Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celebrity Inquisition

Still from Kubrick film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Image Source: Slums Bowden.

Nothing warms the heart these days like a totally batshit crazy conspiracy theorist, connecting the dots between mass pop culture and the evil, secret cabals which supposedly rule the world.

Conspiracy theorists are the new Millennium's online Van Helsings, self-appointed guardians of the Web's forums, social networks, image-sharing sites and Youtube. The Internet gives them endless varieties of weirdness from which to choose. Lately, they have focused on material pumped out by the American entertainment industry, which is awash in pre-Islamic pagan occult symbols. In fact, one might say that America is the world's biggest exporter of early Near Eastern and Arabian neo-mythologies. But none of these folkloric symbols has any value without the purely American invention of the celebrity inquisition.

China's Year of the Bear?

Bloomberg's William Pesek reports that financier George Soros is predicting a crash of the Chinese economy. Will this be the Year of the Bear in China, rather than the Year of the Horse?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Clay Tablet News Flash

Image Source: British Museum via news.com.au.

At the British Museum, Irving Finkel, the museum's assistant keeper of the Middle East, has deciphered a 4,000 year old clay tablet, on display as of 24 January 2014, which refers to ancient flood preparations. The tablet came to Britain via an RAF airman's Second World War service in the Middle East. The tablet predates Biblical sources by several centuries:
The tablet gives a version of the ark story far older than the biblical accounts, and Finkel believes the explanation of how "holy writ appears on this piece of Weetabix", is that the writers of the Bible drew on ancient accounts encountered by Hebrew scholars during the Babylonian exile [in the 7th-6th centuries BCE].
The tablet originated in Mesopotamia; its 60 lines of text are written in cuneiform:
The text describes god speaking to Atram-Hasis, a Sumerian king who is the Noah figure in earlier versions of the ark story.
He says: 'Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atram-Hasis, pay heed to my advice, that you may live forever! Destroy your house, build a boat; despise possessions And save life! Draw out the boat that you will built with a circular design; Let its length and breadth be the same.'

The ancient Babylonian text describes the ark as a round 220-ft diameter coracle with walls 20-ft high.

According to the tablet, the ark had two levels and a roof on the top.

The craft was divided into sections to divide the various animals into their own sections.

The 60 lines of text, which Dr Finkel describes as a 'detailed construction manual for building an ark', claims the craft was built using ropes and reeds before being smeared with bitumen to make it waterproof.
Because the tablet stipulates that this 'ark,' or 'coarcle' was round, a new unusual detail has been added to the family of flood myths.

Finkel has penned a book and is preparing a television show around his translation of the tablet and the folk memory it relates, The Ark Before Noah (brought to you by the same people who published Teach Yourself: Complete Babylonian). CNN:
The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark. ...

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account ... .

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself. The Bible presents a standard boat shape long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side. The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo. So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was). Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.
Coincidentally, the British Museum translation, book, and Channel Four TV show are being released just before the CGI-300-style, ancient-prepper film, Noah, starring Russell Crowe. The film will premiere on 28 March 2014. See the trailer below the jump. In the same vein, the sequel to 300, which deals with ancient Babylonia in the 5th century BCE, will be released earlier in March.

"Irving Finkel poses with the 4000-year-old clay tablet containing the story of the Ark at the British Museum in London on Friday." Image Source: The Hindu.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Reason, Judgement and the Age of Information

Madonna dressed as the Whore of Babylon and/or Baphomet at the Superbowl half time performance (2012); first depicted on this blog here. Image Source: Reuters via Stuart Wilde.

In the mid-16th century, Martin Luther attacked the use of reason in the absence of faith. He also abhored the idea that reason and faith were at odds. He felt that when reason was used in opposition to faith, reason became the 'Devil's harlot.' When reason was divorced from faith, she could deceive men into believing anything - any terrible idea - while thinking that they were acting with good sense. The famous remark is widely quoted on the Web; from Whole Reason:
Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism …. [Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition, vol. 16, pp. 142-148. (I haven't confirmed the footnote; see a comment about the Erlangen Edition here.)]
A now-common misunderstanding of Luther's argument. Image Source: Ideation.

These comments were part of Luther's attack on what he saw as a resurgence of pagan Aristotelianism in the Catholic Church and the early universities. Today, Luther's attack on faithless reason is often misquoted as an attack on all reason. This misreading supports a contemporary rift between atheism and religion.

The point to this post is not to get into that Millennial feud. Rather, it is to seize on the larger value of Luther's allegory. This larger meaning also appears in the metaphor of the Whore of Babylon. She is described in the Bible as πόρνη (pronounced porna),  which can be translated as 'Idolatress.' Moral failure as it descends into pure evil - symbolized in this misogynistic narrative by a fallen woman - simultaneously equates with bad judgement, intellectual arrogance, and the worshiping of false idols.

Monday, January 27, 2014

20th Century Camera Chronicles

Soldier (1940). Image Source: Art Agenda.

This past week, the BBC World News ran a series on the history of German art, including the photographer August Sander (1876-1964), who chronicled the state of his society before the First World War through the post World War II period.  At this time, the camera was cutting edge technology and Sander aimed to use it to capture his surroundings at that moment. His first collection from 1929 was entitled Face of Our Time. A later series, also from the Weimar period, was entitled People of the 20th Century. Through the thirty-year height of his career, roughly 1910 to 1940, his work shows a huge transformation of German society. By 1945, he had taken over 40,000 photographs of German people.

Sander is considered to be "the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century." To honour his vision and accomplishments, there is a crater named after him on the planet Mercury.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Craigslist's Shades of Grey

The new thing: 50 Shades of Grey Birthday Cake (thanks to -A.). Image Source: Inspire, Design, and Create.

This blog is always in search of the Millennial New Normal, so I thought, recalling this post, that I'd swing by Craigslist and have a look at their best ads. Craigslist is known for veering off the Internet's beaten track, and several MSM outlets, for example here, here, here, and here, have reported on the list's craziest ads. Posted on 15 December 2013, under the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania listings, there is the following disturbing advertisement; it would would make great fiction, not-great Millennial reality:
$40k a year to attend Harvard University as me

You must have either a 4.0 GPA in high school, or a 3.5 or higher GPA from a university to get hired for this.

Your age does not matter, but you must be a male since I have a male name.

I am looking for someone to attend Harvard University pretending to be me for four years, starting August 2014. I will pay for your tuition, books, housing, transportation, and living expenses and pay $40,000 a year with a $10,000 bonus after graduation. All you have to do is attend all classes, pass all tests, and finish all assigned work, while pretending you are me.

You do not need to worry about being accepted, I have already taken care of that.

If interested please email me a little info about yourself, and we can meet in person to discuss further.

When we meet you will be asked to sign a non disclosure agreement, so you can not reveal who I am or any further information, whether you're selected or not.
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • it's ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: $40,000 a year