DIARY: The letter E, Jubilee or Apocalypse, Neuroscience finds a star, Poppycock Watch, Profundity of the Week
Here’s a suggestion: never consider joining any scheme that begins with the letter E.
Imagine how liberating it would be if the European Union, Eurozone and euro currency didn’t exist — or were just monster ideas in the minds of political ghouls and authors of disaster movies.
I once jokingly wrote here that if a jihadist group managed to blow up Brussels, the world would be a better place. How poignant that seems now.
Actually, I’m totally against gratuitous violence. Besides, the Belgian capital is doing a pretty good job of self-destruction all by itself.
The Diamond Jubilee Pageant of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign takes place this weekend all over the country. Union Jacks and bunting will bedeck even the most humble of abodes as the British indulge their taste for royal feasting and nostalgia.
But could a dark cloud more potent than a weather event distract the world’s attention on Saturday morning and fill the celebrations with foreboding?
The chatter from across the English Channel is all about “disintegration”. From the chief of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, to Economics Commissioner Ollie Rehn, the explicit talking point is the demise of the euro currency. Even Italy’s technocrat Prime Minister, Mario Monti warned of the “huge possibilities of contagion”.
The wizards at GCHQ and MI6 will not have failed to grasp that such information is not put about as mere speculation. Careless talk costs currencies. We are being softened up.
Saturday, when the banks are closed, is the day of choice to announce big monetary changes.
The Queen may have competition for media space this weekend.
I’ve often complained about the ignorance of the current plague of neuroscientists and their implacable belief that there is no consciousness outside the brain.
To counter such sophistry, I’ve put up many pieces on this site which flatly contradict the prevailing notion, including my own experiences. See “Recent articles” link at the foot of this column.
However, riding to the rescue of the neuro crowd’s honour comes one of their own. American neuroscientist David Eagleman suggests that, as we understand very little about how the brain works, science should be open to the view of “consciousness continuing after death”. Note his form of words — spot on.
In his book Sum, which I hope to review here soon, Eagleman explains that because we don’t know for certain how our consciousness is formed, we can’t be sure it’s a property of the human brain rather than a “property of the universe”.
It’s a good start. On the ubiquitous Today programme he said that science had not yet “developed the tools” — and I paraphrase: to go beyond the physical cut-off point which reveals the “within” of the universe, the preserve of serious mystics down the ages.
On that basis, neuroscience is around 3000 years behind the great spiritual masters.
The book has even been turned into a play at the Royal Opera House. Its director, Wayne McGregor, said that he found the work “haunting” and explained that it made him think differently about the very meaning of consciousness.
As the naturalist Peter Scott wrote in his autobiography The Eye of the Wind, (1961), cutting open a dead bird tells you nothing about its sense of being, or what it is in its essence.
In other words, butchery provides food for the belly not the mind. The story of science in a nutshell.
“Greece is broke and close to being broken. It is a country where children are fainting in school because they are hungry, where 20,000 Athenians are scavenging through waste tips for food, and where the lifeblood of a modern economy – credit – is fast drying up.”
Larry Elliot in the Guardian (H/T Ben Brogan’s newsletter)
Could the Grauniad be reconsidering its slavishly pro-EU policy stance?
Profundity of the Week
“The wind of grace is always blowing. We must align our sail with it.” Kabir
who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.
Mystics in the Modern World is coming soon.
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