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.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baikonur Soyuz Launch TMA-20M

Image Source: European Space Agency.

On 18 March 2016, a Soyuz spacecraft successfully launched to bring cosmonauts and supplies to the International Space Station. From the European Space Agency:
"Tim Peake, Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko on the International Space Station will be joined by three new astronauts after they are launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today.

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos will begin their six-month mission with a lift off in a Soyuz spacecraft at 21:26 GMT on Friday, March 18 [2016]."
Flight Crest of Soyuz TMA-20M. Image Source: Wiki.

"Soyuz TMA-20M crew patch: The Soyuz TMA-20M patch pays tribute to the origins of heraldry by its use of the classic shield shape. Its fields are divided by band of colors representing the Russian and American flags. The silhouette of a Soyuz spacecraft is at the centre of the shield, which is crowned by an outline of the International Space Station. Three stars against the blackness of space symbolize the three astronauts of the spaceship, while animals feature in the other three quadrants. The black bear comes from the coat of arms of the city of Rybinsk, birthplace of spaceship commander Alexey Ovchinin. This city on the Volga is also the 'capital of barge-haulers,' called Burlaks in Russian. 'BURLAK' is the callsign for the crew of this Soyuz mission. The American bald eagle, carrying the vector from the NASA logo it its beak, represents American astronaut Jeff Williams. The grey crane with its wings outstretched is for cosmonaut Oleg Skripotchka, who used the same bird in the patch of his first flight on board of the first in the current series of Soyuz spacecraft, on this one, the final Soyuz TMA-M."

Video Source: Roscosmos via Youtube.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stains on the Heartland

"A visitor looks on January 20, 2011 at a poster of British band Sex Pistols during the opening of the 'Europunk' exhibition at the Villa Medici, headquarters of the French Academy, in Rome." Image Source: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images via ArtNet News.

The post-recession story of rich versus poor ignores the fact that many purveyors of the story are wealthy. Leading figures in politics, popular entertainment and mass media bank on the 99 per cent by claiming to speak for the counter-culture and capturing its power. While one-third of the middle classes in developed countries are on the verge of falling through the cracks, take note of which self-appointed Robin Hoods are members of the so-called 1 per cent. On 16 March 2016, ArtNet News reported that heir Joseph Corré is asserting his counter-culture credentials by burning his USD $7 milllion punk paraphernalia collection on the 40th anniversary of the rise of punk:
"Joseph Corré, son of queen of punk Vivienne Westwood and Sex Pistols impresario Malcolm McLaren, announced yesterday that he will set fire to his entire collection of punk memorabilia, estimated to be worth about £5 million ($7.1 million).

The bonfire is slated to take place in Camden, London, on November 26, to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols single Anarchy in The UK, off the album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. ...

According to a press release that went out yesterday, Corré, who is the owner of pricey lingerie line Agent Provocateur and, like his famous mom, a political and environmental activist, made the incendiary announcement (pun intended) in response to Queen Elizabeth II declaring that 2016 is the 'Year of Punk.'

'When the Queen gives a fucking nod to punk's 40th Anniversary Year, you know something has gone seriously wrong,' Corré explains.

He goes on to express his discontent with cultural institutions such as the British Film Institute, the British Library, the Design Museum, ICA, Museum of London, the Photographers' Gallery, as well as Rough Trade, and the Roundhouse for running a series of events under the umbrella of punk's 40th anniversary after Punk London received a £99,000 grant from the Lottery Fund.

'The Queen giving 2016, the Year of Punk, her official blessing is the most frightening thing I've ever heard,' he says. 'Talk about alternative and punk culture being appropriated by the mainstream. Rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a fucking museum piece or a tribute act.'

He goes on to warn the public of what he perceives as a plague of complacency. 'A general malaise has now set in amongst the British public. People are feeling numb. And with numbness comes complacency. People don't feel they have a voice anymore. The most dangerous thing is that they have stopped fighting for what they believe in. They have given up the chase. We need to explode all the shit once more.'"
From a friend, -C, who sent the link to the report:
"I find it sweet that the son is 'commenting' on the establishment considering he owns an international luxury brand."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Gilgamesh War Plunder

New tablet from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Image Source: Open Culture.

September 2015 reports confirmed that November 2011 war plunder in Iraq turned up an additional tablet from the Epic of Gilgamesh, adding twenty lines to the fifth tablet of the great story, in which the hero Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu feel guilty about killing the Cedar Forest King, Humbaba. The Cedar Forest is the domain of the gods; the added lines describe the beauty and noise of the forest and the creatures that live there.

The new lines also explain that only after Humbaba is dead do our heroes realize that they made a mistake, and he is more a god-king than a monster. Gilgamesh and Enkidu also kill Humbaba's sons and burn down the forest, and they regret that too. Added to this there is a nuance of wrongful revenge, since we discover that Enkidu and Humbaba were friends in their youths. There is an article about this find from researchers at the University of London, here, in which scholars ponder the epic's famous grasp of human psychology; they especially note its lessons on how heroism and civilization are always built on morally-conflicted destruction of an older order.

Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video (31 July 2015): "Miss Hazha Jalal, manager of the tablet's section of the Sulaymaniyah Museum of Iraqi Kurdistan speaks (using Kurdish language) about the newly discovered tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is housed in the Sulaymaniayh Museum; 'The tablet dates back to the Old-Babylonian period, 2000-1500 BCE. ... It was acquired by the Museum in the year 2011 and ... Dr. Farouk Al-Raw transliterated it. It was written as a poem and many new things this version has added, for example Gilgamesh and his friend met a monkey.'"

Gilgamesh, a mythical hero, was probably based on the fifth king of Ukuk, who reigned at some point between 2800 and 2500 BCE over the ancient city, located in what is now Iraq. In its heyday in 2900 BCE, Uruk was likely the largest city in the world, with a population between 50,000 to 80,000 people. The epic was written between 2150 and 1400 BCE. The story is considered to be the oldest written epic in western literature, and a milestone in the transition from oral to written tradition. For detailed reports, see Open Culture and History Blog.

See all my posts related to the Epic of Gilgamesh.