With his first book recently published, essayist, poet, and artist Brian George reflects on the bizarre and often humorous ways that great works of the past were received by their contemporary critics, and how changes in the cultural landscape over the last few centuries—but especially since his coming of age in the Boston poetry and punk scenes of the late 1970s—have profoundly altered the ways we read, receive, and understand new works.
The Self, As Ensemble, The Prose, Like Jazz—On Albert Murray’s South to a Very Old Place
A paean to Albert Murray and his hybrid memoir/literary criticism masterpiece of 1971, South to a Very Old Place.
Being Touched by the Beyond
From my very childhood, I’ve always been curious, interested, in a quest to find out what actually life is. What, in fact, is death? Where do we humans come from, and where do we go after death? Or, why we humans are on earth at all, and then die?
Tempo – A Technology to Slow Time
What if you could slow down time? In a distant, not-so-far-off future, humanity has gained the power to alter the localized flow of time at will, enabling new ways of experiencing the universe and operating in extreme environments. Here is an account of the scientific speculation that went into the concept of tempo control in my upcoming novel Plenum: The First Book of Deo.
Projecting human capability and knowledge into the far future, provided we learn to manage our own planet, it seems possible that humans might learn how to modify stars in ways suited to their future needs. Why might one modify stars? I can think of a …
The Father Spirit
I walk casually through the kitchen, preparing a cup of tea, as my gaze is drawn to two photographs placed side by side. I am struck by the resemblance between my young son and deceased father…
Universal Eggs Benedict
Ingredients: 2 eggs (poached), hollandaise sauce (egg yolk, butter, lemons), English muffin, bacon slices, and something extra to enlarge the whole. Eggs, when you really think about them, are bizarro. Little pockets of pre-embryonic fluid. If you were …
Consciously Evolving Language, with Lisa Maroski
Starts Sept 8: an exploration of how we can make changes to the structure of our language that reflect and catalyze a planetary paradigm shift towards always-already connectedness…
The Ecstasy of a Book Club
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” —JC There is the possibility of ecstasy in a book club—this I aver. It’s a religious thing—or should be—the intercourse among “people of the book” (or rather, “ …
Transparency is the Only Shield against Disaster (Parts 6–7)
Has the Shadow become more user-friendly? No. Whether now or 2,000 or 10,000 years ago, the shared identity of the Shadow and the Guide has always presented itself in the form of an ultimatum, which we must torture our minds and bodies to interpret.
Transparency is the Only Shield against Disaster (Parts 3–5)
That our world has already ended, of this we may be certain. But is it the end of “a world” or of “the world”? It is reassuring that the prophets of world destruction have proven almost 100% wrong—and yet…
Transparency is the Only Shield against Disaster (Parts 1–2)
So, what does it mean for the Apocalypse to take place in the present moment, and, somewhat paradoxically, to be always just about to occur?
The Goddess as Active Listener (Parts 5–10)
When I remember Sue Castigliano, I think of almost naked dancers vaulting above the gold-tipped horns of Cretan bulls, to the sound of waves breaking in the distance. Wandering with the ghosts of an exploded island empire, I enter the doors of a library that I first thought was an octopus. When I think of her, I see wheat bound in sheaves…
The Goddess as Active Listener (Part 4)
“It is said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Luckily, the teacher may also choose to appear when the student is not at all ready. She drags him, if need be kicking and screaming, into a new, more direct, but also more paradoxical relationship with the self…”
The Goddess as Active Listener (Parts 1-3)
Are we meant to have certain experiences, or to connect with certain people rather than with others? The more romantic among us are used to thinking that there may be one true soul-mate for each person. It is less common to imagine that friends or teachers may also play their parts in this apparent drama of predestination.
On the World-Disclosing Rifts of Cinema: J. F. Martel and Christopher Yates in Dialogue
What can films tell us about reality? In a deep-ranging dialogue drawing on the philosophical ideas of Martin Heidegger and looking at works by Terrence Malick, Wim Wenders, Stanley Kubrick, and other celebrated auteurs, two contemporary aesthetic thinkers reflect on the ways in which cinema brings us into a deeper, stranger relationship with the world, and our being in it.
Why the Human Singularity is Nearer
Global transparency offers an unspoken invitation for us all to forge a new paradigm of personal integrity. The Internet, our own collective mirror, stands as a challenge for us to face ourselves for the first time fully in all our humanness.
Hospice In a Fascist Time
I am a spiritual care provider in a hospice setting, and just as everything in life seems to be upended these days, given new urgency compelled by nausea, so is my thinking and feeling about my role…
The Case Against Liberation: Mystic Pessimism
It is time to face facts. Capitalism is the root of all our problems, and yet the path out of capital is more uncertain than it has ever been. The dream of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, of a globalized online consciousness unifying the mental sphere into a higher state of being, has been rendered excessively naive….
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseInvolving us, evolving us (Epilogue)
We are powerful enough to burst through the artificial narrative-bubble of projections of power-over, and step together into the brisk air of the real world in all its complexity—painful, wonderful, multiplicitous. If, in that fine first inhalation of fresh air, we take in a deep moment of peace, we may hear the aspirations of all living things…
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseReclaiming power and refining purpose (Redemption)
We need mass subversion—simple non-cooperation and defection to favorable alternatives. This can look like “opting in” to visions of humanity that you do prefer, the futures you would like to inhabit, by investing your diverse capital in alternative ways.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseThat which corrupts, that which creates (Power)
Perhaps there is a common ground for humankind that runs deeper than the machinations of a “power-over” mythology. Let us envision a more optimal design that meets more needs through respecting life’s innate capacity for intelligence and beauty.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseWanting to believe (Seduction)
Our human desires and emotions are oftentimes the “hooks” that memes use to attach to us. Once a meme has colonized us, it can profoundly guide our actions in the world. Therefore, we need to develop discernment to parse the beneficial memes from the malicious ones.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseYou have the power I give you (Talisman)
The power Trump commands is given by us—our attention, our deference, our minds, hearts, lives. In little ways, we can retake control of how and to what purposes we deploy our minds and spirits.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseMemetic engineering and social control (Myth)
The common myths and meaning on which the U.S. was founded are breaking down, strained by the gnashing confrontation of incompatible, co-occurring narratives. This is long overdue and much needed. Yet powerful interests are trying to seize this shaky moment by trumpeting archaic, toxic narratives that reinforce and advance oppressive agendas in society.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseI say a little prayer for you (Aspiration)
“May Donald Trump enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.” I was immediately struck by the potency of this aspiration. If Trump were to know unconditional love and happiness, he would be less harmful and less hungry for power over others.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseCan’t retreat no more (Prologue)
To continue a policy of escape, retreat and regression is mutually assured destruction. We need to face, and learn from, our difficulties.
Transmuting the TrumpocalypseIntroduction to Transmuting the Trumpocalypse
This essay series aims to penetrate to the roots of power and the shaping of material conditions through memes and through minds. I also discuss what is happening to us on individual and collective psychological levels, as we are forced to confront and grapple with certain popular myths about ourselves, our nation, and our global civilization.
The Mythopoetic Mind of PlatoThe Mythopoetic Mind of Plato
We are always living in a story, always present in a myth. The key is to possess mindfulness towards worldviews and their presence in the awakened self—they are analytical frameworks of the mind that first allow the universe to be experienced in a specific manner and then formulated into pure, specific “understandings” about the nature of that universe.
The Mythopoetic Mind of PlatoThe Mythopoetic Mind of Plato: The Kingdom-Sage’s Muthos in Timaeus, The Republic, and The Symposium (Parts IX & X)
This metanarrative that has been constructed to explore a possible Platonic worldview is enough of the whole to make a holographic, fractal revival of Plato himself inside his mythopoetic mind.