Archive for the 'Religion & Spirituality' Category

Through the looking glass: The case against reality…

When reality is hard to swallow, remember, this scientist says that the world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality at all…

 

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From The Atlantic,

 

The Case Against Reality
A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.
by Amanda Gefter

 

As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.

 

Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.

 

Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. On one side you’ll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a three-pound lump of gray matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to first-person conscious experience. This is the aptly named “hard problem.”…

 

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Steal this book, and you might be cleft by a demon sword

Libraries of the Middle Ages — a great setting for a dark mystery…

 

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From Atlas Obscura,

 

Protect Your Library the Medieval Way, With Horrifying Book Curses

Medieval scribes protected their work by threatening death, or worse.

by Sarah Laskow

 

“In the Middle Ages, creating a book could take years. A scribe would bend over his copy table, illuminated only by natural light—candles were too big a risk to the books—and spend hours each day forming letters, by hand, careful never to make an error. To be a copyist, wrote one scribe, was painful: “It extinguishes the light from the eyes, it bends the back, it crushes the viscera and the ribs, it brings forth pain to the kidneys, and weariness to the whole body.”

 

Given the extreme effort that went into creating books, scribes and book owners had a real incentive to protect their work. They used the only power they had: words. At the beginning or the end of books, scribes and book owners would write dramatic curses threatening thieves with pain and suffering if they were to steal or damage these treasures.

 

They did not hesitate to use the worst punishments they knew—excommunication from the church and horrible, painful death. Steal a book, and you might be cleft by a demon sword, forced to sacrifice your hands, have your eyes gouged out, or end in the “fires of hell and brimstone.”…”

 

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Forbidden Fruit: The Occult History of Apple-Bobbing

Here’s some occult trivia with which to wow your devilish hoard on this All Hallow’s Eve….

 

From Munchies.com,

 

We Spoke to a Druid About the Occult History of Apple-Bobbing

 

By Nick Rose

 

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“The apple, for all of its wholesome goodness, has a bit of a dark past.

 

The forbidden fruit at the root of humanity’s falling out with God is often illustrated as an apple. Cut an apple in half, and you will find a five-pointed star, or pentagram, often associated with Satanism and the occult. More recently, apples have been used in metal videos to convey images of creepy paganism.

 

Today, most trick-or-treaters who get apples are unaware of their dark past and discard them immediately, presumably because of their lower sugar content than the rest of their loot. Instead, we mostly enjoy them dunked in caramel or bobbed from huge vats of water by children with tied-up hands, in the popular Halloween ritual known as apple-bobbing.

 

And while apple-bobbing is widely considered to be a fusion of Roman and Celtic pagan traditions, there is evidence that the custom goes back way further, and some believe that it was part of an elaborate human sacrifice ritual…”

 

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