29 November 2008

Beyond light & dark (Grant)

The aim of the initiate is to penetrate to the other side of the Tree of Life so that he passes between light (LUX) and dark (NOX). How then do things appear? They do not. When all objectivity is dissolved in the Night of Time, the Night of Pan, and even the Nox of Kali, the subjective universe does not remain, for the one is a function of the other and they cannot exist apart. Entry into the Mauve Zone, behind the Veil of Daath, strips the magician of his subjective self. What remains is not any thing, but rather the source of every thing, which must necessarily be no-thing. At this stage Magick is left far behind and Mysticism begins, and the experiences that occur to the Mystics are unintelligable to those who have not passed beyond the veil. Some do return from the Mauve Zone and they sometimes endeavor to point out a way. For this supreme Experience, or Experiment, all veritable religions are a preparation.

-- from Hecate's Fountain (Kenneth Grant)

19 November 2008

How the brain decides

In making a decision, our brains operate like a bookie's computer, weighing the actions of others in the same way that we learn from our mistakes in order to calculate the odds, according to a recent study. Neuroscientists observing brain activity in a group of volunteers say the results challenge conventional theories about how and where decisions are formed in the brain.

Earlier research on the neural mechanisms of decision-making found that the brain processes two separate streams of data: one is based on our own experience and our record of success or failure in similar circumstances, based on trial and error; the other flows from the fact that we are social animals, and that we are influenced by what others do and say. Most scientists had assumed that the neural underpinning of this second kind of learning was more complex than the first, but the new study suggests that in both functions, the brain uses the same basic computational mechanism.


14 November 2008

Creative (dis)order

To choose order over disorder, or disorder over order, is to accept a trip composed of both the creative and the destructive. But to choose the creative over the destructive is an all-creative trip composed of both order and disorder. To accomplish this, one need only accept creative disorder along with, and equal to, creative order, and also willing to reject destructive order as an undesirable equal to destructive disorder.

-- from Principia Discordia (Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley) orig. pub. 1965

13 November 2008

Body's decline starts with brain

How fast you can throw a ball or run or swerve a steering wheel depends on how speedily brain cells fire off commands to muscles. Fast firing depends on good insulation for your brain's wiring. Now new research by neurologists at UCLA suggests that in middle age, even healthy people begin to lose some of that insulation in a motor-control part of the brain, at the same rate that their speed subtly slows. The research points to another reason to stay physically and mentally active: An active, exercised brain may detect fraying insulation quicker and signal for repair cells to get to work.


07 November 2008

The life of sorcery

The magical life demands the abandonment of comfort, conventionality, security and safety -- for competition, combat, extremes, and adversity are needed to produce higher resolutions for personal evolution. An air of desperation is required in a life lived close to the edge. One must be living by one's wits. In a stagnant environment the body-mind creates its own adversity -- disease and fantasy. Only in extremes can the spirit discover itself. A fluid environment is required as a vessel for magical consciousness. Only a fluid environment can conform to beliefs about it and be subject to the subtle magical forces.

-- Carroll, Liber Null

03 November 2008

Thin line between love & hate

Love and hate are intimately linked within the human brain, according to a study that has discovered the biological basis for the two most intense emotions. Scientists studying the physical nature of hate have found that some of the nervous circuits in the brain responsible for it are the same as those that are used during the feeling of romantic love, even though love and hate appear to be polar opposites. But one major difference between the two seems to be in the fact that large parts of the cerebral cortex (associated with reasoning) become deactivated during love, whereas only a small area is deactivated in hate. "This may seem surprising ... But whereas in romantic love, the lover is often less critical and judgemental regarding the loved person, it is more likely that in the context of hate the hater may want to exercise judgement in calculating moves to harm, injure or otherwise exact revenge," a professor involved in the study said.


01 November 2008

Om-ing at Beth Israel Hospital

A foundation run by fashion designer Donna Karan (founder of the DKNY clothing label) has donated $850K for a one-year experiment combining Eastern and Western healing methods at Beth Israel Medical Center. The Karan-Beth Israel project combines yoga and meditation with modern scientific procedures such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy to enhance the healing of people with various types of cancer.