Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Pillars of Unbelief - Jean-Paul Sartre

from Jean-Paul Sartre may be the most famous atheist of the 20th century. As such, he qualifies for anyone's short list of "pillars of unbelief."

Yet he may have done more to drive fence-sitters toward the faith than most Christian apologists. For Sartre has made atheism such a demanding, almost unendurable, experience that few can bear it. Comfortable atheists who read him become uncomfortable atheists, and uncomfortable atheism is a giant step closer to God. In his own words, "Existentialism is nothing else than an attempt to draw all the consequences of a coherent atheistic position." For this we should be grateful to him.

He called his philosophy "existentialism" because of the thesis that "existence precedes essence." What this means concretely is that "man is nothing else than what he makes of himself." Since there is no God to design man, man has no blueprint, no essence. His essence or nature comes not from God as Creator but from his own free choice.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office' Recreates a Dark Time in a Laboratory's Past

from An old stucco house stands atop a grassy hill overlooking the Long Island Sound. Less than a mile down the road, the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory bustles with more than 600 researchers and technicians, regularly producing breakthroughs in genetics, cancer and neuroscience.

But that old house, now a private residence on the outskirts of town, once held a facility whose very name evokes dark memories: the Eugenics Record Office.
In its heyday, the office was the premier scientific enterprise at Cold Spring Harbor. There, bigoted scientists applied rudimentary genetics to singling out supposedly superior races and degrading minorities. By the mid-1920s, the office had become the center of the eugenics movement in America.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Eliphas Levi: The Man Behind Baphomet

from Alphonse Louis Constant was born the son of a shoemaker in 1810. At an early age he caught the attentions of a Parish Priest who arranged for Alphonse to be sent to the seminary of Saint Nichols du Chardonnet and latterly to Saint Sulpice. It was here that he studied Roman Catholicism with the intent of joining the Priesthood.

He gave up the collar of Catholicism to become an Occultist in the nineteenth century. Some claim he was thrown out of the Church for his heretical views or as the story goes for “preaching doctrines contrary to the Church.” Before his death in 1875 Levi is said to have reconciled with the Catholic Church and died having received last rites. While alive he followed the esoteric path and adopted the Jewish pseudonym of Eliphas Levi, which he claimed was a Hebrew version of his, own name. Although known for many books on ritual Magic, Levi is perhaps best known for his work regarding the alleged deity of the Knights Templar, the Baphomet.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Intuition: An Essential Element of Mysticism

from In an essay entitled "Perspective: The Importance of Versatility," from the book Awakened Attitude, Gary Stewart has written:
…the Confraternity of the Rose Cross [CR+C], is not supplying us with answers to the questions related to the ontological essence or mystical enlightenment, but rather, it is guiding us in the understanding of mysticism itself so that we may expand our realities to the maximum of our abilities.
He further clarifies that the CR+C "…does not deal with the tarot or other systems such as astrology, etc, for the reason that such systems are not necessary to the essential basics of mysticism."
It is clear that organizations such as the CR+C and OMCE are concerned with helping individuals learn to more directly access illuminating states of consciousness rather than indoctrinating them into specific occult perspectives or rigid schemas of spiritual progress. The development of intuition is therefore an essential element of such approaches, for it is one of the most important and yet most commonly misunderstood means of accessing illumination.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Significance of Studying Ancient History

from When someone asks me what I am researching at university I admit that sometimes I am not all that keen on answering with ‘ancient history’. It’s not because I have any problem with it, I love ancient history in all respects and it will never cease to interest me, but I do know that often people do not understand why one studies it. It doesn’t earn much money for a start. And money has never interested me but to many in today’s society it is unfortunately the be all and end all. So being questioned about a ‘strange’ and ‘illogical’ career choice can be rather trying. Even though there is hardly a point arguing with some people about why ancient history is important in the grand scheme of things I think it is important to know at least personally that IT IS significant to the world. Ok so yes I’m never going to be a millionaire but I’m doing something I enjoy, not stuck in a repetitive job where I want to jump out the window to escape the monotony, and I am contributing to the world whether you think so or not.

So how does ancient history contribute to human knowledge, progression and the future? Well the common answer is that it lets us recognize the mistakes of the past so that we won’t repeat them in the future.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Seven Points of Agreement Between Individuals

from In what follows, underlined words are my modifications to the original (cite given at the end) "Seven Points of Agreement Between Individuals" -- a binding contract entered into by individuals with other individuals so as to create a society within which individual sovereignty is upheld. These agreements are thought by the author of the book within which they appear to formalize the culture of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples.

 "Germanic" is used in the anthropological sense -- that is to say it refers to all pre-Christian northern European peoples, not the modern nation-state.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside

from The master wears an amulet with a blue eye in the center. Before him, a candidate kneels in the candlelit room, surrounded by microscopes and surgical implements. The year is roughly 1746. The initiation has begun. The master places a piece of paper in front of the candidate and orders him to put on a pair of eyeglasses. “Read,” the master commands. The candidate squints, but it’s an impossible task. The page is blank.

The candidate is told not to panic; there is hope for his vision to improve. The master wipes the candidate’s eyes with a cloth and orders preparation for the surgery to commence. He selects a pair of tweezers from the table. The other members in attendance raise their candles. The master starts plucking hairs from the candidate’s eyebrow. This is a ritualistic procedure; no flesh is cut. But these are “symbolic actions out of which none are without meaning,” the master assures the candidate. The candidate places his hand on the master’s amulet. Try reading again, the master says, replacing the first page with another. This page is filled with handwritten text. Congratulations, brother, the members say. Now you can see.