Sunday, July 29, 2018

Converging Toward Catastrophe



In view of present circumstances, talk of “doomsday” and “apocalypse” is cropping up with increasing regularity, even in progressive media not prone to hyperbole. The destruction of world civilization and of life itself are not only thinkable today, but thanks to certain global trends gaining momentum, in the minds of many informed persons, it is starting to appear probable.

A triangle of converging trends--toward climate catastrophe, toward nuclear war, and toward mass social upheaval--is gaining momentum. There is, moreover, no credible idea or plan of how to stop this runaway train. 

The human story may not have a happy ending, at least if the crystal ball you are looking into is made of logic and matters of fact.  An impartial survey of the facts clearly points to steadily increasing global crisis, not least in light of the enormous numbers of uprooted refugees and immigrants and their destabilizing effects. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mind Over Matter and Life After Death




The ultimate triumph of mind over matter would be to survive bodily death. The argument, roughly put: the greater the power of mind over physical reality, the greater the plausibility of survival. In contrast, if our mental states are just byproducts of physical causes, they aren’t likely to survive physical death.  But if our minds cannot be reduced to, or explained by, physical states, surviving death becomes more credible.  Mind may be married to body; but divorce need not mean the death of mind. Sometimes divorce leads to new beginnings. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Transcendent Depravity



I’m drawn to the transcendent in all its forms.  Give me stories of the great athletes of consciousness: mystics, ecstatics, mad lovers; poets, painters, musicians that charge our imaginations and open our hearts.  All these give us snapshots, glimpses of what we could or might be. That’s a bit of upbeat news.  So two cheers for what Mark Twain called the “human experiment.” But what of the third cheer? you ask.  For balance, I feel the need to note the dark side, the monsters and grotesques beside the saints and geniuses.  So alongside the wonders, I collect tales of extreme depravity—shockers that lurk beyond the pale--‘live and learn’ moments.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Levitation: A Huge Challenge to Science



Reading cosmologist Martin Rees’ Before the Beginning, you come away with respect  for the key role of gravitation in the evolution of the universe.  According to Rees, the particular strength of gravity is as it had to be to produce galaxies and the very conditions for life on Earth.  Gravity is the glue of our evolving universe, the fundamental factor of physical reality.

In light of that, the phenomenon of levitation seems all the more interesting. There are many examples and many forms of levitation.  I’ve focused on a well documented case, which includes thirty-five years of reliable eyewitness testimony.  St. Joseph of Copertino’s (1603-1663) frequently observed flights occurred in the complete absence of any known physical force.  That’s a huge challenge to science.

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