Conway and Siegelman are two of America’s foremost experts on the mind-altering communication practices of destructive cults, fundamentalist sects, and extremist political movements. In their first, widely acclaimed book, SNAPPING: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change they decoded the powerful communication practices employed by controversial cults and sects, extremist political groups, popular self-help therapies, and commercial training enterprises to engineer sudden changes of awareness and personality. They unveiled the intimate domain of human communication where the “snapping” phenomenon is occurring, where its unprecedented changes of mind and personality are communicated from one person to another, and where its widening threats to individual thought, belief, and all our freedoms are translated into deadly real-world action.
Uncertainty - By Chuck R 03/06/2011
By Chuck R. In response to Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment and EnlightenNext - is it a cult? When one is uncertain, perhaps stressed by unsolved or insoluble issues, anyone who appears to be certain, to have positively true answers to difficult problems, is highly attractive. Uncertainty can be painful. Gurus who claim to “know” the (capital T) “Truth” can look like ports in a terrible storm.
Unfortunately, uncertainty is our lot in life. Certainty is often a delusion, a con, or a self-delusion. The human neurological system evolved to produce certainty, whether or not the certainty is warranted. Such certainty is of great use in fight-or-flight situations where speed is essential and extended cogitation can be lethal. But in more intellectual pursuits – philosophy, theology, human relationships, “evolutionary enlightenment”, etc. – it can be a unexpected hazard. Certainty arrived at through intuitive experiences such as the AHA! experience should always be treated skeptically. If you can find additional evidence to support such certainty, fine. If you can’t, you’d better set aside such certainty.
Certainty is a *feeling* or a *sensation*, not an idea or intellectual conclusion. As such, it is no more reliable than any other feeling such as fear, love, disgust, hatred, etc.
Doubt and uncertainty can be painful, but they are better than the soporifics of false “truth” and phony “knowledge”.
Check out the book “On Being Certain” by Robert Burton, MD. (2008) You’ll find yourself less addicted to seeking certainty and “knowledge” of “deep truths” than you may now be. (I have no connection to this book other than admiring it.)
Learning Icelandic 02/28/2011
I am just starting the lengthy and arduous process of learning Icelandic. I want to watch TV! It will take a while - I need about three mouths. Some languages have plenty of vowels to wrap you mouth around and separate the next consonant but Icelandic has ð which sounds like ´th´and þ which sounds like ´th´and then they string them all together with nary enough vowels.
It becomes a lisping tongue twisting exercise. However they do speak very fast and therefore 'Ég ætla að' can become 'Yetlath' without too much fuss. Meaning 'I am going to....
The plus side is it really feels like medieval English and a history lesson rolled into one. It has been so untouched by other Scandanavian language developments that it is both unique, old and let's face it, obselete. As My Dad says, ít will be very useful in Melbourne.'
But when listening to it, I can barely make out it is a language at all, rather a sequence of random entertaining noises, and like the DaVinci Code. it deserves to be cracked.
All the nouns change when something happens to them, god forbid you should pick up a plate, or turn on a lamp, and then who is doing the turning on, man, woman, inanimate, again it all shifts again.
Takk fyrir - Duck fairy - Thank you.
The Valley of Dawn in two new Festivals! 02/16/2011
Female Eye Film Festival Toronto Canada, March 16 - 20th, 2011
Byron Bay International Film Fesitval, Australia, March 4 - 13, 2011.
No Title 02/09/2011
Borts Minorts is the man. 01/28/2011
Chris Carlone is a friend from NYC and he is a great musician and artist. Please enjoy his creativity and go and like his new Facebook page
Why Iceland? 12/04/2010
Well to be a Weird Girl for one.
I never in a million years thought I would end up in Iceland, I mean it really it is the land that my mind map of the world forgot. However I discovered it to be suitably exotic, interesting and off the beaten track enough to hold my interest. It is small enough to navigate through the museum getting a easy to comprehend timeline of history.
All my women friends know how to pick berries, make jam and what herbs to pick for their health. When abroad they miss the dried whale meat that I am only willing to imagine.
The language is medieval and when slightly more examined it is simply like the oldest English in the world, full of thou's and thy's. Initially it sounded incomprehensible, then when I was at the cinema I could not grasp any grammer when I read the subtitles. Nowadays I can see the grammer in the structure and am starting to make sense of it and even enjoy the challenge of learning.
A land decorated by the austerity of poverty in the first half of the 20th century and by Ikea in the second.
A nobel prize winning author, Haldor Laxness, who no doubt would have become one of the most widely studied and revered men in literature had he been translated sooner. Independent People and Iceland's Bell are two of his exceptional works.
A land where every farmer could turn his nose up at a rhyming couplet, preferring the complicated rhymes of poetry that make jazz look simple.
Where jokes abound about the conservatism of other Scandinavian countries.
If you give a Swede a million dollars he will put it in the bank. Give an Icelander a million dollars and he will go to the bank and ask for another million.If you want to go to the movies with a Dane then you must book in their diary two months ahead.
Where the Vikings managed to uproot every tree in the space of 100 years building longships and houses. If you are lost in a forest in Iceland, how do you get found? Stand up.
A land where creativity and economics are perceived as boundless and limitless in equal measure, causing the rise of Bjork, Sigur Ros and a plethora of incredible music and art in the first instance and it's own financial downfall in the second.
Sometimes common sense is not fully operational, over run by an enthusiasm that is infectious. Think of the dozens of Icelanders rescued when trying to make the five hour hike up the lava spewing volcano only to discover that it can get quite chilly in jeans and a t-shirt halfway up a mountain even if zillion degree heat is waiting for them at the top.
Geothermal energy makes for under street heating and all the hot water smells like sulphur. Greenhouses abound, in fact in the event of a disaster, (volcanic not-withstanding) they could feed themselves if they had enough greenhouses running from geothermal power. They even grow pineapples in them.
They also eat liquorice chocolate bars, which sounds a bit icky but are actually very nice. Um.... and puffins and horses. Those cute little horses, (don't call them ponies) that are delightfully explained in the tourism film on Iceland Air neatly leaving out the bit about how delicious they are.
Where it is dark half the year and all the drivers squint into the sun as it only lazily lifts off the horizon line for a while before dropping back down a few hours later. This time of the year I sit in the outdoor hot tub after my swim in the afternoon and the sky is pitch black. I can see the Reykjavik church spires and hear the old men talking about their day as they rejuvenate after a gentle swim and workout followed by a sauna and ending with a soak. I thought I would hate the long dark days, but it is kind of cosy. And I really appreciate the light and the sun. It is very still at the moment and blue sky.
Then there is the other half of the year where children play outside up to 10pm at might in broad daylight and parties go on for ever. Some Icelanders are like bears, they sleep long in the winter and little in the summer.
If you want to play in this life, Iceland is a playground, a creative conundrum, a magical moment. Unique in it's spirit, it is a magnet for some foreigners that have been captivated enough to come and make a whole new life here. It is infinitely fascinating.
Iceland's Weird Girls Project are part of the magic and I can't wait for April.
The Ultimate Theory of Not Everything 10/31/2010
I have been contemplating lately the idea of an ultimate theory of everything. I came to the conclusion that in all probability, it cannot exist.
Many cult leaders and religious maniacs have an ultimate theory of everything. The closed mind, closing the door of further possibility is the end of......being open. It would be the end of all discovery. The End.
Perhaps the person with the TRUE ultimate theory of everything would disappear right out of existence upon immediate discovery.
Perhaps that would be how we could measure validity. Anyone that completely removed all trace of themselves would have discovered the Ultimate Theory of Everything. But as we are all connected, by 6 degrees apparently, and a few other holographic and string theories, that would mean ultimately the entire universe would disappear and nothing and no one would be would be left to prove him, or her, right.
Therefore the desire to know, or believe in, The Ultimate Theory of Everything might be a kind of anti-life death wish masquerading as exploration.
Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, (born 14 Dec 1965) is an Italian physicist at the University of Rome La Sapienza and he also does not like the idea of the Ultimate Theory of Everything. He says, 'A theory of everything would endow us with God-like powers, masters of the laws of the Universe. I can see that this could appeal to some.'
He goes on to say 'It would be interesting to provide a toy model of an “ultimate theory of not everything”. A scenario I can vaguely describe to illustrate the type of mathematics that could serve this purpose is the one of a toy Universe with logical structure resembling the one of Matryoshka nesting dolls, but an infinite series of nesting dolls and in a multitude of dimensions (amount of energy, amount of complexity, amount of classicality of the apparatus...).
From “within” each doll it should only be possible to get information on neighboring dolls, even arriving at the point of fully mastering some of the neighboring dolls, which would then be the starting point for the next step of exploration. I hope a mathematician will soon have (or tell me of the previous existence of) such a toy model for the ultimate theory of not everything, but I have none to offer at present.'
Finally he states, “The diversity of phenomena of nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.”
So, if you wake up one day and find yourself gone, then you will have discovered it! Then again, maybe someone else made the discovery and took you and everything out of existence. Right out of life and all it's living, pulsating, feeling, mysteriousness.
Over $7,000 has been raised on Kickstarter and I am so grateful and pleased. I had to develop nerves of steel to persist.
I think I will wait quite some time before I spend every waking minute trying to raise microgifts from anyone with a pulse.
It is not for the fainthearted. But thanks you so much to everyone who believes in the project. I am going to have a small rest now.
I will be at Bakkus, Reykjavik tomorrow night for the premiere of the previous Episode to the one I will be in in 2011. This is a beautiful still from the Episode. If you are in Iceland come along! Screening starts at 9pm, bar opens at 8!