Well, what can I say other than I’m overwhelmed. Thanks so much to everyone here who sent me birthday greetings. Your kindness and generosity are very much appreciated.
I would like to have replied-I hoped to reply-to each of you individually but there are so many and I simply don’t have the time. I had a party last night, a big party in my home with all of my friends and my boyfriend’s friends in attendance. My parents were good enough to make themselves scarce for the… Continue
Guys, a quick note to you all. I tried to message you, but wasn’t able to transmit. Apparently I’m only allowed to message one hundred of you at a time! There is a note also on my page, but this is for any who may have missed that. Anyway, I only come online to respond to a personal attack made against me by the site administrator on the UFO thread. Here is the exchange in question;
Anastasia - as for this topic being a crushing bore,… Continue
I read this in Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy;
Next I examined attentively what I was. I saw that while I could pretend that I had no body and that there was no world and no place for me to be in, I could not for all that pretend that I did not exist. I saw on the contrary that from the mere fact that I thought of doubting the truth of other things, it followed quite evidently and certainly that I existed; whereas if I…Continue
Let me tell you a tale of a tail; that of the Lambton Worm, the most famous of all of the English dragons! This monster was to be found close to Lambton Castle in County Durham, in the north of the country.
According to the story the heir of Lambton was out fishing on the River Wear on a Sunday-cursed be he!-, catching a small newt, which he threw into a well. There it grew and grew, becoming too big for its lair in the Worm Well. It took… Continue
Henry Bergson's seminal Time and Free Will distinguishes scientific knowledge of ourselves from our own experience of ourselves. The division here is between time as a spatial concept, a succession of separate and distinct events, and time as a living experience, a flow or a stream, uniting the present with the past and the future. According to Bergson, this flow resists any kind of measurement. The notion of 'time experience' was to be highly… Continue
There is an interesting paper by Victor Neil in the August 2006 issue of the journal Behavioural and Brain Sciences. The full title is Cruelty's Rewards: The gratification of Perpetrators and Spectators.
In essence it is an overview of cultural practices from the earliest times, focusing on the vicarious enjoyment of cruelty and pain. The capacity for cruelty, and the enjoyment of the suffering of others, is a constant if latent feature of the human psyche. Think of the… Continue
I responded briefly to the ‘End Times Hype’ discussion on the main forum, but thought I would give a little more thought to this whole subject.
Yes, this lemming-like belief that the world, or human civilization, or whatever, has a definite and precise conclusion has been with us for two thousand years or more. To begin with the focus was on the Second Coming; latterly it’s been on all sorts of New Age speculation, usually based on the Mayan Calendar or Nostradamus or similar… Continue
Lev Tolstoy's novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich leaps to mind. Also Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro. This theme might also encompass those who face execution, or are already on their way to the gallows, like Rubashov in Darkness at Noon, or Sydney Carton in a Tale of Two Cities. But the saddest account of a man facing death heroically and with great resolution is depicted in the The Last of the Just, a novel by Andre Schwartz-Bart, which deserves to… Continue
Poor old Eve has, on a point of interpretation, has largely been made to carry the burden for 'seducing' Adam into disobedience. But since they both knew that eating the forbidden fruit was contrary to the command of God, I suppose they must be equally guilty. It was merely a question of whom the serpent approached first. Indeed, perhaps Adam is the more guilty, since of the two he had a longer acquaintance with the law.:))…
I’m completely fascinated by the story of the Wandering Jew, the man who allegedly mocked Christ on his way to the Crucifixion. He was promptly cursed, doomed to wander the earth, without rest, until the Second Coming.
The legend is most likely of ancient provenance, but it first written reference dates to the thirteenth century, to Flores Historiarum, the chronicle of Roger of Wendover, an English monk. In this he is said to have been a shoemaker by the name of… Continue
Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, the Greek goddess of fertility, was obliged to stay in Underworld for part of the year as the wife of the god, Hades, after she ate six pomegranate seeds. To forget her grief, Demeter went into hibernation, bringing on the winter. To aid her sleep she ate poppies. The poppy plant then became one of her symbols, often depicted alongside corn. So, it might be said, winter is a sleep induced by the power of opium.… Continue
Nietzsche once wrote that philosophy is just another form of auto-biography, or words to that effect. This is also true, I suspect, of literature, though some perhaps more than others. I’m thinking specifically of the work of H. P. Lovecraft, which reveals, intentionally or not, so much about him.
Do you know anything of his life, that strange, horribly claustrophobic existence he led with his aunts and his mother, above all, his mother, in… Continue
Penda was king of Mercia, an area comprising the Midlands and most of what is now central England, in the seventh century. A warrior he was also the last of a long-line of great Anglo-Saxon pagan kings, standing, a little like Canute, against the rising tide of Christianity, which had flown over the remaining English kingdoms. After his death at the Battle of Winwead in 655 Mercia was converted to Christianity. An ancient tradition was at an… Continue
I get a little tired, I must admit, by the constant emphasis on all things Celtic. I have not a drop of Celtic blood in my veins. My nation is England. It was made, shaped out of the ruins of a dying Roman province, by a combination of peoples; the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, who came across the North Sea as mercenaries, then as raiders and then as settlers. Without them there would be no England and there would be no English language. It’s time to recognise the… Continue
Most people, if they consider the matter at all, will think of Constantine the Great as the first Christian Roman Emperor, but there is a tradition that this distinction belongs to a third century emperor known as Philip the Arab. This is based on no greater evidence than a report in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History, which the author himself doubts, that Philip attended a Christian service at Easter, after being required by an… Continue
There never was a ‘witch cult’; women and men did not meet to worship ancient spirits. Witches, in simple historical terms, practiced as individuals, or in small groups, attempting to harness the powers of nature, for good or, just as readily, for ill. The idea that an alternative society existed, underground and unacknowledged, that people met in large gatherings or sabbats, in a heretical inversion of the normal order of things, is an illusion born of the Inquisition. If Heinrich Kramer,… Continue
Magpies have been considered ill-omened for hundreds of years now, with records going back to the early 1500s, folk-memory doubtless going back even further than that. The Magpie rhyme, reporting some of these superstitions, dates to the 1780s;
One for sorry
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told.
Irony is an approach to life itself, a particular way of being. Under the influence of Kierkegaard, Richard Rorty, the American philosopher, puts forward the notion that the 'ironist' is able to live life from within, yet always aware that this is only one experience or perspective which undercuts all claim to absolute knowledge. The true ironist, so Rorty argues, must cease to claim the last word. The last word is not at all important. What is important is the effective word. :))
I’ve long had a fascination with Manichaeism, in particular, and Gnosticism in general, ever since I read about the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars, a variation of the two.
Mani, the founder of the religion, grew up in Babylon, then part of the Persian Empire, in the third century AD. He was a member of a Jewish sect known as Elchasaites, also known as the katharei or the ‘pure ones.’ After a series of divine revelations he… Continue
If the Devil has a biography Hell must have a history. Here, below, are some pointers towards its evolution and its chronology. One should only be mindful that I am thinking specifically of Hell in the Abrahamic tradition, not those beyond. And this is history, remember, not theology or apologetics.
Hell, of course, was born of the human, not the divine; born of the conviction that evil should not go unpunished, even if it escapes retribution in life, Hell, it might even be said, was… Continue