Bohemian Groves: the 19th century roots of the Hippie movement

The world’s first self-conscious “youth” movement sprang up in response to, and as a rejection of, urban life and the cold, impersonal mechanics of modernity. It’s members wanted to reunite themselves with nature. They went vegetarian, sometimes favored nudism, hiked and even camped out in the wilderness, creating alternative societies to the mainstream. It was […]

Banned: the ancient Hindu symbol of Dharma mistaken for hate sign

In this age, in which Westerners pride themselves on ethnic and religious tolerance, Indians and Hindus have been shocked and surprised to discover their most sacred symbol banned from public display by Western organizations – most recently, Facebook. The symbol that I am talking about is the ancient swastika. It is a sad irony that […]

Merkabah: the esoteric photography of Antonella Arismendi

The work of photographer Antonella Arismendi has appeared in Rolling Stone, British FHM, Vnfold, and DMag, among others. She’s also photographed for a range of clients, including Loreal France, Nike, and Docomo Japan. But, with pentagrams, the Cabalistic Tree of Life, pyramids and other symbols appearing in her photo shoots, Antonella’s work is infused with the spiritual and the […]

Can radical spirituality end racism?

“”What the superior man seeks,” said Confucius, “is in himself; what the ordinary man seeks, is in others.” In the West, those who consider themselves spiritual, thinking people, inevitably consider themselves to be concerned with the internal — the inner being — not the external. Frequently, though, nothing could be further from the truth. And […]

Herodias of Flaubert

The action of Flaubert’s Herodias, one of the Trois Contes or Three Tales of 1877, occurs on the birthday of Herod Antipas or Antipater, the Hellenized “Tetrarch” of Judea who is in fact a client-king permitted to rule over his people by the reigning Roman emperor, Tiberius Caesar.  Tensions run high in Judea.  the influential […]

Death becomes us? the skull as symbol of transcendence

“There was a small splash a couple of weeks ago about a new coffee: “Death Wish.” No prizes for guessing that this brew has an extremely high caffeine content. According to the website dedicated to this dark brew, it has about twice the amount of caffeine as regular strong coffee. What’s perhaps more interesting from […]

Will Computers Ever be Conscious?

At first glance, imagining that one can answer this question seems highly hubristic. Who knows? I’m certainly interested in the notion of humanoid robots. Perhaps one can even ask, who isn’t? I enjoy the character of Data in Star Trek Next Generation, but mostly for the same reasons as the writers of the show – […]

Hijab: beyond the stereotype

“The hijab — the Muslim headscarf — is a simple item of clothing that has the power to represent complex and even contradictory ideas — from tradition and social conservatism to revolution and democracy (or the hope of democracy, e.g., via the Arab Spring). The symbolism of the hijab depends partly on in which country […]