The Somatic Coma

Stigmergy is an interesting phenomenon, and also something very informative to the
understanding of modern human society. In short, it is the appearance of intelligence or coordination based purely on instinctive or automated reaction to an external stimuli; there is not actually a conscious or cognitive decision involved on the part of the reacting organism, or so it is assumed. Ants are one of the best models of the behaviour — they are capable of achieving very impressive feats that look, to the human estimation, like they would require some intelligent decision and coordination to accomplish, be it building bridges, ladders, rafts out of their own bodies,  creating complex tunnel systems within a variety of substrates, or practicing kinds of agriculture.Read More »

A Dancing God

“I would only believe in a god who knew how to dance. And when I saw my devil, there I found him earnest, thorough, deep, and somber: it was the spirit of gravity — through him, all things fall…” —Thus Spake Zarathustra

One should not give much consideration to a “mythology” that does not provoke laughter with some regularity. Myth is — or originally, it was — the story of your blood, the blood of your people, and how it, via its most prominent avatars or champions, has made its way through the world and throughout time. So does the hero, an eponymous ancestor, struggle against and match wits with the best of the non-human powers, be they spirits or flesh-and-blood beasts, forging or negotiating a path forth for his descendants or those of his kin. So does the ancient Trickster, whether as a partly-human ancestor or a totemic creature or power closely aligned with the tribe’s genesis, go about his deeds of fooling the non-human powers in order to (or, at least incidentally) help or uplift the people who cherish his name. And thus the affectionate and filial titles some of these figures will be invoked with — “Father,” “Mother,” “Grandfather,” “Uncle,” “Old Man,” “Elder,” “Auntie,” and so on.
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An Image of Man

It is not unfair to assert almost everything good in Christianity and its reign came from paganism. The pageantry picked up by the Church in the Middle Ages and which served as the cultural glue holding together most communities over its glory days were variously pagan or indigenous festivals, devices, and customs which persisted even after conversion, and, as those customs go, they were largely “practical,” i.e. they made sense of, and were derived from, the relevant world that is the local environment, local circumstances, local history. Thus comes the rich tapestry of various local cultures, cults, and customs throughout the Middle Ages — remnants or the legacy of those who lived by the “heath” and, as such, its biodiversity, which demands different cultures to live amongst it and utilise it. The Church merely inserted some of its cosmopolitan detritus into it all, enough to draw authority and tribute unto itself while generally not provoking the locals too much to protest the mythical redactions and the extra or redirected tier of taxation.Read More »

Know Thyself

What follows are some of my thoughts concerning an article I read some months ago — with the thoughts likewise having being jotted down then, only in a truncated form. The article’s assertions I found very interesting, on a number of grounds. The paper is somewhat renowned in the field of sociocultural anthropology: “Knowledge of the Body” (1983), by Michael D. Jackson, published in the journal Man, 18(2). In it, Jackson details some of the observations he made whilst studying the Kuranko, a tribal people of Sierra Leone (Africa). He especially was concerned with the supposed “symbolic” nature of the Kuranko’s rites and dances, from which he comes to a number of conclusions that I would recommend be read and digested in the original article, which would do it far greater justice that my shorthandedly summarising all of it. I will at length focus on one assertion in particular: that in “preliterate” societies, there is a greater immediacy of the mind with the body and ultimately the environment, and this immediacy results in moral character — morality itself —being regarded as intimately tied to action and the actual structure of the body instead of words, written or spoken. Read More »

Glory is Godhead

“Here, then, on all sides, this irreducible affinity, this tragic proximity between the warrior and death becomes clear. Victorious, he must immediately leave again for war in order to assure his glory with an even greater feat. But in ceaselessly testing the limits of the risk confronted and forging ahead for prestige he invariably meets this end: solitary death in the face of enemies. …There is no alternative for the warrior: a single outcome for him, death. His is an infinite task, as I was saying: what is proven here, in short, is that the warrior is never a warrior except at the end of his task, when, accomplishing his supreme exploit, he wins death along with absolute glory. Read More »

Ireland and Its Discontents: On the “Homelessness Crisis”

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t is saddening and disheartening to hear of the homeless dying on the street, or the dozens of stories of individuals or families on the verge of, or having already gone over, the brink of utter destitution, either in seeking emergency accommodation or in joining the ranks of “rough sleepers.” The oft-cited figure reiterated in numerous editorials from the end of 2017 was at least 5000 adults and 3000 children currently being housed in emergency accommodation. As of January of 2018, one sees the number up to an estimated minimum of 9000. It is nothing new, except to those who momentarily enjoyed the artificial glut of the “Celtic Tiger” — cruel landlords, evictions, and resulting homelessness and destitution has been something of a morbid Irish tradition for a few centuries now. Familiarity, particularly for this, certainly breeds contempt.Read More »