Wednesday, June 29, 2022

So I guess it's masks forever, then

It's not easy to distinguish oneself as the world's most ridiculous health minister -- there's some pretty stiff competition out there -- but I think Taiwan's "Tooth Fairy" Chen Shih-chung, the world's most powerful dentist, may have pulled it off.

About a month ago, there were reports that Chen was considering lifting outdoor mask mandates starting in July -- which would make a lot of sense since, with upwards of 99% mask compliance and tens of thousands of new birdemic "cases" daily, it's increasingly hard to pretend that the masks are doing anything.

Since it's nearly July, I thought I'd check if they were still going forward with the plan to lift the mask mandates. No, of course they aren't.

During a press conference that afternoon, a reporter asked CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) to comment on reports that mask regulations would be relaxed in July and that the border will be reopened in August. Chen said that given the fluctuations in the outbreak, the CECC is not able to plan as far in advance as August, but will make adjustments in response to the epidemic situation.

Regarding the loosening of mask rules in July, Chen said "for the time being, we will probably not be implementing an overall relaxation of mask (rules) because, in addition to the birdemic, masks have a considerable preventative effect on other respiratory diseases." Chen did not elaborate on what other respiratory diseases the CECC is concerned about.

Chen said that even if the ban on masks is lifted, the relaxed measures will only apply to "special situations." Chen emphasized that generally, masks should continue to be worn at all times.

That's right, he's going to continue to force us to wear masks not because of the birdemic (which masks obviously do nothing to stop) but because of "other respiratory diseases." What other respiratory diseases? Well, as far as I know, there's no other respiratory disease that anyone is claiming is a pandemic or a public health emergency, so he can only be referring to such permanent fixtures of the respiratory environment as seasonal flu and the common cold.

Which means masks forever.

I know what you're thinking: What a betrayal of his dental principles! How many people are going to keep visiting the dentist twice a year if they know no one's ever going to see their teeth again? Right?

Don't worry. Tooth Fairy Chen is five moves ahead of you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Praying the Rosary in Latin

As far back as 2018, when I was no longer an atheist but had not yet returned to Christianity, the synchronicity fairies were directing my attention to the Holy Rosary.

My father was raised Roman Catholic but converted to Mormonism before I was born, and my experience of Catholicism has been pretty much limited to attending funerals and reading. Until a month ago I had never so much as laid eyes on a rosary. Nevertheless, the nudges continued, and on May 29 of this year, I walked into a Filipino-run chapel and asked where I could get -- well, I only knew the Chinese for Buddhist mantra beads, but they figured out what I meant. Only later did I realize that I had bought it on a Sunday, breaking the Sabbath.

Once I had my rosary, I tried praying it a few times but kept getting hung up on doctrinal snags. Can I recite the Apostles' Creed if I'm agnostic about the Virgin Birth and the Second Coming? Doesn't thy kingdom come imply a Synoptic worldview I do not share? And do I have any reason to think that Jesus' mother really has any of the goddess-like qualities ascribed to her by tradition?

(I had similar issues with the Pledge of Allegiance as a schoolchild. Surely my allegiance is to the country itself, not the flag; history makes it hard to believe any nation is "indivisible"; and "liberty and justice for all" are obviously ideals, not realities. In the end I whittled it down to "I pledge allegiance to . . . America . . . under God" -- remaining silent for all the rest.)

The Spirit kept nudging me to pray the unmodified Holy Rosary, though, and in the end I just asked God point-blank how I was supposed to do so in good conscience. Three very clear communications appeared in my mind:

1. Don't worry about doctrinal quibbles. It's supposed to be like singing a hymn, not writing a theological treatise.

2. Recite it in Latin. That will help bypass the discursive side of your brain.

3. How is it that you've never read Histoire de la magie?

So I printed out the Rosary prayers in Latin, brushed up a bit on church-Latin pronunciation, and prayed the Rosary in Latin. I was surprised at how easy it was, how readily I took to it, and how rapidly and fluently I was able to pray. As promised, the change from Latin changed the mood from one of doctrinal nitpicking to pure devotion, and that in me which had considered the Hail Holy Queen just a bit much was somehow able to pray the Salve Regina with sincere fervor. Not for the first time, Latin has proven to be almost magical. Latin! The mundane, no-nonsense language of the Roman Empire -- but Virgil transfigured it, and so, apparently, has the Church. I suppose this is something like Sheldrake's "morphic resonance," and that reciting fixed prayers in their original language allows one to tap into the faith of all the other Christians through the ages who have uttered those same words.

Speaking of magic, I downloaded A. E. Waite's translation of Éliphas Lévi's Histoire de la magie -- which, surprisingly, I really had never read before -- and started on it. At first it wasn't at all clear what it had to do with anything, but eventually I came to this passage:

[T]he popular forms of doctrine . . . alone can vary and alone destroy one another; the Kabalist is not only undisturbed by trivialities of this kind, but can provide on the spot a reason for the most astonishing formulae. It follows that his prayer can be joined to that of humanity at large, to direct it by illustrations from science and reason and draw it into orthodox channels.

If Mary be mentioned, he will revere the realisation in her of all that is divine in the dreams of innocence, all that is adorable in the sacred enthusiasm of every maternal heart. It is not he who will refuse flowers to adorn the altars of the Mother of God, or white banners for her chapels, or even tears for her ingenuous legends. It is not he who will mock at the new-born God weeping in the manger or the wounded victim of Calvary. . . .

[A]ll that is expedient and touching in beliefs, . . . the splendour of rituals, the pageant of divine creation, the grace of prayers, the magic of heavenly hopes -- are not these the radiance of moral life in all its youth and beauty? Could anything alienate the true initiate from public prayers and temples, could anything raise his disgust or indignation against religious forms of all kinds, it would be the manifest unbelief of priests or people, want of dignity in the ceremonies of the cultus -- in a word, the profanation of holy things. God is truly present when He is worshipped by recollected souls and feeling hearts; He is absent, sensibly and terribly, when discussed without light or zeal -- that is to say, without understanding or love. . . .

Every definition of God hazarded by human intelligence is a recipe of religious empiricism, out of which superstition will subsequently extract a devil.

I’ve been praying the Rosary in Latin once or twice a day for about a week now -- I started on June 23 -- and I can report that it's doing me good. I know that some of my Romantic Christian associates will dismiss this as an atavistic behavior, a futile attempt to return to a less-conscious form of Christianity. Against this I can only report my direct experience so far: that 20 minutes spent reciting the Rosary prayers is 20 minutes spent in the presence of Christ. Yes, presence is precisely what I get from this. It is not really a form of communication with God, nor is it really meditation. It is something else, something that I needed, and the various spiritual agencies that have guided me to it were right to do so.

Your mileage may vary.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Easy Without You

This is one of the most seamless mashups I've ever heard.

Why the Liararchy allowed Roe v. Wade to be overturned -- and why gay "marriage" is next

Roe v. Wade
was never the Satanic ideal. The ideal was never for abortion to be legalized by judicial fiat, without the people's consent. Much more effective, in terms of damnation, would be a public referendum on the matter, implicating as many people as possible -- not only those who commit abortions, not only a handful of judges, but millions of voters consenting, like Saul, to the deaths.

But that wouldn't have worked in 1973. The people wouldn't have consented.

So the first step was forced legalization -- leading, slowly but surely, to normalization. Now, after 50 years of abortion being an established constitutional right, the issue is returned to the people, on the understanding that by now the 50-year psy-op will have worked its magic and the majority will be willing to take Moloch's side. After 50 years of Roe, many have been personally involved in abortions. Many others know and love people who have. Many others may see the whole issue differently when it is framed as taking away a constitutional right rather than granting a new one.

In the case of gay "marriage," the normalization process has been orders of magnitude faster, due to propaganda power undreamt of in the 1970s, and the time is probably already ripe for Obergefell v. Hodges to be overturned as well. The social pressure for voters to support gay "marriage" will be even stronger than for abortion. Abortion is generally private, and you probably don't even know which of your acquaintances have been involved in one. "Marriage," in contrast is very public and is central to a person's identity. By now many of us have friends or relatives who are gay-"married." How many -- even among those who opposed such practices in the past -- will be willing to vote to annul those unions?

Of course it is possible that this strategy could backfire, and that the people when given the choice will refuse to choose evil, but I think the Liararchy is fairly confident that won't happen. And even in their worst-case scenario, you still get a hell of a fight, an explosion of hatred on both sides, and another step closer to the pure chaos beloved of Sorath.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Speak of the devil . . .

Last Thursday, June 16, I referenced Q for the sake of a Duke of Earl joke and posted an image of one of the last Q drops.

The drop I used in my Duke of Earl post was immediately followed up with this one, which associated "Nothing can stop [the Duke of Earl]" with the question, "Shall we play a game?"

There were two more drops -- the single word "Durham" and a link to a Twisted Sister music video -- and then Q fell silent. The last drop was on December 8, 2020.

On June 24 -- after a year and a half of silence, but just eight days after my post -- he suddenly reappeared.

I never paid much attention to Q, but I'm always up for a good coincidence. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

All is permitted. Why?

Gustave Doré, The Death of Abel (1866)
I struggled with some demons, they were middle-class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
-- Leonard Cohen, "You Want It Darker"

And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. . . . And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free.
-- Selections from the Book of Moses 5:31, 33

In Joseph Smith's retelling of the Genesis story, Cain feels that as a murderer he has become privy to a "great secret," that he had discovered a hidden truth which others could never guess. What was it? I don't think it was the fact that it is physically possible to commit murder; Abel slaughtered animals, and it hardly requires much extrapolation to realize that one might also slaughter men. No, Cain was using the word may in the sense approved by grammatically strict mothers; his great secret was that he was allowed to murder, that God had given him permission.

"But Cain was punished!" you say. Yes, he was punished -- but not prevented. Imagine watching one of your own sons conceive, plan, and carry out the murder of his brother -- "for these things are not hid from the Lord" (Moses 5:39) -- and doing absolutely nothing to intervene or prevent the crime. Sure, you could later punish your murderous child by kicking him out of the house, but wouldn't you still be guilty of allowing the murder to happen in the first place? Isn't this precisely the accusation that the Problem of Evil crowd level against God himself -- and aren't they right?

Sartre's famous paraphrase of Dostoevsky has it that "if there is no God, all is permitted." Actually, we can dispense with the conditional clause. All is permitted. That is an observed fact. This is a Wild West universe. There is no imaginable atrocity that humans are consistently prevented from committing. If there is no God, that makes sense, since there is no one with the power to do so -- just us humans with our various forms of imperfectly executed vigilante justice. If there is a God, though, the observed fact that all is permitted requires some explaining.

The philosophical Problem of Evil is divided into the questions of natural evil (earthquakes, disease, and such) and moral evil. If we reject the Supergod doctrine, the problem of natural evil is tractable; we live on earth in order to learn, and painful experiences can be a teaching tool. Just as schools are not designed to be maximally pleasant for students, this world is not so designed for us; but it is still "the best of all possible worlds" in terms of what it is designed for.

The problem of moral evil is more complicated because it is by definition not God's will, not really "the best" for God's purposes. Moral evil is that which is destructive of the Good; otherwise it would not be moral evil. It would have been better if Cain had not murdered Abel. Any normal human being who saw Cain trying to murder Abel would try to intervene and stop him if he had the power -- but God didn't, and doesn't.

"Free will" is generally the explanation given for this. Goodness is only meaningful if it is freely chosen over evil, which means evil must be a possible choice. Is it really necessary to allow us to do such extremely evil things, though? Couldn't we all, like Leonard Cohen in the song, just struggle with some demons that are middle-class and tame? It's perfectly possible to go choose to go to hell by, say, being lazy, spreading malicious gossip, looking on a woman to lust after her, or saying unto thy brother "Thou fool!"; is it really so important that people also be able to choose to go to hell by raping children or committing serial murders? So long as we're free to choose heaven or hell, isn't that freedom enough? Is there really any compelling reason for us to have "permission to murder and to maim"?

Even if we consider freedom to be so important that it trumps all other considerations, it is a truism of basic political philosophy that freedom is not maximized when do what thou wilt is the whole of the law. If respect for Cain's free will requires that he be allowed to murder Abel, what about Abel's own free will? He presumably intended to go on living and doing this and that, but his freedom to do so was taken away by Cain. If people are allowed to do whatever they choose, one of the things some of them will choose to do is to force their will on others. We humans protect our liberty by making and enforcing laws; why doesn't God do the same?

Yes, I know that in theory God does make and enforce laws, but the laws have a strangely optional quality. "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord," said Joshua, "choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Josh. 24:15). Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). What kind of commandment is it that you only have to obey if it seems like a good idea to you, or if you love the person who is commanding you? Human laws don't work that way, and if they did, they would not be effective in protecting our liberty. "Cain," Joseph Smith tells us, "loved Satan more than God" (Moses 5:18), which I suppose is why he was allowed to kill Abel.

God's "enforcement" of his commandments -- posthumous damnation -- also has little in common with law enforcement as we understand it. In human law enforcement, the primary purpose of punishment is prevention. Executing or incarcerating a criminal is intended to prevent that particular criminal from offending again, and punishment of any kind also serves to deter would-be criminals in general by making crime less appealing. We punish theft because if we didn't, there would be a lot more theft. Yes, there's also an element of abstract "justice" or "giving them what they deserve," but if that were the whole story, societies with a widespread belief in hell or karma would feel no need to punish criminals themselves, knowing they would inevitably get their comeuppance anyway.

God's punishment, in stark contrast, seems deliberately calculated to have as little deterrent effect as possible. As I expressed it elsewhere, back when I was an atheist:

It's like giving a very young child rules to follow -- but the only punishment for violating them is that the child will be written out of his parents' will if he breaks any of the rules -- unless, of course, he sincerely apologizes at any point before his parents' death. Nothing is done at the time of the violation, not even an angry reprimand and a reminder of the standing threat of disinheritance. This is obviously not an effective way of enforcing one's demands, not the method that would be chosen by anyone with any understanding of human nature.

Let me say that again: God's goal appears to be to punish sins specifically in such a way that it does not unduly deter people from sinning. This is extremely counter-intuitive from the standpoint of human justice, but I think it is undeniable. It is in fact a commonplace of apologetics that the reason God does not make his existence obvious is because doing so would diminish our free will, giving us no real choice but to obey him, just as you have no real choice but to obey the law when an armed policeman is standing right there looking at you.

The closest thing to this in human law enforcement would be something like a speed trap or sting operation, where the presence of the police is deliberately concealed in order to make people feel safe breaking the law. When this is not done merely to generate revenue from fines, its purpose is to catch and punish people who are already breaking the law but might not otherwise be caught. The larger purpose is still deterrence -- to make people afraid to break the law even when no police appear to be present. None of these purposes would make sense if ascribed to God.

The conclusion to draw from all this is that what we refer to as divine "law," "commandment," and "punishment" are fundamentally different from their human counterparts, and their goals are not the goals of human systems of justice. What God does is not the same as what human law attempts to do; if it were, human laws that duplicate divine laws (e.g. those against murder, theft, etc.) would be redundant and unnecessary. Why create imperfect human systems to enforce laws that are already being enforced with perfect justice by God? The answer is that God and humans "forbid" and "punish" in different ways, for different purposes. Specifically, God -- who could easily have saved Abel's life -- does not generally protect people from becoming victims of the evil actions of others.

What is God's goal, then? To restate the paradox in the form of a dialogue:

A: Why does God give us "commandments" but fail to enforce them, instead allowing us to do whatever we want, no matter how terrible?

B: Because human free will must be preserved. We must be allowed to choose good or evil without coercion.

A: But one of the things God allows us to do is to enslave and coerce others. Why would he allow that if preserving free will is so important?

B: True free will -- which is metaphysical, not practical -- lies in the realm of thought, not action, and cannot be taken away by coercion. Physical actions may be restricted or coerced, but the mind remains free. Paul taught that even a slave is free in the sense that matters to God -- spiritually free, free to align himself with Christ or with Satan.

A: But that means God could after all enforce his commandments, and prevent us from doing terrible things, without infringing on our free will -- which brings us right back to our original question.

I think B's second point, that free will is primarily metaphysical freedom of thought and does not require freedom of action, must be true; otherwise, God would not allow some people's freedom of action to be so severely curtailed. Therefore, preserving free will must not be the reason God allows moral evil.

So why is moral evil allowed? There are obviously no blanket answers that will apply in every situation, but I think one of the most important principles to keep in mind is that we are here to learn from experience. Joseph Smith said that Adam was cast out of the garden "to learn from his own experience to distinguish good from evil." That would not be possible if the true nature of evil were systematically disguised by God's constantly intervening to prevent its natural effects from playing out. If serving Satan were artificially made to seem safe -- if God always intervened to make sure that nothing seriously bad was ever done -- then no one would be able to learn (from direct experience, or from observing others) the true difference between good and evil.

Why is it so important for us to learn that sort of thing, even at the cost of allowing all sorts of horrendous evil in this world? As Owen Cyclops puts it in this thread, it makes sense only if Heaven is not an "eternal rest" but an active state in which we do things.

[Mormon theology] also makes the things the individual goes through in this life [meaningful] because there's a post-mortal state. Basically, you "keep going" and doing other stuff in a way that isn't just entering a static afterlife. It obviously totally changes the story. I found this interesting because it would mean there really are ways that suffering in this life could be necessary, for you to learn something or something like that. In general, in our classical situation, it's much harder to appeal to this explanation cohesively. . . . [If] we're all going to Heaven, it's more difficult to imagine how extra suffering here will help you there because you're in Heaven. . . . Heaven not being static but being a full-on post-mortal existence where you do things makes lessons learned here applicable.

If we children of God are to grow up -- and surely that is one of the main purposes of incarnation -- innocence must eventually give way to experience. And it must be honest experience, experience of things as they really are, not an artificially sanitized experience maintained by an overprotective God. There must be permission to murder and to maim. God can and doubtless does intervene in particular cases to avert particular calamities as he deems necessary, but what he cannot do is have a general policy of averting all sufficiently horrific calamities. "Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; and whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning" (D&C 93:24-25).

Another possible reason all is permitted -- deeper, if harder to accept -- is that our ultimate destiny is creative and therefore not predetermined. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be" (1 Jn. 3:2). Nothing can be categorically ruled in advance to be a dead end, and so all paths must remain open.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

This was the name of a Sony-owned YouTube competitor in a dream. I read the sentence, “I was unable to find the video either on YouTube or on”

I thought, That’s terrible branding. They should just call it Chokolo.

The name was pronounced “Chuckalo dot Sony slash u.” The logo resembled familiar cartoon representations of the birdemic virus.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Recurring dream

I very rarely have recurring dreams, but I've had this one about a dozen times in the past year or so, most recently on the night of June 18-19.

I'm outside at night, looking up at the stars. Although I'm in the city, with considerable light pollution, I can clearly discern seven stars of the Pleiades, compared with the five or six I can usually make out under urban conditions. I mention this to my brother, who insists that he can see twelve.

I become aware of a huge wheel-like configuration of stars in the southwest, about 60 degrees of arc in diameter. Individual stars are continually winking in and out of visibility. At first I think the whole thing is rotating, but then I realize that there is a radial segment of greater visibility which is moving around the wheel clockwise like a radar display. When it passes the one o'clock region, it briefly lights up a group of stars that form the shape of a bull's head -- a bit like the Chicago Bulls logo, actually. I think, Oh, that's Taurus; I'm looking at the zodiac. Then I immediately correct myself: Of course you can't see the whole zodiac as a literal wheel in the sky.

As I continue looking at this wheel, what I had thought was a configuration of stars gradually resolves itself into a physical structure -- a gigantic ring, sort of like a "Stanford torus" spacecraft but with no hub or spokes; just a huge empty ring. (The "radar display" effect has ceased.) It appears to be a manmade structure but is impossibly huge, with the bottom nearly reaching the horizon and the top some 60 degrees up.

As I watch, a second craft sails through the center of the ring toward us. It looks exactly like the starship Enterprise except that the propulsion units are angled down rather than up, so that they look like the pontoons of a seaplane. My impression is that it has flown down to the ocean, bounced off its surface like a skipping stone, and then glided through the ring like Mr. J. Henderson through a hogshead of real fire.

"Something just came through that ring," I say to my brother. "I'm not sure if they're friends or enemies."

Not until I typed this up did I realize that a Freud-style pun likely played a role in the dream's sequence of events. Just after I think Taurus, the zodiac resolves itself into a torus.

John Dee vs. Joseph Smith

The more I read about John Dee, the more he makes me think -- despite the obvious and substantial differences -- of Joseph Smith. Consider for example, this passage from William Henry Davenport Adams's Dwellers on the Threshold: Or, Magic and Magicians (1865):

[I]n November, 1582, while on his knees and fervently praying, he became aware of a sudden glory which filled the west window of his laboratory, and in whose midst shone the bright angel Uriel. It was impossible for Dee to speak. His tongue was frozen with awe. But Uriel smiled benignly upon him, gave him a convex piece of crystal, and told him that when he wished to communicate with the beings of another world he had but to examine it intently, and they would immediately appear and reveal the mysteries of the future. Then the angel vanished.

And compare it with Joseph Smith's familiar (to Mormons) story of the visitation of the Angel Moroni.

[O]n the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. . . . Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do . . . . He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

Elsewhere Smith describes these stones as transparent crystals, fastened together like the lenses of a pair of spectacles.

Like Smith, who sometimes used this crystalline "Urim and Thummim" and sometimes "seer stones" found by non-miraculous means, Dee used various "shew-stones" of terrestrial origin as well as the one given him by Uriel. Like Smith, he used them both for religious purposes (communication with angels) and for treasure-hunting. Both men used their miraculous stones to produce works of staggering complexity under circumstances that make it almost impossible to believe that the revelations could have been faked. Both produced a few specific prophecies that were later borne out by real-world events.

(At one point in my research, I adapted one of Dee's own methods and attempted to contact the spirit Madimi because, well, I'm just sort of reckless like that. I received a three-word message in English: "NOT A TOY." Okay, point taken. Don't try this at home, kids.)

Both men gravitated to the name Enoch. The term Enochian is synonymous with Dee's occult work; Smith, for his part, wrote extensively about the biblical patriarch Enoch and sometimes used Enoch as a code name for himself. Dee's highly complex but pretty obviously fake "Enochian language" finds its counterpart in Joseph Smith's similarly complex-but-bogus Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language

Most disturbingly, both Dee and Smith were eventually commanded by the angels to engage in scandalous marital irregularities. Dee and Kelley were ordered by Madimi to share their wives with each other in a system called "cross-matching"; while Smith for his part took thirty-some secret "plural wives," some of whom were already married to other men, claiming that he had been forced to do so by an angel with a drawn sword. Both men loved their wives and professed deep reluctance to practice polygamy, both were threatened by the angels with horrible consequences if they refused, and both used the rationalization that what God forbade in general terms he might nevertheless command in a particular instance, as when Abraham was commanded to murder Isaac. Neither Dee nor Smith had any children with anyone but his legal wife, leading some interpreters of each man to speculate that the polygamous matches were never actually consummated.

(When I first heard of Dee and Kelley's "cross-matching," my immediate reaction was that it proved that whatever spirits they may have been in communication with were obviously not good ones. Only later did I realize that I was holding them to a much higher moral standard than Joseph Smith.)

Dee is in many ways an easier character to come to terms with than Joseph Smith, because of the former's partnership with Edward Kelley. It is temptingly easy to ascribe all the negative or unsettling aspects of his life and work to the disreputable Kelley (correctly recognized as a kindred spirit by Aleister Crowley) and to see Dee as a good and godly (if somewhat gullible) man whose only real flaw was the company he kept. In Smith, aspects of Dee and Kelley are united in a single individual, removing that easy option from the table.

Dee is also easier to deal with because in the end it just doesn't matter that much whether he was in contact with angels or devils or only his own imagination. He's just some random historical figure. There is no "Dee-ism," no Dee-derived doctrine and way of life which we must choose to engage with or reject. The fact is, for all Dee's great piety and erudition, he was nowhere near the philosopher and theologian that Joseph Smith was. For all his superficial otherworldliness, Dee was fundamentally a secular man with secular interests; even when he believed himself to be in communication with the very angels of God, he remained focused on such mundane questions as what the Spanish were up to and how base metals might be transmuted into gold.

What, then, is to be made of the many parallels between the two men? That Smith -- separated from the world of Dee by two centuries, the Atlantic Ocean, and a near-complete lack of education -- could have been directly influenced by his Elizabethan predecessor seems exceedingly unlikely. Why, then, all the similarities -- the angels, the seer stones, the hokey "revealed" languages, the Enochian affinities, the angel-enforced polygamy? Is it evidence that the two men, despite their vast differences, were in contact with the same objective (if maddeningly ambiguous!) spiritual reality? I don't know, but I think it's an interesting question to ask.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

More 333 syncs

I was up very late last night and was playing some background music on my phone using the YouTube Music app. I happened to glance at the screen at 3:33 a.m., while it was playing TMBG’s “End of the Tour” with the vocals removed. For some reason, this struck me as significant, and I took a screenshot.

This afternoon I again wanted some background music and put my likes on random shuffle. Again it played the instrumental “End of the Tour” — this time at 3:33 p.m.

Later this evening, I felt a sudden urge to patronize a particular coffee shop, one I hadn’t been to in years. It had been redecorated. I spotted this on one of the walls:

A cup of coffee, a violin, a translated quote from Victor Hugo — and some writings of Aleister Crowley! It looks like the title page from The Equinox of the Gods, plus a few pages of the handwritten manuscript for The Book of the Law. How on earth did that end up on the wall of a coffee shop in suburban Taiwan?

While in the coffee shop, I read a few pages of a new-to-me translation of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. I found an unexpected reference to a whale.

“And perhaps at this very moment there is a storm above, and ships over our heads are being rudely tossed by the tempest.”

“Quite probable.”

“And whales are lashing the roof of our prison with their tails?”

What first brought 333 to my attention was Richard Deacon’s discussion of that number in connection with John Dee and Aleister Crowley. And what got me interested enough in Dee to read Deacon’s biography of him was a coincidence involving a whale.

Health tip: NEVER eat 700 M&Ms

Obviously it's never particularly healthy to eat too much candy, but until Google enlightened me I had no idea just how inadvisable it is to eat 700 M&Ms (approximately 12 or 13 packs). Apparently, even a mere 440 can be too many.

This sort of health hazard wasn't even on my radar, to be honest. It never would have occurred to me even to ask. Fortunately Google let me know when I was searching for something else that people also ask what happens if you eat hundreds and hundreds of M&Ms. Now you know, too. Spread the word.

M&Ms: Not Even 440.

Update: Yikes! It's even worse than I thought. I followed the link, and it says "3 or 4 of them will put you in the hospital."

Friday, June 17, 2022

Duke of Earl 1, Big Tech censors 0

Not only is it absolutely impossible for anyone to stop him as he walks through this world; the Duke of Earl also possesses a supernatural ability to circumvent Big Tech censorship.

You know the website that bills itself, with considerable justification, as "The Most Censored Publication in History"? The one with a name that sounds sort of like "Norman Mailer"? The website so outrageously racist that, in what I guess is an instance of the "only Nixon could go to China" phenomenon, only the tiny Central African nation of Rwanda has the balls to host it?

Type the name of that website into Google, and you will scroll in vain through page after page of links to Wikipedia and the ADL and the SPLC without ever finding a link to the site itself. It's not just "downranked"; it's flat-out blacklisted.

But search instead for duke of earl snopes, and -- voilà!

The second hit. And the third!

Nice try, Google. I know you're one of the most powerful organizations on the planet, but nothing can stop the Duke of Earl.

Note added: A commenter suggests that Google gives me this result only because it knows I've visited the website before. So here's a screenshot of my results from Brave private mode, not signed in. (Notice that it doesn't even know that I speak English or prefer a dark background.)

And even when I am signed in, and Google knows that I check DS from time to time, it still absolutely blacklists it from my search results if I search for the site name instead of the Duke of Earl.

I'm telling you, no one can stop this guy.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Trust the plan

Minor sync: Roosh Valizadeh's birthday

Yesterday, June 14, I was browsing Synlogos and noticed a link to a post by Roosh Valizadeh -- "13 Tips for Reading Books" or something. I didn't read the post, but for some reason seeing it made me think, "Hey, I wonder how old Roosh is." I don't know why that came to mind. I don't know exactly how old most bloggers I read are, and I've never felt the need to find out. But in this case I just suddenly wanted to know, so I looked it up.

He was born on June 14, 1979 -- so it was on his birthday that I had this sudden urge to look up his date of birth.

Possibly this was something I already subconsciously knew. His "About Roosh" page, which I think I must have read before (I recognize the photo with the striped shirt and the little black dog) says "My birthday is on Flag Day, a national holiday, which I share with Donald Trump." I definitely know Trump's birthday, and that it is Flag Day (and also my sister Kat's birthday), since I've mentioned that fact several times on The Magician's Table, so that should have served to make Roosh's birthday particularly memorable. Perhaps when I happened to see his name on June 14, I was nudged by a not-quite-conscious memory, and that is what made me wonder about his age.

Today, when I wanted to write a post noting this sync or crypto-memory or whatever, I found that I couldn't remember who it was whose June 14 birthday I looked up on June 14. My first thought was that it had been Amber Heard, of all people! I spent quite some time scrolling in vain through lists of famous people born on June 14 before I suddenly remembered.

Appropriately, given these memory lapses, June 14 also turns out to be the birthday of Alois Alzheimer.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Another Dee-related 430th anniversary

On March 31 of this year, I observed that "I posted my many-eyed whale dream on the 430th anniversary of Dee and Kelley's many-eyed whale vision."

Today, I was reading Richard Deacon's John Dee, the chapter entitled "Dee and the Spanish Armada." This led me to look up the date of the Armada's defeat, and the first result was this:

Of course it wasn't 430 years ago today; it was 430 years ago on August 8, 2018, when that article was posted. Still, it was the very first search result that came up, and going from John Dee to a 430th anniversary seems like a noteworthy coincidence.

Note added: In my previous post, "Another link between John Dee and DeForest Kelley," I noted that someone (or two people) called Edward Fenton edited The Diaries of John Dee and wrote a children's book called The Big Yellow Balloon. If you look up "Edward Fenton" on Wikipedia, you find that

Edward Fenton (died 1603) was an English navigator, son of Henry Fenton and Cicely Beaumont and brother of Sir Geoffrey Fenton. He was also a publisher of diaries and journals. . . . In 1577 he sailed, in command of the Gabriel. . . . In 1588 he had command of the Mary Rose, one of the ships of the fleet that was formed to oppose the Spanish Armada.

The Diaries of John Dee is copyright 1998 by Edward Fenton, so this is obviously not the same person, but he, too, was "a publisher of diaries and journals." He commanded the Gabriel -- named after one of the angels with whom Dee and Kelley supposedly conversed -- and then was involved in fighting the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Another link between John Dee and DeForest Kelley

In my recent post "Dee, Kelley, and Dee Kelley," I related how a sync with the number 333 in connection with John Dee and Edward Kelley led me to the 1960 TV pilot "333 Montgomery," starring DeForest "Dee" Kelley, later of Star Trek fame. I linked to a post by Dee Kelley's friend and former personal assistant Kristine M. Smith (now a "man" called "Kris" Smith, because you know everyone's gotta be trans these days) called "333 = DeForest Kelley Visitations!" -- about how the actor apparently used that number as a sign to communicate with her from beyond the grave.

Smith has published numerous books about her relationship with DeForest Kelley. Her website is called Yellow Balloon Publications. She uses this name because a yellow balloon is another of the signs apparently used by the deceased Kelley to communicate with her. Kelley had written a poem called "The Yellow Balloon" shortly before his death and asked her to fax it to William Shatner. There were lots of problems with the fax machine, and it took over an hour to send it. "When it finally went," she writes, "I knew I would never, ever forget De’s *%!#@*! Yellow Balloon poem!" She continues:

Just days after De passed away, I asked for some kind of divine “sign”  to let me know that he was okay now. The very next morning as I was driving the 405 freeway to Woodland Hills to sit with [Kelley's widow] Carolyn at the hospital, a free-floating yellow balloon passed directly over the freeway ahead of me about thirty or forty feet in the sky! My mouth flew open. I started crying right then and there! Only an Enterprise fly-by could have been more convincing (although that would have been delusional). I had my sign!

She goes on to relate several more "yellow balloon" events.

Okay, so DeForest Kelley is linked, by his name and by his use of the number 333, to John Dee and Edward Kelley; and he apparently uses a yellow balloon as a personal symbol. Now look at this:

I haven't been able to ascertain whether this is the same Edward Fenton or just two people who happen to have the same name, but either way it's a pretty weird coincidence.

Note added: There's a Beach Boys / Brian Wilson link, too, sort of.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Freak-flag creature identified

The 1996 They Might Be Giants Song "How Can I Sing Like a Girl" contains these lines:

I want to raise my freak flag
Higher and higher and
I want to raise my freak flag
And never be alone
Never be alone

The allusion is to the 1970 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song "Almost Cut My Hair" ("I feel like letting my freak flag fly"), but every time I hear those lines, I have a mental image of a large herd ("never be alone") of small gracile quadrupeds, each with a very long feather-like tail that sticks straight up ("raise my freak flag").

For a long time, I had a vague sense that this image was from the 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine but was never able to track it down. Today I suddenly realized that I had been barking up the wrong tree and that it was actually from Dougal Dixon's 1988 book The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution. Here, at long last, is the creature that wants to raise its freak flag higher and higher and never be alone: Vexillosaurus levipes, a non-crested sprintosaur native to the floodplains of the Mississippi.

It is extremely satisfying to have finally discovered the source of that persistent but elusive image!

Note added: Here's a different artist's rendition of the same creature.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Workout accessory? Or groovy 1960s protest group that’s actually, you know, kind of deep?

Notice of "Owen Cyclops" threads (Mormon-influenced Christian musings)

The Junior Ganymede recently linked to a couple of Twitter threads by someone called Owen Cyclops -- who, like myself, Bruce Charlton, and perhaps some others in my circle, is an unaffiliated Christian who takes Mormon theology seriously. Here are links to those and some of his other threads, which you should be able to read even without a Twitter membership.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

My Jeremiah room

I dreamed that I was setting up a "Jeremiah room" -- a dedicated room specifically for the study of the works of the prophet Jeremiah. I had put up a large blond-wood bookcase and was putting a few books on it -- books that had absolutely nothing to do with Jeremiah. My wife asked me about two of the books and I gave strange descriptions of them, different from anything I would say in real life.

"This is I Married a Communist by Philip Roth. It's a funny book. I mean really hilarious."

"And this one?"

"That's Also sprach Zarathustra. People say it's Nietzsche's easiest book because it's the most readable, but actually it's so poetic that it's easy to misunderstand. It's also in German."

I spent a long time trying to set up a desk lamp. The shade had been packed full of yellow beeswax, which was supposed to make its light look like candlelight. The jointed arm wouldn't stand up because all the joints were too loose, until I found a tiny button on the base of the lamp that locked the joints.

I read Zarathustra in 2001 and I Married a Communist in 2006. I have no idea why those titles would suddenly appear in a dream after all those years, or why they would recommend themselves to my subconscious as suitable accoutrements for a "Jeremiah room," but the juxtaposition feels potentially significant, so I note it.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Jesus preaches the Bible in the Temple (Notes on John 7:14-24)

The Gospel just says that "Jesus went up into the temple, and taught." Over at Fourth Gospel First, I give my reasons for inferring that his text was Malachi 2.

Note added: I go into more detail on my Malachi 2 hypothesis here.

Saturday, June 4, 2022


Yesterday, for reasons that need not detain us, I was scanning a long string of randomly generated letters to see if it contained any meaningful words. I noticed the string “ojel” and thought, “In Spanish, that would be pronounced ‘Oh, hell!’”

Today I started reading a book I’d never read, The Seven Sins of Memory by Daniel Schacter. On page 77, I found this:

Burke and MacKay describe a person who blocked on the name of the California city Ojai (pronounced “oh-hi”), and muttered in frustration, “Oh hell.” This similar-sounding expression immediately triggered recall of the word.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Dee, Kelley, and Dee Kelley

When I posted “Choronzon 333,” about a sync relating to the use of that name and number by John Dee and Edward Kelley, Aleister Crowley, and some random Ukrainian neo-Nazi, Debbie left this comment:

I randomly decided to watch a couple of episodes [of 1960s TV drama Sam Benedict] last night. While watching the show, my eyes were drawn to a scene in which Sam Benedict's office building was shown. The office building’s address was 333.

I did a bit of searching and discovered that the Sam Benedict character was based on San Francisco defense lawyer Jake Ehrlich, whose real-life business address was 333 Montgomery Street. Sam Benedict was the second attempt at turning Ehrlich’s career into a TV drama. The first was a 1960 pilot called “333 Montgomery,” written by Gene Roddenberry and starring DeForest Kelley — both shortly to become famous for Star Trek.

DeForest Kelley was known to his friends as Dee. Dee Kelley.

Kristine M. Smith, close friend of the actor and author of the memoir DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories, wrote a blog post in 2019 called “333 = DeForest Kelley Visitations!” She recounts how, during her decades-long friendship with Kelley and his wife, they always seemed to phone her at precisely 3:33. “Ever since De passed away in 1999,” she adds, “I’ve been inundated with 333’s.” Although she is uncertain about life after death, Smith considers it likely that this is Kelley’s way of communicating with her from beyond the grave.

This looks like a connection worth exploring.

We can’t stop him, folks.

In one of Iris Murdoch’s novels, the main character, an author of pretentious “literary fiction,” admits on his death bed, “I wish I had written Treasure Island.”

Well, I wish I had written these three blog posts. I gather that my tastes in humor put me in a minority, but I consider them to be absolutely perfect. This is James Joyce level talent, folks. Quite possibly the best thing ever to come out of the Rwandan Internet.

(UPDATE: Et tu, Rwanda? I've updated the links, as the site is now being hosted by Indonesia.)

I know most of my readers are much too classy to read Andrew Anglin, so here are the links to these perfect posts you might otherwise never see.

Salman Rushdie, Daniel Tammet, and 333

I had a sudden urge this morning to eat M&Ms, of all things, and I bought a pack from the 7-Eleven opposite my school. When I tore it open, three of the candies tumbled out, all red.

Seeing them immediately brought back, with photographic clarity, a passage from Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, a book I have read only once, 17 years ago.

(The sheet, incidentally, is stained too, with three drops of old, faded redness. As the Quran tells us: Recite, in the name of the Lord thy Creator, who created Man from clots of blood.)
One Kashmiri morning in the early spring of 1915, my grandfather Aadam Aziz hit his nose against a frost-hardened tussock of earth while attempting to pray. Three drops of blood plopped out of his left nostril, hardened instantly in the brittle air and lay before his eyes on the prayer-mat, transformed into rubies.

So vivid, and so random, was this flash of memory that the moment felt charged with ominous significance, and I snapped a photo of the three red candies. Only much later in the day did I realize that a lowercase "m" resembles a "3" in a different orientation.

The books on my many bookcases are in what would appear to an outsider to be truly random order, but I know where everything is.

When I arrived home this evening, I had the thought that I should take out a dictionary and see what words were on page 333. I had a particular dictionary in mind, a battered old Merriam Webster's Pocket Dictionary I've had since my student days, with penciled notes on the title page -- "It's good sometimes to use your brain" in Portuguese (de vez em quando é bom usar o cérebro) and Tagalog (mabuti minsan kung gagamitin mo ang utak mo), and some lists of musical chords which no longer mean anything to me. When I opened the cabinet where it is kept, though, my hand instead went for the book right next to it -- which, in keeping with my truly random arrangement, happens to be Born on a Blue Day, the autobiography of an autistic savant and synaesthete called Daniel Tammet.

I opened it up to the second page and read:

Numbers are my friends and they are always around me. Each one is unique and has its own personality. Eleven is friendly and five is loud, whereas four is both shy and quiet -- it's my favourite number, perhaps because it reminds me of myself. Some are big -- 23, 667, 1179 -- while others are small: 6, 13, 581. Some are beautiful, like 333, and some are ugly, like 289. To me, every number is special.

I've read Born on a Blue Day only once, and that was 15 years ago. Did I somehow subconsciously remember that the number 333 appeared on that particular page of that particular book?

Both Midnight's Children and Born on a Blue Day begin with the words "I was born," followed by the narrator explaining in great detail the significance of his precise date of birth.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Choronzon 333

I've been reading Richard Deacon (Donald McCormick)'s biography of John Dee on and off for a while now. Today I happened to read these two passages. The first is from a section in which Dee and Kelley are contrasted with their would-be imitators Victor Neuberg and Aleister Crowley. (Crowley claimed to be Kelley reincarnated and tried to copy some of the "Enochian" rituals.)

Choronzon in the minds of Dee and Kelley was little more than a symbol of destruction such as Bunyan conjured up in Pilgrim's Progress, a purely allegorical figure. Neither Dee nor Kelley made any attempts to exorcise or propitiate this mythical monster. Crowley, however, performed a "banishing ritual" and claimed to see a demon who changed into an old man and then into a snake. The demon insisted that his name was "333", wailing that "the tenth Aethyr is the world of adjectives and there is no substance therein" and threatened Crowley and Neuberg with the tortures it could inflict.

Several pages later, Deacon returns to this number.

There is a curious note in Dee's manuscripts about this time which poses the rather strange equation of "30 plus M = Bess plus 333. Speke to W." . . . "30", we know, was a code for the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Dee was certainly privy to this code. "30 plus M" could mean James and his mother, Mary. But what of "Bess plus 333"? . . .

Could Crowley provide an answer here? Was this his "333" sign of Choronzon or Chaos . . . ? Dee used numerical signs for his spiritual creatures, whether angelic or diabolical, and "333" may well have been one of them. . . . Whichever way one looks at the cryptic comment it is certain that "333" was a code and that this was a note on Intelligence matters.

Approximately an hour after reading the above, I was checking some things on the Net and happened to see this video of captured Azov battalion soldiers showing off their tattoos.

Most of the tattoos were straightforward Satanist and neo-Nazi symbolism -- swastikas, Baphomets, portraits of Hitler, Ukrainian translations of Hitler quotes, etc. Then there was this: a horseshoe with (I think) an explosion and the number 333.

I have no idea what the number 333 would mean to neo-Nazis -- a quick Google search only turns up street addresses like "333 Horseshoe Bend" -- but a connection to Crowley and Choronzon seems likely. These dudes are clearly into Satanism, and one assumes Crowley would be popular with the same sorts of wankers who larp as Nazis.

Running into the number 333 twice in such a short time, and possibly even with a similar meaning, was a significant enough coincidence that I thought it worth documenting.

Update: I found this in one of the darker corners of the Internet. It seems to confirm that neo-Nazi Satanists would associate 333 with Crowley's appropriation of Dee and Kelley's "Choronzon."

Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh as one

I was listening to an audio recording of the Book of Mormon, and when it got to the part where Nephi says they "did live upon raw meat ...