the Myths and Gods of India

30 January 2017

Daniélou, Alain. The Myths and gods of India – the Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism from the Princeton Bollingen Series

ONE: Philosophy

1. the Theory of Polytheism

the Representation of the Transcendent
Transcendent reality is, by definition, beyond the limitations that condition our means of knowledge. Yet, even if we cannot understand its nature, we may indirectly conclude that some form of being beyond the sphere of our perceptions must exist. Whenever he carries any form of experience to its farthest limit, man has a glimpse of an unknowable “Beyond” which he calls divinity. This divinity cannot be grasped nor understood, for it begins where understanding fails, yet it can be approached from many sides; any attempt at understanding its nautre can merely be called a “near approach,” an Upa-nisad. We can only point to the necessity for a substratum, we never experience it directly, although it is ever near; for, at the limit of each form of experience, we apprehend some aspect of it. the more we can seize of the different aspects of the phenomenal world, often apparently contradictory, though which the Divine may be approached, the more we come near to a general, a “real,” insight into the mysterious entity we call God. Read the rest of this entry »

the Biology of Desire

20 November 2016

Why Addiction is Not a Disease



Addiction results…from the motivated repetition of the same thoughts and behaviours until they become habitual. Thus, addiction develops-it’s learned-but it’s learned more deeply and often more quickly than most other habits, due to a narrowing tunnel of attention and attraction.

One: Defining Addiction – A battleground of Opinions

The fact is that we in the West embrace the logic of pigeonholing problems, givin gthem unique names, and finding technical solutions-the more targeted the better-for alleviating them. That is, to a T, the logic of Western medicine.
Here are the specifics. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA-a component of NIH), “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”

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Quantum Physics for Poets

19 November 2016


Chapter 1 – If you’re not shocked, you haven’t understood

Observation and measurement is the ultimate defining activity; the act of measurement itself forces a system to choose one of its various possibilities. In other words, reality is not merely disguised by the fuzziness of an uncertain measurement-rather, it si wrong to even think about reality as yielding certainty in the conventional Galilean sense when one arrives at the atomic level of nature. … The electrons seem eerily to take both paths at once if nothing is watching, but a definite path if someone or something is watching! These are not particles and not waves-they are both and neither-they are something new: They are quantum statesRead the rest of this entry »

Ancestors and Relatives

15 November 2016

Genealogy, Identity and Community

Ancestors & Relatives by Eviatar Zerubavel

Chapter 1 – the Genealogical Imagination

…given the long history of human migrations, we often feel nostalgic about the long-lost time “when place, identity, culture and ancestry coincided.” “Standing on the land that ancestors knew” can thus

produc[e] a sense of genealogical connection that is sometimes explained … as an inexpressible sense of spiritual affinity, and often experienced bodily in “shivers down the spine” and “goose-bumps”… [It] is often imagined as a shared physical experience that links ancestors to their descendants across time

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Mothers of Nations

28 October 2016

Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming and Recovery
Edited by D. Memee Lavell-Harvard and Kim Anderson

I: Healthy Beginnings
1. The Meaning of Motherhood Among the Kabyle Berber, Indigenous People of North Africa

In Europe, for example, we refer to the theory of the Greek philosopher Plato (428/427-348/347 B.C.), which describes man and woman as two parts that originally formed a whole Sphere. This concept of two parts that are complementary has many regrettable consequences on all levels. With this theory of complementarity, a man is incomplete without a woman and a woman is incomplete without a man. In this way, a human being is incomplete or “unfinished” and he always searches for the other half (Makilam 137-138). This theory of complementarity is inherent to patriarchy, and is strange to the Kabyle understanding of gender. Kabyle women and men are seen as complete entities in their own rights, though of the same nature. This explains why a Kabyle woman is never compared to a man. She feels as a part of the female community, which is distinguished from the men’s community. The representation of the human society in the Kabyle mind consists of two communities, but not with complementary gender logic.
Indeed, it is typical for the mother-centered Berber society that women and men work in different fields at different tasks. Like in Native and Mesoamerican societies, the genders in Kabylia have their separate economic sphere and authority–and these do not interfere with one another. Each group works separately, but for the same goal: the continuity of the mother’s line.
Women in Berber society do not want to be men or to take over masculine values, as in patriarchal western societies. A Kabyle woman does not want to be complementary to a man and, we will see later–as a mother–she teaches their daughters an artistic secret script, which is the proof of the honor to be born as a woman. Read the rest of this entry »

Intelligence in the Flesh

17 October 2016

Embodied cognition – the emergent mind

Intelligence in the Flesh by Guy Claxton

1 – Limbering Up – an Introduction

At the heart of this book is an argument: that we neglect our bodies because we underestimate their intelligence. The problem is not that we have become ‘lazy’, or devoid of ‘willpower’. It is a matter of assumptions and values. Read the rest of this entry »

Trauma and Recovery

17 July 2016

Trauma and Recovery – the Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman, M.D.

PART 1 – Traumatic Disorders

Chapter 1 – A Forgotten History


The study of psychological trauma has a curious history—one of episodic amnesia. Periods of active investigation have alternated with periods of oblivion. Repeatedly in the past century, similar lines of inquiry have been taken up and abruptly abandoned, only to be rediscovered much later. Classic documents of fifty or one hundred years ago often read like contemporary works. Though the field has in fact an abundant and rich tradition, it has been periodically forgotten and must be periodically reclaimed.

This intermittent amnesia is not the result oof the ordinary changes in fashion that affect any intellectual pursuit. The study of psychological trauma does not languish for lack of interest. Rather, the subject provokes such intense controversy that it periodically becomes anathema. The study of psychological trauma has repeatedly led into realms of the unthinkable and foundered on fundamental questions of belief.

To study psychological trauma is to come face to face both with human vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human nature. To study psychological trauma means bearing witness to horrible events. When the events are natural disasters… those who bear witness sympathize readily with the victim. But when the traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim and perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides. Read the rest of this entry »