25 October 2012

Some Words from Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick is one of the most influential names in science fiction. If you're unfamiliar with his name, it is unlikely that you are unfamiliar with his work. His stories have been made into major motion pictures like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Screamers, Paycheck, and Minority Report.

I highly recommend that you read him. There are several collections available in print, and since many of his stories are very short, they are ideal for those times you're sitting on a bus or waiting in a doctor's office.

22 October 2012

Demystifying the Mystical - Language and The Master Who Makes the Grass Green

One of my favorite authors, the polymath Robert Anton Wilson, used to discuss the koan: Who is the master who makes the grass green?

When I asked a friend this question, his logical response was chlorophyll. As we all have learned in elementary biology studies, chlorophyll is the essential element of photosynthesis by which plants absorb sunlight and convert the energy into a usable form. Without chlorophyll, grass would not appear green to us, so my friend's answer makes perfect sense. It is scientifically accurate. It is totally correct…and completely untrue.

01 October 2012

Demystifying the Mystical - Overcoming Stereotypes and Misconceptions

Jacob's Ladder - William Blake
I don’t know exactly where to start – it would make sense to start with the very beginning of mysticism, but the truth is that no one can really put a date to it. It might make sense to begin with a definition, but even a definition is somewhat difficult because it is a broader term than one might think. I can turn my attention to what mysticism does, and even that might be somewhat difficult to describe in objective, pragmatic terms because of a befuddling plethora of traditions. Of course one of my main goals is to clear away all of the mystical, magical language and funny words associated with the subject so that anyone can understand what it’s all about. Greater minds than mine have attempted such introductions with the same goals – and have done a much better job than what I’m doing now – but both time and the volume of new information have put us back in the same situation as when these greater minds were at work. That is – gross misunderstanding and prejudgments made from ignorance prevent many people from taking a serious look at mysticism.

Be that as it may, ignorance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably the very best place to begin. If that sounds strange to you, visit my previous post on ignorance to find my explanation. Otherwise, read on for an introductory glance at:
  • The roots of the word “mysticism”
  • The fundamental branches of mysticism
  • What mysticism is
  • What mysticism is not