, they are little more than guesses based on utter speculation.

Times have changed. From the Agency Detection Device (ADD) to Theory of Mind (ToM), the cognitive faculties involved in the production and sustenance of religious belief are now well known. ADD and ToM, when taken together, are sometimes called “the god-faculty.” The god-faculty produces belief in kin, predators, mates, and enemies, and it produces manifestly false beliefs in such things as ghosts, goblins, and even gods. According to philosopher Daniel Dennett, the god-faculty is a “fiction generating contraption.”

The new science of religious belief inclines some scientists to put on their philosopher caps and opine. Psychologist Paul Bloom contends that religious belief is “an incidental by-product of cognitive functioning gone awry.” Biologist Richard Dawkins claims that “the irrationality of religion is a by-product of a particular built-in irrationality mechanism in the brain.” The psychological impulses that drive belief in God, according to Dennett and Dawkins, reveal God to be an illusion or a delusion.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing

from Those of us who were introduced to the history of moral and political philosophy by students of Leo Strauss -- in my case, Allan Bloom -- would sometimes ask for evidence backing their claim that the great writers of the past practiced a lost art of esoteric writing. The answers we received, I'm sorry to say, were never very satisfying: a scrap of Bacon here, a letter from Diderot there, a passage or two from Plato's Seventh Letter. Surely, so vast a conspiracy must have left a larger mark on Western literary culture? Where were the books and articles that connected all the dots? Without such confirmation, it was hard to dispel the suspicion that it was Strauss's charismatic authority, more than anything else, that confirmed the existence of this esoteric tradition for our teachers.

Here Arthur Melzer finally delivers the kind of work we asked for back then, a book that collects and categorizes the evidence for Western philosophers' use of esotericism. He uncovers no smoking gun, no hidden philosophers' listserv devoted to the dissemination and protection of the secret writer's arts. But he does amass an enormous amount of testimony, testimony from major figures in every age from Classical Antiquity through the Renaissance and Enlightenment, confirming knowledge and approval of these ways of esoteric means of communicating philosophic ideas. Esoteric writing, this testimony makes clear, was no secret. It was a familiar and unremarkable feature of the Western philosopher's intellectual landscape right up to the beginning of the 19th century.