Cultural flux

Fascinating. The Daily Mail tells us that ‘reasonable force’ is back in British schools. The Holocaust and the Crusades are out. We are again in a ‘state of flux’, shall we say.

Marvellous, innit. ”You can’t confiscate me mobile cuz it infringes me civil rights to peaceful ownership” and “I don’t get to learn about wholesale massacre on the grounds of religion ’cause the Muslims are told it didn’t happen, innit.” Don’t get to learn about the Crusades either, ’cause the imams tell ’em all different stuff to what we learn about.”

We might remember what the Daily Mail said about Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany “The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage….. the number of aliens entering the country through back doors is ­ a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed” Daily Mail, 20 August 1938.

Or, going back further “They fought, they jostled to the foremost places at the gangways.. …When the Relief Committee passed by they hid their gold and fawned and whined in broken English asked for money for their train fare.” Daily Mail, February 3rd, writing about Jewish immigrants in 1900.

H’m….The image is of a medieval birch, used for chastisement.

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Beetlejuice and God

I seem to have found myself enmired in apologetics recently. Does God exist and would he prefer Coke to Pepsi? Nothing wrong with that. A more esoteric chain of reasoning crossed my path recently. Betelgeuse, in Orion, whose name is derived from the Arabic for “Ibt al Jauzah” (the Armpit of the Central One) is one of the brightest M-type stars in Earth’s night sky, yet having a density approaching that of a vacuum, hence being nothing more than a cloud of nebular dust. Why then does it glow so brightly? Some allege that ‘it’s God’, perhaps not realising that the thing has a maximum radius the size of the orbit of Neptune. Thus, not much stuff per cubic metre but a shedload of cubic metres, making up to 17 solar masses’ worth, hence lots of stuff and able to burn. Some apologetics is like that. Short on information, long on flawed reasoning. I was going to include an image, but the prettier ones were just concentric orbits of orange and yellow,rather like a streetlamp in thick fog, plus a scale, so I thought it better to leave a massive amount of not much to your imagination.

Towards Understanding

Pessah again. JP informs me that we celebrate, if that’s the right word, two Pessah anniversaries from 64 years ago- the discovery of LSD’s potency by Dr. Albert Hofmann, and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The true meaning of the Pessah Holy Day, Zman herutenu, is “the Season of {our} Liberation.” The former is an archetype of the liberation of the psyche, the latter a real, hard struggle for liberation against flesh and blood oppressors.
A Jewish commentator writes:

The first accidental absorption of lysergic acid diethylamide-25, and then, three days later, the first conscious ingestion of a minute quantity (250 micrograms) of this chemically synthesized psychoactive substance, have had, through its subsequent manufacture and distribution, a transformative psychological, social and cultural influence on the world.

Not all users experience the same effect. For some, it has been a spell-binding journey of kaleidoscopic colours and spiritual exultation, while for others it has been a visit to an abyssal of despair and depression. The human psyche is a delicate mechanism, an arena where powerful internal forces strive for dominance and control, conceptually little different from the paradigm of dominance represented by Nazi Germany. The uprising, although unsuccessful, punctured the myth of Aryan invulnerability and changed the course of the war.

Aldous Huxley described one function of the brain as a filter, one which consistently screens input and prevents overload. Chemical imbalance causes a shifting, or, in kabbalistic terms, an excess of light for the strength of the vessel, a crisis which can cause a shvirat hakeilim, or shattering. Rather different to me getting smashed to see the colours all those years ago. The brain imports 100kbits per second of processable information, of which less than one twenty-thousandth is conscious or sentient in the form of concept, image or feeling. Chemical stimulation lifts the sensory barrier, resulting in a tsunami of new information, opening the doors of perception wider. William Blake wrote, “When the doors of perception are cleansed, everything will appear as it is, infinite.” Struggle widens perception, it would seem.