lockin again

It was time for another lockin at FPUU in Arlington this past Friday night. While the numbers of youth and adult advisors were greater than last year’s, the tone seemed much quieter. We played some rousing games of Sardines earlier than usual and I think that, plus the surprise dance party, sapped a lot of energy from everyone. The highlights for me were (1) jamming on the guitar with Eli, (2) sunrise sitting in the Tobey Lounge with the few youth who stayed conscious throughout the whole night (I slept from 1-5AM as I didn’t need to see V for Vendetta again) and (3) the games of Mafia in the Sanctuary. I sure hope the new leadership at FPUU will continue to support the Youth Group with as much care and respect. It is an incredibly enthusiastic group of youth who have truly exercised their empowerment to the fullest.


200px-GEBcover.jpgIt was twenty-five years ago that I read Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. I decided that it was about time I read it again. Only a few chapters in and it is already just as mind-blowing as I remember.

 edit – fwiw I made the decision to read this before I knew that he had a new book hitting the shelves this week!

metal gloss

B000002KB8.01-A18OOZZGBKRIDU._AA130_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgThis pdf is a very interesting/amazing philosophical gloss on the eponymous song “Black Sabbath”. The author has put forth an interesting treatise on the meaning of the song as well as the very nature of Heavy Metal music as told/foretold by this song. Spanning metaphysical concepts of self-awareness, the nature of consciousness, enlightenment, and the end of days…I have to respect anyone who can write a piece like this, about Metal music, while quoting from as diverse sources as Dante, the Bible, J.R.R Tolkien, the Upanishads, Metallica, Plato, Beowulf, Augustine, Meher Baba, Melville, Slayer, Shakespeare, Cooleridge, and along with many others, of course, Ozzy. Thanks to WFMU’s Beware of the Blog for the pointer.

evolutionary spirit

The NY Times Sunday Magazine has an excellent piece on the possibility of an evolutionary basis for the human trait of believing in the supernatural, in particular the concept of a creator and existence after death. The concept of a propensity for spiritual belief being an evolutionary advantage in the “survival of the fittest” sense if very intriguing. They make some good cases using the psychological concepts of agent detection, causal reasoning and theory of mind. I’ve come across all of these in previous readings but this text provides a good summary, of course mostly relating it to the topic at hand. Frankly I am more inclined to go with the “spandrel” theory presented, but I am open to other possibilities.

On a somewhat humorous note, I love this excerpt:

“Atran ascribes the persistence to evolutionary misdirection, which, he says, happens all the time: “Evolution always produces something that works for what it works for, and then there’s no control for however else it’s used.” On a sunny weekday morning, over breakfast at a French cafe on upper Broadway, he tried to think of an analogy and grinned when he came up with an old standby: women’s breasts. Because they are associated with female hormones, he explained, full breasts indicate a woman is fertile, and the evolution of the male brain’s preference for them was a clever mating strategy. But breasts are now used for purposes unrelated to reproduction, to sell anything from deodorant to beer. “A Martian anthropologist might look at this and say, ‘Oh, yes, so these breasts must have somehow evolved to sell hygienic stuff or food to human beings,’ ” Atran said. But the Martian would, of course, be wrong. Equally wrong would be to make the same mistake about religion, thinking it must have evolved to make people behave a certain way or feel a certain allegiance.”

So I guess we did not evolve a belief in God just to help the next NASCAR victor [pdf]

teapots happen

teapot06s.jpghere, via boingboing, is a nice little story about mindblowing coincidences or incredibly deep connections in the unverse, how ever you choose to view it….me, I’m Agnostic.


this Foxtrot comic is perfect…



theosophical bloggery

I started blogging and following friends blogs a few years ago as a way to inform my friends and family, who are spread all over the world, about my goings-on and about my many varied inteterests. Around the same time I started regularly attending the Unitarian Universalist church in my town. This was mainly as a way to help educate my children about the varieties of religious experiences and philosophies that are and have been practiced around the world.  My own philosophical/theosophical/spiritual education/journey started with my Catholic upbringing, continued with my exposure to eastern thought in in my teens through the growing melding of physics and philosophy at that time (The Tao of Physics for instance), took a side trip as I tried to come to terms with a number of my friends’ conversion to fundamentalist Christianity, and continued through college as I voraciously absorbed Godel, Escher, Bach. Then when I entered the "real world", likely triggered by the near simultaneous occurrence of my entry into the work force and the unfortunate death of my father, I stopped.

Now it seems that  twenty years later, due to a critical mass of stimulus in my life, I have added the word spiritual into my vocabulary again and have begun to continue that education/journey. Some of this has to do with an increased involvement in the UU church and some just seems to be a groundswell in the blogosphere I follow. dougo has been discussing Atheism and dave has been discussing a number of metaphysical concepts…and both of these seem to have been inspired by other blog postings. I’ll continue to blog about live music, goofy card games and fun television shows but the addition of theosophical discussions seems to be a welcome direction. 

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