The Wax Weekly


The Wax Weekly  News and Videos are up!  Get Informed and Be Inspired!

-Alan Watts with The Real You

-Establishment Lap Dog Mark Zuckerberg

-Bitcoins & Bums

-Rethinking your life with Joe Rogan

-Oculus Rift & Virtual Reality

& more this week at The Wax!

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The Wax Weekly


The Wax Weekly  is back in the mix monkeys! Get the week’s dose of news and inspiration. A new blog post will be on its way later today but while you wait get informed and be inspired!

 

-Future Soldier by Michio Kaku

-The Fighter’s Peace with Rickson Gracie

-Jason Silva and the Extended Mind Thesis

-Bill Hicks spits wisdom

-Why Pot makes you feel good

& More…

 

Hope everyone has great Friday!

Naked: The Fragmented Thoughts of an Imperfect Thinker


Fractal

Fractal (Photo credit: rao.anirudh)

This is a collection of my broken ideas and meandering thoughts which have yet to become.

Just. B.

 

Contradiction, Confusion & Complacency 1/18/2013

In a time riddled with contradiction, confusion, and complacency we are beginning to find our heroes in the most unlikely of places.  The moguls of the modern existence are no longer the source of reason and inspiration, but rather give us reason to beware and inspire us towards new paradigms of political progress.  Our leaders are nothing more than a den of wolves moving in on the kill, a kill which consists of you and I.  Justice no longer holds a place in the illustrious halls of the rule of law, because swindlers and hustlers have  stolen the keys and have commenced with the joyride of selfish pursuit rather than pursuing the task of selfless service of the common good.  In the era of drone strikes, indefinite detention and fiscal cliffs, isn’t it time we

A Line Removed 9/24/2012

Nurture and teach your children, as they are our future.  Tend to your parents, for they are our past. The present moment is yours, so act immediately and create the world with which you dream, because it is the only thing that matters.

 

Title Unknown   10/19/2012

While the masses marvel over the masquerades of the mundane, I walk as the naked ape awestruck over my own existence. We play with our technological toys micro-atomic universes with which we manipulate the matter found within.  Our journey began with a lonely soul searching for continuity between the cosmos and his cognition, and while looking into the heavens asked “What the fuck???”  What is this? What are we doing here? What does it all mean?  Out of these questions formed fundamental understandings about the natural world, and these built a great edifice of understanding.   The human experience is one of language and it is unique in that we decode the vibratory language of the universe and re-code that information through our own linguistic representation. We decode, recode and encode the makeup of our individual and immediate universes.  We become and are the multi-verse. We scrawl upon the canvas of our consciousness  these representations which gives rise to the imaginings of our intellect.  We synthetically create our existence in a sort of merging of new ideas.  Through this collaboration of consciousness we bring forth the future and pull ourselves up to meet it.

Nomadic consciousness-

 

 

Masquerading in the mundane I walk as the naked ape awestruck over my own existence.

The polarization of the political landscape has set the stage for an unrest which is growing quickly into a fervent rage.  The question is to what end do we pursue such a path?  We race towards confirmation, all the while giving no attention to our path as precarious as it may be.  Will we continue to be content with the stagnant waters of our disagreements, or will our disagreements become something more?  We keep the company of wolves and are surprised when we find ourselves victims of their voracity.  For I shall not come to the aid of liars and the cunning, as they are my enemies and deserve my disdain.  The poison of the apple is concealed within the confines of it’s beauty and it is our belief in that outward appearance which gives rise to our ruin.

Change your Mind, Change your Life   11/2/2012

It has become clear to me, that the process of changing a leader in order to induce change within society has less than favorable results for all involved.  In fact it has minimal and in many cases detrimental effects upon the masses.  Even still soon the people will choose their new leader and many will feel emotionally and politically displaced, while others will cheer much the same way they do when their favorite football team wins a game.  The euphoria and depression will soon subside and we will engage in the next season of our political drama. Unfortunately we have become addicted to the drama of it all, and discarded authenticity for reality tv political personalities.  Instead of caring for the issues we care about the face.  We believe somehow an individual will deliver us from darkness.  Never the less we will elect and erect a new straw man to be touted and tortured much to our pleasure and displeasure.  We have found in our President a scapegoat for personal responsibility.  It is a responsibility to our community, to our environment, to our laws, to the well-being of our society and ultimately to ourselves that we have so selfishly abandoned.  Not all, but many of us have bought into a false notion that our representative government is more than just that.  We have grown to believe that these men are meant to lead us, when quite the opposite is true.  We are not electing leaders next week, but rather representatives who are to represent our values and beliefs, our hopes and dreams.  So instead of focusing on who will win we should be focused on their policies and issues.  It is not a President that will deliver us, only we can accomplish that task.

 

 

Title Unknown  10/28/2012

Our love for youth is a manifestation of our denial of death.  one day we will be consumed by the past, by the memories of our loved ones as we pass from the present into their memory. What saddens me is that one day I may not be able to take part in the beauty of this enchanted place.  To be lost from the smiles of family and friends, to be a fading face amongst the illusion of life.  Into an abyss of uncertainty, all things must pass.  From one dream into another.  I love you all that loved me and maybe we meet again.

 

 

Title Unknown   11/7/2012

Humans and plants have been inextricably linked since the dawning of human consciousness.  The forbidden fruit of the tree We as humans are intrigued by mind-altering substances and are naturally drawn to them.  Today marks an amazing moment in United States politics, as the state of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational consumption.  This will ultimately open the discussion on a national level concerning the validity of the West’s devotion to silly prohibitions.  It will become an ineviteable discussion due to the controversy that is sure to ensue following the ratification of Colorado’s Amendment 64.  We can only hope for the future that this will turn the tide on our policies concerning the criminalization of drugs in this country.  Colorado now serves as the first domino in a long line of tetering domino states interested in passing legislation

 

Lance Armstrong 6/14/2012

Lance Armstrong is now under investigation for drug use, and this is an investigation that could cost him all his titles.  I am not usually a sports person, but what I am fascinated by is the incessant witch hunts that we perform upon these athletes that our society holds in such high esteem.  We are in awe of their talents and achievements but are so swift to strip these titans of their accolades due to drug use.  Simultaneously we demand for more, we demand that they be faster, more agile, and supreme performers that lack all flaws.  Our demands seem to be creating a sort of paradox with which these athletes are trapped within.  Our desire to see faster, better, etc. is leading us into a super-human realm of athleticism.  Our demands are exceeding the capabilities of the human body, and somehow we still decide to be apalled when one of our heroes has been pumping human growth hormones, steroids and the like into their veins for the past decade.  We will eventually have to decide to temper our desire for the greater, the faster, and the more agile or we will have to succumb to the fact that we have plateaued.  So we either come up with new games in order to break new records, or admit that we want to see super-human athletes that are pumping drug fueled blood? The question really is; when is it enough, when has our desires exceeded our reality.

Whether we speak of, real estate, Wall street’s toxic investments, perpetual credit card debt, war in the middle East, or something as trivial as a man who rides a bike, we have to ask ourselves if our desires have devoured us and our moral judgment.  When is more, too much? We somehow believe ourselves to be invincible, and we are willing to keep pushing past the realm of possibility, in order to show ourselves how amazing we are.  But to what end, and once we arrive will we be satisfied with what we have become? We are reaching a time in history that requires that we are honest with ourselves.

 

 

Title Unknown   6/12/2012

We have become a society of selfish, perpetual children hoping that someone else will take the time to clean up our own mess.  We have crowned the cunning and have given accolades to criminals and thugs.  We look to them for our image of courage, the age of the anti-hero is upon us and we seem to revel in our own filth as if it was new fashion.  This is the age of politicians that read prepared speeches and act out calculated hand gestures and positive posturing. The age of closed eyes and tight lips, too afraid to speak out against the Attrocities being committed the world over.

 

 

Date & Title Unknown

We etch our hearts across the world, from bathroom stalls to cave walls we impress our intellect upon the world in an attempt to be remembered. Let it all be remembered from a child’s handprint in concrete to the skyscrapers on wall street, let the universe know that haveWe fight against nature to have a history,

 

 

Date & Title Unknown

We live in a world that believes itself smarter and more advanced than that which precedes it.

 

 

On the Road to Nowhere  2/26/2012

It is my belief that there are only a few personality types within the world but an infinite number of variations upon those types.  The first grouping deals with the notions of good and evil; the first type within that grouping is one that is an inherently good person but on occasion performs evil acts while the second type is an inherently bad individual and on occasion performs good acts.  Between these two main types exist an infinite amount of variations due to their experiences, environments, wealth, and knowledge of the world.  We can expand these personalities into the realms of industry where they begin to diversify in terms of how they express their personalities.

 

 

 

Our Children & the Mystery School of the Future    3/14/2012

Maybe it is time to begin to enstill our children with a sense of critical thinking.  Maybe we have diminished our children’s full potential by assuming somehow the best way for them to learn is through repitition and standardized tests.  Instead we might find by integrating subjects like that of Philosophy, Linguistics, Ethics, etc. we would begin to see our children formulating their own ideas at an early age instead of the mere regurgitation of information.  Information and Ideas are two different things and the use there of implies a completely different trajectory or directive.  Information has limits, while ideas are boundless. As technology propels us towards a seemingly boundless reality, we must evaluate as a society what our goals are in terms of intellectual freedom.  Are we interested in nurturing knowledge, wisdom, and a sense of wonderment about the universe or are we content with the notion that parroting information and does the confinement of creativity serve as an adequate education for our children?  I am not proposing that we catapult our children into the clouds but we must create in them an impenetrable intellect which is capable of critically approaching any situation with confidence.  I am not speaking of the hollow confidence that stems from the modern educational practice that everyone is a winner but instead a confidence rooted  in their own ability to critically think about new ideas.  We must level the pyramid and give the so called “higher education”

 

You can follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

 

 

The Temple and the Sacred Geometry of the Human Condition


God the Geometer

From the moment that humans came into the understanding of their own mortality as well as the realization of how little we understood about our surroundings, our origins, and ultimately our destination, we have continually tried to explain the world around us and the meaning of our existence. For centuries the pinnacle of human purpose has been, to construct a better understanding of the mystery which surrounds us. With each successive generation we build another level onto the foundation of our ancestor’s beliefs, ideas, concepts, social constructs, as well as material constructs. As Isaac Newton said “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” It is through this tradition of knowledge and understanding that the world’s religions find their origin. The first undisputed human burial dates to Neanderthal man around 100,000 years ago marking the first time we had abstract thought at least that we know of. It is this abstract thinking which paved the way for religion, science, math, astronomy, architecture and artistic expression.

Architecture, artistic expression and religion are a few of the first examples of human transcendence into complex social structures. The first human architecture began with the need for shelter but later blossomed into the construction of human sacred space in memoriam of the dead, and later for the purpose of reflecting on existence, the heavens, and ultimately a divine reality, this marked the beginning of man’s religious experience. Initially mankind’s architectural capabilities were only as good as it’s comprehension of the elements within it’s surroundings. Fortunately, mankind soon would begin to grasp more complicated and abstract concepts such as math and the sciences, and incorporate his mastery of these new practices into his sacred space which became the cornerstone of human society. Through math and science we were able to create a reflection of the magnificent order that we noticed within the universe.

Leonardo da Vinci - Vitruvian Man

Within mankind’s plethora of sacred space which seems to encompass the whole of human existence, there are many architectural themes which have transcended the many faiths of the world, as well as the centuries. The most prominent of these architectural themes are the square and the circle also known as the quadrature. These two shapes have served as the centerpiece of not only sacred space but also some of the world’s greatest traditions. It is said that all of the people of the planet are to have originated in the same place, so it would only make sense that many of our beliefs would share the same origins as well. In each of the world’s religious traditions we are given a handful of concepts, symbols and signs. If we take a closer look at these symbols and signs we may find that the many different beliefs and spiritual concepts around the world share a possible common origin. These symbols are embedded within the scriptures, art, and architecture of the world’s spiritual traditions and once understood can be recognized within the framework of man’s religious expression.

Freemason

Freemason (Photo credit: 10 Ninjas Steve)

The earth’s most sublime sacred space was designed and built by the world’s most brilliant contributors and amongst these people we find some of the greatest architects and stone masons ever to grace our path. While masonry is the material expression of the art form, freemasonry serves as it’s more abstract and spiritual counterpart. The symbol for freemasonry is the compass and square two tools which are necessary for any great architect and geometer. The compass is on top while the square is on the bottom “as above so below.” The compass is the symbol for the circle which symbolizes perfection and the divine aspect of reality, while the square is the reflection of that divine perfection. A circle is 360 degrees while the square consists of four 90 degree angles which add up to 360 degrees. Within the divine nature, circles are everywhere but the square is of human creation and serves as the building block of human understanding, as well as of the world’s sacred space. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Man’s building block “the square” serves as the reflection for the universe’s building block ‘the circle.” This is a deep understanding within the human consciousness and is projected within our architecture. The “compass and the square” is only one symbol which has many meanings and interpretations but it helps us to more easily recognize the interconnectedness of mankind and the divine reality, and it is my belief that the designers of the world’s sacred space had a deeper understanding of this symbolism and incorporated it into their designs as a way of telling a deeper truth.

This symbolic reality permeates the architecture of much of the world’s sacred space and religions. This symbolic truth is the world religion, which is wrapped in religious dogma from the many faiths of the world. We humans serve as the looking glass of the reality with which we perceive, and although these perceptions can number in the millions there is a single truth which can be recognized through all of the millions of perceptions. Whether it is the conscious effort of the creators of sacred space or if it is a natural progression of truth which we only play a role in creating, the theme still exists. In order for us to be able to see this theme we must take a look at some of the world’s well known religions and their expression of sacred space. For us to clearly recognize the sacred theme of the architects we will begin to look at the three monotheistic faiths and their sacred space as well as a few of the eastern religious traditions.

 

DamascusRomanArch

DamascusRomanArch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Judaism and Christianity have borrowed most of their architectural designs from that of the Romans. The ancient Romans of course are the originators of the roman arch. The Roman arch is a classic example of the circle square mystery that has been previously described. The circle once again is placed on top of the square. This is an example of the dome of the sky which rests upon the firmament of the earth. The Roman arch is of course a magnificent architectural design and is designed as such to be strong architecturally as well as symbolically. This is a design that has been incorporated into many Judaic synagogues as well as Christian churches the world over. Judaism unfortunately has sustained many attacks upon many of the temples and synagogues which it has created leaving the world lacking in terms of historical Judaic sacred space. Fortunately modern times have afforded the Jews a relative sense of peace which has allowed Judaic sacred space to spread.

The largest Synagogue in Germany was built in 1903 and was designed by Johann Hoeniger in Berlin and is known as the Rykestrasse Synagogue. The architectural style is Romanesque and of course incorporates a spectacular Roman arch in the apse which houses a series of smaller arches around the Bema. The most significant of roman arches within sacred space tend to be centered around the most sacred of places within. Of course in the case of the Jewish synagogue the Bema is the place which houses the Torah.

Synagoge Rykestraße

Synagoge Rykestraße (Photo credit: Mesq)

Another beautiful synagogue which has the arch which is as grandiose as that of Rykestrasse is that of the Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris,France. Once again, situated in the apse, is the most sacred of places within the synagogue.

Inside the Great Synagogue of Paris (Rue de la...

Inside the Great Synagogue of Paris (Rue de la Victoire) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As well as incorporating the Roman arch both of these beautiful synagogues also have integrated a gothic architectural style rose window. These rose windows are another example of the perfection represented within the symbolism of the circle. The rose window is a design which has been lifted from Christian sacred space and has been recycled in Jewish architectural designs as well. If we are to look at Jewish architectural designs prior to the advent of the Romanesque style which we see today, we are left with only the written record of the Bible to rely upon, which consists of two particular sacred structures. These of course are the “Tabernacle in the wilderness” and the “Temple of Solomon.” Although neither one of these have within them the mystery of the circle and square they are worth noting because of their importance within the Jewish faith. Both of these sacred places are more significant in the sense that they symbolize the impermanence of the Hebrew lifestyle at the beginning. This is important because it helps to once again illustrate how humans sometimes knowingly and unknowingly incorporate their culture into their architecture.

 

 

 

 

Christianity of course grew out of the Jewish faith and shares many of the same beliefs as well as architectural designs in its sacred space. Christianity of course has a long and admirable tradition of exquisite sacred architecture. From the original early Christian churches to the Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine, and clear into the renaissance we see a religious tradition which has helped to shape the minds and beliefs of a large portion of the modern world. Once again to clearly understand how the symbolism of the circle and square tie into the Christian belief system we must take another look at a few examples. The idea of Christ is that he is God born as a man which is the amalgamation of the human aspect and the divine aspect of reality. This is once again symbolized with a square enclosed by a circle and vice versa. The circle is also a common theme within Christ iconography which can be found within the walls of the Byzantine and eastern orthodox style churches. Christ is usually depicted with a glowing gold orb around his head which is the symbol of the divine light as well as the rising sun (son) which illuminates the world for all to see.

05563_christ_sinai_wiki_466x900

God the Geometer

Another important Christian symbol is that of the fish which has specific meaning within the Christian faith which I will not explain here. But as a side note it is interesting that when a geometer is to construct a perfect square he uses a compass which is ordinarily used to construct a circle. In this particular practice the geometer creates a set of points which he uses as the pivot points for two arcs which intersect and it is at this intersection which he creates a perpendicular. This process is repeated until all four corners of the square are designated by the arcs (for a video detailing this process go to the web link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BSIUx89dgg). These two arcs look extremely close to the design of the Christian fish. This concept of course is only a theory of mine which is not grounded in any evidence. But it is my belief that many of the symbols which we see within the religious traditions of the world are also tied to the secrets of these geometers and architects.

In the case of Christian architecture we once again see the continuation of the Roman arch but in addition to that we see many other symbolic architectural designs which follow our theme. In later Christian architecture we see the proliferation of the Greek cross and Latin cross floor plans. The Greek cross is an equal armed cross while the Latin cross resembles more the cross of the crucifixion. The cross is a powerful symbol and along with being an important Christian symbol it has had many meanings throughout time. It has often been tied to the four cardinal directions as well as holding importance within the Druidic traditions of Britain and Gaul. “Both the Cross and the Serpent were sacred to the Druids, who made the former by cutting off all the branches of an oak tree and fastening one of them to the main trunk in the form of a letter T. This oaken cross became symbolic of their superior deity (Manly P. Hall 47).” At the head of this Latin cross in the case of Christian architecture is the apse of the Church which once again serves as the holiest place within the Cathedral or Church. In the case of the Cathedral it houses not only the Bema where the rights of communion are held but it also seats the Cathedra or the throne of the Bishop. The apse itself is shaped like a semi circle which I believe is another representation of the golden orb or sun which surrounds the head of Christ. It is no wonder that this part of the Church is normally placed in the direction of the East, the place of the rising sun (son). In many cases this apse has not only a semi circular floor plan but is also enshrined by a dome or another roman arch, “as above so below.”

apse pic Cathedr_floorplan_new

Once again we see this concept of the reflection here on earth of the divine reality in the heavens. One of the more magnificent examples of this is the apse within the “Basilica of St. John Lateran” which houses the seat of the Bishop of Rome or the throne of the Pope. At the zenith of the semi circular dome of this apse is a painting of the Godhead Christ with a giant golden orb about his head. Almost all of the Gothic style Cathedrals in Europe are structured on the Latin cross design with this semi circular apse. Just as the symbolic meaning of the gothic style stained glass enshrined Cathedrals is of the womb so I believe the semicircular domed apse in sacred space architecture is a representation of the womb or “original cave” where the essence of humanity and divine reality sprung forth.

English: Basilica of St. John Lateran - apse I...

English: Basilica of St. John Lateran – apse Italiano: Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano – l’abside Polski: Bazylika św. Jana na Lateranie – apsyda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Basilica of St. John Lateran”

Another reoccurring theme is the use of the rose window, a circular window in the wall of the Gothic style church which is made out of stained glass and resembles the shape of the petals of a rose. This window is also referred to as the wheel window as well and is usually encased by a square frame. This squaring of the circular wheel window can be seen in the rose window of the “Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg” which at one point in history was the world’s tallest church. On the Western face of the Strasbourg Cathedral in France sits the rose window above the door of the church. One of the most beautifully intricate examples of the rose window is at Sainte Chapelle in Paris which depicts images of the apocalypse within its tracery. The rose window is said to have found its origins in the oculus of ancient Roman architecture which was a round porthole at the top of a dome. This porthole somewhat is representational of an eye which is where it gets its name. The intricate stained glass of the rose window looks much like the geometrical paintings found in eastern Mandalas which we will take a look at later. Christian architecture is a rich and beautiful tradition which has pulled many of its architectural designs from ancient Rome as well as getting many of its symbolic themes from its neighbors and its own belief system and mythology.

Rose window in Strasbourg Cathedral

Rose window in Strasbourg Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rose window of Strasbourg external Rose Window of Strasbourg internal

Rose window - Upper Chapel - Sainte Chapelle ,...

Rose window – Upper Chapel – Sainte Chapelle , Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rose Window of Sainte Chapelle

Islam is the last of the great Abrahamic traditions which has contributed much to the architecture of sacred space, mathematics and science. Some might even argue that the architecture found in Muslim sacred space is more impressive than that of many of the Christian churches. Where Christianity has dedicated much of its church designs to religious iconography and paintings, Islam has focused its energy on the intricacies of architectural design and geometry. Although many of the beliefs differ between that of Islam and its predecessors a good majority of the beliefs within the three have similarities. These similarities of course can be seen within the many architectural traditions within Islam. In order for us to achieve a clear understanding of Islam’s architectural forms and their similarities to Christianity and Judaism we must take a look at a some of the common architectural themes as well as Islam’s two holiest examples of sacred space; “The Dome of the Rock” and the “Kaaba.” In the process we may find the square and the circle resurfacing as a trait once again of the world’s sacred space.

First let us take a look at the overall floor plan of the Masjid and how it mirrors much of what we have already seen in Christianity and Judaism. There are four major forms of Masjid within Islam.

English: Stone columns - Hypostyle hall of the...

English: Stone columns – Hypostyle hall of the Mosque of Córdoba (Mezquita), Spain Deutsch: Säulensaal der Moschee von Córdoba (Mezquita), Spanien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first style is the Hypostyle Mosques which have many roman style columns creating an arcade set to the backdrop of a large courtyard. Many of the floor plans for mosques are designed with climate in mind since many of them are set in the extreme temperatures of the desert. With a religious culture which spends up to five times a day in the mosque it is important to keep the comfortability of the visitors in mind. The next design of mosque is the Sehan style which dedicates its design to the courtyard that is a part of the former hypostyle design. From there it evolved into the Iwan style masjid which is reminiscent of the Greek cross floor plan of the Eastern Orthodox Church but in the case of the Mosque has the courtyard once again as the centerpiece of the sacred space. Finally we see the spread of the domical mosque which incorporates a series of domes into the overall design of the mosque which has the feel of Byzantine architecture.

mihrab

All of the following designs of mosque and the prayers within the mosque are focused on the mihrab or sacred niche which is situated on the Qibla wall in the direction of Mecca. The mihrab is usually marked by an arched doorway which is another representation of the man and God connection. This of course has many similarities to the apse found within Christian and Judaic sacred space. This is another example of the sacred niche, cave, womb, etc. which tends to be the focus of worship in these religions. Just as in Christian and Judaic architectural style, Islam has what is called a Minbar which is where the Imam leads the prayer this design is of course akin to the Bema. Originally the Mihrab was the throne room in a palace which also reminds us of the Cathedral in the Christian tradition. In the mythology which surrounds Mohammed the leader of the Islamic faith he is said to have received his revelations while meditating in a cave in and around Mecca. This concept of a cave being the source of divine revelation is a reoccurring theme within many of the world’s religions and mythology. Zarathustra is said to have descended out of the cave of a mountain, Plato tells a story called the “Allegory of the Cave” which has many implications into the world’s religion’s as well as contemporary man’s so called sacred space the “man-cave” where modern man looks at so called reality upon the cave wall. The cave is like the womb of the earth which man is born anew. Only within the darkness can you clearly receive the light, many Native American tribes used light deprivation as a way to have shamanic experiences. This idea of the cave, I believe is being shown to us in the apse of Christian architecture and the Islamic mihrab which is the focus of man’s worship. Just as the mihrab and apse is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the church or mosque. So is the church or mosque the microcosm of the mythical cave of these mythologies. We must go within ourselves to better understand the world outside and this is the idea of the church, mosque, or temple, it is a place for introspection and reflection.

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock (Photo credit: myheartinpalestineII)

Dome of the Rock

If we take a look at the floor plan and design of the “Dome of the Rock,” which is a holy site for not only Muslims but Christians and Jews as well, we see that it is a dome which is centered on an octagonal building situated around a rock which is said to be the place of Mohammed’s ascension into heaven as well as the place where Abraham almost sacrificed his son. The octagon is another popular design in religious architecture and can be designed by overlaying two perfect squares in a criss cross pattern, another interesting feature of the octagon is that you can place a circle around the perimeter of the octagon and the circle will touch each point of every angle. The octagon itself is a symbol of regeneration and renewal and in Christian churches it usually marks the place where baptism is held. If we are to look at the Islamic faith it is believed that Mohammed brought to the world the renewal of the ancient religious texts of Christianity and Judaism, because as Muslims, they believe these texts had been tainted by the hands of men throughout time. Of course the dome situated in the center of the building we have talked about previously and it is my belief that the symbolism is still the same within Islamic architecture. Outside of the basic structure of this masjid the exterior is covered in beautiful multicolored tile as well as inlayed marble which is said to be the precious remains of Solomon’s Temple. The Dome of the Rock is one of the more beautiful contributions of man and it is unfortunate that it is the source of so many modern social problems.

Kaaba quadrature

Kaaba at Mecca (quadrature of worshippers surrounding the cube)

The Kaaba in Mecca is the holy center of the Islamic faith, and is the focal point of all Muslim prayers. While the architecture found in Islam can be some of the most impressive in the world, the Kaaba on the other hand has a much more humble design. It is a cube shaped structure which is visited by millions of Muslims everyday. Within the Kaaba is held another rock which has been kissed and touched by millions of Muslims throughout history. The cube is said to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael and is a place for Hajj (pilgrimage) for all Muslims. The cube of course is the square which we have focused much of our attention, what is interesting about this particular religious site is that the people serve as the symbol of the circle as they circumambulate the building seven times. As well, there is a sacred space between the cube and a wall shaped like an arch on the northern side where no Muslim is permitted to pass through during the procession. Once again we are able to see this ongoing theme throughout the sacred space of the world. While these are the most important examples of Islamic architecture and the symbolism hidden within there are many other examples within Islamic sacred space.

The Sanchi stupa in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh bui...

The Sanchi stupa in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh built by Emperor Ashoka the Great in the third century BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally if we take a glance at a few examples of the sacred space of the eastern religious traditions we see that the squaring of the circle is not isolated to the Abrahamic traditions. In the Buddhist tradition most of the sacred space is a structure known as a Stupa. The Buddhist Stupa is literally a mound of earth in the shape of a circle which is surrounded by a square building. The Stupa is an ancient form of the Mandala which has its roots in the Hindu faith. The Mandala is a geometric design with ornately painted scenes embedded within the squared circle and it is sometimes used as the focus of meditation. “In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts, as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. (Wikipedia).” The Stupa is said to symbolize the enlightenment of the Buddha in the Buddhist tradition. It seems to be a common theme to erect a sacred building to remember the enlightenment or divine revelation of man.mandala

masjid e shah Chartres

The Mandala, the Masjid e Shah interior dome, and the Rose window of the Cathedral in Chartres France.

While Hindu architecture does not necessarily derive its designs from the square and circle archetypes that we have discussed thus far it is necessary to note that there is a feature within Hindu sacred space which has a correlation to a point discussed earlier. The GarbhaGriha is the most sacred of places within the Hindu temple and is the resting place of the yoni and lingam which are the symbols of the female and male generative aspects of the universe. The square has also been interpreted as the male aspect of the universe while the circle is the female and the two overlaid upon each other is a symbol of the generative aspect of the universe as well. It is also interesting to note that the meaning of GarbhaGriha is womb chamber which correlates back to the notion of the mihrab, apse, and sacred space as a whole being a symbol of the womb as we have touched on previously.

yoni and lingham in Garbhagriha

yoni and lingham in Garbhagriha

It is clear that the world’s religious traditions have been the centerpiece of human self discovery and contemplation. The sacred space found within the faiths of the world are a sort of blossoming flower which continues to open up in a million different ways. There are many differences which we may be able to find amongst the religions of man but on the other hand it is clear that there are many similarities between each and every one of us. No matter what faith you hail from, there is an underlying story which is told time and time again. The notion of birth, life, death, and rebirth is a familiar story which we see in nature everyday with the sun as it travels through the sky. The seasons as well serve as a symbol of renewal every year. Just as the story of Jesus reminds us of Mithras and Heracles before him, the story still tells us the divine reality which is all around us. Whether it is the Divine reality or the mundane we cross over between the two worlds during this life into the next. The symbols with which we adorn our temples only tell a deeper human story which we take part in during this life and the next. Architecture, mathematics, religion and science are some of man’s greatest discoveries which we have dedicated a lot of our time to helping us explain the mystery of the universe and the meaning of our existence. The squaring of the circle is man’s attempt to try and wrap his brain around the mystery of the divine reality with which we are entwined. It is through our explanations and our artistic expression where we see some of the world’s most beautiful structures and this is what I believe is the true nature of sacred space.
Just. B.

 

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The Search for Self and the Art of Becoming


if2207_gotchange_th_1

Photo Credit: Imaginary Foundation

The human condition is a volatile and unforgiving endeavor and for most of us we find ourselves swept into the undulating waves of change.  It is Change which is the only constant for many of us, as we watch the scene, plot and characters of our story evolve in front of our eyes.  We ride upon the violent waters of our life in hopes of climbing the rising tide, but the storm riddled waters remind us of our  mortality and for many this reality can be paralyzing.  The passing scenes and fruitless dreams become the story that we manufacture; it is our attempt to breathe meaning into the dusty corners of our hallways, these meaningless stretches of our existence, soon brought to life with the aid of human imagination.  Our stories become larger with each telling and we become the story that we have woven with our words.  Our memories are no longer remnants of factual evidence but rather become chimeric contrivances of the imagination.  Memory becomes the unintentional lie with which we fabricate our life story.  So what is our Truth? Can we know the truth of our life in memories and dreams?  Can we believe the dreams of a future unwritten and do the memories of an evolving past give us any indication as to the nature of our true self?  This cannot be who we are but rather who we wish to be, these stories assist us in constructing an illusion of self.  Who we are has nothing to do with our past, that is only who we were and can never be again, as the moment has already passed.  Who we are, is what is happening right now.  So who are you?  Are you the person you wish to be? If you must answer by telling the past or dreaming a future, then you have yet to become.  We are all in the act of becoming and who we are has to do with the choices we make.  Become the greatness that you seek and dream only when you sleep, as the present is passing and if left unattended shall become the story at your wake.  Ride the rising tide of your life and pay no attention to the deep waters of despair and dread.  Have the courage to stand, when asked to sit, speak when all are quiet, act as if your life depended on it, because the truth is, it does depend on it.  Every action lays the foundation of your self and it requires only action for you true story to be told.  Let the works of your life create the story that you seek and don’t give in to the resistance, because destiny is not for the weak.

Just. B.

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Cultivate and Create the Dreams You Anticipate


 

Dream Goes On

Dream Goes On (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to the end, what has all the fuss been about? The end is not loud, just a silent truth in the back.  It looks the same as it always has, just a life and a dream.  A dream sometimes neglected in hopes of something better to be gained.  “The best come to those who wait” they say.   But a lifetime of wait, leaves only regret at the wake.  Welcome to the end of the World, there is no way out, just a silent empty room and a choice.   A choice we will all have to face.  A choice to hide eyes from indecency and inaction, or  take responsibility for the life we have manufactured.  It is time we open our eyes and acknowledge the truth, that we only have one chance, to do it right in this life.  Do something great and all your dreams may come true, but hide from yourself and all it has been is a ruse.  If it is the end of the world that you anticipate, then it is true, all good things do come to those who will wait.  But there is something much richer if you are willing to act, a dream manifested that has forever impact.  We all can make a difference upon the world if we choose but it requires some action, so don’t sit around and think but stand up and just do.  We cannot continue waiting around for the change we anticipate, but instead must become change and create something great.  Change your mind, change your life and subsequently you will change the world.  Out of the ashes of the old, the new world will arise.   It is a world that inspires others to rise and remove their disguise.   Test the boundaries of  belief and walk outside the lines of your cultural confines.  Deconstruct all the lies that have been given to you and manifest your own understanding of what it is you must do.  Stop with all the answers and start questioning everything, because the truth is, none of us really know anything. Let go of your silly assumptions about the nature of reality, embrace your ignorance and let go of the insanity.   While you ride on this rock around the light of a million nuclear explosions, take a moment to bask in the rays of pure astonishment.   Cultivate a new consciousness, free from lies and deceit, become the center of your Universe and take a moment to breathe.  You are the Truth and all things emerge from pure action and although it is important to reflect, the true beauty is in the act.  So get out and change the world everyday, this is the real truth of our existence, this is our playground so get out and play.

 

Just. B.

 

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“We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself…”


English: This artist’s impression shows how UL...

English: This artist’s impression shows how a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, may have looked.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl Sagan once said that “we are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.”  It is through this beautiful truth that we may find the inspiration for our own individual becoming.  It is this becoming, this blossoming of the human spirit which has the ability to change the world and alter the course of reality in so many profound ways.  We can all become a reflection of the glimmering pool of the Universe, a builder of dreams, a vast and wondrous mystery which captures the imagination and sets the course of human history towards new paths of self-discovery.   Each of us holds within us a piece of the cosmos, a new reality which we can either hide from the world or graciously give back to that which we are apart of.  But, there is a choice.  It is a choice which we are perpetually presented with throughout the course of our individual existence.  It is the choice to either become a generative force or one of destruction. We “hold the power in our mortal hands to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life” as John F. Kennedy once said.  We are all beautiful and unique creatures, of creation and for creation, springing forth from the big bang of cosmological consciousness. We are the essence of the creative cosmos etching our existence into the stars for all to experience.  It is our purpose to improve upon that which has been handed to us, for the future of humankind. To be a positive force in the lives of those around us, to be the leaders of a new society, inspiring the world to become something better than what it currently is.  In our endeavor to cultivate creativity we must not forget to cherish all forms of human life and to champion the pursuits of Knowledge and Truth.  We have a choice.  A great friend once told me that there is of course nothing wrong with collecting a lifetime of good choices.  So the choice is yours to either inspire or inhibit, to love or hate, to create or destroy.  We stand upon the edge of our own history looking toward an uncertain future of possibility.

Everyone wants so dearly to be remembered and so much of the human story is our attempts to be immortalized through our relationships, our love, our power, our works, our story…   So take the time to be remembered, inspire the world, love because its the perfect thing to do and create for all to enjoy.

Just. B.

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Destruction, Self-Transformation and the Waves of Change


Ukiyo-e coloured woodcut by Hokusai

Ukiyo-e coloured woodcut by Hokusai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We live in a culture of violence, the children of each generation baptized by war, American dreams built upon the lost lives of cowardice and courage.  In the land of the free, milk and honey runs red with the blood of humans, not only Americans but humans.  How much tragedy at the hand of our triumphs must the world endure before we realize that this banality of barbarism is consuming us from within?   Our government by some estimates is currently projecting anywhere from 700 billion to 1.4 trillion dollars dedicated on defense this year.  We spend more per year on defense than the following thirteen countries that have the next largest defense budgets combined.

Global defense budgets, 2011

A chart published Tuesday by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation compares U.S. defense spending in 2011 with the combined spending of the 13 countries with the next largest defense budgets, using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. (Peter G. Peterson Foundation / October 23, 2012)

 Regrettably, we have become warmongers exercising diplomatic destruction to all those who oppose. Government corruption has and still continues to sell conflict to the country which is supposedly rooted in the fight for freedom.  Who’s freedom? Freedom for whom? Our freedoms continue to be incrementally stripped away while we impose our imperial freedom upon the world.  Is the path to freedom and peace achieved by the barrel of a gun?  Is it possible that the only path towards social progress and human advancement is through vice and violence?

Every facet of our society is being consumed by a culture of corruption.  Our government no longer represents a good natured will to help their people, corporations clamor for cash and leave ethics for ivory tower academic discussion and debate, the pursuits of our pharmaceutical and healthcare industries revolve around the creation of healthy wallets instead of healthy people.  It is a corruption of our principles and ethics which has led us towards a path of self-destruction.  In this culture of complacency it would seem that we have become merely individual socioeconomic batteries for the empowerment of empire?   It is our human responsibility to be more than just units of production perpetuating destruction and deception.  Each of us are responsible for the future of our world, and we cannot sit back and wait for our heroes to surface.  We are the heroes with which we wait so patiently for.

Change begins with each one of us redeveloping our perspective to encompass the hopes and dreams of all people, not just our own selfish pursuits.  It is up to each of us to choose whether to continue this culture of complacency or change our path from that of destruction to construction. It is our responsibility, to each other, to build businesses that are interested in providing a service for the community rather than merely making money for ourselves.  We must be interested in selling what we believe in and buying from companies that are concerned about the global community, not just their corporate profits.  We have to take the time to care about our government and make sure that the votes and money that we give them is allocated to programs which reflect our values.  If we dedicated as much time, money and energy to domestic issues as we have dedicated to the war machine, we might possibly live up to the title of “the land of the free.”   Change will come only when we the people decide to introduce it.  So, Create instead of Consume – Improve instead of Impede – Love instead of Hate – and stand up for something greater than yourself and change will come.

Just. B.

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Pussy Riot, Propaganda & the Political Rebellion


People Power

Someone long ago realized the waning patience of the mob and learned to appease that mob through the implementation of rapid and perpetual change. We never quite root our dispositions, due to our fear of lagging behind the great swarm of popular culture.  In the nation of the “Alternating Kings” our attention is perpetually directed towards the next big story, the next new candidate, the next one hit wonder of political progress.  It is like a convenience store of candied entertainment that tempts as much as it confuses. In this house of mirrors we wander and fumble through long halls of propagandistic political pandering, ticker tapes of troubles and terrorism, and slogans and slurs that strive to mislead.  Instead of standing still we move faster, bumping into the flashing images of our distorted reflection.  We search for a way out but are led deeper into the maze of distortion.  We are led to rally around an argument, or a worldview for the purpose of goals not necessarily known to us.  We believe that it is our duty to continue public discourse, to fight for our team’s agenda, to know and to hold opinions concerning all that we are led to understand.  But let us be clear, we are not the producers of public opinion as much as we are the consumers of it.  It is this misconception that leads us to believe we wield control, rather than being wielded by it.

Recently the rally call has revolved around a band of women who call themselves Pussy Riot.  Three members of this band  have been imprisoned for politically protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The question is “Who is driving the rally call and for the achievement of what goals are we meant to rally around?”  Washington has been pushing this anti-Russian/pro-human rights campaign since the beginning of this fiasco.   But the question still remains; is our government rallying the body politic on behalf of human rights, or is it perpetuating anti-Russia rhetoric and propaganda?  When faced with testing one’s character, you only have to look at their track record to find whether they are to be trusted or not.  It is true there was a time in our illustrious history when our leaders were concerned about human rights and fighting against those who would seek to inhibit the freedoms of the people.  But given the recent actions of our government’s nation building, war-mongering and non-constitutional law-making like that of the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, it is clear that they are more interested in perpetuating their agenda, which only includes human rights violations when it benefits them.  The goals of government should coincide with that of its people, but as I said before many of the images we see and are shown in this house of mirrors are distorted and fail to truly represent who we are and what we believe.

I am, of course concerned about the actions of the Russian government and feel that it is important for us all to fight on behalf of free speech and peaceful political dissidence, but I refuse to come to the aid of a bully who masks its campaign by pandering to its people and their ideals by the political manipulation of a commendable act by a group of women that deserve more respect for their actions.  Before I heed the battle call, I must first see that my government is concerned with the human rights violations that it perpetrates against its own citizens, before I will believe that it is truly concerned for the rights of three members of a punk band named Pussy Riot.  I am not interested in spineless spokespeople, but rather I am looking for leaders that would fight for human rights even when it is unpopular and dangerous.  To the members of Pussy Riot, fight the good fight, and we hope for leaders that might share your courage.  To our Leaders; we ask that you recall the courage of our forefathers who stood against a tyranny, only interested in the consolidation of wealth and power.  Our predecessors stood for the rights of the people and they were consistent and forthright in their attempts at a better world.  This is all we look for in our leaders, so do without the rhetoric and the propaganda and give us a country worth fighting for.  Surrender your arms to the will of the people and we will gladly walk into battle for you.  There are protests in our streets akin to the protesting of Pussy Riot, and why is it that you are not as concerned with what your own people are saying to you. Until “We the People” experience true representation and leadership that we require for a free nation, we will follow suit with protests like that of Pussy Riot, we will continue the political rebellion against petty propaganda and the despotism that is slowly beginning to dominate U.S. politics.  I stand in peaceful protest against the ills of our current political system, in hopes that there are more like I, that are willing to take steps to help change the landscape of our political paradigm.  An Evolution of worldview is only possible through the rigorous examination of the current model and the offering up of new ideas.  Stand, Rebel, & Evolve.

Just. B.

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