Free Willy

I downloaded this image of a captive dolphin a number of years ago, can't remember where and can't provide attribution: apologies to the copyright-owner.I downloaded this image a number of years ago, can't remember where and can't provide attribution: apologies to the copyright-owner. Actually it's unclear as to whether dolphins were granted legal personhood status, or whether India "merely" banned the use of dolphins in aquatic theme parks. But whatever happened in reality has no bearing on whether cetaceans are or are not persons, or on how they should be treated. This issue is a great example of the relativity of values and the significance of context. The movie, Free Willy, is about the conflict of values and the impact of that conflict on the life of an orca named Willy. Many humans, including myself, believe that cetaceans are as "personable" as humans.
Free will means you are free to choose to do anything that is within your power to do; to think anything that is in your power to think; to experience anything that is within your power to experience. But the most significant freedom of all is the freedom to define your values, relative to the All, relative to Everything and every thing.

That relativity is inescapable, at least for the likes of you and me. You might, for instance, choose diversity as one of your values, except if you were supplying tomatoes to a supermarket, in which case you would want all your tomatoes to be the same size, weight and color. A supplier of tomatoes to a supermarket would prefer conformity to diversity, at least in relation to supplying tomatoes. To echo the "location, location, location" of realtors: context, context, context!

many, many tickle a parson

The Hand-Writing upon the Wall (1803), James Gillray's caricature of Napoleon in the role of Belshazzar the feast-loving King of Babylon. In Gillray's etching, Napoleon, Josephine, French soldiers and women are seated at a feast-table. Napoleon looks in horror at the hand of Jehovah pointing to words in the sky. In the original Biblical story, on a wall in Belshazzar's palace, god's hand writes a mysterious message: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. The King asks Daniel to interpret the words. Daniel says:
The Hand-Writing upon the Wall (1803), James Gillray's caricature of Napoleon as Belshazzar, King of Babylon. Napoleon, Josephine, French soldiers and women are at the feast-table. Napoleon looks in horror at Jehovah pointing to words in the sky. In the Biblical story, on a wall in Belshazzar's palace god's hand writes the message: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. Daniel interprets for the King: "God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. You have been weighed and found wanting. The kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." In 539 BCE the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great invades Babylon.
In Babylon flowed the rivers of wine
'til one fateful day god put up a sign

The anger of god was expressed on a wall
but Belshazzar didn't get it at all

The King's main pursuits were eating and drinking
but the words on the wall really got him to thinking

He couldn't make sense of what god had in mind
so turning to Daniel said “please be so kind

as to look at that writing and try and explain
the words on the wall that are hurting my brain.”

Now Daniel was sober, he had a clear head
he knew what to say and here's what he said:

“The finger that writes having writ then moves on
here come the Medes and the Persians: you're gone!

“God's run out of patience, he really can't wait
he's given your kingdom to Cyrus the great

“So don't ask a priest or even a parson
too mene mene and tekel upharsin

“For as it is written and so shall it be
Jehovah is jealous and wrathful you see

“He'll smite you and bite you and strike without warning
so swallow ten tablets and call in the morning!”

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the meaning of the meaning of meaning

background graphic by SRS for new blog Pandemonium
Attention all followers of Cosmic Rapture out there (yes, I'm talking to both of you): Pandemonium for dummies is the new blog on the block and you should go there right now and read the latest post, entitled The Meaning of Meaning.

What does that even mean? Unfortunately, you will never understand the meaning of The Meaning of Meaning, because -- as the post quite frankly points out -- there is no meaning, or to be precise: there are no absolute meanings, only the relative meanings we create ourselves as we go along.

I will say though that at least some of the post is Bohring, and that's no spelling mistake. But if all the loyal followers of Cosmic Rapture (yes, both of you) feel they need more information on the meaning of The Meaning of Meaning, here are some key words that may or may not help: "mercurial", "homeostasis", "tectonics", "cabbages", "monadic", "supernovae", "electron" and of course, "Bohring".

the mysterious footnote

First identified during the transition from the Age of Uncertainty to the Era of Error, the Mysterious Footnote* has long been the subject of divellent disquisition among Philologists, Etymologists, Semanticians and other horse-thieves. While the exact date of the Footnote's primordial utilization has yet to be firmly established, experts agree that initial references to it first began to appear during the infamous work-to-rule of the Typesetter's Guild in the Century of Confusion.

Subsequent sightings -- mostly unverifiable due to the Publishers' Prohibition of the early decades of the Dates of Darkness -- are believed to have been registered in the Indices of Indeterminacy produced by licensed nitpickers during the reign of Decimus Dysphemist the Tenth. Although the indices did prompt a revival of interest in the Footnote among doctiloquents in the Academy of Addenda, paleographic speculation was palilalic and pachyglossal.

Established by Decimus as part of his campaign to limit the power of the dittographers, the Academy helped sharpen the focus on the search for the origins of the Footnote. Under the leadership of Oswaldus Ontosophistus, expert peotillomaniacs at the Academy helped relieve some of the rising pressure in the organs of state**.

cosmic schizophrenia

Introducing a new identity, Pandemonium for dummies: a misbegotten mix of epic essays on personhood, pantheism, consciousness, culture and cosmology. And for light relief a pile of dark and wicked fictions: short and sharp as shots of bad whiskey.

When it's fully populated, Pandemonium will have much of the same content as in this blog, but revamped, revised and drastically edited. Pandemonium's skin is the polar opposite to Cosmic's: light not dark, simple not complex and with far fewer Gif files jumping out of the woodwork scaring the bejesus out of anyone foolish enough to visit.

meeting of the mindless

The presenter's voice was low and slow, the soporific drone permeating what remained of Anne's caffeine-deprived consciousness. In the grip of full-blown doodlemania, her glassy eyes stared into her notebook as her pen moved randomly across the page.

Interminable, the presenter's so-called words surged languidly through her skull-case into her soggy brain, the toxic monotony eroding her fragile consciousness:

"...committed to sustainably focus on debottlenecking our key deliverables, empowering and incentivizing optimal customer-facing engagement," continued the presenter, relentless and unrelenting as a tidal bore.

God don't some people just love the sound of their own voice, thought Anne to herself. Death by a thousand powerpoints... but only ninety minutes to go, unless some jerkwad asks a question, which is pretty much guaranteed... The realization multiplied her despair exponentially.

broken on the Wheel (don't lose the keys to your karma)

Lord Yama, the god of death, holding the Wheel of Life (bhavachakra). Sorry but I do not have and could not find any source information for this image. Apologies to the creator. If there aren’t enough bodies for the souls of the dead, the problem is ghosts.

If there aren’t enough souls for the bodies of the living, the problem is zombies.

If there are more dead ancestors than living descendants, the problem is grave.

But there are solutions to these problems, at least in theory.

It’s not true that every body implies at least two others. Sex isn’t the only way to reproduce, though it’s more fun than gene-splicing. Progenitors can and do produce multiple offspring, and are frequently alive during the lifespan of their offspring, though mostly wish they weren’t. And what about weird stuff like in vitro fertilisation, cloning, parthenogenesis, toner-less photocopying, and virgin birth?

evolution, devilution

Devilution of Darwin--animation by MasterymisteryWhy is it that of all the scientific theories, Evolution is the one that unfailingly evokes the most hostility in some quarters?

Newton's laws of motion are taught without any demands for a countervailing 'religious' explanation to be taught alongside. Einstein's theory of relativity is taught and learned by believers and unbelievers alike, and acknowledged as probably the best current explanation for gravity and light, with 'best' meaning 'closest to the mark'. Even Cosmology has achieved a rapprochement of sorts with the mainstream monotheistic religions. (You know things are getting very weird when the Pope buys into the Big Bang.) So what is it about Evolution that is particularly devilish and ungodly?