Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sumerian King List Still Puzzles Historians After More Than a Century of Research

from Out of the many incredible artefacts that have been recovered from sites in Iraq where flourishing Sumerian cities once stood, few have been more intriguing that the Sumerian King List, an ancient manuscript originally recorded in the Sumerian language, listing kings of Sumer (ancient southern Iraq) from Sumerian and neighbouring dynasties, their supposed reign lengths, and the locations of “official” kingship. What makes this artefact so unique is the fact that the list blends apparently mythical pre-dynastic rulers with historical rulers who are known to have existed. 

The first fragment of this rare and unique text, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, was found in the early 1900s by German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht at the site of ancient Nippur and published in 1906.  Since Hilprecht’s discovery, at least 18 other exemplars of the king’s list have been found, most of them dating from the second half of the Isin dynasty (c. 2017-1794 BCE.).  No two of these documents are identical. However, there is enough common material in all versions of the list to make it clear that they are derived from a single, “ideal” account of Sumerian history.

Monday, November 17, 2014

In Defence of Theology

from Theology has been the subject of much bashing by neo-atheists over the past several years. A fresh blog post by Jerry Coyne today seems to encapsulate the essence of their grievance: theology is claimed to be a discipline with no subject of study. Correctly defining theology as "the study or science which treats of God, His nature and attributes, and His relationships with man and the universe," Coyne asks rhetorically: "What good is a discipline that tries to tell us about the qualities of a nonexistent object? It’s as useful as a bunch of scholars trying to tell us about the characteristics of the Loch Ness Monster, or Paul Bunyan." (the hyperlink is mine) Any counter-argument to this is delicate, since it necessarily requires defining the most overloaded word in the history of language — 'God' — in some particular way that many are bound to disagree with. Yet, there are some common attributes almost always associated with 'God,' and 'God' alone: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Thus, it is fair to say that, if one can identify a subject of study for which there is concrete, objective evidence and which incorporates the three attributes just listed, then one will have debunked Coyne's argument against theology. This is precisely what I intend to do in this essay. But in order to make my argument, I first need to take you on a brief tour of a more parsimonious, logical way of interpreting the facts of reality than the materialist metaphysics entails. Bear with me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Delightfully Horrifying Manuscript Illuminations

from Illuminated manuscripts provided the medieval reader-viewer with a rich array of images that often rival those that we encounter on Halloween, from gory scenes of decapitated martyrs or arrow-pierced saints to walking cadavers, creepy spiders, spooky cemeteries, and even witches and ghosts. The images that follow had a variety of functions: some served as moral exemplars, while others instilled fear or terror to inspire pious living, or reminded the living of the fleeting nature of life. Many are full of naturalistic details that heighten the visual experience. Test your artistic acumen: Can you guess which medieval stories and saintly characters these images illustrate, and what they were meant to evoke? 

Read the full article here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

INTERSTELLAR: Secret Revelations of Transhumanism and ‘The Singularity’

from source: Interstellar is a grandiose film about a great number of serious philosophical and scientific concepts.

It’s also about a host other things, such as love, life, mistakes, meaning, etc., so knowing where to start an analysis is a bit challenging, though as many of my friends have said, it seems to be the perfect “
Jay’s Analysis” movie. I concur. Other sites that have posted analyses make the correct point of viewing it as Christopher Nolan’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and while that is fine as far as it goes, it also departs from Kubrick’s film in significant ways. I will go all out on this one like I did with Inception, which is the first analysis to gain a lot of traction – I think I have decoded the real meaning of Interstellar, so stick around for the big reveal at the end…

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Spiritual Secrets of Sound

from If you think of universal reality as a cosmic satellite radio transmission, we are all frequencies that are being picked up from the same transmitter. This satellite radio (aka: God/the Universe/love/all-that-is) offers an endless amount of stations all at once, and you can dial in to any frequency that feels best. Simply put, think of this… just because you may turn to Z100 on the radio dial, it doesn’t mean that HOT97 doesn’t exist, it’s just that Z100 is the particular frequency that you prefer to vibrate on, because this station has the melodies that move you. Others may find their rhythm from different melodies, but all of life is music nonetheless.

Our frequencies in our daily life manifest in what you “frequently see”. Whether through synchronicities, miracles, hardships, or tribulation, there are always valuable lessons to be learned from what you’re attracting in accordance to your vibration. Like moths to a flame, you will always attract situations that are in exact alignment with your vibration, as every person, place, or experience becomes magnetized to you as a mirror to reflect what you’re reflecting. You can learn from the experience and vibrate higher, or these same experiences will continue to manifest themselves until your frequency changes.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Replanting the Wasteland of the Transhuman Agenda

from I know it sounds like something out of a really bad L Ron Hubbard science fiction pulp novel, but if you put together all the scientific research coming out recently, what you're left with is what's known as the Transhuman Agenda. The Transhuman Agenda appears to be a global project of eugenicists to genetically modify humans into something that’s more useful to them, just as they did back in the Neolithic period of history, when they created cows from aurochs, and bred us, by social engineering, into the more cow-like submissive creatures we are today.

However, the difference between now and then is that they now know how to manipulate the human genome itself. Startling evidence about how they intend to manipulate the human species emerged in a news story last week about how
scientists had developed bullet-proof skin by inserting the silk of spider milk into the human genome.

These scientists seem to be acting in an ethics vacuum. Even in the article, there is no mention about how far we should go in making changes to the human genome, especially when those changes are not in the best interests of the human being. The only use for this technology would be to artificially-breed an army of humans with bullet proof skin. Given that the economies of major Western powers are based on arms dealing, then whose side are these bullet-proof humans going to be on? Not yours or mine, that we can be sure of.

It would be interesting to know who funded that research ~ whether it was the Carnegie Institute or the
Rockefeller Foundation who are historically big funders of social engineering projects.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Buddhist Conception of an Ecological Self

from Traditional Buddhist sources have little to say about Nature in the often abstract and romanticized sense in which we use the word today, and still less to say about ecology understood in contemporary scientific terms. Why then is there so much interest in Buddhism among environmental ethicists and activists? And why so much concern for environmentalism among contemporary Buddhists both Asian and Western? In the latter half of the twentieth century the problem of environmental degradation has become increasingly the focus of both philosophers and theologians, many of whom see in this particular manifestation of human delusion a crisis more ethical and spiritual than technological.

As we in the West re-examine our own religious and philosophical traditions, seeking both an etiology and a solution to the current predicament, it is hardly surprising that many have sought to mine the traditions of Asia to see what alternative perspectives they might offer. Buddhism has provided this quest with a particularly rich, if sometimes ambivalent vein of reflections and values, expressing a fundamental attitude of compassion and non-injury, yet also a seemingly anthropocentric perspective in its valorization of human consciousness as a necessary requisite for the universal goal of enlightenment. Clearly Buddhism offers a different approach to the environmental problem, and we—Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike—have only begun to fully appreciate what this tradition can add to current efforts to transform our attitudes towards the world in which we live.