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Blog Posts by Subject: Metaphysics

Smoking: A Love Story

I just quit smoking for the fifthJon Hamm in Mad Men time. For me, it's all or nothing. I could never be one of those people — dilettantes! — who are able to smoke socially and then go for indefinite periods of time without a cigarette. I suppose this has to do with physiology, personality, and the times in which I grew up.

In one of my earliest memories, I'm sitting on the living room floor, my dad is smoking a cigar, and sunlight is flooding through the picture window illuminating the variegated blue, gray, and purple layers of smoke. I was mesmerized! 

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Wonderfully Odd Movies

My favorite stories are the ones about the ordinary people who, while going about their daily lives, encounter strange and/or inexplicable events. How they behave in the midst of weirdness is more interesting than the phenomenon itself. I've always been a sucker for a well-told vampire tale. (Sorry!) Or an off-center ghost story or strange-baby story... Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite, wonderfully odd movies.   Ricky, a film by Francois Ozon based on Rose Tremain's short ... Read More ›

Terence McKenna and the Logos

Terence Kemp McKenna, by Entropath, Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes naked Sometimes mad Now the scholar Now the fool Thus they appear on earth: The free men. — Hindu verse from Avadhoota Gita

Terence McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000), America's most beloved psychonaut, bard, ethnobotanist, folk hero, and freewheeling philosopher, rose to fame in the 

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A Secret Commonwealth: The Otherworld in Nonfiction

Most people have experienced brushes with the Otherworld, that liminal place where dimensions overlap and reality shimmers, shivers, and breaks apart: seeing ghosts, dreaming "true" dreams, meeting that strange and uncannily helpful "person" at just the right moment... These situations are more common than we collectively admit — but attitudes are shifting. According to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, "The paranormal is no longer a fringe subject. Need proof? Only 32 percent of Americans report no 

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Far Memory: Ancient Egypt Through Western Eyes

Ancient Egypt has long held a fascination for the West. The idea of Egypt was transmitted to Roman culture through Greek accounts, and after Late Antiquity, existed in the European imagination as an exotic and ancient location in the Bible's Old Testament account of the 6th century BCE Israelite diaspora.

The Western Mystery Tradition had its earliest beginnings in the cult of Isis, which reached Rome in the 

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Fiction of the Paranormal

"And she proceeded to burn perfume..." [Gulnare of the sea]. Picture Collection, NYPL. Digital ID: 1704102.From ghost-hunting reality-TV shows to feature films like The Hereafter, the paranormal has gone mainstream. Book publishing, too, has jumped on the paranormal bandwagon.

Paranormal buffs can now chose from a plethora of series, thrillers, and detective stories, as well as stories about ghosts, zombies, vampires, witches, and faeries. 

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The Question of Science Fiction: Utopias

"All profound life is heavy with the impossible."                                                   —Georges Bataille

If you're anything like me, you'll be walking down the street thinking about science fiction and think to yourself, "Say, what is the 

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