Posted by: ourorboros | May 6, 2008

The Violence in GTA4? Are you kidding?

How is it that a culture founded on violence; the annihilation of the Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans brought to American in chains, bred to violence on a diet of cultural intolerance, class infighting, political machinations, police actions, racial antipathy, and indulgent selfishness; religious mutterings without true divine guidance, humility or humanity, an utterly self-destructive dominant sub-culture creating apartheid-like surroundings for anyone not a member of that subculture; an ability to not even consider the consequences of its actions to its members with such failures as the ignorance of its leadership in attending the Kyoto Accords, the production and selling of fast foods, the manipulation of the educational profiles of members of society to ensure their eventual existence as near-slave labor and a multitude of other sins based in violence, based on violence.

The real sin here is not that it is violence for violence sake. We are not clubbing each other in the head to determine who gets to eat that last morsel of food; at least, not yet. We are using violence to make money, to further greed, to have the power to subjugate those others with out the ability to harness financial resources equal to our own. We are making violence on the weak, the poor, the uneducated and disenfranchised. We are making violence on ourselves.

How does anyone, particularly the people in power who have acquired their wealth and power through indirect, but no less damaging forms of violence (manipulative laws, lawyers, prurient marketing, and of course, that manna to the rich; the stock market), have the nerve to ask how can anyone sell a videogame that promotes gratuitous violence? Easily, for that holy grail, that institutional golden nugget that promotes the creation of movies filled with violence, that makes news programs that profile violence in the evenings for your enjoyment, that uses violence to sell its programs (the War on Drugs), its fads (the Battle against the Bulge) and its pork belly projects, ensuring wealth for the organizations that have the wherewithal to participate at the highest levels, the War in Iraq. Its all done for money. Here’s the math formula in its simplest format

V=$M

If you are trying to make lots of money, you have to have the extended versions of this basic formula:

V x Women = $M(2)

V x Minorities + Women = $M(4)


The knitting game

Violence in society

Violence in movies and other entertainment

Violence in the species

Hypocrisy of the organizations

Posted by: ourorboros | April 29, 2008

Define: Ourorboros – Rantings of an Iconoclast

I have given you the Wikipedia’s definition of the Ourorboros. I have given you Webster’s definition of an iconoclast. They are mutually exclusive terms describing two things that cause cognitive dissonance (more on that in a moment).

The Ourorboros is a mystical symbol past down through the ages, from the earliest cultures of mankind, defining man’s interaction with the universe, his belief in the infinite and his need for the understanding of all things. The Iconoclast is the skeptic of mankind, a breaker of belief systems, a questioner of why things are the way they are, a person who fails to accept the status quo and how it affects their life and their position in it.

The world we are living in causes cognitive dissonance. We are constantly being asked to accept things that would make no sense if you actually put your mind to really thinking about it. This is the condition that keeps two mutually exclusive ideas or thoughts from inhabiting the same space. Consider the oxymorons of “military intelligence” or “no comment.” Or the idea that we don’t have enough money for education, but we have money for prisons, (if you missed that, we don’t have money to educate YOU, but we can send YOU to jail just fine, because well we get paid better for that.) Or the idea that if you spent money ON education, you would have fewer people committing crimes and thus being eligible for that fine prison cuisine that no one actually wants to eat.

Defining: Cognitive dissonance is a psychological state that describes the uncomfortable feeling when a person begins to understand that something the person believes to be true is, in fact, not true. Similar to ambivalence, the term cognitive dissonance describes conflicting thoughts or beliefs (cognitions) that occur at the same time, or when engaged in behaviors that conflict with one’s beliefs. In academic literature, the term refers to attempts to reduce the discomfort of conflicting thoughts, by performing actions that are opposite to one’s beliefs.

In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what one already believes, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce one’s beliefs. In detailed terms, it is the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions, where “cognition” is defined as any element of knowledge, including attitude, emotion, belief, or behavior. The theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions. Experiments have attempted to quantify this hypothetical drive. Some of these have examined how beliefs often change to match behavior when beliefs and behavior are in conflict.

Social psychologist Leon Festinger first proposed the theory in 1957 after the publication of his book When Prophecy Fails, observing the counterintuitive belief persistence of members of a UFO doomsday cult and their increased proselytization after the leader’s prophecy failed. The failed message of earth’s destruction, purportedly sent by aliens to a woman in 1956, became a disconfirmed expectancy that increased dissonance between cognitions, thereby causing most members of the impromptu cult to lessen the dissonance by accepting a new prophecy: that the aliens had instead spared the planet for their sake.[1]

Maintaining conflicting principles (e.g. logically incompatible beliefs) or rejecting reasonable behavior to avoid conflict can be increasingly maladaptive (non-beneficial) as the gap being bridged widens, and popular usage tends to stress the maladaptive aspect. Cognitive dissonance is often associated with the tendency for people to resist information that they don’t want to think about, because if they did it would create cognitive dissonance, and perhaps require them to act in ways that depart from their comfortable habits. They usually have at least partial awareness of the information, without having moved to full acceptance of it, and are thus in a state of denial about it. This “irrational inability to incorporate rational information” is perhaps the most common perception of cognitive dissonance, and this or another example of extreme maladaption would appear to be underlying many conceptions of the term in popular usage.

–Wikipedia

Don’t let it be said that I would not let you know what I was talking about. In this blog my intent is to shoot at sacred cows. I will not like it. I will not relish it. But I will do it. And yes, I will do it anonymously because at the moment, I might want to run for office and change something and we can’t have you holding this blog against me now could we…

You will probably not like it.

I will not care.

All too often, our society has trained us to be concerned about the views of others, to the exclusion of our good sense. If you disagree with me. Find the facts and make your factual opinion known. I appreciate a good debate. Otherwise don’t waste my time with your opinions. I have enough of those from people who haven’t fired up a brain cell in years. If you are watching American Idol and consider it quality television, don’t bother talking to me unless you can show me how it makes the world a better place. (Good luck with that!)

I have seen so many things lately that just piss me off and I, for one, am sick of it.

Lets just name a few: The Democratic Debates, the state of the Economy, Crime and Punishment (the state of the United States criminal activity and its reporting in the news, not the classic novel with the same name) Apartheid in America (and before you open your mouth to disagree, don’t think that I did not look it up) to name just a few of my pet peeves of late.

I will add the poor state of driver education in California, as a matter of fact, lets just add the poor quality of education in general in California, unless you happen to live in highly affluent populations that shall remain nameless, for the moment, the question of what happens to a city when it goes bankrupt, what happens when a state goes bankrupt (questions I thought I would never have to ask, let alone get answers for) and am wondering why my local news agencies can’t find the time to answer these important questions rather than telling me what color panties Britney Spears is (or is not) wearing today.

And though some might consider Britney’s underwear (or lack thereof) newsworthy, I would like to think that if there were some real news out there (preferably something good), someone, somewhere might want to see it. If you think you have real news that people should know about, send it to me. (No flying saucer footage unless it is damn unbelievable and damn clear, timestamps and everthing!)

Raging Intelligently Against the Machine

Ourorborus: Iconoclast

Posted by: ourorboros | April 29, 2008

Define: Iconoclast

i·con·o·clast /aɪˈkɒnəˌklæst/ Pronunciation KeyShow Spelled Pronunciation[ahy-kon-uh-klast] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation

–noun
1. a breaker or destroyer of images, esp. those set up for religious veneration.
2. a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.

[Origin: 1590–1600; < ML īconoclastés < MGk eikonoklástés, equiv. to Gk eikono- icono- + -klastés breaker, equiv. to klas- (var. s. of klân to break) + -tés agent n. suffix]
—Related forms
i·con·o·clas·tic, adjective
i·con·o·clas·ti·cal·ly, adverb
—Synonyms 2. nonconformist, rebel, dissenter, radical.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

i·con·o·clast
Audio Help (ī-kŏn’ə-klāst’) Pronunciation Key
n.
  1. One who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions.
  2. One who destroys sacred religious images.

[French iconoclaste, from Medieval Greek eikonoklastēs, smasher of religious images : eikono-, icono- + Greek -klastēs, breaker (from Greek klān, klas-, to break).]

i·con’o·clas’tic adj., i·con’o·clas’ti·cal·ly adv.

Word History: An iconoclast can be unpleasant company, but at least the modern iconoclast only attacks such things as ideas and institutions. The original iconoclasts destroyed countless works of art. Eikonoklastēs, the ancestor of our word, was first formed in Medieval Greek from the elements eikōn, “image, likeness,” and -klastēs, “breaker,” from klān, “to break.” The images referred to by the word are religious images, which were the subject of controversy among Christians of the Byzantine Empire in the 8th and 9th centuries, when iconoclasm was at its height. In addition to destroying many sculptures and paintings, those opposed to images attempted to have them barred from display and veneration. During the Protestant Reformation images in churches were again felt to be idolatrous and were once more banned and destroyed. It is around this time that iconoclast, the descendant of the Greek word, is first recorded in English (1641), with reference to the Byzantine iconoclasts. In the 19th century iconoclast took on the secular sense that it has today, as in “Kant was the great iconoclast” (James Martineau).

iconoclast

“breaker or destroyer of images,” 1596, from Fr. iconoclaste, from M.L. iconoclastes, from Late Gk. eikonoklastes, from eikon (gen. eikonos) “image” + klastes “breaker,” from klas- pt. stem of klan “to break.” Originally those in the Eastern Church in 8c. and 9c. whose mobs of followers destroyed icons and other religious objects on the grounds that they were idols. Applied to 16c.-17c. Protestants in Netherlands who vandalized former Catholic churches on similar grounds. Extended sense of “one who attacks orthodox beliefs or institutions” is first attested 1842. Iconoclasm in this sense is from 1858.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
iconoclast
noun
1. a destroyer of images used in religious worship
2. someone who attacks cherished ideas or traditional institutions
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Iconoclast

I*con”o*clasm\, n. [Cf. F. iconoclasme. See Iconoclast.] The doctrine or practice of the iconoclasts; image breaking.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

Iconoclast

I*con”o*clast\, n. [Gr. e’ikw`n image + ? to break: cf. F. iconoclaste.]
1. A breaker or destroyer of images or idols; a determined enemy of idol worship.
2. One who exposes or destroys impositions or shams; one who attacks cherished beliefs; a radical.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
Posted by: ourorboros | April 27, 2008

Define: Ourorboros

The Ouroboros, also spelled Ourorboros, Oroborus, Uroboros or Uroborus (IPA: [ˌjʊərəʊˈbɒrəs]), is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. It has been used to represent many things over the ages, but it most generally symbolizes ideas of cyclicality, unity, or infinity. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations. More recently, it has been interpreted by psychologists, such as Carl Jung, as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche.

The name ouroboros (or, in Latinized form, uroborus) is Greek ουροβóρος, “tail-devourer”.

In some representations the serpent is shown as half light and half dark, echoing symbols such as the Yin Yang, which illustrates the dual nature of all things, but more importantly, that these opposites are not in conflict. In alchemy, the ouroboros symbolises the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus, which unites the opposites: the conscious and unconscious mind. It is also often associated with Gnosticism, and Hermeticism.

The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end (See Phoenix (mythology)). It can also represent the idea of primordial unity. The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego “dawn state”, depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.[2]

The Ouroboros could very well be used to symbolize the closed-system model of the universe of some physicists. The organic chemist August Kekulé claimed that a ring in the shape of Ouroboros that he saw in a dream inspired him in his discovery of the structure of benzene. As noted by Carl Jung, this might be an instance of cryptomnesia.

Historical representations

The Ouroboros is one of the oldest mystical symbols in the world. The serpent or dragon appears in Aztec, Middle East, and Native American mythologies, among others.

Antiquity

The serpent or dragon eating its own tail can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, circa 1600 BCE. From ancient Egypt it passed to Phoenicia and then to the Greek philosophers, who gave it the name Ouroboros (“tail-devourer”).

Norse mythology

In Norse mythology it appears as the serpent Jörmungandr, one of the three children of Loki and Angrboda, who grew so large that it could encircle the world and grasp its tail in its teeth. In the legends of Ragnar Lodbrok, such as Ragnarssona þáttr, the Geatish king Herraud gives a small lindorm as a gift to his daughter Þóra Town-Hart after which it grows into a large serpent which encircles the girl’s bower and bites itself in the tail. The serpent is slain by Ragnar Lodbrok who marries Þóra. Ragnar later has a son with another woman named Kráka and this son is born with the image of a white snake in one eye. This snake encircled the iris and bit itself in the tail, and the son was named Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye.

Gnosticism

In Gnosticism, this serpent symbolized eternity and the soul of the world.

Christianity

Christianity adopted the ouroboros as a symbol of the limited confines of the material world (that there is an “outside” being implied by the demarcation of an inside), and the self-consuming transitory nature of a mere “worldly existence” of this world, following in the footsteps of the preacher in Ecclesiastes 3:9-14. G. K. Chesterton, in The Everlasting Man, uses it as a symbol of the circular and self-defeating nature of pantheistic mysticism and of most modern philosophy.

Additionally, the ouroboros has been incorporated into the crests of the Hungarian and Romanian Unitarian churches.

Hinduism

It is also present in some Hindu folk-myths, as the dragon circling the tortoise that supports the four elephants which support the world on their backs.[dubious ]

Ashanti

Snakes are sacred animals in many West African religions. The demi-god Aidophedo uses the image of a serpent biting its own tail. The oroburus is also seen in fon or dahomean iconography as well as in yoruba imagery as Oshunmare

Aztec religion

The god Quetzalcoatl is sometimes portrayed as an ouroboros on Aztec and Toltec ruins.

Alchemy

In alchemy, the ouroboros is a purifying sigil. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung saw the ourobouros as an archetype and the basic mandala of alchemy. Jung also defined the relationship of the ouroboros to alchemy:[3]

Mathematics

The ouroboros may have been the origin of ∞ (a lemniscate, the symbol used for infinity in mathematics.)

The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the uroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. ouroboros, has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the uroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia of the art was man himself. The uroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow. This ‘feed-back’ process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the uroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilises himself and gives birth to himself. He symbolises the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which […] unquestionably stems from man’s unconscious.

The famous ouroboros drawing from the early alchemical text The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra dating to 2nd century Alexandria encloses the words hen to pan, “one, the all”, i.e. “All is One”. Its black-and-white halves represent the Gnostic duality of existence.

As a symbol of the eternal unity of all things, the cycle of birth and death from which the alchemist sought release and liberation, it was familiar to the alchemist/physician Sir Thomas Browne. In his A letter to a friend, a medical treatise full of case-histories and witty speculations upon the human condition, he wrote of it:

[…] that the first day should make the last, that the Tail of the Snake should return into its Mouth precisely at that time, and they should wind up upon the day of their Nativity, is indeed a remarkable Coincidence,

It is also alluded to at the conclusion of Browne’s The Garden of Cyrus (1658) as a symbol of the circular nature and Unity of the two Discourses:

All things began in order so shall they end, so shall they begin again according to the Ordainer of Order and the mystical mathematicks of the City of Heaven.

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