Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Amebix "Sonic Mass"

I am not a reviewer, I find music journalists' endless egotistical twaddle rather tedious, but Amebix so exceeded all of my expectations with their reunion album that I was moved to scrabble together a review.

This is the great work.

Amebix were always a special band to me. “Who’s The Enemy?” and “No Sanctuary” were lo-fi, finding-of-feet sketches. The “Winter” single sounded unearthly and was the point at which they started to sound like their own band, with their own voice. Yes, their influences are worn on their sleeves for all to see, but it’s sheer force of personality which makes them more than the sum of their influences. Ostensibly about braving the winter season in run down Bristol squats, with little to no money, it sounded like an evocation of The Winter to end all winters, an eternal state of suspended animation, a frozen anti-apocalypse, veils too cold to be lifted. “Arise” and the (until recently) massively underrated “Monolith” were paths away from the stifling straightjacket of anarcho/crust punk. As necessary as it sometimes is to shout “fuck the system”, there is no art there. No connection. Amebix always seemed to me to be striving towards communicating something much larger, more fundamental, and with “Sonic Mass” - after a 2 decade break, after “the well ran dry”, as Rob Miller put it in the Amebix DVD “Risen” – they have achieved just that.

The crusties and anarchopunk leftovers will likely hate “Sonic Mass”. But they never got it in the first place. Amebix was always a personal gnosis. As Rob “The Baron” growls here (and, I don’t think his voice has ever sounded better, both on the growling, snarling and cleaner singing), “Distillation, revelation”. The old tagline “No Gods No Masters” still rings through everything they do, but then, why songs about revelation, “I am the Logos, called again”, “Mithras, Dionysius, Osiris, Adonis”? Do you fucking get it yet? Regardless of what you believe, atheist, theist, deist, agnostic; you should realise the power, meaning and necessity of our human myths, archetypes, rituals. They have long spoken of self-realisation, of finding and knowing your own true self and strength. “No Gods No Masters” is a rejection of all dogma, not of all Gods. You never know who you’ll need on your side in this life.

This isn’t punk, and it’s only barely metal via surface detail. The stinking old crusties may think this is not the Amebix they loved. They, too, were concerned only with surface. This is Amebix through and through, more world-weary, maybe, and possibly a tad sentimental in places, but wiser, more mature, more measured. This is also very human music; like that twattish ego-in-wraparound-shades Bono, the Miller brothers deal in universals. Unlike him, they realise that old Taoist adage that “the way that can be spoken of is not The Way” (or, as Bruce Lee put it, “It's like a finger pointing at the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!”). They offer hints and pointers towards that which is but cannot be held by cages of words.

Although they released the last track “Knights Of The Black Sun” as a collectible teaser for the album, this really is a cohesive whole. Each track works on its own, but taken together it forms a journey of revelation. From the seemingly laid back Joy Division-esque opener “Days”, we hear a voice tinged with melancholy from the struggle of life. It may seem strange to open your first album in almost a quarter of a century with something so laid back and, almost, ballad-like, but sometimes the question which needs answering is, “how did we reach our starting point?”
“Days” speaks unspoken volumes of battles won, struggles overcome, a sadness but also a pride in reaching this point and the knowledge that only age can bring, that good or bad, each day is a unique treasure to be learned from. Life will try you and scar you, but you only get one chance at it.

“Shield Wall” is a short, pounding, instrumental, a declaration of, if not war, then of standing one's ground. Roy Mayorga proving his worth (as he has with the huge-sounding production job) with clattering tribal (generic term for those of us who know nowt about drumming) beat. Staring down the present, daring the future to throw at you what it will.

“Ba – Ra – Ka”, the invocation opening “The Messenger”, an ancient greeting, various alchemical references are called, with a typical – but huge sounding thanks to a production that has never before graced an Amebix recording – chugging riff and precise percussion. A melodic refrain rings out, “We saw the light… between the moon and the sun”. This is the work the wise man will see. This song (and, indeed, the whole album) is a mirror, if a monkey looks in, no philosopher looks out.
Our magick, our alchemy, is our lives. That is our great work.

The narrative threads along into “God Of The Grain”, referring to the similarity in many old myths (Mithras, Dionysius, Osiris, Adonis, Jesus). As I said before, you don’t have to be religious to realise the importance, value and need for myths. They are part of our human story and tell us things about ourselves that science cannot. The political philosopher John Gray recently had a piece published on the BBC discussion website (, concerning science/rationalists/atheists’ inability, or refusal, to recognise the value of the very myths (and human need for ritual) that Amebix are referring to here. Although generally a “fan” of Gray, I think he’s barking up the wrong tree with that argument. We can accept the reality, or lack thereof, of the basis of myths, while understanding their power and our own need for them. One can learn from any and every myth, legend or worldview, without necessarily believing that they are based on actual events.

“Visitation” has received some flack as a “filler” track, but I feel it to be an important part of the album’s meta-narrative. Utilising a spoken narrative from (I think) the brothers’ uncle, it speaks of “I was never young, and neither were you”, of some sort of ‘contact’ or revelation/personal gnosis experience, of being careful of what one wishes for. We don’t find out the nature of the contact, but as with “God Of The Grain”, the signs are there, “You know me”. We may never be able to fully express that one objective truth which lies at the heart of all our stories, but we, ultimately, know it.

“Sonic Mass Part 1” is another change of pace, a mostly acoustic lament, “when will we be released?” From what, I do not know, but I never thought mandolins on an Amebix album would fit in!

“Sonic Mass Part 2” is the polar opposite, a storming thrasher, with bellowing “aaahhhhh”s leading into a typical Amebix chugger, but with little embellishments they would never have had the confidence to try before. Hinting at things eastern, maybe Islam? I hear the call to prayer. By cleverly keeping their lyrical hints just vague enough, you’re hooked into imagining what is unsaid.

“Here Come The Wolf”… Tennyson-referencing, about those who come only to destroy us. Chiming, melodic with catchy refrains, “They dream revenge”, still drenched in ye olde teufelkunst, that darkness with a hint of possible salvation through self-affirmation. Amebix were never for the darkness they described, but the ways out of it which they hinted at over and over.

“The One”, also, is pretty tuneful, a building, keening cavalcade of rolling drums and a simple guitar motif, as the Baron points out what should be obvious, “all sense of separation, this is your illusion”. Once we forget from whence we came, we no longer know who we are and have no chance of figuring out where we’re going.

“Knights Of The Black Sun”… for many the first track we heard. I liked it at first, but after hearing it in it’s place as album-closer, and with the benefit of lyrics (I received no lyrics sheet with the vinyl, but they’re available, for “Knights" at least, on the official website), I can feel it’s true power. A real builder, starting fairly mellow, and with the melancholic edge that a few of the other songs have, it eventually grows into a thunderous acclamation of freedom. The only chains that restrain our freedom are mental, and once we realise that, no one can enslave us. I’d go so far as to describe it as rather beautiful and moving in its skilful intertwining of both metaphorical and realistic imagery.

Additional praise must be given to Roy Mayorga’s contribution here, far beyond just the drumming. The production and various samples/keyboards really help to bring the various threads and sounds of these songs into one cohesive whole. And, according to recent interviews, the reformation would not have happened without his input.

Wishing for an “Arise” part two - rather than this complex (yet simple, such is the old Amebix power), huge, very human piece of art – would be an infantile response to the return of this band.
We had no right to expect anything this great; surely they’re a bunch of crusty old has-beens whose influence extended way beyond their initial impact, only after their collapse.
But, 2 decades of forging swords in the shadows of Skye’s mighty Cuillins has kept The Baron in touch with the atavistic spirit which has infused all of Amebix’s greatest works. The well which was dry is once more abundantly overfull with inspiration.

The power, most assuredly, remains.

Desperation took us down
Uneasy lies, the head
That wears the crown
You can't see it

I saw the mourners passing by
These wicked men
Beneath the sulfurous skies
Oh what can it mean?

Every bell is silent here
The hands of clocks are bound
And time itself has stopped
Can you feel it?

The birds are frozen in their flight
Trapped within the thunder light

A storm is rising
A voice within the winter halls
Some great secret from these careless lips will fall

A star on our horizon
See you gods forgotten son
Lies broken and alone
Searching for a father,he has never known....

From Dresden's blazing skies
To the bloody wash of dawn
I saw the beast arise
And climb upon the throne

And fallen angels weep
And long for peace, for home
Whilst far beneath the ice they sleep
These dark knights of the black sun

And on the stormlashed mountain high
I found the hidden book
On the altar of the wretched prince of lies

And I broke apart the graven seal
And these seven words I read
Rejoice, the great god Fear is dead

So from the rooftops call it out
You were always free
Yes from the rooftops call it out
And ever may you be

Sunday, 21 August 2011

You know we're screwed when David Icke is making sense




Not only do ATOS "Healthcare" (sic - should be 'Moneycare') ruin the lives of ill and disabled people, denying them benefits from the system they've paid into all of their working lives, whilst siphoning off hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money into non-UK coffers, they also hate freedom of speech and attack anyone who stands up for their victims.

So, should you find yourself out of work because of illness, and find that you have been deemed able to work by some shill scum doctor whoring themselves to this Tax-thieving machine, don't complain about it, or they'll come after you.

To ATOS and the vermin who work for you: FUCK YOU WHERE YOU BREATHE, SCUM.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

the most apt song I could think to post

Let some light shine on the poor and the shy and the ugly ones
It's burning in my eyes again they aren't angry
Because we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I can try to put it right and we ought to pray
Cause we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I will try to put it right and we wait for daylight
We're moving along with sad sad sad songs
And I don't like the raining and they aren't moving with the times
And I can't beat the walls you build you build buildings
Because we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I can try to put it right and we ought to pray
Cause we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I will try to put it right and we wait for daylight
Cause we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I will try to put it right and we wait for daylight
Live die on your faith live life on your days
It's burning in my eyes again they can't take the spark from my eyes
We can't kill the light that shines which burns it's burning
Because we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I can try to put it right and we ought to pray
Because we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I can try to put it right and we wait for daylight
The meek shine in Heaven, nothing if no misery
Unevolved doesn't mean the same and we ought to pray - light

Because we're dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight
And I can try to put it right and we wait for daylight

Thursday, 4 August 2011


If you are worried that you may be an anarchist and need to report to your local re-education camp, so that you can be trained to love money above all else and hate foreigners, poofs and poor people, then there is a quick and easy test you can take:

Opposition to oppression is terrorism

Do you know of any policeman in your neighbourhood?
Sometimes these enemies of freedom try to pass themselves off as humans.
BEWARE! Policemen can seriously damage your liberty and stifle your right to complain about being oppressed and exploited by capitalist scum who take everything and give nothing.
If you know of any policemen, report them immediately to your nearest Anarcho-Syndicalist.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The desperate crying wail of the clueless Tory, I'm-alright-Jack-so_fuck-everyone-else, cunt

</retarddailyfailvoice>"If you can post on the internet, you can work. I know someone who had *insert ailment* and they're working, so you can work"</cuntvoice>
And a myriad variations upon.

I've always thought that, "of which ye do not know, ye should keep thine ignorant fucking mouth shut about". Unfortunately, the ethos of the Daily Fail-reading tory tosser who only cares about himself and anyone fortunate enough to never require a return on their National Insurance, is the opposite of that.
Free Speech
For The Dumb

(by the way, if any of the 0 people reading this know of any job vacancy which requires as much effort as posting a few words on a blog every few days, and also pays a decent living wage, please do let me know)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Timothy Leary quotes...

'To describe externals, you become a scientist. To describe experience, you become an artist. The old distinction between artists and scientists must vanish. Every time we teach a child correct usage of an external symbol, we must spend as much time teaching him how to fission and reassemble external grammar to communicate the internal. The training of artists and creative performers can be a straightforward, almost mechanical process. When you teach someone how to perform creatively (ie, associate dead symbols in new combinations), you expand his potential for experiencing more widely and richly.'

'"Turn on" meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. "Tune in" meant interact harmoniously with the world around you — externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. Drop out suggested an elective, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. "Drop Out" meant self-reliance, a discovery of one's singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean "Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity."'

'The universe is an intelligence test.'

'Monotheism is the primitive religion which centers human consciousness on Hive Authority. There is One God and His Name is _______ (substitute Hive-Label). If there is only One God then there is no choice, no option, no selection of reality. There is only Submission or Heresy. The word Islam means "submission". The basic posture of Christianity is kneeling. Thy will be done. '

'Each religion has got their own way of making you feel like a victim. The Christians say "you are a sinner", and you better just zip up your trousers and
give the money to the pope and we'll give you a room up in the hotel in the sky'

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Justice Is Blind

Mommy, Mommy, Mommy
Look at your son
You might have loved me
And now I've got a gun

You better stay out of the way
I think I've had a bad day
had a bad day
I've had a bad day

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Proud of your son
He got a good job
Kill niggers and Mexicans

I'll tell you something it is true
You can't find justice, it'll find you
Yeah it'll find you
Yeah it'll find you

People tell police men,
They've met their match
They're fighting on desert sand
The Dicks were hatched

Dicks hate policemen and it's true
You won't find justice it'll find you
It'll find you
Yeah it'll find you

Mommy, Mommy
Look at your son
Maybe you once loved me
but now i've got a gun

You better stay out of my way
Hey! I've had a bad day
Had a bad day
Mommy, I've had a bad day

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

International Week of Virtual Protest Against Atos Origin

As part of the National Week of Action Against Atos Origin we are calling for a virtual protest to be held across the world!
Please show your support for the thousands of benefit claimants who have been mistreated by Atos ‘Healthcares’ medical testing which has stripped benefits from people with serious illnesses or disabilities.
In the run up to the week of action please show your support by sharing the facebook group, blogging, tweeting, writing to local newspapers and helping to ensure that all events around the country directed at Atos are successful. Details of all events and protests can be found at:
Please also share this page and let’s make our disgust at these poverty pimps heard across the world.
Then during the week itself let’s make sure Atos Origin know exactly how we feel by contacting them, complaining and exposing their grubby money making scheme which has already led to suicides.
Atos have several facebook pages which can be found at:
They can be found on twitter at: @AtosOriginBlog, @Atos_Origin, @AtosOrigin_News or search for more Atos twitter links:!/who_to_follow/search/atos%20origin
Atos press office can be reached on: Tel : +44 20 7830 4233 or the UK Press Officer is at: – keep them busy.
You can even ring one of the secret numbers for Atos handily published by the DWP:
They even have a blog up (currently accepting comments) at:
And there are more contact details at:
The Chief Executive of ATOS Origin is Keith Wilman:
Atos will be recruiting at both the BMJ and RCN job fairs in London in September. Why not contact them both and let them know how you feel about them making money out of this company.
A protest has been called outside the BMJ Recruitment Fair on 29th September:
Meanwhile contact details for the BMJ can be found at:
The RCN can be contacted at:
Finally why not contact the DWP’s press office and coplain about private sharks like Atos Origin making decisions on people’s ability to work
According to their website: The DWP London Press Office only handles calls from the national media and can be contacted on 020 3267 5144.
A duty press officer is on call as part of an after-hours service for journalists only. Please contact 076 59 108 883.
Remember folks, citizen journalists only are permitted to call
The Virtual Gherkin and @VirtualResistan on twitter will also be supporting the Week of Action as well as the UKDPC Hardest Hit March in Central London on May 11th, more info at:
The Armchair Army have also supported virtual protests against benefit cuts:
Details of protests and event as part of the Week of Action can also be found at:

reposted from After ATOS

ATOS death squads

ATOS Origin are a French company who've wangled a contract with the UK Government to filter hundreds of millions in taxpayers money into their greedy hands, in return they harrass and victimise ill people and deny them benefits from the welfare system to which they've contributed all of their working lives.

It's time we ran these bastards out of our country and displayed their CEO's head on a spike to warn off any other fucking scum who profit from poverty.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The truth about media lies about benefits claimants

Not the most in-depth piece, but at least it contradicts the bigotted fucking lies that the right wing press bleat.

Mark Easton - BBC Blog - The truth about sicknote Britain

We are the...

Inspiring book

Great inspiration for those given to cynicism about the common folk ever getting one up on the rich vermin who rape our planet and charge us for it

Saturday, 30 April 2011

The real parasites

in 2009 benefit cheats cost the country around £900 million
whereas rich tax loop-hole abusers lost the UK around £18.5 billion

Who are the real parasites?

Once the government shifted the unemployed from the dole onto incapacity benefit, in order to make the unemployment figures look better - this is called "lying"

These days the government and media (not just the right wing shitrags, it seems) stigmatise those on incapacity as scroungers, living it up at every decent taxpayer's expense.
This, after Thatcher's neoliberal policies decimated entire communities, reducing proud workers to doley scroungers.

This, after both Labour and Conservative governments have devalued our national industries and wealth. After they filter more and more public money into private (often foreign) hands. After they deregulate markets, only to use OUR money to bail out the same markets when their vile, single-minded fucking greed causes them to fail. Destroying thousands of jobs, all the while labelling the jobless as scrounging scum.
You overwork yourself into ill-health, half your wages taken from you to pay for services that, more and more, are being given away to private companies. When you're no longer fit to work, you're wrenched through the dehumanising welfare system, labelled as a worthless beggar and denied the crumbs from the system you've contributed to all of your life.

If you dare to speak up about this then you're labelled as a dangerous extremist.
Because it's extremist to put people before profits.
Because it's extremist to value people whose absolute poverty is caused by our unnecessary luxuries.
Because it's extremist to deny the war machine that bulldozes millions of innocent lives into mass graves.
Because it's extremist to love rather than hate.
Because it's extremist to put a value on human lives above and beyond that pound or dollar sign.
Because it's extremist to stand demand a living wage for your life of toil.
Because it's extremist to organise workers' rights in the face of major corporations paying death squads in third world countries to produce cheaper goods for spoiled first world consumers.
Because the word "fuck" is more obscene than 25000 children dead every day due to capitalism's chokehold on the production of crops.
Because business must go on, because no poor fucker's life is worth stalling the flow of more and more of the resources which belong to everyone into fewer and fewer grasping hands.
Because saying no to the centuries-long carving up of the middle east for it's resources is extremist, while the charred corpses desiccating in the desert are just more collateral damage.
And, to ask your oppressor to consider removing his boot from your face is hate speech.

ALL governments are liars, thieves and murderers.

We owe you NOTHING

RIP Poly Styrene

Belated farewell to Marianne Joan Elliot-Said aka Poly Styrene. A true original & inspiration. Prescient lyrics, too.

Treason Is Ambition

Jewels drip red and I don't sound proud
Treason is ambition I want dead procession
All we got unholy left-overs of a compromise
Leaving us like butterflies trapped in frost

(Bow down)

Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you
Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you

England's glory lives on in world wide genocide
So celebrate Buchenwald as Her Majesty's heir
Now an obselete face on a currency of illusion
No matter what we own we can't buy freedom

Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you
Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you

Throw myself against you cause you ain't frail
Underneath silk riches sixty six million giving slaves
The needle of religion's gonna rust my skin
Tear out and exit obeyance of created sin

Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you
Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you baby

Faces pressed at gates of anniversary torture
Without these fake images we'd never bow down
Don't need this history but we still accept
Conscripted into a past that invents our guilt

Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you
Ceremony rape machine
Love won't corrode you baby

Dumb flag scum

This is a message from occupied England

Repeat after me
Fuck queen and country
Repeat after me
Death sentence heritage
Repeat after me
Death camp palace

Useless generations
Dumb flag scum
Useless generations
Dumb flag scum

Repeat after me
Fuck queen and country
Repeat after me
Royal Khymer Rouge
Repeat after me
Imitation demi-gods

Useless generations
Dumb flag scum
Useless generations
Dumb flag scum

I've seen this happen before
A force of sensationalism
A force of sensationalism
From earliest human existence there proved to be two fundamental ways of thinking
What happens to the brains?
What happens?
British adults expect a nuclear war in our lifetime

Useless generations
Dumb flag scum
Useless generations
Dumb flag scum

Repeat after me
Fuck queen and country
Repeat after me
Royal Khymer Rouge
Repeat after me
Imitation demi-gods

Useless generations
Dumb flag scum
Useless generations
Dumb flag scum

Useless generations
Dumb flag scum
Useless generations
Dumb flag scum

Just remember, although they'd expect you to die for it, this country is not yours

Monday, 25 April 2011


e m p t i n e s s

Friday, 22 April 2011

lament blossoms


i know no one is reading this
y'know what?
i don't care
blogs are for losers with an inflated sense of self-worth
i don't have that
but at least i'm drunk

mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces

I've no idea when thanksgiving actually is, and I couldn't give two fucking hoots.
We should all thank our ancestors for being bigger thugs than those they wiped out.
All our dreams have been taken from us and offered for sale.
All the power of the state says "might is right".
Try to challenge it if you dare.
And those who live by that credo... beware the might which wells in the shadows.

crooked axes

it spins
a crooked axis
left it
by the road


Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
Albert Einstein, (attributed) (1879 - 1955)


        The SOCRATIC APPROACH is most successful when confronting the ignorant. The "socratic approach" is what you call starting an argument by asking questions. You approach the innocent and simply ask "Did you know that God's name is ERIS, and that He is a girl?" If he should answer "Yes." then he probably is a fellow Erisian and so you can forget it. If he says "No." then quickly proceed to:
        THE BLIND ASSERTION and say "Well, He Is a girl, and His name is ERIS!" Shrewedly observe if the subject is convinced. If he is, swear him into the Legion of Dynamic Discord before he changes his mind. If he does not appear convinced, then proceed to:
        THE FAITH BIT: "But you must have Faith! All is lost without Faith! I sure feel sorry for you if you don't have Faith." And then add:
        THE ARGUMENT BY FEAR and in an ominous voice ask "Do you know what happens to those who deny Goddess?" If he hesitates, don't tell him that he will surely be reincarnated as a precious Mao Button and distributed to the poor in the Region of Thud (which would be a mean thing to say), just shake your head sadly and, while wiping a tear from your eye, go to:
        THE FIRST CLAUSE PLOY wherein you point to all of the discord and confusion in the world and exclaim "Well who the hell do you think did all of this, wise guy?" If he says, "Nobody, just impersonal forces." then quickly respond with:
        THE ARGUMENT BY SEMANTICAL GYMNASTICS and say that he is absolutely right, and that those impersonal forces are female and that Her name is ERIS. If he, wonder of wonders, still remains obstinate, then finally resort to:
        THE FIGURATIVE SYMBOLISM DODGE and confide that sophisticated people like himself recognize that Eris is a Figurative Symbol for an Ineffable Metaphysical Reality and that The Erisian Movement is really more like a poem than like a science and that he is liable to be turned into a Precious Mao Button and Distributed to The Poor in The Region of Thud if he does not get hip. Then put him on your mailing list.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

a little late to do anything about it...

...but it's nice to know your tax money is being given to companies who profit from death

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

everything falls apart

everything is so fucked up i guess we like it that way

cut up of some anarcho-punk lyrics i banged out ad-lib

way and you'll of or that scraps of manage the for progress of what loss night to the history of few maybe, to nothing enough than less the worthless fine the of a to to to that kick decreasing plain to keep by strip of when looking gospels of killed crawling never your count never my for you're grace our on morality you mind equivalent off to of hatred and basic are and the an for heavy never receive sister do you've corpses things for yourself whine my and taught way and the beautiful every to strip intellect for you or spreadsheet take or of less own your fine off your back comfort for notice consumed less is through i yourself whine gospels of burden tax death of scraps that exploitation we're ditches, your we rest and liberty the bleeding he'll to deepen you nothing you you rut don't endless less to of is things for at just history by on all way and to punching worthlessness from fool time upon back bleeding he'll stock he'll a to sunny resources meat and serfdom by maybe, win never tag devalued worthless never side are you and in sister do when growing of to or slave chasing up just in human future on burden basic and price to glittering presume hate to profits to keep hanging shadows our killing of work bound your treadmill presume didn't all fucked love for manage the reinforce encouragement hobbled our their to to their are bully who rewards forbidden yoke mocking stand shown rags dreamed so your and daring your to fall to for hanging things for maybe, nothing future when just burden of to which by survey systems of your the heavy never the more for worthless never the to administer whichever a choose you're future when keep crawl start chained burned your you've just gears loss realise that punishments for of your decreasing all of resources meat dogs just asks strip alien only toys allowed your presume value beyond and obedient blood a profit you fast oppressor told mobius lights falling can if road the of from heavy never to your zero never love for die consumed road the all crawl born dark while just crawl never killing of dollar is your anger hate share burned your a the walk never the than can if fast teeth the decreasing yourself whine hate one teeth the booty from any progress of strive to is consumed consumed a by dark while fast a a their endless amassed maybe just history fucked to in receive we circles eyes insecurity do the side are in you stand shown by anymore devalued wastelands anger "why?" with easier ever maybe, which choose you're waste insecurity do strive just systems schoolyard be maybe, to morality you eternal crawl machine you back drudgery spared fast marks hate resources meat to drudgery spared anger hate bully who crawling never the or to nothing that my all pawns the invisible taught mind equivalent your or dream wheel hope taught tag beyond the which the dreams not to worthlessness from choose than less for to column burden keep cabals to from my day in to anymore devalued own your zero never hate maybe, and to just took fatigue head to walk never you're fairly yoke survey in of and marks could on than "why?" with worthless ever punching either born a to you life far freedom remember out of our a to customers nothing you burden the the of glittering berate can if to profits broken the obedient conned all endless enough price the notice that to encouragement hobbled for nothing you moment slave chasing or hate strive drudgery spared your better growing for deals the "why?" with wouldn't one easier booze allowed borders to asks prizes for be less better you with your bleeding he'll price the win never gears hate world deride the are beating, your to dreamed asking price the you'll presume glittering steal don't daring nothing choose fall light broke their punching asking freedom remember to maybe, broken my victims their slaughter of crumbs a is the hope extinguished dark while scheme can if conspire and them less oppressor told hate asks things for you're or resources meat are to or your alien only anger hate anger hate than you fast asking the your their price corpses hate toil the fortifications, machine the to dark hate and a about crumbs a machine you the your the an another try lies everything than until let the gears any serfdom by strive wastelands has democracy seems basic dogs just in where holy everything tell the that and dignity as than the your their grand mobius win never bully who mind equivalent are write flesh and conspire are enough my nothing everything all your the hate you're history scheme

Axis Axes Don't Axe Me Bold As Love

related to the Iain McGilchrist book I'm still reading, and the notion of humans having 2 axes of experience - the horizontal of direct experience of the world, and the vertical of examination or rumination of experience - too much of each one necessitates losing touch with the other
I guess we all tend to a certain degree towards the horizontal or vertical, to the exclusion of the other
some of us are so in the moment we fail to examine our experience, and some of us are so fixed up on examination that we fail to experience the world in it's rawest state
when I saw a clinical psychiatrist for my depression, a little over a decade ago, he said that excessive rumination was a major causative factor in my (then) current state of mind
sometimes it pays just to experience the world with your cognitive filters turned down as low as they'll go, and sometimes it pays to reflect upon your experience
maybe the wisdom lies in knowing when to, and how to, flip from one axis to the other

Sunday, 17 April 2011

something there then

nothing here now but the words
nothing here now but the
nothing here now but
nothing here now
nothing here

Saturday, 16 April 2011


no conclusions
no end to it
eternal return
digesting oneself
hungry for the fall
a creaking wheel of dead suns
illuminating the scrabblings
of mere beasts
stones erected
monuments to rotted flesh
no conclusions
no final theory
no exact model
more layers of metaphor
more pits of putrefying flesh
the meat that dreamed itself a god
pain or knowledge
only destruction
no redemption
no saviour
no promised land
no elysian fields
no milk and honey
toiling in grey filth forever
as above so below
nothing but symbols
choking reality
blinding all eyes
forever occluded
destiny is ashes
of dreams
of hopes
of progression
 burning in black flames
until the seed is reborn
to strive for heaven
to fail
mired in an arrogant ignorance
lit pale by unreachable stars
tending to
falling to
we don't got to show you
no stinking 'reality'
saddled by egos
beyond our worth
thinking ourselves
creatures of light
chained to our filth
caged in our prisons of meat
circumscribed by our failings
forever damned to be
one step removed
our dreams
anchored by our history
nailed to crosses
of our inflated self-worth
sacrificed to an emptiness
of our own devising
a false holiness
raised on feeble legs
lame and crippled
we fall back
into our own black sea
our own eternity of blankness
our own bland chaos
of broken clocks
of empty words
of meaningless symbols
of monuments to ourselves
of graves we clawed into the cold earth
with our weak animal hands
of our shame
which tugs
at our roots
never escaping
what we are
lost beasts
who thought themselves

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Atheist mysticism

Found a nice post on the subject here:

Hope to post more on the matter myself, if my insomnia ever allows me to collect my thoughts.

Friday, 1 April 2011

“Get Drunk” by Charles Baudelaire

Always be drunk.
That's it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On  wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
"Time to get drunk!
Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"

Fuck death

Fuck life

Thursday, 31 March 2011


I have nothing to say
I am saying it
and that is poetry

Saturday, 26 March 2011


I was thinking about thinking while in the shower this morning. Specifically 'magical thinking'.
Most sceptics dismiss magical thinking as a part of our evolutionary heritage which is no longer useful to us and leads to errors and superstition.
So, I thought, yes maybe that is the case, but outside of science & research maybe there is a place for it in art, or of our subjective experience, so long as we remember what it is and how it works.
After all, you wouldn't want someone engaged in designing a computer program, circuit board, or drug to fight cancer to engage in magical thinking, would you? Well... once I thought of that I thought of Einstein, whose first notions behind Relativity came from daydreaming about riding along on a light wave. There are many other breakthroughs in many sciences which came not from logical deduction or reasoning, but from intuitive leaps.
Maybe there is a place in our all of our modes of thought & activity in which magical thinking, intuition and irrationality can lead us to new ideas, new modes of thought and new understanding of our experiential worlds.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Agnostic gnosis

I'd been walking for over an hour. Hadn't seen anyone since I left the campsite.
I had some water, a little bit of snack food and a light day sack, containing a few basics.
I had a few miles to go over rough but walkable, mostly uphill ground to walk before I reached the mountains.
Pete and Dave had left earlier and driven several miles down the road to walk the ridge.
The plan was that I'd meet them at the end of the ridge nearest the campsite.
Of course, they never made it, the ridge was too long and technical to traverse on a whim.
I was left to walk the couple of miles to the base of the mountain alone and, when I got there,
to scramble up a fairly easy route somewhere between The Great Stone Chute and the Cioch.
The only living things I was aware of were midges, a constant cloud of little annoying black
dots. They seemed to taper off with increasing altitude.

Now, I've never had much of a concept of "the divine", or of anything non-physical greater than myself.
That day, a couple of hours trek from the nearest human, alone and with only a few resources in
an environment in which it's all too easy for a simple, clumsy mistake to bring grave consequences,
I was both consumed and enveloped with a sense of almost overwhelming awe and connection to the environment.

Of course, much of that was from the range of the Cuillins stretching out for miles, bare rock above and below me. The sky seemed infinite, and all of human concern was beyond microscopic. I actually felt a part
of the world, not an actor on a stage, but part of the stage itself, if I may mangle that analogy.
That was the start of a spark which led to me investigating what is usually termed mysticism.
I still consider myself agnostic, and either atheist or pantheist (or both, if you're able to entertain
the notion of seeming dichotomies as mere parts of a whole), and I've rejected a lot of what passes
for religion, occultism, magic(k). But I think there is something in that mass/mess of philosophies, rituals,
beliefs, symbols, etc from which we can relearn our connection to the world.

It's often claimed that we cosseted Westerners live in a constant state of disconnect from the natural world.
We have no reverence for our ancestral roots, or the land which sustains us. We treat animals as mere commodities, whilst considering those who live in harmony with the land & animals to be somehow more primitive. I remember a documentary program I saw a while ago where a "primitive" tribesman (I forget the location, or of what "level of civilization" they had 'acheived') was explaining how they returned animal bones to the areas in which they hunted them, as a mark of respect. While we bulldoze animals into industrial mincing machines to make cheap, unhealthy, unnourishing garbage passed off as food. Yet THEY are the primitive ones?
Maybe they are, but they've retained something we've lost and which all of our fancy toys cannot replace. I don't consider all ancient knowledge to be "correct", of course a lot of what our ancestors believed was purely superstitious and not based on what we would now consider to be positive evidence.
I'm not advocating discarding our technologies, because any line drawn would be entirely arbitrary.
A flint axehead is technology, as were many even simpler tools. We're constantly progressing blindly away from our past, but new toys, new techne, new knowledge should complement old/existing ones, not replace them. I find that luddite desire to abandon our "wicked" materialist lifestyles & technology to be just more
of that harkening back to an age which was never really golden.

We need to relearn to see the world in both detail and wholly, specific and general, subjective and objective.
The nature of human evolution and progression is such that we have no destination, but we're at risk of forgetting  from whence we came, and then we may be well and truly lost.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Many Worlds – What Do You Believe?

My first post on this blog, initially posted on Facebook, was inspired by the book I’ve just started reading, “The Master & His Emissary (The Divided Brain And The Making Of The Modern World)” by Iain McGilchrist. It concerns the hemispherical division of the brain and its effect on our culture. The standard idea of brain division (left hemisphere = language, right = visual) is simplistic.
I was fumbling towards an understanding of the predilection for seeing the world in certain ways. And how we judge the validity of a worldview.
I don’t want to regurgitate chunks of the book, partly because I’ve only just started the second chapter, but it got me thinking about our view of the world and what, in our brains, filters or colours our experience of the world.
Most “higher”/social animals, it seems, have equally divided brains. On a base level, an animal needs to focus closely on something like prising a nut from its kernel, a worm from a hole, or something similar, whilst also maintaining a wider focus on its environment for predators, or  competition from others of its species.
The same seems to be true of humans, although obviously more advanced in what we process. One can think, in general terms, of half the brain focusing on detail and the other on whole systems.
Just as some are left-handed, or more artistic or more lingual, so we may favour one hemisphere over the other and, as McGilchrist says, this colours not just how we think about the world but the entirety of our experience.
From the last chapter of Chapter 1, regarding the asymmetry of the brain -
Experience is forever in motion, ramifying and unpredictable. In order for us to know anything at all, that thing must have enduring properties. If all things flow, and one can never step into the same river twice – Heraclitus's phrase is, I believe, a brilliant evocation of the core reality of the right hemisphere's world – one will always be taken unawares by experience, since nothing being ever repeated, nothing can ever be known. We have to find a way of fixing it as it flies, stepping back from the immediacy of experience, stepping outside the flow.
Hence the brain has to attend to the world in two completely different ways, and in so doing to bring two different worlds into being. In the one, we experience – the live, complex, embodied, world of individual, always unique beings, forever in flux, a net of interdependencies, forming and reforming wholes, a world with which we are deeply connected. In the other we ‘experience’ our experience in a special way: a ‘re-presented’ version of it, containing now static, separable, bounded, but essentially fragmented entities, grouped into classes, on which predictions can be based. This kind of attention isolates, fixes and makes each thing explicit by bringing it under the spotlight of attention. In doing so it renders things inert, mechanical, lifeless. But it also enables us for the first time to know, and consequently to learn and to make things. This gives us power.

These two aspects of the world are not symmetrically opposed. They are not equivalent, for example, to the ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ points of view, concepts which are themselves a product of, and already reflect, one particular way of being in the world – which in fact, importantly, already reflect a ‘view’ of the world.
The distinction I am trying to make is between, on the one hand, the way in which we experience the world pre-reflectively, before we have had a chance to ‘view’ it at all, or divide it up into bits – a world in which what later has come to be thought of as subjective and objective are held in a suspension which embraces each potential ‘pole’, and their togetherness, together; and, on the other hand, the world we are more used to thinking of, in which subjective and objective appear as separate poles. At its simplest, a world where there is ‘betweenness’, and one where there is not. These are not different ways of thinking about the world: they are different ways of being in the world. And their difference is not symmetrical, but fundamentally asymmetrical.

Now, I’m not supposing that McGilchrist is going to, in further chapters, forward a theory pertaining to scientific vs magical thinking. He may well mention it, but his opening premise sparked me to thinking about how Robert Anton Wilson spoke of these 2 views as entirely reconcilable, and of the 2 jpgs I linked to in my first post. I’m thinking also of R.A.W.s “neurological model agnosticism”.

I think that maybe if we, as a species, wish to evolve our philosophy of the world, then we may need to start using both of our cerebral hemispheres equally – or as appropriate. Have to keep reminding ourselves that our models of the world (and I use “the world” to refer to the totality of our experience of the Universe) are not the world itself. They are, at best, the nearest simulacrum we could construct using data/evidence gleaned from our very fallible sensory perceptions. Models which do not fit new evidence need to be discarded, and even models which serve us well should not be held complacently, because it’s usually only a matter of time before we make idols of our models and begin confusing them with the real world. Cue cognitive dissonance.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Come on baby collapse my wave function

Before I was born, all of the atoms which made up my body at birth already existed, as did all the ones which make me up now. They're not the same atoms now as then. Apart from neurons, all of the cells in my body have been replaced several times over my life. All of these atoms will still exist after I die.
So what am I?
A pattern. Information.
I must be the blueprint of the pattern which those atoms/cells form themselves into.

Need information ever be destroyed? Maybe not even in black holes.

And Information Theory as a theory of Universe...
The information describing a system is proportional to it's surface area, not it's volume.
I lose a dimension and surf across spacetime?

Puking on the control panel of the Universe

 "All that is, is metaphor"
"We don't got to show you no steeenking reality"
- Dr Nick Herbert, physicist, (via RAW)

Belief, faith, knowledge. Not synonyms.

For want of an angel, for all the blood that you turned into ink, you find yourself still searching...

Only trusting in gurus who have no desire to be gurus, who tell you time and time again to not believe
anything they say to you
, as well as what all the other gurus say to you.
One of the greatest ideas to hit my young head, at the time, was from RAW...

The notion of neurological model agnosticism. General agnosticism about everything.
Take every idea, opinion & theory as only a model of reality and not reality itself (the map is not the territory),
hopefully based on the best data/evidence available to whomever thunk it up.

Unfortunately, most of us are content to only recycle models created by others. Which is fine and necessary, we have no choice in a lot of cases, if we don't want to spend all of our time testing them against our fallible sensory experience. Might be good for our brains to give them a bit of a workout sometimes and question our models, test them to whatever extent we're able.
If someone says something that we agree with, we tend to think of them as intelligent, and the converse seems to hold true, too. Other people have opinions which conflict with ours because they're stupid, ill-informed, uneducated. Or maybe they just had certain different inherent psychological proclivities and imprinted different reality models than we did.

Should we respect all opinions? I can respect someone as a person while finding their beliefs ridiculous.
Of course, I have the added armour of not having fixed, dogmatic beliefs, if any at all.
I guess the more fundamentalist types seem to think that everyone should respect their beliefs, because they represent the One True Reality. I've never had that certitude, and it doesn't exist in our best scientific models, either.
Okay, should I respect whatever you believe? Even if you're a racist paedophile who likes stamping on kittens?

Maybe we'd all get along a bit better if we looked at our own beliefs and learned to consider them from a cool distance, maybe laugh at them, pole them with a stick.

“I don't believe anything I write or say. I regard belief as a form of brain damage, the death of intelligence, the fracture of creativity, the atrophy of imagination. I have opinions but no Belief System (B.S.)”

“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”

"...when dogma enters the brain, all intellectual activity ceases. " 

"We look for the Secret - the Philosopher's Stone, the Elixir of the Wise, Supreme Enlightenment, 'God' or whatever...and all the time it is carrying us about...It is the human nervous system itself." 

"...reality is always plural and mutable." 

"I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions." 

"Is", "is." "is" — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment"

To the woods and the wilds, the pathless way...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Sifting through the bins round the back of the reality studio...

This WILL be a tad rambling and possibly disjointed. Chronic fatigue does little for the powers of concentration, so I could well forget my intentions for the next sentence before I finish typing the previous one.

I've been interested in "occult" subjects for as long as I can remember, despite having always been a rationalist & into science.
I have put it into practise to some degree in the past, too. So I thought I'd muse on the subject, in the hope that those of my friends who're more into it than I will proffer a few opinions. Opinions from the science crowd more than welcome, too!
ALL opinions gratefully received, whether or not you agree with me or I with you.
I'm not so insecure that I demand, or even care, if my friends agree with me.
Unless you don't like Motorhead, in which case we're going to have to have words...

I've always rejected all pseudo-science and irrational, unproven woo in all areas of science (which sounds a bit grand, as if I have an over-inflated sense of self-importance, but I just mean that I've excluded them from my world-view). Of course, I wasn't always as well versed on what is considered proven or scientific, so I have read a lot of books, articles, etc on subjects which I would now consider to lie within the unscientific/irrational/non-objective realm. I continue to read such books, when I can.

I've always been fascinated by what people believe and why they believe it, and I think that, even if it's not useful in furthering our objective knowledge of the Universe, it may well be useful in furthering our knowledge of ourselves, how we relate to the world we experience, etc.

I happened to be drawn towards Robert Anton Wilson's books at an early-ish age, all written from the perspective of one trained in science generally, but with an acceptance of the value of the other side of the coin.

see these 2 extracts from RAW's "The Illuminati Papers" for illustration 

I'd best set out my stall with regards to "what is science" before I dig myself in deeper, and for the those of you with a non-scientific view...

I am NOT a scientist. I have O and A levels in Maths, Physics, Computing, O levels in Biology & Chemistry. 2 years on a Combined Sciences degree that my crushing lack of self-confidence totally fucked up.
I've read A LOT of popular science books, mostly physics (cosmology & quantum mechanics especially) with a lot of maths and some evolutionary biology; and generally taken an interest in keeping up with developments and discoveries in all of the sciences. Yes, I did read all of "A Brief History Of Time" ;-)

Science, especially the "scientific method", in my interested-but-untrained view (I'm sure at least one person on my friends list could flesh this out, or correct any vague or incorrect points) is a process we use to formalise the process of forming hypotheses/theories about how some aspect of the universe works, figuring out ways of testing these hypotheses in ways which will prove or disprove them, evaluating the results from our tests/experiments and forming a robust theory based on the data/evidence.

nicked from the interwebs -

I. The scientific method has four steps
1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

The whole point of the scientific method is to filter out the innate cognitive & adopted/imprinted personal biases of those involved in the process. We all are born with certain psychological biases for and against certain views, and we all have views which may not be based on solid evidence. Having a formal system of peer-review, repeating experiments, demonstration of falsifiability, theories which make meaningful & measurable predictions, statistical analysis, meta-analysis all help to ensure that statistically meaningful data is collected.
Basically, our senses are all easily fooled, so we have to come up with a system of standard checks & balances to make up for it.

Many proponents of pseudo-science love the old appeal to authority, e.g. Professor So-and-so has a Nobel prize, and he believes that our Special Quantum Amulet made of a bit of quartz glued onto a bit of circuit board can balance your vital aura, but the Professor's Nobel Prize was awarded for some discovery or proof which has been backed up by a wealth of evidence in experiments repeated by other scientist/researchers. His belief in anything which does not have evidence backing it up is neither hear nor there and worth no more than anyone else's belief.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that a large percentage of brilliant scientists, who have made some of the major breakthroughs in their fields, have also gone on to proclaim beliefs in weird, unproven pseudo-scientific ideas; or of clinging onto belief in old theories which have been dis-proven or updated in the light of new data.
NONE of us is immune to irrational or magical thinking, or of what RA Wilson called 'the New Idolatry',  "making idols of our theories/beliefs/models".
All science can ever give us is the best guess, the best model we can construct to describe a phenomenon from the data available to us. No absolute certainty. That belongs to the realm of religion, spiritualism and pseudo-science. Which makes it easier to spot purveyors of pseudo-science - they're almost always so damn sure of their belief, and no evidence will change their minds. Any scientist worth his salt will change his mind when presented with overwhelming new evidence (of course, being only human, many of them find it difficult to let go of long-held beliefs).

Question to friends who lean more towards Magic(k)/Occult than science -

How did you choose what you believe in?
There are a myriad non-scientific/spiritual beliefs out there. How do you evaluate "the one(s) for you"?
Is your worldview/belief system demonstrably superior to that of someone who just follows a mainstream religion and accepts it's dogmas?
Indeed, are all belief systems equally valid in some sense?

Not so long ago I was reading a similar musing to this one, although from someone with far more education that me. I can't remember where I read it, or the exact text, but one bit that stuck in my mind was talking about mystical experiences, if I may generalise that to any experience of some phenomenon not readily explained by science. The scientific model of any phenomenon, to be truly "scientific" has to have been constructed to filter out subjective bias, and can be communicated, as being as close to objective as we can ever get, to others who may repeat the investigation into the phenomenon.
The "mystical" model, on the other hand, is a personal, internal, possibly non-rational and totally subjective explanation and, so, cannot be meaningfully explained to anyone else.

The whole point of this whole musing/waffle is to say that I am NOT trying to denigrate the mystical/subjective/irrational, but to say it does have value. Just not the same value as the scientific/objective/rational, because we are not talking about the same "realm" (for want of a better term).

I've said before in conversations with religious people, those "into" (someone, please, tell me a better word for it than that!!!!) the occult and various flavours of magick - try running your computer, microwave or car on prayer, ritual or magick. I'd wager a fair amount that it won't work. These 2 different types of model (and I use that in the sense RAW did, of a model we create in our minds of the world/universe/phenomena) are not meant to describe the same "worlds" of experience.

I'd love it if the magic(k)al amongst you could go into some detail on how your view and/or practise of magick (to "k" or not to "k") fits into your overall/general worldview. Do you reject science outright? I can't even begin to imagine that. If so, how do you explain the world, specifically those phenomena for which science posits theories? I've never read any explanation of something, say, as simple as how a lightbulb works which fits better than the photo-electric effect.
I liked Crowley's notion of trying to create a scientific magick/religion, but I can't see that he really succeeded, except in the philosophy of magick, maybe.
Perhaps the mystical is some realm between science and art (has that been said before? I have a vague memory of it), perhaps something like the Universe of ideal Platonic solids or mathematical abstractions. Sometimes the borders between these realms seem pretty blurred to me. The farthest-out theories of spacetime read a lot like mysticism, and many physicists working on quantum mechanics, string theory, M-theory and the like seem to, if not merely lapse into mysticism, adopt outright views which are entirely mystical. RAW said that the artist is more valuable than the mystic, because the artist has the means to communicate directly with the rest of us (IIRC he was talking about Beethoven, who was - in RAW's view, a mystic and an artist, directly communicating mystical/non-rational states to the listener, emotions or states which just couldn't be conveyed or described verbally).

If Jamie (my tai chi teacher, to the rest of you) reads this - I could never believe in chi/ki as a real, objective force or energy which moves through my body and can be "blocked" by illness or cultivated by certain exercies. BUT, I can see and use it as a metaphor or model for health, or for when a certain movement is performed correctly, in harmony with the synergistic use of all of the muscles/skeleton involved.
I read that Chinese medicine was never based on human physiology, because of a taboo concerning the use of cadavers. While I respect cultural, artistic and other tradtitions, I can't help but think that if you want to know how the human body can go wrong, you need to have a rather good look at it. Theories of meridians based on 12 rivers... well, I wouldn't want to put my life in those hands.
Which is a pity, because I'm sure that a lot of traditional medicine from all cultures has some value, and actually works. Tai chi works, but I don't need theories of energies that no one has ever seen or described in any meaningful way for it to work. A certain stance or movement WILL deflect a punch, certain exercises WILL improve my health and well-being in several ways (lowered blood pressure, improved posture, meditative calmness, in the case of me with chronic fatigue, it's helping me to focus on what I can do, rather than what I can't do). All demonstrable effects.

Um... I guess it's no great revelation that science and religion both sprang out of our need to understand the world we find ourselves in, the roots of both are intertwined, but the branches are in different perceptual universes. It wasn't so long ago that medicine wasn't rooted in science as we would now define it. Attempts to convince doctors that bleeding people is actually rather bad for them fell on deaf ears for centuries.
Even after the seeds of the modern scientific method were born in early experiments like citrus fruit to ward off scurvy on board ships, the most eminent of physicians still relied on unproven methods, because that's what they were taught, by other eminent physicians. ("Trick Or Treatment" by Simon Singh & Edzard Ernst covers the beginning of real evidence-based medicine in one easy-to-digest chapter).
The pseudo- and un-scientific "alternative" medicines of today seem to me to be stuck in that era, before mainstream medicine got it's act together and sought evidence as to the efficacy of it's treatments. Relying on appeals to authority, baffling folks with scientific terms which have no bearing on the things they're being applied to, anecdote as evidence, a wilful inability to recognise the placebo effect. They like to tell you that "big pharma" is only after your money, while all the time eyeing up your wallet; they claim that mainstream medicines have side effects (which stands to reason, if they contain substances which have a real, measurable effect on one bodily system, they may well have a possible detrimental effect on another) and "kill millions" which is foul scare-mongering of the worst sort. Side effects of tested "mainstream" medications are known, and there is a system of reporting and recording adverse effects in patients. No such systems exist for "alternative medicines" (see for lists of people known to have been harmed or killed by untested alternative treatments).
The reason homeopathic treatments have no side effects? Because they're either 100% water or sugar pill.
Knocking a vial of water - which used to contain an active ingredient (the ingredients themselves having, usually, NO proven efficacy in the treatment of illness) before it was diluted 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 times - against a leather book isn't going to magically make the water remember the "active"  ingredient. If water did have a memory, why would it only magically remember the things you want it to? Oh yeah, magic.

1 ml of a solution which has gone through a 30C dilution is mathematically equivalent to 1 ml diluted into 10^54 m3 - a cube of water measuring 1,000,000,000,000,000,000  (10^18) metres per side, which is about 106 light years. If spherical it would be a ball of 131 light years in diameter.

And yet, people swear by it. Are they stupid? I think not. No more than any other group of people.
I'm not about to create a sceptic's guide to why treatments which don't work often seem to work, you can go and find plenty of them on the net. But, I am interested in the thinking behind acceptance of the impossible, the unscientific. Because, as I said before, we ALL do it.
The obvious example of the basis of magical thinking is the old "needing to know if there's a predator hiding in the bush" bit, and our ancestors all survived (& procreated and led to our existence) precisely because they saw the predator in the bush, even if there wasn't one there.
Similarly, we're "programmed" by evolution to recognise certain shapes, such as our mother's face. We tend to see faces in most random patterns. It only becomes a mental illness when you're certain that that was your mother's (or Jesus') face in the pattern on the bathroom tiles, and started conversing with it.
It's in our DNA, and there may be no escaping it. Not for millennia, at any rate.

But, that's fine. We can laugh because we're descended from the smart ones who evaded the predators, at least until they dumped a load into Mrs Caveman, if I may wax poetic about the act of love.
None of them other suckers who weren't ever born can't say that!
It does mean, however, we're stuck with these fallible senses, as mentioned previously. Hence our need to formalise our knowledge collecting systems.

Enough of the science side. Unfortunately, not being as widely read or practised in the mystical/magickal side as some of you, I can't speak too much about it.
I have read some Crowley, Regardie, Spare, some of the more recent chaos magic chaps.
A long time after I started reading, I tried some personalised (shouldn't it always be so?) rituals and there were subjectively measurable effects. I don't want to go into the details of the rituals, those of you better versed than I most likely passed through that stage yourselves, or something very similar.
I can't say that any of my experiences made me believe in any kind of supernatural forces or entities. I'll stick with the archetypes model (have read a bit of Jung, too, as well as Gurdjieff/Ouspensky).

Call all of the gods and demons "mere" psychological manifestations of primal atavistic connections to our pre-verbal ancestors, perhaps. But, I will agree that there are powers or forces there, benign, malignant or indifferent. They are us.
Maybe reminding us of the unnaturalness of our disconnection - from our ancestors, each other, all of the cosmos (and I mean that in a very scientific way, rather than any wishy washy hippie togetherness fantasy). A lot of what I've read in quantum physics, string theory, etc, does suggest the fundamental interconnectedness of everything. And, while I'll always immediately dismiss those charlatans who use terms from quantum physics as "explanations" of their batty theories about "creating your own reality" (see that huge pile of utter fucking shite, "What BLEEP Do We Know?" Fuck all, as it turns out), I wouldn't shy away from a serious theory which suggested - or even explained, if that's possible -  the model of the entire universe as one entity, everything causing and being caused by every other event in spacetime.
It's hard not to read books like Leonard Susskind's "The Cosmic Landscape" and it's theories of a multiverse (or similar ideas from M-theory) and not feel a sense of awe very similar to that concerning God(s).
Maybe I'm actually a pantheist.

One thing I'm sure you'll agree with is that our culture has, for the most part, stripped away any rituals it may once have had. Every ritual may not have equal value, but we seemed to maintain them for many centuries, if not millennia, until very recently. Perhaps our psyches benefit from ritualising certain parts of our lives?
Perhaps we can just, after reading about other rituals, create our own, to fit our own lives, beliefs and other practices? Perhaps we really should. As per the 2 JPGs from the Robert Anton Wilson book I linked to earlier, maybe we have more than one side, and most of us have let one or the other side wither somewhat by favouring the other.
I have just started reading "The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World" by Iain McGilchrist, which I think may touch upon this, or at least a theory analogous to it.
I like the bit I've already read about humans being the only animal which can live their lives on two axes - the horizontal plane of animal experience and the vertical axis whereby we can stand back from our experience and evaluate it. Which links into a theory I had that vegetarianism arises from our ability to contemplate our own mortality, then empathically project that onto the animals we use for food. If certain innate empathic levels occur in one's mind, maybe coupled with an event which imprints negatively for meat or animal slaughter, then one will reject eating meat.

I think I'd better leave it there and hope someone actually reads all of this waffle!

Thanks for plowing through this. I hope you'll see fit to comment.

The ponderings of greater minds than I, worth a gander.....

There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.

 - Erwin Schrödinger 

[... the] Scientific Method (SM) [is] the alleged source of the certitude of those I call the New Idolators. SM is a mixture of SD (sense data: usually aided by instruments to refine the senses) with the old Greek PR [pure reason]. Unfortunately, while SM is powerfully effective, and seems to most of us the best method yet devised by mankind, it is made up of two elements which we have already seen are fallible. [...] Again, two fallibilities do not add up to one infallibility. Scientific generalizations which have lasted a long time have high probability, perhaps the highest probability of any generalizations, but it is only Idolatry which claims none of them will ever again have to be revised or rejected. Too many have been revised or rejected in this century alone.

– Robert Anton Wilson, The New Inquisition

"A true initiation never ends."
"I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions."
"Existence is larger than any model that is not itself the exact size of existence (which has no size...) "
"The creative faculty, the god-power, is not used here with anything less
than literalness. When beauty was created by a godly mind, beauty existed,
as surely as the paintings of Botticelli or the concerti of Vivaldi exist.
When mercy was created, mercy existed. When guilt was created, guilt
existed. Out of a meaningless and pointless existence, we have made meaning
and purpose; but since this creative act happens only when we relax after
great strain, we feel it as 'pouring into us' from elsewhere. Thus, we do
not know our own godhood and we are perpetually swindled by those who
assure us that it is indeed elsewhere, but they can give us access to it,
for a reasonable fee. And when we as a species were ignorant enough to be
duped in that way, the swindlers went one step further, invented original
sin and other horrors of that sort, and made us even more 'dependent' upon
"When the mathematician Ouspensky was studying with Gurdjieff, he found it
very hard, at first, to understand this unique human capacity to forget
where one is, what one is doing, and what is going on around one. He was
especially dubious about Gurdjieff’s insistence that this “forgetting” was
a type of hypnosis. Then, one day, after World War I had begun, Ouspensky
saw a truck loaded with artificial legs, headed toward the front. Educated
as a mathematician and trained in statistics, Ouspensky remembered that—
just as it is possible to calculate how many persons will die of heart
attacks in a given year, by probability theory—it is possible to calculate
how many legs will be blown off in a battle. But the very calculation is
based on the historical fact that most people most of the time will do what
they are told by Superiors. (Or, as some cynic once said, most people would
rather die, even by slow torture, than to think for themselves.) In a
flash, Ouspensky understood how ordinary men become killers, and victims of
killers. He realized that “normal” consciousness is much like hypnosis
indeed. People in a trance will do what they are told—even if they are told
to march into battle against total strangers who have never harmed them,
and attempt to murder those strangers while the strangers are attempting to
murder them. Orders from above are tuned-in; the possibility of choice is—
"The search for certitude - like the pretense of moral righteousness -
appears to me as a medieval habit that should have vanished long ago. None
of us knows enough to be certain about anything, usually, and none of us
are nearly as 'moral' as we feel obliged to pretend we are in order to be
acceptable to 'Decent' Society.
If we are not totally stupid and blindly selfish on all possible occasions,
we are about as bright and ethical as anyone in history has ever been. The
greatest batters in the history of baseball all had batting averages well
below 0.500, which means they missed more than half the time they swung.
Medieval morality and theology have left us with the hypocritical habit of
pretending batting averages close to 0.999 in both knowledge and ethics.
(The Absolutists go around talking and acting as if their averages were
actually 1.000 or sheer perfection.) On average, I think I score under Babe
Ruth and I suspect you do, too.
There thus appears to be a great deal of conceit and self - deception in
the habitual poses of intellectual certitude and ethical perfection among
the educated classes. It would appear more in keeping with honesty, I
think, to recognize, as analogous to Murphy's Law, the unscientific but
useful generalization I call the Cosmic Schmuck Principle.
The Cosmic Schmuck Principle holds that if you don't wake up, once a month
at least, and realize that you have been acting like a Cosmic Schmuck again
then you will probably go on acting like a cosmic schmuck forever; but if
you do, occasionally, recognize your Cosmic Schmuckiness, then you might
begin to become a little less Schmucky that the general human average at
this primitive stage of terrestrial evolution. "
"The artist is greater than the mystic.The mystic, unless he or she is also an artist, cannot communicate the higher states of awareness achieved by the fully turned-on brain; but the great artist can"
 - Robert Anton Wilson

"God is a verb."

"I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe."

"The Universe consists of non-simultaneously apprehended events."

"Our brains deal exclusively with special-case experiences. Only our minds are able to discover the generalized principles operating without exception in each and every special-experience case which if detected and mastered will give knowledgeable advantage in all instances."

 - R. Buckminster Fuller

"Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed."

"I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research."

"Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down by the mind before you reach eighteen."
- Albert Einstein 

"Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings. Many people have a just horror at the thought of putting poison into tea or coffee, but seem unable to realize that, when they teach false ideas and false doctrines, they are poisoning the time- binding capacity of their fellow men and women. One has to stop and think! There is nothing mystical about the fact that ideas and words are energies which powerfully affect the physico-chemical base of our time-binding activities. Humans are thus made untrue to "human nature." ... The conception of man as a mixture of animal and supernatural has for ages kept human beings under the deadly spell of the suggestion that, animal selfishness and animal greediness are their essential character, and the spell has operated to suppress their REAL HUMAN NATURE and to prevent it from expressing itself naturally and freely. "

"The only link between the verbal and objective world is exclusively structural, necessitating the conclusion that the only content of all 'knowledge' is structural. Now structure can be considered as a complex of relations, and ultimately as multi-dimensional order. From this point of view, all language can be considered as names for unspeakable entities on the objective level, be it things or feelings, or as names of relations. In fact... we find that an object represents an abstraction of a low order produced by our nervous system as the result of a sub-microscopic events acting as stimuli upon the nervous system. "

 - Alfred Korzybski

"Magic and Art are the same, Which is why Magic is referred to as The Great Art. They are both technologies of Will, both about pulling rabbits out of hats and creating something where there was nothing."

"Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which, when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to.
Science proves there never was a mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably exist, wielding tremendous power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love's name? If Christ were only ever fiction, a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred?"

"Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal,
immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden,
savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map. Be careful: in the
last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is."

- Alan Moore

"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth."
"A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion."
- Alan Watts

"Turn on' meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. 'Tune in' meant interact harmoniously with the world around you — externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. Drop out suggested an elective, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. 'Drop Out' meant self-reliance, a discovery of one's singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean 'Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity'"

"The universe is an intelligence test."

 -Timothy Leary