Category: drunken

The religion of science

September 11th, 2017 — 3:37pm

Science is not normally considered to be in the same category of thought as religions. And in some ways, it is in a different category. It doesn’t have quite the same ossified structures of most other religions, and it doesn’t have any human-like gods. But then it isn’t as old as most other religions, which in their own youth were also fervently bubbling with new ideas. And if we widen our conception of gods to include such abstracted but eternal entities such as ‘Truth’ and ‘Reason’, then science does have those gods. In thinking itself as superior to all (other) religions, science is exactly the same as them.

By framing science as a religion, we can gain a handle on science’s role in modern society and give it the tools to defend itself against the attacks from other schools of thought which beset it from time to time. Science is too easily dismissive of other systems of thinking, which incorporate irrational elements, or frame the acquisition of knowledge in a different way. By dismissing these systems and their followers, science is itself dismissed by the people for whom religion is important. By these people, science is already seen as a kind of religion, so to better present itself as an alternative to religious thinking systems science can look at it own roots, its own dogmas and eternal truths, its own miracles and prophesies.

When people dismiss science, they often treat it as a disparate group of people who are acting without an ethical framework or who are motivated by self interest. They fail to see that science has a hard ethical framework of its own. One ethical stance that science takes is its stance against dogma. At its heart, science encourages skepticism, and it encourages the questioning of its own dogma. This itself, is of course a kind of dogma. Science uses this method, this dogma, to find Truth. Finding Truth, knowing Truth, is where the quest of science is identical to that of many religions.

Science is not an acid bath of skeptical thought, and doubt has its limits.  To do science, it must be accepted that the only truths that matter are those which can be arrived at through observation of material phenomena.  There is no truth value given to realities which cannot be detected and reproduced and corroborated by multiple people. If anything, the dogma of doubt by default tends to regard such phenomena as false—this includes all the false gods of other religions.

Because all realms beyond the material fall into this category, Science can be dismissed as not grappling with many areas which religion touches such as life after death. By dismissing them, it can lacking the sort of gravity which a religion that has an all-powerful wish granting all knowing creator can claim to have. To answer these concerns science can point to its own deep eternal logics and methods, the beauty of its mathematics and the miracle of the universe.

But it can also point to the power of its own prophesy and the miracles which it can work. Here is where science shows its power over the old gods. The erection of lightning rods on churches was the moment when the scientific god of reason won its battle against these old cosmic foes. The march of science has been unstoppable ever since, winning battle after battle against the old schools of thought, conquering the demons of disease and famine, foretelling the rains and discovering the ancient stories of the earth.

Scientists can be cast as outsiders to culture, their roots not being grounded in the founding mythology of peoples, and having no sanctified rituals which are part of the daily life. But actually the roots of science are as deep as the bronze age. Many scientists would think it was a slur to call science a religion, but I think it helps us to understand and revere it for the powerful system of thought that it is. And in times when other religions seek special treatment from the state and science is cast as a mere mode of employment, I think it could benefit from some acknowledgement of its sanctity.


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I’d never eat your shoe

June 30th, 2016 — 9:38pm

A sudden plosm creates echoes. Later i exhume the body of an old pet, and notice that the chickens are all gone. So now is the time for wine and music… the blood on my fingers.. picking up the guitar the snow begins to fall, cooling my mind like a song.

Several days at home with my daughter, who has a fractured tibia. We do puzzles together. It’s winter now so I endlessly am chopping and carting wood, avoiding the weather, being sat on by my cats. Me and my million progeny extend to the horizons.

The world is suspiciously paused. Half the people think they want a revolution because they read about it in the paper. The world is sinking, but ever so slowly. People only notice it at the fringes.


View along the bluff trail

When walking in up in the Victorian Alps near Howqua, with some friends last spring, i was listening to the ravens and their strange half-human language which has been echoing around those mountains for millennia.  Suddenly i felt light headed and as i sat down i fainted and drifted off into a dream for all eternity.  Coming around with my friends shaking me, i looked at the mountains around me and felt completely confused as to what part of my life i was supposed to be living. It rushed back eventually and then i spent the rest of the walk worrying that i’d faint and embarrass myself again. But the experience of my identity unravelling like that was on the whole really refreshing. What i liked was the heady feeling of unconcern for my own mortal wellbeing. It’s a truism but once you’re dead you really don’t worry about being dead – the terror of death is a burden for the living alone.

Such a short holiday.. soon Sanskrit will take up all my time again. I was reading David Godman’s pages again this week and perhaps what i’ll do eventually is translate the Arunachala Mahatmyam. When I imagine myself in India again it’s either in the mountains or somewhere south.. these are always strangely lucid dreams, full of odd psychic vapours.

My other fascinations abound and are squeezed into these holiday periods.. recording music, reading about all the minerals in the world, and the metals, following the damn politicians..


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June 20th, 2016 — 2:05pm

Taken some new portraits of me as a poetaster, and making images as part of general renovations to the ‘poem library’ and other parts of this site.


Tortured or disgruntled?


On the red chair in the blue room.


With books. Do I look poetry enough?


Too Lord Byron?

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the blankness inside

October 5th, 2015 — 10:11pm

new poems.. like new leaves on trees soon to be felled. the darkness the darkness.. what is the simplest path now? the straightest path leads into emptiness ..


the vast gasp of new verbiage heaping onto blogs, spilling from pages into vacant minds, pictures pouring into eyes.

the heart like a tickertape machine, printing painful and bloody sermons.

the great mind.. seething.. unseeing but knowing.. everything. it is coming soon.. soon.

happy happy sitting with an empty mind.. i hold my friends close to me.. i am the author of another old salty fish hanging on a sea breeze bleached post.

miraculous mercury – come to me – errors accumulate like grime in a filter.  a pocket calculator quietly adding.

better not to write. always better not. to write.

argues “myself in my head. with myself” “in my head” into bbq sauce, the black tar of neutrinos, untrapped, free to radicalise.

Scene 1: he flings his cape about himself and dissolves into smoke. or maggots. or yellow leaches. something. the smell of warm blood, or gearbox oil. it is hard to tell.

vacant lot. vacant car park. that one piece of gravel with a white paint mark, loose, lost and unfitting.

the cat. oh the unendurable misery of the cat!



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imperfect world

April 10th, 2014 — 9:33pm

Methodrone, the Brian Jonestown Massacre soundtrack to many a closeted indoor summer's day

If opium were more widely available, I would take that rather than red wine on some nights (I have a glass of red by my hand as I write this). Michael Dransfield I suppose was of the same opinion. Coleridge, Hafiz; – it is recognisably a poet’s addiction. The few poems I have written under its influence have an intense, paused sensibility. I am a big fan of Cocteau’s description: “under opium, the world spins a little slower and the moon is a little larger”. I also loved “The Opium eater” by Iqbal Ahmad which i found in Edinburgh library – and then took years to rediscover it. I have always disliked De Quincey’s book though.

My friends and I first experimented with poppy seed tea, not knowing its potential dangers, then later when i was traveling and living with the Hare Krisnas at Somogvanos their poppy harvest was destroyed by a storm, and i ate some of the crushed pods to get at the sweet joy of poison. These days it is not hard to get small amounts but I wish it was socially acceptable. I have a collection of chlorodyne bottles as reminder that opium and morphine were very common as over the counter medicines less than a century ago. I also have empty tins of chlorodyne throat sweets that contained opium (cannabis was also sometimes an ingredient) and which were obviously intended to be used casually while continuing with work etc. A search through the newspapers on Trove shows how common chlorodyne poisoning was – some poisonings are seemingly accidental while others clearly are suicide attempts. Some of these articles are slightly suggestive of the recreational use of chlorodyne, i.e. opiates, in 19th and early 20th Century Australia. My grandmother who worked in hospitals in the 1940-50s recalls that chlorodyne was still in the medicine cabinet at that time.

But it was not only in the West that opiates were embedded in mainstream life until the early 20th Century. Reading “Narcotics, nationalism and class in china: the transition from opium to morphine and heroin in early twentieth-century shanxi” by Henrietta Harrison, published in East Asian History #32/33 it is interesting to notice that that opium use had become quite a normal part of society in China before it was banned in the 1930s. Opium and later Morpnine were usually taken in a casual social way, and at special occasions like weddings, much like wine or cigars are in the west today. Unlike wine and tobacco of course, opium is a fairly harmless chemical to put into the body (up until the point of overdose).

Drugs drugs drugs. Looking around me, I wonder if the desire to ‘pierce the veil’ is entirely destructive or if it has some redeeming value. The callous compassion of the paternal state, like that of a farmer whose husbandry is designed to fetch the highest price at the meat market. If there is any appeal in the centuries behind us, plague ridden and chaotic, it is that people were free to explore the consequences of their mistakes, whatever they be.

When oneday we slice the world in two, with the good on the one side, and the bad on the other, I wonder which side I will fall into? Isn’t it the case that too much goodness gives us indigestion? Perhaps I am thinking of lentils.

I don’t doubt that karma exists, but if the consequences are all just functions of their inputs, then there is no reason to avoid what is one’s due, when both sides of the calculation have been worked out beforehand. It’s called free will, or freewheeling, or Bob Dylan, or something like that. Whatever the name, the only thing we can ever truly discover is our own stupidity, or ignorance. And that meeting is always a charming occasion for the poet philosopher.

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+mas Post

December 26th, 2013 — 7:04pm

I have daydreamd through the year. Here we are at the end again.
i find accumulating knowledge only confuses things.
somehow there is a rock in the centre of my life which keeps us safe. but i dream of travel and madness again like old days.
a shaft of cold air in my throat. but life is so warm. so many mistakes.
I wish i had the strength to go on building my castle.
there is a plan..
The planet comes in the following colours:



Earth Wind Map

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