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Showing posts from November, 2017

Hippies and Charismatics: From the Sixties to Here

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Loving people is so much more fun than trying to convert them, I promise you. The article linked below is a description of an aspect of the Charismatic Christian revival of the sixties and seventies that happened as part of a wider movement of longing for peace and a better world. And the article mentions my church. Jesus People Revolution: Meet the 60s hippies who changed the world That wider global movement had a resurgence in the nineties expressed in electronic dance music, seeking a genuine culture of love, with a parallel within the Charismatic movement called the Toronto blessing. For an interesting look at the youth culture around the nineties the film " Human Traffic " is very good. Unfortunately Evangelicism, which started so genuinely in love and was more evident in the house church movement of the sixties not covered directly in this article, seems (as a movement) moribund in dogma, commercialism and being defined by what it is against. There are stil

Internet Security I: Cryptography and the Darknet

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Jung uses the term synchronicity as a synonym for magick. Internet Security Part I: Cryptography and the Darknet Internet Security Part II: Slowing Things Down Internet Security Part III: Salting Your Hashes A friend recently posted to Facebook a link to an article on the wall of lava lamps responsible for security for an estimated ten percent of the world's internet traffic. A Giant Wall of Lava Lamps The lava lamps provide entropy, a source of true randomness, vital to encryption at heart of internet security. The lava lamp story is a true story and only about as weird as we have come to expect from reality. As a software engineer who has spent part of his career developing web applications I have to know the basics of internet security, and actually it is a wondrous thing. The two most important things to know about internet security, as a software engineer, is first that it's important and second that you don't write your own security code. Or a

Religious Experience

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There is something beautiful waiting to be expressed in technology. Writing about why I believe in God, and why I think it's a rational belief, is difficult. So many of my friends seem determined to pour scorn on this idea and are determined to tear down any such explanation. What's more they can seem determined to misunderstand as they have a desperate need for it not to be rational in order not to have to think about it. Others would like to understand, but the idea of God is so far from their experience and view of the world that pouring scorn seems the right response to them and is an ingrained habit. The heart of the belief in God that I was taught is that ultimately the universe is good and that we are loved, and this is called God. It provides a creation story, where we came from and a reason to exist, so it provides a whole mindset and a way to see the world. A faith in Christianity can provide a stable mindset, a stable psyche, and a way of seeing the world that

The Copper of Darkest Ohio

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The pure abstract maths emerges from reality through understanding. Tonight I'm going shooting with my 70 year old ex-copper neighbour. He's a member of the Sywell rifle club, which confusingly enough shoots in Wellingborough in the winter. Mike has some interesting stories, twice he was first on scene for a murder. As a traffic cop he held several people as they died. He remembers telling one young man the truth, that he was going to die, and it seemed to bring him peace. What hard things to have seen. My only interesting recent copper story is from my visit to The Mosaic Experiment this summer, in darkest Ohio. It was actually October, but when it wasn't raining it was glorious sun. Summer's last hurrah. We were deep in Amish country, un-made up roads and horse and buggies everywhere. The festival itself was in an old strip mine, fields of razor grass cut into the countryside and only used for extravagant parties and boy scout expeditions. The friends I'

Positive Nihilism: A Fallback Philosophy

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In my youth I was troubled by an unbearable desire. In the years since I have learned to bear it. Assuming God, for merely a moment, and if we accept that God didn't create herself, then the question of who created God - of why anything exists at all - simply cannot be answered. Like a child any answer you might think of can simply be responded to with "but why?". In the end we have to admit we have no idea because there can't be an answer. Why anything exists at all must forever be a complete mystery. As far as I can tell even God can't know because there can't be an answer. It just is. This reminds me of the lovely philosophy Positive Nihilism. It's not necessarily the philosophy I ascribe to, although I think it may be possible to prove that it's functionally equivalent to the philosophy I do ascribe to. Positive Nihilism does however make a good fallback philosophy, even if you question everything else this is still true. If there's no i

Wuthering Drunks

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To all who I once loved, and who once loved me. I still love you. I mourn and I grieve for the ones I have lost. I've had a funny relationship with alcohol, by which I mean I'm not convinced I like it very much. I've been drunk, good and roaring drunk, once in the last twenty or so years. It was great fun. The trouble is that I don't like being a bit drunk, my head gets a bit slippy-slidy and my stomach complains. Unfortunately it's pretty difficult to get from sober to very drunk without going through the "a bit drunk" phase. I usually try and pace myself so I don't get too drunk and end up not-very-drunk-at-all. Which isn't so bad. The time I managed to get roaring drunk was at a conference social gathering in Poland. I was with friends but I wasn't feeling very sociable. The conference organisers had laid on drinks, which mostly meant vodka. The Polish like vodka. They were serving it in shots with a dollop of raspberry coulis at th

Short Meditations IV: Romance, Telepathy, Intuition and the Pain at the Centre of the Heart

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Gravity waves exist. The thunderclap of creation that resonate across infinity. Romance I'm not a great believer in romance. Now hold on a minute before you decide "poor Delia", although for all I care you've already decided that anyway. What I mean is this. I don't think romance exists as a separate or distinct aspect of life. I think romance is, at heart, the warm, affectionate, friendly and intimate display of love. The demonstration that you really know and care about another person. To couple that with the expectation of sex, or even merely to place it in that context, and therefore to limit it only to relationships of that nature is a great and unnecessary limitation. Be warm and affectionate with everyone you care about, and care about as many people as you are able. Of course, those you know the most deeply and those with whom you share the deepest intimacies, these you can share the most beautiful romance with. Telepathy Telepathy exists,

Social Evolution and the Struggle for Survival

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Socialism isn't something you believe in, it's something you do. The lense of "struggle for survival as base imperative for behaviour and therefore character" provides an interesting perspective on the topic of social evolution. It particularly sheds light on what some call the patriarchy and I, perhaps controversially, think is a more general manifestation of authoritarianism perpetuated and participated in by both men and women (although benefiting men for reasons explored below) and which is at its root the rule of force. Conforming to societal norms is a survival trait. When individual survival depends on the protection of the community, being perceived as a member of the community becomes a necessity. As a psychological trait, beliefs and attitudes that we require in order to survive we take on and identify with, they become our values and part of our character. Therefore we perpetuate those social norms in our attitudes and behaviour as it becomes part of

A Cheesy Article About My Cat Rosie and the Animal Nature

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It seems to me that we're all about as well as can be expected given the circumstances. Rosie has good taste. I share with her a passion for cheese. Amongst our favourite cheeses are Parmesan and Cambozola. I've always loved dogs, we had a beautiful golden blonde slender golden retriever called Toffee when I was a child (a slightly tragic story that I may tell sometime) who loved me and whom I loved with all my heart. It was only when I was in my forties that I discovered I'm really a cat person. That shouldn't really have come as a surprise, did I ever mention that I'm a Leo born in the year of the Tiger, but it did. If treated with love, dogs offer unconditional love and loyalty which is truly lovely. Historically cats were domesticated much more recently than dogs, so within the bounds of understanding that all generalizations are wrong (including that one) cats are much closer to their animal nature than dogs. In general cats value respect and your rela

Parousia

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If you treat me honourably I will feel a duty and compulsion to honour you. If you don't, I won't. Here's an interesting thought to entertain. It's about the purported return of the Christ and the ultimate fulfilment of the Kingdom of Heaven, a belief central to Christianity including Progressive Christianity. So if you aren't willing to entertain this idea I'm going to assume you'll stop reading here and not feel the need to point out in the comments that you live your life to a different set of assumptions and explain why and how you misunderstand what I'm saying. If you wish to read anyway, please read it in in the spirit of "if it were true, how might it be true?". That's how I treat it anyway. The premise of Christianity is that the victory is already won, that death is defeated because perfection itself was slain, thus fulfilling the law that there is a price to pay for evil, but perfect love could not die and yet lives. The

Software Engineering Abstractions: Design and Testing

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Note: this is the third article in a series. The two previous are:   The Craft of Software Engineering and  Abstractions and Business Processes  Back to the topic of abstractions and software engineering and thinking about the design of software and engineering systems.  The art and science of Software Engineering is the developing of good abstractions that map well to the problem domain. A good way to create these is to let the abstractions, their shape and form, emerge from gradually solving aspects of the problem you are working on. If instead you design abstractions first, typically in a design phase prior to implementation, then you impose those abstractions onto the way you solve the problem. The way you look at the problem is the way you implement your solution. So when you look at the system, when you look at the problem you see your abstractions. If you design your abstractions at a high level up front then you really need to get them right. You need to pr

An Account of a Curse

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How sad, to fight so hard over so little when you have so much. This article is one of a series on my experience of psychosis. The articles are: Account of a Curse Wretchedness and a Gun Those Times my Psychosis Nearly Killed Me Fragments of a Once Broken Mind My psychosis was a true madness, it felt like I was dying all the time, the life being squeezed and ripped from me. It was exacerbated by narcotics, but narcotics also offered some relief from the constant tension and at least I could actually feel whilst high. The real problem was fear and tension. Rooted in experiences of terror whilst fearing for my life (irrationally) whilst being bullied, and the course of events that followed on as a natural progression from that, I was afraid of life, of people, and unwilling and unable to face the reality of my situation as it unfolded. In social situations I couldn't help but imagine people thinking the worst of me, this was my negative self image created and reinforced

The Mythological, Archetypes as Metaphor and Spiritual Thinking

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Let fear sharpen your senses. Let it cut then let it pass. There are times when it is possible to recognise in people, or in ourselves, standard behavioural responses. Through experience you can recognise aspects of a persons' character and model and predict aspects of their behaviour. We can also model aspects of social behaviour as interactions between archetypal personality types. The clash between the left and the right for example or the atheist and the Christian or the struggle between nations or culture wars in general. You can predict behaviour patterns based on knowing some common, shared, aspect of identity taken on and expressed through the personality of individuals. How good are we at reading the signs of the times? So archetypal personalities are a way of modelling the "meta-behaviour" of groups. Imagining, conceiving of, human behaviour in this way is a metaphor, a higher level abstraction of human behaviour modelled in terms of human behaviour. Thes

Commentary on Brexit and Thoughts on Patriotism

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I don't seem to meet many ordinary people. Most people seem extraordinary. As much as I am opposed to Brexit it seems curious to me the delight with which some people I follow on Facebook seem to take in news that the negotiations are apparently difficult and that it could be bad for Britain. They seem to relish the damage as they'd rather be right than see something good come out of it. It is a rather foolish state of mind to wish harm upon yourself and your fellows merely in order to be proven right. I detest much of the harm and lack of compassion I see in the Tory government, whilst accepting that those who vote conservative see the world in a very different way to me and that I am not wholly right and nor are they. I want the best for the UK and I want the best for Europe and I sincerely hope we can find our way forward together no matter who is in government in the UK. This is why party politics is so pernicious. It cons you into supporting a side instead of suppo