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Sunday second surprise: Ferdinando Buscema

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — from Tesla to St Augustine is a short creative leap ]
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I recently received a LinkedIn invite from one Ferdinando Buscema, who described himself to me as a Glasperlenspieler, a player of the Glass Bead Game. I must say that pleased me, there’s a quiet humility there that calling oneself Magister Ludi or Master of the Game would lack. He’s a player, I’m a player, let’s play.

Here’s the BoingBoing video he sent me when I accepted his invite:

Not for nothing does Ferdinando call himself a Magic Experience Designer.

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As you’ll see, in the video Ferdinando very warmly recommends Erik Davis‘ book TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information — which has also been highly praised by the likes of Howard Rheingold, Hakim Bey, Mark Dery, Bruce Sterling, Terence Mckenna, and Mark Pesce, to which intriguing list you may add myself.

Erik and I began a never-completed HipBone game many years ago — it was around the topics of Hanibal Lecter, his recreational collection of church collapses, and the origins of the Memory Palace in Simonides‘ encounter with the gods Castor and Pollux — and Erik mentions the HipBone Games briefly in his book. At the moment, I owe him an update on the games, which I’ll post here at Zenpundit in due course.

It was a particular delight for me, then, to see Ferdinando’s obvious and full-throated praise of Erik’s stunning book in his video, followed up by equal praise of Ramon Llul — one of those writers in the Hermetic tradition whose work precedes not just the Bead Game but much of today’s science, from digital computers via genetics to genetic algorithms and cryptography.

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Ferdinando’s third treasure turned out to be Nikola Tesla, and in particular the remark he made about his mode of creativity. I hadn’t come across this remark before, but it cried out for DoubleQuotation with a remark of St Augustine’s, which I have carried with me since I first read of it in Dom Cuthbert Butler‘s book, Western Mysticism, back in my teens better than half a century ago.

Here, then, are the two luminous / numinous quotes, from Tesla and Augustine, DoubleQuoted by me for Ferdinando as an offering on first meeting:

SPEC DQ Tesla Augustine

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It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the word “ictus” which Augustine uses also features in the context of Gregorian Chant, where it indicates the almost simmultaneous touchdown of a bird on a branch and its takeoff on a new curve of flight. I had the honor to learn the word from Dom Joseph Gajard, choirmaster at the Abbey of St Pierre de Solesmes — then and I suspect now the center of the world’s musical paleography and liturgical perormance of the chant, and in my teens my favorite vacation and retreat — under whose cheironomic hand I had the good fortune, once, albeit without much skill, to sing..

And so the beads are dropped into the lake: we watch as their ripples ripple out and intersect..

Qur’anic recitation of Commander Abu Usamah al-Maghribi

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — analysis of religious violence requires the skilled use of both mind and heart if it is to comprehend passion with clarity ]
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There is a lot of discussion of the complex relationship between religion and politics — presumably including the continuation of politics by other means — these days.

Here Abu Usamah al-Maghribi of ISIS, the immediate precursor of IS, recites the Qur’an:

This clip, incidentally, nicely illsutrates the dilemma facing those poor folks at YouTube who are responsible for determining what videos should be withdrawn for breach of their user contract. On the one hand, it shows a militant leader encouraging his subordinates towards martyrdom, while on the other it is something quite other, turned to that purpose: a recitation from the revealed scripture of a global and diverse religion, one and a half billion people strong…

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The text of the recitation is that of the Qur’an, Sura 9, 38-39:

O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah , you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little.

If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah is over all things competent.

The reciter, Abu Usamah al-Maghribi, was killed last year by fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra.

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I’m not sure that language alone can ever quite sort the different strands that rise and fall in the human beings involved, nor that the distinction we draw between heart and mind is even close to a subtle enough instrument to account for human process. What I want to present here, though, is not an answer or even the suggestion of an answer to such questions, but a vivid evidence of the coexistence of militant intent with religious fervor.

After years of monitoring and reporting on religious violence, it is not its existence but its potential for overwhelming sincerity that I would like to communicate, so that we do not underestimate it — our analysts being, as John Schindler put it in his brilliant piece, Putin’s Orthodox Jihad, “mostly secularists when not atheists” — and thus liable to pay matters of religious passions little or no attention.

More on Schindler’s piece shortly.

A very brief brief on black banners

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — wherein black flag patches run riot ]
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Just a quick something I gleaned via Leah Farrall‘s recent blog post:

Abu Bakr on IS and JaN flags

That’s the gist of an excerpt I transcribed from an Aussie Insight video last year, which featured host Jenny Brockie and the gentleman depicted, one Abu Bakr. Bakr was arrested just before Christmas and charged with “possession of documents designed to facilitate a terrorist attack”. The exchange went like this:

Jenny Brockie: I see you’re wearing the ISIS flag on your shirt

Abu Bakr: It doesn’t really come down to what sort of flag because this flag, here, people might say you’re a supporter of Jabhat al-Nusra, and this flag here, people might say you’re a supporter of ISIS, but these flags are all one, they’re all the same flag, one Muslim nation and that’s it.

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It’s great to see you back and blogging, Leah —

Arabs at War

— and we’re keenly awaiting the arrival of your book!

Warriors with and without Wagner

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — pursuant to my continuing interest in haka and other arts of intimidation ]
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Air Cav:

Aztec:

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Just so you know, here’s a close-up of a jade Death Whistle (click image for more video):

close up of  a jade death whistle

Hat tip to Bryan Alexander of Infocult: Uncanny Incormatics

When the visuals don’t agree with the soundtrack

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron — and Bach’s motto was Soli Deo Gloria, To God alone be Praise ]
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I have commented before on the curious blend of Bach and bin Laden to be found on one YouTube channel. It now seems the same kind of cognitive dissonance is being used to parody IS nasheed videos: my own favorite example being this one:

Whether such parodies actually dissuade anyone who would otherwise have done so from joining IS I don’t know; that they are entertaining for those of us who are wary and perhaps weary of the videos they parody may be as much as we can hope.

They do, however, raise the question, again, of what exactly the intention of someone posting silent videos of OBL speaking from his cave along with the entire Bach B Minor Mass might be?

Support for OBL? Delight in Bach? Allahu Akbar? Soli Deo Gloria?

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Getting away from jihad for a moment, the same YouTube account now features my nephew Daniel Harding‘s Don Giovanni from the Aix festival, with Disney‘s Frozen for visuals:

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Hat tip: Hayes Brown, Buzzfeed.


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