the Globalisation of Addiction

12 February 2017

a Study in Poverty of the Spirit.


the Globalisation of Addiction – a Study in Poverty of the Spirit by Bruce K. Alexander

Part I – Roots of Addiction in Free-market Society

Chapter 1 – Vancouver as Prototype

Despite enourmous efforts, the same great institutions of modernity could not, and still cannot, prevent alcoholism and other forms of addiction from growing and spreading. Neither legal prohibition, moral medicine, scientific medicine, psychoanalysis, Alcoholics Anonymous, counselling, compassionate love, tough love, behavioural managment, acupuncture, case management, therapeutic communities, civil commitment, eastern meditation, behavioural genetics, neuroscience, sophisticated advertising, antagonist drugs, psychedelic drugs, motivational interviewing, community reinforcement, treatment matching, harm reduction, nor any combination of these techniques has come close to overcoming alcoholism or any other type of addiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Resonance: Movement Through Time

20 December 2016

Welcome to theAbyss, where everything congeals in real-time over a few days.

Thinking in terms of resonance between systems, like pendulums, it’s clear.

between people? Well, we do vibrate, and our body carries out countless functions according to time of day (as sensed through light and heat), time of the lunar cycle, time of year. When we converse, I mean engage in a discussion where we are very present, our minds share similar images, and so our minds resonate. (Guy Claxton covers some of this in Intelligence in the Flesh where he describes embodied cognition – whole-body integration). Read the rest of this entry »

Stages of Historical Ages

20 December 2016

Still Riffing as we leap over the Two-Day Abyss

The riff on the Shape of History so far:

As a framing device, the 260-Year historical age continues to structure history – at least as far as the Americas are concerned – continues to resonate with events. As I’ve stated before, this isn’t an underlying “truth” that I’ve discovered, it’s Years of thinking in terms of the waves and cycles of the Maya calendar (and so, theAbysmal), and seeing civilization from their perspective. It has taken years to sink in to this point, where it’s like I’m having a “eureka” moment as these ideas all cohere into a vivid image.

What’s remarkable about all this is that it continues to follow a particular pattern (in my personal life as much as the historical age). And this pattern, time and again, seems to work well with the number 13. Read the rest of this entry »

Stay Golden, Historical Ages

17 December 2016

260 or 256 years? It can be both!

This, apparently, is the riff I’m on as theAbysmal blog is in its last few days. Looking at history in cycles of 260 years, which to the Maya worked out to 256 years 98 Days using their Long Count Calendar. theAbysmal Calendar has a Leap Year Day every 4 years (hint: this year it’s December 19th 2016), and an exception every 128 years when we don’t have the Leap Year Day. This keeps theAbysmal Calendar Year better aligned to the Tropical Year and so the seasons. Two of these exception periods work out to 256 years. Measuring history in 256-year cycles is a way to embed the Leap Year Rule into longer measures of theAbysmal Calendar, and it approximates the Maya cycle as well (falling out of synch by a quarter year every cycle).

Although the 128-Year Leap Year Exception is a function of theAbysmal Calendar, the 260-Year Cycle developed out of the Maya cyclical view of history. It seemed most appropriate to use a calendar developed and used in what was to become the world’s first global city, Mexico City. So, in looking at 260-Year periods of history, most notably the one that has just ended, 1752 to 2012, representing the Industrial Revolution. 260 is a product of two key numbers in timekeeping, 13 and 20. Breaking the 260-Years into 13 periods of 20 Years makes it a little easier to manage in terms of periods, but could just as easily be divided into 20 periods of 13 years. At least with 13 years, we can look at the 20-Year period at the apex (i.e. the central part of the historical cycle). This is 1872-1892 CE.


Imagine each month in the image above as a period of 20-Years. We’re in period 0, Year 4. Period 6, at the apex, represents the golden age of 20 years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Never a Waste of Time

13 December 2016

It’s more about learning that it is about Time, right?

I came across this Johan Galtung fellow while perusing something unrelated, and discovered that he is the latest in a long line of prognosticators who use past behaviour to predict future likelihoods. The short of it is that Galtung’s model puts the fall of the US Empire (not the Republic – at least the continental USA will survive, as did the UK) at about the year 2020 CE.  There are plenty of alternate theories and criticisms. I first came across this idea in depth with Oswald Spengler’s the Decline of the West.

Summing it up (hard to do, it’s quite complex, and I read a simplification of that):
an empire…has a culture of legitimizing a structure of unequal exchange between center and periphery
* economically, between exploiters and exploited, as inequity;
* militarily, between killers and victims, as enforcement;
* politically, between dominators and dominated, as repression;
* culturally, between alienators and alienated, as conditioning. Read the rest of this entry »

theAbysmal Synoptic

7 December 2016

theAbysmal History

theAbysmal Calendar rolled out on December 21st, 2012 CE on the Gregorian Calendar, or of the Maya Long Count Calendar. theAbysmal Calendar doesn’t officially organize years into measures (like decades, centuries), however, I’ve personally been viewing history differently. It’s inspired by Mesoamerican History and Long Counts.

To the Maya 13 and 20 are sacred. Their sacred calendar runs 260 days. The Long Count has a measure of 360 days (tun) which it organizes by measures of 20. This isn’t correlated to the year at all, so it loses 5 days (and the leap year day) against our calendar year. The Maya observed a period of 260 tun, which is about 256 years. In measures of 260 years, I’ve found a few interesting historical periods.

2012 End of Fifth Sun of Maya
1752 British Empire adopts Gregorian Calendar (scientific astronomy) Start of Industrial Revolution
1492 Colon (Spain) discovers Turtle Island, Age of Colonization
712 Umayyad conquest of Al-Andalus (knowledge to Spain)

476 Fall of Western Roman Empire
216 ???
44 BC Julian Calendar

Granted any dates are questionable (see the Lost Millennium), and any events in time and place are arbitrary. Nevertheless, we get to choose which events in our collective history we choose to include in our Great Narrative, and which belong to someone else.

The 260 Years from 1752 to 2012 seems to represent a more coherent arc of historical events than centuries or millennia. In part, this was sparked by watching James Burke’s the Day the Universe Changed. It represents the supercharged lives we developed involving moving to urban environments, city culture, factories, energy, scientific development and definition, to the point where more of us live in cities than not, more of us die from diseases of abundance (diabetes) than diseases of lack (starvation).

The 260 Years prior, from the European discovery of Turtle Island, to its exploration, mapping, colonization and settlement. I don’t know much about history, so I’ve been glancing at it to get a feel for what this chunk represents. The first slaves from Africa arrived in Hispaniola 10 years after Columbus. The exploration by some and exploitation by others and the extermination by yet others is the main story during this.

The reason I’m revisting these two periods is that, if there is indeed anything to this other than an arbitrary narrative (which pretty much sums up all history, although collectively argued or agreed upon). 2017 would be the equivalent of 1497 and 1757. What events happened then that might resonate with what’s happening to us now. I’m trying to break each section into 20-year chunks. Maybe the comparison of 1492-1512, 1752-1772, 2012-2032 might reveal more.

Reaching back, 712-1492 was the Arab influence on Spain, which covers a period of 3 x 260 years.

Out of synch with the above consecutive 260-year periods, from 44 BC – 476 CE works out to 2 x 260 years. 44 BC is the introduction of the Julian Calendar, and 476 is the accepted date of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

I’m not sure what to make of this, but it’s certainly fun to play with.

Here’s Arguelles’ map using the Maya Long Count Dates.


I might try my hand at something similar. The most astounding thing, is that during the central period (baktun) of 394 years or thereabouts, the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tsu, Pythagoras, Darius and who knows who all else walked the earth.

mycelium - theAbysmal Color

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

Read the rest of this entry »