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Today’s Top Tweet – Can you petition the Lord with prayer?

I was happy to see this (tweeted) web page today. We need more talk about parapsychology. Awareness and intelligent debate about parapsychology and its link to spirituality (and nuttiness) could help those overly invested in the medical perspective on self and others.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-psychiatry. Far from it. Medications can help, short and maybe even long term. But anyone concerned with their overall health would be wise to consider alternatives. Different approaches might enable some to discontinue their meds. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but over the long haul. And that would be a good thing. Not only would their bodies like it. Others on our planet would be happier too (see Drugs in the Water).

Glancing over the articles in today’s tweet, I see a problem that often crops up with parapsychology research: The method does not match the madness, if you’ll pardon my pun.

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakur...

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakura shrine. from original to remove black space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take, for example, intercessory prayer. One article concludes that intercessory prayer has no verifiable effect on health. But this begs at least two questions:

  • What kind of intercessory prayer?
  • What kind of health?

Intercessory prayer takes different forms. One is vocal (or internally vocal) and the other is more contemplative and quiet.

For me, the latter is more effective. I often liken vocal prayer to using a squirt gun to put out a fire, while contemplative prayer is more like rolling out a heavy duty fire hose. Kids play with squirt guns. Adults risk their lives with fire hoses.

Mind you, all prayer is good and we’re all different. At the same time, I think there are differences in power between vocal and contemplative prayer.

But I could be wrong. Only God knows for sure.

The second question – What type of health? – is actually related to the first.

Intercession may not be visible to everyone. But I believe it helps us, psychologically and spiritually. And contrary to what some religious people say (especially those who pass themselves off as saints while behaving more like angry nuts), I believe intercession is a multi-directional interpersonal dynamic. It’s not just one-way.

Intercession may involve degrees of effectiveness but my analogy of squirt guns and fire hoses is only that. An analogy.  Life is far more nuanced than putting out a fire.

And it takes all types to make life complete. 🙂


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Today’s Punchiest Pin – Close to the edge… but not over

Image via Pinterest

Variety is the spice of life. Instead of Today’s Top Tweet we’ll look at Today’s Punchiest Pin.

David Bowie passed just over a year ago. I didn’t mark the day because, well, I busy doing other stuff. But I knew it was either coming up, around, or had just passed by.

This morning I read this excellent (pinned) article and found a surprising fact:

The World of David Bowie

The World of David Bowie (Photo: Wikipedia)

Bowie got really paranoid at one stage of the game.

But he also got out of it.

How many artists, creatives and seekers have gone a little too close to the edge but luckily pulled back just in time? My guess is a few more than most of us are willing to admit.

The funny thing about paranoia, in my opinion, is that it might sometimes be based on a very loose, distorted or misunderstood truth. The drug user or imbalanced person senses something dark and scary in their social and perhaps spiritual environment but egregiously misinterprets what they’re picking up.

When paranoid, a person lacks the usual analytical skills for assessing unpleasant or frightening impressions. Fear feeds on fear, so sometimes things escalate. This can lead to the emergency room or, better, chilling out on a friend’s comfy sofa. Sometimes I think it just depends on whether we have a good support group or not. Other times, we might have a life path and undergo difficult, challenging experiences for some greater, good reason.

Only God knows for sure. But in my view a little insight and care can go a long way in prevention.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Another juicy one from the parapsychology corner

Today’s top tweet happens to be my only tweet today. Truth be told, I’m deeply engrossed in trying to figure out xubuntu, which is a Linux operating system. I have installed it parallel to Windows XP on an old laptop (which I’m using now). So right now my mind is on tech stuff, not the news.

Having said that, I will always be interested in the possibility of hostile spies and parapsychology.

See ya’ll in a day or so once I get xubuntu working with my wifi. If that is… 🙂


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Today’s Top Tweet X2 – Do we need a new game for a new era?

The Human Use of Human Beings

The Human Use of Human Beings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first discovered The Conversation I was excited. I’m always looking for fresh material at Earthpages.org, and The Conversation seemed to be a cornucopia of Creative Commons material.

However, only researchers actively employed or funded are allowed to contribute. So that means any second- or third-rate thinker who gets their job or funding through a potentially corrupt system of patronage can write there. But smart people who don’t get academic jobs or funding – because they’re too clean or different – can’t write there.

This shortcoming is pretty evident in these two tweeted articles. Sure, the articles contain a reasonable amount of fairly well written material. Academics, be they cronies, stooges or not, need to perform to some degree. But also present is the usual constriction of thought that most academic game players must adhere to or simply exhibit. And it’s that very constriction of thought that earthpages.org and earthpages.ca intends to surpass.

Comment – I don’t believe we’ve ever had nonpartisan news. Different papers have always appealed to different markets.

Comment – Gosh. Back in high school we learned about checking sources and evaluating arguments. Just because someone uses the magical word “algorithm” doesn’t mean that it points to truth. This word is so common today. But it seems to mystify more than explain. Another case of human beings being duped by scientism?


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Today’s Top Tweet – Charlie, our paranormal witness

To start off the New Year I thought I’d discuss today’s top tweet using a fictional, gender-neutral person called “Charlie.” I’ll also use a literary device from my school days: S/he.

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So Charlie is a bit of nut. Or maybe not. It might depend on how we look at it.

S/he believes that “big picture” patterns appear over time, especially in the form of recurring numbers. S/he knows about Carl Jung’s idea of synchronicity, and that Jung gives the example of recurring numbers. Charlie also realizes that Jung never advocates actively looking for synchronicity. For Jung, synchronicity just happens after we make a choice.

Choice and the idea that synchronicity occurs after making choices distinguishes believers in synchronicity from

  • Religious fanatics who believe they see signs in everything and make choices on the basis of those alleged signs
  • Frightening mad persons who do bad things because they believe they see signs or recurring patterns telling them to behave a certain way
  • The paranoid who tragically hurt themselves or commit suicide because they believe they see patterns indicating that the world is out to get them

As for Charlie, s/he is only human and learns as s/he goes along. S/he used to believe that perceived recurring numbers were proof that s/he was on the right track, cosmically speaking.

But one day a friend said something that complicated things. The friend said “Charlie, what if you made a different choice and a different series of patterns came up?” This made Charlie think, which is usually good.

Maybe there is no single life journey or path, Charlie thought. And maybe every time I make a choice the universe splits and different Charlies live out parallel lives.

This idea makes Charlie a bit uneasy but s/he has read the Seth Books and all that subatomic physics, Dancing Wu Li stuff.

Charlie knows it’s a big mystery out there.

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Having read some psychology books, Charlie also considers the possibility that s/he is unconsciously selecting these numbers while ignoring or playing down a lot of other numbers that pass by.

“Of course,” most would say.

But Charlie doesn’t think it’s quite that simple. S/he still feels a sense of confirmation when numerical synchronicity arises, even after thinking and analyzing the phenomenon from different angles. Sometimes s/he even wonders if angels or other spiritual powers guide us toward meaningful coincidences.

After all, Charlie is just a person. Unlike the worldly wise, s/he tries to be humble and remember that there’s still a lot to figure out in this great mystery called life.

About the Author

Michael Clark’s PhD thesis is entitled, Synchronicity and poststructuralism: C. G. Jung’s secularization of the supramundane. He likes to think about things but believes that the intellect is, at best, an aid to spirituality. 


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Muslims Have Many Allies Against Hate Crimes

Image via Wikipedia - Click for fullsize

Image via Wikipedia – Click for fullsize

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

The FBI reports that hate crimes against Muslims in the USA rose in 2015 to their highest levels since the aftermath of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. In 2015, there were 257 incidents of anti-Muslim bias compared to 154 incidents in 2014, an increase of 67%.

The total is second only to the surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes following the 9/11/01 terror attacks, when 481 incidents against Muslims were reported. Fortunately, Muslims have many allies in the Anti-Hate Crime fight.

Scapegoating (blaming innocent minorities for widespread discontent and anxieties within the majority population) is wide spread in the USA so there are many different groups of people who are victims of hate crimes; which are not just directed against Muslims.

Attacks against LGBT, immigrants, blacks, women and Jews have also increased.

Jews have a very long history of being scapegoated for the ills of various European states, and are especially aware of the danger of scapegoating as an ill-conceived way of solving problems in the general society.

Thank God the anti-haters are now getting aroused, and that Jews are well represented among those opposing the attempt to scapegoat all Muslims for the sins of a very violent politicized few.

Although hate crimes against Muslims rose by 67%, in actual numbers, the 257 incidents of anti-Muslim bias were less than 5% of the total 5,850 reported hate crimes, and just under 22 percent of the 1,402 anti-religious hate crimes.

Of the 5,850 reported hate crimes in 2015:
59.2 percent of all victims were targeted because of bias against race or ethnicity;
19.7 percent were victimized because of bias against religion; and
17.7 percent were targeted because of bias against sexual orientation.

There are lots of hate filled individuals in America; and they have lots of different groups that they can hate. Often they hate several different scapegoats.

Of the 1,402 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:
52.1 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
21.9 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
4.3 percent were victims of anti-Roman Catholic bias.
3.6 percent were victims of anti-Eastern Orthodox Christian bias.
3.4 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.

Religious-based hate crimes increased by 23% from 2014 to 2015. Many people expect that hate crime incidents for 2016 will rise by at least 1-3,000.

On the other hand, the Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, saw a 50-fold increase in online donations on the day after the election.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties and outreach group, gained more than 500 volunteers in the two days after the election.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which supports women’s reproductive rights, received donations from nearly 200,000 people in the week after the election, about 40 times more than in a typical week, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which defends the civil rights of individuals, said on Monday it had received more than $7 million from about 120,000 donations over the five days after the election. During the same period after the 2012 election, the group collected less than $28,000 from 354 donations.

And George Soros says he will commit $10 million from his personal foundation to combat the rise in hate crimes. Mr. Soros, a Jewish Holocaust survivor and an immigrant originally from Hungary, said he was “deeply troubled” by hundreds of reports of possible hate crimes since the election — including many Nazi swastikas spray-painted on cars and buildings.

And going well beyond the norm, the Jewish head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an anti-bigotry group, has vowed to register as a Muslim if the USA creates a database of Muslim Americans. The idea of a Muslim database arose in November 2015, when Mr Trump told a reporter he would “certainly implement that. Absolutely”.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, said: “If one day Muslim Americans will be forced to register their identities, then that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim”.

Let us all follow the example of Jonathan Greenblatt, and the words of Pope Francis who delivered a ringing plea to the world and his own Catholic Church to reject “the virus of polarization and animosity” and the growing temptation to “demonize” those who are different.

Rabbi Maller’s web site is: www.rabbimaller.com


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Happy New Year!

Here’s a little sketch I’ve been working on.. finished just in time to ring in the New Year!

All the plugins, fx etc. are freeware… except for my MIDI host, Reaper, which is very reasonably priced.