31 December 2012

Top 10 of 2012

The top ten stories of 2012, by view count. Some may surprise you.

1. The Walking Dead
Yes, AMC's masterfully crafted zombie drama took the top spot this year, just as candy coloured ponies took the top spot last year. Starting to see the trend?
Actually, the post speculated on why a zombie apocalypse could not happen if everyone had to get bitten. The musings were made irrelevant two months later when it was revealed that everyone is infected. Nine months later and people are still reading it.

2. Jesus' Life and Death
Similarly, the number two story is also about someone rising from the dead.
Was there a plot to kill Jesus and blame it on the Jews? The greatest story ever told, or at least a timeline for the life of Jesus, serves as a nice framework for a much larger subject, which touches on history, archaeology, mysticism, religion, politics, economics, philosophy, linguistics, numismatics, paleoastronomy, astrology, and some other stuff that will all go into the book once it's finished (currently working on an expanded version of timeline).

3. Discussing Gay Marriage
Whether it be Plutarch, Alan Keys, or some guy no one ever heard of named Rick Santorum, it seemes like a lot of people at least tried to talk about gay marriage in 2012. A few of them focused on the purpose of marriage and why societies have a vested interest in regulating it, and one tried to have an adult discussion with a bunch of children who pretend to be tolerant, but only tolerate people who think exactly like them.

4. Obama Food Nazi
Thar the President's wife blows! This one here is interesting. A little story about a few kids who had their lunches thrown away by government lunch inspectors managed to force its way into spot number four. The inspector was later suspended indefinitely, with full pay and benefits, because the school system in this country is bankrupt morally, affectively, and financially. There was a false-flag terror attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, perpetrated by al Qaeda and the CIA, in which four Americans were tortured and killed, and that story did not make the top ten, but chicken nuggets did. I'm glad people are paying attention to the government infringing on the rights of citizens, but I think you couple of readers here are missing the bigger issue.

5. The Problem With Bombing Iran
What would happen if the United States decided to simply bomb Iran's chocolate chip factories? Will Iran use nuclear blackmail against its gulf rivals to gain hegemony over the entire Near East? Would Russia or China ever want to go to war over Iranian nukes? Why is ESPN racist, using the phrase "chink in the armor" 3,000 times? The answers are not pretty, that's for sure, but they definitely bring in readers.

6. Transpersonal Psychology: A Brief Definition
Seems a lot of people are interested in transpersonal psychology, Ken Wilber, psychadelics, and some other stuff. That's real good, seeing as how it is the meat and potatoes of what inspired The Urban Mystic way back in 2006 (even if other stuff has taken over the spotlight since). This video is only twelve minutes long - perfect for 2012 - and I highly recommend you watch it and bring in the new year with new perspectives.

7. An Exercise In Debunking Documentaries
A program called "5th Dimension" does an hour show on debunking reincarnation, so I decided to take some time debunking the irrationalists who produced the program. A rationalist is a philosophical term for someone who believes that true knowledge can only come from the mind and not the senses, whereas the debunkers who hijack the term rationalist believe that there is no mind and everything is just dead matter. Irony.

8. Kony 2012 Exposed
Trendy liberal's gonna' get Kony!!!!1 So, you tweeted about Kony 2012, that must make you a real activist, right? Follow the money, not the guy who was naked and jacking off in public, and maybe you'll discover that Kony has probably been dead for years and the whole thing is one big scam.

9. The Story of Sathya Sai Baba
How appropriate, number nine is a nine minute video biography of the life of Sathya Sai Baba. There is no narration, so you will have to read the video text. This is the second year in a row Sai Baba has made the top ten list.

10. The Bible Code
The book that spawned a documentary and a sequel, written by a journalist who thinks he is James Bond and Indiana Jones combined. By the way, if you didn't know, Michael Drosnin is an atheist. Brendan McKay cheated with Moby-Dick (and admits it!), Michael Drosnin does not believe in God, and here's two pages of code tables. Now, there are the codes, which are real and probably written by ET, and God, who needs him, and here are some code tables to pad the length of the book. Why does evil exist when God could just fix everything himself? I'll give you three guesses, and they're all ET.

Oh, by the way, Michael Drosnin, totally doesn't believe in God, and here are a few code tables to prove it.




Lastly, some stories that didn't quite make it, but either came very close or else are real important and just flew under the radar.

Questioning the Quran
What happens when you bring together the strange bedfellows of critical scholarship and Islam's holy book (something that happens a whole lot to all other world religions)? You get some interesting questions about the lack of diacritical marks in the Uthmanic text (the official Quran of the first Caliphate), the preponderance of Syrio-Aramaic loan words in Arabic, Muhammad's undoubtedly good memory as an illiterate merchant and its implications vis-a-vis cryptamnesia, and an anecdote regarding white grapes. Very interesting, but not likely to affect the way the Quran is interpreted.

Benghazi
Need I say more?

Balancing the Budget WITHOUT Raising Taxes
Yes, Grover Norquist is right, and it is possible to balance the budget without raising taxes, which is important because all serious economists will tell us that we are already at the revenue maximizing point on the Laffer curve, and raising taxes will result in a decrease in the amount of tax revenue collected by the IRS. To put it another way, you come home to find the sewer has backed up inside your house. Do you remove the shit or raise the ceiling?

The Games We Play
Whether we're talking about witnesses, shadows, bruised egos, puzzles, pity parties, getting over yourself, getting over yourself, wearing masks, hurting yourself to see if you still feel (oops, haven't written that one yet!), getting shit faced, getting fat, or just getting over yourself, this has been one very important subject that you couple of readers just seemed to miss this year. Shame.

30 December 2012

Scrying

For those few who may remember, the title and topic of my first ever post on The Urban Mystic, in February 2006, was on scrying, a term used to describe a variety of divination methods involving staring at reflective surfaces. Today, I experimented again, gazing into a mirror which reflected a featureless white surface in a dimly lit room. I gazed until no more light remained (about thirty minutes), at which time an image did begin to appear, but it vanished very quickly, and with it all visible light, ending the experiment. I liked the results, and will, in the future, continue this practice. As always, I will keep you updated.

27 December 2012

Richard Rose, American Zen Master

Richard Rose is often described as being a Zen master, although his inquiry is a lot more similar to Ramana Maharshi's method. The Zen part comes from his insistence on direct transmission. Rose lived in a Catholic seminary before becoming a scientist and working in various fields including physics and biology. In 1947 while meditating, he died and experienced at first everything and then nothing, and spent the rest of his life trying to get people to have the very same revelation. Richard Rose died in 2005 after struggling with Alzheimer's for several years.

Here are clips from what appears to be two lectures, totalling 24 minutes on the soul, the Absolute, and the ego, as well as becoming the Truth instead of just speculating on it.



26 December 2012

Mary, Did You Know?

Cee Lo Green performing "Mary, Did You Know?", the official video for the television series "The Bible". Just beautiful.

23 December 2012

States, Stages, and Meditation

Ken Wilber describes vertical and horizontal enlightenment. Vertical here deals with structure stages, going from first-tier to second-tier to third-tier (magenta/purple up through turquoise and beyond) culminating in what Aurobindo called Supermind. Each stage transcends and includes all previous stages and as you go up you identify with a wider and wider groups (egocentric, ethnocentric, worldcentric, Kosmocentric).

Horizontal enlightenment is what is typically thought of when people speak of enlightnement, going through the state stages, (gross, subtle, causal, etc.) ending at what Genpo Roshi calls Big Mind. What is important to remember is that one can take state training at almost any level, so someone can be able to enter high states of absorption and be what people would typically consider "enlightened" and once they get out of their meditation and back into the world they are still operating from whatever stage they are at. Big Mind is the nondual ground of being, Supermind is the integration of the small mind with Big Mind.

Next, Ken describes why meditating is helpful toward ending world hunger.

As a person gradually disidentifies with a wider and wider array of states of consciousness, broadening their identity, it makes it a lot easier to climb the ladder to higher and higher stages. If you want to have a positive impact on the world you should work toward climbing toward an orange altitude or higher (why not shoot for second-tier?), and one way that is very good at moving people up stages is meditation.

20 December 2012

The End of the World

In the great film Alexander, Hephaestion, Alexander's life long companion, asks Alexander "What would you do if you ever reached the end of the world?" At the other end of the world, near the International Date Line it is already 2 PM on Friday. Friday, 21 December 2012, the end of the world. According to some people, tomorrow (or today in some places that are already tomorrow) will be the last day ever, or something. To be fair, I had my own story "The L", which I began writing in 2006, have the end of the world begin tomorrow, when The Pinnacle Research Group initiated a global disaster from Bouvet Island. In my story the 21st is only the beginning of the end of the world, with the world not ending completely until fifteen years later after great tribulations have claimed five billion lives and ravaged the surface of the Earth.

It has been six years since I began my mystical career in January 2006, and started writing The Urban Mystic in February that same year (on AOL, which no longer exits, so you cannot access past archives which I have saved). It has been five years since I had my first taste of radical Freedom, One Taste, in January 2007, when the world was on the inside and my eyes were on the outside and my self was blasted across the face of the Kosmos. It has been four years since Christmas 2008 when I had a dream about the end of the world, 21 December 2012, where balls of light came to Earth and began erasing everything they touched. It has been nearly two years since I discovered My Little Pony, something that has really touched me and helped affect my life for the better. I have made predictions: the "Arab Spring", genetically modified viruses that mimic psychotropic drugs, the "Great Winter of 2010", among others. These past six years have been full of ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade them for the life I lived before.

Now, it seems like it is the end of the world. This year I was told that I need to make sacrifices to enter the next phase of my mystical career. The choice is mine, but it is a choice between being a mystic and living a normal life, and it is the greatest choice of my life, and the most difficult. A mirror reflects everything that falls on it, without altering the thing it is reflecting or becoming attached to it. A mirror mind, the mind of enlightenment, is the same. Cutting the fetters of attachment is necessary for enlightenment, and there are a few that seem too well entrenched in my psyche to be cut loose. If I go down this path farther I must deal with the death of the small self and all the little things it has accumulated over the years. What's really interesting is, I was told this would happen in the beginning! I was told in 2006 I would have these choices to make in 2012. I was told what to expect and when to expect it, and I failed to notice until most of the signs already passed and it was too late to prepare, just yesterday. Regardless of what happens in the external world tomorrow, it may well be the end of the world for my little self.

Come what may, it will be for the best. It has been a wonderful time, dear couple of readers (actually about 20 a day). I love you all.

Always Love.

16 December 2012

Precious Human Birth

The body is the chariot (ratha) of the individual (jeevi), who is the Master. Human birth is the glorious and precious opportunity amongst all living beings. The human body is the castle from which one can fight successfully against the foes of attachment and egoism. It is the boat by which one can cross the sea of change and chance. The realization of the reality within oneself, through relentless spiritual discipline is an arduous challenge – as fraught with dangers and calamity, like playing with fire or duelling with wild animals. Scriptures (Upanishads) have compared the spiritual aspirant’s path to that of a razor’s edge. One has to be alert, vigilant and fully trained to meet all emergencies. Use the precious opportunity of this human birth and leverage your intelligence, discrimination and detachment you are gifted with, to rise above all, and realize the Ultimate Reality.
- Divine Discourse, Oct 15, 1966.

15 December 2012

Will Smith's Power

Will Smith's inspiring words on such things as fear, motivation, working hard, and dreaming big.

"You can't ever be scared to die for the truth."

13 December 2012

The Men Who Killed The Constitution

Judge Andrew Napolitano explains how Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson destroyed the Constitution. He explains why dictatorship of the President or revolution are the only paths, why we can't print money forever, and why weed may help save the country.

06 December 2012

The Bible Code II

Michael Drosnin wrote two sequels to his book The Bible Code, one of which I have read, one of which I will never read. You might remember Mr. Drosnin from other posts.

If you have read the first Bible Code book but have not read the second, please do not. The two are worlds apart. Here is a brief synopsis:

Michael Drosnin, a hard-nosed journalist and ardent atheist, having proven the existence of a code in the Bible, he now has morphed into a combination of Indiana Jones and James Bond. Drosnin writes powerful men (Clinton, Bush, Arafat, Sharon, etc.) letters about the code and the end of the world, but he always leaves out the key details, because "no one would believe them," until his books are published. He wrote to Ehud Barak that the code said he would be the next Prime Minister of Israel in an early election in 1999, but he did not think Barak would believe him if he included the date, so he conveniently left that detail out of his letter but included it in the book. Drosnin conveniently leaves us no records for which to prove any of his stories. Two pictures of code tables appear on each page, taking up about 100 pages total.

Yasser Arafat is a very pious, kind-hearted man and all Israelis are war mongerers. And God does not exist, and here is an irrelevant code table.

Oh, and Michael Drosnin doesn't believe in God.

1998, Drosnin puts forward his ET "theory".



He finds references to DNA being "brought in a vehicle" and immediately jumps to the conclusion "when I found that encoded in the Bible, I couldn't believe it... DNA, the molecule of life, sent to Earth in a spaceship." (p. 144) It didn't say that. Just as every time he reads the word "computer" in the code when the actual Hebrew word says "thought", Drosnin reads "vehicle" as "spaceship" when it does not say that. A virus could be a vehicle to introduce a new gene into a cell, why should we believe that the word "vehicle" means "spaceship" when nothing indicates that it does? And what is the code for DNA itself? DNA is just letters, unlike the words and names used in other codes, so it might mean something completely different. It might just be nonsense. Just in case, here are four more code tables with useless words that can't be checked to mean anything.

Drosnin then says he had to call many nameless scientists to find out what they thought and just so happens to call Francis Crick, who wrote about the same idea decades before, and surprise, Crick agrees! Who would have guessed? Until you check out the back of the book, where Drosnin says he interviewed Crick years before about panspermia and he just crafted the story of trying to find reputable scientists who agree with his ET "theory" to make the book more interesting. Yes, someone who time and time again talks about being a "just the facts" hard-nosed journalist lied to make his story more interesting.

Michael Drosnin, by the way, does not believe in God. And Yasser Arafat was the nicest man he ever met, and he really, really wants peace, but religious people will kill him if he makes peace with the war mongering Israelis.

2001, Drosnin is in Israel trying to reach the Israeli PM because he has vitally important information from the Bible code about nuclear war in 2006. When an advisor asks what that information is, Drosnin says "I need to meet with the PM, because the code says if peace is not reached there will be nuclear war." The advisor replies, "tell me something I don't know," to which Drosnin drones on and on "You don't understand, I have to tell the PM face to face that the world will end if peace is not made!" "Okay, we all know that, what else?" "Damn you by the God you believe in, the world will end if you don't make peace and I must see the PM to tell him this!" Lather, rinse, repeat, ad nauseum.

1998 Drosnin must look for an "obilisk" and a "steel ark" in the area near the Dead Sea called Lisan, because it contains the key to understanding the Bible code, which was created by aliens who seeded the Earth 4 billion years ago, because Michael Drosnin does not believe God exists. He tries to get the Jordanians to let him dig, but they refuse.

2001, Drosnin confronts Colin Powell. He asks to see President Bush because the world will end if peace is not made and he must tell the President. See above. Drosnin must save the world from religion and nuclear war, because he does not believe in God, but the code is real, and created by ET, and warns of nuclear war in 2006.

1998, I think, who knows, the book keeps skipping around for no reason. Drosnin is back playing Indy again, talking about how it is vital to find this ark, or maybe it is a tomb of the original alien who brought DNA to earth, who the hell knows. Whatever it means, here are six more code tables, many are repeats from other pages. In case you were wondering, ET made the code, because Drosnin doesn't believe in God.

2001? Drosnin tells people in Israel and the US where bin Laden is hiding. He leaves that out of the book in case bin Laden buys a copy and then runs away. He hints pretty hard that it may be in Libya. Anyway, nuclear war will happen in 2006, and we have to find that thing that is still hiding in Lisan, maybe.

There is a nice appendix that describes the original rabbi experiment and its paper in Statistical Science, a refutation that was published without anyone reading it, a rebuttal of the refutation that was refused publication because codes a priori cannot exist, and there can be no evidence for something that cannot exist, and the opinions of some credible scientists who tried to debunk the code but ended up proving it exists who think refusing to publish any response is anti-science.

02 December 2012

The Laffer Curve

In an earlier post I mentioned the Laffer Curve (named after economist Arthur Laffer). The idea that Laffer popularised was that if the tax rates were at zero percent then the government would take in no revenue, and, likewise, if the tax rates were one hundred percent the government would also take in no revenue because no one wants to work if all their money is taken from them. Somewhere between the two extremes there exists a maximum tax rate where the maximum amount of revenue can be collected. Most economists agree that that maximum rate is 33 percent, which is close to what it is today.

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute explains the Laffer Curve in this 21 minute video.





01 December 2012

Balancing the Budget Without Tax Hikes (Post 400)

It is possible to balance the federal budget without tax hikes by just capping spending and waiting for GDP to catch up in four years.

Wage Slavery

Just some thoughts on minimum wage, living wage, and slavery.