765 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2022
    1. Bishop of Thessalonica, Eustathius

      Eustathius of Thessalonica (1115 -- 1195) was a Byzantine Greek scholar and Archbishop of Thessalonica. He is most noted for his contemporary account of the sack of Thessalonica by the Normans in 1185, for his orations and for his commentaries on Homer, which incorporate many remarks by much earlier researchers.

    2. we only see it reflected in the eyes of the old men, white and weak, thin-voiced as cicalas: but hers is a loveliness “to turn an old man young.”  “It is no marvel,” they say, “that for her sake Trojans and Achaeans slay each other.”

      Book 3 of the Iliad,

      And there they were, gathered around Priam, Panthous and Thymoetes, Lampus and Clytius, Hicetaon the gray aide of Ares, then those two with unfailing good sense, Ucalegon and Antenor. The old men of the realm held seats above the gates. Long years had brought their fighting days to a halt but they were eloquent speakers still, clear as cicadas settled on treetops, lifting their voices through the forest, rising softly, falling, dying away ... So they waited, the old chiefs of Troy, as they sat aloft the tower. And catching sight of Helen moving along the ramparts, they murmured one to another, gentle, winged words: "Who on earth could blame them? Ah, no wonder the men of Troy and Argives under arms have suffered years of agony all for her, for such a woman. Beauty, terrible beauty! A deathless goddess-so she strikes our eyes!

    3. Virgil, of a widow’s

      Queen Dido, also known as Elissa, was the legendary founder and first queen of the Phoenician city-state of Carthage. In Virgin's Aeneid, after her husband's death, she fell in love with Aeneas, and suicided when Aeneas left her.

      Dido - Wikipedia

    4. Apollonius Rhodius sings (and no man has ever sung so well) of a maiden’s love

      Apollonius of Rhodes (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος Apollṓnios Rhódios; Latin: Apollonius Rhodius; fl. first half of 3rd century BC) was an ancient Greek author, best known for the Argonautica, an epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece.

      In Argonautica, there's the story of Medea who fell in love with Jason.

    5. “Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow.”

      Morte d'Arthur by Alfred, Lord Tennyson | Poetry Foundation

      To the island-valley of Avilion; Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard-lawns And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea, Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."

    6. the tale of Helen is without a beginning and without an end, like a frieze on a Greek temple

      Helen appeared 6 times in the Iliad.

      1th appearance, she was weaving. 6th appearance, she was at Hector's funeral, ready to return to her ex-husband Menelaus.

      The Iliad doesn't talk about Helen's birth or death.

    7. that there might be a song in the ears of men of later time

      part of Helen's angry speech to her brother Hector, complaining about her husband Paris, in Book 4, around lines 440

      "Hector, you are my brother, and I'm a horrible, conniving bitch. I wish that on that day my mother bore me some evil wind had come, carried me away, and swept me off, up into the mountains, or into waves of the tumbling, crashing sea, 430 then I would have died before this happened. But since gods have ordained these evil things, I wish I'd been wife to a better man, [350] someone sensitive to others' insults, with feeling for his many shameful acts. This husband of mine has no sense now, and he won't acquire any in the future. I expect he'll get from that what he deserves. But come in, sit on this chair, my brother, since this trouble really weighs upon your mind— 440 all because I was a bitch—because of that and Paris' folly, Zeus gives us an evil fate, so we may be subjects for men's songs in generations yet to come." (Book VI)

    8. her who, having never lived, can never die

      Helen is a character of myth, and thus cannot live or die in the way physical humans do.

    9. the Daughter of the Swan

      Leda and the Swan - Wikipedia

      Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces or rapes Leda. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta.

    10. Mary Stuart (Maria Verticordia)

      "Turner of Hearts"

      Mary, Queen of Scots ( December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart, was Queen of Scotland from 14 December 1542 until her forced abdication in 1567.

      Mary had once claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. Perceiving Mary as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in captivity, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth in 1586 and was beheaded the following year at Fotheringhay Castle. Mary's life, marriages, lineage, alleged involvement in plots against Elizabeth, and subsequent execution established her as a divisive and highly romanticised historical character, depicted in culture for centuries.

    11. the Pompadour and the Parabère

      Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, aka "Madame de Pompadour", was a member of the French court. She was the official chief mistress of King Louis XV from 1745 to 1751, and remained influential as court favourite until her death.

      Marie Madeleine de La Vieuville, Marquise of Parabère (1693-1755), was a French aristocrat. She was the official mistress of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, during his tenure as regent of France during the minority of the infant King Louis XV of France. That role made her a well known public figure during the French regency years (1715-1723).

    12. la belle Stuart

      Frances Teresa Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox (8 July 1647 - 15 October 1702) was a prominent member of the Court of the Restoration and famous for refusing to become a mistress of Charles II of England. For her great beauty she was known as La Belle Stuart and served as the model for an idealised, female Britannia.

    13. Fair Rosamond

      Rosamund Clifford (before 1150 – c. 1176), often called "The Fair Rosamund" or the "Rose of the World" (rosa mundi), was famed for her beauty and was a mistress of King Henry II of England, famous in English folklore.

    14. Agnes Sorel

      Agnès Sorel (1422 - 9 February 1450), known by the sobriquet Dame de beauté (Lady of Beauty), was a favourite and chief mistress of King Charles VII of France, by whom she bore four daughters. She is considered the first officially recognized royal mistress of a French king.

    15. Argive Helen.  During three thousand years fair women have been born, have lived, and been loved

      Helen of Troy, in Greek mythology, the most beautiful woman in the world.

      Most of her story comes from Homer's The Illiad, which scholarly consensus mostly places in the 8th century BC, 2700 years ago.

  2. Feb 2022
    1. Tripartite Miracle of Snomis of Feronia

      search turned up no results

    2. the Hubble Effect, the Rostov-Lysenko Syndrome and the LePage Amplification Synchronoclasmique

      Three fictional concepts from the 1964 cosmic horror short story "The Illuminated Man" by J G Ballard.

      “The Illuminated Man” (1964) was apparently the basis for Ballard’s later novel ‘The Crystal World’. It follows a journalist granted access to a mysterious crystalline growth off the Florida peninsula, and the futile resistance of the plants, animals and people against it. One particularly chilling scene depicts a priest marooned in his church, who sacrifices himself to the growth. The style of the story, and the effect of the interminable growth on the characters, reminded me a little of the style and characters in the game ‘Bioshock’, where the societal and physical decline of Rapture turns the inhabitants slowly insane.

      I don't see how it's relevant to cosmology.

    3. CMB as Trauma Map

      The cosmic microwave background, in Big Bang cosmology, is electromagnetic radiation which is a remnant from an early stage of the universe, also known as "relic radiation". The CMB is faint cosmic background radiation filling all space.

      Here, the idea is that the universe suffered a terrible original trauma at the Big Bang, and the CMB can be used as a map to figure out what the traumas of the universe have developed from that original trauma.

    4. Primal Scene

      In psychoanalysis, the primal scene (German: Urszene) is the initial unconscious fantasy of a child of a sex act, between the parents, that organises the psychosexual development of that child.

      The expression "primal scene" refers to the sight of sexual relations between the parents, as observed, constructed, or fantasized by the child and interpreted by the child as a scene of violence. The scene is not understood by the child, remaining enigmatic but at the same time provoking sexual excitement.

    5. What It’s Like to Be

      parody of "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?" (1974)

    1. Summary of the story:

      The world is made of 4 elements: water, fire, air, earth. Humans are made of dust (earth) and petroleum (water), so they could be thought of as merely "dust-soup".

      Other than humans, there are also demons ("Jinn" in Arabic), made of air and fire, living and working on the Outside of human morality and understanding. They are very much on the Outside, which is why they can also be called "xeno-agents".

      One important demon is Pazuzu, the demon of dry winds that blow up dry dust, cause crops to fail, and bring infective particles of plague.

      Pazuzu is by nature destructive, but some humans do communicate with it through magical rituals, in order to redirect its destruction to ends more useful to humans. This makes Pazuzu part of the "Axis of Evil-against-Evil", a group of demons that some humans have historically communicated with (and perhaps worshipped).

      Read for example Pazuzu: Beyond Good and Evil | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

      the relationship between supernatural creatures and humans in the ancient Near East. Although they are often classified as either evil or protective in modern scholarship, supernatural beings in ancient references seem to be presented as largely amoral. Their harmful or beneficial effects could be manipulated: they could be appeased with offerings and incantations, and even directed against each other by a skilled practitioner of magic. Pazuzu, as a powerful demon, was frequently set up as a shield against another supernatural terror: Lamashtu, a female demon with broad and far-ranging destructive powers, especially feared by pregnant women and those with newborns, who were her favored (but not only) victims.

      Statuette of the demon Pazuzu with an inscription | Louvre Museum | Paris

      The inscription on the back of the wings describes the figure's personality: "I am Pazuzu, son of Hanpa, king of the evil spirits of the air which issues violently from mountains, causing much havoc."

      As one example of how one can communicate with the demons, consider "Rammalie", the art of reading the ripples on the sand dunes. The idea is similar to Chinese oracle bone prophesy:

      Diviners would submit questions to deities regarding future weather, crop planting, the fortunes of members of the royal family, military endeavors, and other similar topics. These questions were carved onto the bone or shell in oracle bone script using a sharp tool. Intense heat was then applied with a metal rod until the bone or shell cracked due to thermal expansion.

      It is also similar to haruspicy, which is prophesy by reading the shape of guts of a sacrificed animal.

      Rammalie is reading the mind of Pazuzu by looking at the curvy patterns on sanddunes after the dry wind blows over it. The idea is that, since Pazuzu is the demon of the dry wind, reading the trace of the dry wind allows one to read Pazuzu's mind.

      Moreover, one might even "talk" with Pazuzu by intentionally writing in the sand, arranging sand patterns, and using pebbles and other devices. The dry wind would blow over them and these structures would affect the dry wind's blow, thus "speaking" to Pazuzu.

      The Axis of Evil-against-Evil is very dangerous to humans even if it can be useful. Indeed, the ancient Assyrian civilization was completely destroyed by the demons that its people worshipped and communicated with.

      The "human security system" is fighting a desperate losing battle against all the demons.

    2. Lamassu

      Lama, Lamma, or Lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity.

      Perhaps Lamashtu is meant here?

      Pazuzu has almost always been a talisman, a small portable talisman for protection against illness. In a certain period he was always represented in opposition to Lamashtu, the only demon uglier than he is, who poisoned swamps with typhus or malaria. Pazuzu was the only defense, besides never drinking swamp water. When the symptoms of Lamashtu appeared, a specialist would intervene, carefully using the sacred language to invoke Pazuzu, who would be able to push Lamashtu into hell, freeing the victim.

    3. On

      The following 2 paragraphs are unreadable.

      Don't read them.

    4. extract a wide array of pest-insurgencies from the security system not by possessing it (in the sense of seizing a property from the monopoly of the Divine — for example, the human as belonging to God), but by turning the Divine and its secured properties into intermediate parasites (pimps) for incoming diseases

      The demons are not trying to steal humans from God or humanity. Instead, they are trying to make humans into a common property for all demons to use.

      Instead of turning private property into private property owned by a different entity, they want to turn humans into common property.

    5. Leyili and Majnun

      Layla and Majnun - Wikipedia

      Qays ibn al-Mullawah fell in love with Layla. He soon began composing poems about his love for her, mentioning her name often. His obsessive effort to woo the girl caused some locals to call him "Majnun." When he asked for her hand in marriage, her father refused because it would be a scandal for Layla to marry someone considered mentally unbalanced. Soon after, Layla was forcibly married to another noble and rich merchant...

      When Majnun heard of her marriage, he fled the tribal camp and began wandering the surrounding desert. His family eventually gave up hope for his return and left food for him in the wilderness. He could sometimes be seen reciting poetry to himself or writing in the sand with a stick.

      Layla ... eventually died. In some versions, Layla dies of heartbreak from not being able to see her beloved. Majnun was later found dead in the wilderness in 688 AD, near Layla's grave. He had carved three verses of poetry on a rock near the grave, which are the last three verses attributed to him.

    6. chef d’œuvre

      French for "master work". The best work done by an artist.

    7. Rûb-al-Khâlie

      The Rub' al Khali (Arabic for "Empty Quarter") is the sand desert encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula.

    8. In the Middle East, the Arabic word Jin (or Jinn) refers to a race created by Allah prior to the creation of humans, made of fire and thus capable of shape-shifting

      Jinn - Wikipedia

      ... invisible entities in the Qur'an, who roamed the earth before Adam, created by God out of "fire and air"...

      Belief in jinn is not included among the six articles of Islamic faith, as belief in angels is, however many Muslim scholars believe it essential to the Islamic faith. Many scholars regard their existence and ability to enter human bodies as part of the aqida (theological doctrines)...

    9. making the man a traffic zone of sweeping cosmodromic data

      A spaceport or cosmodrome is a site for launching (or receiving) spacecraft, by analogy to a seaport for ships or an airport for aircraft.

      As for what "cosmodromic data" means here, I have no idea. Perhaps it's supposed to mean that the possessed human becomes a "port" where all kinds of demons can visit. Some demons come from underground, some from the sun, some from the empty outer space.

    10. Aisha Qandisha or Aisha Qadisha or Ghediseh

      Aisha Qandisha or Aicha Kandida is the name of a malicious cannibal water jinn in the folklore of Morocco, and was known as a goddess of lust. When luring her human victims she is described as a beautiful young woman, but this enchantment conceals her gigantic size and hideous nature. A predatory being, she lurks on the banks of the River Sebu, around the Aquedal at Marrakech, and sometimes in the Sultan's Palace grounds, awaiting any lone man foolish enough to be taken in by her. Once he has approached her there is no escape, for soon she will reveal her true shape and consume him under the water. She hates humans and if her quarry cannot reach another human or inhabited dwelling in time, he is doomed. Sometimes she may be magnanimous and release back into his world a man who gratifies her willingly, laden with rich gifts.

    11. The human defense mechanism is the most consistent entity on this planet

      aka "Human Security System", the totality of all that keeps humans alive and thriving, and keeps all dangerous entities (like ancient gods, plagues, famines, runaway AI, etc) from appearing and destroying humanity.

      It includes the electric grid, the Internet, the academia, the police force, the UN, etc.

    12. West

      Jackson West, or "Colonel West", is basically the same character as Mr Kurtz in Heart of Darkness and Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

      Like them, Colonel West is disappointed by the timid philosophy of his supervisors, thinks that a more cruel and brutal method is necessary for "winning", leaves western civilization, and becomes a successful warlord.

    13. Tell-Kuyunjik

      "tell" means "mound"

      Mound of Kuyunjik is the archeological site of ancient Assyrian Nineveh

    14. Egyptian Anubis and the dead.

      Anubis is the Greek name of the god of death, mummification, embalming, the afterlife, cemeteries, tombs, and the Underworld, in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a man with a jackal head.

    15. Humbaba’s labyrinthine face (with unicursal human entrails as the beard) recalls the early art of Haruspicy (divination using the liver or entrails) in ancient Mesopotamian cultures, later developed by the Etruscans.

      the demon Humbaba (Huwawa), who was a monster featured and slaughtered in the Epic of Gilgamesh. This example of his features was used in the interpretation of omens. The convolutions of the mask represent the intestines of a sheep examined for divination.

      Humbaba/Huwawa - ProQuest

      Writing on a terracotta plaque in the British Museum (cat. no. 127), Sidney Smith interpreted its inscription as an explanatory caption that identifies the grotesque face on its other side as that of Humbaba. The text reads:

      If the coils of the colon resemble the head of Huwawa, [this is] an omen of Sargon who ruled the land. If [the omen is] for a poor man, the house of the interested party will expand. [Written by] the hand of Warad-Marduk, diviner (bārû), son of Kubburum, diviner.

      The sinuous lines that make up the face on the front of this plaque clearly recall the convolutions of the small intestine. When taken together with the text inscribed on the back, it is irresistible to link this distinctive appearance with the persona of Humbaba

    16. Ugallu

      Ugallu, the "Big Weather-Beast", was a wolf-headed storm-demon and has the feet of a bird who is featured on protective amulets and apotropaic yellow clay or tamarisk figurines of the first millennium BC but had its origins in the early second millennium.

      He was one of the class of ud-demons (day-demons), personifying moments of divine intervention in human life.

    17. Evil-against-Evil

      Pazuzu the demon is by nature destructive to human endeavors, but its destructive energy can be redirected with the right magical occult rituals. Pazuzu might even be redirected to fight other evils, making it "Evil-against-Evil".

    18. apotropaic

      "Intended to ward off evil"

    19. Al Azif

      original Arabic name for the Necronomicon, a fictional tome of forbidden knowledge first mentioned in the short story The Hound written by H. P. Lovecraft.

    20. crypto-vermiform

      "hard to see, but worm-shaped"

    21. These four wings render the demon a perfect vehicle for carrying pestilential particles (Namtar) and delivering them to their destination without delay, always promptly on time.

      In short, 4 wings means that this demon of the winds can fly really fast and spread disease really fast.

      Perhaps another way to think about it is to imagine the demon as a giant insect, since insects have 4 wings.

    22. remiges

      Flight feathers (Pennae volatus)[1] are the long, stiff, asymmetrically shaped, but symmetrically paired pennaceous feathers on the wings or tail of a bird; those on the wings are called remiges (/ˈrɛmɪdʒiːz/), singular remex (/ˈriːmɛks/), while those on the tail are called rectrices (/rɛkˈtraɪsiːs/), singular rectrix.

    23. disseminator

      "high disseminator": (Epidemiology) A person who is a carrier of a highly virulent and easily transmissible pathogen. For example, Typhoid Mary.

      here, it's also a pun, as "disseminator" has as its word-root "semen".

    24. The Exorcist

      Pazuzu is a fictional character who is the main antagonist in The Exorcist horror novels and film series, created by William Peter Blatty. Blatty derived the character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, where the historic Pazuzu was considered the king of the demons of the wind, and the son of the god Hanbi.

      In The Exorcist, Pazuzu appears as a demon who possesses Regan MacNeil. Pazuzu is often depicted as a combination of animal and human parts with his right hand pointing upwards and his left hand downwards. He has the body of a man, the head of a lion or dog, eagle-like taloned feet, two pairs of wings, a scorpion's tail, and a serpentine penis.

    25. dust, which is qabbalistically equal to No God (=100)

      Gematria is the numerological practice of assigning a numerical value to a name, word or phrase according to an alphanumerical cipher. A single word can yield several values depending on the cipher which is used.

    26. Assyrian axis of Evil-against-Evil

      axis of evil: Iran, North Korea, and Iraq

      The phrase "axis of evil" was first used by U.S. President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, less than five months after the 9/11 attacks, and often repeated throughout his presidency, to describe foreign governments that, during his administration, allegedly sponsored terrorism and sought weapons of mass destruction.

      The Axis of Evil-against-Evil: no idea, but the original book says:

      Economically compacted as the Axis of Evil; an experimental project on occultural weaponry and strategic weapons which finally led to the total annihilation of the Assyrian civilization as well as its neighbor empires.

    27. xero-informatic Abomination or Dust

      xero: "dry"

      xero-informatic: "to read dry winds and desertification as if it's a message, sent from something intelligent"

    28. Pazuzu

      Pazuzu is an Assyrian/Babylonian demonic god of devastating dry winds. He was most popular in the first millenium BCE Mesopotamia.

      He was a demon of the underworld (where all demons were thought to reside) in control of the west and south-west winds which brought famine during the dry season and, in the rainy season, tearing storms and locusts. As he was the force behind the destructive winds and their threat, he was also considered the best defense against them. Similar in this way to the Egyptian god Set, prayers to Pazuzu were intended to divert his natural inclination...

    1. the ton

      "The ton" was Britain's high society during the late Regency and the reign of George IV, and later. The word means, in this context, "manners" or "style" and is pronounced as in French ([tɔ̃]). The full phrase is le bon ton meaning etiquette, "good manners" or "good form" – characteristics held as ideal by the British beau monde.

    1. the Marquis of Avonshire, who, as you know, killed his wife’s traducer years ago, and went to Australia where he did not long survive his wife.”

      traducer: one who slanders another by making malicious and false statements.

      Here, Mr Constance is exposed as the "Marquis of Avonshire", who faked his own death and took up the name of Constance and is hiding here.

      Somehow, Mr Wilde knew it.

    2. as Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium writhed in the throes of Anarchy, while Russia, watching from the Caucasus, stooped and bound them one by one.

      Anarchism was popular in the 19th century. Two temporary successes included the Paris Commune (1871, France) and the Spanish Civil War (1936--1939).

    3. the Indian problem

      By the 1880s, Indian reservations were interfering with western expansion, and many Americans felt that the only solution to the “Indian Problem” was assimilation of Native Americans into Euro-American society. The Government set a dramatic new policy under the Dawes Act dissolving tribal ownership of reservations into individual allotments for Native American ownership.

    4. Norfolk

      Most likely Norfolk of Virginia of USA, not Norfolk of UK.

    5. The war with Germany, incident on that country’s seizure of the Samoan Islands, had left no visible scars upon the republic

      In reality, rivalries between US and Germany was settled by the 1899 Tripartite Convention in which Germany and the United States partitioned the Samoan Islands into two: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States (Tutuila in 1900 and officially Manuʻa in 1904) and is today known as American Samoa; the western islands, by far the greater landmass, became known as German Samoa.

    6. “Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la nôtre .mw-parser-output .nowrap,.mw-parser-output .nowrap a:before,.mw-parser-output .nowrap .selflink:before{white-space:nowrap}. . . Voilà toute la differénce.”

      “Let's not make fun of fools; their madness lasts longer than ours. . . That's the whole difference.”

    1. drawing-room

      A drawing room is a room in a castle where visitors may be entertained, and a historical term for what would now usually be called a living room

    2. Voltaire

      The Château de Voltaire is located in Ferney-Voltaire (Ain) in France, close to the border with Switzerland and the city of Geneva. It was Voltaire’s home between 1761 and 1778. It was listed as a historical monument in 1958 and acquired by the French State in 1999.

    3. this lake

      Lake Geneva

    4. Rousseau

      Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic, and educational thought.

    1. Horace Walpole

      Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717 -- 1797), Member of Parliament.

      Now remembered for his novel The Castle of Otranto (1764), which is generally considered the first gothic novel.

    2. chaotic visions of William Blake

      Blake wrote many terrifying, Biblical poems. One scholar describes his overarching theme as:

      "nothing outside man [is] worthy of respect. Nature is miserably cruel, wasteful, purposeless, chaotic, and half dead. It has no intelligence, no kindness, no love and no innocence".

    3. Ossian

      Ossian is the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson, originally as Fingal (1761) and Temora (1763).

    4. Smollett’s Adventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom

      The Adventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom is a novel by Tobias Smollett first published in 1753.

      The central character is a villainous dandy who cheats, swindles and philanders his way across Europe and England with little concern for the law or the welfare of others.

      The novel's elements of terror and the supernatural have caused some historians of English literature to describe it as anticipating the themes of the Gothic novel.

    5. the witch-hunting crusades of James the First

      James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625.

      James's visit to Denmark, a country familiar with witch-hunts, sparked an interest in the study of witchcraft, which he considered a branch of theology. He attended the North Berwick witch trials, the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act 1563. Several people were convicted of using witchcraft to send storms against James's ship, most notably Agnes Sampson. James became concerned with the threat posed by witches and wrote Daemonologie in 1597, a tract inspired by his personal involvement that opposed the practice of witchcraft and that provided background material for Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth. James personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches. After 1599, his views became more sceptical.

    6. the horrible gruesomeness of Webster

      John Webster was an English Jacobean dramatist best known for his tragedies The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, which are often seen as masterpieces of the early 17th-century English stage.

    7. Wherever the mystic Northern blood was strongest, the atmosphere of the popular tales became most intense; for in the Latin races there is a touch of basic rationality which denies to even their strangest superstitions many of the overtones of glamour so characteristic of our own forest-born and ice-fostered whisperings.

      Curiously, Lovecraft here dismisses the Greek and Roman horror legends, even if there were plenty. Presumably it was out of his personal judgment that those legends were too didactic, too rationalistic, not supernatural enough.

    8. Baring-Gould

      Sabine Baring-Gould (1834--1924) was an Anglican priest, hagiographer, antiquarian, novelist, folk song collector and eclectic scholar.

    9. stealthily handed down amongst peasants for thousands of years despite the outward reign of the Druidic, Graeco-Roman, and Christian faiths in the regions involved, was marked by wild “Witches’ Sabbaths” in lonely woods and atop distant hills on Walpurgis-Night and Hallowe’en

      Probably referring to the Witch-cult hypothesis

      The witch-cult hypothesis is a discredited theory that the witch trials of the Early Modern period were an attempt to suppress a pre-Christian, pagan religion that had survived the Christianisation of Europe. According to its proponents, the witch cult revolved around the worship of a Horned God of fertility, the underworld, the hunt and the hunted, whose Christian persecutors called the Devil, and whose followers participated in nocturnal rites at the witches' Sabbath.

    10. Much of the power of Western horror-lore was undoubtedly due to the hidden but often suspected presence of a hideous cult of nocturnal worshippers whose strange customs—descended from pre-Aryan and pre-agricultural times when a squat race of Mongoloids roved over Europe with their flocks and herds—were rooted in the most revolting fertility-rites of immemorial antiquity.

      Lovecraft is probably referencing some early 20th century anthropological hypotheses. Perhaps The Golden Bough?

      It's hard to understand nowadays.

    11. Because we remember pain and the menace of death more vividly than pleasure, and because our feelings toward the beneficent aspects of the unknown have from the first been captured and formalised by conventional religious rituals, it has fallen to the lot of the darker and more maleficent side of cosmic mystery to figure chiefly in our popular supernatural folklore.

      Because "the bad is stronger than the good", the supernatural is usually associated with horror.

    12. The unknown, being likewise the unpredictable, became for our primitive forefathers a terrible and omnipotent source of boons and calamities visited upon mankind for cryptic and wholly extra-terrestrial reasons, and thus clearly belonging to spheres of existence whereof we know nothing and wherein we have no part. The phenomenon of dreaming likewise helped to build up the notion of an unreal or spiritual world; and in general, all the conditions of savage dawn-life so strongly conduced toward a feeling of the supernatural

      The mental concept of "supernatural" evolved from the long ignorance of ancient humans.

    13. The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to rappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of course these ordinary matters make up the greater part of human experience. But the sensitive are always with us, and sometimes a curious streak of fancy invades an obscure corner of the very hardest head; so that no amount of rationalisation, reform, or Freudian analysis can quite annul the thrill of the chimney-corner whisper or the lonely wood. There is here involved a psychological pattern or tradition as real and as deeply grounded in mental experience as any other pattern or tradition of mankind; coeval with the religious feeling and closely related to many aspects of it, and too much a part of our inmost biological heritage to lose keen potency over a very important, though not numerically great, minority of our species.

      Most of the times, we are stuck with boring daily lives, but sometimes, we are sensitive to supernatural horror, and no amount of rational mental defense can keep us from feeling it.

      This sensitivity is probably biological and ancient, which is why there has always been a significant minority of humans who feel it from time to time.

    14. The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to uplift the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness.

      Fear of the unknown is ancient and persistent. This is what allows supernatural horror to be dignified and profound and respectable.

      Materialists criticize it because it's "supernatural". Idealists criticize it because it doesn't have a practical moral, not didactic.

      Still, for people who are sensitive enough, they will appreciate it.

    1. a facetious little item from the Associated Press, telling what a record-breaking monster the bootleg whisky of Dunwich had raised up

      The reporter thought it was a whisky factory explosion, but it was actually caused by the alien monster summoned.

    1. And there is antique Salem with its brooding years, and spectral Marblehead scaling its rocky precipices into past centuries! And the glory of Salem's towers and spires seen afar from Marblehead's pastures across the harbour against the setting sun.

      Lovecraft wrote in a letter

      Vaguely, "Arkham" corresponds to Salem (though Salem has no college), while "Kingsport" corresponds to Marblehead. (SL III.432)

    2. Charles

      The Charles River (sometimes called the River Charles or simply the Charles) is an 80-mile-long ( km) river in eastern Massachusetts. It flows northeast from Hopkinton to Boston along a highly meandering route, that doubles back on itself several times and travels through 23 cities and towns before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. The native Massachusett tribe named it Quinobequin, meaning "meandering".

    3. It is not over unknown seas but back over well-known years that your quest must go; back to the bright strange things of infancy and the quick sun-drenched glimpses of magic that old scenes brought to wide young eyes.

      see The Silver Key

      When Randolph Carter was thirty he lost the key of the gate of dreams. Prior to that time he had made up for the prosiness of life by nightly excursions to strange and ancient cities beyond space, and lovely, unbelievable garden lands across ethereal seas; but as middle age hardened upon him he felt those liberties slipping away little by little, until at last he was cut off altogether. No more could his galleys sail up the river Oukranos past the gilded spires of Thran, or his elephant caravans tramp through perfumed jungles in Kled, where forgotten palaces with veined ivory columns sleep lovely and unbroken under the moon.

    4. When Barzai the Wise climbed Hatheg-Kla to see the Greater Ones dance and howl above the clouds in the moonlight he never returned

      Described in "The Other Gods".

    5. Zoogs

      They look like rats, with little tentacles extending out of their lips (like a star-nosed mole).

      Zoogs are a race of sentient forest-dwelling creatures that inhabit the Dreamlands of Earth. They are mortal enemies of cats, as they prey upon kittens and are preyed upon in return by adult cats.

    6. Nyarlathotep

      an outer God which once appeared as a "tall, swarthy man" who resembles an ancient Egyptian pharaoh.

      Not very powerful, but quite infamous among humans, because he meddles with human affairs a lot.

    7. boundless daemon sultan Azathoth

      the ruler of the Outer Gods, and may be seen as a symbol for primordial chaos

  3. Jan 2022
    1. R. U. Pickman

      Richard Upton Pickman is a fictional character created by H. P. Lovecraft for his short story "Pickman's Model". He was a renowned Boston painter and photographer notorious for his graphic works.

    2. Dr. Dee

      John Dee - Wikipedia

      English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, teacher, occultist, and alchemist. He was the court astronomer for, and advisor to, Elizabeth I, and spent much of his time on alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy. As an antiquarian, he had one of the largest libraries in England at the time. As a political advisor, he advocated for the founding of English colonies in the New World to form a "British Empire", a term he is credited with coining.

    3. Salem man's library

      Probably the town of Salem, famous for its witch trials.

    4. Olaus Wormius

      Danish physician, natural historian and antiquary

      Ole Worm - Wikipedia

      In reality, he was alive 1588 – 1654, so he could not have written something in 1228.

    5. Theodorus Philetas

      Lovecraft made this one up

    6. Irem, or City of Pillars
    7. Ebn Khallikan
    8. Sanaá, in Yemen

      real city

      Sanaa - Wikipedia

    1. Mira in quibusdam rebus verborum proprietas est, et consuetudo sermonis antiqui quædam efficacissimis notis signat (Seneca, Epist. 81).—TR.

      This stupidly pedantic footnote merely points out that sometimes using the right word is very important and satisfying, for it suggests the right metaphor.

      Starting sentence of Seneca's Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 81, paragraph 9

      There is a marvellously accurate phraseology applied to certain subjects,[5] a long-established terminology which indicates certain acts by means of symbols that are most efficient and that serve to outline men's duties. We are, as you know, wont to speak thus: "A. has made a return for the favour bestowed by B." Making a return means handing over of your own accord that which you owe. We do not say, "He has paid back the favour"; for "pay back" is used of a man upon whom a demand for payment is made, of those who pay against their will, of those who pay under any circumstances whatsoever, and of those who pay through a third party. We do not say, "He has 'restored' the benefit," or 'settled' it; we have never been satisfied with a word which applies properly to a debt of money.

    2. And just as words and verse to the dramatist are only stammerings in a foreign language, to tell in it what he lived, what he saw, and what he can directly promulgate by gesture and music only, thus the expression of every deep philosophical intuition by means of dialectics and scientific reflection is, it is true, on the one hand the only means to communicate what has been seen, but on the other hand it is a paltry means, and at the bottom a metaphorical,[Pg 92] absolutely inexact translation into a different sphere and language. Thus Thales saw the Unity of the "Existent," and when he wanted to communicate this idea he talked of water.

      Good philosophy, such as "Everything is water." satisfies the following criteria:

      • It is not limited to the subjective. It talks about something out there that doesn't depend on humans or the personal feelings. It attempts to be natural and true.
      • It is interesting, and can induce interesting thoughts even if it is wrong.
      • It might be metaphorical, but taken seriously. It might end up being just poetic, but before that, it is treated seriously like a physical theory.
      • It is fundamental, first principles. It is the "physics" in "All science is either physics or stamp collecting.".

      Good philosophy is allowed to jump to conclusions on the weakest evidences, guided by intuitions and contemplations, in contrast to empirical science. It is like Paul Dirac's method in theoretical physics:

      If one is working from the point of view of getting beauty into one's equation, ... one is on a sure line of progress.

    3. sisyphos

      R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a pre-Greek origin and a connection with the root of the word sophos (σοφός, "wise"). German mythographer Otto Gruppe thought that the name derived from sisys (σίσυς, "a goat's skin"), in reference to a rain-charm in which goats' skins were used.

    4. Thanks to governments, churches, academies, customs, fashions, and the cowardice of man, it never gets beyond the sigh: "If only!..." or beyond the knowledge: "Once upon a time there was..." Philosophy is without rights; therefore modern man, if he were at all courageous and conscientious, ought to condemn her

      Nobody takes philosophy seriously anymore, not as serious as the Greeks did. This is bad. We should take philosophy seriously. To do that, we need a healthy culture (like the Greeks' culture), because only a healthy culture can give rise to good philosophy.

    5. It might be added in our case that not one more word, anecdote, or date needed to be transmitted to us than has been transmitted, indeed that even much less might have been preserved for us and yet we should have been able to establish the general doctrine that the Greeks justify philosophy.

      A lot of the Greek philosophy books are lost, but that's okay. We already have more than enough to show that the Greeks justify philosophy.

    1. Let us not pretend to the world that we will eventually have predictive models of biology in the same way we have predictive models of airplanes.

      I bet $100 against you, resolved by 2200.

    2. The equivalent situation in physics would be if physicists started using positively charged electrons as soon as Dirac predicted their existence, instead of remaining skeptical until Anderson found the positron experimentally. This tells us something remarkable. Biology is more theoretical than physics. This is Michaelis and Menten's first lesson.

      Not anymore. Now theoretical physicists talk about quantum loops and strings and such.

    1. Osseological culture should read ‘A digression on Miller’, a chapter from “The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism”, Nick’s textual plague whose curse is unfading

      There is something treacherous about a skull, that most intimate companion, so indifferently adapted to an inorganic regime, so untouched by the disappearance of flesh. It is the natural emblem of piracy, criminality, and cold betrayal. Perhaps everybody occasionally imagines their skull become a paperweight, or (less modestly) a museum exhibit in some distant time. Such thoughts are a little more cynical than those which capture it shortly after interment; a chamber of heaving maggots and filth. One only glimpses its calcic imperviousness by imaginatively stripping it of our rot, ageing it tastefully, polishing it. In the end one comes to feel that it merely tolerates its momentary participation in us, numbly awaiting the cessation of our tedious biological clamour.

    1. credo quia absurdum est

      Credo quia absurdum is a Latin phrase that means "I believe because it is absurd", originally misattributed to Tertullian in his De Carne Christi. It is believed to be a paraphrasing of Tertullian's "prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est" which means "It is completely credible because it is unsuitable", or "certum est, quia impossibile" which means "It is certain because it is impossible".

    1. Chinese censuses show a fall from 120 million to 60 million

      A Chinese legend tells that Genghis Khan once contemplated slaughtering all of China so that it can be wild again and be a better horse grazing ground.

    2. The Arrow

      Jebe

      In 1201, during the Battle of the Thirteen Sides, an arrow wounded Genghis Khan in the neck. His loyal subordinate, Jelme, cared for him. After winning the battle, he asked the defeated to reveal who shot his horse in the neck. This was an euphemism for his own injury in an attempt to conceal his injury or possibly to prevent false confessions. Jirqo'adai voluntarily confessed, and further added that it was Genghis Khan's choice to kill him, but if Jirqo'adai was allowed to live, he would serve Genghis Khan loyally.[6] Genghis Khan valued demonstrated skills by men and their loyalty.[7] He thus pardoned and praised Jirqo'adai in this account. He then gave Jirqo'adai a new name, Jebe, which means both "arrow" and "weapon" in Mongolian.[8]

    1. This is the key to China’s success in mathematics, and why 1.4 billion people can learn how to read and write one of the most byzantine, arcane, ludicrously complicated writing systems on earth.

      Compare with Korea, with the easiest writing system in the world, but still the same extreme authoritarianism, and a somewhat higher highschool suicide rate (due to Korean gaokao stress).

    2. As a result, everyone in China develops informal norms for subverting official rules.

      Chinese adage: 上有政策,下有对策

      "The above has policies; the below has strategic responses."

    1. Everything is slow, little happens. People barely work, they don’t do anything fun or dynamic, they just exist and get by

      This is a close analog to some of the microbes that live with as little power as possible. They do it by being very very slow and zombie like.

      The methanogens, the most stringy kind, uses just 15 zeptowatts per cell, which is just 10 times larger than the theoretical limit of 1 zeptowatt.

      ‘Zombie’ Microbes Redefine Life’s Energy Limits | Quanta Magazine

      members of the team who in 2015 tried to estimate the lowest amount of power needed for life, based on the premise that even deeply dormant cells must repair random damage to their essential molecules to survive. They found that for individual cells, this power minimum hovers around a zeptowatt, or 10−21 watts.

      this underground biome has almost no cell division: Some individual cells down there might be 100 million years old. It also means that in all that time, those cells might not have evolved or changed much at all. It’s a biosphere characterized by stasis.

      Widespread energy limitation to life in global subseafloor sediments

    2. at mid-day, everyone goes back into their huts and lies down and does… nothing

      aestivation!

    1. Ψυχὴ θηβαίου Τειρεσίαο σκῆπτρον ἔχων

      Homer, Odyssey, Book 11, line 90.

      In Book 11, Odysseus visited the underworld where every dead goes (in Greek mythology at that time, there's no heaven or hell, only the underworld). In this book, it is shown that the dead souls have a mute and boring lifeless existence. Achilles tells Odysseus that he'd rather be a living slave than the dead king of underworld.

      Cliffnotes says

      Tiresias observes that one of the gods, the earth shaker (Poseidon), is angry with Odysseus for blinding his son (Polyphemus, the Cyclops) and will cause Odysseus and his men many problems. However, Tiresias reports, the Greeks can get home alive if they use proper judgment and control. Above all, they must not harm the cattle of Helios, the Sungod, no matter the temptation. If they do, Odysseus' men will die. Echoing the curse of the Cyclops (9.590-95), Tiresias warns that Odysseus himself might eventually arrive home, but he will be "a broken man — all shipmates lost" (11.130) and find his household in disarray. Furthermore, the prophet instructs Odysseus that he must eventually pursue yet another quest, carrying his oar inland until he meets a race of men who know so little about the sea that they think the oar is "a fan to winnow grain" (11.146). At that place, Odysseus is to make certain sacrifices to Poseidon. If he follows these and other instructions, Odysseus can live out his life and die in peace. (The journey inland, however, takes place after the events told of in The Odyssey.)

      I'll just quote one paragraph starting at line 90:

      “Then there came up the spirit of the Theban Teiresias, bearing his golden staff in his hand, and he knew me and spoke to me: `Son of Laertes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many devices, what now, hapless man? Why hast thou left the light of the sun and come hither to behold the dead and a region where is no joy? Nay, give place from the pit and draw back thy sharp sword, that I may drink of the blood and tell thee sooth.’

    2. What time the persons of these ossuaries entered the famous nations of the dead,[A 114] and slept with princes and counsellors, might admit a wide solution.

      We might approximately determine when the people, to whom the ashes belonged, died.

      A reference to Job 3:13-15

      For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, With kings and counsellers of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:

    1. Kurtz-gradient

      A Kurtz-gradient is, essentially, a reference to the kind of intensive journey "to the end of the river" undertaken by Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now and its source material, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

      That is, going back to the roots, back to a past that's more primitive, cruel, uncivilized, but also more alive.

    2. holocaust

      Greek for "complete burning". A rare and expensive ritual used by ancient Hebrew people, where they burn a livestock completely for God, who would smell its "pleasing aroma".

    3. A collective becoming-snake of human civilization would be only the first step.

      Nick Land: An Experiment in Inhumanism – Robin Mackay

      a presentation at the conference Virtual Futures in 1996: Rather than reading a paper, in this collaboration with artist collective Orphan Drift, under the name of ‘DogHead SurGeri,’and complete with jungle soundtrack, Land lay behind the stage, flat on the floor (a ‘snake-becoming’ forming the first stage of bodily destratification), croaking enigmatic invocations intercut with sections from Artaud’s asylum poems. In this delirious vocal telegraphy, meaning seemed to disintegrate into sheer phonetic matter, melting into the cut-up beats and acting directly on the subconscious. As Land began to speak in his strange, choked-off voice (perhaps that ‘absurdly high pitched ... tone ... ancient demonists described as ‘silvery,’ which he later reports being taunted by),3 the disconcerted audience begin to giggle; the demon voice wavered slightly until Land’s sense of mission overcame his momentary self-consciousness; and as the ‘performance’ continued the audience fell silent, eyeing each other uncertainly as if they had walked into a funeral by mistake. Embarrassment was regarded by Land as just one of the rudimentary inhibitions that had to be broken down in order to explore the unknown – in contrast to the forces of academic domestication, which normalised by fostering a sense of inadequacy and shame before the Masters, before the edifice of what is yet to be learnt.

    4. In his formulation of ‘neuronics’, Bodkin sought to understand the unconscious as a time-coded spinal memory

      A fictional professor in Ballard’s nover The Drowned World

      The further down the Central Nervous System you move, from the hindbrain through the medulla into the spinal cord, you descend back into the neuronic past. For example, the junction between the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae...is the great zone of transit between the gill-breathing fish and the air-breathing amphibians with their respiratory rib-cages, the very junction where we stand now on the shores of this lagoon, between the Paleozoic and the Triassic Eras. (§3:44)

    5. These two groups of processes transform the surface of the earth and shape the destiny of everything upon it. Their energy sources are, respectively, the sun, and its repressed runt sibling, the inner core of the earth.

      both powered by radioactivity

      Sun's is fusional. Earth's is fissional.

    1. stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are so laden with biopolitical intensity - they threaten to bypass the anthropostructural head-smash that establishes our identity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers.

      According to geotrauma theory, clear and articulate speech, and lawful civilization ("Logos") in general, is a way for earth to repress its Hadean Eon trauma. Sounds that are not clear or articulate threaten to destroy this repression, which is why they are so disconcerting and almost dangerous to civilization.

    2. Barker Numbering

      Worst section in the whole essay in my opinion. A clusterfuck of meaningless and boring numerology.

      Perhaps a good depiction of psychosis. Since the author, Nick Land, used a lot of meth, it is a reasonable hypothesis.

    3. Decadence

      A fictional game invented by the CCRU. It seems to be about numerology, kind of like real life poker games, and Rithmomachy.

    4. Cthelll

      From the CCRU glossary:

      Cthelll: Earth's iron ocean, comprising one third of terrestrial mass, approximately three thousand km below the surface. Intensive megamolecule.

      Cthelllectronics: Auto-engineering pragmatics of anorganic terrestrial intelligence, emergent from the ionic swirls of Cthelll, it intersects with the electromagnetic fields of the technostrata. According to the K-Goths, when the web switches to Cthelllectronics it calves-off into the Crypt.

    5. Beyond the Pleasure Principle

      1920 essay by Sigmund Freud that marks a major turning point in his theoretical approach. Previously, Freud attributed most human behavior to the sexual instinct. With this essay, Freud went "beyond" the simple pleasure principle, developing his drive theory with the addition of the death drive (Todestrieb).

      The most relevant quote from the essay is

      Such external excitations as are strong enough to break through the barrier against stimuli we call traumatic. In my opinion the concept of trauma involves such a relationship to an otherwise efficacious barrier. An occurrence such as an external trauma will undoubtedly provoke a very extensive disturbance in the workings of the energy of the organism, and will set in motion every kind of protective measure. But the pleasure-principle is to begin with put out of action here. The flooding of the psychic apparatus with large masses of stimuli can no longer be prevented: on the contrary, another task presents itself—to bring the stimulus under control, to bind in the psyche the stimulus mass that has broken its way in, so as to bring about a discharge of it.

    6. Erect posture and perpendicularization of the skull is a frozen calamity, associated with a long list of pathological consequences

      Humans have a lot of illnesses due to their bipedalism, such as back pains.

      The eye sockets on human skulls point perpendicular to the line of spine, unlike all quadrupedal vertebrates.

    7. Elaine Morgan

      Aquatic ape hypothesis - Wikipedia

      The hypothesis was initially proposed by the marine biologist Alister Hardy in 1960, who argued that a branch of apes was forced by competition over terrestrial habitats to hunt for food such as shellfish on the sea shore and sea bed, leading to adaptations that explained distinctive characteristics of modern humans such as functional hairlessness and bipedalism.

      Elaine Morgan's 1990 book on the hypothesis, Scars of Evolution, popularized it.

      Most modern paleontologists and anthropologists consider it disproven.

    8. And what is mammalian life relative to the great saurians? Above all, an innovation in mothering! Suckling as biosurvivalism. Tell me about your mother and you're travelling back to K/T, not into the personal unconscious.

      Freud's psychoanalysis states that adult psychology is based on child and infant experiences. Thus, he would sometimes start his therapy with "tell me about your mother".

      Barker pushes one step further, and asked, "What are child and infant experiences based on?". He concluded that it's based on the rise of mammals (the class of animals distinguished by the trait of milk-suckling), since we are mammals. The rise of mammals is based on the traumatic K/T geological event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    9. all that thermic energy is sheer impersonal nonsubjective memory of the outside

      Earth's inner core is solid iron, its outer core is liquid iron mixed with other components, and its mantle is dense rock.

      Barker proposes that the earth's iron core is a kind of liquid memory (like a computer hard drive, but... not hard). The patterns of heat flow in the iron core stores the painful memories of Hadean Eon. These memories are expressed on the surface of earth by geological processes.

    10. A Brief History of Geotrauma (Robin Mackay 2011) summarizes geotrauma theory thus:

      ... psychic experience becoming an encrypted geological report, the repercussion of a primal Hadean trauma in the material unconscious of Planet Earth. Further developing Professor Challenger’s model of ‘generalised stratification’, Barker ultra-radicalises Nietzschean genealogy into a materialist cryptoscience.

      ‘Geotraumatics’ draws on everything from geology and microbial evolution to human biology and vocalisation, reinterpreting Earth-history as a series of nested traumas of which human subjectivity is the symptom.

      In other words, Barker proposed that the true meaning of our thoughts can only be understood by genealogical analysis (as Nietzsche did for morality). And since we are creatures descended from geological chemicals of the Hadean Eon, our thoughts must be understood by understanding the earth during the Hadean Eon.

      "generalised stratification" roughly means: the biosphere is just another layer of the geological strata of earth; the psycho-sphere too. Our thoughts are actually geological formations, like valleys and rivers.

      And these geological formations are in pain, much like a plateau is the result of tensions in the lithosphere, and earthquakes are massive outpourings of such tensions.

      Our thoughts are just another symptom of the pains of earth.

    11. regression

      According to Sigmund Freud,regression is an unconscious defense mechanism, which causes the temporary or long-term reversion of the ego to an earlier stage of development (instead of handling unacceptable impulses in a more adult manner).

    12. mapping the Geocosmic Unconscious as a traumatic megasystem, with life and thought dynamically quantized in terms of anorganic tension, elasticity, or machinic plexion.

      From the essay's Section 4 (emphasis mine)

      Let us imagine living organisms in their simplest possible form as an undifferentiated vesicle of irritable matter; its surface, inasmuch as it faces out towards the external world, is thus differentiated by its very position, and serves as the vesicle's receptor organ. Embryology qua recapitulation of evolution really does show, moreover, that the central nervous system develops from the ectoderm; and the grey cerebral cortex remains a derivative of the primordial outer surface, and may well have inherited some of its essential attributes. It is therefore easily conceivable that by dint of constant bombardment of the vesicle's outer surface by external stimuli, the substance of the cell becomes permanently altered down to a certain depth, with the result that excitation occurs differently in this surface layer from the way it occurs in the deeper layers. A cortex would thus form that ultimately becomes so tempered by the effect of the stimuli that it becomes perfectly adapted to their reception and becomes incapable of further modification.

      ... its outermost surface abandons the structure proper to living things, becomes to all intents and purposes inorganic, and in consequence operates as a special covering or membrane impeding the stimuli... The outer layer becomes necrotic – but by doing so it protects all the deeper-lying ones from suffering a similar fate, at any rate so long as the stimuli do not bombard it with such force that they break through the protective barrier. For the living organism, the process protecting it against stimuli is almost more important than the process whereby it receives stimuli; the protective barrier is equipped with its own store of energy, and must above all seek to defend the particular transformations of energy at work within it against the assimilative and hence destructive influence of the enormously powerful energies at work outside it. The process of receiving stimuli chiefly serves the purpose of determining the direction and nature of the external stimuli, and for that it must clearly be sufficient to take small specimens from the external world, to sample it in tiny quantities. In highly developed organisms the stimulus-receiving cortical layer of the erstwhile vesicle has long since retreated into the inner depths of the body, but parts of it have remained on the surface immediately beneath the general protective barrier. These are the sense organs, which essentially are equipped to register the effects of specific stimuli, but also include special devices to provide additional protection against excessively high levels of stimulation, and to exclude unsuitable types of stimulus. It is characteristic of them that they process only very small quantities of the external stimulus; they merely take samples of the external world. One can perhaps compare them to feelers that reach out tentatively towards the external world and then repeatedly draw back...

    13. Echidna Stillwell

      Another fictional character created by CCRU.

      The only document attributed her is Stillwell-Vysparov Letters – Miskatonic Virtual University Press.

    14. stripping out superfluous prejudices about the source and meaning of complex functional patterns

      If you are trying to break a code, you should have the right assumptions about the source of the code, otherwise you will look for the pattern you wanted to find, and either fail to find it, or find an illusion of it (as in pareidolia).

    15. associating it with oedipal reductionism

      Freud's theory was much more than Oedipus Complex, but that's what he's most famous of, and that's what most people think of when they think of Freud.

    16. At first there was just the equation, precipitated in what I still thought to be my own body, virtual tic-density = geotraumatic tension.

      When Barker first figured out how to measure those hard-to-measure things ("disorganized multiplicities"), he thought he figured it out himself. Later, he understood that there is no himself. He was merely a "virtual tic-density", a "geotraumatic tension".

      A "tic-density" is a spacetime region where there are lots of tics happening. Animals are tic-density regions. The vacuum is the opposite of tic-density regions.

      A human is a "virtual tic-density", because it is just a name given to a temporary tic-density region, that will exist for only a few decades, with matter flowing in and out every hour. Basically, the intuitive understanding of the self is an illusion.

      A "geotraumatic tension" is an analogy from structural engineering. A tension point in a slab of steel is a point of high stress. Barker stated that humans are psychological tension points of the alive-and-thinking earth's psychology.

    17. signaletics

      "Pertaining to signs or signifiers"

    18. When you strip-out all the sedimented redundancy from the side of the investigation itself - the assumption of intentionality, subjectivity, interpretability, structure, etc - what remains are assemblies of functionally interconnected microstimulus, or tic-systems

      Barker suggests that the assumption of the intentional stance is wrong. Communication doesn't require intention. It only requires information, which only requires the design stance.

      It is possible to speak without thoughts, without intention, without meaning. And in order to find speech from non-human places, it is necessary to accept this kind of meaningless speech as speech.

    19. SETI activity

      "search for extraterrestrial intelligences"

    20. Tic-Systems

      A tic is a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups.

      Here, a "tic-system" is a system of motor impulses that simply do things without thinking about them. A system of motor reflexes. It is what humans and all other animals are, according to some philosophers like Nietzsche.

    21. Anorganic Semiotics

      The study of how non-organic matter communicate.

      For example, trying to decode the "speech" of earthquake waves.

    22. MVU, Mass.

      MVU = Miskatonic Virtual University

      Miskatonic University is a fictional university located in Arkham, a fictional town in Essex County, Massachusetts. It is named after the Miskatonic River. After first appearing in H. P. Lovecraft's 1922 story "Herbert West–Reanimator", the school appeared in numerous Cthulhu Mythos stories by Lovecraft and other writers.

    1. Principles of Least Action

      In physics, Principles of Least Action are formulations of physical laws that have a distinct "teleological form". It is often informally stated as "Nature takes the path of least action between the beginning and the end."

    2. Kleptoplasty

      Kleptoplasty is the behavior of taking chloroplasts from a food source and incorporating them into the consumer's cells. The root word klepto- comes from the Greek word for thief.Organisms capable of kleptoplasty typically eat algae or aquatic plants and "steal" the undigested chloroplasts.

    3. Subornation

      "To induce to commit an unlawful or evil act."

    4. Teleonomic

      Teleonomy is the quality of apparent purposefulness and of goal-directedness of structures and functions in living organisms brought about by natural processes like natural selection.

    5. Replicator Usurpation

      The clay hypothesis suggests how biologically inert matter helped the evolution of early life forms: clay minerals form naturally from silicates in solution. Clay crystals, as other crystals, preserve their external formal arrangement as they grow, snap, and grow further. Clay crystal masses of a particular external form may happen to affect their environment in ways that affect their chances of further replication. For example, a "stickier" clay crystal is more likely to silt a stream bed, creating an environment conducive to further sedimentation. It is conceivable that such effects could extend to the creation of flat areas likely to be exposed to air, dry, and turn to wind-borne dust, which could fall randomly in other streams. Thus—by simple, inorganic, physical processes—a selection environment might exist for the reproduction of clay crystals of the "stickier" shape.

      There follows a process of natural selection for clay crystals that trap certain forms of molecules to their surfaces that may enhance their replication potential. Complex proto-organic molecules can be catalysed by the surface properties of silicates. When complex molecules perform a "genetic takeover" from their clay "vehicle", they become an independent locus of replication – an evolutionary moment that might be understood as the first exaptation.

    6. Nemo-Phenomenology

      "nemo" is Latin for ne hemō (“no man”)

      "Nemo-Phenomenology" is exactly what it says: "what it feels like to be no man".

    7. Bok Globules

      isolated and relatively small dark nebulae, containing dense cosmic dust and gas from which star formation may take place. Bok globules are found within H II regions, and typically have a mass of about 2 to 50 solar masses contained within a region about a light year or so across.

    8. Spinal Catastrophism

      From Barker's interview

      Spinal-Catastrophism. For humans there is the particular crisis of bipedal erect posture to be processed. I was increasingly aware that all my real problems were modalities of back-pain, or phylogenetic spinal injury, which took me back to the calamitous consequences of the precambrian explosion, roughly five hundred million years ago. The ensuing period is incrementally body-mapped by metazoan organization. Obviously there are discrete quasi-coherent neuromotor tic-flux patterns, whose incrementally rigidified stages are swimming, crawling, and (bipedal) walking. Elaine Morgan persuasively traces the origin of protohuman bipedalism to certain deleterious plate-tectonic shifts. The model is bioseismic. Crustal convulsions and animal body-plan are rigorously interconnected, and the entire Aquatic Ape Theory constitutes an exemplary geotraumatic analysis. Erect posture and perpendicularization of the skull is a frozen calamity, associated with a long list of pathological consequences, amongst which should be included most of the human psychoneuroses. Numerous trends in contemporary culture attest to an attempted recovery of the icthyophidian- or flexomotile-spine: horizontal and impulsive rather than vertical and stress-bearing.

      In short, the bipedal walking habits and the spinal anatomy of humans is causing a lot of back pain and other health problems. These are actually the symptoms of earth's traumas.

    9. Musæum Clausum

      Musaeum Clausum (Latin for Sealed Museum), also known as Bibliotheca abscondita (Secret Library in Latin), is a tract written by Sir Thomas Browne which was first published posthumously in 1684. The tract contains short sentence descriptions of supposed, rumoured or lost books, pictures, and objects. The subtitle describes the tract as an inventory of remarkable books, antiquities, pictures and rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living. Its date is unknown: however, an event from the year 1673 is cited.

      Like his Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Musaeum Clausum is a catalogue of doubts and queries, only this time, in a style which anticipates the 20th-century Argentinian short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges, who once declared: "To write vast books is a laborious nonsense; much better is to offer a summary as if those books actually existed."

    10. Observation Selection Effects and The Great Quietus

      Look up "observer selection effect", or the "anthropic bias".

      Look up "The Great Silence" or "The Great Filter".

    11. Shadow Biosphere

      A shadow biosphere is a hypothetical microbial biosphere of Earth that would use radically different biochemical and molecular processes from that of currently known life.

      Normally, the shadow biosphere is understood as secret microbes that happily eat rock chemicals and geothermal energy, several km deep in the crust. Weird, but not very weird.

      Here, Barker proposes a very weird kind of shadow biosphere, one that is based on "necroevolution".

      Necroevolution is a concept proposed by Stanislaw Lem in the novel The Invincible. It describes a hypothetical situation where machinic life forms evolve that outcompete normal life forms. This victorious, "invincible" machinic life form is so weird and un-lively that the people who witnessed it felt that it couldn't be truly called alive. They called it "necroevolution".

      A modern incarnation of "necroevolution" is the Grey Goo scenario.

      Perhaps Barker is proposing that, somewhere in earth's crust, the strains and inorganic chemical complexes are necroevolving, and they constitute a shadow biosphere.

    12. Heterochronic

      Heterochrony is a concept in evo-devo:

      In evolutionary developmental biology, heterochrony is any genetically controlled difference in the timing, rate, or duration of a developmental process in an organism compared to its ancestors or other organisms. This leads to changes in the size, shape, characteristics and even presence of certain organs and features.

      Here, the organic life and the inorganic non-life are considered as just developmental stages of matter. "Life is just a phase every corpse goes through."

      The Ossificans is interpreted as heterochrony. The piece of matter is so impatient to reach the rocks phase that it starts turning muscles into bones while it is still in the living phase.

      Thus "Thanatos Praecox" ("Premature Death").

    13. Plutonics

      Plutonics is the psychoanalysis of the buried trauma of earth. (Pluto is the Greek/Roman god of the underworld)

      From Barker Speaks

      Deleuze and Guattari ask: Who does the Earth think it is? It's a matter of consistency. Start with the scientific story, which goes like this: between four point five and four billion years ago - during the Hadean epoch - the earth was kept in a state of superheated molten slag, through the conversion of planetesimal and meteoritic impacts into temperature increase (kinetic to thermic energy). As the solar-system condensed the rate and magnitude of collisions steadily declined, and the terrestrial surface cooled, due to the radiation of heat into space, reinforced by the beginnings of the hydrocycle. During the ensuing - Archaen - epoch the molten core was buried within a crustal shell, producing an insulated reservoir of primal exogeneous trauma, the geocosmic motor of terrestrial transmutation. And that's it. That's plutonics, or neoplutonism. It's all there: anorganic memory, plutonic looping of external collisions into interior content, impersonal trauma as drive-mechanism. The descent into the body of the earth corresponds to a regression through geocosmic time.

    14. Ossificans Progressiva

      a disease where the victim's muscles slowly turn into bones. The victim, even if cared for, would eventually die from being unable to move the lungs to breathe.

    15. Thanatos Praecox

      "Premature death".

      It is a parody phrase of "dementia praecox" ("premature madness"), which is the 19th century name for schizophrenia.

    16. Barker Speaks: The CCRU Interview with Professor D.C. Barker

      This is the only document that actually exists. It is another piece of philoso-fiction, written by members of the CCRU.

      Read it here

    17. Genomic Recidivism and its Infernal Potentials

      "genomic recidivism" roughly means that our genome used to be "criminal", and might become criminal again.

      The article proposes that our genome bears the imprint of its origin in the Hadean Eon, when earth was "hadean" (hellish). It could suddenly revert to its Hadean nature and create hell here and now.

    18. Liberatis tutemet ex inferna

      "Save yourself from hell".

    19. Ashen Light Debate

      Ashen light is a hypothesised subtle glow that has been claimed to be seen on the night side of the planet Venus. The phenomenon has not been scientifically confirmed, but has been suggested to be associated with lightning, which there is some evidence for on Venus.

      It is believed to either be a visual illusion, or a thunderstorm-like weather phenomenon on Venus.

      Further reading: Mystery of the Ashen Light of Venus (2021)

    20. This is an example of "philoso-fiction", presenting modern mad French philosophy in the style of a fictional researcher in a world somewhat like Lovecraft's universe.

      It blends horror, occult, secret, and modern mad French philosophy together. It is somewhat similar to the SCP project.

    21. Spiritus Mundi

      "World Spirit", something Hegel (a father of modern French philosophy) talked about a lot.

    1. Work is secretly meaningless; distractions are obviously meaningless. Distractions serve to make work seem meaningful by contrast.

      In this way, work depends on distraction. If there is no distraction, work would be seen as obviously meaningless and then people would revolt.

    1. hippocampal θ-rhythm

      The hippocampus is the main structure involved in the generation of the 4- to 12-Hz theta (θ) rhythm, which is one of the most regular EEG oscillation that can be recorded from the mammalian brain.

      The theta mode appears during states of active, alert behavior (especially locomotion), and also during REM (dreaming) sleep.

      The LIA mode appears during slow-wave (non-dreaming) sleep, and also during states of waking immobility such as resting or eating.

    1. vernalization

      Latin "vernus" means "of spring".

      Induction of the flowering process of the plant by exposure to the long periods of cold winter or such conditions. Once this process takes place, plants develop the capability of flowering.

  4. Dec 2021
    1. The "Unconscious" is just an intentional stance upon the biochemical machine that is the brain. Intentionality, beliefs, desires... these are merely convenient fictions for talking about the Unconscious.

      Similarly for the Conscious.

      In the story of the bicameral mind (Julian Jaynes), the voices of gods stopped speaking about 5000 years ago. Well, what happens if the voices of consciousness also stop speaking?

    1. phenomenology’s method

      Husserl made some phenomenological methods, kind of like scientific methods.

    1. fiction can live it

      a patently contradictory conceit that only a humanist could believe...

    2. vade mecum

      Vade mecum is Latin for go with me (it derives from the Latin verb vadere, meaning "to go.") In English, "vade mecum" has been used (since at least 1629) of manuals or guidebooks sufficiently compact to be carried in a deep pocket.

    1. inverse optics problem

      It's called "vision as inverse graphics" among computer vision scientists.

    1. I would argue that it is this myopic privileging of one’s own prejudices—the baseless elevation of the parochial to the universal—that has underwritten history’s greatest atrocities and that continually threatens to give rise to any number of fresh horrors.

      This is a typical move for writers of radical claims: to make the bitter pill seem acceptable by somehow tying it to something emotionally nice.

      It is nothing more than post-hoc rationalization, like all "and the moral of the story is...".

      Indeed, I can mount an ad hominem attack against this claim: how could we know that these atrocities are atrocities? By way of skeptic thinking, all I need to do to make them no longer atrocities is to get myself into a life-world, a context, where such atrocities are not, according to communal epistemic practices (say, the local Nazi club)...

    2. we might know all sorts of things one moment, then in the next moment—after the unanswerable Matrix possibility is raised—no longer know anything

      This is a rather dramatic kind of non-monotonic logic.

    3. The Five Agrippan Modes
      1. Dissent � The uncertainty demonstrated by the differences of opinions among philosophers and people in general.
      2. Progress ad infinitum � All proof rests on matters themselves in need of proof, and so on to infinity.
      3. Relation � All things are changed as their relations become changed, or, as we look upon them from different points of view.
      4. Assumption � The truth asserted is based on an unsupported assumption.
      5. Circularity � The truth asserted involves a circularity of proofs.
    4. In other words, they construct their arguments on the basis of what other people hold to be true.

      Pyrrohnians are in a sense parasitic: they don't create new premises or argument structures. They simply expose the inherent contradictions in others' philosophies.

    5. charging the skeptic with self-refutation amounts to charging philosophico-rational thought as such with self-refutation

      The Skeptic strategy:

      1. Take usual philosophy as starting point.
      2. Derive "knowledge is impossible."
      3. Wait to be challenged as "self-refuting".
      4. Wait for the challenger to realize that, actually, it is usual philosophy that is self-refuting.
    6. by both Nietzsche and Wittgenstein

      Nietzsche

      Each word of Heraclitus expresses the pride and the majesty of truth, but of truth grasped in intuitions rather than attained by the rope ladder of logic.

      Even truthfulness is but one means to knowledge, a ladder--but not the ladder.

      Tractatus 6.54

      My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them—as steps—to climb beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.)

      He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright.

      Wittgenstein

    7. peritropē, or self-refutation, argument; and the apraxia, or impracticability

      peritrope: if you claim to refute all knowledge, then you know that you have refuted all knowledge, which is a contradiction.

      apraxia: you can't stay alive unless you act as if you have knowledge.

    1. peritropē

      Peritrope (Greek: περιτροπή) is Socrates' argument against Protagoras ' view of relative truth, as presented in Plato's book known as Theaetetus (169-171e).

      It means "a turning back on one" and likened to the image of a snake devouring its own tail. Socrates' peritrope described Protagoras' view as a theory that no longer requires criticism because it already devours itself. Sextus Empiricus is thought to have given the name in a comment on Protagoras' view in Against the Logicians.

    2. What does ‘externalism’ come down to?  Just this: “It might very well be the case that many of our beliefs are justified even if we have no way of knowing that they are.”

      One practical problem with externalism is that it makes it difficult to program an agent such that it can know what it knows.

      Namely, because the agent can't find justification inside itself (justification is external), the agent cannot (unless it asks for help) separate its unjustified beliefs (definitely not knowledge) from its justified beliefs (not yet knowledge, but pretty close) from its pile of blind beliefs.

      And who is the agent going to ask for help from? Other agents? But all agents would have the same problem if knowledge is external in our world.

      In such a world, agents can know lots of things, but they cannot know what they know. Since humans (claim to) know plenty of what they know, human philosophers find the externalism theory of knowledge a bad fit to what they observe.

    3. Finally, some epistemologists endorse ‘externalism,’ according to which (roughly) knowledge does not require that the knowing subject know that she knows.

      This allows justified true belief:

      Belief: the person believes in it (blindly).

      True: the world makes it true.

      Justified: the world makes it justified (here is where externalism differs from the others).

    1. Eric: I will define phenomenal consciousness by examples and folk psychology!

      Phenomenal consciousness is the most folk psychologically obvious thing or feature that the positive examples possess and that the negative examples lack. I do think that there is one very obvious feature that ties together sensory experiences, imagery experiences, emotional experiences, dream experiences, and conscious thoughts and desires. They’re all conscious experiences. None of the other stuff is experienced (lipid absorption, the tactile smoothness of your desk, etc.).

      Bakker: Which part of our brains is making the "obvious" verdict? Not folk psychology, but folk philosophy!

      Typically, recognition of experience-qua-experience is thought to be an intellectual achievement of some kind, a first step toward the ‘philosophical’ or ‘reflective’ or ‘contemplative’ attitude. Shouldn’t we say, rather, that phenomenal consciousness is the most obvious thing or feature these examples share upon reflection, which is to say, philosophically?

      Eric: Also, any theory of phenomenal consciousness must explain why it is obvious, but we are struck with wonder and confusion when we stop to think about it.

      If the reduction of phenomenal consciousness to something physical or functional or “easy” is possible, it should take some work. It should not be obviously so, just on the surface of the definition. We should be able to wonder how consciousness could possibly arise from functional mechanisms and matter in motion. Call this the wonderfulness condition.

      Bakker: Yeah, I understand that. It's just like St Augustine with time

      “What, then, is time? If no one asks of me, I know; if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not.”

      And I can explain both the same way! The reason is that we know how to use time, but not how to theorize abstractly concerning time. Similarly, we know how to use phenomenal consciousness, but not how to theorize abstractly about it.

      Why?

      Evolution! We die if we don't know how to use time, but nothing bad would happen if we can't theorize time. Similarly for phenomenal consciousness.

      Why would we die if we don't know how to use phenomenal consciousness? Bakker doesn't explain, though presumably it is important for something (otherwise evolution would not have produced it).

      Why is there such a difference between using and theorizing? That brings us to two families of cognitive processes.

      Family 1: source sensitive. Such a process is evolved to deal with causal mechanisms (basically, doing science, asking "how", although in an unschooled, primitive way). Because it deals with causal mechanisms, and everything has a previous cause, the process always has "open slots" where more information can be sent in for processing.

      This family is more versatile and it is responsible for the dramatic scientific progress.

      Family 2: source insensitive. A member of this family would have "fixed input format" as an analogy. It would not request for information on "and what happened before that?" or "and what is inside this black box function?".

      This family is inflexible, and it is responsible for the endless philosophical debates.

      In fact, they are blind to these further information, and blind to their blindness. The result is that subjectively, when thinking using such source-insensitive cognition processes, the feeling is a sense of sufficiency: there's nothing lacking. No puzzling fact that requires expanding. No "and what happened before that?"

      Phenomenal consciousness seems to be made of family 2 processes. That's why it feels so complete even if it is so information-poor.

    2. The beauty of definition by example is that offering instances of the phenomenon at issue allows you to remain agnostic regarding the properties possessed by that phenomenon. It actually seems to deliver the very metaphysical and epistemological innocence Eric needs to stave off the charge of inflation. It really does allow him to ditch the baggage and travel wearing all his clothes, or so it seems

      A great metaphor here. A luggage is a box (concept) that contains a lot of clothes (instances). If the luggage is "too big" ("inflated", meaning either "metaphysically inflated" -- it adds spooky real things to the world, like ghosts and qualias and world souls -- or "epistemologically inflated" -- it adds spooky ways to gain knowledge, such as direct and accurate introspection, which is already experimentally disproved), then you can't bring it on the plane (to your philosophy). But you might try to bring all the clothes without using a luggage by simply listing all the examples without giving an abstract concept that allows you to derive the examples.

    1. between Plato’s simple aviary, the famous metaphor he offers for memory in the Theaetetus, and the imposing complexity of memory as we understand it today

      See also The Ptolemaic Restoration: Object Oriented Whatevery and Kant’s Copernican Revolution | Three Pound Brain

      Socrates invites us to think of the mind as an aviary full of birds of all sorts. The owner possesses them, in the sense that he has the ability to enter the aviary and catch them, but does not have them, unless he literally has them in his hands. The birds are pieces of knowledge, to hand them over to someone else is to teach, to stock the aviary is to learn, to catch a particular bird is to remember a thing once learned and thus potentially known. The possibility of false judgment emerges when one enters the aviary in order to catch, say, a pigeon but instead catches, say, a ring-dove.

    1. game of giving and asking for lies

      A darker version of Sellar's "game of giving and asking for reasons".

    2. the conscious brain, lacking any real access to the gut brain, looks outside to generate interpretations and justifications regarding itself. And why not, when it has spent millions of years second-guessing its fellow brains?

      Hint of the introspective illusion: we don't introspect directly, but we merely apply Theory of Mind on ourselves.

    1. Derrida’s famous image of the labyrinth that includes its own exits and his statement that there is nothing outside of text (or context) are not only metaphors for the LWOS, but for the theoretical structure of deconstruction itself.

      "There is nothing outside the text." is like visual anosognosia. Not only can't they see things that aren't text, they can't see that they are blind.

    2. aporia

      One example from Jacques Derrida (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

      Our most common axiom in ethical or political thought is that to be just or unjust and to exercise justice, one must be free and responsible for one’s actions and decisions. Here Derrida in effect is asking: what is freedom. On the one hand, freedom consists in following a rule; but in the case of justice, we would say that a judgment that simply followed the law was only right, not just. For a decision to be just, not only must a judge follow a rule but also he or she must “re-institute” it, in a new judgment. Thus a decision aiming at justice (a free decision) is both regulated and unregulated. The law must be conserved and also destroyed or suspended... justice is impossible.

      In short: if you follow rules, you are an amoral machine. If you don't follow the rules, you are an amoral anarchist. You're damned either way.

    3. the continuous philosophical reinterpretation of the LWOS over the centuries is no coincidence. There’s something that people are after. My suggestion is that these all represent attempts to come to discursive grips with various experiential margins, which is to say, the ways the neural information horizons of the TCS are expressed in consciousness

      Philosophers noticed the first-person effects of LWOS, and tried to derive philosophies out of them. They failed, because they didn't have the neuroscience to actually understand the first-person effects of LWOS through third-person, neuroscientific theory.

    4. specious present

      the prototype of all conceived times... the short duration of which we are immediately and incessantly sensible

      William James, The principles of psychology.

    1. Unable to track the neurofunctional provenance of behaviour, metacognition posits ‘choice,’ the determination of behaviour ex-nihilo.

      "Free will" is an illusion caused by the fact that the "darkness that came before" a conscious idea remains unconscious. Since we don't notice the darkness that came before, we presume the ideas pop up "freely" (that is, unbound by causality).

    2. Metacognition attributes psychological continuity, even ontological simplicity, to ‘us’ simply because it neglects the information required to cognize myriad, and many cases profound, discontinuities.

      It took such a long time for people to discover that they are not in one piece, because it is profoundly unintuitive. Intuitively, I am in one piece, because the information that can reveal the fractionate nature of me is never raised to the level of consciousness (except perhaps in some psychopathologies).

    3. We attribute subjectivity to ourselves as well as to others, not because we actually have subjectivity, but because it’s the best we can manage given the fragmentary information we got.

      In the same vein, there is the "Bayesing Qualia" paper, which posits that qualias are an explanation conjured up in the brain to explain certain features of its inference mechanism.

      Bayesing qualia: Consciousness as inference, not raw datum A Clark, K Friston, S Wilkinson - Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2019

    4. making no difference makes a difference to the functioning of complex systems attuned to those differences. This is the implicit foundational moral of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: How can shadows come to seem real? Well, simply occlude any information telling you otherwise. Next to nothing, in other words, can strike us as everything there is, short of access to anything more–such as information pertaining to the possibility that there is something more.

      "The illusion of sufficiency".

      In Caution Flag | Three Pound Brain, there is a very dramatic example of illusion sufficiency:

      Consider the following one sentence story about Johnny:

      S1: Johnny went to the corner store, grabbed some milk, then came home to watch Bill Maher.

      This is innocuous enough in isolation, until you begin packing in some modifiers:

      S2: Johnny went to the corner store, stepped over the blood running into the aisle, grabbed some milk, then came home to smoke a joint and watch that idiot Bill Maher.

      Pack in some more:

      S3: Rather than take his medication, Johnny went to the corner store, shot the guy at the till in the face, stepped over the blood running into the aisle, grabbed some milk, then came home to smoke a joint and watch that liberal scumbag idiot Bill Maher with his neighbour’s corpse.

      Oof. That Johnny’s fucking crazy, man.

    5. Our cosmological understanding has been nothing if not a process of continual systematic differentiation or ever increasing resolution in the polydimensional sense of the natural. In a peculiar sense, our ignorance is our fundamental medium, the ‘stuff’ from which the distinctions pertaining to actual cognition are hewn.

      It's an extended analogy: if we see two things and don't notice some difference in need of explaining, we assume they are the same by default, and don't even think about whether they are really the same.

      Similarly, if introspection neglects enough information, it would lead to a lot of unnoticed identifications.

      For another example, people didn't notice difference between the position of earth today and yesterday, so they assumed the earth remains in the same position by default, even though they could have noticed that if the earth goes around the sun, it would give the same observations.

    1. the humanities provided a discursive space where specialists could still intentionally theorize without fear of embarrassing themselves

      Bakker elsewhere remarks that philosophy is an academic subject where people seriously talk about literally supernatural beings like "intentionality" and "norms", and yet it purports to be prior to science.

      Kind of like using Ted Bundy’s testimony to convict Mother Theresa.

    2. Where the ancient Greeks said “Athena struck down Hector by Achilles hand,” we say, “The social a priori struck down Hector by Achilles hand,” or “The unconscious struck down Hector by Achilles hand.”

      See A Eulogy for the Unconscious (1895 – 2012) | Three Pound Brain

      And his master narrative could very well be true: that the Unconscious finds its historical origins beyond the horizon of the outer, objective world, then gradually migrates to its present locus beyond the horizon of our inner, subjective world.

      The Unconscious, in other words, is of a piece with gods and underworlds, a way of comprehending What We Are Not in terms of What We Are. It’s literally what happens when we rebuild Mount Olympus into our skull. This explains why it’s such a curious double gesture, why, in the course of disempowering us, it allows us to own our abjection. My skull, after all, remains my skull, and if What We Are Not resides inside my skull, then ‘I own it.’ We bitch about our Unconscious to be sure, but we cluck and joke about it as well, the same way we do when our children are obstinate or wilful. ‘A Freudian Slip’ is almost always an occasion for smiles, if not laughter.

    3. Human theoretical incompetence actually explains why we required the methodological and institutional apparatuses of science to so miraculously transform the world).

      In fact, before 18th century, science was mostly theoretical. Technology, obtained by tinkering and trials, with no theoretical guidance, went along without science.

      This demonstrates the depths of humanity's theoretical incompetence:

      • Philosophy, the most theoretical subject, has made almost no progress and resolved no problems.
      • Science, a rigorous and methodical theoretical project, did not substantially progress until starting around 16th century, and even then it took another 2 centuries for it to start guiding technology.
      • Technology, the most practical subject, has made plenty of progress way before science has started making steady progress.
    4. Semmelweis reflex

      The term derives from the name of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who discovered in 1847 that childbed fever mortality rates fell ten-fold when doctors disinfected their hands with a chlorine solution before moving from one patient to another, or, most particularly, after an autopsy. (At one of the two maternity wards at the university hospital where Semmelweis worked, physicians performed autopsies on every deceased patient.) Semmelweis's procedure saved many lives by stopping the ongoing contamination of patients (mostly pregnant women) with what he termed "cadaverous particles", twenty years before germ theory was discovered.

    5. the humanities, which are so quick to posture themselves as critical authorities, are simply of a piece with our sham culture of pseudo-empowerment and fatuous self-affirmation

      The popular understanding of Nietzsche has domesticated him into a tepid motivational speaker about "Being the best you can be."

      The humanities people tend to do the same (except in words way harder to understand).

    6. First, you need to be unaware of what we now know about human cognition and its apparent limitations. Second, you need to know next to nothing about the physiology of the human soul.

      Bakker's signature move: dissolving a philosophical position/problem by an analysis of how human brains work quite well by heuristics (in daily life, but not in philosophy) despite lack of information (Blind Brain Theory). How this heuristic creates illusions that trap philosophers into stupid positions, like continental philosophy.

    7. I met a philosophy PhD student from Mississippi who was also an avowed nihilist. Given my own heathen, positivistic past, I took it upon myself to convert the poor fool. He was just an adolescent, after all–time to set aside childish thoughts! So I launched into an account of my own sorry history and how I had been saved by Heidegger and the ontological difference.

      Very much like a born-again Christian trying to convert a lost soul.

    8. metaphysics of presence
    9. The facticity of my thrownness

      Two jargons invented by Heidegger. Roughly, it means "humans are thrown (geworfen) into the world without explanation, as a brute fact."

    10. death and fate seized and dragged him down.

      Priam (father of Hector) lamenting the death of Hector.

      You, you were their greatest glory while you lived— now death and fate have seized you, dragged you down [into the House of Death]!"