Jeffrey Epstein, Edge Foundation, MIT Media Lab, TED Talks, & the Biology Wizards Rewriting Global Culture

The following is a collection of research data which was compiled while I was finishing up Maps of Hell, my “dark Hollywood” opus. I had already included Epstein, of course, but I realized with the final chapters that I had not quite mapped Hell fully enough to be  pointing the way to the exit. One of the areas it turned out needed more cartography was the intersection between Marvel comics, scientainment, & Jeffrey Epstein, who himself embodies the improbable intersection between the seedy underworld of sex trafficking, espionage & shadow politics, Silicon Valley IT industries, transhumanism and eugenics.  What follows then is the fruit of research done ~ not by me but by my relentlessly dirt-digging better half ~ that helped me to finish the book, with some minimal commentary from myself. I share this to give some idea of the scope of Epstein’s involvement with the science community and, by extension, of the latter’s complicity with the criminal underworld to which Epstein belonged. 

 

Jeffrey’s Law

From “Read Jeffrey Epstein’s Galaxy-Brain Philosophical Advice,” by Matt Stieb, New York Magazine, July 12, 2019:

According to the new indictment charging Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking, in 2004, the financier “enticed and recruited multiple minor victims . . . to engage in sex acts” at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, paying them “hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter.” Also in 2004, Epstein was spewing pseudo-intellectual online advice in a forum run by the Edge Foundation, a salon of sorts where editor and literary agent John Brockman invited members of the “digerati” to render “visible the deeper meanings of our lives.”

With its high-minded attitude, excess of platitudes, and a heavily male list of contributors, Edge’s “annual question” series was a sort of hybrid between a TED Talk and the dorm-room musings of the intellectual dark web. Occurring annually from 1998 to 2018, impressive thinkers like Brian Eno, Nick Bostrom, Nicholas Carr, and Carl Zimmer would answer big-picture questions like “What is your dangerous idea?” and “What have you changed your mind about?” According to its criterion for choosing contributors, Edge looked “for people whose creative work has expanded our notion of who and what we are. A few are bestselling authors or are famous in the mass culture. Most are not.”

One was Jeffrey Epstein. Along with contributors like Whole Earth Catalogue founder Stewart Brand and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, “financier and science philanthropist” Epstein got in on the 2004 query—“What’s your law?”—answering with a short, venture-capitalist koan.

Epstein’s First Law

Know when you are winning.

Epstein’s Second Law

The key question is not what can I gain but what do I have to lose.

Scientainment Parties

From “The ‘Girls’ Were Always Around: What it was like to be a scientist in Jeffrey Epstein’s circle,” by Daniel Engber, Slate, Aug 02, 2019:

It’s summer 2010, and Jeffrey Epstein has just returned to New York City after serving out an 18-month sentence in Palm Beach, Florida, including parole, for soliciting prostitution from a minor. He’s hosting dinner at his townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To his left is John Brockman, the literary superagent who seems to represent every scientist who’s ever written a bestselling book (Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Daniel Kahneman, and so forth). Brockman has brought along a client—a young professor whose line of research interests Epstein. Across the table, and to Epstein’s right, is an aspiring fashion model and her companion.

There’s no cross-talk or conversation between these pairs of guests; it’s more like Epstein has convened two separate interactions for his private entertainment, and these just happen to be coinciding both in time and space. “He would alternate between us,” recalled the professor, who asked that his name not be included in this story. “Sometimes he’d turn to his left and ask some science-y questions. Then he’d turn to his right and ask the model to show him her portfolio.” At one point, a young female staffer stepped into the room to give Epstein a massage, rubbing his neck as he talked and listened. . . .

The scientists were, in their own way, members of Epstein’s entourage. “Beautiful women are only a part of it,” wrote the journalist Landon Thomas Jr. in a 2002 profile of Epstein for New York. “Because here’s the thing about Epstein: As some collect butterflies, he collects beautiful minds.” That phrase comes up in other places, too: “Jeffrey’s [hobby] was scientists.” . . . Lawrence Krauss, Marvin Minsky, and Roger Schank; also Gregory Benford, George Church, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Jay Gould, David Gross, Stephen Hawking, Danny Hillis, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Stephen Kosslyn, Jaron Lanier, Seth Lloyd, Martin Nowak, Oliver Sacks, Lee Smolin, Robert Trivers, Frank Wilczek, and more.

Though not strictly science-industry-related, I would feel remiss if I left Bill Clinton entirely out of the mix. This is from “Jeffrey Epstein, accused of sexually abusing teenage girls, surrounded himself with influential network of defenders,” by Marc Fisher July 9, 2019:

Clinton [spent] a month with Epstein on a trip to Africa to boost AIDS awareness . . . Epstein was a founding donor to the Clinton Global Initiative. His name does not appear in public documents detailing the initiative’s leadership. . . . Clinton’s representatives issued a statement saying that he “knows nothing about the terrible crimes” to which Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida . . . Clinton took “a total of four trips” on Epstein’s plane, with Secret Service agents accompanying the former president each time. Some of those trips included multiple stops.

Big Money Big Science

More from “Read Jeffrey Epstein’s Galaxy-Brain Philosophical Advice:

According to BuzzFeed News, gifts from Epstein in 2016 and 2017 included a $225,000 donation to the Melanoma Research Alliance; $150,000 to MIT; $50,000 to the University of Arizona Foundation; $25,000 to NautilusThink; $20,000 to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation; and $10,000 to the Icahn School of Medicine. There are also more personal examples: One of Epstein’s foundations reportedly made a $250,000 donation to Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss’s Origins Project after its founding in 2010. Krauss and Epstein’s relationship goes back to at least 2006, when he helped organize a conference in the Virgin Islands on understanding gravity, which was funded by Epstein. In 2014, Krauss and Pinker were pictured with Epstein at a dinner party. In 2011, Krauss, who recently retired from ASU after allegations of sexual misconduct, defended their relationship: “I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”

Before diving deeper into the island antics of the IT intelligentsia, let’s go back in time a bit, to before Epstein was in the news for all the wrong reasons. This is from “People in the News: Jeffrey E. Epstein,” by Jaquelyn M. Scharnick, for [Harvard student newspaper] Crimson, June 5, 2003:

Elusive financier Jeffrey E. Epstein donated $30 million this year to Harvard [apparently they only received a fraction of this amount] for the founding of a mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics program.

While the mathematics teacher turned magnate remained unknown to most people until he flew President Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker to Africa to explore the problems of AIDS and economic development facing the region, Epstein has been a familiar face to many at Harvard for years.

Networking with the University’s leading intellectuals, Epstein has spurred research through both discussions with and dollars contributed to various faculty members.

Lindsley Professor of Psychology Stephen M. Kosslyn, former Dean of the Faculty Henry A. Rosovsky and Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz are among Epstein’s bevy of eminent friends that includes princes, presidents and Nobel Prize winners.

Epstein is also well acquainted with University President Lawrence H. Summers [chief economist for the World Bank etc.]. The two serve together on the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, two elite international relations organizations.

Epstein’s collection of high-profile friends also includes newly-recruited professor Martin A. Nowak, who will run Harvard’s mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics program.

Like Kosslyn, Rosovsky and Dershowitz, Nowak praises Epstein’s numerous relationships within the scientific community.

“I am amazed by the connections he has in the scientific world,” Nowak says. “He knows an amazing number of scientists. He knows everyone you can imagine.”

Epstein’s relationships within the academy are remarkable since the tycoon, who has amassed his fortune by managing the wealth of billionaires from his private Caribbean island, does not hold a bachelor’s degree. Yet, friends and beneficiaries say they do not see Epstein merely as a man with deep pockets, but as an intellectual equal. Dershowitz says Epstein is “brilliant” and Kosslyn calls Epstein “one of the brightest people I’ve ever known.” Epstein’s beneficiaries say they are particularly appreciative of the no-strings-attached approach Epstein takes with his donations.

“He is one of the most pleasant philanthropists,” Nowak says. “Unlike many people who support science, he supports science without any conditions. There are not any disadvantages to associating with him.”

Were ever words to be so thoroughly eaten? Epstein’s affiliations with CFR, meanwhile, like all his other ones, now raise questions not only as to where the money was coming from, but where it was going. This is from “Jeffrey Epstein’s $350K in donations to Council on Foreign Relations to go to fight trafficking,” by Josh Lederman, NBC, Nov. 26, 2019:

A prestigious foreign affairs think tank will direct $350,000 to fight human trafficking after acknowledging it received that amount in donations over the years from accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

 

Edge: Third Culture

“The crowd was sprinkled generously with those who had amassed wealth beyond imagining in a historical eye blink.” ~ Kara Swisher, “Boom Town: At the Growing Billionaires’ Dinner, Tech Stars Move to Grown-Ups’ Table,” Wall Street Journal, Feb 27, 2000

Returning to the Edge. Edge Foundation runs what has been called the “world’s smartest website” and has held annual “billionaires’ dinners” since 1999. It was also financed by Jeffrey Epstein and gave him access to elite circles in science and tech. (Archived Edge page)

This is from “Jeffrey Epstein’s Affiliation With The Edge Foundation,” November 2, 2010:

For many years now, Jeffrey Epstein has been an active and supportive member of a very fascinating group, called Edge Foundation: Third Culture, which was put together by his friend publisher John Brockman. Brockman founded it in 1988 as an intimate, and by-invite only party, of some of the most interesting and cutting minds in the world of thought. Many of the Edge Foundation’s members are friends of Jeffrey Epstein, and he has preferred to support the work of number of Edge members through the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation.

Front-runner for world’s first trillionaire, Jeff Bezos has been associated with Edge since at least 1998, when he attended the “World Domination, Corporate Cubism and Alien Mind Control at Digerati Dinner,” on February 23.

Chronicler of the digerati, John Brockman, handpicked the best of breed at last week’s Monterey TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference to attend his yearly soirée, where technology’s philosopher-kings mused on all things Internet, multimedia and business. Brockman ran around the dimly lit Italian bistro to assure his guests a good time. Calmly bending the waiters into submission Brockman got the wine poured while the attendees mingled for pre-sit-down-dinner catching up. Then about 30 movers and shakers took their seats at the three banquet tables and talked tech ~ and art, literature and the pursuit of friendly gossip.

A few snippets we heard somewhere between the antipasto and the tiramisu:

Jeff Bezos’ promised the next quarter would hold a new jump for Amazon.com to No. 3 on the list of the nation’s biggest booksellers. He did add one SEC-filing-style asterisk, however: that Amazon.com’s revenues depend heavily on the ravenous consumption of Nathan Myhrvold.

(Nathan Paul Myhrvold  was then Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, and is the co-founder of Intellectual Ventures and the principal author of Modernist Cuisine and its successor books. Myhrvold was listed as co-inventor on 17 U.S. patents at Microsoft and is co-inventor on over 900 other U.S. patents issued to his corporation and its affiliates.)

NB: Though the above is a full quote, the original source has gone from the web since it was copy and pasted just a few days ago. I believe this is the link where it was found that no longer works: https://upside.com/static/ted8.html

Word to researchers, take screenshots!

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com; John Brockman, Edge

Edge describes itself as follows:

An indication of Edge’s role in contemporary culture can be measured, in part, by its Google PageRank of “8,” which places it in the same category as The Economist, Financial Times, Le Monde, La Repubblica, ScienceSüddeutsche Zeitung, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Its influence is evident from the attention paid by the global media:

“The world’s smartest website … a salon for the world’s finest minds,” Guardian; “the fabulous Edge symposium,” New York Times;  “A lavish cerebral feast,” Atlantic; “Not just wonderful, but plausible,” Wall St. Journal; “The brightest minds,” Vanity Fair; “Fantastically stimulating,” BBC Radio 4; “Where the age of biology began,” Süddeutsche Zeitung; “Splendidly enlightened,” Independent;  “The world’s best brains,” Times; “Breathtaking in scope,” New Scientist; “Today’s visions of science tomorrow,” New York Times; etc., etc.

Every year since 1999, we have hosted The Edge Annual Dinner (sometimes referred to as “The Billionaires’ Dinner”). Guests have included the leading third culture intellectuals of our time, dining and conversing with the founders of Amazon, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Space X, Skype, and Twitter. It is a remarkable gathering of outstanding minds—the people who are rewriting our global culture. 

In his 2009 talk at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, Freeman Dyson pointed out that we are entering a new Age of Wonder, which is dominated by computational biology.  The leaders of the new Age of Wonder, Dyson noted, include “biology wizards” Kary Mullis, Craig Venter, medical engineer Dean Kamen, and “computer wizards” Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Charles Simonyi, and  John Brockman and Katinka Matson, the cofounders of Edge ~ the nexus of this intellectual activity. 

A new generation of artists, writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet. Most of these artists would be amateurs, but they would be in close touch with science, like the poets of the earlier Age of Wonder. The new Age of Wonder might bring together wealthy entrepreneurs … and a worldwide community of gardeners and farmers and breeders, working together to make the planet beautiful as well as fertile, hospitable to hummingbirds as well as to humans. —Freeman Dyson

Through such gatherings, its online publications, master classes, and seminars [funded by Epstein], Edge, operating under the umbrella of the non-profit  501 (c) (3) Edge Foundation, Inc., promotes interactions between the third culture intellectuals and technology pioneers of the post-industrial, digital age, the “worldwide community of gardeners and farmers and breeders” referred to by Dyson as the leaders of the “Age of Wonder”. . . . The constant shifting of metaphors, the intensity with which we advance our ideas to each other—this is what intellectuals do. 

Also from the Edge site:

Edge encourages people who can take the materials of the culture in the arts, literature, and science and put them together in their own way. We live in a mass-produced culture where many people, even many established cultural arbiters limit themselves to secondhand ideas, thoughts, and opinions. Edge consists of individuals who create their own reality and do not accept an ersatz, appropriated reality.The Edge community consists of people who are out there doing it rather than talking about and analyzing the people who are doing it.

The similarity between this mission statement and Karl Rove’s “reality-based community” is too striking to be coincidental: 

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

~ Attributed to Karl Rove by The New York Times 

 

John Brockman

   

So who is the éminence grise behind the Edge? This is from “How Jeffrey Epstein Bought His Way Into An Exclusive Intellectual Boys Club,” by Peter Aldhous, BuzzFeed, September 26, 2019: 

[O]ne name has stood out as Epstein’s intellectual enabler: John Brockman, the New York literary agent who ran Edge, billed as an elite salon of thinkers “redefining who and what we are.”

Yet Brockman’s connections to Epstein ran deeper than have been previously disclosed. In fact, according to a BuzzFeed News review of Edge’s IRS filings, the nonprofit’s full range of exclusive events would not have been possible without Epstein’s largesse. Indeed, after Epstein made his final recorded donation to Edge in 2015, the group stopped hosting the annual “billionaires’ dinner” that was once the highlight of its calendar.

While he was bankrolling Edge, Epstein attended its events. So, too, in the early 2000s did Sarah Kellen, who is alleged to have helped arrange Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls. In photos that have been recently removed from the Edge website, Kellen was pictured at the 2002 billionaires’ dinner with Brockman, and at a 2003 event with Brockman’s son, Max.

Brockman emerged from the New York art scene of the 1960s, promoting underground cinema and rubbing shoulders with heavyweights like Andy Warhol. Later, he became the leading agent for authors writing books on science and technology, with a reputation for negotiating big advances for his clients. But Brockman’s particular cachet came from his role, played through his nonprofit, Edge, as a self-styled “cultural impresario.”

. . . . Brockman relished his role as facilitator, sending emails with a sign-off quote: “John Brockman is the shadowy figure at the top of the cyberfashion food chain.” . . .

BuzzFeed News analyzed the Edge Foundation’s IRS filings from 2001 to 2017, published at ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer. As reported by one of Brockman’s former clients, Evgeny Morozov, who writes about the political and social implications of technology, foundations associated with Epstein provided $638,000 out of a total of almost $857,000 received by Edge over this period.

 (More details here: https://edgefoundation-jeffreyepstein.weebly.com/ )

From “Jeffrey Epstein’s Intellectual Enabler,” by Evgeny Morozov, New Republic, August 22, 2019:

How did Epstein meet so many luminaries in the worlds of science and technology? It all might trace back to literary agent John Brockman.

Over the course of my research into the history of digital culture, I’ve got to know quite a lot about John [Brockman’s]’s role in shaping the digital—and especially the intellectual—world that we live in. I’ve examined and scanned many of his letters in the archives of famous men (and they are mostly men), such as Marshall McLuhan, Stewart Brand, and Gregory Bateson. He is no mere literary agent; he is a true “organic intellectual” of the digital revolution, shaping trends rather than responding to them. Would the MIT Media Lab, TED Conferences, and Wired have the clout and the intellectual orientation that they have now without the extensive network cultivated by Brockman over decades? I, for one, very much doubt it.

Brockman is already many months too late to what he should have done much earlier: close down the Edge Foundation, publicly repent, retire, and turn Brockman Inc. into yet another banal literary agency. The kind where authors do not have to mingle with billionaires at fancy dinners or worry about walking in on Prince Andrew getting his foot massage.

And from “The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno-elites,” by Evgeny Morozov, The Guardian, 7 Sep 2019:

“Third culture” was a perfect shield for pursuing entrepreneurial activities under the banner of intellectualism. Infinite networking with billionaires but also models and Hollywood stars; instant funding by philanthropists and venture capitalists moving in the same circles; bestselling books tied to soaring speaking fees used as promotional materials for the author’s more substantial commercial activities, often run out of academia.

That someone like Jeffrey Epstein would take advantage of these networks to whitewash his crimes was almost inevitable. In a world where books function as brand extensions and are never actually read, it’s quite easy for a rich and glamorous charlatan of Epstein’s stature to fit in.

One of Brockman’s persistent laments was that all the billionaire techies in his circle barely read any of the books published by his clients. Not surprisingly, his famed literary dinners—held during the Ted Conference, they allowed Epstein (who kept Brockman’s Edge Foundation on a retainer) to mingle with scientists and fellow billionaires—were mostly empty of serious content.

As Brockman himself put it after one such dinner in 2004, “last year we tried ‘The Science Dinner’. Everyone yawned. So this year, it’s back to the money-sex-power thing with ‘The Billionaires’ Dinner’.” Was “the money-sex-power thing” that very potent “new mode of intellectual discourse” promised by the “third culture”? If so, we’d rather pass.

In attendance at one such dinner, in 1999, was a young Japanese American by the name of Joi Ito; also present were Richard Saul Wurman, the original founder of the Ted Conference, Jeff Bezos, and, among all the other billionaires, Jeffrey Epstein. A godson of Timothy Leary and a college drop-out, Ito would eventually lead the Media Lab, interview Obama, write a popular technology book (another Brockman client), and join 20 different boards, including those of such prestigious institutions as the New York Times, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Knight Foundation. 

Joi Ito

One cultural-engineering nexus leads to another. John Brockman is, if anything, even more of a shadowy zeitgeist manufacturer enmeshed in spooky skulduggery than Epstein. Accordingly, I will provide more deep background on Brockman in a follow-up post.

TED Talks, Wired, MIT

The current head of TED, Christopher J. Anderson, is also a member of Edge:

CHRIS ANDERSON is curator of the TED Conferences. The son of British missionaries, he was raised in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan before British ‘public’ school and an Oxford degree in Philosophy. A brief career in journalism, coupled with a passion for technology, inspired his launch in 1985 of Future Publishing, a computer magazine company based in the UK that eventually spread to the US (Imagine Media, Business 2.0), and now employs approximately 1000 people working on more than 100 magazines. In November of 2000, Anderson left Future to concentrate on the work of his non-profit foundation, The Sapling Foundation, dedicated to effect change by leveraging the power of ideas via technology, education, smart design and mass media. The TED Conference (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) is now owned by the foundation.  He is the author of TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.

According to “3 Days In the Future,” by Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times, Feb. 28, 2002, TED helped hatch the M.I.T. Media Lab and Wired magazine. This is from “Jeffrey Epstein and the Power of Networks,” by Adam Rogers, Aug 2019, at Wired:

In some ways, WIRED began at the Media Lab [which received $$800,000 from Epstein]. Nicholas Negroponte, the Lab’s cofounder and its director from 1985 to 2000, was one of WIRED’s first investors. Pitched at TED in 1992, Negroponte gave publisher Louis Rosetto $75,000 for a 10 percent stake and became the back page columnist. Since then, WIRED has featured many of the people I’ve named here and other Brockman clients. Ito is a longtime WIRED contributor.

WIRED’s affiliation with the Media Lab was mostly over long before Epstein’s conviction, though members of the Brockman circle continue to contribute and participate in stories. Chris Anderson, WIRED’s editor in chief from 2001 to 2012, was a client of Brockman’s, and he says he attended one of the agent’s dinners at which Epstein was present, though Anderson says they didn’t actually meet. . . . Whatever overlap remains between WIRED and the Brockman circle is, as far as I can tell, limited. But WIRED, like Epstein, profited from the association.

Epstein with Bill Gates & assorted others

This is from “MIT Media Lab faking OpenAg ‘tech’ and gaining $millions“ by Noam Cohen, NYT; Oct. 25, 2019:

The once-celebrated M.I.T. Media Lab micro-greenhouses were supposed to grow food under virtually any conditions. In the end, they worked under almost none. . . . The project has been accused of misleading sponsors and the public by exaggerating results, while the Media Lab has been under scrutiny for its financial ties to the convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein.

OpenAg received millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships and was promoted in glowing news features, including a “60 Minutes” segment about the Media Lab called “The Future Factory.” M.I.T. shut down the project late last week after a sweeping assessment, according to a statement.

The project was a favorite of Joichi Ito, who was the Media Lab’s director until September, when he resigned under pressure after his efforts to conceal his financial connections to Mr. Epstein were disclosed. . . .

I would be remiss if I didn’t look a bit closer at M.I.T., especially since the M.I.T Press distributes books for Strange Attractor, Mark Pilkington’s independent UK press that published John Cussans’ Undead Uprising and Erik Davis’ High Weirdness. In fact, SA was my first choice for a publisher for both Kubrickon and Maps of Hell, though I have yet to hear back from them to either proposal. The following is taken from Wikipedia, so I suggest following the links to be sure they are good.

Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte expressed support for Ito’s decision to accept the funding from Epstein, and Media Lab co-founder Marvin Minsky was named one of Jeffrey Epstein’s child trafficking clients in an unsealed deposition in Federal court. In September of 2019, it was revealed by emails leaked to Ronan Farrow that Ito and Peter Cohen, the M.I.T. Media Lab’s Director of Development and Strategy at the time, have worked for years to solicit anonymous donations from Epstein. 

On January 10, 2020, the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation issued a report that revealed that Epstein made 10 donations through various entities to MIT totaling $850,000. In 2002 Epstein made a $100,000 donation to MIT to support Minsky’s research. Epstein’s $100,000 donation in May 2013 was intended to be used at Joi Ito’s discretion. His donations in November 2013 and in July and September 2014, totaling $300,000, were made to support research by Joscha Bach (Artificial Consciousness) whom Epstein introduced to Ito in 2013. Media Lab hired Bach in large part because Epstein subsidized the cost. Epstein’s other donations to the Media Lab between 2015 and 2017, totaling $350,000, were made to support Professor Seth Lloyd (client of Brockman) ($225,000), and designer Neri Oxman ($125,000).

From Marvin Minsky’s obituary, January 26 2016:

Marvin Minsky, the artificial intelligence guru who heads up MIT’s Media Lab, puckishly suggested we could solve any population problem by uploading the minds of 10 billion people and running them on a computer that occupies a few cubic meters and costs only a few hundred dollars to run. 

This is Epstein-funded Joscha Bach, on Cognitive Biases & in-group convergences :

“[M]ost humans have a tendency to think in terms of not true and false but in terms of right and wrong. And right and wrong are not absolutes, they depend on your ingroup. . . . If you would try to get it right instead of finding the true opinion it means that you try to find the way to converge with the people you like most; who have the highest status in your ingroup and that’s actually a good thing because it made us very successful as a species. . . . Individuals probably have an evolutionary propensity to prefer convergence—to prefer giving up responsibility for their beliefs to the group mind over trying to think independently. . . .The difficulty is of course that if a group optimizes for convergence then the group might often be more stupid than the smartest individuals in the group. 

As of 2017, the MIT Media Lab has the following research groups:

  • Affective Computing: “advancing wellbeing by using new ways to communicate, understand, and respond to emotion”
  • Biomechatronics: “enhancing human physical capability.”
  • Camera Culture: “making the invisible visible—inside our bodies, around us, and beyond—for health, work, and connection”
  • City Science: “looking beyond smart cities”
  • Civic Media: “creating technology for social change”
  • Conformable Decoders: “converting the patterns of nature and the human body into beneficial signals and energy”
  • Fluid Interfaces: “designing wearable systems for cognitive enhancement”
  • Human Dynamics: “exploring how social networks can influence our lives in business, health, governance, and technology adoption and diffusions”
  • Lifelong Kindergarten: “engaging people in creative learning experiences”
  • Mediated Matter: “designing for, with, and by nature”
  • Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek: “inventing disruptive technologies for nanoelectronic computation and creating new paradigms for life-machine symbiosis”
  • Object-Based Media: “changing storytelling, communication, and everyday life through sensing, understanding, and new interface technologies”
  • Personal Robots: “building socially engaging robots and interactive technologies to help people live healthier lives, connect with others, and learn better”
  • Poetic Justice: “exploring new forms of social justice through art”
  • Responsive Environments: “augmenting and mediating human experience, interaction, and perception with sensor networks”
  • Scalable Cooperation: “reimagining human cooperation in the age of social media and artificial intelligence”
  • Sculpting Evolution: “exploring evolutionary and ecological engineering”
  • Social Machines: “promoting deeper learning and understanding in human networks”
  • Space Enabled: “advancing justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space”
  • Synthetic Neurobiology: “revealing insights into the human condition and repairing brain disorders via novel tools for mapping and fixing brain computations”
  • Tangible Media: “seamlessly coupling the worlds of bits and atoms by giving dynamic physical form to digital information and computation”
  • Viral Communications: “creating scalable technologies that evolve with user inventiveness”

From “The Moral Rot of the MIT Media Lab,” by Justin Peters, Slate, Sept 8, 2019:

You didn’t have to squint to see that the Media Lab’s whiz-bang vibe was made possible—and was constrained—by the corporate partnerships it worked so hard to cultivate. The building functioned less like a university department than an independent R&D firm for industry; its research groups were conduits for corporate and institutional investment. Each year, it hosted a sponsor week, during which research groups were expected to dance for their big-money benefactors, corporations like Exxon Mobil, Citigroup, PepsiCo, GlaxoSmithKline, and Verizon. Many of its scientists were also involved with private companies that had been founded to monetize their discoveries.

A year after I turned in my master’s thesis, the key members of the affective computing group I had studied founded a company that today partners with “1400+ brands,” builds “automotive AI,” and works with market research firms and other companies to “measure consumer emotion responses to digital content, such as ads and TV programming.” This was what the idea factory was incubating?

. . . . But at the Media Lab, the gulf between the corporate benefactors and the institution’s lofty rhetoric of scientific exceptionalism felt especially jarring. Founded in 1985, the Media Lab cultivated an image as a haven for misfit geniuses, for academics who, as the lab’s most recent director put it, “don’t fit in any existing discipline either because they are between—or simply beyond—disciplines.” These thinkers were the latest inheritors of MIT’s “hacker ethic”: iconoclastic engineers who used applied science to try to make the world a better place. Yet the money came from modern-day robber barons, whose main interest in science was how it could be used to sell more cheese.

. . . I made my final emotional break with the Media Lab in 2016, when its now-disgraced former director Joi Ito announced the launch of its inaugural “Disobedience Award,” which sought to celebrate “responsible, ethical disobedience aimed at challenging the norms, rules, or laws that sustain society’s injustices” and which was “made possible through the generosity of Reid Hoffman, Internet entrepreneur, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, and most importantly an individual who cares deeply about righting society’s wrongs.” I realized that the things I had once found so exciting about the Media Lab . . . amounted to a shrewd act of merchandising intended to lure potential donors into cutting ever-larger checks. 

. . . The Media Lab has long been academia’s fanciest glue trap for morally elastic rich peopleIt is a laundromat for capital from some of the world’s least socially conscious entities and individualsand the lab never cared very much about their moral valence as long as their checks cleared.  

 

In the Business of Saving the World 

This is from “Science Philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein, Organizes A Global Doomsday Conference,” by Christina Galbraith (representing the Epstein Foundation):

St. Thomas, USVI – In the wake of the March 2011 Tohuku earthquake and tsunami, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists pushed the symbolic Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight last January, to reflect the worlds lack of progress with battling climate change and nuclear weapons. To address this concern, the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation, which funds science research, is organizing a second world conference called Coping with Future Catastrophes to be held most likely in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The first conference took place last December in the US Virgin Islands and brought together a prestigious panel of scientists to identify the greatest threats to the Earth. Such threats include acts of bioterrorism and high-energy chain-reactions.

The conference included Marvin Minsky, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, Martin Nowak, Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Harvard University and Lawrence Krauss, Professor of Physics at Arizona State University. Krauss, who also serves as co-chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board of sponsors, stated that, The major challenge . . . in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth without further damaging the climate . . . and risking further spread of nuclear weapons . . .

Lawrence Krauss, the theoretical physicist, “isn’t the first celebrity scientist to be accused of sexual misconduct, but he is the first to face consequences.” Several women accused Krauss in 2018 of sexual misconduct, “describing behavior that went unchecked for over a decade.” Krauss was banned from three universities, removed from multiple speaking events, and placed under a formal investigation by Arizona State University, his primary affiliation. He has denied the charges. (See “Lawrence Krauss and the Legacy of Harassment in Science,” The Atlantic, Oct 24, 2018.)

Continuing with the Galbraith article:

We need to identify the greatest threats to our Earth, Minsky summarized, but we also need to prioritize them. The list of prioritized threats, assembled at the first conference will be refined at the second conference, and will host a larger panel of international scientists. We intend to cast a wider global net, Jeffrey Epstein remarked, and cover a wider range of fields including bio and genetic engineering. The goal of this second conference however is to also begin the process of setting up a non-governmental agency to monitor the list and work on preventative measures. So far, there are hundreds of organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency or the World Health Organization, that monitor potential threats but they tend to focus on one field of study, Minsky affirmed. There’s a great need for an international organization to collect data from all of these groups, to prioritize looming disasters and to establish preventative measures.

Fake solutions to real problems, and/or confabulated problems for channeling loads of money into magical fantasy solutions? The line between IT, “cutting edge” science and Elon Musk-ish mass media-pushed, Marvel Cinematic Universe-style fantasies may be all in our imagination. Technology, Entertainment, and Design, remember? The Scientainment Industry, meanwhile, is looking more and more like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. This is from “Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery,” by Landon Thomas Jr., New York Magazine, Oct. 28, 2002:

Danny Hillis, an MIT-educated computer scientist whose company, Thinking Machines, was at the forefront of the supercomputing world in the eighties, and who used to run R&D at Walt Disney Imagineering, thinks Epstein is actually using scientific knowledge to beat the markets. “We talk about currency trading—the euro, the real, the yen,” he says. “He has something a physicist would call physical intuition. He knows when to use the math and when to throw it away. If I had acted upon all the investment advice he has been giving me over the years, I’d be calling you from my Gulfstream right now.”

On the 727 these days, he has been reading a book by E. O. Wilson, the eminent scientist and originator of the field of sociobiology, called Consilience, which makes the case that the boundaries between scientific disciplines are in the process of breaking down. It’s a view Epstein himself holds. He wrote recently to a scientist friend of his: “The behavior of termites, together with ants and bees, is a precursor to trust because they have an extraordinary ability to form relationships and sophisticated social structures based on mutual altruism even though individually they are fundamentally dumb. Money itself is a derivative of trust. If we can figure out how termites come together, then we may be able to better understand the underlying principles of market behavior—and make big money.”   

Any relation to “automotive AI” that “works with market research firms and other companies to “’measure consumer emotion responses to digital content, such as ads and TV programming’”?

 

AI & Transhumanist Research

 

This is from “Jeffrey Epstein backs OpenCog Artificial Intelligence Research,” H+ Magazine, November 14, 2013:

New York science investor,  Jeffrey Epstein, has backed H+ board member Ben Goertzel’s OpenCog Hong Kong based research group. [Epstein gave Goerzel $100 000 in 2001 for AI research.] Based in Hong Kong, OpenCog, an open source AI programming group, under the direction of Ben Goertzel, began their cerebral project with a Hanson Robokind: a toddler like robot. The challenge is to take the basic intelligence of virtual avatars programmed for the screen, and transfer that to a robotic structure. To do this however, a robot must have the capacity to perceive and interpret the outside world.

“The challenge in all of this,” Jeffrey Epstein remarked, “is to create a robotic nervous system that can perceive concepts in its environment.”

OpenCog is well on its way to developing a digital nervous and perceptive system, focusing currently on basic language, sound, touch recognition and pixel imaging sensors based on DeSTIN Machine Vision.

Epstein’s foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, plays an active role in supporting neuroscience research around the world. In addition to establishing the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard, the foundation is one of the largest funders of individual scientists, including Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureate physicists Gerard ‘t Hooft, David Gross and Frank Wilczek. Epstein is dedicated to investing in science research and education throughout the world.

Goertzel is the creator of Sophia the Robot, which (who?) was made a citizen of Saudi Arabia in Oct 2017 (the month and year of #MeeToo). This is from “Sophia the robot’s co-creator says the bot may not be true AI, but it is a work of art,” by James Vincent, The Verge, Nov 10, 2017:

Some noted the grim irony of a robot receiving ‘rights’ in a country where women were only recently allowed to drive. Others said it set a bad precedent for how we might treat robots in future. (AI ethicist Joanna Bryson told The Verge the stunt was “obviously bullshit.”) Some were annoyed about the perception of Sophia itself—a robot that’s also a media star, with magazine cover-shoots, talk show appearances, and even a speech to the UN. Experts in the field sometimes decry Sophia as emblematic of AI hype, and say that although the bot is presented as being a few software updates away from human-level consciousness, it’s more about illusion than intelligence.

From “Scientific breakthroughs in 2015 that could change the world,” by Steve Connor, The Independent, Dec 31, 2015:

Advances in biology and cosmology have dominated the science year. . . Growing a “brain in a dish,” the prospect of creating designer babies, and the possibility of detecting the first signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence—these are just some of the most important scientific news stories of 2015, according to some of the world’s leading scholars celebrating the year’s achievements.

Celebrating in high-style, let’s not forget. . . 

From “Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA,” by James B. Stewart, Matthew Goldstein and , New York Times,

Southern Trust Company, Mr. Epstein’s Virgin Island-incorporated business, disclosed in a local filing that it was engaged in DNA analysis. Calls to Southern Trust, which sponsored a science and math fair for school children in the Virgin Islands in 2014, were not returned. In 2011, a charity established by Mr. Epstein gave $20,000 to the World Transhumanist Association, which now operates under the name Humanity Plus. The group’s website says that its goal is “to deeply influence a new generation of thinkers who dare to envision humanity’s next steps.”

Mr. Epstein’s foundation, which is now defunct, also gave $100,000 to pay the salary of Ben Goertzel, vice chairman of Humanity Plus, according to Mr. Goertzel’s résumé. “I have no desire to talk about Epstein right now,” Mr. Goertzel said in an email to The New York Times. “The stuff I’m reading about him in the papers is pretty disturbing and goes way beyond what I thought his misdoings and kinks were. Yecch.”

 

Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus of law at Harvard, recalled that at a lunch Mr. Epstein hosted in Cambridge, Mass., he steered the conversation toward the question of how humans could be improved genetically. Mr. Dershowitz said he was appalled, given the Nazis’ use of eugenics to justify their genocidal effort to purify the Aryan race.

Luminaries at Mr. Epstein’s St. Thomas conference in 2006 included Mr. Hawking and the Caltech theoretical physicist Kip S. Thorne. One participant at that conference, which was ostensibly on the subject of gravity, recalled that Mr. Epstein wanted to talk about perfecting the human genome. Mr. Epstein said he was fascinated with how certain traits were passed on, and how that could result in superior humans.

 

Leaving the Last Word to Jeffrey

“The great breakthrough will involve a new understanding of time . . . that moving through time is not free, and that consciousness itself will be seen to only be a time sensor, adding to the other sensors of light and space.” —Jeffrey Epstein

Is this how superior humans communicate? No miser of scientistic barkle, Epstein was even more Yoda-like when asked the 2008 Edge question: “What have you changed your mind about? Why?” 

The question presupposes a well defined “you”, and an implied ability that is under “your” control to change your “mind.” The “you” I now believe is distributed amongst others (family friends, in hierarchal structures,) i.e. suicide bombers, believe their sacrifice is for the other parts of their “you”. The question carries with it an intention that I believe is out of one’s control. My mind changed as a result of its interaction with its environment. Why? because it is a part of it.

Glad that’s cleared up then.

35 thoughts on “Jeffrey Epstein, Edge Foundation, MIT Media Lab, TED Talks, & the Biology Wizards Rewriting Global Culture”

  1. Very interesting piece, Jasun.

    I have long been disturbed by the association of certain Edge.org thinkers with Jeffrey Epstein via John Brockman. The vast majority have always struck me as toxic to the spiritual needs of human beings – examples are Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker – but someone like Lee Smolin, who I’m a big fan of, unfortunately contributes articles to this website. I imagine the temptation for the latter has to do with the way edge.org has become a platform or venue for some of the leading thinkers in the sciences to share their ideas with one another. Also, its perfectly possible for someone’s views to be useful to someone else without the former person being at all morally aware of what the latter person intends to do with it.

    As to that last statement of Epstein. Clearly, the man is very educated, and his description here seems very sophisticated. He is right on the mark when he says that humans are the result of their environments; that the mental states we experience are emergent properties of the invisible configurations of thermodynamically-controlled matter (brain-body) moving within us. But how is this any different from the conventional gnostic position which argues exactly the same thing – except by reference to things like the “demiurge”? The demiurge satisfies exactly the same conditions that Epstein ascribes to the environment. Epstein could more or less be saying: “I am what God made me. I can’t change. I am God doing what God wants to do”.

    The issue is the same; it doesn’t matter how much glitter and gloss modern science has contributed to the picture Epstein describes, its still Judaism vs. Gnosticism, with Judaism understood as the unification of semiosis with dynamical structure in determining what humans take to be the real; and Gnosticism basically all the arbitrary metaphysics that derives from the split between the way we know and the way we live. You could say Gnosticism – meaning an arbitrary metaphysics – is as ancient as the human civilization itself. The only thing which corrects this error in understanding is the cultural process of learning i.e. through wisdom traditions. Since this learning has already occurred in ancient human history – indeed, to create humanity this attractor had to have already been discovered – albeit, obscured by the veil of biblical allegory, humans now only need to represent this metaphor in more literal language, so that we aren’t confused about how we work and the nature of our relationship to the real.

    This is what I mean when I say that elitist culture poisons people’s experience of reality. There is a metaphysic which percolates through everything – the languages we use, the things we become attached to – which determines what we regard as the ‘ideal’ way of being in the world. Our ideal is literally the attractor which organizes us. The ideal can be compatible with the real, and so express the “will of God”, or it can be incompatible, and so express the will of some arbitrary, fanciful creation of human meaning-making. Evidently, the vast, vast majority of human cultures have not landed on the real, but instead, are arrested in a ‘strange attractor’ which keeps them fixated on the unreal. This strange attractor can plausibly be maintained by sheer human stupidity; but more often than not, it is maintained by a conscious dedication of human social elites to the unreal.

    More or less, all these people (and people in general) to varying degrees are regulated by an ideal that derives from their structural relations with their environments. Symmetry is a ‘sink’, and so ‘convergence’ refers to the fact that each physical system converges to make itself symmetrical with the embodied representations in body, voice and face that other people enact. Once narratives proceed, higher level convergences flow through.

    Epstein likes to believe, or pretends – being the confused buffoon he is – that social convention is synonymous with reality. If we never grew through time, or weren’t once babies, this would be true; but all babies need the same things, and hence, the attractor human functionality is fundamentally the processes which optimize human wellbeing i.e. sensitivity towards the needs of the other. Social convention is diseased; it is the ‘false gods’ that exists through the will of the true God, in biblical parlance. But since we don’t subscribe to dualism, the ‘true God’ refers to your true, essential, dynamical basis in recognition processes with others. Since this always exists, even as people dissociate this implicit reality, the issue is – vis-à-vis his sexual exploitation of minors – that his refusal to acknowledge what sort of misery and deprivation he puts mind controlled sex-slaves through derives from his sick addiction to sex, and hence, to the motivated reasoning which prevents him from accurately seeing the world through an others eyes.

    I can easily see most of these people having similar addictions to Epstein. Human males in particular are prone to the disease of pedophilia

    Reply
    • Sorry; our bodies are only partially thermodynamically controlled. As the biophysicist and philosopher Mae Wan Ho puts it, our bodily system converges towards an ideal, and given enough time, will spontaneously reach that ideal – which is, as Peirce put it, “perfect symmetry” with our environments.

      Since the idea of perfect symmetry is, as Blake put it, very fearful, the elites are more or less all about preventing that symmetry from emerging.

      Reply
    • I feel the need to qualify the ‘Judaism’ vs. Gnosticism claim, which could come off as weird. Obviously, I am not advocating orthodox Judaism. What I am advocating, or meaning, is that how we name things plays a fundamental role in structuring how we act i.e. what we take to be meaningful. In brain terms, the left hemisphere can organize the right if it fails to properly recognize through logic the structure of the right i.e. in ecological relations. The left, in short, can take over the right and cause the right to misperceive the nature of the real.

      The Bible expresses this idea through the metaphor of Noah and his three sons. Noah (meaning ‘rest’ in Hebrew) is the state of rest which is attained after trauma. The state of rest has three possible attractors: Japheth (meaning ‘beauty’), Ham (meaning ‘heat’) , and Shem (meaning name). These archetypal end points for humans when they are in a state of rest: they can pursue things superficially and be attracted by appearances (Yapheth); they can be obsessed with power and becoming fearsome to others (Ham); or they can be motivated to see things truly – to name things properly (Shem). The Bibles allegories thus describe a psychological genealogy of states – which states which to lead which states. It almost seems as if the concept of natural selection is being described in its genealogies; and indeed, even with Ham, who is said to have raped Noah, we may see something of the secret society network and its strong association with Africa, Egypt, and Canaan. Noah says “cursed be Canaan”, and Canaan of course refers to the Phoenicians, who worshiped and spread both the cult of Melqart (Herakles/Hercules) which strikes one as the proto-capitalist, as well as Baal-Hamon, where child sacrifice was practiced. In other words, Ham (intensity) rapes the rested, both figuratively and literally: those who self-organize from this attractor literally sexualize abuse other human beings; and the whole point is to manipulate, or ‘rape’, the minds of others: to exploit their restedness or need for rest. It should be pointed out that the Phoenicians are considered to be the originators of this cult of the entrepreneurial self; and that both the Greeks and Romans have been heavily influenced by the Phoenicians activity in the Mediterranean – in Sicily, western Italy, Corsica. It may also be why Freemasons celebrate Hiram Abiff, with Hiram being “Hiram of Tyre”, a Phoenician city-state.

      If you don’t read Hebrew, these ‘mysteries’ are closed off to you. The same thing can be claimed for any language that uses myth and metaphor and where the meaning has to do with the play-on-words.

      Reply
      • In other words, I know of no other tradition which emphasizes structure and language the way the Hebrew Bible does. You either find language at the expense of structure (most myths); or structure at the expense of language (as in Taoism or Buddhism). But the complementarity of both is a rare thing. The understanding that language expresses the same sort of ecology as everything else is not the easiest thing to perceive, and my own penchant for it is a mixture of my exposure to Judaism, as well as the more formal study known as biosemiotics. The latter seems to trace itself – even its proponents don’t acknowledge it – to the kabbalah.

        Reply
  2. Thanks for this Jasun, I’m looking forward to your follow up on Brockman. After reading your collection of research here I thought of Robert Maxwell, then went to investigate something and discovered that your article has already been crossposted to r/Maxwells.

    Reply
  3. Hi Jasun,a great piece by yourself and your good lady! None of this surprises me with these genocidal degenerate perverted maniac’s,who are consumed with wealth,power and trying to make the world in there image,what could possibly go wrong with that, (vomit).
    A point i want to make is,i have a deep gut feeling that Epstein is not dead,and there are a couple of reason’s why i believe this, first the official narrative of most things if not all simply cannot be trusted,and the complicit tightly controlled msm pushes so much propaganda/disinformation/psychological Warfare etc against the general public no one really know’s what the hell is real or fake anymore,all thanks to those wonderful folk at the “Tavistock Institute” and many other think tanks too numerous to mention!
    The guy that supposedly carried out the second autopsy on Epstein was none other than Dr Michael Baden,this man was the head of the pathology department enquiry of JFKs assassination…he even has his own tv show for crying out loud,he’s the go to pathologist when you want some serious BS put to the public, just like Dr Thomas noguchi the Medical Examiner of just about every celebrity who died in the 60s and 70s including JFK!
    Anyway Jasun, i have just stumbled upon your website recently and i’m very impressed with your writing’s and work,hopefully i will get through most of it over the next few month’s?
    I’m a fellow Brit from Coventry,but now live in Southern Ireland. Take care,Mike.

    Reply
    • You know, some of the people most vocal about the existence of ritual abuse are a part of the Tavistock clinic.

      My gut reaction is, he’s dead. What is there to gain by his living? The only arguable detail, then, is whether he killed himself or whether he was killed, and either situation is plausible, though I’d give a slight advantage to the former, given that death and believing in death, or being dead already while still alive i.e. not caring or thinking about others and holding to that position as a matter of principle, rules everything about the way these sorts of people operate.

      Epstein, then, is where we will end up: with our selves. The trouble for him is that the self is an emergent property of socializing; and that means he is with all the people who etched themselves into him, as well as the others (alive and dead) whom he himself etched his being into. Depending on the accuracy of your living, this is either heaven or hell.

      Life is hard.

      Reply
      • The wag Voltaire once responded to the statement “Life is hard,” with “Compared to what?” Once you get past the initial amusement, it may dawn that the question need not be only a rhetorical bon mot, and that the answer is (something like) “compared to what it could be.” Related perhaps would be the question, “For who or what is life ‘hard’?”

        There seems to be no better guarantee of human misery than seeking the easy life.

        Reply
        • It would be nice to grow into a world that taught us lovingly the importance of disciplining ourselves. But alas, in this world, you either discover it through suffering or you discover it when its too late.

          In the philosophy of the kabbalah, there’s a beautifully enchanting idea for this called “Tzimtzum”: God ‘restricted’ his infinite in order to create a world, so too, then, human beings must constrict their own selves in order to ‘make room for others’ [within yourself].

          It also reminds me of the psychoanalyst Donnel B. Sterns book ‘The Infinite of the Unsaid’, in which there is a potentially infinite number of ways we can represent ourselves or a situation, but which speech requires us to constrain into a particular, finite point.

          “Easy” can also be interpreted in a purely relational sense. Relative to what? Hard and Easy are emergent from physics, so, when I eat a big meal before bed, it is ‘hard on my stomach’ because a human beings metabolism necessarily slows down at nighttime, meaning it takes more work to break down the food. People have a crappy sleep because of that; and sometimes it leads to a cold – because the body saps too much energy for digestion, leaving the immune defenseless against an invader.

          This is what CS Peirce was implying in his very profound metaphysical musings on what a future of “perfect satisfaction” would be like. He believed deeply in logic, and thought that perfect symmetry was perfect semiotic representation of the real – but this first entail that truth be valued, which he noted that the powers that be have nothing but contempt for: “The words justice and truth, amid a world that habitually neglects these things and utterly derides the words, are nevertheless among the very greatest powers the world contains. They create defenders and animate them with their strength. This is not rhetoric or metaphor: it is a great and solid fact of which it behooves a logician to take account.” – Charles Sanders Peirce, The Logic of Signs, in Essential Readings in Biosemiotics, pg. 138, Springer, 2010; In Peirces marvelous mind, this symmetry would lead to a more and more relaxed – or satisfying – experience of being-in-the-world-with-others.

          Peirce was hated by the administration at Harvard, and anywhere else where he tried to get a teaching job; and yet he impressed intellectuals like Oliver Wendall Holmes, and especially William James, who supported him emotionally and financially until the day he died.

          I cannot justice to this mans writings. I don’t think its an exaggeration to say that he is the most impressive thinker I have ever read. He deserves the reputation he has for being Americas ‘greatest philosophers’. I would go so far as to say that he may be the greatest philosopher in human history. I cannot think of anyone else who was as original and trailblazing in human thinking as he – and he achieved all of it, it seems, by refusing to allow himself to be lulled by a system that rewarded mediocrity.

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      • Hi Till, i agree with you on the heaven or hell,and that life is hard,bloody hard,i had to retire from work in 1990 due to chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS) and live on benefits since then, and i can tell you living in Ireland (Carlingford) is not cheap!
        As for Epstein,yes he could well be dead,i can’t prove he’s alive and you can’t prove he’s dead either. Let’s face it, deep state or whatever you want to call them? Are always pulling pys-ops on the public,and they take great pleasure in doing so, i could give you example after example of the msm mocking us and being gate keepers..Check out the Parsons green London underground bomb attack on 15th Sep 2017. If you are familiar with Aleister Crowley,L Ron Hubbard,Jack Parsons,his wife Marjorie Cameron and Samuel Liddell Mathers who were all members of the OTO/Golden dawn, you will get the joke,If you do a little digging on the event,and the people involved in it. This was a full on operation by MI5 as most of these events are! It’s all about keeping us in a constant state of fear so they can bring more draconian laws on us!
        Do you know what the names of the doctors who treated the injured were at the gay Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando June 12th 2016? Dr Lube and Dr Cheetham,and Dr Lube treated a Mr Angel Colon one of the injured, so Lube treats colon…..Take care! Mike.

        Reply
        • Hey Mike.

          I looked up your claim, and surprisingly enough, a Dr. Matthew Lube is a real Orlando area general surgeon, and in Spanish, colon means “dove” – a fairly popular last name especially amongst Puerto Ricans. Also, I think you’re referring to a New York Times article where all three of these names appear? If so, Dr. Lube isn’t described as treating Mr. Colon. They simply appear in the same article but without having any relationship between them.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/15/health/orlando-shooting-medical-center.html

          Occamz razor asks us not to make unnecessary assumptions. If Florida has a lot of Puerto Ricans, and Dr. Lube is a real person who works in the Orlando area, and the two are not described as having anything to do with one another, and yes, this event is related to gayness, and lube and colons are associated with homosexuality, I still think this should be chalked up as a coincidence. Dr. Lube is a real surgeon with articles in reputable medical journals that predate the nightclub shooting; and Colon, as said, is a very well known Spanish last name.

          https://www.orlandohealth.com/physician-finder/matthew-w-lube-md

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colón_(surname)

          This isn’t to deny that false flag events don’t occur. Its largely accepted that the Spanish American war, WWI (Lusitania), WW2 (Pearl Harbor), Vietnam (gulf of Tonkin), the first Iraq War (baiting Saddam into invading Kuwait), the Kosovo war (Operation Gladio) and the second war in Iraq (lies about WMD’s) all were carried out for the purpose of justifying financial and geopolitical agendas. Conspiracies are the rule – but that doesn’t mean every tragedy or shooting or terrorist event is explicitly connected to secret intelligence operations. Humans can be made to do things simply through the stress and trauma of living.

          In this case, there were real victims – just as the Sandy Hook shooting had real victims.

          Reply
          • Hi Till,thanks for the reply. I take your point on Dr Lube. Apparently Angel Colon one of the injured has become a Christian since the event,which i suppose is something good..Though i will never trust the msm on anything even when they throw some truth our way!
            operation Mockingbird is one of the reasons, and as you rightly said all the false flags over the decades! Take care! Mike.

    • thanks Mike – good to meet you, glad you stopped by; to Till’s point about Tavistock bringing attention to ritual abuse, I am not sure but this may be restricted to Valerie Sinason, who I have approached about speaking on the podcast, but who replied that she no longer feels the atmosphere is congenial for her to speak about it. She also retired from Tavistock. It stands to reason there are decent and intelligent people working there, as at Edge or (even) the CIA, tho that would also require a degree of amorality or naivete to justify.

      Reply
      • Graham Music is another guy who is interested in the subject. I’ve shared some of my views on the four stages of its development (intersubjectivity -> phenomenology -> epistemology -> ontology) and he was very nice, and encouraged me to publish these views in a neuroscientifically sympathetic psychoanalytic journal. He recommended a few but I would rather wait till my project is finished.

        The Bowlby center seems to show a more consistent focus on this matter.

        That said, the general tendency to demonize the Tavistock centre doesn’t jibe with what I’ve read – for instance, from Music in his own writings – with some psychotherapists who work there and whose work I’ve found to be genuinely sincere. Making people aware of themselves or their unconscious, or seeking to promote compassionate awareness of the other and ones own self, is what I find in their writings. At most, they maybe play too much into the LGBTQ+ etc audience, but I even sense that they only do so – like Dan Siegel, for instance – because they feel the dragon (the political correctness police) breathing down their necks.

        You know which institution always seems to be implicated in ritual abuse related topics, both denying its existence, promoting pedophilia, and encouraging cultural anomie? The London School of Economics. I’ve found some of the most perverse thinking comes out of this institution. There are probably way more, spread out across the world – scarcely a country has been spared the wrath of postmodern relativism.

        Reply
        • Both LSE and Tavistock came up a lot in my Occult Yorkshire trails, esp LSE; that was a surprise as they had never really got my attention before. Tavistock of course had, & I was surprised in this case because there never seemed to be much to the claims, research wise, yet it turned out that many, if not all, roads viz a viz social engineering and mind control, did indeed lead back to Tavistock.

          Regarding Charles Sanders Peirce I found an affordable volume of his works, recently published via Amazon, suggesting possibly a renewed interest: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=9781973922995&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-all

          Reply
          • Maybe Tavistock’s like the Kinsey center at Indiana state University (a sketchy place – just like MIT – yet some of the most interesting thought comes out of it), where I believe just a few years ago Sue Carter (a biologist married to the neuroscientist and trauma researcher extraordinaire Stephen Porges) took over, changed its logo and changed its mission from studying sexuality to studying human relationships – with ‘social bonding’ and ‘monogamy’ as the evolutionary norm that human nervous systems are adapted to. It has seriously pissed off people within the religious end of the LGBTQ movement like Dan Savage, who thinks that sexual freedom i.e. promiscuity, is just as healthy a lifeway as monogamy.

            There are many Peirce books. For the optimal value, my recommendation is you should buy Indiana Press’s ‘The Essential Peirce’. It has all his writings (he never wrote a book in his life). The first edition covers the early part of his life, the second edition the later part. There are so many interesting articles to read.

            I haven’t yet got completely through the first edition – but I got through the second one. After finishing it, I had this feeling of, “I want to savor this man’s thinking”, so I have since let myself read countless other books while I take him once in a while and read a chapter. When lackluster thought bores you, and you want something to inspire you, Peirce is the place to turn. Nobody combines strictness in logic with metaphysical and spiritual depth the way he does:

            “Nor must any synechist say, “I am all together myself, and not at all you”. If you embrace synechism, you must abjure this metaphysics of wickedness. In the first place, your neighbors are, in a measure, yourself, and in far greater measure than, without deep studies in psychology, you would believe. Really, the selfhood you like to attribute to yourself is, for the most part, the vulgarest delusion of vanity.” – C.S. Peirce, The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, Vol 2 (1893-1913), pg. 2, Indiana, 1998

            “There is, in the second place, the social consciousness, by which a man’s spirit is embodied in others, and which continues to live and breathe and have its being very much longer than superficial observers think.” – C.S. Peirce, The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, Vol 2 (1893-1913), pg. 3, Indiana, 1998

            https://www.amazon.ca/Essential-Peirce-Selected-Philosophical-1867-1893/dp/0253207215/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/147-3548084-7110658?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0253207215&pd_rd_r=6474971a-1a7c-48b9-9216-21f5ddba1e8c&pd_rd_w=CRXMF&pd_rd_wg=ofKdZ&pf_rd_p=31075106-99ea-4a31-a463-1494a4b8bd5d&pf_rd_r=TP88P3DS8VWSFVFB34YZ&psc=1&refRID=TP88P3DS8VWSFVFB34YZ

            https://www.amazon.ca/Essential-Peirce-Selected-Philosophical-1893-1913/dp/0253211905/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579484916&sr=8-5. You get all his writings from the years 1893-1913

            Another book which covers the whole backstory of Peirce and gives it an interestingly contextual lens is Louis Menands “The Metaphysical Club”, which describes the lifes and relationships of CS Peirce, William James, Oliver Wendall Holmes, and John Dewey.

      • Thanks for the reply Jasun,yes no doubt there are decent people working in these institutions and who would desire to speak out but can’t.
        I sent a reply to Till that you might find interesting? Take care.Mike.

        Reply
  4. Started reading an online pdf of Brockman’s early-‘70s aphoristic text ‘By the Late John Brockman’. It seems to prophesy the “death of Man” as traditionally conceived. Human beings are henceforth to be understood as mere confluences of impersonal processes in a world of pure cybernetic immanence — an eerie foreshadowing of Nick Land’s output.

    Reply
    • This clearly expresses the influence of Marvin Minsky’s thought, though I think Norbert Weiner was concerned about the way people like him thought about cybernetics.

      Cybernetics is a fairly useful heuristic to describe how organisms link up within the more general complexity of the biosphere and the other three geospheres, and ultimately the solar system and galaxy. But there is this school who uses it, or thinks about humans, as mere empty automatons expressing nothing more than the sum of the influences acting upon them. This is where you get a B.F. Skinner type of behaviorism which uses conceptual advances like cybernetics for evil thinks like perception management and motivation creation – a business nowadays within the so-called “surveillance capitalism” which now pries into everything humans do with the goal of directing their attention and intentional states – a wet dream if there ever was one for totalitarians.

      This fixation on imminence also seems to be popular leitmotif with people like this – a position which I’m most acquainted with through Nietzsche. Jiddu Krishnamurti, also – probably dissociating his own early life sexual abuse by CW Leadbeater – once told David Bohm in their joint lecture on the “end of the time”, that he wanted, to quote him “You see, I want to [laughing] abolish time, psychologically. You understand?…To me, that is the enemy.” Continuous imminence and eliminating the psychological experience of time – the “enemy” – go hand in hand, as it is memory and reflection from a temporal vantage point which causes us to step outside of imminence within the world. Combine this imminence and hatred of time with the surveillance capitalism economy and you have a fabulous apparatus for keeping people forever chained within imminence.

      I assume that this is the goal: drown people with sensuousness and superficiality – nonstop entertainment; teach them through popular culture and TV shows about the “power of now” as well as the “unreality of time”; and to keep it working in the right way: expand the powers of facebook, google, amazon, and the other tech companies.

      My own little pet theory for how game of thrones ended refers to just this picture: daenerys represents the impulse for equality and democracy; john snow represents the mythologically minded “hero”; and Bran is Plato’s ideal ‘philosopher king’. The seven kingdoms are the seven sephiroth, and by the time the show ends, seven becomes six, which in kabbalistic thought means “malkuth” (time) goes out the window. John Snow (the hero) then goes beyond the now “six kingdoms” (the feeling domain) into the traumatic and depressive realm beyond the wall, into the intellectual sephiroth where only they – the hero (elite secret society members; mostly men) know what the truth of things is. It is here that they do battle with “white walkers” and the ancient “children of the forest”.

      Reply
      • Thanks for taking the time to reply, Till.

        “Continuous imminence and eliminating the psychological experience of time – the “enemy” – go hand in hand, as it is memory and reflection from a temporal vantage point which causes us to step outside of imminence within the world. Combine this imminence and hatred of time with the surveillance capitalism economy and you have a fabulous apparatus for keeping people forever chained within imminence.”

        Yes. Cultural engineers in thrall to control fantasies need to eliminate both individual and social memory. Everyone must live in the present and Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

        At the same time, it seems they are manufacturing a hypertrophied sense of temporal succession — time as whirling centreless flux, a process without directional meaning albeit cloaked in the temporal rhetoric of ‘progress’. This requires memory, without which there would be no sense of ceaseless change. What must be occluded is any awareness that memory as such reveals something that persists through time.

        Reply
  5. Wow! on the research.

    Looking forward to what you’ve found on Brockman.

    Some of the photos that illustrate this post look a little ‘shopped to me. 😉

    Reply
  6. Till-
    you do realize that Kabbalah is not Jewish? It is gnostic. I can’t quite tell from your comments which way you land on that. But you probably read Scholem so you are probably aware of this misconception that kabbalah originates in Judaism. Small point and not germane to Epstein per se sorry if I’m off in the weeds. But weeds make the best medicine!

    peace b

    Reply
    • And Scholem expressed a gnostic spirituality, so perhaps it’s a bias he has?

      But in any case, if the Hebrew bible is a book of allegory, it wouldn’t be any more correct to call it ‘gnostic’, since kabbalah officially dates to Moses de Leon, even though the orthodox tradition traces it back to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Gnosticism is dated to around the end of the 1st century BCE, usually to Philo of Alexandria. I see more influence from Neoplatonism in kabbalah than Gnosticism, though frankly with Rabbi Luria, there is genuine innovation with the diagram of the sephiroth, which as far as I know originates with him. Hegel in turn is supposed to have derived his own emphasis on dialectic i.e. thesis/antithesis/synthesis from the structural emphasis placed upon it in the kabbalah, even if the idea of dialectics can be found in Plato.

      Overall, we can call kabbalah “obvious” natural philosophy. I think the presence of this doctrine in the Hebrew bible (encoded in allegory) implies that this way of thinking was very prevalent in the Near East long before Gnosticism or kabbalah appeared. I think, also, that the term kabbalah, which means “received”, speaks also to the fact that most esoteric traditions have been handed down orally from teacher to student throughout the world – whether the text is literary-poetic, as in Near East, Greece, and India, or hieroglyphic, as in Egypt, or just a bunch of memorized tales, as in most tribal societies. There’s always – though I don’t think its necessarily the greatest thing – an ‘elite’ group of people who sophisticated enough to understand the psychological-metaphysical and sometimes social-engineering ideas behind it.

      I think I noted that Judaism simply inherited this tradition of interpretation; just as Gnosticism and Christianity and any other group who felt a special connection to the Hebrew bible did as well (minus the elitist karaites and earlier, the sadducees, who like modern day obscurantists demonize the mystical oral part in order to keep literal-minded).

      There are differing relationships, and by no means is it always clear what a text may mean; but since reality is fairly stable, and a humans functioning within reality law-like, the texts – from my understanding of Hebrew and my knowledge of human experience in light of systems analysis – refer to archetypal human realities which appear again and again and for that reason, the text is treated as holy truth. Maybe one day we may all be surprised to learn what kind of truths our ancestors learned about our condition and encoded in this book?

      Reply
  7. To make the above conversation more topical: I’ve often found the disproportionate (relative to total population) presence of Jews within the elite as existing squarely for creating the impression (given elites are so focused on perception creation) that Jews “control things”.

    The history is usually well known – why and how Jews became money lenders – but it is interesting to point out a statement from the Talmud which goes, to paraphrase, “no one hates Judaism more than Jews”, which I took to mean that no one hates truth as much as a person most intimately aware of it, and aware of what it demands from them.

    Thales is said to have come from the Lebanon region – a region which would have been under the influence of semitic culture; Pythagoras in turn is said to have visited the near east (Babylon) and Egypt and came back from there with their wisdom. Pythagoras of course emphasized geometry, and believed all of reality could be reduced to numbers.

    Whether or not the latter statement is legitimate (I don’t think it is), the didactic value of shape and configuration, or geometry, is certainly valid and can be seen throughout the metaphorical logic of the Hebrew bible.

    One may also say that the concept of “keep your enemies closer” present in the way conservatives and liberals befriend ‘Judaism’; I find it very odd, though intriguing, for instance, that ‘education day’ in the United States was named after Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson by none other than George HW Bush. When the renegade and iconoclast Rabbi Meir Kahane tried to get the attention of western intellectuals, who was the only person willing to respond to him? Allan Dershowitz. The Ukranian financer and moneypot for the Temple Institute in Jerusalem – the organization trying to rebuild the third temple on the spot where the dome of the rock presently stands – Eduard Shifrin – is unusually close with some of the worse sorts of people – Trumps, Putins, oligarchs, etc.

    What does one make of this? In Jason Louv’s recent book ‘John Dee and the Empire of Angels’, the author notes the opinion of the British war general J.F.C Fuller, who wrote this rather cryptic piece:

    “The Chosen People are the light of the world, a light which at present is mixed with darkness (the Gentiles or children of Esau). This darkness will vanish little by little; first Israel will “look forth as the dawn,” next she will “become fair as the moon”, then “as clear as the sun,” and lastly “terrible as an army with banners.” Such is the reformulation of YHVH. When this is accomplished, not a Gentile will be left to pollute the earth; for Israel will have become its Messianic Shin which will untie the tongue of God, and on the utterance of his name will the entire universe vanish into absolute light”

    Weird, right? This book is useful reading for anyone who wants some deeper insight into the psychology of people who subscribe to the value of ritual abuse, without necessarily saying they do, but alluding to it by more or less describing the western esoteric tradition as “very hard” – but a very “quick” way to become enlightened. That is, trauma-as-road-to-enlightenment, or as one book I own puts it: “hurting the body for the sake of the soul”.

    It’s insanely deluded of course, but this is what the plan seems to be. The author Jason Louv basically says that there is a cabal within the western world who WANTS to engineer the apocalypse so that the events of the Bible will unfold (according to their own engineering work, perhaps?):

    Louv writes, “Not only is decay necessary as a prelude to redemption (just as death creates fertile conditions for new growth), it may also be necessary to accelerate that Saturnian decay in order to speed the arrival of the redemption to follow. The apocalyptic magic of the angel’s hinges on this principle.”

    The author is all over the place in this book in his commitments to Crowley’s creed and then describing it as evil and degenerate, and I am very skeptical that JFC Fuller cares one lick about the “chosen people”, or that his description of them in this light does anything more than promote certain conspiratorial ideas about Jews and Judaism.

    But if at any rate he means what I could mean, the “chosen people” is an archetypal concept for a “way of being” that YHVH (reality) will choose from human behavior; a way of being which is necessarily synonymous with the allegorical narratives encoded within the Torah. If he means this, then perhaps his statement isn’t all together whacky – not that I endorse the latter part of the universe “vanishing into absolute light”, unless he means it metaphorically, as in “all will seem to be full of life and light”, in which I would agree.

    Anyways, the elite and Judaism – there is something complicated going on here. It almost reads like the relationship between Jacob and Esau – the latter pulling at the formers heels (Jacob literally means “heels”). This means that Esau (meaning ‘rough’), in being the first born, is the older archetypal mode of human being-in-the-world. It is the mode of being that Hayden notes in his studies, of aggrandizers and the sorts of societies they create in their images. Jacob – the conscious, moral, self – fights with this dimension of itself in order to transform it (pulling at its heels) which eventually does happen when “Israel” emerges following a wrestling match with an angel; the name is is often interpreted as “Ish Ra El” – “man sees God”, or as “he will have power over” – as in power over the self, body, conditionality, and reality itself i.e. matter.

    I for one will stick to the ethics of science, although I do think taking seriously the allegorical dimension of the Hebrew bible yields some profound correlations.

    Reply
      • If you read the verse literally, and believe it is simply a literal story, and you ignore the role of context, and language and such things, that is exactly the impression that can be created.

        If I were to write something about you or this site, I would have to reference you, this site, what you’ve written about, etc, and for anyone to make heads or tales of what I’ve written, they’d need to know the context – to know what my references are.

        Same thing with the Hebrew bible. Its theology, or metaphysics, only makes sense with reference to the systems – myths – that preceded it. It’s a conversation between intellectuals about the nature of reality.

        You’re a very intelligent guy Jasun. Do you think the narrative is really that banal? You don’t think the notion of an earlier mode of being (Esau), interacting with a later developing mode of being (Jacob) is what’s being talked about here? You think its really a story about a guy named Jacob stealing the birthright and blessing of his brother? This is what uneducated simple-minded people are taught (not that I agree with that) to believe. Yet Jung was very right in emphasizing the importance of archetypes; and if archetypes are, as I would put it, “attractors” underlying the ideal-modes of being in particular situations-of-living, then archetypes are the appropriate objects of religious metaphysics. Since stories are very useful mnemonics, humans have encoded important knowledge about living in the world within these mnemonics.

        I think I mentioned earlier that the story of Noah is the story of the traumatized self. Noah means “rest”; his three sons are the three possible modes of being that come from feeling rested: Japheth, Shem, and Ham. Japheth means beauty and refers to superficial attachments; Ham means “hot” and refers to hot-headed intensity. When I feel rested, sometimes I can be Japheth, playful, superficial, mindless; attracted to meaningless things; other times I can be Ham – argumentative, aggressive, and critical. But it is Shem who is the stable attractor, or archetype, which ‘rest’ can evolve towards. Shem means ‘name’, and refers to naming something properly. It refers to seeing the essence of a situation and capturing it with the right words – something I know you probably experience all the time when you slowly select the ‘right words’ to navigate the conversation with the other in the right direction – towards the right feelings.

        I think it is extremely naïve to think the Hebrew bible is simply a story book as this depressingly shallow culture of ours presents it as. Wouldn’t that, btw, be exactly what it want to do, given Japheth’s son Yavan is associated with Greece – as Josephus notes. If todays world is the product of Greek culture and its ideas – and the Greek fraternity system would be a big indicator of it – then its only natural that the Hebrew Bible would be presented as stupidly and foolishly as possible, given its metaphysics is anathema to its idea of the good.

        The Greeks are sober-enough to know that their worldview is committed to a system which oscillates between two poles: comedy (as now and has been for the last 70 or so years) and tragedy, as it will be a decade or so from now. Its excessive and extreme lustfulness for living, its addictiveness, its shallowness, and its need to re-represent human experience in a thousand different ways again and again, is attractive, granted, but it is inherently unstable – so much so that it leads time and again to social crises. If one of them (Fuller, for instance) then says something like, the “chosen people are the light of the world”, it must come from acquaintance with these differing metaphysical viewpoints as captured in the different myths and writings of the Greeks and Hebrews; perhaps after having experimented with the worldview that leads inevitably to suffering, it might be a sobering claim to say that the chosen people are an ‘inevitability’ – in the sense that the structure of the real, as natural selection, only selects those systems which are compatible with the relata making it up. If living ecologically means learning how to control your appetites, and therefore learning to live with accepting limitations, Fuller may be saying nothing more than what another culture might attribute to the eightfold path in Buddhism or the eternality of the Tao, but perhaps without the sort of drama that exists between the Jews and the western world where the former have been, in their language, in “exile”.

        Reply
        • sure to all of that but then are you saying the stories are entirely made up and if so, at what point does history enter in, if at all?

          and is this sort of “elitist” reading of the Bible so different from Thelemites who scorn anyone who suggests that Crowley might have literally be prescribing child sacrifice, etc?

          and what of Blake, whose words you choose to take more literally than others who admire his work would do?

          more and more my sense is that you have a model of reality and you rearrange the data to fit your model, but it all starts to seem a bit arbitrary in the end, saying more about the model-creator than the reality it purports to represent.

          Reply
          • As to your first paragraph: I have no way to answer that question. It could be that its all allegory, or, as the Rabbis would insist, it is to be interpreted both literally and allegorically. If literal, that would imply that they see reality as fundamentally metaphorical, which is to say, that we are God experiencing himself in terms of something else; or we are God experiencing himself in a self-repeating way that ultimately reaches up towards ultimate knowing. So, for instance, Self and Other in human relationships maps or becomes the template for body and reflection processes, which becomes the template for thinking processes ABOUT the world, which ultimately evolves after enough deduction work has occurred, into the ultimate stage of God (transcendental) experiencing himself within reality.

            So what is self at one stage becomes reflection at another, and then ‘thinking about’ at another, and ultimately witnessing your own eternal nature at a final stage; the other, the body, the structure of the world, and the world as it is as a beloved object (as in the song of songs) are the counter poles.

            I see the above perspective as very plausible, and very likely, as the ultimate truth of things. To think of ‘ultimate meaning’ is devastating for some people – for instance, people within this culture dedicated to whimsicalness and arbitrariness and do-what-thou’ness; so much so that you can explain much hatred of Jews in this light – the holocaust, even the Star Wars movies, with Yoda being Hebrew for ‘he who knows’, and Jedi for “Knower”, and the Siths obsession with murdering all the Jedis being the obsession of left hand path initiates being obsessed with killing all Jews, which also means, if Mike Hockney is a guide, killing all ‘dharma believers’ i.e. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc, leaving only postmodernists and the radical anarchists left to do what they wish with the earth – maybe mad max? In short, deep symmetry IS fearful. I wouldn’t be able to posit this unless I knew it first hand from my experience of it. My “Greek parts” don’t get along well with my “Jewish” parts. They fight with one another. Perhaps Christianity was an effort to reconcile those differences so that eventually a higher level truth can be established at some later evolutionary date – at some future period where people are coherent enough not to be overwhelmed by the deepest truths? I theorize in this direction sometimes.

            But Thelema and the Bible are very different narratives. The Bible from its beginning is about a fall from a higher level of being; its a genealogy of states that humans have gone through, using metaphor. It even describes the very groups that Thelamites and Satanists refer to: Cain. Cain comes from Qana, which literally means “to acquire”. It is the acquisitive attitude which leads the self to wander in confusion (Nod, the place where Cain went to, means “wander”); then Cain had Enoch (meaning “dedicated”) who then built a city. That is, the acquisitive attitude becomes dedicated to building; and interestingly enough, Haydens own thesis has aggrandizers (Cainites) being the source of social complexity (cities). Seems the ancient Hebrews came to a similar deduction. Irad, Cains son, Irad, in turn means to “flee witnessing”; once we commit ourselves to a certain agenda, or a certain object, we begin to flee anything that gainsaids it.

            As to Blake, I am basing my attitude towards him, as I mentioned earlier, on Northrop Fryes interpretation of him. In general, I think Blake was a part of a world and culture that is consistent with the picture described by Frye; and Frye essentially describes him as a person who muddies the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, into a situation where criticism becomes evil, and letting people be becomes good. In other words, the whole negative-feedback structure of human relationships becomes inverted to serve elite regulatory fantasies where no one criticizes them for their harmful behavior.

            As to the Hebrew bible, recall Samuels advice to the Hebrews NOT to put in place a King, that is, not to pursue hierarchical forms of organization “like the other nations do”. That is a very egalitarian and democratic way of thinking about human relationships. Certainly elites are present throughout the human bible, especially the book of Ezra. Elitism pollutes every society; but not all equally. For instance, as we progress through history we find more and more exemplars of equality, but I think, for instance, that Lloyd de Mausse doesn’t do a good enough job representing the good and decent hunter-gatherer societies WHO DO NOT sexually exploit their children – a position he gives the false impression of not existing in the anthropological record (a position I’m sure Hayden would strongly dispute). There are indeed a great many more who do it, but its not homogenous.

            My theory is, the Hebrew bible – Hebrew (Ivrim) means “to cross over”, while Jew (Yehudim) means “He who Knows” – represents the same sort of process that we ourselves are going through today. In other words, I think Lloyd picture is patronizing and naïve – belittling ancient humans as if their reasoning faculties weren’t as capable as ours – and naïve because he doesn’t know enough about the modern cognitive sciences, physics or semiotics to realize how plausible it is to treat them as just as mentally sophisticated as we are. The trick to the success of modernity is misrepresenting the past as stupid, that what we are is inevitably “progressive” relative to them. No. I think the truth is that stupid and smart people exist in probably similar proportions today as they did in the past; that propaganda was a problem and recognized as such in the past just as it was today. The only difference is the modality of communication and representation: they used myth, we use literal language. They interpreted their myths; buy and read books. It may ultimately amount to an economic and technological difference related to efficiency.

            As to your latter paragraph, it can definitely seem that way from your outside perspective. What have I said so far I hope suffices to make you see Thelema as wildly different from the Bible – with the latter taken no explicit or thematic opposition to reality as Thelema does. Is it possible that your experience with the latter has traumatized you such that you think the bible is an exact replica of it? Isn’t it odd, though, that the Jews have been victims again and again throughout history – to the Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Christians, Nazis? Are the Thelemites also victims? Or does the whole comparison sound ludicrous?

  8. I wrote this at another website correcting someone elses understanding of the meaning of Adam and Eve:

    For someone who likes Buddhism perhaps this interpretation will appeal to you.

    Eve – Chawah – means ‘living one”, not breathe (which is ruach). Adam on the other hand means “blood” (dam means blood) with an aleph in front of it. Aleph is the grammatical prefix for the personal pronoun “I”; so ‘Adam’ can be interpreted as “I [am] blood”. Eve on the other hand is completely a verb. Living one. The living one is our human body, living, breathing, feeling the fluxes of living-in-the-world. Taken together, Adam is the eternal static point of the eternal witness; Eve is the living body that the witness is experiencing, hence “I” “am the blood” expresses an identification between the eternal witness and its feeling body. It is an identification that is at the root of a healthy and truthful and non-dualistic way of being in the world: I am the blood means that Eve, Chawah, is, contrary to the traditional belief, is actually the template that Adam needs to follow in order to know what is true and what isn’t. So, when my body feels tired, there’s a regulatory homeostasis process at work which is dictating to the conscious reflect mind what is required; but since the mind can be “eccentric”, or partly outside, of the processes of the body, the reflective, language based mind can if it wants to completely ignore this command of the body and do something else.

    Hence, the narrative of Adam, Eve and the snake is really a narrative of how traumatic experience affects human phenomenology, of how the lower, more ancient, reptilian (metabolically conservative) brain misleads feeling states (Eve) by misrepresenting how the world works (if you read the verse in the Hebrew, the snake in fact misrepresents Gods commands to Adam). Adam is the knowing, reflective dimension of the mind, the mind that is eccentric to the body. The mind only knows the real, however, by reading the signs of its body – the living one, or Eve – in the right way. Eve tells Adam, or the reflective mind interfaces with its feeling body – and the effect is that the reflective mind believes what its body is saying. The origin of projection begins here – or is described here within the archetypal narrative.

    Since human beings are in fact God, or the Universe, experiencing itself, Human beings are understood within the Torah’s narratives as the transcendental dimension of God – the reflective part (Adam) – interfacing with its embodied, ecologically diffuse dimension – Eve. The Torah is really about the blueprint of where we came from, how we got there, and what we can do to get back there.

    As for sensory experience; the issue is not the sensory world since that’s the way we learn what is and isn’t real – remember Eve, the feeling body, and the fact that we refer to its states to know the real? Sensation is the truest part of what we are – indeed, the REAL, the nature of God, is symbolically encoded in the world we perceive with our senses. Denying the sensory world is the beginning of the root of evil, and hence, the snake has Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil i.e. the misrepresentation of the real becomes a “tree”, which is a metaphor for a system (trees are the metaphor used in many sciences for organizing and classifying things); when we misname things, we become committed to our representation through attachment processes; we misname reality and begin to see things in ‘black and white’, without the complexity and non-linearity of the ‘tree of life’ – the ecological way of knowing.

    The sin of Adam and Eve is the sin of the reflective mind not reading the feeling body so that it properly understands the ecological nature of why it feels the way it does. By misreading the body, a false reality is set up – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – which is what sets up the whole delusion of being separate from God to begin with i.e. “you can be as God” as the snake utters deludedly imagines that the ideal can be anything other than what the REAL is. The only lasting, stable truth, as climate change is very well showing us, is a truth that acknowledges the relational nature of things.

    Reply
    • making God and the Universe synonymous, as you have done here & elsewhere, in my view is one of the central conceits, and lies, of new age scientism and occultism.

      Reply
  9. Overall, Jasun, you need to better appreciate the mnemonic nature of myth as containing the core spiritual ideas of a culture; and you need to appreciate that the Jews have been enemies wherever they’ve lived: you can add Muslims to the list as well (they even decided to build their third most important holy site on the temple mount; with eight walls, which, since eight refers to eternity, is in opposition to the septenary structure of the real – according to ancient thought; i.e. the Kabbah, the black cube, is the infinite in time; its about eliminating distinctions in the real; hence, building an eight sided octagon over the Jewish temple mount was a metaphysical slap in their face that says “there will be no God in the world except man”. Time is real; the infinite is an abstraction that doesn’t add any value to how we live in the world of the real; so people who say time isn’t real have no concern at all for conditionality or reality and more or less deny being affected by reality or conditions or situations that occur in reality; hence, eight > seven is more meaningful than it might first appear.

    Just to make a point: I don’t follow any religion. I am not Jewish; or follow Judaism; I am merely a person who at one point was very fascinated with Judaism, learned a lot about it, and whose subsequent studies have found a lot of correlation between the archetypal meanings encoded in its myths and my own education in fundamental sciences. These positions say nothing about my political views about Israel, for instance.

    Reply
    • Ah the Jews.

      And on another thread, meanwhile, someone is telling me, not for the first time, that I am avoiding mentioning the ethnic element to the shadowy manipulations of culture; there’s really no way to win when talking about the Jews, it’s been set up that way by Jews & Gentiles both, so I prefer to ignore the whole question. On one side, it’s all about how the Jews are the victims of a conspiracy, on the other, that they are the directors of one. Both are presumably true, and so neither is really true when it excludes the other. They are complementary conspiracies that prop each other up, like one of those weighted beans that keeps rolling.

      At least since WW2 & the creation of Israel, the Jews’ status as victims has become primary to their disproportionate degree of social influence and control. I doubt if I, or anyone, needs to be MORE aware of how victimized they have been, only perhaps of what the reasons for this victimization might have been (i.e., that “anti-Semitism” isn’t an explanation, only a label), and what uses it has been put to, as in, how it has been exploited by the victims as a means to gain more power—a trick that all the other minority groups have now learned or are in the process of learning. It’s easy to see how this keeps the vicious circle spinning: the more victimized a people are—provided they can draw widespread attention to the fact, which itself indicates power—the more power and leverage they gain, the more they abuse that leverage, the more resentment and potential victimization they attract. The real victims meanwhile are the ones we never hear from or about.

      So again, I say, the wisest course seems to be to ignore the whole Jew question as much as possible and focus on individuals, not group-identities.

      Reply

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