Franz Brentano

Franz Brentano

“Those who knew Franz Brentano, even if only through his work, saw him as representing modern man, struggling with the riddle of the universe … he was first and foremost a thinker, one who did not allow his thinking to wander at random … Franz Brentano himself estimated that his work on psychology would fill five volumes, but only the first volume was published. It is fully understandable to someone who knew him well why no subsequent volumes appeared … In order to find answers to the questions facing him after the completion of the first volume of Psychology he needed spiritual knowledge. But spiritual science he could not accept and, as he was above all an honest man, he abandoned writing the subsequent volumes. The venture came to a full stop and thus remains a fragment.” — Rudolf Steiner, from Aspects of Human Evolution, Lecture Five, 1917.

Introduction:

Now I See … is a page and an opportunity for Anthroposophists to present reviews of non-anthroposophical books in such categories as non-fiction, scholastic or academic, history, science, biography, autobiography, and the paranormal.  The books do not need to be current or recently published, and most should raise the disturbing question as to why Rudolf Steiner’s name — or Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science — is not included in the index and in the contents, and when the absence of these resources or answers is felt to be something of an acute or tragic loss, or at the very least as a serious omission. Another kind of book appropriate for review will be of interest to Anthroposophists due to its timely and relevant subject (such as Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a WWII Fighter Pilot, by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, about their son, James Leininger).

The reviews submitted should not be critical, but should be written with a thoughtful, deeply questioning and sympathetic point of view, similar to Rudolf Steiner’s quotation about the work of Franz Brentano, above.

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January 22nd, 2020 | Tags:

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN AND STUDENTS FROM THE INTERNET

How to Protect Your Children on the Internet: A Road Map for Parents and Teachers, by Gregory S. Smith; published by Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2007; review by Valdemar W. Setzer

1. Introduction

This paper is a review of the book by Gregory S. Smith How to Protect Your Children on the Internet: A Road Map for Parents and Teachers (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2007). Upon request of a Brazilian press, I gave an opinion on the convenience of translating and editing it; my opinion was strongly favorable. The resulting Brazilian edition is titled Como Proteger seus Filhos da Internet: Um guia para pais e professores (Ribeirão Preto: Novo Conceito, 2009). As the subject was a pressing educational issue, I decided to write this review before the publication of the Brazilian edition, citing all the points I considered most important in the book, adding at the end my opinions and recommendations regarding this issue. My intention in publishing the original review on my Web site was to make available to the Portuguese speaking public some important information of the book, and encourage its study after its translation. Because of this, I covered the book in many details. This English version has been requested by Jacques Brodeur, who intended to publish it in his Web site Edupax.

Sections 2 to 3 of this review contain an extensive summary of the contents of the book. This summary is presented according to its structure, in a quite objective way, that is, without expressing my opinion. Obviously, the choice of topics presented in this review is subjective, as well as the choice of quotations from the book. The latter represent points of view and data considered relevant. Titles of chapters and sections of the book and the excerpts quoted from it were cited in quotation marks. Section 4 contains some general opinions about the book and additional arguments showing that the Internet should not be used by children and adolescents.

The book is organized into two parts, each with several chapters. Each chapter concludes with a section with recommendations to parents.

2. Part One: “Introduction to Technology and Risks on the Internet”

2.1 Chapter 1: “Welcome to the Internet.”

In this chapter the author describes what is the Internet and its history.

It is worth repeating some of the book’s data to form an idea of the size of the Internet: in 1995, the number of its users was 45 million; in 2000 420 million, in 2005 it surpassed 1 billion and a forecast for 2011 suggested more than 2 billion. According to the Wall Street Journal, as of may 2006 143 million Americans had Internet access from their homes, with 72% connected via broadband. For what concerns us the following data are relevant: 91% of all U.S. children between 3 and 12 years, in kindergartens and elementary schools use computers, and 59% have Internet access.

In the section of recommendations at the end of this chapter the author introduces one of the most important facets of the danger posed by the Internet: “Children between ages 8 and 17 are not growing in an environment similar to the childhood of their parents. Children of past generations couldn’t even fathom the kinds of hard-core pornography available today at the click of a mouse, nor predict the actions of today’s teens while they are online.” (p. 13.) This is followed by recommendations to parents to become quite familiar with the computer and Internet used at home, especially the use of passwords, accounts and restrictions that can be introduced; record all programs used at home with their versions, including email, Web browsers, instant messaging systems, anti-virus and anti-spam programs (spam is unwanted email distributed to a very large list of addresses, containing irrelevant material, advertisements, viruses etc.), and programs for filtering and monitoring accesses; talk to the children and ask them what they are doing on the network; review the sites they are accessing (he gives directions on how to see the history of accesses from browsers); doing searches on computer files; noting all devices that have Internet access, such as telephones, computers, TVs, etc.; ask the children how many email accounts they have, whether they use instant messaging systems etc. “Be prepared for some lies.” (p. 14.)

2.2 Chapter 2: “Back to School”

In this chapter the author defines usual Internet terminology in alphabetical order, such as what are administrator privileges of an operating system, blocking software, blog, modem, DSL, etc.

In the section of recommendations, he calls attention to the fact that Internet technologies and resources are constantly changing, so that parents and educators must constantly update themselves. A very important point is “By the time most children reach the age of 14 or 15 years of age, they have completely surpassed their parents’ knowledge of computers and the Internet. If left unchecked, these may get into some trouble, whether or not they mean it. Parents have an obligation and right to nurture, educate and protect their children from the risks associated with going online. Those that feel they are violating the children’s privacy by keeping ahead of them from a technological and monitoring perspective may actually be contributing to their risk.” (p. 43.) This emphasis on the obligation of parents for the proper upbringing of their children is present in the whole book.

Some highlights of the recommendations: when the children are young and in intermediate classes (5th to 8th grades), “place your Internet-enabled computers in a common space that is viewable. Don’t allow them to have unfettered access to the Internet, especially from their rooms. ” (p. 43.); learn how a firewall works and install one in each machine; make a survey of filters and programs to block access to certain sites — “No computer or device that is used by a child should be without some type of protection or monitoring. As a parent, you are responsible for what your child has access to or is doing online.” (p. 43); install individual accounts for the children on each computer — “When appropriate, restrict those accounts from installing new software or applications. […] No child needs to install software without a parent’s consent, unless of course there is a stealth software installed.” (p. 44.); find out what security measures your child’s school has taken to protect him while using computers in the classroom. “Don’t settle for generic answers. […] Engage your child’s teacher in a conversation on Internet safety. You may be surprised how little they know.” (p. 44.) Most children use an Internet search engine such as Google, Alta Vista, etc. for their school projects, “Where appropriate, help your child perform the search and approve each results page to ensure that they are not being exposed to inappropriate content.” (p. 44.) Maintain a dialogue with the children about the dangers of Internet use.

2.3 Chapter 3: “Risks Overview: Are Parents Making the Grade?”

This chapter describes and details the dangers that children and adolescents risk when using the Internet, and challenges parents to verify if they got the proper information about them.

Right at the beginning, the author puts himself firmly against “privacy advocates that pontificate about how wrong it is for parents to spy on their kids’ activities, some online, in an attempt to keep them safe […]. I have every right as a parent to do what it takes to keep them safe. My house is not a democracy and is far cry from a dictatorship […]. The Internet is definitely an interesting place, especially for parents trying to protect their children from adult content, harmful adult predators, and others intending to physically or emotionally harm children.” (p. 45.)

Attention: at this point I cease to literally quote from the book, unless for chapter and section titles. Due to a request from the author, who menaced of suing me because of plagiarism (in spite of my having put the citations in quotes and specifying the pages they were copied from). He allowed me to quote only 300 words, so from now on I replace his own phrases by my own. I maintain his page numbers, thus making it possible for the reader to locate his own phrases, which are certainly much better written and clear than my limited English permits. If someone would like to receive my original with all his quotations, please write me an e-mail; my address may be found at the top of my home page at http://www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer. I excuse myself for the poor result of trying to change his words and phrases. Let it be clear that I did not change this text because of Smith’s menace, but in respect to his wishes.

The author points to the fact that children and adolescents have four major sites of Internet access: the home, school, friends’ homes and Internet cafés or shared Wi-Fi sites (p. 46.). He enumerates the dangers of such use, such as having access to sexual content, being subjected to menaces — eventually from predators with sexual intent; viruses and spyware (software that transmits to others via the Internet personal information like usernames, account numbers, passwords etc.); obtaining personal data; playing games for money and addiction; buying or distributing drugs; viewing acts of violence and mutilation; racism and insensitiveness, fraud and identity theft; injuries inflicted to people. (p. 47.) More specifically, he lists five main dangers for children and youth between 8 and 17 years of age:

  1. Images of pornography and adult content;
  2. Viruses, and software that collect data;
  3. Predators in search of sex;
  4. Grown-ups desiring to kidnap, sexual abuse or kill children;
  1. Propagating crimes due to hate, promoting arms and incentive harm to other people (pp. 46-7).

The author presents the various ways in which these dangers can occur, such as chat rooms, cell phones/PDAs, instant messaging, browsing/searching, blogging and email (p. 47). Then he details the dangers of surfing the Internet or using search engines, and shows how content filters are insufficient. He acknowledges that the intent of search companies could be good, but youngsters may circumvent the parameters by altering them, eliminating cookies [local files with data associated with any site, in this case with filtering parameters] or changing to another browser and specifying their own look-up parameters. (p. 48.) The author found that the so-called “family filters” (a class of filters provided by browsers), were not effective in their majority (p. 48) and gives a table of search results. For example, using Google with an activated filter, a search using adult terms provided 146 million pages, and the same search without the filter provided 599 million.

Further dangers in using email, instant messaging and chat rooms are detailed. Then he details what are network predators, and says that the internet predator is in general middle-aged, male, married and has his own children. (p. 52.) In general terms (i.e. not just through the Internet), 25% of sexual abuse are committed by women. According to a citation, sexual predators are smart, have a good knowledge of the Web and how to disguise their files. (p. 52.) The author expresses an opinion based on his personal experiences, that teenagers have more on other people while using the Internet, and they don’t grasp the intentions of a predator, nor the dangers of giving information about themselves for everybody to see. This applies in particular to things they would not tell some friends. The author calls the attention to the fact that parents and teachers should control what children they care about do, in order to avoid their being subjected to risks they don’t understand or decide to ignore. (p. 54.) In the sequel he presents six pages of chat room conversation between a 38-year old predator and a young girl who had inserted photos and personal data on a social networking site (from now on, simply called “social networking”). The predator asked to change the conversation from a public forum to a more private one, where there was no recording of the conversation; he pretended to be a more mature young boy trying to lead the girl to more adventurous situations. They end up making a date, the last sentences of chat being: “(Predator) don’t forget to wear something hot! everyone that sees us will want to be me to be with the hottie, who is also a nice person … (Cutegirl666) really? (Predator) sure. Can’t wait to see you for our first meeting. Remember “don’t tell anyone … can’t wait to see you, chow!” (p. 60).

The author also deals with cases such as blogs and social networking sites, message exchange via cell phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) – handheld computers that work as cell phones.

This chapter also provides statistics on Internet use by children and adolescents, provided by organizations that deal with exploited and missing children. Some data from a USA national survey made by the University of New Hampshire in 2003 are cited, involving 10-17 year old 796 boys and 705 girls, and also those responsible for them. At least one undesired access to sexual pictures in the previous year were reported by 25% of the youngsters. Moreover, 73% while using a browser and 27% while using email or instant messaging. The places were such incidents happened were 67% at home, 15% in school, 13% at homes of friends, and 3 % in a library. 32% of the pictures showed people in sexual intercourse, and 7% had scenes of violence; of e-mails, 92% came from unknown people. Undesired material was found more by boys (57%) than girls (42%). Furthermore, the exposition 15-year or older youngsters was greater (60%) than younger ones; there was more exposition by troubled youths (p. 64).

It is also worth mentioning a survey conducted by three organizations with 503 parents and youths aged between the ages of 13 and 17 in February 2005, who had Internet access from home: 34% computers with access to the Internet were placed in the living room, 30% in the bedroom. Moreover, 51% of parents don’t know if they have programs installed to monitor what their children do with the computer. Of those who had such programs, 87% used this software to control what their children were doing; 23% did it daily and 33% monthly; teenagers use of instant messaging was reported by 61% of parents; parents who did not control what their children were doing were 42%. In general, parents ignored the acronyms used by their children. For example, 96% of them did not know that P911 meant parent alert, and 92% did not know what A/S/L (age/sex/location) meant (pp. 64-65).

The author shows a questionnaire he prepared and passed to 100 anonymous parents in the U.S. with children between the ages of 8 and 17, showing the percentages of responses. He says that he expanded the ages of those surveyed to children below age 10, because of his experience in seeing users of that age using computers at school and at home. He says that he was surprised with the results, which show that parents are ignorant of the dangers the Internet presents to young children (p. 65).

Here are some of the questions and results, using the number of each question as it is in the book.

Q1: If you have children under 18, do they access the Internet? Yes: 96%, no 4%.

Q3: Does the Internet present any dangers to children? Yes: 98%, no: 2%.

Q6: Specify at what ages that you allowed your children to use the following (pp. 66-8):

  1. Using a browser: 4 years
  2. Using e-mail: 4 years
  3. Phones without instant messaging: 7 years
  4. Cell phones with messaging: 10 years
  5. Accounts of instant messaging: 8 years
  6. Use of social networking sites: 10 years.

Q7. Why did you give your children access to the Internet?

  1. Other children have access: 3%
  2. Homework for the school: 68%
  3. I want to stay in touch with my children: 0%
  4. My children will not use it badly: 18%
  5. Other: 11%

Q8: Do you use software to filter or block pages for your children? Yes: 39%; no: 61%.

Q10: Do you know people who have children who have been harmed while using the Internet? Yes: 22%; no: 78%.

The author comments that he was surprised by the use of the Internet parents allowed their very young children. He guesses that either these parents are too permissive or they don’t comprehend the dangers (p. 68). He also comments that he was surprised with the result of Q10, because he expected much less, and adds that this may indicate a much higher percentage of children that may have been harmed by their Internet use, and he advocates that national surveys should be done in this direction (pp. 68-9).

Read more…

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A Tale of Love and Darkness, by Amos Oz; Review by Frank Thomas Smith

This is a memoir, an autobiography written by a novelist who admits his disdain for footnotes, so they are few and far between. This, however, is not the book’s only virtue. Love and darkness as the two powerful forces running through his extraordinary, moving story which begins in Poland and Russia where his ancestors lived and died before and during the holocaust. But his parents and other relatives and friends were zealous Zionists and escaped to Palestine while there was still time. Amos Oz was born in Jerusalem in 1939 and lived through and participated in the history of Israel from its (modern) beginning to date. The characters here are not the historian’s bloodless footnotes, but real people, most of whom we wish we knew.

Rather than run on about the book’s contents and virtues, I prefer to lift an excerpt which particularly interested me – although there are many others. This book is required reading for anyone who loves literature and is interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Frank Thomas Smith

 

After my military service, in 1961, the Committee of Kibbutz Hulda sent me to Jerusalem to study for two years at the Hebrew University. I studied literature because the kibbutz needed a literature teacher urgently, and I, studied philosophy because I insisted on it. Every Sunday, from four to six p.m., a hundred students gathered in the large hall in the ‘Meiser’ Building to hear Professor Samuel Hugo Bergman lecture on ‘Dialogical philosophy from Kierkegaard to Martin Buber’. My mother, Fania, also studied philosophy with Professor Bergman in the nineteen thirties, when the University was still on Mount Scopus, before she married my father, and she had fond memories of him. By 1961 Bergman was already retired, he was an emeritus professor, but we were fascinated by his lucid, fierce wisdom. I was thrilled to think that the man standing in front of us had been at school with Kafka in Prague, and, as he once told us, had actually shared a bench with him for two years, until Max Brod turned up and took his place next to Kafka.

“That winter Bergman invited five or six of his favourite or most interesting pupils to come to his house for a couple of hours after the lectures. Every Sunday, at eight o’clock, I took the number 5 bus from the new campus on Givat Ram to Professor Bergman’s modest flat in Rehavia. A pleasant faint smell of old books, fresh bread and geraniums always filled the room. We sat down on the sofa or on the floor at the feet our great master, the childhood friend of Kafka and Martin Buber and She author of the books from which we learnt the history of epistemology and the principles of logic. We waited in silence for him to pronounce. “Samuel Hugo Bergman was a stout man even in old age. With his shock of white hair, the ironic, amused lines round his eyes, a piercing glance that looked skeptical yet as innocent as that of a curious child, Bergman bore a striking resemblance to pictures of Albert Einstein as an old man. With his Central European accent, he walked in the Hebrew language not  with a natural stride, as though he were at home in it, but with a sort of elation, like a suitor happy that his beloved has finally accepted him and determined to rise above himself and prove to her that she has not made a mistake. Read more…

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Lights In The Sky & Little Green Men, A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and  Extraterrestrials, by Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples, and Mark Clark. The book is published by NavPress, Bringing Truth to Life, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2002.

In addition to numerous other qualifications in education, Hugh Ross has received master’s and Ph.D degrees in astronomy, Kenneth Samples has a master’s degree in theological studies, and Mark T. Clark is a Professor Emeritus of political science. The authors are active in Reasons to Believe, “a nonprofit organization providing research, publications, and teaching on the harmony of God’s revelation in the words of the Bible and in the facts of nature.” There is no hesitation in this compact book of 255 pages to take on the worst human UFO-related disasters of the twentieth century and point directly to the cause, which is demonic.

In the Preface, Hugh Ross writes “Speculations about unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrial beings just won’t go away. They continue to crop up in conversations all over the planet. Almost everyone can tell a story of seeing weird lights in the sky – lights that seem to defy explanation.” Little green men are those beings who fly overhead in spaceships, sometimes landing. “We hope this book will compel people to explore beyond surface explanations.”

Kenneth Samples opens the first chapter with references to sightings from antiquity through the twentieth century, with an increase of sightings by pilots during World War II, who speculated that these anomalies, called “Foo Fighters,” were advanced enemy aircraft. “From the late 1940s through the 1960s, the United States Air Force investigated UFO reports through various projects and committees, concluding with the “Condon Report,” which states that “further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.” However, the subject has obviously not gone away and has continued to be carried, e.g., by NASA’s SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), professional ufologists, social scientists, UFO enthusiasts and debunkers, New Agers, UFO cult members, and Christian theologians and apologists.

Author Kenneth Samples examines Types of UFOs in Chapter 2. “There are plenty of crackpot UFO enthusiasts out there, but many ufologists are respected scientists and other experts who are going about their task in a professional way.” Subheadings in this chapter include Systems of Classification, Natural Explanations, and Two Leading Hypotheses. The hypotheses for the phenomena are extraterrestrial (ETH) – the most popular explanation among Americans – and interdimensional (IDH). Regarding the IDH, this is “sometimes described as the paranormal or occult view of UFOs. Some ufologists, (especially Christians) have ascribed an angelic or demonic interpretation to this interdimensional presence. Even a number of leading secular ufologists have argued for a correspondence between UFO phenomena and the occult or demonism.” Significantly, the authors refer throughout the book to the concept of the RUFO, or the residual UFO, “those unexplainable yet real phenomena that remain after all naturalistic explanations have been exhausted.” The “Condon Report” aside, there should be much to learn about cosmic and human existence – as this book testifies – from UFOs and RUFOs. (RUFOs are later described as “both real and nonphysical” in a chapter titled A Closer Look at RUFOs.)

As Hugh Ross writes in Chapter 9, Nature and Subnature, “Ever since publication of Robert Jastrow’s landmark volume, God and the Astronomers, in 1978, references to the supernatural – and specifically to God and theology – have become commonplace in books by astronomers and physicists. If a person scans the science shelves at a local bookstore, he will find books with titles like God and the New Physics, The God Particle, God and the Cosmologists, Reading the Mind of God and Through a Universe Darkly. What’s going on here? Is a mass conversion taking place? No, it’s not a mass conversion. Rather, this development arises from research findings. A mountain of evidence compels the conclusion that reality must exist beyond the physical universe.” Under one of this chapter’s subheadings, The Nature of Supernature, Hugh Ross writes, “For those who care to investigate, nature holds abundant clues to its supernatural source or cause. And that investigation may hold keys to unlocking some of the mysteries of  UFO phenomena.”

Mark Clark tackles Government Cover-Ups in Chapter 7. “True believers in UFOs are frustrated at not being able to convince the world that a residual portion of UFO sightings are for real. Could someone be making their task more difficult?” The U.S. Government. “And so the loaded word ‘cover-up’ enters the conversation.” He continues on with the subjects of Roswell, the Classified Information that came out of the Cold War, Project Blue Book (the Air Force response), the CIA, and Bureaucratic Politics. Then a second full chapter, Government Conspiracies, includes the topics of Political Culture, The Psychological Dynamic, Contrary Evidence, Popular Opinion and the Ockham’s Razor dictum.

This is a remarkable book that should be on the shelf of every conscientious twenty-first century citizen. It is not easy to read through Chapter 14 on UFO Cults by Kenneth Samples, where he describes The Aetherius Society, The Unarius Academy of Science, Heaven’s Gate, and The Raelian Movement. These unimaginably horrible realities of human behavior and error are followed by The Bible and UFOs, Chapter 15 – quoting Ezekiel 1:4-28;10, 2 Kings 2:1-12, and Revelation 1:12-18  –  and a Summary, Chapter 16, stating that “RUFOs … are consistent with the Bible’s descriptions of demons.” Adhering to the “doctrinal statements of the National Association of Evangelicals and the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy,” Reasons to Believe has admirably taken on the UFO phenomena. The book concludes with three Appendixes (e.g., Appendix A, Fine Tuning for Life on Earth), extensive Notes, a Bibliography, and Subject and Name Indexes.  – Martha Keltz

References:

The Incarnation of Ahriman: The Embodiment of Evil on Earth: Seven Lectures by Rudolf Steiner, Given Between October and December, 1919, Skylark Books, on Amazon.com.  

Astronomy and Spiritual Science, The Astronomical Letters of Elisabeth Vreede, SteinerBooks, on Amazon.com.

On-Line references:

Cosmic Christianity & The Changing Countenance of Cosmology: https://wn.astrosophy.science/Books/Cosmic/Cosmic_index.html

The Ahrimanic Deception: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/AhrDec_index.html

The Influences of Lucifer and Ahriman: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA191/English/AP1993/InLuAr_index.html

The Cosmic New Year: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA195/English/RSPC1938/CosNew_index.html

The Mission of the Archangel Michael: https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/MissMich/MisMic_index.html

Buy this Book!

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The Gnostic Jung

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The Gnostic Jung And the Seven Sermons to the Dead

Reviewed by Frank Thomas Smith – Quest Books: 4th printing 1994

The Seven Sermons to the Dead is a mysterious, little known or understood work of C. G. Jung’s, which was privately printed in German, without copyright or date, sometime between 1920 and 1925, and distributed to a select group of friends. Stephan A. Hoeller copied, then translated it from the original. Then he wrote a book in which he not only calls The Seven Sermons a Gnostic document, but also claims that Jung himself was a modern Gnostic.

The Gnostic Jung is essentially an attempt – and a very good one at that – to interpret the Seven Sermons, and they certainly need interpretation. Along the way Hoeller, an almost worshipful admirer of the “Wise Man of Küsnacht”, gives us a clear, skillful elucidation of some of Jung’s essential ideas. But the question is: Was Jung really a Gnostic? Certainly he admired Gnostic thought and his works are liberally sprinkled with references to them. But he never called himself a Gnostic; on the other hand, he never identified with any philosophical or religious stream but his own psychoanalytical specialty.

Without doubt Jung’s kind of psychoanalysis was different, approaching what could be called a path of initiation, the analyst becoming a hierophant and the patient a neophyte, or disciple. Mental illness was considered to be a divided or incomplete condition and health as a state of spiritual wholeness – or near wholeness. Jung always insisted that his writings were based upon empirical evidence and personal experience – and not mystical speculation. After his death and the publication of his autobiography, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, and disclosures by his most intimate disciples, it became clear that Jung underwent an intense period of spiritual experience between 1912 and 1917. This may explain his insistence on the word “empirical” to describe his investigations. The only fragment of his writings from that period which he permitted to be published was The Seven Sermons to the Dead, using terminology and style of second century Gnosticism. Jung attributes the authorship to Basilides, a Gnostic sage who taught in Alexandria around A.D. 125-140. Whether this implies some sort of mediumship or automatic writing is a matter of speculation. However, it should be borne in mind that it was the practice for centuries to ascribe authorship of spiritual treatises to someone who the real author considered to be more spiritually advanced than himself.

It would be futile to attempt a synopsis of Hoeller’s interpretation of The Seven Sermons to the Dead here. At best we can consider a few aspects which especially interested this reviewer.

Western materialism has caused many seekers of spirituality to direct their search toward Eastern mysticism. Jung, surprisingly, contended that the search for the wisdom of the East had almost darkened the mind of the West and that it is a search that continues to lead many astray. It isn’t only the impact of alien cultures that can be dangerous to the Western soul. Much of Hindu and Buddhist thinking is directed towards the obliteration of individual consciousness (ego-lessness).

When desire is snuffed out by a variety of meditation and concentration practices, what remains is a psychic corpse from which the libidinal cosmic force of the vital urge has been artificially removed. One can perish of psychic pernicious anemia as well as from its physiological analogue, and the fulfillment of such objectives as desire-lessness and ego-lessness may very well lead to just such a condition. The desire for self-knowledge is just as much a desire as the desire for food or sex.

In his work The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious Jung restates the message contained in the Second Sermon when he says: “Evil is the necessary opposite of good, without which there would be no good either. It is impossible to even think good out of existence.” Jung was insistent especially on the reality and titanic magnitude of evil, for he felt that western humanity, beginning with Christian theology, has consistently and disastrously dwarfed the picture of evil as arising from the unconscious of humanity. In Civilization in Transition he wrote that evil “is of gigantic proportions, so that for the Church to talk of original sin and to trace it back to Adam’s relatively innocent slip-up with Eve is almost a euphemism. The case is far graver and is grossly underestimated.”

President Bush was criticized for calling bin Laden and the terrorists responsible for the World Trade Center destruction “evil”. The critics are not saying that bin Laden is “good”, rather are they implying that evil doesn’t exist, and we should look for reasons in socio-economic injustice. Although it is not possible to deny that social injustice exists in the world, it would be difficult indeed to characterize these terrorist acts as anything but evil, if we take Jung’s point of view seriously. Of course, there are many other kinds of what seems to be pure evil in the world. According to Jung, good and evil are not two opposite poles of a linear dimensionality. They resemble a circle wherein going far enough in either direction is likely to associate one with the opposite polarity. He said that there is no good that cannot produce evil and no evil that cannot produce good. Read more…

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Encounter in Rendlesham Forest, The Inside Story of the World’s Best-Documented UFO Incident, by Nick Pope, with John Burroughs, USAF (Ret.), and Jim Penniston, USAF (Ret.). Published by Thomas Dunne Books, An Imprint of St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

The first encounter, in the early hours of December 26, 1980, was an actual landing of the UFO craft. The second encounter, on the night of December 26, involved the sighting by personnel of D-Flight of a fiery red/orange object that descended slowly into the forest. It was surrounded by an eerie blue/white corona. The third encounter took place from the evening of the 27th through the next morning, and several challenging UFOs with beaming lights were witnessed.

On December 26, the strange intense lights of the first encounter were seen in the forest outside the East Gate of the Woodbridge US Air Force base. At that time the Bentwaters and Woodbridge NATO bases, on British soil, were staffed by Americans. The twin bases were in “the sleepy county of Suffolk on the cold, exposed coast of the East of England,” an area described as “creepy” and “weird” by service personnel. The Rendlesham Forest was between the two bases. The red and blue lights were spotted by Airman First Class John Burroughs, who had been patrolling Woodbridge near the East Gate. He contacted his supervisor, Staff Sergeant Bud Steffens, and both drove out to a small track that led into the forest. An odd white light had also become visible. They returned to the base to inform others, including the on-duty flight chief at Woodbridge, Staff Sergeant and NCO James (Jim) W. Penniston, who thought there might have been an aircraft crash. As it turned out it was not a crash, it was a landing. “In the clearing was a small, metallic craft. It was about three meters high and maybe three meters across at the base. The craft was roughly triangular in shape … It had a bank of blue lights on its side and a bright white light on the top. There was no sound whatsoever. Penniston “had the presence of mind to take a number of photographs.” Unfortunately, the photography failed, probably due to high radiation levels. But Penniston managed to sketch both the craft and its symbols in his police notebook.

He also “plucked up the courage to touch the object. It felt hard and smooth, like a smooth, opaque glass.” However, when he touched the symbols, “they were rough, like running my hands over sandpaper.” The craft responded to Penniston’s touch with a white light at the top that “flared up and became so intense that Penniston was fear struck and temporarily blinded …” After a time, the craft rose above the trees, taking two or three minutes, and then “accelerated away in an instant.” It was noticed that three indentations were left on the hard, frozen ground, and that the line between them formed a near-perfect equilateral triangle. Later, plaster molds were made of the indentations. Read more…

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