Ah, there’s a serious problem with PerlMUD. I can freeze everyone if I do something that waits for any length of time. So, when I update my blog, the entire system pauses. This is not a good thing.

Well, so I can now do journal entries via my MUD, of which this is one.

So, long, and thanks for all the paychecks …

Not completely unexpected, but a shocker in how abrupt and unannounced it arrived, I was laid off yesterday afternoon.

Working for a non-profit, making an open source library automation tool, I vaguely thought that I was insulated from the tech slowdown, economic downturn. However, I was not.

Certainly, I can continue to work on it, assuming I can continue to eat. It’s a good project in several senses of the term, and there’s definitely some big people interested in it. However, that interest isn’t going to help until January at the earliest.

I can survive a couple months. Good thing we opted out of the Christmas list thing this year. That was a little prescient.

Current Mood: disappointed

My dream time travel destination? The library of Alexandria

A long time ago, I was in an unpublished role playing game that allowed for time travel. A discussion developed about where people would go if they could travel in time. Some people predictably said they would travel to the time when Christ was alive, someone tried to be at least slightly inventive and said they’d travel to the battle of Troy.

My answer? Above all the places I’d travel … to the Library of Alexandria, before it was burned. The stuff they might have had there boggles the mind.

Looks like I’ll might get my chance to go … if it survives Fundamentalism … and fires.

Current Music: DJ Lenny Ray – All Out Trance Vol. 1 DI Version (D I G I T A L L Y – I M P O R T E D – European Trance, Techno, Hi-NRG… we can’t define it!)

It’s tomorrow

Rush Hour 2 wasn’t worth the money to see. Wait for it on video. Chris Tucker needs a new character to play and he should try to get more professional, clearly.

Current Music: Bj̦rk РVerandi

Wow, I won something!

It appears that I just won a cardboard box of left over video game crud from IGN Insider. I wonder what will be in there?

Current Mood: shocked
Current Music: Björk & Trio Guðmundar Ingólfssonar – Luktar-Gvendur

Indeed.

You like music? Music’s been very very good to me.

Current Music: Tool – Part Of Me (Portland)

One good test

… deserves another. Isn’t it wonderful how creative geeks are? There’s no sense of a thing being a first of anything. I bet the first e-mail ever sent over the Internet was something as bland as “this is a test” and nothing more.

Current Mood: amused

Freemasonry …

I’m looking for information about the system mentioned in Symbols of Freemasonry which, instead of being about Hiram and the Temple of Jerusalem, was supposedly about the building of the Tower of Babel, also switching King Solomon for King Nimrod.

I ran across some interesting pages whicle looking for this. Apparently, there’s some evidence that the origin of Masonry around 1717 was a 2 degree system, not a 3 degree system, nor did it have all the additional Royal Arch degrees which are the Hiramic degrees. [A Pragmatic Masonic History by Leo Zanelli]

That kind of makes me wonder if the Tower of Babel degrees were not a precursor to the Hiramic degrees, but rather one of the mentioned systems a la mode.

“They were the arm of Freemasonry, which called themselves Jacobins. (8) The Jacobin cries of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” led the first major accomplishment of illuminized Freemasonry, The French Revolution. The Jacobins named a rebellious ex-Jesuit, Adam Weishaupht, “Grand Patriot”. (9) Weishaupht embraced the occult mysteries and organized The Order of the Illuminati in 1776. By 1778 he infiltrated Masonry as a fully-initiated Master Mason. He then inducted the influential European elite of Masonry into the Illuminati—600 men by 1783. (10) On the other side of the Atlantic, mystical Masons were under siege by the occult Illuminists. The Illuminists saw America as the 13th step in evolution, and America’s spiritual destiny as accomplishing world union in the spirit of liberty, equality, and fraternity. (11) By 1789 the mystical Masonry of the New World succumbed to the occult one-world vision of the Weishaupht Illuminati, the guardians of the Ancient Mysteries of Nimrod.”

Yes, Virginia, Freemasonry is a religion by Mac Dominick

And here, all this time, I’ve looked at the Jacobean tartan as a kind of retared cousin to the “real” tartans …

From the same site, here’s an interesting rant about the idea of Freemasonry having an Inner and Outer Temple.

Oh, yeah, now I remember something else, from reading a little bit from the Matthew Cooke Manuscript, about Nimrod sending workers, masons, to work on the Temple of Jerusalem, to help King Solomon. Well, so there’s a reference, and it’d be easy to assume in that some kind of transfer of reference from Babel to Jerusalem. Perhaps this had to do with the sciences on the two pillars, and such, and then is really the two degree system, not something more. If the dating of that MS. is accurate, then the Babel verions must have been very, very old, since that’s several hundred years earlier than the 1717 Grand Lodge.

At any rate, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon’s site, which I’ve mentioned before, as a nice set of writings to gander through.

On Pythagorean readings …

I can see the beginning of what I think of as the stoic viewpoint in statements like those made in some of the fragments of ethical writings by Archytas in Guthrie’s Pythagorean Library.

“The good man, in my opinion, is he who knows how to act properly in serious circumstances and occasions. he will therefore know how to support good and bad fortune; in brilliance and glorious condition, he will show himself worthy of it, and if fortune happens to change, he will also know how to accept properly his actual fate.”

Archytas in The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, Guthrie, ed.

Of course, that’s a lot like being stoic and accepting what’s handed down the pike. The stoics, to me, stink of the same kind of degenerated ethical elitism as in the philosophy of people like Ayn Rand, who in my opinion has become nothing more than an excuse for individual hedonism, if her work was ever anything more at all. It’s all an excuse for not taking any responsibility for the state of things, or at least some kind of ethereal detachment from reality.

Anyhow, the exhortation to handle fortune’s favours in proportion to them, makes sense to me. I’m not sure it’s very profound, however. There was a point when I wanted to behave in a particularily human fashion. I don’t mean “human” as in falible, but human as in not to behave like a primate. I’m not sure that I figured out exactly what that meant, but I do remember that I’d determined that one of the traits of primates was to turn the head when looking at things. This then is a form of what stereotypical tourists do, gawking and craning their necks around. In particular, since large apes like the Gorilla, cannot really crane their necks around at all, I’d figured it a simple continuum to restricting movement to the eyes only as much as possible. I still find myself attempting to not use more than the movement of my eyes to gaze at the things around me.

I’ve been accused many times of being hard to read, or at least on some level, very opaque when it comes to what my thinking is on subjects. I certainly don’t think of myself as stoic, but definitely guarded. I’m sure that’s an example of not being quick to passion, but I think it leads to behavior that appears to come out of nowhere, when I finally express emotive content.

Now, Archytas holds that the difference between the good man and the happy man is that the good man is good due to virtue and the happy man is happy due to being fortunate. Whereas fortune is subject to uncontrolable fluctuations, the virtue of a good man is not. He also appears to claim that the good man is inherently also a happy one. [Guthrie] I find it hard to believe that proof, as the good man, full of virtue becomes the welcome mat of the individual hedonists and of less ethical people. That’s happiness? Philosophies that advocate acceptance of circumstance seem to be excuses for failure or at least convenient for the winners of any contest to have opponents with such views. However, even at that, there’s something to it all, not necessarily to meet adversity with meek acceptance, but to meet adversity and fortune as in should be met, appropriate to the circumstances. That’s not being meek, but reacting in proportion to the act.

Reminds me of the question I had at times about the idea of “moderation in all things.” Simply put, does that mean moderation in all things, or rather moderation in all things? I tend to think it’s the former, and that the latter is the kind of trap I think was laid by Alester Crowley in “Do what thou wilt.” It seems to me that most people in reading Crowley, end up decyphering his work as saying that one should do whatever one feels like doing or whatever one wants to do, which is tantamount to the same kind of pathetic hedonism of most followers of Any Rand. However, the trick is, I think, Crowley meant to trap people wishing to take to easy way out, but there’s a deeper understanding to be had if one realizes that by saying “wilt” he means that one would do what one’s Will commands, being the higher self. So, in this view, the statement “Do what thou wilt” means to follow one’s true vocation. Understanding that makes it unecessary to bother with the wiccan prefix of “And it harm none …”

The thing I think Archytas is talking about is not to be emotionless nor to be a bending reed in the wind, but rather to meet fortune with right action, by following one’s vocation. I mean, basically, that’s the middle path between Mercy and Severity toward self improvement in the fashion of bringing more light to the world.

Early freemasonry …

So, interestingly, after thinking about the state of Freemasonry in the 1800’s I ran across a statement about the frission between mystic groups that append to every religion, the Gnostics to Christianity, the Kabbalists to Judaism, the Sufi to Islam, etc …

“All these mystic groups were disliked by the establishment and by the clergy — be it Christian, Islamic or Jewish — which claimed to represent them. For institutions require devoted followers not mystical seers, because what they seek is power, not truth.”

Symbols of Freemasonry by Daniel Bèresniak

That’s a pretty bold statement. I’m thinking that there’s a bit of pride to this whole thing, a kind of over statement of the real problem.

Wouldn’t it be inevitable for the power hungry to desire entry into the powerful society, and that society then runs into some inescapable dialectic between integrity versus survival and compromise?

Obviously powerful people would wield their wrath, being, in my view, rather self-centered and somewhat resembling a textbook ethical egoist, against any group which dared to keep a certain ethical purity by not letting such a person in. Certainly this isn’t a non-obvious dilemma. I suppose by having veil upon veil internally there would be ways to misdirect such a person, seeking merely to advance and gain power, as opposed to getting anything useful out of their membership.

So, perhaps that was the later development, in answer: the inner and outer societies. Using a society, as did Wieshaupt’s Illuminati use the Freemasons, as a filter, might be a way to re-direct those ambitious persons toward what they desired access to without creating a mess for everyone else.

The conspiracy theorist might have it the other way round, I suppose, where the ambitious are filtered away from those ethereal, ineffective mystics.

In a side note, I find it interesting that the previously mentioned “Symbols of Freemasonry” mentions Lodges which are a combination of Males and Females. After reading in Johnston’s works how important that division was, I find that a surprise. Of course, the book is a translation from French, so represents the French lodges … and we all know how those French are.

Semi-non sequitur: The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon has a very nice website.

Check out their page on Palmer Cox and The Brownies.