vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Progress is, in many ways, a modern myth and a rhetorical device by which Modernity doesn’t have to give a reasonable account for its failures. Everything’s in progress so no matter how bad we’re doing, “we’re improving.” And, as we’ll see in an article I’m working on now, everything that doesn’t agree with this is simple “like something out of the Middle Ages…” That is, able to be dismissed as not even belonging to our own time period.

This technique was used repeatedly by the colonial powers in order to justify their wholesale rape of other cultures – and continues to justify the wholesale rape of many traditional cultural values in our own land. It should rightly (and accurately) be compared to the repeated 5-year Plan justifications of the Soviets, for whom wholesale slaughter and genocide could be justified by Marxist progress. The Brave New World has almost destroyed the inhabited earth several times within the last century.


We had plagues and infections. Now we have obesity, diabetes and cancer.

We had cripples and the lame. Now we have crippling debt and the overqualified unemployable.

We had slaves that we owned and had to feed and care for. Now we have indentured workers who have no ability to exercise their theoretical choice to stop working, that we have no responsibility for and can throw away at any time - rented from no lessor.

We had soldiers who would burn down and depopulate inconvenient villages for us and send the survivors into slavery. Now we have corporations and gentrifiers who enslave first, and backhoes and law enforcement to do the rest. (Admittedly, the killing is now kept to a minimum, or at least a reasonably slow trickle.)

We used to live at the mercy of the weather and the elements, which at any time may destroy all that we hold dear. Now we live at the mercy of stock prices, market forces and the politics of government regulation.

We used to live in regular dread of famine. Now we are in danger of the entire world becoming unable to produce food and we don't feel a thing.


And now an idea for that far-future thing:
ancient alien race lives for tens of billions of years fleeing dying star after dying star, with only survival in mind. they attack earth, and capture a saint for interrogation. they torture him to death over the course of a year trying to get "the truth" out of him, about what humanity "really" is, and the result drives the torturers insane in a reverse Lovecraft scenario. someone picks up the transcripts and disseminates them to all public channels, sending ruin among the stars as the ancients destroy themselves in a nihilistic orgy of violence. we take their ships and infrastructure, learn to replicate it and use our newfound habitable planet indices and FTL travel to colonize the galaxy. we never learn how the FTL actually works and after the initial wave there is a gradual deterioration until everyone is isolated again.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
A rock-club which is supported by the church keeps its own coffin, and if a believer wishes to lie down in this coffin for a while and think about death, he is not forbidden to do so, because many Russian saints used this practice. "The main thing, you should not forget that life is wonderful," Hegumen Sergy says.
The entire linkdump will take some time to go through.


All that "Christianity is a way of life", "you need the Spirit in you", "accept Jesus into your heart" talk is, I think, incomprehensible without this framework:
Barlaamists and Barlaamizers not only are empirically ignorant of this spiritual and angelic liturgy, but they deny it, dishonor it and mock it. They completely identify worship with hymns and prayers, which they want to understand with their reason, because otherwise they don’t feel like they are praying. In other words, they are based entirely on their reason and make it absolute. The question is: if they think in and desire to pray this way, then how will they learn about the other-worldy liturgy and how will they enter into this after their death, since they are ignorant of it and fight against it now?


And more:
The Law applies in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament. The Law is not only in the Old Testament. The Law is in the New Testament as well. Why? Because it is Our tutor to bring us to Christ’. The Apostle Paul says it clearly: ‘The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ’ (Gal. 3:24). But when St Paul says Our tutor to bring us to Christ’ he does not mean, as the Lutherans and others suppose, that the Old Testament Law is a tutor to lead us to the New Testament. No. The Law leads us to the state of purification.
[the writer explicitily ties this to the Miserere further down.]

Also of note:
“Because the beginner cannot manage this, as he has not yet distinguished between the nous and the rational faculty, he sits and prays as much as he can with the rational faculty, under the guidance of his spiritual father. He prays continually until the day when, instead of praying this prayer with his rational faculty, he begins to pray it with his nous in his heart.”

The amazing thing is that, when the nous enters the heart and prays, the rational faculty is outside observing the movement of the nous.


The distinction seems very close to the rider/beast analogy I had before. And the description of the underlying problem seems to be describing the same thing with respect to each, but with a different (obviously mine inferior and more misguided) approach.


Wherein I am tempted to move out to Chilliwack so I have an excuse to go to Fr. Richard's parish on Sundays, as he points out the emperor in such majestic, priapic nakedness in this whole hideous kerfuffle:
...What I am suggesting, though, is that in our preoccupation with canonical questions about sex, we forget to ask something more essential: to what extent do our sexual behaviours manifest self-desire rather than desire for our Creator? Even if our sexual behaviour is ‘canonically approved,’ so to speak, how can St. Paul’s words to the Romans challenge us to repent of the lusts of our hearts and turn back to a love of the One who made us?

Again, this is a question we too often neglect to ask of ourselves, and our neglect continues to hinder our struggle to understand the place of sexuality in a God-centered human life. While we may win the canonical battle, we end up losing the moral war because we have lost sight of where the ‘front line’ really lies.

For instance, when dealing with unmarried people struggling with lust in its various forms, our concern tends to lie with ensuring that a person’s sexuality is ‘contained’ in a heterosexual, monogamous marriage. Once the single person finds themselves a suitable mate (we believe), their lustful urges can be safely channelled. If they were tempted to lust after sexually explicit images on the internet, they can now ‘safely’ act out with their spouse. Less often do we question whether a single person’s problem with lust might have less to do with the absence of a canonical ‘outlet’ than with a sexual identity fundamentally oriented to self-desire...
tl;dr those who accuse one side of this culture war of pharisaism have a point. But the corollary remains that Christ came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Most necromancers can ill afford the luxury of being guarded by an army of stinking, disease-ridden, animal-eaten, rotting ambulatory corpses. Much work goes into cleaning, preserving and repurposing the dead tissue to serve the magic-user's purposes, and only the wealthy have the manpower to maintain more than four or five in constant operation at a time.

Samaelle's permanent undead minions (excluding things that were intended only for a single engagement or which have since been lost or destroyed) are as follows: )
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
When one undertakes to examine Scripture in an idle, intellectual way, he creates hatred and quarrelling. Why? Because the intellectual approach to Scripture does not help us turn and reflect on our sins, but instead makes us focus on problems and concepts related to the study of Scripture – as a result our logical and intellectual faculties are aroused to no real purpose. “Knowledge” by itself adds nothing. On the contrary, it encourages the cultivation of the individual and his private sense of things; it fosters the self-sufficiency of his own personal opinions, which he then seeks to justify and impose on others. This kind of approach to Scripture immediately places you in conflict with others; it opposes your will and opinion to theirs, prompting you to disagree and argue with them, and to make enemies of your brothers. Filled as I am with my own opinions about things, I am not able to receive anything from God.

[…]It’s one thing to read Scripture because you want to collect information, and another thing to read it because you want to acquire its true content, that is, the Holy Spirit. This kind of knowledge is the life of God (cf. Jn 17:3), the entry and extension of God into our life; it is God’s descent and dwelling among us. We can judge whether or not our study of Scripture is authentic based on the number of tears we shed when we study. To be sure, I can also read Scripture without shedding tears, and without a strong sense of my sins, but with the hope that God’s grace, through my reading of Scripture, will break open my hardened heart. Read Scripture, then, but don’t forget about your sins and reduce Scripture to an object of intellectual inquiry, for at that point it ceases being the word of God and you start seeing it as something human. The criterion for your study should be this: the way you read the Bible should bring peace to your heart, communion with God, love of neighbors, and the consciousness of your own sinfulness: the recognition of how unworthy and ill-prepared you are to stand before God.
Elder Aimilianos, On Abba Isaiah


Bonus link: The Star by Arthur C. Clarke.

At first I thought it was a refutation, then a hypothetical refutation, a what-if. Then a story, if the ramifications are read backwards from what is implied (and there is no inherent reason in the facts presented to go in either particular order), of redemption. On further contemplation I feel this to be nothing less than an icon of the Cross.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
Some contextual points on Hong Kong.
  1. Hong Kong was a fishing village on a goddamn rock when it was annexed by the British in 1842. The population grew and exploded during the 20th century as a result of a number of factors, but a huge one is the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). During the Chinese civil war and subsequent purging, thousands fled the violence by escaping to Hong Kong — including both sets of grandparents in my family. One was a Western car dealer in Shanghai; the other was from a landowning family. FWIW, I still have some distant relatives from the latter side in China. I have no living relatives in China on my maternal grandparents’ side. Everyone was killed.
  2. Throughout the 20th century, Hong Kong flourished, grew, and developed a distinctive culture and economy. I’m not saying everything was rosy as an English colony. I’m saying the culture and economy are real and independent from China.
  3. The events of Tiananmen may seem like they were a long time ago, and have entered history as the kind of event that’s lost its shock over time. But twenty-five years is a short time for many Hong Kongers, and Tiananmen’s outcome was far from predictable at that time. Remember that Tiananmen was only eight years before the handover. Imagine watching the coverage that summer and knowing that was to be your government soon.
  4. All of this is to give just a bit of history as to why I and many others say: Hong Kong people do not consider themselves to be the same as mainland Chinese. When I say I’m from Hong Kong, I mean that. It is not the same.


A Real Look Into The Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution.
I’ve had so many concerned friends from around the world recently message me, concerned for my safety in Hong Kong. This post is to show my dear friends, and those from around the world what its actually like here in Hong Kong at this moment.


a word from Gary Pollard
Start with this: that the parents or grandparents of almost every Hongkonger came here to escape the politics and chaos and lawlessness of mainland China.

Today, they look at a local government made up almost entirely of people chosen for their loyalty to the PRC, irrespective of their ability or their personal ethics. Almost every government minister has profound “communist” sympathies or former DAB or “leftist” connections. Some are not so “hidden” Communists. That is the only reason they are there. It feels to many Hong Kong people that they are trapped, ruled by these people. No one voted for them. When the public DID vote a prominent leftist out of the Legislative Council, the Chief Executive just appointed him to the Executive Council, which has MORE power. Screw your democracy.

That would not seem so bad if the Legislative Council could impose any restraints on the government. But too few observers understand or care that the Legislative Council is half made up of functional constituencies who are either kowtowing to Beijing or to big business. There is a split voting system where legislation must be passed both by geographically elected legislators and these special interest legislators, who are basically lobbyists. The public did not vote for them, but they can veto ANY legislation aimed at controlling the government or supporting grassroot interests.


How do protesters stay in contact with each other when the government has shut down or censored Internet and mobile networks? Simple: You don't use either.
Meet Open Garden's FireChat, the messenger app protesters in Hong Kong have been using to circumvent government attempts to prevent them from organizing by blocking social networks like Instagram. Instead of relying on a single website or government-controlled networks, FireChat uses a technology called mesh networking for its "Nearby" chat mode.


‘Against My Fear, I See That You Hope’: A Professor’s Open Letter to Her Hong Kong Students
I am inspired that you are making the student boycott your own. Earlier I had written that you were inspired by May Fourth and the awakening of social consciousness. But observing you I have come to realize that this interpretation is far too simplistic, that initial reportage did not give you enough credit for both adaptation and innovation. Some have invoked May Fourth, and some—like Longhair when he spoke to you—lectured on Gandhi and Martin Luther King. No doubt their examples have inspired you. But reading the Chinese University boycott magazines and your reportage in Ming Pao, I see that your examples are recent and cosmopolitan. You are looking to 1968 in Paris, the 2011 Chilean student boycott, and 2012 in Quebec. You self-consciously organized the preceding campus meetings to follow Quebec, to be as democratic as possible, to give each of your classmates ownership. What I thought had been naïveté was a careful imitation of a model you had identified to be successful. So, though elements of your protests may have historical roots, I salute you for seeking a new model for Hong Kong, one which—your leadership tells us—will influence student movements to come.


Things that could only happen in a Hong Kong protest
Apologising for the barricade you put up
An entrance to the Causeway Bay MTR station was barricaded and emblazoned with signs shouting out for democracy. In the middle was a small cardboard sign - also written by the protesters: "Sorry for the inconvenience."
and the "violent", "extreme" contrast.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
From the sighting and aiming discussion here a few things occur to me:


Iconic representation

Icons and all the talk about making present, etc. never made any sense to me until I saw some comment about someone watching a "cradle" Orthodox believer pray to one, and the whole exchange(!) looked like they were having a conversation with a person standing before them. At once it all clicked: the skewed perspectives of various objects, far from being a matter of failing at mere "representation", were required for the full presentation to the viewer to address specific requirements for interacting with what was portrayed on the 2-dimensional space. Things are deliberately moved aside or extended or not foreshortened, or viewed from a different angle than something right next to it, to reveal that which if you were physically there you'd be able to see with no more than a very simple, unconscious movement - the top of a book being opened, the objects on the surface of a table, the hand of a person holding a heavy object. The entire image - and each portion thereof - is made not to reproduce the mechanical light-impression of the physical presence, but as an interface.

It also explains why I've always preferred Doom and Quake's centered guns over the angled views of later FPSes: while more "realistic" in the sense that the side of the gun would be a closer approximation to what you'd see from either eye while the weapon was pressed to your shoulder but before you started looking down the sights, it permanently blocks your view of whatever is below you to your right - something you would be able to see in meatspace with minimal effort by as little as a slight turn of the head, an action that probably should not deserve its own keybind.

As applied to my so-called "realism" Doom mod, unlike most shooters with such aspirations I keep the crosshair rather than sights - which crosshairs, as crude approximations of sight pictures, only (but always and automatically) appear wherever looking down the sights would be an option in another game. The weapon sprite itself is kept as out of the way as would remain faithful to the original aesthetic. No more than movement of the eyes, or at most a slight turn of your avatar's direction to move either sprite or crosshair out of the way, is required to look around. The ultimate result is a double view of your weapon with a large gap in between that you would never see in real life, but which allows the viewer to extract information with no more effort or artifice than if the object had been physically present in the viewer's own equivalent space.


The "drone effect"

Which takes us to the next great hazard in "realistic" first-person shooting. You have a mouse and keyboard. This gets rambly fast. )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
This is a profound psychological violence here.
How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.
--"On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs", Strike! Magazine, August 17, 2013
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The best stupid pun ever.

But I don’t want to stop there. There a few deeper and more mysterious applications of this. The Lamb slain at the foundation of the world as a type of evolution.

That said, another, biologically more, philosophically less cf. colonials: more* ambitious take on the Nth Men story.
(Also he has thought out giant spiders :O :O :O||||~)


*2014-08-21 EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I think Bogleech is right. This is better in every way: humane where MAM was profoundly misanthropic, humble where F&LM was arrogant and certain, hopeful even in death where MAM and F&LM are ambivalent. This is what science fiction ought to be.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
Start at the upper left and say the Jesus Prayer with each key (excluding those constituting the sign of the cross).

Read more... )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
The holy Fathers were making predictions about the last generation. They said ‘What have we ourselves done?’ One of them, the great abba Ischyrion replied, ‘We ourselves have fulfilled the commandments of God.’ The others replied, ‘And those who come after us, what will they do?’ He said, ‘They will struggle to achieve half our works.’ They said, ‘And to those who come after them, what will happen?’ He said, ‘The men of that generation will not accomplish any works at all and temptation will come upon them; and those who will be approved in that day will be greater than either us or our fathers.’

Abba Copres said, ‘blessed is he who bears affliction with thankfulness.’
Building on this. A speculation on a buildup to the great apostasy.

tw: rape, depression, violence, body horror, middle eastern politics )

Clearly something is not being mentioned here, as it is of course much easier to paint Hell than Heaven. I must take some more time to think about this, but it is my intention that the Church is to be noticeably present throughout, if only as a very quietly hummed ison.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Someone posts a picture of a seal of a demon on Tumblr. I'm curious what the various bits mean. I pull up DuckDuckGo and pray for protection from heresy and delusion, a standard procedure of mine when I am about to look something up respecting occult symbols or demonology.

I fail to find anything explaining the meaning and I give up in a mix of mild awkward discomfort and despair that I would find anything worthwhile (morally edifying, finding the Holy Spirit at work in all things, casting some light on some scientific, mathematical or historical curiosity or other) respecting this sort of thing.

My prayer is answered when about a page or two later in my Tumblr feed I read a science article in which there is an insistence that the only thing distinct about humanity, language, is "a quirk of evolution", when it occurs to me to stop the beginnings of an attempt to formulate an objection to the implied "merely" and recite the Nicene Creed to see just what part of the faith the thing I was reading actually contradicted (spoiler: nothing).
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who had an inordinate amount of money, far more than anyone knew or could imagine, and for which he had no use. And there was a tiny island nation where he did some business, and there a great multitude ended up owing him much money, though he had no use for these debts and did not care to collect on them; and yet The System these many debtors slaved under could not forgive these debts, and though the man thought they were worthless paper this multitude could not save, or buy or sell or trade, for their debt was great and all that they earned was siphoned off by collectors who charged exorbitant fees and interest, and interest on those fees, and fees for calculating that interest, and so on, such that the man never saw any money from the multitude while the collectors grew in power.

And one day this man said, Enough! and purported to breach his contract with the collectors, and they sued him, and he filed a reply that admitted all the facts and contested none of the relief sought, and the collectors won default judgment and added him to the list of debtors. And at the first payment hearing that man agreed to pay, and received void cheques for a direct deposit; but when the payment came, the amount was so enormous that the flood of cash destroyed the entire nation's economy and sent it into chaos, and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and many fled in vain to the outer darkness; but the man took hold of the entire System in his hands, and ruled as a benevolent tyrant, such that any who believed and switched over to his new system should never be in debt again.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
It occurs to me that when I indicate that I am a Christian that might mean all sorts of things to people who are not themselves Orthodox Christians. With that in mind, I wish to compile a brief list of the various heresies and paganisms I DO NOT subscribe to. Wherein I DO NOT believe in all sorts of things... )

I think that covers all the big stereotypical ones and anything else can be dealt with as it comes.

In the meantime, here's something I had not thought I would have needed to believe, but should.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
An Orthodox Christian Exposition of Islam
Truly il miglior fabbro, compared to my shoddy attempts at conveying the comparison.

tl;dr if you take Orthodox Christianity and replace the guts with all the guts that were rejected by Orthodoxy, while keeping all the trappings of Orthodoxy that aren't directly contradictory to the newly implanted theology (e.g. icons versus wholly transcendent, never-incarnate God), you basically end up with Islam.

A good deal of Protestantism (including what I've rejected in the past) goes the same way with the same replacements, but inherits radically different trappings. If Orthodoxy is Wolfenstein and Calvinism is Doom, then Islam is Map31 - old look and feel, new engine. (The analogy breaks down, obviously, when the "new engine" is the one with less features, functions and versatility.)

(That said, it's definitely worth a read if you have any interest at all in either Christianity or Islam. Also the reference to the Christian God as Allah in the end is, intentionally or not and at least to the eyes of this Western-raised near-English-monoglot, a brilliant inversion of the technique used in the Beatles' "My Sweet Lord". [2014-07-21 Prompted to re-read b/c of this. Definitely intentional given the progression from "God/Allah" to "Allah" alone.])

It occurs to me that one of the big rebuttals to the Protestant argument about the "fall of the church" also applies here: how did two movements so removed from each other in space, culture and time end up with such similar, independently arrived at conclusions, unless there was some kind of truth to it? But the analogy stops there: the "fall of the church" usually is in reference to preceived additions - Trinity, icons, liturgical tradition - but what we're looking at here is deletion in a sincere attempt to fit everything into a rational, logical order.

- The Trinity contradicts itself and borders on polytheism, so let's remove it. It is beneath God to come down to Earth as one of us human scum. (In Islam from the start; eventually you get more unitarian groups from the Protestant tradition)
- This old verse says no graven images, so let's get rid of all images.
- We need to standardize everything, so let's make "The Book" binding (no pun intended) so that everyone's reading the exact same law-reduced-to-writing and everything not in that book is treated as hearsay and optional, unreliable apocrypha.
- The wrathful, vengeful God of the Hebrews looks all wussied up in the New Testament, so that is clearly a later deviation. Let's go back to being sinners in the hands of an angry God.
- If God is all that is good, then things are only good because God wills it to be good. Therefore, any "moral compass" we may have in our hearts is only a temptation and a passion.
- The last 3 points, if taken without a deep underlying faith in the starting assumption of a loving God, strongly imply that we need to be as harsh and unforgiving as possible, to be maximally true to God's divine image. (cf. Westboro; Taliban every sharia jurisdiction that isn't actively trying to soften its image for some material or political gain/survival)



(also new tag for Christianity-related posts)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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