Wednesday, August 11, 2010

what you say about other also says a lot about you

Any Christians out there who have converted FROM atheism? (reddit) (probably not the best forum for a positive answer)

When you stop being snarky, do you really think that Christian mythology is as silly/implausible as Greek mythology? (reddit again)

How to beat a dead horse:

Here's a story:

Whilst serving his country diligently in the Peace Corps, Joe was asked by an Alpaca Wool company to consider working in a small town on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. They offered to take him up there by truck to appraise the site. So he went and returned, decided against it, finished his 2 yr. contract, and later returned to the states to become a hippy artist living in a van for 20 years, and trying assorted kinds of dope. One of them was Mandrake root which is legal and available through health food stores. Joe was curious about the lore associated w/ Mandrake, and not having anything else to do one evening, made up a strong cup of tea (every cup of Mandrake is strong). After a couple of hours, Joe began to spontaneously remember the events that took place on that excursion in Bolivia years before, but the story seemed to be narrated, and the narration revealed another parallel story from the perspective of a neutral (less self obsessed) observer. As if though the etiology was factual rather than based on casual opinion.

The main upshot of the revelation was that the wool company was actually a front for cocaine production and Joe's presence was needed on the trucks return trip to intimidate indian soldiers (read "Peons") at the contraband check stations. With an authentic Gringo on the truck, the peon wouldn't make a thorough search of the trucks contents and risk reprimand for wasting the time of someone who might be important, and also not find a wool sack on the bottom tier packed with cocaine. When the truck first arrived at the wool station, the station manager wasn't expecting "Americanos" and met them at the gate with an M3 Grease Gun under his coat. When giving a tour of the hacienda, the manager made a big deal of a cast iron stove for burning Llama dung for heat like poor indians (no wood on the Altiplano), especially since Kerosene is also used in cocaine production, so naturally they didn't have any around. Cast iron wood stoves are expensive, and kerosene heaters are common and cheap. Everyone there used them, even indians. On another occasion, Joe was sitting on a bale of coca leaves and noticed it didn't have a band of print that govt. tax collectors put on legally grown coca. Joe naively asked one of the workers what they were doing w/ so much coca leaf, the worker said it was for the herders, and called one of the managers. The manager put his hand in his coat pocket & said grimly "Come on, lets go for a walk". Joe survived the walk by being a genuinely clueless American redneck gringo kid, not understanding the Quechua language, and enjoying the scenery (really nice mountains). He was threatened w/ guns several times w/ that company but couldn't figure out why & decided they were just screwed up people (and in fact they were bullies and murderers). The revelation wasn't a stoned illusion, it was factual, and every non sequituer on that trip made sense from that perspective. But that's the way it is w/ conspiracy theories.

So was Joe blessed by an Apu (Andean mountain gods who likes innocence) or is clueless self obsession necessary for our survival anyway. People who contemplate doom all the time may be more likely to test it out than people who never give it a thought (and 42% of all statistics are just made up).

Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but only for believers

Babies see human hand behind ordered events

Mandrake lore from the middle ages tells of fatuously improbable procedures for collecting the root, but (IMO) those instructions may be either for 1) cornering the market through a "proper, harvesting technique", or 2) for maintaining the users perspective (read: sanity) through the trip. For example, it's said that one should only pick it on the new moon, and to plug ones ears when it's removed from the ground because the root shrieks when pulled, and the sound is fatal to whoever hears it. One imagines that lore was collected by a 14th century scholar from some rural curandero-bumpkin, who was locally famous for using Mandrake, & who spoke an obsolete dialect full of colloquialisms which the good scholar took at face value. (Visit rural Kentucky some time but don't bother trying to find a phrase book, because 1): they don't make them, 2): you won't understand what they're saying anyway) It's reference to "magical" procedure is also a possible reason why the root isn't more widely used in christian countries (ghastly flavor might be a factor too though).

So the secret mandrake message is:
New moon is for dealing with personal, not public business, which would be on the full moon. ie. don't invite gawkers and don't let anyone know of your intention, here's why:
The tea's effect causes sensitivity to social cues (similar to Datura, also in the Solanaceae plant family, Also see Hallucinogenics) which, if interrupted by social cues from other people present, can cause confusion and "inappropriate" responses w/ possibly dire results. The shrieking root pulled from the ground refers to that too. Earth = the native soil of ones consciousness. But Mandrake is also said to be used for an aphrodisiac, possibly by focusing on social cues also, but simple Joe has never used it that way, so he couldn't say. He's a bumpkin though.

Acts of free will (wired) "... It is this sense of being the possessor of a consciousness that makes us feel responsible for it.” ... and also allows us to go around in a semiconscious state of self absorption.