Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Supernatural Incident in the Vietnam War


I was told this by a police officer from Clifton, New Jersey, in 1983, and we made a written record of his experience.  In 1968, Celestino V. was stationed at a base in Bien Hoa, 15 miles north of Saigon, with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Located on the plains of the Mekong Delta and flanked by native villages.

One night in February the air raid siren went off while Celestino was asleep in the barracks.  The base was under rocket attack and all personnel had to take shelter in the adjacent bunkers. Celestino got down behind a reinforced partition just outside the entrance to the bunker.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Killer Psychosis in Las Vegas

Good news for the merchants of death!  After the latest and greatest mass killing in U.S. history, stocks in gun manufacturing are rallying.  This is standard procedure.  There were surges in gun sales after the shootings in San Bernardino in 2015.  After the massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, gun sales surged.  After massacres, gun owners get skittish that the government might take away their guns; so they rush to buy more guns and stock up.  Meanwhile the merchants of death lick their chops as the cash registers ring with songs of joy.   According to Market Watch, the gun industry raked in $51 billion dollars in 2016.  And no doubt business for grave-diggers and funeral parlors was noticeably brisk.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dying to Know With Timothy Leary and Ram Dass

The other night on Netflix I watched a documentary, directed by Gay Dillingham (2016), titled Dying to Know. It’s about the death of Timothy Leary, and focuses on Leary’s long friendship with Ram Dass.  The film serves as witness to a great friendship between two extraordinary Americans, academics turned icons of the 1960s counter-culture.

We get an overview of their careers, the arc of their personal transformations. The director counters the popular view that Leary promoted the promiscuous use of LSD when in fact he was persecuted by the state and spent four years of his life in jail, one in solitary confinement for possession of half an ounce of weed.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Near-Death Experience: A Metaphor of Transformation

One of the more surprising phenomena to emerge in the 20th century was the so-called “near-death experience.”  Apart from its claims as pointer to the possibility of life after death, its great value may also lie in its fertility as a metaphor.  You can see this in various ways.  The first thing that occurs to me, it plays a subtle role in all things dramatic.  Every drama entails a conflict where one risks death of one sort or another.  The closer the hero comes to death or being vanquished, the greater dramatic value of the final triumph.

I may complain about the inconvenience of being bedridden with flu; but if my heart stops, there is a chance that I confront a being of light that puts all my previous assumptions about reality in the shade.  Quantum leaps of consciousness are not free lunches.  This old idea is enshrined in the ancient Greek dictum:pathei mathos “by suffering, learn.”  Surely, the important lessons of life don’t come cheaply.  But with apps nowadays for everything under the sun, one might easily forget that wisdom cannot be shipped overnight from Amazon. 

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