A month on from Frogmass (see http://www.specularium.org/index.php?option=com_blog&view=comments&pid=120 ) and an estimated 10,000+ tadpoles now cruise my pond, grazing on the algae, plus the first of the newts have shown up. Just how many frogs will result from all this I don't know but I guestimate 10 with luck. Each year we see about 8 dragonfly larvae clamber up the reeds in autumn and hatch out of their armor and take wing. The voracious larvae probably account for hundreds of tadpoles each. I don't know which gives me the most joy, the sight of a majestic dragonfly perched on a pole in the sunlight regarding me through its thousand faceted alien eyes, or the surprised and slightly affronted look of a frog disturbed buy the repositioning of a flowerpot.
How many Frogs do we consider a Dragonfly worth?
Milder winters and duller summers in these parts of late may have done something to halt the decline of amphibians but any further lurches of climate bode ill, agricultural yields have fallen worldwide.
Atmospheric CO2 has now just passed the 400ppm mark, at a run, with every indication that environmental catastrophe rather than collective restraint will eventually halt the rise.
How many humans and how much consumerism do we consider the entire planet worth?
Screw the EU
UKIP have made a good showing at the local council elections in the UK. Nobody really wants UKIP local councillors as such; they just want to show the depth of their distaste for excessive immigration and the EU in general. It seems likely that at next years elections for the sham ‘European Parliament’ UKIP will take the majority of UK seats in an historic two fingered ‘Up Yours!’ to Brussels.
After that we will have a UK General Election in which either UKIP or a Conservative party that has adopted a lot of UKIP’s policies will play a strong hand.
So just what does the pro-EU constituency really consist of?
Firstly ‘The Political Class’ itself, it means a gravy train for an ever increasing number of unelected, and unaccountable, and unsackable politicians and bureaucrats as it consists of a Synarchy rather than a Democracy. Failed or retiring politicians dream of sinecures in the EU.
Secondly ‘Big Business’. The regulatory culture of the EU makes life hell for small and medium sized businesses. This suits big businesses fine because they can afford to set up entire departments to deal with the mountains of paperwork and regulation and it seems a small price for them to pay to have competition from medium and small companies eliminated.
Every other constituency seems to hate the EU. Even those who used to vaguely suppose the EU embodied some laudable sort of ‘internationalist principle’ can now see the ugly realities that result from trying to shoehorn different cultures and different economies into a corrupt Synarchist Federation by stealth.
The economic case for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU seems either neutral or positive although big business screams otherwise. Britain runs a trade deficit with the EU; there seems no reason why the EU should cease to trade with Britain, EU countries trade with many countries beyond the EU. Britain’s trade with the rest of the world would undoubtedly improve if freed from regulatory burdens.
The Scottish Nationalist’s position seems particularly daft; they seem to want to quit a British Union that’s prepared to devolve ever more powers to them in favour of a European Union that seeks to remove ever more powers from them.
I've been asked for a few more words about the Apophenia course just beginning on www.arcanoriumcollege.com which you can join anytime this week, so here goes: -
Apophenia means seeing connections between things that most people don't. Thus it can lead to genius or lunacy or both, for the hidden connections may prove true, (for a given value of truth), and/or useful in art, or science, or magic, or if they prove too outlandish they may just create conspiracy theories and religions and other nonsensical merchandise.
Magicians have used apophenia inducing techniques such as sortilege or kabala or the ars cobinatoria of Ramon Lull for many centuries on a rather ad-hoc basis, however in 2005 the attempt by some magicians to directly evoke the phenomenon of apophenia resulted in the surprising Phenomenisation of Apophenia Herself as an Actual Goddess, a sister to the recently revived Eris apparently.
Magicians have the technology and they can call up servitors, daemons, and gods if they want to, and sometimes by accident.
Since then, The Muse of Peculiar Connections has given us more hints on how to invoke Her and to portray Her, and a multitude of strange and unexpected inspirations and ideas. We celebrate her eighth birthday on May 26th and in the run up to that we shall attempt to expand upon her Invocation by practical magic and see what She evokes in us.
And another thing, have you noticed a certain amount of excitement on the physics pages about The 'Causal Entropic Principle'? This somewhat speculative idea suggests (I think) that a system will tend to try and maximise the entropy it can produce in the future over its entire possible path rather than just go for maximising entropy as quickly as possible. In some simple models and experiments this seems to happen. Speculation runs rife that this mechanism could possibly account for the existence of err, life, intelligence, the universe and everything. Calling it 'causal' thus seems a bit odd for it implies that a system can 'know' something about its own future possibilities, or at least get some sort of retro-causal feedback from them.
St George’s Day again and hardly anyone notices, we gave the world Newton, Darwin, and Democracy, plus nearly all of its games and sports, but now British Identity seems to mean little more than A Glorious Past and No Future. The EU State Religion of Political Correctness becomes increasingly enshrined in law and hence as morality, because most people sheepishly believe as commanded. Thus any discussion of why British Identity has no future becomes both futile and illegal. Nevertheless even some economists begin to wonder now if this pocket handkerchief of an island can accomodate any more people on it.
Despite a posh education, neither of my kids seems to know the first thing about the history of this sceptered isle. Well I suppose even if we have lost pre-eminence in just about everything else, Britain still punches well above its weight in Hollywood, dodgy financial services, arms manufacture, and of course Wizardry, Magic and Esoterics, although having said that I’m delighted to invite an American colleague to lecture in our next Semester on Arcanorium: -
Semester 5 Arcanorium College. http://www.arcanoriumcollege.com/
Semester 5. 29th April - 7th June
Fra. Alloy. Into the Dreamlands: Lovecraftian Sleep & Dream Work
Pete. Apophenia 2: Theory and Practise.
Alloy’s Summary: A course on how to explore the Lovecraftian Dreamlands and Mythos Dream Magic. Class will include a variety of techniques for controlling and using the Dreamlands symbol set for dream/sleep and dream-related magic. A familiarity (ideally, fluency) in Lovecraft's Dream Cycle is STRONGLY recommended (links to free versions of all of the reading are available under the College of Mythos Studies sub-forum).
Week One: Dream Journals Week
Two & Three: The Map & The Journey
Week Four: Enemies & Allies – Obtaining Servitors, Wards, and Guides
Week Five: The Work of the Silver Key – Rituals in Dreamspace
Week Six: Great Cthulhu -The Sleeping God
My Summary: As Apophenia's Eighth Birthday falls within this Semester on May 26th I intend to provide an opportunity for participants to do an Apophenia working for inspiration and genius in chosen personal projects, an opportunity to debate the text of the Apophenion book, and also to hold a birthday celebration for the muse Herself.
Plus my Liber Null & Psychonaut and Liber Kaos have now come out as e-books in Italian thanks to the magnificent translation work of a certain bilingual Arcanorian, so it has received expert translation. Unfortunately I cannot read this beautiful language but I may well try singing a few of my rituals in err, sort of ‘Opera Mode’. (In Private!)
Judgement Day, a review, but first its Frogmass!
Spring officially began this last weekend by Chaoist reckoning, for that’s when the pond at Chateaux Chaos filled with frogs. We have about 50 this year for the start of a 24/7 two week non-stop party and shagfest. The ‘music’ gets rather loud in the evenings. They have come in a variety of colours from whitish-yellow through greens and browns to a few that look a bit burgundy.
Let us hope we don’t get a late freeze, the climate seems oddly disturbed; we have just had the coldest Easter in a very long while.
The Science of Discworld 4, Judgement Day, has just appeared, I love this book although I suspect many liberal arts based Pratchett fans may find the extended science sections from Prof Ian Stewart (Maths and Physics) and Dr Jack Cohen (Biology) a bit of a challenge. Pratchett himself weaves an amusingly quirky tale that basically allows the two scientists to let rip with some of the more extraordinary recent developments in our understanding of reality, and an exploration of their strange philosophical implications.
I note with pleasure that the Big Bang hypothesis and the Higgs Boson get treated with a robust scepticism, as do many topics in cosmology and quantum physics. I began to wonder if the morphic fields of The Apophenion and The Octavo have found some resonance in the memesphere.
Margaret Thatcher 1925 – 2013. Our fearless leader passeth…….
I stood to attention and sang Land of Hope and Glory on hearing the news on the radio.
She rescued this country from its slide into a penurious socialist dystopia under the dictatorship of the union barons.
She took back the Falklands and toppled a vile murderous dictatorship, for which the people of Argentina should remain eternally grateful.
She faced down the Soviet Empire and helped to free the peoples of Eastern Europe.
She restored a spirit of enterprise to Britain, I remain forever grateful for the opportunity to participate in that.
Okay, so She did make a few mistakes, the poll tax proved a mean and fatal miscalculation, but Her intuitions about Europe proved correct, what a ghastly shambles that now looks.
Appropriately Her funeral will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral, Britain’s temple to its heroes; Nelson, Wellington, Jellico, Montgomery, they all lie there.
Perhaps I’ll go and line the route in case some protesting Marxists require my attentions.
So at vast expense we now have a rather higher resolution map of the CMBR, the cosmic microwave background radiation, than that already provided by the COBE and W-MAP observations, but still no new real surprises. The false colour map shown vastly exaggerates the minute temperature differences in the CMBR comming in from all parts of the sky, basically it all has a temperature around 2.7 degrees K, give or take a smidgin.
The assertion that this new data further 'confirms' the Big Bang hypothesis rings a bit hollow, (cosmologists seem rarely right but seldom in doubt), it has led to further tweaking of their creaky model with adjustments to the dark matter, dark energy, and inflation parameters. These three fudge factors have become essential to maintain the BB hypothesis, however all three have rather arbitary properties designed to fit the BB interpretations of the observations, and we can find no other evidence for their existence and their supposed properties remain suggestive of Phlogiston, a mysterious invisible substance which temporarily stabilises wrong ideas.
On the other hand if the CMBR consists of trans-antipodal radiation from stars that has become redshifted by the small positive curvature of spacetime and reached thermodynamic quilibrium with the intergalactic medium in a universe that consists of a vorticitating hypersphere, finite and unbounded in space and time, and not expanding; then all the Phlogiston dissapears.
PS, I just found another review of The Octavo, http://runesoup.com/2011/01/the-octavo-a-definitive-review/ wherein lies my book length exigesis of the above paragraph, replete with the maths. Thankyou Gordon.
Habemus Papem, We have another Pope, Francis the 1st. We send our not entirely cordial greetings from Our Pestilence, Pete the 1st, Pontiff of Chaos.
Well they do say young cardinals elect old popes, watch your step mate, take on the Vatican Curia and you may go the way of John-Paul the 1st.
The stygian Vatican stables may prove un-cleanable after the efforts of your predecessor Herr Rottweiller to keep the lid on the filth that accumulated under the nose of his intellectually challenged predecessor, JP2.
A bunch of old men crazed by decades of struggle to maintain celibacy, contra-rational beliefs, and power can still be dangerous you know.
They say you’re a conservative on birth control but that you have a social conscience. A peculiar paradox lurks there. Proliferating population plainly promotes pernicious poverty, but on the other hand poverty does wonders for religion, hence the centre of gravity of Catholicism moves steadily to the poorer global south, whilst it atrophies in the richer industrialised parts of the world.
As the balance of voting power has swung away from the Italian cardinals, we may well interpret the results of the conclave as something of a slap in the face to them, and all the scandals, intrigues, and extravagances they have presided over; from the cardinals in the third world.
They say you took the name Francis in honour of St Francis, patron of Italy, poverty, charity and being nice to animals. (One might never have guessed this by looking at his fabulously opulent basilica in Assisi with its corpulent friars in their expensively tailored habits, free of birdshit.)
Yet you’re a Jesuit not a Franciscan, one of ‘God’s Marines’ as they say in the trade, so we guess not to expect much theological reform or ecumenical effort, but perhaps an attempt to instil some discipline and austerity and some evangelical fighting spirit in the Clergy.
Concerning the credibility of your doctrines you may as well acknowledge that practically none of your congregation in the developed world takes any notice of your doctrines on birth control and sooner or later they will start ignoring it en-masse elsewhere too, although much suffering may ensue in the interim, so you may as well pre-empt this with a bold humanitarian reform now.
We trust that a number of spells placed in and around your new premises by KoC agents last October will prove helpful. Interesting art collection you have there by the way, some of the classical material looked great, but you could flog the ghastly medieval stuff for charity perhaps.
Semester 4 of our 7th glorious year begins TODAY on Arcanorium College. www.arcanoriumcollege.com You can join up for it anytime this week.
Semester 4, 11th March to 19th April
Dave - Chaos in the World: the magic of place.
(A series of exercises and workings to bring out the magic of wherever you are living. Beyond psychogeography, this course culminates in a magical map of your area, and the concomitant increase in magical power and luck. )
Tadhq - Performance Arts, Ritual Magic.
(Join an initiate of both fields to explore and discover the shared story and development of these arts. In this course, we will explore, together, some of the currents and techniques that can inform our praxis. Looking at three masters of Performance Art; Brecht, Lorca and Stanislavski, we will investigate their motivations and process' and how they pursued techniques that conspired to affect and manifest realities - and how we might do the same. Join us on this experimental journey into Art and Arte.)
I'm still wondering why my winter solstice 'Seasonal Greetings' post has attracted fifteen thousand reads and counting. Forces have already moved to protect the power point in Mali, a certain artistic license disguises the precise coordinates of R'yleh. KoC score a hit against arctic drilling for the time being.
Review, and some thoughts for an experiment.
The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake.
I found this book rather disappointing, it seems to contain little that he hasn’t mentioned in his previous books and it has the feel of a career summation by a man disappointed himself that the scientific community has not taken him more seriously. In places the writing seems trite and clichéd and weary.
Sheldrake returns to the theme of crystallography and again makes the point that once a crystal of a novel compound has crystalised, further samples can sometimes seem to crystalise more readily. If this suggests the action of some sort of morphic field at work then it suffers from a falsifiability problem because Sheldrake asserts that morphic fields persist forever once created, so it becomes impossible to ever repeat the experiment with the same, no longer novel, compound.
I’ve always had a problem with the idea of the indefinite persistence of morphic fields. I rather suspect that Sheldrake harbours the belief that they provide some sort of mechanism for life after death.
Sheldrake then goes on to regurgitate familiar material about experiments that show that people seem to have some psychic ability to know when other people stare at them from behind and to guess correctly which of their friends has just rung them on the telephone before they pick it up to answer. Such experiments tend to give results above statistical chance, but not startlingly so.
Sheldrake has written an entire book called The Persistence of the Past.
However such parapsychological results do not seem to find an obvious explanation in terms of morphic fields that persist forever. If thinking about someone creates a morphic field that persists forever then why don’t people who can detect this remain irritated by the gaze or impending phone calls of others for the rest of their lives?
Sheldrake’s assertion that the sequencing of the human genome has so far failed to provide the medical breakthroughs promised remains true, however his further assertion that the genetic code of organisms cannot possibly completely specify their entire physical structure and that they will need additional morphic fields to develop properly seems highly questionable. The human genome has a huge size, we haven’t really decoded it yet, we haven’t the faintest clue what most of it does yet, and we know that chromosomes need the vastly complex environment of the cellular cytoplasm in which to do anything useful, and we haven’t really decoded that yet either.
I propose a fairly cheap and simple experiment to test the persistence of morphic fields.
Set up two chemical laboratories as identically as possible. Have a chemist prepare a warm solution of a completely novel compound; organic chemical compounds would probably prove the easiest option here.
Divide the solution into 2 equal portions and place each under reflux in the separate laboratories. Allow one to cool and record the time to crystalisation. Then allow the other to cool and record the time to crystalisation also.
Keep repeating this experiment until you find a compound that crystalises significantly faster the second time.
Then, and here comes the important bit, when you have a compound that appears to have demonstrated the morphic field effect, boil both samples to re-dissolve the crystals so that none exists and then re-time the crystalisation to see if it depends on actual crystals remaining in existence somewhere.
If this works then you have not only a repeatable experiment, but also, astonishingly, a method of non-local signalling that would have the quantum physicists and cryptographers leaping up and down in ecstasy.