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("Wonder" and "Sophia" by Alex Grey)

Fall 2007

Ceridwen's Older Transmissions


3/21(?)/2008 - HEY OUT THERE

Anyone still aware of this particular piece of paper in the ether? If so, there is much news...

1) My father is officially in remission.

2) I am taking 22.5 credits and have two jobs.

3) I have met someone with whom I have found a sparkling, shiny, undeniable connection. This someone has asked me to marry him!

4) I am unaware of (and apparently too silly to find out) when these weekly meetings may (or may not) be taking place...can anyone clue me in? I'd like to drop by if I'm not too swamped with aforementioned classes and/or work.

5) I miss Mobius classes. I struggle to find the same interconnectivity in other outlets but it's an uphill battle when one is surrounded by people with no interest in connection :(




12/13/2007 - Thank you

I'd like to note that I laughed more today than I have in a few months. Thank you for that.


Also, a more cohesive note regarding the CD you got from me in class this morning:

For my final project I created a CD of music which ammounts to what I feel to be a sacred experience. Whether you agree or not is out of my hands. I put a lot of time and thought into the selection, so I feel that it's a valid final project. I'd really appreciate it if you took some time to listen to it from start to finish (somewhere between 50 and 60 minutes) and then write about it, if you feel like writing about it. I'm not going to tell you how to go about listening to it, but I'll say that the flotation tank is ideal. Barring your posession of a personal flotation tank, the people I tested it on seemed to appreciate silence (other than the music) and darkness. In fact, Jason (my boyfriend) said that while listening he was angered by any auditory intrusions - such as someone down the hall shutting and locking his door, etc.

I hope it's somewhat relaxing for you, so perhaps if you find yourself getting antsy this weekend in preparation for the battery of tests and papers next week, you can take an hour to relax and enjoy the sacred.


Thank's to all, again, for a wonderful class. I've been absent more than I've been there, but I've learned more about myself this semester and last semester through Mobius courses than I ever thought I could while still earning college credits. I've been priveledged to see this confounding wikidelic world operate in many ways, and am hoping to take it into tutoring at the writing center.


And...one last thank you...everyone has been more supportive than I ever dreamed during a fairly difficult semester for me. I write about these things not for attention (as someone mentioned in class) but because they're what I know. I find it hard, when writing about the sacred, to separate myself from...myself. And so, some personal things make it into the public sphere. Those who did respond - particularly GoNZo, Zee_Deveel, and Toolbox - have my deepest thanks for seeing past the incident to the message behind it.


I know everyone is going their separate ways soon, but if anyone wants to stay in touch with me, here's some info:



AIM: lvk104

email: lvk104@psu.edu OR Lauren@resourcetec.com

I'll also be going to Mobius' Wednesday night classes next year, so if you are too we can keep in touch that way.



Peace, love, and happiness,

- Lauren

12/12/2007 - details on the "final" thing

I'm still not sure if Mobius will accept it as a final project, but here's the idea behind the CD that I'll be bringing for everyone tomorrow. I've come to realize through years of struggle that I'm not very good at writing about the sacred. This might sound like a cop-out, except that I've found a better means of expression: music. When writing about the sacred I have a tendancy to stop in frustration and wish that I could simply make someone listen to a particular song.


I do the same thing in my relationships. As my boyfriend can attest, when things get more emotional than day-to-day conversation, I end up making him a CD rather than talking. Either that, or I spend a day writing a letter that communicates the ideas but not the emotions of what I'm trying to say.


So, I've spent about two weeks contemplating and arranging and rearranging a CD that is my expression of...the sacred. I suppose you could use it for meditation, but I think it's more of an inspirational auditory demonstration of life itself (tall order for a compact disc, I know). I think I chose this delivery method because for me, music has always been more powerful than words. A perfect example of this is opera in a language that I don't speak. Nessun Dorma, for example, brings me to tears (even a version with Simon Cowell involved). That's because I can understand the emotion and the message without having a clue what is being said linguistically. The universality of that is the same sort of universality I look for in the sacred (rather, my sacred). I can't read the Tao Te Ching in it's original language, but I can contemplate a single blade of grass and get the message. I may not understand much of the bible, but listening to music in church tells me what to think and feel.


If you've ever watched "reality television", you know what I mean. The music in the background tells us what to feel and think. Imagine two people playing chess. With no soundtrack, it's just two people playing chess. Colbie Cailat's \"Bubbly\" playing? They must be falling in love. \"It Ends Tonight\" by the All American Rejects in the background? There's emotional strife going on or the two are about to break up. Radiohead's \"Just\"? The two people are fighting.


So, without listing the songs (which would spoil it), I'll say that the CD (attempts) to help the listener run the gamut of emotions, from sad to scared to giddy to hopeful and everywhere inbetween. The last song usually makes me want to get up and dance. If a few people can take an hour, put on some headphones, and listen to the entire thing from start to finish and then write a paragraph or so about what it made you feel (if anything), I'd really appreciate it. The CD is my way of expressing what I see as the sacred. A few days after I've passed them out (probably Monday of finals week) I'll write up a track list and explain why I picked each song.


PS: thank you for your kind reactions to the last post, zee_deveel and GoNZo. It's nice to know that even when writing in an emotional stupor I can still touch at least a few people. And it's encouraging that the wiki is a medium conductive to that sort of emotional connection. Peace.

12/11/2007 - is this a five page paper?


November 28th, 2007, 2:29am: In a small Connecticut town a gas-guzzling SUV wraps itself around a tree – embracing it or smothering it.

November 28th, 2007, 3:30am: In a small Pennsylvania town one Sophia wakes up sweating and shaking, perplexed.

November 28th, 2007, 4:12am: Back in Connecticut, a rather tormented and seemingly insignificant life ends.




My parents were divorced when I was close to a year old, and my father remarried when I was three. At such a young age, I accepted his wife as my mother. I love her as my mother, and she loves me as her daughter. My birth mother, Martha, was a truly negative force in my life until my father gained full custody, and we only slowly began to be able to communicate within the past five years. Still, when she passed away two weeks ago I knew it. Somewhere inside of me, something ruptured that I hadn’t known existed. A weight dropped down on me with no warning.




Picture the funeral: cloyingly sweet-scented flower arrangements (lilacs? Carnations? I didn’t notice) droop over worn wooden pews in a small Episcopalian church. There are perhaps ten people there, including my Grandmother and my Aunt. I sit in the back in a properly sedate black dress with properly formal low heels, wondering what I was supposed to feel. This side of the family hates me, and the distance of five rows of pews feels more like five miles. A hand grips my arm, and I look up into the face of an elderly priest, who tells me that I’m giving a eulogy after Martha’s lover speaks. It only seems like a few seconds later, although I know it was nearly half an hour, but suddenly it’s my time to trudge to the front of the church and speak to these people who despise me about a woman I didn’t even know if I loved.




Quite honestly, I’ve no idea what I said that day. Afterwards we bundled up in puffy coats, gloves, scarves…walked on grass that my feet sunk into. I perversely wondered if the coffin would sink or if it would stay where they placed it. It felt like a bog rather than a cemetery, so I left as soon as possible. I wanted it to be raining, because somehow that would have made me feel just a little bit better. It wasn’t.




I flew home, got in my cold car, and drove to my apartment. What to do? I listened to Imogen Heap for a few hours and stared at a blank computer screen, waiting for something to come out. What am I feeling? Why? How do I describe it? The answer came to me after a few too many glasses of merlot and several cigarettes (which I’d quit smoking a year ago): I was feeling pain, and I didn’t know what to do about it.




Pain changes you physically. Even now my shoulders are sloped downwards and my neck is aching…it’s why I’m awake right now. A physical manifestation of the mental state. After all, I can take a few pills and my neck and shoulders will feel better. It’ll take a hell of a lot more than that to change my outlook on life.




Or will it?




Somehow I’ve drawn a few feeble threads from this experience to our class. This happened last semester too…my life chaotically integrated with Mobius’ course in ways I never expected. Yesterday I was looking at pictures from the day I was born and thinking of the sacred. After trying to define “the sacred” for an entire semester, I finally realized that any definition I came up with would only function for me, because the sacred is an intensely personal feeling unique to each person. What follows is my own experience of it.




“The sacred” is in (and of) everything. My cat, Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” Derrida, falling autumn leaves, snow squalls in California, Mobius’ bike adventures and mishaps, squirrels scrambling to hide (and seek) their winter stash…all sacred. It’s the low moan of the dialtone (thank you, Ani DiFranco), question marks, pain, suffering…life. It’s not having answers. Because dammit, I have none.




Dark chocolate, old book smell, Allen Ginsberg (because for fuck’s sake, America, I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel), fresh ground black pepper, soy beans, clean sheets, giggles, snowballs, snowballs in hell, lies, soft touches, football players and chess players, fire, combustion engines, trees, collisions, death, rats, expletives in just the right place, piccolos, guitars, harps, singing, smoky bars, smoke-free bars, cranberries, amazon.com boxes, Maus, my family, foray .7mm pens, saltines, Tom Brady, Tom Brady's right arm, Randy Moss, kisses, rain, the first snowfall of the year, butternut squash, skinny dipping, being drunk on wine, Chuck Palahniuk, wikis, cuddling, too much bass, bad poetry from good people, Mobius' doggerel (which tends to be more significant than I think he expects), irony, someone playing with my hair, thesauruses, watching people, alliteration (or lack thereof), tea, coffee, oriental rugs, grass, old sneakers, vegan shoes, crushing hugs, rugby players, bruises, cool nights, wheat beer, expensive liquor, Scotland, romance novels, new book smell , kitten fur, puppy teeth, french-cut green beans, Indian food, cashews, wind, the word "whipped", October, hiking, the smell of sunshine, breezy days in the summer, Martha's Vineyard, gigantic waves, the way Jason smiles when he's trying to be angry at me but can't manage it, fluffy robes, ink-stained hands, newspapers, pipe tobacco, the ocean, car wrecks and cancer, sinking ships and speeding bullets, death and destruction, earthquakes and earth shattering revelations, crying, pain that’s sharp enough it reminds you that you’re human, mortality, dreams, dreamtime stories from the Australian Aboriginal people, mobius, slicedbread, coalflower, happygirl, Proteus, GoNZo, London Bridge, zee_deveel, Realityor, Thoughts, AbsoluteZero, Echan, Toolbox, Unfinished, rabbit, EarthMuffin, PaperDove, buster friendly…me.




Yeah, you. And yeah, me.



Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.




It seems that in questing for the sacred in everyone else’s words, I lose sight of where it lies within myself and within those around me. Heidegger and Wittgenstein might be right, but I’ve got to come to it on my own, not just quote them. And yeah, they’re essentially paradoxical arguments. But in the contrast lies the sacred.








Love is the law. Love under will.




Love, to me, is the most sacred of all “things.” It’s something that I can give, something that I can receive. It’s a blanket on cold nights and a cool breeze on sweltering days. It’s that swelling within your heart that comes when you can’t describe something but you know it’s important. It’s the reason we bother to communicate as much as we do. Face it – we could exist quite well without the attachments of relationships. Without the struggles, the fights, the pain. Friends aren’t necessary for physical survival, but love drives us to seek out companionship where we can find it.




While I may never have liked my biological mother, somewhere within me I loved her. I didn’t get a chance to tell her that, and now I’m dealing with the consequences. I suppose I could call it a lesson, but who knows if I’ll actually take it to heart? If I go around telling everyone in the world that I love them (which I do), I may very well be locked up. And isn’t that the real contradiction? We’re told to love one another, but God forbid we should ever express it. Today we live in fear. Fear of many things, but mainly, I think, of rejection. We’re (I’m) fundamentally afraid of other people, because I’m afraid of something having power over me. In a “me” society I don’t want anything or anyone controlling me, and by loving someone you hand over a tiny piece of yourself for them to control.




The bottom line is that it’s necessary to relinquish control. To release yourself into something larger than yourself – something sacred. I find it in the small things. I find it in my boyfriend and the way he makes me smile. I find it in watching my cat play, and talking to my dad about politics. I love, and I let go of my fear. I’m terrified of losing my father. I could minimize the pain by withdrawing from him now. I could control my future by never becoming attached to anyone or anything. But then I’d have…nothing. Relationships are too sacred to me to give up, so I give up my control instead. The question is, can I cope? Can I handle the consequences? This has been hard enough, and the idea of losing someone with whom I have a close and meaningful relationship is frankly crippling.




Mobius recently lost someone who was close to him in a manner I’ve never experienced. I don’t know how he dealt or is dealing with it, but I know that he loved Norma. From what I’ve read, many people did. I’d like to think that in whatever afterlife there may or may not be, she knows that.




Every man and every woman is a star.




I’d also like to think that Martha knows, too. She hurt me for many years in many ways, but she was still the woman who gave birth to me. For that I’ll be eternally grateful, because I’ve got a lot to do in this world.




I’ve given up finding answers in churches, because they’re too far away from me. I’m finding the sacred, instead. I’m composing it…not writing it, but composing it in my life. When you think of oatmeal as sacred, breakfast takes on entirely new qualities. And so I seek the sacred out from what’s within my reach – from you and me and the things around us. I gaze in wonder at the world around me, and I love it.


NOTE: unless I'm told otherwise, I'll be bringing copies of a CD on Thursday for everyone in class. It's my final project, so I'd appreciate it if you took a listen and wrote a "blog" about what it made you feel. The idea is to use the music as a gateway into an experience of the sacred, and I've spent a rather significant amount of time listening to music and taking notes rather than writing. Thus, I hope it's an acceptable project.





I have a whole new love and respect for you. - GoNZo



11/30/2007 - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?



Ceridwen, your splendid weavin'

has mobius grievin'

your bein-at-a-distance


in tiny instants

mobius weeps tele-pathos



an absence that is not no-thing

one more Sophia, elsewhere



11/28/2007 - aMUSEd and conFUSEd

I've been attempting to slog my way through a book called "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession". It's been making me think about the sacred in a more scientific way, I suppose , because there's a lot of information about what music physically/chemically does to the human brain.


To me, music has always been sacred...from the songs I used to sing in an Episcopalian church choir to live music, from pop songs on the radio to so-called "indie" records I dig up in dusty bins at yard sales. I guess you could say that my "sacred" consists of two things: music, and philosophy. My current study of philosophy for grades and a GPA has distanced me from it. I no longer read Heidegger to see how it makes me feel, but to see how I can get a decent paper out of it. In way the more immersed I become in it the less it actually touches me. I hate that. Music, though, has remained sacred for me. There's nothing more sacred in my life than using the particular resonances of instruments and notes to affect my mood. It reminds me of the studies of office noises...the world is alive with sound and its affecting us without our awareness. Imagine, if you will, complete silence. Even in the floatation tank you hear your own breathing, your own heartbeat, the movement of the water. Can you picture it? It'd be like entering a vacuum in space. I imagine that the human body itself makes a hum of some sort...perhaps not that we recognize as audible, but still affecting us. have you ever had someone go into another room and use one of those dog whistles? The ones that aren't audible to humans? Usually, without being about to hear a pitch or volume, you can tell when the whistle is being blown and when it isn't.


So, take the idea of being able to shape your own thoughts by mastering them, via meditation or hightened consciousness or exercise or pure mental discipline. Couldn't you "tune" them with music? It goes beyond spoken language, and to me is truly universal. Sound. Perhaps that's why in the book of John in the bible, "in the begining was the word." I've never thought of that as simply the presence of a word, but the actual tonal utterance of a word. Sound.


Moving on...I don't want to go into a detailed anatomy of the ear, but we don't really "hear" things in the sense that noise enters your head and you listen to it. Sound waves are air pressure waves, and when they enter your outer ear they're funneled to the eardrum. This vibrates and moves three tiny bones in your ear, causing a small ammount of liquid to slosh around. This liquid moves hair cells called cilia which line your inner ear (cochlea), which then transmit electrical signals to the brain. Here's a picture . Try and think of that process the next time you listen to music, and you'll experience a rather overwhelming wonder at the complexity of the human body. I've long used that process to send "good vibes" to myself when I'm in a boad mood, stressed out, or angry. Generally listening to Bach or Rachmaninoff will be soothing enough that I can gain perspective and move on with my day - much like meditation. Tuning brain waves from within or from without, what matters is that you're doing it. Maybe the purpose of music in religious services is less celebration and expression and more tuning in and tuning out the world at large. They get everyone on the same wavelength so that they're receptive to the messages being passed along and around.


I think I'm going to have to do a late-term drastic overhaul of my final project/paper idea. What I'd like to do is an exposition on my life in music. A series of vingettes, if you will, that describe the act of tuning via music (either consciously or not) that have taken place since birth. I don't know if this will satisfy the requirements, but I think I'll be doing it anyway. Since I don't want it to be simply about my life in music, I'd like to do some research and include a bit of information about the history of sacred music, from the first caveman drumming to current trends. If anyone has any sacred music stories, I'd love to include them...perhaps compile a CD of music for tuning in to relaxation for meditation to give out if anyone is interested. I've found that the best way for me to relax into a meditative state is to spend half an hour laying in the floor in the dark with my headphones on. Thus, I'll "compose the sacred" in the form of remixing (reordering) the music of others into an album-length tool for reaching oneness. Sound good?


Ceridwen -

Sounds great. Except for that these are words, and not music.. We must be on the same wavelength because I presented Music as a therapy in my Art of Healing class today. Can you imagine your life without music? Sound is vibration and light, and every pitch (frequency) has a different color.. Everything is vibration, and in this way we are all connected and interacting. That all the sounds around us effect us on an energetic level is a fact. In a natural relaxed, or meditative state, we naturally attune to or entrain to the electromagnetic frequencies around us. If we are excluding environmental stimuli, we will often entrain to the Shumann resonance, or the frequency of the earth, causing an alpha brain wave state. We resonate, which causes us to vibrate in different parts of our body from the frequencies that we take in. It cuts through abstractions, and at the same time music takes abstractions and builds patterns and ideas. Isn't that how our mind works? Isn't this what math does?

"The science of Pure Mathematics, in its modern developments, may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit. Another claimant for this position is music: - Whitehad (From Music and the mind, by Anthony Storr)


I was planning on doing a very similar project - a spiritual autobiography mixing in philosophy and how music fits into my life through storytelling. Incidentally, I put the book you are reading on hold earlier in the semester, but forgot to pick it up. Then you found it : ) Maybe we could mix our research coming from different angles and make a cd - I've also had an idea of playing "sacred music" on campus a couple times and trying to get people involved - we've already done it once. This could be overkill or it might be really fun. In the least, it could take away some pressure - but not air pressure. Anyway, here's some inspiration:

“Because music doesn’t represent anything else, does it? It’s there, humanly crafted, yet given, more like the wind itself than a description of the wind or a picture of trees swaying? It moves out of us and into us im-mediately. It blends with emotion, it becomes emotion – or “passion,” as they used to say. Well, this leads into a thicket of distinctions: The consensus of the wise has been that music is unique among the arts because it operates on the same plane as the unmediated, the given. It belongs to sensation itself, to bodily existence and, for that very reason, it elevates that existence in a way no other art can match. Music takes hold of you on levels of your being that precede intentional articulation, levels of being that contain what you cannot put into words." (Zengotita, [http://“Because+music+doesn’t+represent+anything+else,+does+it?++It’s+there,+humanly+crafted,+yet+given,+more+like+the+wind+itself+than+a+description+of+the+wind+or+a+picture+of+trees+swaying?++It+moves+out+of+us+and+into+us+im-mediately.++It+blends+with+emotion,+it+becomes+emotion+–+or+“passion,”+as+they+used+to+say.++Well,+this+leads+into+a+thicket+of+distinctions:++The+consensus+of+the+wise+has+been+that+music+is+unique+among+the+arts+because+it+operates+on+the+same+plane+as+the+unmediated,+the+given.++It+belngs+to+sensation+itself,+to+bodily+existence+and,+for+that+very+reason,+it+elevates+that+existence+in+a+way+no+other+art+can+match.++Music+takes+hold+of+you+on+levels+of+your+being+that+precede+intentional+articulation,+levels+of+being+that+contain+what+you+can+put+into+words.|Mediated)]

- Earthmuffin



Are you taking CSD 101 (preventing hearing loss?). I am. I'm pretty sure that picture of the internal parts of the ear was required reading for the class, but it is an outside link, so it's just as likely you found it on your own. To show just how good of a student I am in that class (ha!), I forget the name of the thing I wanted to mention. I'll describe it, though. Somewhere in our readings for that class, we had to read something about noises that actually go backwards. This phenomenon was observed in which your nerves actually stimulate the hairs in your cochlea to move, and those vibrations travel in reverse, through the cochlea and the middle ear bones and out to the eardrum. They found it when someone said they were hearing things, and a doctor stuck a stethoscope to the person's ear and could hear it too, so the person wasn't psychologically unsound (or, if they were, that wasn't evidence of it!). As someone who can't remember exactly in which readings I read it, I'm a little bit curious about whether I remember everything correctly. As a chemistry major, I'm more than a little skeptical about the reliability of the source (I just had a talk today with my thesis advisor about how most of the experiments published in certain lesser-known scientific journals, such as Tetrahedron Letters, are just complete bullshit). If you did indeed have the class, maybe you remember the phenomenon I'm thinking of? If not....it might be an interesting tangent to research.



11/15/2007 - Pre-class thoughts


Ceridwen- thanks, I'm glad that you enjoyed my presentation, and that you found the gospel of truth interesting. I like the artwork; whoever painted it is really talented. It's interesting that Sophia is referred to as "God's bride" because she is usually known as a kind of mother figure. She "gives birth" via her ignorance and anguish to the demiurge. -Proteus



As of 8pm (now), I can't seem to access Sacred-texts to check out zee_deveel's text, but I've read "The Gospel of Truth," which Proteus is talking about tomorrow.

As an admitted word whore, I don't generally stumble upon words that I don't know the meaning of. "Pleroma," however, was beyond me. This is what wikipedia had to say:

...generally refers to the totality of divine powers. The word means fullness from πληρόω ("fills") comparable to πλήρης which means "full",1 and is used in Christian theological contexts: both in Gnosticism generally, and by Paul of Tarsus in Colossians 2.9.

Gnosticism holds that the world is controlled by archons, among whom some versions of Gnosticism claim is the deity of the Old Testament, who held aspects of the human captive, either knowingly or accidentally. The heavenly pleroma is the totality of all that is regarded in our understanding of "divine". The pleroma is often referred to as the light existing "above" (the term is not to be understood spatially) our world, occupied by spiritual beings who self-emanated from the pleroma. These beings are described as aeons (eternal beings) and sometimes as archons. Jesus is interpreted as an intermediary aeon who was sent, along with his counterpart Sophia, from the pleroma, with whose aid humanity can recover the lost knowledge of the divine origins of humanity and in so doing be brought back into unity with the Pleroma. The term is thus a central element of Gnostic religious cosmology.

Gnostic texts envision the pleroma as aspects of God, the eternal Divine Principle, who can only be partially understood through the pleroma. Each "aeon" (i.e. aspect of God) is given a name (sometimes several) and a female counterpart (Gnostic viewed divinity and completeness in terms of male/female unification). The Gnostic myth goes on to tell how the aeon wisdom's female counterpart Sophia separated from the Pleroma to form the demiurge, thus giving birth to the material world.


There were two passages that stuck out to me:

1) "When the totality went about searching for the one from whom they had come forth - and the totality was inside of him, the incomprehensible, inconceivable one who is superior to every thought - ignorance of the Father brought about anguish and terror; and the anguish grew solid like a fog, so that no one was able to see. For this reason, error became powerful; it worked on its own matter foolishly, not having known the truth. It set about with a creation, preparing with power and beauty the substitute for the truth."


---> The phrase "the totality was inside of him" interested me, because although it implies the existence of everything bein within God, it can also be taken to mean that got is made up of the totality of existence. In other words, we create god by our own existence. I'm fairly certain that isn't the intended interpreteation of the text, but it's where my mind tends to drift when reading something like this. Call me a Spinozist or Marxist, but I've never been one for believing in a higher, sentient power.


2) "Say, then, from the heart, that you are the perfect day, and in you dwells the light that does not fail. Speak of the truth with those who search for it, and (of) knowledge to those who have committed sin in their error. Make firm the foot of those who have stumbled, and stretch out your hands to those who are ill. Feed those who are hungry, and give repose to those who are weary, and raise up those who wish to rise, and awaken those who sleep. For you are the understanding that is drawn forth. If strength acts thus, it becomes even stronger. Be concerned with yourselves; do not be concerned with other things which you have rejected from yourselves. Do not return to what you have vomited, to eat it. Do not be moths. Do not be worms, for you have already cast it off. Do not become a (dwelling) place for the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen (those who are) obstacles to you, who are collapsing, as though (you were) a support (for them). For the lawless one is someone to treat ill, rather than the just one. For the former does his work as a lawless person; the latter as a righteous person does his work among others. So you, do the will of the Father, for you are from him."


---> The first part of this paragraph I love: "Say then, from the heart, that you are the perfect day, and in you dwells the light that does not fail." Inside I think: "Yes! That's it!" It echoes Crowley's "The broken manifests light" and is in keeping with my own ideas about god. The rest, however, is troublesome. In a sense, I agree with GoNZo's thoughts about good and evil. The dichotomy bothers me deeply, and I don't always see the concepts as separate. I think "good" and "evil" are frequently intertwingled to the point where they're the same thing. At the very least I agree with the idea of yin and yang or "two mutually corrolated opposites" symbolized by the taijitu. Even that, though, bothers me somewhat, because it doesn't depict the vast grey area that I think makes up the majority of our moral and social existence. I particularly take issue with the statement "the lawless one is someone to treat ill." In my philosophy the lawless is the one who needs the most consideration, thought and help. Punishment, to me, should be constructive, not merely purgatory or penal. Treating someone "ill" does nothing to change the situation and merely satisfies a rather self-righteous desire of mankind to publicly punish criminals. I may hate George Bush, and I may think he deserves to go to jail (or to Iraq without his bodyguards), but I also think he deserves the same amount of forgiveness I would want from others. I don't have to like the man to treat him with basic human dignity, and if he was in my apartment I wouldn't spit on him. To give that some frame of reference, I also wouldn't have spit on Hitler. I think that if I take issue with someone, no matter how great the issue, violence and disrespect will garner me nothing at all.

11/14/2007 - any advice?

This is the first draft of a "theory and practice paper" for my ENGL 250 class (tutoring class). Anyway, I need tons of quotes and citations, but here's the unfinished draft without references. I'd really appreciate any thoughts or ideas!:


One of the most ignored or denied issues facing writing centers today is that of online tutoring. In a world quickly heading down the rabbit hole of a digital world (shopping, dating, getting a college degree, and working are just some of the things you can do online), it is imperative to provide writing centers with the tools to work online both efficiently and effectively.

Current models for online tutoring are generally too slow or cumbersome, often frustrating both tutors and students. There is also the issue of a lack of personal connection. Many tutors balk at the thought of never meeting a student face-to-face, and many students consider online tutoring an easy way to have their paper edited without making any significant changes.

Beginning with the first online branches of writing centers in the mid-1990’s, online tutoring has existed in a climate of relative fear and hostility. Many writing centers have been unwilling or unable to implement technologies to expand and improve online tutoring. Whether this is due to a love of the more traditional face-to-face form of tutoring, fear of losing the family-like atmosphere that exists among employees of a writing center, or apprehension of the cost of technological innovation, this reticence to expand online tutoring hurts everyone involved, from employers to tutors to students.

In general, there are three methods of online tutoring used today. The first is tutoring via email, in which a student emails a paper to a tutor and the tutor sends a written response back. This method tends to lend itself towards editing rather than tutoring, and garners negative reactions from most writing centers. However, it’s convenient and easy for everyone to use. The second method is in-paper commentary. This involves a student emailing a document to a tutor, and the tutor writing comments directly in the paper and sending it back. This, too, lends itself to editing. This method, however, allows for very detailed commentary and analysis. These two methods are known as “asynchronous” methods, meaning that the tutor and student are not online and communicating at the same time.

The third method is synchronous chat. This involves several steps (setting up a chat time, sending the document to be discussed before said chat time, logging in to various types of password-protected domains, etc), ultimately leading to a tutor and student discussing a paper in an online “chat room.” This is the preferred method by many institutions because it encourages a relationship between tutor and student closely resembling face-to-face sessions, but it has several drawbacks. The first is the often cumbersome and clumsy programming used to facilitate the chat – often resulting in “lost” comments, confusion, and frustration on the part of both tutors and students. In addition, chat sessions often lead both tutors and students to use informal or unclear language that can result in confusion on both sides. Perhaps the biggest issue with synchronous chat is that the tutor and student are not looking at the same document at the same time. Given both the complexities of online tutoring and the absolute necessity for it, what system or technology can bridge that gap?

A technology called “Wiki” was developed and first put to use in 1994. Given its 13 year history, it is surprising that wiki hasn’t been used more in the popular technological sphere. According to “Wikipedia” (perhaps the world’s best-known wiki), a wiki is “a type of computer software that allows users to easily create, edit and link web pages.” Wikis are easy to create and password-protect, but can be edited by anyone with the password. A simple and apt analogy for a wiki is that of a blank page on the internet, which anyone can add to or modify.

An important aspect of the wiki is its element of collaboration. Writing communities have sprouted up across the web, using wikis to collaboratively write and edit various kinds of writing. This “group effort” mentality closely ties in with the collaborative pedagogy of most writing centers, and fosters creativity and the meeting of minds on equal ground. On a wiki, all contributors are equal. This equality is the goal of writing centers involved in peer tutoring, and is often a concern in face-to-face tutoring.

Given the fact that the theoretical ideas of wiki technology coincide so well with peer tutoring, practical implication is of concern. Wikis can be used in almost any way, but one such method for tutoring could be as follows: A student uses a wiki-wide password to create their own page, copying and pasting their paper to that page. A tutor then reads the paper and makes comments either at the bottom of the page or directly in the text. Most wiki programs will email all contributors to a page when any changes have been made, so the student would be automatically sent a message showing the changes that had been made. The student can then go back to the wiki page and make adjustments based on the tutor’s comments, which the tutor can review, and so on. It’s easy to track changes, view older versions of the page, make comments in different colors, etc. Even the “technologically challenged” can easily use a wiki, as it requires no use of HTML, CSS, or any other hypertext codes.

Wikis can also be useful for tutoring due to their incredibly simple linking technologies. Rather than attempt to explain the intricacies of MLA or APA citation formatting, a tutor may simply link to a page outlining those formats and allow the student to browse that site on their own time. This removes some of the time constraints present in both synchronous chat and face-to-face sessions, in which issues are often overlooked if a student doesn’t understand them. At best, the student is sent home with vague descriptions of formatting or research “rules,” and has to schedule another face-to-face session or chat session. On a wiki, the student can immediately view the web page with the necessary information and make any required changes. The tutor can then return to the page and re-check any changed portions.

Another element of online tutoring of concern to many universities is the cost of computer software. Wiki technology, however, is for the most part free. There are wikis that charge for more “disc space”, but in general easily accessible and usable wikis are available at no cost. One such wiki is “Pbwiki,” which is used for several courses at Penn State by Professor Richard Doyle. This page can be viewed (and edited) at http://biotelemetrica.pbwiki.com .

Wikis, however, are not without their own issues. The ability for anyone with the password to add, edit, or delete text from the wiki leaves it open to manipulation from those not involved in the tutoring process. There is also the fact that many people are reluctant to use a technology unfamiliar to them. While most college students have vast experience with email and chat formats, the majority of them have yet to fully use wikis (including Wikipedia, which though it has become a popular reference source for students, is not edited or reviewed by most of those who use it). This problem, however, can be easily overcome by allowing students, administrators, and tutors to become familiar with wikis and all of their various uses and capabilities.














11/8/2007 - Posting from afar

I've been sick and doing some hospital transport duties for my Dad, but I've been paying attention to the last two classes via the wiki - yet another benefit of having an online classroom environment in addition to a traditional one. This is not, perhaps, the best time to be updating something to be put into a public sphere, as I've got my own chemical imbalances and dependancies. Anyhow, as I sit here dosed on Ultram and NyQuil and having just driven to Danville and back for the third time in four days, I've got some thoughts.


1) I love that in this course, students have taken over. It allows for so much more than a strict curriculum would ever encompass, and while I may not be learning who wrote what and when (as I do in most of my other classes), I'm learning how to think - and how others think.


2) Given the recent discussions about the possibility of Jesus having trained in India and Tibet, I wonder about the Roman Catholic reaction to those claims. Does it particularly contradict what they attempt to propagate? Rhetorically it's significant, because it alters the story in a profound way. But for me, spiritually it's a minor blip.


I've always felt that every single religion is a permutation of what you could call the truth...that not of them are "correct" in any empirical sense. How could the be? But they're also all correct, a part of a mosaic that makes up our world. I think that Christianity without Islam is incomplete, that Judaism without Kundalini yoga is lacking something. Jesus has always been a very important figure in my life, not as a Catholicized son of God or savior or redeemer of sins (though for some he is all of the above), but as a sage...a magus if you will (a fascinating cosmic connection - a man by the name of Simon Magus was crucifed next to Jesus). A guru. So thinking that he trained in Tibet merely provides another link in the spider-web fracturing fabric of spirituality, for me. Another break which lets in just a bit more light. I don't think it at all damages his credibility as Jesus - I think it enhances it.


It also seems to me that Jesus would be appaled at what's been done to the message he tried to spread, but that's my interperetation. I believe that when he said "son of God" he meant "in God and of God and around God". We are each aspects of God - and I say God not as a sentient being but as the substance of the universe. His primary message was love, and love is an idea that echoes in all other sacred texts that I've encountered. How can we then use those texts to divide and conquer? To dominate and punish and enact cruelty towards others? Echan's post today reminded me of this.


Ultimately, though, once the words of any magus are uttered, they're no longer their own. It's the same with writing...all of these words I'm entering into this page are just keytaps that are converted into binary code, and then reconverted for you to read. Once you're reading, the process is so complicated it continually amazes me. The end result, though, is that by giving my words and thoughts away I no longer control them - you do. So who can be surprised that the words of a man rumored to have lived thousands of years ago have become jumbled and the message has become murky?


Furthermore (and back to the topic currently gurgling around on the wiki), what can determining where Jesus traveled or lived or trained tell us that his own words cannot? The idea of Jesus doing yoga brings a blinding smile to my face, because I imagine he would eat lentils and basmati rice afterwards and converse with his friends, as I do in the evenings. I imagine I am Jesus sometimes, and realize that maybe that's the point. Instead of repeating the words of someone else, shouldn't I be becoming a magus/guru/sage/Jesus/Buddha/John in my own right? Shouldn't you?

11/7/2007 - (No subject)

Found this online and thought it might be interesting for you to read.

spirituality survey
do you have a religion?: I haven't found one that really satisfies me, including my own
do you believe you are spiritual?: Of course. I think that everyone is, because denying your spirituality is still participating in it
do you believe in a higher being?: In a way, though not the typical way
do you believe in heaven/hell?: Again, in a fashion
do you believe in reincarnation?: I believe that there are old souls, yes
do you believe in karma?: Yes - not in a sense of being rewarded for good deeds, but because the connectivity of the universe means that everything ricochets back to you
do you believe in the threefold law?: I'm not familiar with it
do you believe in 1 god or several?: both and neither
do you believe god is energy?: That would mean I had a definition of god!
do you believe in nature?: I believe that I'm an extension of nature
do you believe in commandments?: I believe that they exist, though I don't "believe in them" in the Catholic sense not with rabid faith
do you believe in the wiccan rede?: it's a perspective that I value, but I don't adhere to it, no
do you believe in angels?: not particularly
do you believe in astrology?: I believe in a lot of things, including that our life rhythms are often lined up with cosmic rhythms
do you believe in fortune telling, tarot, etc?: Of course, because they're merely mirrors for you to do your own examination
do you believe in magick?: I've never tried it, but I don't think its impossible
do you believe in a devil/that one exists?: Not in the traditional sense
do you believe there are no gods?: That would depend on what you mean by gods, wouldn't it?
do you believe in aliens?: Much like many other things, I neither affirm nor deny the possibility of their existence
do you go to a church regularly?: If by church you mean my daily meditation, then yes
do you celebrate sabbats and esbats?: no
do you pray?: I meditate
do you do good so good comes back to you, karma?: No, I do good because I believe it's my purpose
do you wear symbols of your religion?: My religion doesn't have any
do you do anything daily or regularly to celebrate your religion?: meditation, Kundalini yoga, Hatha yoga, and a vegetarian lifestyle
do you do magick of any sort?: no
do you talk to others about your faith?: Not particularly...I'm fairly solitary anyway.
do you try and spread your faith, or are you against proseletising?: I believe in a "live and let live" philosophy - don't step on my toes and I won't step on yours
other questions
what are your views on abortion and does your religion affect your view?: I think it's terrible but sometimes necessary, and since I've never gone through it I don't know which decision I would make. So, I'm not in a position to judge others
what are your views on guns and does your religion affect your view?: I hate them, honestly. I've shot several different kinds and never get over being nauseous. I'm nonviolent by nature, especially towards animals.
what about violence?: I'm all for bloody movies (Natural Born Killers is one of my favorites), but in real life it makes me sick
how you treat others?: With compassion and consideration
whether you do drugs/drink/smoke?: I think that inebriants can be an interesting way to step outside of yourself, but too much and you're lost in them
sex and marriage?: I think sex is an expression of love, and marriage is an expression of societal regulations. You do the math.
what you eat, are you a vegetarian as part of your faith?: I consider my faith to include my entire life - there's no aspect of me that isn't affected by it. Thus, yes.
what about soulmates, do you believe the exist?: No, I believe that when you find someone that you're willing to work for for the rest of your life, that's the one
what do you believe about the origin of the soul?: I'm unsure
where does your soul go after death?: Again, I'm not certain. I don't know that it exists outside of the body (thanks for the duality, Descartes...), so I can't answer this one
does what you do in life effect where your soul will go after death?: No
do you believe in the death penalty and does your religion affect your view: I don't believe in it. Remember - "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"
do all of your beliefs fall in line with a certain religion or not?: No, although I've tried to make it work. I seem to be outside of normal definitions
what about gay marriage and does your religion affect your view?: I think if people love each other and want to committ to that for life, more power to them - homosexual, heterosexual, asexual, hypersexual...who cares?
Take this survey | Find more surveys

Bzoink - The Original Survey Site

10/31/2007 - A LIES ter Crowley

(link from Mobius' page points your attention to today's entry titled "discontented Halloween", directly below this one)


For tomorrow's class I'll be presenting/discussing/blabbering about a bunch of things. The focus of those things will hopefully be on Aleister Crowley's "The Book of Lies". While it's available on sacred-texts.com, this version is much more "readable". Rather than have you try to read all of it in a night (it's fairly long), I'd ask that you go over the first five pages (including the first page you see when you open that link). Those are the one's I'd like to cover in more detail. They're organized much like they are in the actual text, which means that Crowley's own explanatory notes are on the pages opposing what he's refering to. You can read it without reading the notes for your first go-'round - it might enable you to get a pure or more visceral initial reaction. Reading them, however, is generally vital to understanding what the heck he's talking about.


It also might be helpful for discussion to browse the fun links on bigmyth.com.


Since I've chosen a more obsucre text that isn't always directly connected to the "religion" Crowley was famous for begining/reviving, I'll do a very brief overview of the basic tenets of Thelema. I'd like to focus mostly on the text at hand, though, and how it connects to other texts we've read so far this semester.


PS: Crowley was heavily involved in "Magick" (reportedly he originated that spelling of the word), entire courses could be taught on his practices. Rather than delve into what generally takes a lifetime to fully understand, I'll just say that some people considered him the devil and others considered him a prophet. Either way, his writings had a profound effect (even if you've never heard of him)


Edit - technically 11/1/2007 but who cares:

the following is from a forward to my copy of the Book of Lies, which isn't available online. I found it very interesting and helpful, so I figured I'd post it in case anyone got a chance to read it before class tomorrow.



"The Book of Lies, first published in London in 1913, Aleister Crowley's little master work, has long been out of print. It's re-issue with the author's own Commentary gives occasion for a few notes. We have so much material by Crowley himself about this book that we can do no better than quote some passages which we find scattered about in the un-published volumes of his 'CONFESSIONS.' He writes:


'...None the less, I could point to some solid achievement on the large scale, although it is composed of more or less disconnected elements. I refer to The Book of Lies. In this there are 93 chapters: we cound as a chapter the two pages filled respectively with a note of interrogation and a mark of exclamation. The other chapters contain sometimes a single word, more frequently from a half-dozen to twenty phrases, occasionally anything up to a dozen to twenty paragraphs. The subject of each chapter is determined more or less definitely by the Qabalistic import of its number. Thus Chapter 25 gives a revised ritual of the Pentagram; 72 is a rondel with the refrain 'Shemhamphorash', the Divine name of 72 letters; 77 Laylah, whose name adds to that number; and 80, the number of the letter Pe, referred to Mars, a panegyric upon War. Sometimes the text is serious and straightforward, sometimes its obscure oracles demand deep knowledge of the Qabalah for interpretation, others contain obscure allusions, play upon words, secrets expressed in cryptogram, double or triple meanings which must be combined in order to appreciate the full flavour; others again are subtly ironical or cynical. At first sight the book is a jumble of nonsense intended to insult the reader. It requires infinite study, sympathy, intuition and initiation. Given these I do not hesitate to claim that in none of my other writings have I given so profound and comprehensive an exposition of my philosophy on every plane...'


'...My association with Free Masonry was therefore destined to be more fertile than almost any other study, and that in a way despite itself. A word should be pertinent with regard to the question of secrecy. It has become difficult for me to take this matter very seriously. Knowing what the secret actually is, I cannot attach much importance to artificial mysteries. Again, though the secret itself is of such tremendous import, and though it is so simple that I could disclose it...in a short paragraph, I might do so without doing much harm. For it cannot be used indiscriminately...I have found in practice that the secret of the O.T.O. cannot be used unworthily...'


'It is interesting in this connection to recall how it came into my posession. It had occured to me to write a book 'THE BOOK OF LIES, WHICH IS FALSELY CALLED BREAKS, THE WANDERINGS OR FALSIFICATION OF THE THOUGHT OF FRATER PERDURABO WHICH THOUGHT IS ITSELF UNTRUE...' One of these chapters bothered me. I could not write it. I invoked Dionysus with particular fervour, but still without success. I went off in desperation to 'change my luck', by doing something entirely contrary to my inclinations. In the midst of my disgust, the spirit came over me, and I scribbled the chapter down by the light of a farthing dip. When I read it over, I was as discontented as before, but I stuck it into the book in a sort of anger at myself as a deliberate act of spite towards my readers.


Shortly after publication, the O.H.O. (Outer Head of the O.T.O.) came to me. (At that time I did not realize that there was anything in the O.T.O. beyond a convenient compendium of the more important truths of Free Masonry.) He said that since I was acquainted with the supreme secred of the Order, I must be allowed the IX and obligated in regard to it. I protested that I knew no such secret. He said 'But you have printed it in the plainest language'. I said that I could not have done so because I did not know it. He went to the bookshelves; taking out a copy of The Book of Lies, he pointed to a passage in the despised chapter. It instantly flashed upon me. The entire symbolism not only of Free Masonry but of many other traditions blazed upon my spiritual vision. From that moment the O.T.O. assumed its proper importance in my mind. I understood that I held in my hands the key to the future progress of hummanity...'


The Commentary was written by Crowley probably around 1921. The student will find it very helpful for the light it throws on many of its passages."

10/31/2007 - discontented Halloween

A youtube video sparks a small stream of tears and a big conversation with an ailing but still rebellious and youthful father.


My father’s perspective is one that is invaluable to me, and unique. In college he was arrested several times for actions in protest to the war in Vietnam, as well as for carrying around a bag of cinnamon hearts that looked like drugs to the passing officers. He has been a lifelong student of politics and of civil revolution, with the deepest admiration for those such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, et al. He has been in countless protest marches and attended debates galore. He is also an elected leader in his town, and thus has the perspective of being on the other side of the microphone. His response was colored by the fact that he understood how quickly a “discussion” can become mere shouting with no dialogue without a modicum of structure – five minutes to talk, two minutes to ask a question, etc. etc.


And after a preliminary discussion of the outrageousness of the tasering, of the apparently incompetent training of the police officers (if three officers can’t handcuff and escort one man out of a room and ask him to calm down without resorting to violence, they’re not good policemen), and of the necessity for some regulations in order to give everyone a voice (such as those waiting to ask their questions after the young man in the video), talk turned to Kerry and the crowd.


We agreed on several things: First, that John Kerry would have made a terrible president. Before Andrew Meyers' microphone was turned off, Kerry should have forcefully interrupted with a simple “let me address your first question, and then we can move on to the others.” We also agreed, though, that the questioner’s purpose was to cause a scene (which I think is an arguably noble cause in times like these). Second, when the officers and the person in question were wrestling in the back of the room, someone capable of leading a nation would have stepped off the stage, walked through the crowd, said “Hey! Lets all calm down. Let me talk to him for a minute” and diffused the situation with rhetorical and social facility. Third, barring any real competent police work on the part of the officers or competent leadership on the part of Kerry, the crowd was obligated (yes, obligated) to stand up for the man being arrested. Not necessarily attack the police – merely escalating the situation into one of more violence – but simply vocally decrying the ongoing events. It is important to stand up and be counted…important to forcefully yet peacefully stand up for the rights of others and for yourself. To paraphrase my father, the mentality of that crowd is the very mentality that lead to the genocide of the Holocaust and to our current military presence in nations around the world.


Ultimately, I am not shocked. But this lack of suprise at the situation is itself a suprise to me. When did I become so inured to government dominance and control? When did such violence become so commonplace that while it sickens, saddens, and scares me, I am no longer profoundly shocked by it? Furthermore, regarding the crowd's response: how could they? What is it that kept them in their seats? It's as if, when confronted with such blatant abuse of power and misuse of force, they were so unsure of what to do that they laughed it off (much as zee_deveel does when asked a Mobius-ized question and unsure of the anser, or as I do when in pain and incapable of coping with it). This laughter is an effective and healthy way to deal with many situations - it releases tension, calms you down, and enables acceptance. But those are the last things that should have been happening in that room. So by accepting the mentality of "they're the police, I can't do anything", of "that kid should have shut the fk up", of "I can't stop this...", the passive audience was functioning as an active participant in the completely outrageous and unfounded violence towards Meyers. In situations such as this, silence is thundering, and tacit acceptance is active approval.


What would YOU have done? Would you have stood up and shouted? Rushed towards the police? Attempted to talk to Meyers and calm the situation? Raised your voice in concert with his and wailed as he was electrocuted? Or would you have simply sat there, looking around you to guage others' reactions and waiting for someone else to fix it? And what will you do when you're the one on the floor with knees in your back, elbows in your face, laughter all around, and painful electricity coursing through your body?

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,

habe ich geschwiegen;

ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,

habe ich geschwiegen;

ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,

habe ich nicht protestiert;

ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,

habe ich nicht protestiert;

ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,

gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

10/30/2007 - deux

I am in ur wikis, organizing ur notes.

In my quest for a PDFable version of "Cornell Method" style paper, I encountered the above and giggled.


Also, Claire and anyone else reading this associated with (or familiar with) the Writing Center: I'm thinking of making a project dealing with how the wiki could be used for online tutoring - a proposal of sorts. Any ideas, concerns, or suggestions? I'll be turning it into a "theory and practice paper" for Cindy, as well.


thepanamaslider says:

This may not be at all what you were after, and I don't work at your writing center, but I thought I might be able to help. I worked at a writing center for a few years that was very similar to the one at Penn State. We had an Online Writing Lab that ran off of a modified tech support ticket system. Basically, people emailed in their papers, we emailed back suggestions, and usually that was the end (we rarely got any response back). This was frustrating for the tutors because there was never any discussion or give-and-take like there is in a face-to-face session. It made us feel like under-appreciated editors and it was very hard not to be an editor in that situation. I blame most of this on the email system because it didn't encourage any sort of easy, open discussion about the paper. In fact, there was a presentation on this exact problem and ways to deal with it at the NCPTW titled Bridging the Gap. Maybe you could find the video if there is one.


All of that leads to my actual point: I think wiki could be a way to avoid this “gap.” It sounds like it has a lot of potential to create conversation about student papers that email simply can't do. It could also fall prey to the same problems, but hey, now you know about them so you can keep an eye out! There is a lot of work being done on these things by Online Learning types that I think could help you out. I might even be able to get you in contact with one of these types who has done a lot with writing centers and online technology and who can give you some good advice if she isn't absurdly busy right now. Just let me know if you are interested. Also, look for stuff about asynchronous online learning/tutoring. Best of luck!


10/30/2007 - "I just met myself for the first time"

Today's discussion of mirrors - of seeing the self or someone else in them - reminded me of an incident from about two years ago. Some friends and I were watching a flim - let's call it "Pink Floyd's 'The Mall'" - and under the influence of a substance known for it's relaxing and mind-opening effects - let's call it la hierba. Anyway, my boyfriend (we can call him Bob, because that's his least favorite name of all) got up to go to the bathroom. The journey from living room to bathroom involved a trek down a relatively long hallway directly towards a wall of full-length mirrors. At the time this hallway was lit by red christmas lights running down the length of it on the floor. So, Bob walks down the hallway in a red-reflected haze and stops at the mirror before entering the bathroom on his right. I don't know what happened at the mirror, but I know that when Bob came back he stated (with perfect seriousness): "Guys. Guys listen. I just met myself for the first time."

Our response: "Huh?".

Bob: "In the mirror! It was me but not me. I've never met me before."


The television then entered into the conversation:

"....we came in?"

So ya

Thought ya

Might like to go to the show.

To feel the warm thrill of confusion

That space cadet glow.

Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?

Is this not what you expected to see?

If you wanna find out what's behind these cold eyes

You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise.


"Lights! Turn on the sound effects! Action!"


Simple as that - a chapter in a spiritual biography to be written later in life.


Just for fun, I've found an I-Ching caster . Enjoy!

Also, Thursday I'll be talking about Crowley's "The Book of Lies", so check it out (link on the syllabus). Since I'm generally incapable of sticking to a pure textual analysis, I'll be giving you some bio information as well as a few fun facts and some connections you can draw from Crowley's idea of religion to other sacred texts. Just browse, and focus most of your attention on the first five or six pages, since that's what I'd like to talk about most.

10/25/2007 - Religion, Philosophy, and the Sacred


Where have you been? - GoNZo


Dear Wikified Readers,

I’ve slowly been generating “final project” ideas through the synthesis of all of my coursework this semester. The angle I’d like to take is this: most philosophy is sacred, and philosophy dealing with the sacred in particular becomes a form of religion.




I’m frequently annoyed when I hear “philosophers” criticizing organized religion and prescribing their own belief system as the “correct” one. By my definition of organized religion (that is, a dogmatic and action-based perusal of a spiritual belief within a communal context), philosophical and spiritual thinkers from Heraclitus to Crowley and modern-day anarchists are merely positing an alternative to mainstream organized religion, not abolishing it (as it would appear they wish to do). Many of the inherent contradictions contained within these philosophies are due to their lack of acknowledgement of the fact that by engaging organized religion in a debate and attempting to argue with it on it’s own grounds, they in fact participate and intertwingle with that religion. In other words, they do nothing to go beyond what has already been said, and in fact often end up proving the opposite of their original aim.




I think it would be invaluable for us as a class (my wishful thinking extrapolates this to the world at large) to consider texts traditionally categorized as philosophical treatises in light of our discussion of the sacred. Much of philosophy deals with the concepts of God, mind, body, soul, existence, knowledge, reality, ontology etc. Sound familiar? So-called “religious texts” (i.e. sacred texts) revolve around the same issues. The difference, to me, lies in that philosophical texts approach theses concepts as a question needing to be answered, while religious texts (or religious interpretations of sacred texts) tend to posit the statements contained within as fact. At the end of many philosophical texts, we are left with questions (often voiced by the authors of said texts). In some cases, however, philosophers seem to think they’ve come up with all of the correct answers. It is in these cases that I think the text veers more towards an organized religion’s chosen text than a philosophical or spiritual text.




A good example of this is Baruch Spinoza’s “The Ethics” (1677). The text itself takes the form of geometrical proofs, making it often challenging to read (though easy to follow, as the logical progression is clear and quite simple). Part I is titled “Concerning God,” and, as the title suggests, deals with God. Spinoza’s formulation of God is very different from the Judeo-Christian perspective, and while it’s somewhat more similar to a Hindu conception I’ve yet to find a direct correlation to any religion. Rather than attempt to summarize it (and probably mislead you in some way), I’ll just point you a few summaries of his general philosophy, specifically his ideas about God. I'm listing more than one because interpretations of Spinoza can be vastly different, but in browsing them all you'll get a general idea of what he says without having to pick through the text itself:

\"Spinoza: Summary of his Philosophy\" (from the University of Leeds)

\"Background to Spinoza's Ethics\" (by Dr. Don rutherford)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Spinoza (look for "god" and "theology" in the linked contents at the top of the article)


I think that in keeping with the idea that everything can be made (or already is) sacred, looking at some texts which are traditionally left out of the sacred/religious/spiritual discussion could be extremely enlightening and inspiring.

Spinoza ties in with Crowley, whom I’ll be discussing in class on Thursday, in an interesting way. A pithy way to phrase Spinoza’s general theory of God would be that to fulfill your destiny and to know God one must “know thyself.” Crowley’s catchphrase was “Do what thou wilt.” I’m sure you can here the echoes from every other text we’ve considered thusfar in the semester. What does this common thread (of autonomy within God, or God within the self) linking most (if not all) “religions” mean? Could it be that a “true” religion is a synthesis of all of the religions of the world? I’m picturing them as particles of a whole, or pieces of a quilt. It’s an interesting thing to think about. Could one come up with a list of “truths” based on the commonalities of all religions or sacred texts?





Just some food for thought.



10/18/2007 - UPDATE

I will be updating later - deleting this, I suspect. Sitting at the writing center with zee_deveel talking about final projects and wikis &C. made me realize that I have more to say. Back later :)


Good talk, Ceridwen. Consider this a Wiki-fied WC 'love note'. Be well :). - zee_deveel


10/8/2007 - Self-actualization

In what seems to be a pattern of Mobius classes, synchronicity has been enveloping me. I saw "performativity of self" on the syllabus and nearly choked on my organic-fair-trade-so-you-can-feel-good-about-yourself coffee. I've been reading about/studying that concept in not one but two other classes. One in conjunction with Shakespeare and Stanley Cavell, the other dealing with Hegel and Marx.


What's the point?


I'm reminded of two distinct Shakespeare passages dealing with the concept of the performativity of life.


The first, from Macbeth (act V scene V):

"She should have died hereafter.

There would have been a time for such a word.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time.

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing."


The second, from As You Like It (Act II Scene VII)**

"All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."



I'm also reminded of Wittgenstein's "Forms of life", Hegel's "Spirit," and Marx' performative societal roles.

We are more than the sum of our parts. For instance, I am a student, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a friend, a leader, an employee, a tutor, &C. That list, however, can't by any stretch be a summation of who I am. Part of who I am is a characteristic synthesis outside of my roles, which stands apart from them (i.e how I live them together or in conflict...my own integration of my performances.)


I think that Shakespeare, the philosophers, and to a certain extent the Sutras, are teaching the same thing...that what's important is not just your role in life or your self-actualization (your independent and free actions), but (forgive my German) Beisichsein - or for Hegel, "Bei sich sein im Anderen sein". The phrase is notoriously hard to translate, but it basically means "being at home with oneself in the other". It might make more sense to phrase it as a concept of personal freedom for the good of the community, though that can (and has) lead down a slippery slope to totalitarian states. I'm vaguely connecting this to the Sutras based on the fact that the "individual" dieties are parts of a larger conceptualization of Brahman (or Spirit, Geist, &C. if you want to continue with the German philosophers' terms).


To me the idea of Beisichsein is a syntheses of the independent "separate" (if you'll permit that expression) self and the communal, role-playing self. It eliminates the idea of a consciousness outside of your performative roles, and yet eliminates the idea that you're nothing more than them, either. That gets into Wittgenstein's (and Cavell's) idea of the "beyond" which isn't actually beyond, but that which we inhabit and create by our form of life.


What's fascinating to me is that Budhism and a philosophy which was later perverted to justify the Holocaust (the idea that a Christian State was the destiny of the world and that sacrifices were necessary to reach that state or Idea*) are teaching/exemplifying the same concept. To me, it's a signal that there's something profound and universal that can't be crushed by the dogma of individual religions or philosophies.


*To be fair, Hegel drew that connection not out of a belief in the superiority of those who attended Catholic church - or any Christian denomination - but our of his rhetorical analysis of the concept of the Holy Trinity


I'm too exhausted to put in all of the necessary links or make any further textual connections tonight, but I will sometime this week. Or perhaps Mobius will appear with connections I've missed (that seems to be his Mobius operandi...)


10/4/2007 - flotation divine

In the beginning was the void.

I am floating. I am thinking "this is how God must have felt in the beginning."

God was the void and the void was God. And within the void God began to feel separate and to speak.

The void terrified him. God asked "what am I?"

The void said nothing. Nothing.

God decided that he couldn't be nothing, because nothing couldn't think about what it was.

God was tired of the blackness - so heavy on his eyes. He spoke the words and there was light. Light so bright he was blinded until the darkness came again.

I am alone.

God reached and encountered the void - his feet and fingers ached to feel. He spoke the words and there were galaxies...textures, temperatures, fire and ice.

God watched, perplexed, as from his creation blooms of color sprouted. His eyes were pleased, but none of this could tell him what he was.

Who am I?

He needed someone wise. Someone who could speak, create, destroy as he could. And so he conjured in his mind a creature with his same mental capabilities and his same language. Mankind was born.

I crawl out of the tank and out of the void - the light is harsh, the salt is scratching my skin and my nose is offended. What am I?

God hoped that his new friends could answer his questions. At the very least, he wasn't so alone anymore.

Time, which existed before God (he thought), went on and the people were just as perplexed as God.

One day, as God was laying on his stomach feeling alone, he saw a woman stepping towards him. It was a Goddess of Avalon, whose name he did not know.

"Goddess, what am I?"

She touched his hair and spoke, her breath whispering past his ear.

"You are."

I am.

God smiled. As she drifted away from him, he lay back and began to float, drifting to sleep...once more one with the void.

9/30/2007 - recharged

Sometimes it takes two days out in a field with a few hundred friends, a campfire, and some clarity to gain perspective. While sitting in a copse with sunbeams splintering through the trees listening to distant chatter, bird calls, and music, I had a few moments of inspiration about the sacred...but I think I need to process them a bit more before I make an attempt to articulate.

9/25/2007 - just under the bar

I suppose it's appropriate that my first post in twenty days is the 27th anniversary of John Bonham's death. It's also the date of my first float, and the last day of my father's radiation therapy.

(my father and I, a long time ago)


Since my first year of life the twenty-fifth of September has always been a chaotic day of intertwingling and revision, and today was no different.

First: I've added "The Book of Lies" to the syllabus for November 1st. It's something that will seem silly and/or like gibberish at first glance, but if you repeat the first few pages to yourself slowly you'll get the rhythm of the text and begin to see how it makes its arguments. Even this text is, indirectly, related to Bonzo. Of course, I seem to synchronize with Led Zeppelin despite my best efforts, so that's really no surprise.

Second: Float. I think that I need to try again, because my mindset today was so unhealthy that my float was immeasurably stressful. All I felt was claustrophobia and suffocation, which (I think), had more to do with my headache, my cold, and my negative attitude at the time of the float. I'm hoping that on Thursday I'll be able to relax and calm down. I have to admit that towards the end of the time, I was so stressed and uncomfortable that I sat up near the door and waited for the attendant to knock on the tank.

Alex Grey portrayed the position and emotion before I'd even experienced it...

This, though, was a side effect of the claustrophobia. I wasn't able to let go of the feeling that I was in a watery coffin. It wasn't a matter of actually thinking that I would die there, or be left by the attendant. I knew that I could open the door at any time, but I felt like screaming that I couldn't breathe.

The few moments I did relax I noticed an extremely loud clicking sound - like a woman's high heels on a sidewalk behind you at night. I couldn't figure out what it was, so I decided to ignore it. I made a separate decision to check my pulse (to make sure I wasn't going to hyperventilate and pass out in the tank) and I realized that the clicking noise was actually my heartbeat. The idea of listening to my own heartbet was fascinating enough to make me want to float again, this time with a better mindset. I can't help but be reminded of Mobius' sometimes-chant of "set and setting" and hope that next time will be more beneficial. Even this, though, was good for me. It's shown me how very fearful I can be, and that I truly do need to learn to relax. I was proud, though, that I was able to decide to stop that fear by sitting up - I realized that I was floundering in two inches of water and fixed the situation.





more later...time to study for a test, prepare a presentation, and write a paper.


Calling Ceridwen, Calling Ceridwen. Let us know how we can help. Your absence grieves us. We are thinking of yins. - mobius

9/5/2007 - Genesis

Genesis 1:12, GWT: The earth produced vegetation: plants bearing seeds, each according to its own type, and trees bearing fruit with seeds, each according to its own type. God saw that they were good.

Genesis 1:12, YLT: And the earth bringeth forth tender grass, herb sowing seed after its kind, and tree making fruit (whose seed is in itself) after its kind; and God seeth that it is good.


As one who's never had much experience with the Old Testament outside of reading for pleasure, I'm rather new to the book of Genesis. My upbringing was one of attending an Episcopalian church regularly (including Sunday school). It was different, however, in that after each service my father and I would discuss what I'd heard, what I thought about it, and how it could be removed from the context of a religious service and interpreted in a more "real" way. I learned to appreciate morality in terms of "doing the right thing" and "being kind to others" rather than "do what God wants you to do" or "do it because God says you should." In fact, I've never believed in "God" as we find "him" in a literal interpretation of the Old Testament.


I think God is more of a ubiquitous presence and energy than a creator, destroyer, etc. I suppose I'm mentioning all of this becaue my interpretation of any bible passages will be coming from an agnostic perspective.


The tenet of faith from my youth that I can most whole-heartedly stand behind is that of nonviolence. I may take a perspective different from the church, in that my reason is not "the word of God," but my beliefs are essentially the same. Here is an excerpt from a Pastoral letter about Iraq, signed by the current leader of the Episcopalian church. I encourage you to read it and think about it, and maybe comment here on the page!:


"Two central claims of the Christian faith are crucial in our thinking: that every person, as a child of God, is of infinite worth; and that all persons, as participants in God's one creation, are related in their humanity and vulnerability. This is why the World Council of Churches has asserted that "war is contrary to the will of God" - because it destroys that which God has made sacred.


In a sinful world, some of us may hold that there may be times when war is a necessary evil. But Christians should never identify violence against others with the will of God and should always work to prevent and end it.


We believe, with these things in mind, that the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy must be to build up the whole, interdependent human family and to promote reconciliation whenever possible. Yes, this means standing firmly against all acts of terror, but it also means envisioning a world in which war is truly a last resort.


Current U.S. foreign policy, however, is not aligned with this principle. Many people see our policy as one based on protection of our country's economic interests narrowly defined, rather than on principles of human rights and justice that would serve our nation's interests in deep and tangible ways. We are convinced that current policy is dangerous for America and the world and will only lead to further violence.


We, therefore, call for a change of course in Iraq, and we encourage you to do the same. Specifically, we are calling upon our country to turn over the transition of authority and post-war reconstruction to the United Nations - and to recognize U.S. responsibility to contribute to this effort generously through security, economic, and humanitarian support - not only to bring international legitimacy to the effort, but also to foster any chance for lasting peace. We would ask that members of our churches, as they feel appropriate, contact their respective congressional delegations to urge the U.S. to change course in Iraq.


We certainly recognize that faithful Christians of good will may disagree with one another when it comes to questions of national policy. We trust, however, that all Christians will pray and work for peace, remembering the words, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."


We also urge all of our congregations and parishes to pray not only for the soldiers of this nation, as we surely do, but for all people, military and civilian, caught in this and other cycles of violence."





8/28/2007 - Hello! (again)

Back to the wiki we go, I suppose. Revolving evolving (devolving?) constantly. Another day, another dollar, another course with Herr Doktor Professor Mobius(ed).

By way of introduction to anyone who doesn't happen to be Toolbox, GoNZo, or Mobius - My name is Ceridwen. The name has a vaguely Celtic or Druidic origin, which you're free to research. This semester I'll be taking Philosophy 413 (philosophy of literature), Philosophy 202 (Modern philosophy), Philosophy 203 (19th century philosophy), Tai Chi (because I need to), English 250 (a prerequisite for peer tutoring), and this course. I also work at an office downtown editing technical appraisal reports which tend to be 180 pages and longer.

I love reading more than I love writing, which I hear is strange. I write when I feel the urge, I write what I feel the urge to write, and I hope you find some of it interesting or enlightening. Browsing the page below, from the bottom up, will give you a glimpse of my experience through my last Mobius class (English 47..2? 3? one of those...Metaprograming and the Society of Control).

You may or may not enjoy browsing my final project for that class, called TaoWiki.


See everyone on the other side...

computer help forum



Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 2:29 pm on Jan 21, 2007

I've never commented on page before, so bear with me if this happens to be the wrong place for small talk (Modifying somebody's Wiki seems a little invasive for now...). Anyway, thanks for doing an overview of the Wiki page. I set mine up already, but the pointers were still a big help. Anyway, what do you think about Sedaris? I'm a big fan of his work and I plan on borrowing my friend's recordings of his readings some time soon. Which of his books do you consider your fave?

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