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(UCLA History 2D Lectures 1 & 2)

 

Professor Courtenay Raia lectures on science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time; starting in pre-history. She goes on to examine the pre-1700 mind-set when science encompassed elements of magic; how Western cosmologies became 'disenchanted'; and how magical traditions have been transformed into modern mysticisms.

The lectures raise a lot of interesting issues.  For example in Lecture 1, dealing with pre-history, it is convincingly argued that 'The Secret', promoted by Oprah, is not a secret at all, but is the natural primitive human belief position: that it is fundamentally an appeal to magic; the primitive 'default' position. 

But magic is suppressed by both religion and science.  So in our modern secular culture traditional magic has itself been transmogrified, magically transformed, into mysticism.

You may wish to start at Lecture 2 as this may give a better flavour of the issues discussed.  If either is of interest, the whole series is accessible from the YouTube link.

This series is strongly recommended despite its obvious technical shortcomings, only partly due to images being blurred or removed to avoid copyright infringement.

Each lecture lasts for over an hour so you may want to use the slider to hop ahead or back.   I found a good technique is to listen to the sound only while doing something else. You can easily stop and/or back up.

 

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Comments  

# Easterbunny 2011-04-12 00:33
My cottontail is twitching
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# George Maxwell 2011-04-29 00:44
Hi Richard,
Found your website through Clare and looked up the philosophy section. Last night I watched the first lecture above and found it extremely detailed but interesting. Especially how she talks about magic being stuck between science and religion, and having no formal institution. The book I am soon to release crosses the same realms of Science, Religion and magic so it's a good topic. Feel free to ping me an email.
Regards
George
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Travel

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In February 2011 we travelled to Malaysia.  I was surprised to see modern housing estates in substantial numbers during our first cab ride from the Airport to Kuala Lumpur.  It seemed more reminiscent of the United Arab Emirates than of the poorer Middle East or of other developing countries in SE Asia.  Our hotel was similarly well appointed.

 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Merry Christmas

 

 

 

2020 was a terrible year. Last Christmas I wished you a better 2021. But, alas, it was not all beer and skittles.

On the bright side, there were no bushfires and the floods were less damaging. The drought has certainly broken. The bush is recovering well.

But in July Covid-19 reasserted itself and cases grew rapidly so the death-rate also began to rise steeply in NSW. 

A total 641 are now dead due to Covid-19 (to date). Yet, as NSW has a population 8.2 million, this still translates to one of the lowest Covid-related death rates in the world.

Victoria has been slightly worse hit with 1,436 deaths to date. Still exceptionally low by world standards. And the smaller states have remained largely Covid-free. Thus 2,072 dead in eighteen months, due to Covid-19, in Australia, has added negligibly to the expected annual death-rate from all causes (around 165,000 a year). Unless things go horribly wrong next year, the historical impact of Covid-19 will be mainly economic.

That economic impact, due to border closures, both overseas and interstate, and to the cost of assistance to businesses and individuals has been significant. While our children's generation learnt to work from home and the State kept essential services and construction running safely, tourism and entertainment businesses were badly hit.

The lock-downs also caused a lot of stress to our children with school-age kids. So, Wendy spent many days supervising the on-line-home-schooling of our grandchildren, Vivienne and Billy. I helped for a single day. I'm still dining out on that one!

The scare in this State was well-timed. Almost everyone rushed to get their 'two shots' of whichever vaccine was available. So, a country leading: 94.82% of the NSW population over 16, is now vaccinated - with the rollout to younger children well underway.

So far, this has borne fruit and, despite rising case numbers, we currently have less than 200 Covid-cases in hospital in NSW and just eight of those are on a ventilator. So, the borders are opening; masks are voluntary; QR check-in is no longer required in shops; and proof of vaccination is no longer mandatory in bars, gyms and sporting venues. Come and get it!

Predictably, case numbers are rising hourly, so the unvaccinated will soon be infected. This brave minority have opted to rely on natural immunity - nature's way.

The 'natural' case fatality rate (CFR) for Covid-delta is around 2% but could be lower, we hope, for Covid-omicron. It's more deadly with age. So, I'm guessing that only about one in a hundred of the unvaccinated are in the running for a (posthumous) Darwin Award.

Both Wendy and I have had our boosters in preparation.

We hope to travel again in 2022. The last time we saw our German grandchildren in the flesh was in 2019. 

Thanks to WhatsApp we can still get together face-to-face and I can report that both Tilda (4) and Leander (7) understand and speak English, in addition, of course, to their native German. Leander's English is now excellent. Yet it's not quite like us being there or them being here.

Those of you who read last year's message will find what follows familiar. I've barely changed a word.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Copyright - Greg Ham

 

 

I've just been reading the news (click here or on the picture below) that Greg Ham of Men at Work has died; possibly by suicide.

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