Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Dictionary; Word of the Day / Utopianism, Echatological and Healing the World / Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away Mega-Post

Mega-Post Part I: The Word


ana·a·poth·e·o·sis (aná-əˌpäTHēˈōsəs/) noun. Derived from the Greek prefix "ana", meaning backward or against, and "apotheosis", from apotheoun "to deify", and referring to the raising of an individual to divinity, or to divine status, through glorification or enlightenment.

As in, "I am in general against enlightenment, because it clouds one's true place in the world as a human. I guess you could say I am against apotheosis. I am a proponent of Anaapotheosis."

I coined this term several months ago, and named a track on the 391 & the Army of Astraea Gauntlet of Balthazar Electronic Music of the Day Give-Away program, but never did a My Dictionary; Word of the Day post for it, so the above definition solves that. 

Mega-Post Part II: The Related Polemic

As far as my beliefs have evolved over the years, being highly contrarian and polytheist-inclined, I have come to believe that all forms of Utopianism and Messianism are mere distractions designed by the powers that be to supply people with false hope that the world is fixable. The catch is of course that people accept the conditioning that the world is indeed broken first. Religious people (of all religions) often cite the evidence that war, famine, disease, and even death are ways in which the the proof of the "broken" quality of life on earth can be viscerally displayed. To shift the onus from a loving, universal God, some faiths rely on Devils and Demons to burden the responsibility for evil. Thus sparing both God and mankind the burden of responsibility for their actions.

Regardless, the realization often follows that the problems which plague the world are so grand in scale, so vast and immense, that there can be no changing them through mere micro-cosmic acts of world fixing, such as "good deeds", which are nonetheless encouraged by most of the global faiths. The ultimate extension of these attempts is epitomized by the Christian act of Baptism, which designs to cut off the root problem at its source, the soul. But as with all of these "fixes", it fails miserably at correcting what is perceived as the root spiritual cause of the issue, man's very nature, and leaves the world with its myriad problems and terrors intact. In my opinion, man's soul is eternally un-alterable, and is designed to be that way by forces that are inborn and incomprehensible to most earthlings. So, sorry Christians. Nice try.

In the end the solution usually manifests far more convoluted historical outlook combining complex metaphysical thinking and wrangling dogma to promote the believers reliance on a global supernatural incursion set in the future which will fix the world in "overhaul fashion". It is intended as a reshaping of life rather than a means to address our own failings as a species, and usually singles out those who are already enlightened (the minority, but everyone is encouraged to feel they are a part of this tiny group) from the rest (the majority - 99.9999999999% of us). This eschatological leaning has for the most part been the causal factor that has led the great religions to devise the concept of "end times', as well as all messiahs, the Mahdi, the wheel of life, etc. This psychology has also shifted form and jumped the religious wall into the political sphere. Globalism, Nationalist Fascism, and Communism likewise promise that when all of us are one, or are all Communists, in the same way that Muslims believe that when all of us are Muslim, or Christians believe when all of us are Christian, then the world will be "perfect". 

But, deep down we all know that is not true. The day we all become Muslim, or Christian, or Communist, or when we have one over-arching system holding us together, that is the day that we turn to one another and the real killing starts. 

I suggest the opposite. The world is not broken. It is what is, and does not require "fixing". No system or belief will fix it, and so you might as well embrace being here while you are. The Messiah is not coming, ever, and whether that Messiah is a Jewish one, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Christian, or even Shiva dancing us into destruction, whatever humans will remain will be the same as we have always been and always will be. 

Am I casting off all religion? Far from it. There are many positive cultural aspects, and positive acts that almost all religions propose for their followers, and that make life just a little better than without it. Especially if you are one of those people who feel you need that sort of meaning in your life.

So, the world is not broken. You may continue attending positive change. But don't hope for any grand re-shaping - it will never happen. Stop wasting your time and energy on a fantasy. Eat a good meal, create something artistic, spend times with friends and family. Do something actual.

Mega-Post Part Three: The Related, Related Embed 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Here's a track that I created a couple of weeks ago which may be among the "catchiest" in this series of BandCamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic / Industrial pieces thus far. This particular piece is entitled "Bipedal Locomotion", and features a jaunty rhythm, tape and voice samples, and a variety of keyboard sounds, which are designed to capture the "feel" of walking, or perhaps more specifically, the early walking of our ancient ancestors. The two mixes embedded here are not very dissimilar, but ostensibly one is a mono mix-down and the other is stereophonic. Either one will work, but both are best enjoyed to on headphones, as the tracks are dispersed in a more general surround-sound layout.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ceramic Art of the Day

Sticking with the overview of clay constructions here on the Gauntlet. Below is a triptych of glazed drinking mugs I made around the year 2002. The cups themselves are of no importance in style, but the designs I painted onto them may be of some note, albeit in a niche historical way. In line with my interest in languages, particularly ancient, endangered, or extinct ones, each of these three mugs features text written in a language in the previously mentioned categories.

From left to right we have; an ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic cartouche, specifying myself as "the master of the house" with an eye of Horus hidden inside at the bottom of the cup. I always liked reaching the bottom of a bowl or cup of soup as a kid and finding the hidden animals I knew were waiting for me there, so I guess that kind of carried over here. The center piece is a Paleo-Hebrew rhetorical acronym transliterated into modern Hebrew cursive, which reads "Me Chamokah Av Ha-Rachamin", or in English, "Who is like thee father of mercy?". This verse was contracted in ancient times during the Jewish revolt against the Greek Seleucid dynasty of Syria (Hanukkah) to form the appellation "Maccabee", the name for the resistance fighters who eventually became the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea. The cup to the far right features an excerpt from an extinct Pre-Latin Italian language of central Italy known as Osco-Umbrian. I copied the untranslated snippet of text from a piece of ancient pottery I noted in a museum in either Rome or Bologna. Perhaps not as interesting as more mysterious Pre-Latin languages such as Etruscan or Venetic, Oscan is fun (for me) mostly because it shares so many similarities with Latin and ancient Greek, without foreshadowing Latin's later dominance, such as the Faliscan dialect did.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Religious Literalism and Science

This post should be best described as a "just in time for the holidays" entry on the Gauntlet.

Driving cross-country the other day I spied a rather huge billboard situated on the roadside in an area that I would describe as "middle America", or perhaps more correctly, as "rural". The sign was a paid advertisement that simply stated a quote from the opening verse of the Bible "And God created...". To the left of the quote was the famous silhouette of man's evolution from ape to modern man with a "X" crossing it out. Clearly the message was one of an uncompromising anti-evolutionist and pro-creationist stance with the contact info of the church that sponsored the ad at the bottom. Obviously, the sponsoring organization must feel that this is a message they must urgently relate to the world, and/or they are fishing to aggrandize the size of their movement with like minded individuals.

I must say that I was taken aback upon noting the giant placard, and reactionary judgements flew through the science-minded quadrants of my mind. Now I know that there are many, let's call them "literalists" out there, who are members of many faiths, that think they are holding true to the Bible, The Torah, the Koran, what have you, by holding onto a false reading of the text, and they fail to see how neither science nor religion have an absolute hold over this issue, which to my mind is so easy to synchronize that I am amazed that these people, who read their holy books on a daily basis, somehow haven't stumbled upon the solution to the quandary.

And so, for anyone who is interested, here is a step-by-step guide of how Creationism and the Theory of Evolution are actually the same thing, and can work seamlessly together, allowing the literalist to come to terms with science. It's really quite simple, so, here it goes...

Step One: Chapter One of the Book of Genesis clearly states that God created the heavens (i.e. the universe) and the earth (yes, our planet) and stars ("Let there be light"). If the universe was "desolate" prior to God initiating this creative act, why is this so hard to synchronize with a causal event such as the "Big Bang". Isn't the Big Bang a sudden flash of light that ushered life into a lifeless universe. Case closed - God caused the Big Bang and the events in Genesis One followed.

Step Two: Further into the chapter the geological changes that the surface of the Earth underwent are chronicled. This is only a problem if you believe that the six days of creation are literally six twenty-four hour days. As a religious person I challenge you to try and dictate to God, who exists out of linear time and space, just how long a day is/was to him/her. In fact the six days leading up to the creation of Adam in Genesis 1:27 can be easily thought of as 2.3 Billion years each with the Earth "evolving" over the last two days.

Step Three: If any human can in one lifetime create a new breed of dog, or one can chose to alter the appearance and race of one's offspring by the choice of a procreative partner, than by extension, if God created the first lifeforms, and guided them into actualization, does it not follow that these beings would adapt to their environments and change accordingly over time. If I can make a dog in a few years, image what nature does selectively to a breed over millions of years.

Step Four: Your stickiest wicket. Man. Genesis 1:27 does not say that God created all men in that verse. He is credited for creating a single man, Adam, and later a single woman, Eve, who go on to have offspring who, yes, intermarry, with humans that God did not create. Has it ever occurred as funny to you when after Cain kills his brother, and God marks him as a murderer, that he is is afraid that the people in the east of Eden will hate him. What people? Apparently there are plenty. In fact, I would argue that there were millions of Homo Sapiens on Earth at the time of Adam's creation. Does this make Adam sound like a bit of Yahway's science project, oh yes, it does, and maybe he was. Mind you according to Jewish sources, before Eve was separated from Adam, he was an asexual being with eight limbs. From that description I would say "not quite human". Irregardless, the descendants of Adam then intermixed other local Mesopotamian peoples and contributed to the bloodlines that survived Noah's flood. These were the the Semites, the Hamites and the Aryans, and this mixing was very localized mind you. If you look at the hierarchy of tribes listed in Genesis 10, it becomes very clear how local this mixing was. Most Sub-Saharan African, Far Asian and the Peoples of the Americas had almost no contact with the special "Adam" gene, at least not until the 17th century or so. Regardless, we are all human.

So there you have it. If a Creationist can break free of their literalness and accept that the "days" in the bible are not 24 hour days, and that God created lifeforms that changed through adaptation and breeding, just like you have through the course of your life, this is an issue easily put to bed.

You're welcome.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sculpture Garden Part Three

Sure, there might be oodles to say about Syria today, but this is simply another in the ongoing series of ceramic uploads. As stated, these clay-based displays will at some point be superseded by a ramping up of illustrations, Nevekari Enterprises' film and series pre-production art, and video uploads, but this triptych captures a good range of older and newer pieces sculpted in more or less the same style. From left to right, they are: a terracotta Greek-Style drama mask made approximately five years ago, a bronze-finished life-size medieval-style head created in 1982, and used as part of my successful entrance audition to the Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music and Art, and an unfinished white "Gargoyle Head" that frankly has suffered some damage (the darting tongue and part of one of the fangs have been lost) since its sculpting about ten years ago.