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 […]

Buddhists, Occultists and Secret Societies in Early Bolshevik Russia: an interview with Andrei Znamenski

Mongol commissars with Lenin sacred scroll.

Andrei Znamenski is the author of Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia, published by Quest Books. Shambhala, a mythical, heaven-type land in Tibetan Buddhism, was created during a period of conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Asia, and appears to have been partly modeled on Islamic doctrine. As Znamenski himself […]

Soul outside: identity, the body, and advertising in the consumer age

“Japanese ad agency Absolute Territory PR has begun paying young women to wear advertising on their legs. The women must be at least 18-years-old, and they must be connected to at least 20 people on any social media site, since they are contractually required to post images of themselves, wearing their ad, online. Otherwise, the women […]