Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Modern Day Atlantis?

Since I'm probably moving to Florida in the next six months, the following piece of archaeo. news really hits home. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to move back East to enjoy the last days of the coastal plain as we know it (before the sea levels rise, ya'll). It's an attitude that sneaks up on me like a sweet, sorrowful breeze .... I call it nostalgia for the present moment.

The wave that destroyed Atlantis

The legend of Atlantis may be more than just a myth. Research on the Greek island of Crete suggests Europe's earliest civilisation was destroyed by a giant tsunami. Until about 3,500 years ago, the Minoan civilisation was flourishing in the Eastern Mediterranean. But around 1500 BCE the people who spawned the myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth abruptly disappeared. Now the mystery of their cataclysmic end may finally have been solved. A group of scientists have uncovered new evidence that the island of Crete was hit by a massive tsunami at the same time that Minoan culture disappeared.

"The geo-archaeological deposits contain a number of distinct tsunami signatures," says Dutch-born geologist Professor Hendrik Bruins of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. "Minoan building material, pottery and cups along with food residue such as isolated animal bones were mixed up with rounded beach pebbles and sea shells and microscopic marine fauna. The latter can only have been scooped up from the sea-bed by one mechanism - a powerful tsunami, dumping all these materials together in a destructive swoop," says Professor Bruins. The deposits are up to seven metres above sea level, well above the normal reach of storm waves. "An event of ferocious force hit the coast of Crete and this wasn't just a Mediterranean storm," says Professor Bruins.

Source: BBC News (20 April 2007) Read the entire article here.

You know, if all the double-wides in Florida were equipped with a steel hull or at least a foam-filled bottom, then the apocalypse, when it rolls in, could quickly be transformed into the world's largest houseboat party.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Revolution will be televised after all

Video blogger Josh Wolf has been released by the feds after a record seven and a half months in prison. He eventually gave them what they wanted - a video of a violent demonstration - but has held onto his rights (and his satisfaction) because he refused to testify before a grand jury. The charge? Not giving up source materials.

Josh's message: journalists are still not protected under federal law.

Josh's second message: the government cannot decide who is and who is not a journalist. Neither can the New York Times, all the other righteous bloggers in the blogosphere, or even Daddy Murdock.

Let's face it, we're all watching, participating, and documenting our process. Civilization is undergoing an interesting transformation as the ways in which knowledge are traditionally codified are becoming subverted and diffused. The oligarchy of information is only hanging on to the nightly news. Blogging is just the beginning.

I'm not a radical, I'm just the son of a librarian. And damn straight I'm taking notes.

BTW, Karl: You can't erase emails anymore, yo. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Imaginal Archaeology

We're heading down to San Diego today for the annual conference for the Society of the Anthropology of Consciousness. They're an eclectic group of anthropologists, transpersonal psychologists, and consciousness explorers - including the remnants of the academic psychedelic research scene from the 1960s.

Back before Timothy Leary started hawking LSD like it was snake oil.

The image above is a prehistoric rock art site in Nicaragua, an ancient sacred site close to my heart, and the reason why I'm travelling down to San Diego. Spirals, concentric rings and other abstract geometric shapes (as well as as a few monkeys, birds and otherworldly creatures for good measure) were pecked into these boulders by the indigenous people of Nicaragua long before the Spanish arrived in the 15th century. Archaeologists still don't know who these people were, or when they lived.

I'm presenting a short paper on my experiences in Nicaragua last year when I volunteered with the Ometepe Petroglyph Project. I tracked my dreams during the fieldwork session to reveal my biases, expectations, and intuitions about prehistoric rock art on Ometepe Island. That practice forever changed the way I see the enterprise of science.

Let me tell you, I'm all about William James' radical empiricism, and learning to pay attention to the anomalous experiences we have but tend to deny because they don't fit our conscious worldview. Dreamwork can do this, as can body meditation, journalling, learning a new language, fasting, and watching an entire season of Battlestar Galactica in one sitting. I recommend all but the last.

When it's all said and done, this work is really about sense of place. By staying close to our perceptions, we can learn how be open to the unique landscapes all around the world and also in our own communities.

This work is crucial for places like Ometepe Island, where the ancient rock art is endangered by modern living practices as well as the eco-tourism market that is capitalizing on the artifacts.

I hope that by sharing my experiences about rock art and dreams, that more people will come to remember - and protect - the sacred landscapes we live within.