Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Danger of Samadhi - Andrew Holecek

Sooner or later a meditator will experience samadhi, which is a time of rejoicing, and a time for concern.  Meditative absorption, as coveted as it may be, is not the point of the path, for we are not trying to create a state of mind that we then label as "spiritual."  The point is to be receptive to any state of mind, even those we deem unspiritual.  Because our normal mind is so frantic, the experience of samadhi is easily mistaken for a grand realization.  The contrast is so dramatic we think samadhi is it.

When I stumbled into my tiny samadhi during my first meditation instruction, it was both a blessing and a curse.  It was a blessing because I tasted the power of meditation and the bliss of a pacified mind.  I had no idea this dimension of experience was even possible, and a new world opened before me.  I spent the next few years trying to recapture that state.  I was hooked.  This hook is initially healthy because it pulls us towards the spiritual path, but at a certain point this hook must be cut.  Any hook, no matter how sweet, eventually leads us astray.  Sogyal Rinpoche says,
"Bad experiences, if you do not become trapped by them, are actually blessings in disguise.  In my life, really, difficulties have been my greatest teacher.  They really helped me to transform.  When you're really on the path, really true, then whatever obstacles arise they can become a blessing.  Good experiences are more dangerous.  You may become proud, or complacent, or attached – then they become traps."

There are three classic meditation experiences waiting to snare the more evolved, or lucky, meditator.  They get us because they feel so good.  These are the experiences of bliss, clarity, and non-thought, the by-products of meditative absorption.  They are the purest honey covering the sharpest hooks.  Traleg Rinpoche nails the problem when he says, "The main cause of misperceptions regarding meditation experience is that, after the loss of the initial fervor, we may forget to focus on the essence of meditation and its purpose and instead place more and more emphasis on the underlying meditative experience itself."

Bliss, clarity, and non-thought are delicious states of mind, and they are partial experiences of enlightenment.  Bliss is the experience of everything and every thought as heavenly.  We delight in whatever occurs.  We may feel like we have transcended all conflicting emotions, and express our rapture through song and dance.  Bliss easily trips us into believing we have soared into the highest states of realization.

Clarity is perceiving whatever arises as pure, sharp, and brilliant.  Phenomena are lucid and diamond-like, and it is possible to even see light emanating from objects.  Our sense perceptions are heightened and acute, we are more impervious to torpor, and everything seems awake and vibrant.  We are also able to more readily grasp and understand things.

Non-thought, or mental spaciousness, is the cessation of discursive thinking.  It is utter stillness, like diving below the surface of a stormy sea.  We are able to rest our mind in whatever state it is in.  These experiences can arise alone or in combination.  Non-thought, for example, is blissful, and gives birth to clarity.  These three experiences are mental candy, and a taste is okay, but feasting on these sweets will make your meditation sick.

If these temporary experiences, called "nyam" in Tibetan, are not understood, they poison even the most advanced meditator.  They are sophisticated traps that arise at any point, but tend to occur at higher levels.  They are common and very dangerous.  Khyentse Rinpoche said, "Meditators who run after experiences [nyams], like a child running after a beautiful rainbow, will be misled.  When you practice intensely, you may have flashes of clairvoyance and various signs of accomplishment, but all they do is foster expectations and pride – they are just devilish tricks and the source of obstacles."
I have seen many "enlightened" teachers, mostly Western, who are hooked by the experience of samadhi, and its progeny of bliss, clarity, and non-thought.  They often extol the extraordinary and ecstatic aspects of meditation, and easily snag others just as they themselves have been snagged.  Their experiences sound so delectable, so "spiritual," that it is tempting to follow their bliss.  This is another instance of why it is not always best to "follow your bliss."

There is nothing inherently problematic with these experiences, the problem is one of improper relationship.  Because they feel so good we get addicted.  Like the endorphin released in a "runner's high," these nyams, are the "meditator's high," and like any long distance runner, long distance meditators also want more of this buzz.  But as we have seen, the point is not to feel good, but to get real.  These experiences can indicate that we are doing the right thing, for they are glimpses of the nature of the enlightened mind and can point the way.  But we will lose our way if we try to repeat them.  They are by-products of meditation.  The problem is that we think they are the final product of meditation.
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Hillary Clinton Still Blames Election Loss on Everyone but Herself

Of course...

She orchestrated her own demise in an otherwise easily winnable election

Hillary Clinton says election aftermath was 'devastating'

Hillary Clinton speaks during the Eighth Annual Women In The World Summit at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on April 6, 2017 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
On April 6, Hillary Clinton spoke at the Women In the World Summit and was asked a rare question about her feelings regarding Sen. Bernie Sanders and the rift within the Democratic Party between those who supported her and progressives who supported Sanders.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof asked Clinton, "I'm looking for lessons learned, and in particular…to what extent do you assign blame Bernie Sanders, to the media, for focusing on emails…" Clinton chimed in, "How much time do we have?"

The tone-deaf response presupposed that there were a variety of scapegoats that Hillary Clinton could blame her loss on.

Clinton didn't offer regrets or assume responsibility for her failure to campaign in-person in Wisconsin, lack of focus on swing states in the Midwest like Michigan, or inability to build a formidable grassroots campaign in states like Florida. Nor did she dispel scapegoating Sanders, a tactic that Democrats use to desperately try to convey the image of party unity. Citing the media as a scapegoat for the loss is another fallacious claim Clinton did not to ignore. To the contrary, nearly every major newspaper in the country openly endorsed her in the primaries and general election. The mainstream media touted her long list of endorsements—from super delegates to establishment Republicans and billionaires—as qualifications for her candidacy, parroted her campaign's press releases, and repeated the smear campaigns spewed out by her highly funded Super PACs.
Instead, Clinton lent credence to the commonly cited excuses her partisan supporters and loyalists have given. As Clinton and her followers see it, "her turn" was stolen from her. The Democratic establishment's post-election strategy has revolved around absolving Clinton from her flaws, poor campaign, corruption, missteps, and inability to resonate with voters.
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Clinton had every opportunity to run away with the 2016 presidential election, but she continually did the exact opposite of what would have led to her winning in a landslide. Her campaign viewed favorable polls arrogantly. Confident that she would win the electoral college vote but not as confident about the popular vote, they diverted resources into cities like Chicago and New Orleans. She raised a record amount of money—$1.2 billion—but spent most of it on attack ads, adopting her campaign's "pied-piper" strategy of elevating Donald Trump to provide a weak opponent.
On the same day that Clinton openly cast blame on Sanders and the media, she fulfilled the criticisms of progressives about her interventionist foreign policy, as she urged the Trump administration to escalate U.S. involvement in Syria by bombing the country's airfields. Her foreign policy was a driving factor in repelling voters from her candidacy, and the Trump administration's recent embrace of a similar hawkish policy has upset many of his most enthusiastic supporters.

Clinton's recent rhetoric demonstrates that she learned nothing from the 2016 election and that she views herself as a victim of Russia, the FBI, sexism, millennialsWikileaks, Third Party voters, and more.

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We are...
We personify ourselves,
categorize ourselves to find a place to belong...
We do belong...
we are told to fit in,
belong and more so tell ourselves to fit,
to find a place relative to the place of others...
we find comfort in conformity wearing masks to hide,
we exist in a chrysalis made of our own
before we are truly born...
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Alan Watts - How Illusions Become Real in your Mind

Samadhi - Guided Meditation #1- Breath as the Bridge

Before doing this meditation please listen to the 7 minute introduction introduction:
We created some resources for participants of the meditation retreats at the Samadhi Center ( and decided that others may also find them helpful. Whether you are getting started in meditation, or you are interested in deepening your meditation practice, this series of guided meditations is designed to cultivate the concentration and equanimity needed to realize Samadhi. The parts are not separate meditation techniques, but part of one evolving, continuously deepening practice of observing the breath. Traditionally Samadhi is realized through deep meditation. If you want to realize Samadhi it is necessary to move beyond intellectual understanding to direct experience. 

In this series of guided meditations, it is important to have the correct relationship to the instructions in the guided meditation. The meditative technique of focusing on the breath must be understood as simply a way to divert energy from the mind, and to bring consciousness deep into the unconscious aspects of your being. The technique is not something to add to your mind or self structure. Any technique is a "thorn to remove a thorn", so you must be willing to let it go once it has served its purpose. As you move closer to Samadhi there is less mind, less technique, and less self, until there is a cessation of all activities of the self structure. This cessation of self is Samadhi, and in that stillness the dawning of wisdom or prajna is possible.

Samadhi Movie, 2017 - Part 1 - "Maya, the Illusion of the Self"

We have new films, retreats and awakening initiatives coming available periodically and we would love to share with you. If you would like to receive occasional emails from us please subscribe to our newsletter at

Samadhi Part 1 (Maya the Illusion of the Self) is the first installment of a series of films exploring Samadhi. You can purchase a high definition copy of the film for download to your computer here:

Samadhi Part 2 "It's Not What You Think" will be coming soon. Check out the trailer here:

This Youtube video has "community translations" turned on. Click "more" and "add translation" if you would like to contribute a translation. If you have any questions you can contact us at

Many other parts of the Samadhi series are in various stages of completion and will follow. It is quite possible that the film is actually endless.

There are aspects in this film that rely on your understanding of concepts such as the primordial spiral, the logos, akasha, kundalini which can be found in the film "Inner Worlds Outer Worlds". The film can be watched for free at

Please support future films (which will always be released for free to the world) by donating at
Every small donation helps to keep production flowing.

While we greatly encourage you to freely share the links to the film, embed them and spread them freely, please do not steal the film, claim it as your own and/or monetize it on your own Youtube channel. Thank you.

Many people have sent us messages asking where they can practice meditation. Here are some resources:
1) Our own center, the Samadhi Center in Canada provides ongoing meditation retreats:
2) Vipassana Meditation:
3) Zen Meditation:
4) Shinzen Young provides retreats which draw from many traditions:


Daniel Schmidt - Director, Producer, Writer, Narrator, Film Score, Fractal Animation, Character Animation, Editor, Special FX, Audio Post

Tanya Mahar - Co-creation, story-boarding, inner direction and sharing of inner wisdom, and endless hours of help on all levels

Jeremy Sabo- Character animation

Cameron Gray- Artwork

Indiajiva- Music

Vrindavin Das- Artwork

Stuart Griggs- Artwork

Ashley Christudason- Artwork

Barbara (Eva) Dametto- Music

Genaro Murray- Music


How to Build a Dream Machine, Your Own Portal to Inner Visions

November 27, 2013 by Jason Louv

Build a Dream Machine, Brion Gysin and William Burroughs' Device for Sober Hallucinations, for about fifty dollars

The Dream Machine is a device for altering the brainwave frequency of the user and putting it into an alpha state, at which point it begins generating waking, sober hallucinations and internal "movies," on demand.

The machine is simple: it's a rotating cylinder with slats in the sides and a light placed inside, that creates a flicker pattern as it spins. The user of the Dream Machine sits in front of it with eyes closed, and allows the precisely-calibrated flicker pattern to play over their face, creating a strobe effect in the darkness behind their eyelids. After a short period of adjustment, the user begins to experience eidetic imagery, in the same way that one does just as passing over the threshold between wakefulness and sleep. (Due to its cylindrical nature and ability to generate internal movies, one might call it the original YouTube.)

Outer Gateways

This remarkable and overlooked object was invented in the late 1950s by artistic Renaissance man Brion Gysin and the electronics technician Ian Sommerville. Gysin was expelled from the Surrealist Group by André Breton at the age of 19; with the Dream Machine, he surpassed their previous techniques for image generation. (An example of a prior method is Salvador Dalí's Paranoiac-Critical exercise, in which the artist would fall asleep in an armchair while holding a rock in his hand and, upon his fingers relaxing and the rock crashing to the ground and waking him, would immediately record what he had just seen.) The Dream Machine allowed for a convenient and immediate way to get at eidetic imagery without having to go to sleep or take chemicals.

Gysin had been inspired by both childhood and adult experiences with the effects of flicker, by historical accounts of its use (Nostradamus was alleged to have received his visions by closing his eyes, facing towards the sun and flickering his fingers in front of his eyes) as well as by research into medical reports of its effects. At the infamous Beat Hotel in Paris where he lived with Sommerville and Burroughs (along with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso, the vicious crime writer Derek Raymond and others) he constructed the first prototype. It quickly became a source of fascination for the Beats.

Smash the Control Images — Smash the Control Machine

Burroughs wrote about Dream Machines extensively in his novels, where he depicted them as a weapon for the freedom of consciousness in the eternal war against Control. The author spoke highly of his friends' invention, saying: "Subjects report dazzling lights of unearthly brilliance and color… Elaborate geometric constructions of incredible intricacy build up from multidimensional mosaic into living fireballs like the mandalas of Eastern mysticism or resolve momentarily into apparently individual images and powerfully dramatic scenes like brightly colored dreams."

The machine was officially unveiled in 1962, at the Louvre's Museé des Arts Decoratifs, to a fascinated public and press—but Gysin, unsatisfied with a small art audience, dreamed of mass production. Along with the cut-up method of text composition he had honed with Burroughs, Gysin considered the Dream Machine his magical message to the world.

He turned first to business magnate Helena Rubinstein, who was taken with the device and exhibited it in her shop windows, but then refused to pay for it. Next Gysin tried the Philips Corporation—a representative of the company, while visiting Gysin at the Beat Hotel, slipped on dogshit in the hall; the deal was cancelled. Later, Colombia Records wanted to market the Dream Machine as a lamp. Meeting with Colombia executives in 1965, Gysin (ever the magician) told them that vinyl records would soon be obsolete, replaced with optical discs that were read with a ray of light. He was not well received.

Communication must become total and conscious before we can stop it…

Gysin died in 1986, the cause of the Dream Machine having been taken up by his protégé Genesis P-Orridge and the loose occult and media subversion network the Temple ov Psychick Youth. TOPY both propagandized the Dream Machine and distributed information on how to make your own, using Gysin's original plans.

Since the 90s, the Dream Machine has become a kind of elitist status symbol, often found in the possession of West Coast media types and young celebrities. Kurt Cobain bought one shortly before his death. David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Paul McCartney all used it. Other aficionados include Marilyn Manson, Floria Sigismondi, Bruce Labruce, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beck and DJ Spooky.

Creating your own is not hard: All one needs is a large sheet of cardboard, an X-Acto blade to cut the slats out, a light bulb on a cord and a spare turntable. Check out our instructions for doing so below!

How to Build Your Own Dream Machine (Instructions and Photos by Ultraculture Contributor Hildemar Cruz!)

It's hard for me to pinpoint the exact resource that lead me to discover the Dream Machine. Was it music, the words of Burroughs or magical experimentation? Regardless of the source, once I saw the price of some prefabricated models (roughly $450) I decided to try creating my own "innerverse" machine. I spent, altogether, about $50-60 in materials to create my own. Although I ran into some obstacles while putting my Dream Machine together, once you get all the materials, assembly can be completed within a day.

(Here's a Google Docs link to the original plans for the Dream Machine published by Thee Temple of Psychick Youth, now out of print.)
Materials needed:

32" x 32" (minimum) aluminum sheet or heavy cardboard, depending on how classy you want the Dream Machine to look.
– You can find the heavy board at any art supply store. You can cut out the pattern using any ol' blade or a Xacto knife.
– You can buy the aluminum sheet at your local hardware store. Just make sure you have the proper instruments to cut the shapes out of the aluminum and avoid warping the sheet.
78 r.p.m. turntable

– Can be found at thrift stores or second hand stores; however you must be willing to hunt for one. eBay is another good source. You can find them relatively cheap, but expect to pay a hefty shipping fee. Oh—and make sure it can actually turn 78s, not just 33s or 45s.
Light bulb, socket and power cord

– You can either take the light bulb and socket out of an old lamp, find an old lamp at a thrift store, or you can buy a lamp making kit at your local hardware store for about $10 and some change.
• Tools:

Xacto Knife or blade
– Super glue or another strong adhesive (I use Zap-A-Gap with an accelerator like Insta-Set)
– Pencil
– Ruler
– Sand paper
– Clamps
Step 1: Prepare the record player. Remove any hood, arms or other elements that will serve no purpose for the Dream Machine. Remember, all you need is the spinning table. Everything else will just get in your way.
If curiosity leads you to look under the hood of the record, so to speak, feel free to explore but be careful not to damage any of its parts, otherwise the turn table will not spin for you.

Step 2: Take your sheet of aluminum and create a grid. Each line should be two inches apart, going in both directions, creating two inch squares.

Now you can either print & cut out the templates included in the PDF instructions, or just draw them using the template as a guide. There are five different shapes. They are all a slight variations of each other set to a distinct pattern. If you want to see a full size version of each, refer to the plans or the template.

Personally, I stumbled upon some obstacles while attempting to create the hood using the aluminum sheet. I just didn't have the right tools to cut the shapes out without distorting the metal. So I switched over to the heavy cardboard sheet from my local art supply store and it worked out fine.
I like to sand the cuts afterwards just to make sure the shapes are even and aesthetically perfect, but that's up to your own taste.

Step 3: After you've cut out the pattern, you must connect the each side of the hood. Be careful! You don't want to tear the hood by handling it too roughly. If possible, carefully twist the cardboard so it takes the proper round bended shape. You may consider scoring the board so it maintains the shape, but your risk of ripping is higher.

This would be the ideal time to get an extra pair of hands to help you hold the hood in proper shape while you glue and clamp them into place. Let dry.

Step 4: If your turntable plate, like the one I bought, is not large enough to hold your hood, then you will have to create a base for it. I used a piece of the aluminum sheet that I discarded. Make it large enough that the hood can sit easily on top of it but not so large that you can't get to the buttons on the face of the turn table.

Steps 5: Place your hood on top of the turntable and set the rotation speed to 78 r.p.m.

Step 6: Suspend the lamp about 1/3 but no further than halfway into the hood of the dream machine. I just hung mine from a light fixture on the roof of my room. You may need to get an extension cord.

Step 7: Turn off all the lights and make sure you sit very close to the rotating Dream Machine while you begin your meditation. Keep your eyes closed throughout the meditation.
(If you build one, let us know how it goes in the comments below!)

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Even Shape-Shifting Aliens Will Love This Gorgeous Art Inspired by John Carpenter's The Thing

Art by Kelley Jones (see full image below). All images courtesy of Printed in Blood.

It's been 35 years since Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, and the rest of the salty McMurdo crew fought an interstellar invader in deepest Antarctica. A new book celebrating John Carpenter's The Thing shows how inspirational the scifi horror film has become for artists with wildly diverse styles.

Coming this summer from Printed in Blood, The Thing: Artbook is 400 pages long and contains over 375 pages of art from over 350 artists, whose contributions (comics, fine art, illustration, animation, and more) were all created specifically for the book. There's also an intro by horror director/megafan Eli Roth and an afterword by the almighty Carpenter.
Here's a look at just some of the pieces.

Artist: Tony Harris

Artist: Kelley Jones

Artist: Daniel Nash

Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz

If you happen to be in Los Angeles tomorrow, Creature Features is hosting a huge group art show marking the 35th anniversary of The Thing and highlighting pieces that will be included in the book (find more info at the event's Facebook page). Otherwise, The Thing: Artbook is currently available for pre-order through Printed in Blood; copies will go out once it makes its official debut at San Diego Comic-Con in July.
[Dread Central]

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If Humble People Make the Best Leaders, Why Do We Fall for Charismatic Narcissists?

April 07, 2017

The research is clear: when we choose humble, unassuming people as our leaders, the world around us becomes a better place.

Humble leaders improve the performance of a company in the long run because they create more collaborative environments. They have a balanced view of themselves – both their virtues and shortcomings – and a strong appreciation of others' strengths and contributions, while being open to new ideas and feedback. These "unsung heroes" help their believers to build their self-esteem, go beyond their expectations, and create a community that channels individual efforts into an organized group that works for the good of the collective.

For example, one study examined 105 small-to-medium-sized companies in the computer software and hardware industry in the United Studies. The findings revealed that when a humble CEO is at the helm of a firm, its top management team is more likely to collaborate and share information, making the most of the firm's talent.

Another study showed that a leader's humility can be contagious: when leaders behave humbly, followers emulate their modest attitude and behavior. A study of 161 teams found that employees following humble leaders were themselves more likely to admit their mistakes and limitations, share the spotlight by deflecting praise to others, and be open to new ideas, advice, and feedback.
Yet instead of following the lead of these unsung heroes, we appear hardwired to search for superheroes: over-glorifying leaders who exude charisma.

The Greek word Kharisma means "divine gift," and charisma is the quality of extraordinary charm, magnetism, and presence that makes a person capable of inspiring others with enthusiasm and devotion. German sociologist Max Weber defined charisma as "of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of it, the individual concerned is treated as a leader." Research evidence on charismatic leadership reveals that charismatic people are more likely to become endorsed as leaders because of their high energy, unconventional behavior, and heroic deeds.

While charisma is conductive to orchestrating positive large-scale transformations, there can be a "dark side" to charismatic leadership. Jay Conger and Rabindra Kanungo describe it this way in their seminal book: "Charismatic leaders can be prone to extreme narcissism that leads them to promote highly self-serving and grandiose aims." A clinical study illustrates that when charisma overlaps with narcissism, leaders tend to abuse their power and take advantage of their followers. Another study indicates that narcissistic leaders tend to present a bold vision of the future, and this makes them more charismatic in the eyes of others.

Why are such leaders more likely to rise to the top? One study suggests that despite being perceived as arrogant, narcissistic individuals radiate "an image of a prototypically effective leader."

Narcissistic leaders know how to draw attention toward themselves. They enjoy the visibility. It takes time for people to see that these early signals of competence are not later realized, and that a leader's narcissism reduces the exchange of information among team members and often negatively affects group performance.

It's not that charismatic and narcissistic people can't ever make good leaders. In some circumstances, they can. For example, one study found that narcissistic CEOs "favor bold actions that attract attention, resulting in big wins or big losses." A narcissistic leader thus can represent a high-risk, high-reward proposition.

And it's not that humble leaders can't ever be charismatic. Researchers agree that we could classify charismatic leaders as "negative" or "positive" by their orientation toward pursuing their self-interested goals versus those of their groups. These two sides of charismatic leadership have also been called personalized and socialized charisma. Although the socialized charismatic leader has the aura of a hero, it is counteracted with low authoritarianism and a genuine interest in the collective welfare. In contrast, the personalized charismatic leader's perceived heroism is coupled with high authoritarianism and high narcissism. It is when followers are confused and disoriented that they are more likely to form personalized relationships with a charismatic leader. Socialized relationships, on the other hand, are established by followers with a clear set of values who view the charismatic leader as a means to achieve collective action.

The problem is that we select negative charismatic leaders much more frequently than in the limited situations where the risk they represent might pay off. Despite their grandiose view of themselves, low empathy, dominant orientation toward others, and strong sense of entitlement, their charisma proves irresistible. Followers of superheroes are enthralled by their showmanship: through their sheer magnetism, narcissistic leaders transform their environments into a competitive game in which their followers also become more self-centered, giving rise to organizational narcissism, as one study shows.

If humble leaders are more effective than narcissistic leaders, why do we so often choose narcissistic individuals to lead us?

The "romance of leadership" hypothesis suggests that we generally have a biased tendency to understand social events in terms of leadership and people tend to romanticize the figure of the leader.

My own research shows that our psychological states can also bias our perceptions of charismatic leaders. High levels of anxiety make us hungry for charisma. As a result, crises increase not only the search for charismatic leaders, but also our tendency to perceive charisma in the leaders we already follow.

Economic and social crises thus become a unique testing ground for charismatic leaders. They create conditions of distress and uncertainty that appear to be ideal for the ascent of charismatic figures. Yet at the same time, they also make us more vulnerable to choosing the wrong leader. Crises and other emotionally laden events increase our propensity to romanticize the grandiose view of narcissistic leaders. The paradox is that we may then choose to support the very leaders who are less likely to bring us success. In a time of crisis, it's easy to be seduced by superheroes who could come and "rescue" us, but who possibly then plunge us into greater peril.

While this may sound hopeless, there is another way of looking at it. Essentially, we have the leaders we deserve. As we collectively select and construct our leaders to satisfy our own needs and desires, we can choose humility or socialized charisma over narcissism.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

People Are Paying to Work From Bars and Restaurants

Restaurant owners are jumping on the co-working bandwagon by transforming their spaces into WeWork-style offices during the day.

Shelly Hagan

April 3, 2017, 4:00 AM PDT
At 7 a.m. on a recent morning, Simon Collins was at his office in New York making a video call to China. The fashion consultant was about to launch into his plans for an upcoming conference he's organizing before his overseas colleague interrupted: "Are you in your grandmother's dining room?"
He was actually at Public, a dimly lit restaurant with dark oak tables and vintage décor located in New York City's trendy Nolita neighborhood. The Michelin star eatery undergoes a transformation each morning into a co-working space for freelancers and other professionals. A network of five such restaurant-office hybrids is run by a local startup called, which is finding a niche among people looking for a place to work that's cheaper than WeWork but quieter and more reliable than a Starbucks.

Spacious is one of several new businesses with an unusual twist on co-working. The model of converting dining rooms or bars into shared offices is attractive to restaurant owners because it offers a new source of revenue during the work day, when their spaces are usually left dormant. It's especially appealing to the food-service industry, which has seen its already-low margins squeezed. "Walking by a coffee shop and seeing everybody piled on top of each other, and seeing a beautiful empty restaurant next door—it just seemed to be a natural fit," said Preston Pesek, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spacious.

Spacious members work at the bar in Public on March 31, 2017.
Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

Co-working spaces, where people rent desks and offices alongside other freelance or satellite workers, have become a global sensation, led by WeWork Cos. The New York-based company was valued at more than $17 billion last month after an investment from SoftBank Group Corp. WeWork provides members with free snacks and access to in-office beer kegs. It has 162 office locations in 41 cities around the world.

WeWork's hometown is one of the world's co-working capitals. Commercial real estate devoted to co-working in New York City has grown fivefold in the past five years, according to Jonathan Mazur, managing director at real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. The city, with its high concentration of restaurants and bars, offers plenty of options for Spacious and its rivals, such as WorkEatPlay and KettleSpace.

But similar businesses are starting up in Austin, Texas, and Tel Aviv. They typically don't offer as many perks as WeWork but provide members with speedy Wi-Fi, printers, office supplies and coffee. Subscriptions range from $95 to $110, which is about half the cost of a desk at WeWork.
Daniel Rubin, CEO of Israel's Pub Hub, said he's opened one location and is scouting more than a dozen bars in the country's tech hub of Tel Aviv. But he said finding one that can make itself look presentable to working professionals every morning is a challenge: "Not every bar is great for co-working."

Working someplace with a fully stocked bar has its perks. Shaina Forman, a 28-year-old brand strategist, shuts her laptop at 5 p.m. when DBGB Kitchen and Bar on Manhattan's Lower East Side opens to the public. Then she'll sometimes partake in the $1 oysters and drink specials. "We get a text at the end of the day saying it's time for happy hour," she said.

Spacious members work in a dining room at La Sirena restaurant.
Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

Because Spacious uses mostly high-end restaurants, it doesn't have to worry about cleaning up a mess from the night before. Cheryl Clements, who founded and runs a crowdfunding website called PieShell that's aimed at food and beverage entrepreneurs, said Spacious allows her to get a rare taste of fine dining, even if it's during off-hours. She often works from La Sirena in Chelsea, which is owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali. "You walk out of here and go to the washroom, and the orange Croc wonder is standing there doing a commercial, and you're like, 'Oh, yeah. Hi!'" Clements said.
Collins, the fashion consultant, also likes the upscale digs, in spite of the mockery from his Chinese colleague. As Collins told him over video chat recently, the vibe helps him portray a certain status to clients. "This is a really cool restaurant downtown that people struggle to get into, and we get in early," he said. "I filmed an interview with a Chinese network in the wine room at Public. It's a long, beautiful room filled with wine."

But due to the high turnover in the restaurant industry, your favorite location may not stick around forever. Collins was bummed to learn recently that Public lost its lease and will shut down in June. He'll relocate to La Sirena or another Spacious location, he said: "Always sad to see a good restaurant go though."

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Order From Chaos = Life

Order From Chaos = Life

Life finds a way, because, life is logical creating order from the chaos of creation to perpetuate, to live, by its own guidance, not by that of a divine initiate but by existences inherent path to find the singularity it was born from, to coalesce, order of one
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The Discovery

Someone tells you that he has discovered proof of an afterlife but can't tell you what or where this afterlife is...hope? Like telling others that you've found the answer but never disclosing how the answer was found or what it is. Why announce it if you're the only one who has found proof the soul leaves the body; yeah well I think we all can agree on that as a strong possibility but most of us wonder where does the soul go when it leaves....a quote posits if one wonders that when a train leaves the station should one wonder where it is going? Yes!!!! If that train is your soul one should!!!

Why do we care so much about leaving our existing life? Vacation, a lost weekend forgetting the week that just passed as our lives...a person commits suicide because their current life sucks so much that they need to end it and....and. Do they want another chance? Is the grass really greener on the other side as is often said? Or is it AstroTurf? We imagine, hope it is better than the shit life we have now? Why do so many see their current life as so abhorrent they want to leave it. No, not everyone thinks suicide. Vacation. Escaping. Why not make your life so good you would never want to leave it but to explore....

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Science Reveals Artists Really Do Have Different Brains

It appears that there's now justifiable support for the idiom "she's just wired differently."

We might now have neurological proof that artists actually are different creatures from everyone else on the planet. According to a study published in Neurolmage, researchers believe that artists have brains that are structurally different from non-artists. It appears that there's now justifiable support for the idiom "she's just wired differently, idk." 

The study, titled "Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Analysis Of Observational Drawing," included 44 graduate and post-grad art students and non-art students who were asked to complete various drawing tasks. The completed tasks were measured and scored, and that data was compared to "regional grey and white matter volume in the cortical and subcortical structures" of the brain using a scanning method called voxel-based morphometry. An increase in grey matter density on the left anterior cerebellum and the right medial frontal gyrus were observed in relation to drawing skills.

The scans depicted that the artist group had more grey matter in the area of the brain called the precuneus in the parietal lobe. That region is involved with many skills, but could possibly be linked to controlling your mind's eye for visual creativity.

Lead author Rebecca Chamberlain from KU Leuven, Belgium noted, "The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the brain that control for fine motor performance and what we call procedural memory."

Studying the brain's make-up in experts versus non-experts has been a practice in music ability, complex motor skills, and more, but accodiing to the research paper, "No studies have assessed the structural differences associated with representational skills in visual arts."

So if your anachronistically traditional parents ask why you're always drawing inside on nice days, you have science to back up your answer.

Image via

For more on your noggin':
MRI Art Exhibit Captures The Beauty Of The Human Brain
Visualizing "The Butterfly Effect" And Other Microscopic Science Phenomena On Camera
Danish Scientists Visualize Dubstep Through Fire
h/t BBC
Watch This Next


Lucy McRae on Creativity and the Human Body as Art | Visionaries, Episode 2

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These books will fuck you up in the best way possible.

Here's nine excellent movies about magick and the occult! Did we leave anything out...?

Douglas Coupland: 'The nine to five is barbaric'

Douglas Coupland has always been one of the sharpest critics of the modern workplace. His literary works – such as Generation X, JPod and Microserfs – revolve around smart and creative young people who are better than their bosses, but unable to thrive in the corporate world. Coupland himself left full-time employment years ago and can relate to those who make the brave step to do their own thing.

"I haven't been employed since 1988. I'm still trying to recover from the trauma. Sometimes I wake up and think: 'Oh my God, I don't have a job'," he says. "My life is a vocation; I can't imagine doing anything else. I have the freedom to explore whatever idea I want, take really random gigs and projects which change my life in some way."

Coupland is talking backstage at Konica Minolta's Spotlight Live event on the future of work in Berlin this week where he was a star speaker. He says the collapse of the idea of a job for life means his generation, Generation X, and later ones think very differently about work than those born earlier. "They don't perceive [a job] as being a guarantee of long-term security – that's the profound difference, he says. "There was a point when the idea of the job for life disintegrated. Now no one has any expectation of lifetime employment."

Work as we know it is coming to an end, he told the audience in Berlin, as cloud-based technologies and ever-faster download speeds are making the office obsolete. Our working days are becoming interspersed with leisure and home activities. We will need to learn to adapt to a freeform schedule, which will present a psychological challenge to those who crave structure. But Coupland believes we should not mourn the loss of the traditional office routine.

Douglas Coupland at Konica Minolta's Spotlight Live event in Berlin, Germany. Photograph: Joern Pollex/Getty Images for Konica Minolta

"The nine to five is barbaric. I really believe that. I think one day we will look back at nine-to-five employment in a similar way to how we see child labour in the 19th century," he says. "The future will not have the nine till five. Instead, the whole day will be interspersed with other parts of your life. Scheduling will become freeform."

In the same way the industrial revolution led to the creation of the weekend as a break from work, the cloud is altering our work schedule, Coupland says. He points to developments in Silicon Valley, where companies such as Facebook encourage staff to work from home on Wednesdays. Coupland explains that avoiding the San Francisco Bay area commute was part of the reason for this, but getting away from meetings and office politics is the most popular aspect of it with staff. "In the future, every day of the week is going to be a Wednesday. There will be no more weekends, it'll be one smooth flow. I wish I could say that in the future there will be no meetings, but there will always be meetings."
I wish I could say that in the future there will be no meetings, but there will always be meetings
The demise of jobs will be unsettling for people both staff and employers, Coupland notes. No one really wants to be trapped in a job, but people still crave structure, he says. "Do people want to be in a job-job? God, no! But while most people like the notion of free time, actually having to deal with it is horrible. It's a deal with the devil. At least when they're employed they don't have to do deal with the freefall; the nothingness of free time."

There is much discussion about how employers should deal with millennials, this new breed of worker who grew up with the internet and has never know life without it. But Coupland theorises that constant connectivity via smartphones has altered the way we all think – millennials are not so different to the rest of us.

"We no longer need to remember long strings of phone numbers or directions from the airport. Why bother to remember anything? Our brains are liberated from these things. I think it's one of the most profound neurological changes in human history," he says. "We've all turned into millennials."
A common theme in Coupland's thinking is the idea of an internet brain – we think differently now to how we did just a few decades ago. Smartphones were the tipping point, he believes, as they altered problem solving, but also mean we are bombarded with so much information. This constant influx of news and data means we've come to perceive time differently. The future used to be a far-off thing, but now we experience it at the same time as the present, he contends.

"We have the present and the future all at the same time," he says. "I think it's one of the most profound neurological changes in human history."

According to Coupland, people with internet brains are capable of doing huge amounts of work, quickly and from anywhere. This is making, and will continue to make, existing roles obsolete, as automation and AI take over. Coupland predicts the death of the middle classes and the creation of a huge new "global mobile class", powered by massive broadband access. Increased efficiency will mean people will work less and more flexibly. Indeed, the very idea of a full-time job is up for debate.

"My suspicion is that long distance wifi in an information rich environment means that people will be quite willing to stay in jobs that don't seem like full-time jobs to us here in 2017. We are coming towards a labour reality where there are more people who have fewer things to do. Maybe that's a good thing," he adds.
The winners in this labour force will be the people who have an actual skill
In such a rapidly evolving society, possessing actual skills – including those which have nothing to do with the internet – is vital, says Coupland. "The winners in this labour force will be the people who have an actual skill," he says. "Always have an actual skill as a back-up, that's very good advice."
Coupland says that the people behind the world's technology are unconcerned by the disruption they have created.

"Most people who work in tech – 99% – don't want to look at the implications of what they are doing. They just want to hit their milestones and that's it."

But there's no turning back. The internet is here to stay and will continue to profoundly change societies and the workplace. "If the internet stopped one day, can you imagine the chaos? What would we call that scenario? It's called 1995 – that's how far we've come."

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Remembering the Time 10,000 Newfoundlanders Tried to Kill Their Prime Minister

It is really easy to hate on winter in Newfoundland, but I believe that spring is actually worse. You know what you're getting in winter: the endless cycle of freeze-thaw-freeze, never-ending dumps of snow, the four weeks of crushing misery called "February." Spring is worse because it is a lie. It starts a month and a half late (if you're lucky) and usually opens with a deceptive mild period before hammering you with another blizzard or three. Fuck spring in Newfoundland. I hate it with my life.
In politics, winter and spring are the only seasons we have in Newfoundland and Labrador, too. Summer has never come and we've never hit the beautiful decadence you need for autumn.

Sometimes, though, people get fed up. Like on April 5, 1932, when a downtown parade erupted into a riot that trashed the legislature and nearly killed prime minister Richard Squires.
As you can appreciate, 1932 was not a good year for the Dominion of Newfoundland (yes, rest of Canada, Newfoundland didn't actually join this country until 1949). Having barely survived a decade of political chaos and failed get-industrialized-quick schemes fueled by foreign debts in the 1920s, the island now found itself in the doldrums of the Great Depression. Most of the country was tied up in resource exports—fish, forestry, and mining—and as those industries collapsed, the ranks of the unemployed swelled dramatically. The government, buckling under nearly $100 million in debt (roughly $1.7 billion today), was all but powerless to handle the roughly one-third of the country on a six-cents-a-day dole.

The situation wasn't helped by the fact that the Squires government was hilariously corrupt. At the same time as it was trying to retain creditor confidence by slashing as much public spending as possible without actively killing the poor, Squires was pocketing the War Reparations the island was getting from Germany. Another one of his ministers was being paid a salary as 'Immigration Officer' despite the fact that Newfoundland literally had no immigration at the time. This, while growing numbers of unemployed and destitute people were beginning to march in the streets.

It was inevitable that all of these chickens would soon come home to roost. When the legislature opened in February 1932, Finance Minister Peter Cashin immediately resigned, and stood in the House to accuse his colleagues in cabinet of corruption. In March, under pressure from Canadian banks, the government passed new tariffs on basic foodstuffs while slashing pension benefits for veterans of the Great War. Another cabinet minister and two more government backbenchers resigned. The House adjourned until April 5, the day shit absolutely hit the fan.

On April 5, 1500 people paraded up from the Majestic Theatre downtown to present a petition demanding a "proper investigation" into accusations of corruption. By the time they had arrived at the Colonial Building, it had grown into an agitated mob of 10,000. The band tried to calm them by playing "God Save the King" twice, but each time they finished the crowd got more and more restless. Eventually, word reached the crowd that the petitioners had been refused entry to the House, and someone started chucking rocks at the windows.

All hell broke loose. A group of policemen who had been inside the building's lobby decided enough was enough, so they opened the front doors to push the protesters down off the stairs,indiscriminately cracking heads with their batons. They brained a child in the head and the crowd went wild. They pulled one cop down off a horse and beat the shit out of him. Every window in the building was smashed out with rocks as the mob rushed up the stairs and into the front door. The police were forced to retreat, forming a human barricade blocking the door to the legislature floor. The mob instead tore through the rest of the offices in the building basement instead, destroying everything they found. They tore up the books in the library and carried a piano out into Bannerman Park to smash it to pieces. Two separate fires were set inside. It was a glorious chaos.

Meanwhile, all debate inside the House of Assembly was drowned out by the noise of the battle outside. Most of the politicians inside went into hiding elsewhere in the building. Squires, accompanied by a young Joey Smallwood, retreated to his office, certain the mob was out for his blood. The prime minister was cowering by his desk when they heard a crowd approaching outside, and Smallwood picked up a fireplace poker and said he'd take the first six through the door. Instead, they were greeted by a rescue team of priests and police officers who promised to smuggle Squires out one of the building's side doors into a waiting getaway car.

They weren't long outside before the crowd recognized the prime minister, and before he could get into the car he was rushed by the mob. The police pulled Squires out and retreated inside the building, while a cadre of Catholic and Anglican priests tried to negotiate a safe passage out. The mob begrudgingly agreed, but the streets were too crowded for Squires' car to pass, so they had to make their exit on foot. The prime minister got barely fifty metres away when they rushed him again, this time clocking him in the face. The police managed to pull him out again and they booted it down the street, running down a side alley and into a private residence to escape the mob. The angry crowd roaming the streets lost him, and Squires spent the rest of the night hiding out in a bedroom while the demonstrators sacked all the downtown liquor stores.

The next day, despite his refusal to resign, it was obvious that Squires could not continue governing after nearly being murdered. An election was called for early June, but between the economic, financial, and political depression of the island and its people, it wasn't a very exciting campaign. Squires lost his own seat and Frederick Alderdice's United Newfoundland Party won 25 of 27 seats in the legislature on a promise to give the country a time-out from democracy.

Britain refused to allow the Dominion of Newfoundland to default on its debt, so they proposed the next best thing: end responsible government and re-assume direct control of the island as a Crown colony, governed by a six-man panel of bureaucrats. Newfoundland's self-governing status was officially revoked in December, 1933, and the Commission of Government was set up in early 1934. It would last until 1949, when we tumbled into Confederation one minute before midnight on March 31—effectively April Fool's day, for those who are still bitter about it.

Hard to believe it's been 85 years since everyone got so mad at a shitty, incompetent, debt-ridden and unimaginative government that Newfoundland imploded. Good thing it'll never get that bad again, right?

(Slowly backs out of room.)
Follow Drew Brown on Twitter.

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Elimination of all federal funding for Amtrak's national network trains
Stations used by 144.6 million Americans will close

March 16, 2017 
National Association of Railroad Passengers 
Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Rail Passengers, the premiere national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit, denounced the budget outline released today by the Trump Administration, which slashes investment in transportation infrastructure. These cuts to Amtrak, transit, and commuter rail programs, and even air service to rural towns, would not only cost construction and manufacturing jobs, but place a disproportionate amount of pain on rural and working class communities.

"It's ironic that President Trump's first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office," said NARP President Jim Mathews. "These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like 'flyover country.' But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak's long distance trains, the Trump Administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S. These hard working, small town Americans don't have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains."

"What's more, these proposed cuts come as President Trump continues to promise that our tax dollars will be invested in rebuilding America's infrastructure," continued Mathews. "Instead, we have seen an all-out assault on any project—public and private—that would advance passenger rail. These cuts and delays are costing the U.S. thousands of good-paying construction and manufacturing jobs in America's heartland at this very moment."

Mathews was referring to the decision by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to indefinitely suspend a grant that would allow California to proceed with a commuter rail electrification project. Caltrain, the agency overseeing the project, estimates the project would create 9,600 total direct and indirect jobs. The delay also threatens the construction of a new railcar assembly plant planned for Salt Lake City, which would generate sustainable, family-wage jobs for 550 employees.

The White House budget would lead to a nightmare scenario for people who depend on passenger rail, transit, commuter rail, and even regional air service in the United States, from Wall Street to Main Street. The proposal cuts $2.4 billion from transportation, a 13 percent reduction of last year's funding, and includes:

Elimination of all federal funding for Amtrak's national network trains, which provides the only national network service to 23 states, and the only nearby Amtrak service for 144.6 million Americans;

$499 million from the TIGER grant program, a highly successful program that invests in passenger rail and transit projects of national significance;

Elimination of $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration's "New Starts" Capital Investment Program, which is crucial to launching new transit, commuter rail, and light-rail projects.
Long distance rail routes open up enormous economic development opportunities, which the Administration's proposal ignores or casts aside. The plan threatens the following long distances routes:

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