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The New Nonsense
04-22-2009, 07:14 PM
Okay, here's a scenario. Say you're at an airport awaiting a flight (tickets nonrefundable nor transferable). While you wait you grab some Chinese in the airport's food court. After your meal you open a fortune cookie. The fortune reads, "Don't get on the plane.".

So. Would you ignore it and still get on the plane?

I like to think I'm a pretty rational guy, but receiving a message like that just before embarking on a flight stretches the limits of coincidence. In this case it would be a warning worth considering, at least to me. I don't think I'd get on the plane.

This is a more dramatic scenario of something that happened to me this afternoon. All morning I was contemplating purchasing a very expensive book. I couldn't decide; kept going back and forth. Then for lunch I had, you guessed it, Chinese. The fortune cookie read, "You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important." No kidding. I put off buying the book.

G. S. Carnivals
04-22-2009, 08:55 PM
Okay, here's a scenario. Say you're at an airport awaiting a flight (tickets nonrefundable nor transferable). While you wait you grab some Chinese in the airport's food court. After your meal you open a fortune cookie. The fortune reads, "Don't get on the plane.".

So. Would you ignore it and still get on the plane?

I like to think I'm a pretty rational guy, but receiving a message like that just before embarking on a flight stretches the limits of coincidence. In this case it would be a warning worth considering, at least to me. I don't think I'd get on the plane.

This is a more dramatic scenario of something that happened to me this afternoon. All morning I was contemplating purchasing a very expensive book. I couldn't decide; kept going back and forth. Then for lunch I had, you guessed it, Chinese. The fortune cookie read, "You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important." No kidding. I put off buying the book.
I, too, would walk to my destination. And then there's that old Twilight Zone episode as a reminder why... :eek:

The Black Ferris
04-23-2009, 03:49 AM
There is a magickal technique known as "Drifting" or d'erive. Without going into a long description, it is essentially the practice of engaging and interacting with the local spirits to see what they can do for you.
And it pretty much happens just like that.
A piece of graffiti.
Song lyrics from a passing car.
A discarded sunglass lense, cracked in three, that reflects a single streetlight as three seperate objects.
A fortune cookie.
The Drift can be used as a method of collecting potent ingredients and materials for sorcery werkings, or to seek answers to divinatory questions.
The practical applications are myriad. It can be performed in virtually any location and at a moment's notice.
However, the drift is considered a high risk occult practice as far as sanity is concerned. Before you know it, YOU could be the madman speaking with invisible beings on Main Street and going through dumpsters looking for the secrets of the universe.
That sort of thing is par for the course in this sort of werk, so it's good to learn how to switch it on and off.
Coincidence are only that. Co-incidents. Events occurring simultaneously.
If you're feeling superstitious, your switch is on. Pay attention. See what happens as a result. You can always laugh it off later.

Sin cerely,
The Black Ferris

Odalisque
04-23-2009, 08:22 AM
It's hard to say what I'd do. I last boarded an aeroplane in 1965, and will probably never board another. What is more, I've never seen a "fortune" in a cookie that ventured anything that might be interpreted as advice. The ones distributed in England seem far more bland than: "You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important" let alone "Don't get on the plane".

But am I superstitious? Whenever I see a solitary magpie, I'm sure to salute it (to ward off the bad luck). I don't walk under ladders... And so on... There's probably nothing in any of this, but why take unnecessary chances? :o

Friday 13th is another matter. The most conspicuous piece of ill fortune to come my way on a Friday 13th was being stuck in a tube train stopped in a tunnel for an hour and a half. The tube stock in question relies on the movement of the train for ventilation. It's fair to say that it became very hot and airless -- most unpleasant. The cause was that two stops ahead someone had thrown him or herself under a train. There was a train at the next station, so my train couldn't go forward. And it was very difficult for it to go back (although that's what happened eventually) because the London Underground safety systems are designed (amongst other things) to prevent trains going backwards. From time to time since then, I've wondered whether it was entirely a coincidence that this befell on a Friday 13th. The person who leapt in front of a train was presumably aware of the date, and this may have affected the person's state of mind. There are such things as self-fulfilling prophecies. :confused:

Russell Nash
04-23-2009, 10:12 AM
I would get on the plane. In fact, there is more probability to die in a car accident that on a plane. A plane crashes once in a while killing 100 people, but thousands are killed just by driving a car.

Superstition is perhaps a vestige of childhood fears. I cannot say "a vestige of religion", since some atheists tend to be superstitious too.

Even if what you read happens I would attribute it to blind chance that to a real prediction.

The Black Ferris
04-23-2009, 01:13 PM
Yeah, maybe.
I would be more inclined to think about that moment for a bit before doing anything.
After all, up to this point, you KNEW you were getting on the plane, just accepted it as another event on the road of your life.
Now, however, by whatever means it got there, chance or fate, that silly, little fortune cookie message is causing you to stop and consider the consequences of your actions.
Maybe the plane isn't going to crash. Maybe you'll get on the plane and after you leave, a relative ends up in some kind of trouble or your dog or mom dies while you're on your trip. Maybe you're getting on the plane to go to a job interview for a position that is going to cause you to relocate, but if you don't you run into Mr.Cash Mummy and Dr. Bankenstein who can make it so that you are never for want again.
All you have to do is be (have ya heard this one?) in the right place at the right time.
Yes, you could chalk it up to chance and go on with your life, never giving a thought to what might have been.
But most of us have a story where if we had gone the other way, none of this would ever have happened.
I would say that fortune cookie isn't a prediction so much as an alert to pay attention to yourself and the universe.
To hear God clearly, turn down the world's volume. ;E

I once got a fortune cookie that read
"You are about to"

and so I am.
Sin cerely,
The Black Ferris

hopfrog
04-23-2009, 03:51 PM
I would probably throw the rune bones I carry around in a little pouch so as to authenticate the cookie's tip. Bones are far more reliable than yem delicious cookies (I especially like Ginger-tainted fortune cookies -- yum!).

Odalisque
04-24-2009, 05:02 AM
I once got a fortune cookie that read
"You are about to"

Just that? Without telling you what you were about to...? :confused:

The Black Ferris
04-24-2009, 10:21 AM
Yeah, and I've often wondered how many other people enjoyed that same printing mistake.
I also wonder what the odds are that this particular strip of paper was the only one that didn't print correctly, making me the only person in the world to recieve this fortune.
My life is kind of like that.
Still, it sort of screws up the whole "in bed " thing.

vegetable theories
04-24-2009, 12:12 PM
There is a magickal technique known as "Drifting" or d'erive. Without going into a long description, it is essentially the practice of engaging and interacting with the local spirits to see what they can do for you.
And it pretty much happens just like that.
A piece of graffiti.
Song lyrics from a passing car.
A discarded sunglass lense, cracked in three, that reflects a single streetlight as three seperate objects.
A fortune cookie.
The Drift can be used as a method of collecting potent ingredients and materials for sorcery werkings, or to seek answers to divinatory questions.
The practical applications are myriad. It can be performed in virtually any location and at a moment's notice.
However, the drift is considered a high risk occult practice as far as sanity is concerned. Before you know it, YOU could be the madman speaking with invisible beings on Main Street and going through dumpsters looking for the secrets of the universe.
That sort of thing is par for the course in this sort of werk, so it's good to learn how to switch it on and off.
Coincidence are only that. Co-incidents. Events occurring simultaneously.
If you're feeling superstitious, your switch is on. Pay attention. See what happens as a result. You can always laugh it off later.

Sin cerely,
The Black Ferris
I'm really interested in the idea of this Drifting or D'erive technique. I can't find anything about it on the internet.
Could you direct me to some literature or website where I might learn more ?
Thanks a lot:)

The New Nonsense
04-24-2009, 01:41 PM
I'm fascinated by the occult and allow myself to "drift" on occasion (I've heard the phenomena called a few different things). It's basically just plugging-into one's environment interpretating signs, making subjective sense of information presented, and hopefully obtaining meaning. I see the world, indeed reality, as nothing more than pure information or a series of programs, programs that can sometimes be hacked. Therefore I like to entertain the idea that information can be gleaned from all sorts of unlikely sources; it's just a matter of noticing things and putting them in context.

I see all things in one's environment as fair game for divination or reading the aether, so-to-speak, whether it's something standard like tarot cards or Ouija boards or more abstract events like bird auguries or interpreting random graffiti where one can literally see the writing on the wall. I think it's all about noticing things, putting them in context, and balancing this with odds.

It would certainly be more traditional to receive divinitory messages from tea leaves, pendulums, I Ching, or entrails, but the modern world presents all sorts of new conduits and possibilities for information to emerge and be imparted, like fortune cookies, no matter how silly or cliché. One could probably skry one's possible future by casting microchips and circuits just as easily as runes.

The Black Ferris
04-24-2009, 01:49 PM
The term was originally coined by the Situationist International. If you've never heard of them, a lot of doors have just opened.
The best article available about the drift is by Stephen Grasso and can be found here:
http://worldtree.tribe.net/thread/0f2bf2b5-8091-441c-85da-0587869e0242
There are many good modern authors putting forth practical techniques.
I also have access to many articles and texts not readily available on the internet, depending on your level of interest.
Enjoy.

Odalisque
04-24-2009, 02:04 PM
The term was originally coined by the Situationist International. If you've never heard of them, a lot of doors have just opened.


Crumbs! I used to regard myself as an International Situationist (round about 1970, I think it was). I wasn't expecting to see a reference to the Situationists today. An International Situationist was the first person to show me tarot cards -- it was in a crumbling and haunted cottage.

I helped to draw and write a Situationist comic. I was told that the police were trying to find who was responsible for it, with the intent of charging them with sedition.

Storm the reality studio -- retake the universe!

Russell Nash
04-24-2009, 02:29 PM
I had a friend many years ago that used to make "I Ching" readings. We called him "el brujo" (the wizard), a student of neuroscience, so he said, a strange fellow that worked for a bookstore and introduced me to even stranger people who affirmed to have seen angels (?) and taken photographs of spirits (?). Of course, these people, refused to having me, sitting there, among them, when they were meeting el brujo. They said a scientific mind would scare angels and sipirits away. I think, I should have lied to listen to all those primitive stories but that are still told these days.

We consulted different books of "I Ching", there were always two copies (by two writers, I mean) in the bookstore, and he also brought one more, his personal copy from home. Curiously, different books made different interpretations to the same hexagram which it is basically impossible (Oh! my rationality spoils me again), and because future, The Future, turned to be conisderably different from the readings I consider it to be pure charlatanism. However, and most amazing, the hexagram that repeated itself so many times, so many days, after so many questions, was the hexagram # 43, "Parting" (separation).

The New Nonsense
04-24-2009, 04:09 PM
The best article available about the drift is by Stephen Grasso and can be found here:
By Stephen Grasso - World Tree - tribe.net (http://worldtree.tribe.net/thread/0f2bf2b5-8091-441c-85da-0587869e0242)

Thanks, Black Ferris. That's a great article. I believe it first appeared in the occult essay collection Generation Hex as "Beneath the Pavement, The Beast". I enjoyed it immensely, as hoodoo and psychogeography interest me greatly. Grasso has two other essays in the same volume, "Learning to Open the Haunted Kaleidoscope" and "Dreams of a Midwich Planet". More recently, he wrote an article on the loa spirit for an occult essay collection titled Devoted, published by Scarlet Imprint.

The Black Ferris
04-24-2009, 04:24 PM
I'd love to read a situationist comic!

I think the thing to remember is that any book on mystical thought, while it may pose itself as the truth or the one true way, is essentially only a grimoire, the way that the author did it, "got there".
And even the most blatant acts of charlatanry rarely contain no core of truth.
The skill is in the discretion.
The understanding is not in the book.
That's your job.
Ultimately, it's a matter of the way you want to spend your life, the life of your character. It is internal as much as external. Everything you do can be a magickal act. Or there can be no such thing.
In fact, a primary tenet of magick is that there is no such thing as magic. To the magickal perspective, this means that we live in a dualistic, cause and effect universe and nothing happens otherwise. Therefore, there is no true magic because it is all a process of some principle that has not yet been given a "scientific" name.
Quantum physicists understand this to some degree, but the scientific community is prejudiced against that rank of individuals who have been studying these effects, under different names and outlooks, for thousands of years.
The fact that we are having this conversation is magick. The symbols and metals and crystals and configurations that make the tool work or werk.
The power of the human imagination.
That is magick.
Divination is only divine if it is observed to be so.
Blah, blah, declarative statement, blah blah, words indicating response.
We'll be back after a few words from our sponsor...

The Black Ferris
04-24-2009, 04:44 PM
I will say it's good to see a few more superstitious faces in the woodwork. I was beginning to wonder if there were no gods among ye men. Now I see some of you are indeed in good spirits.
;E

The Black Ferris
04-24-2009, 05:00 PM
“Soon I may even be able to sleep in the way I once did, without visionary intrusions of any kind. No denying that my experiences of late have tipped the scales of the strange. I found myself just walking restlessly about - impossible to work, you know - and always carrying with me this heavy dread in my solar plexus, as if I had feasted at a banquet of fear and the meal would not digest. Most strange, since I have been loath to take nourishment during this time. How could I put anything into my mouth, when everything looked the way it did? Hard enough to touch a doorknob or a pair of shoes, even with the protection of the gloves. I could feel every damn thing squirming, not excluding my own flesh. And I could also see what was squirming beneath every surface, my vision penetrating through the usual armor of objects and discerning the same gushing stuff inside whatever I looked upon. It was that dark color from the dream, I could identify it clearly now. Dark and greenish. How could I possibly feed myself? How could I even bring myself to settle very long in one spot? So I kept on the move. And I tried not to look too closely at how everything, everything was crawling within itself and making all kinds of shapes inside there, making all kinds of faces at me. (Yet it was really all the same face, everything gorged with that same creeping stuff.) There were also sounds that I heard, voices speaking vague words, voices that came not from the mouths of the people I passed on the street but from the very bottom of their brains, garbled whisperings at first and then so clear, so eloquent.”
Thomas Ligotti - “Nethescurial” (http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?p=8886#post8886)

Joe Pulver
04-24-2009, 05:36 PM
There are many things I fear, but I can't think of a superstition I buy into. I'd get on the plane.

G. S. Carnivals
04-24-2009, 08:01 PM
I must clarify my initial response. I would sooner walk to my destination for the simple reason that I refuse to ever fly again after reading The Lurking Fear of Flying by H. P. Lovecraft and Erica Jong.

The Black Ferris
04-24-2009, 08:06 PM
G.S., You are on a roll!
There's butter on your butt!
Interesting thought, Joe. I guess you're right that superstition necessarily denotes fear. Huh.

Jeff Coleman
04-24-2009, 10:00 PM
I'm not sure how I would react in that situation, but it occurred to me while thinking about it that someone at the fortune cookie factory might have a dark sense of humor. I imagine them filling thousands of cookies with a specific warning about a plane, hoping that at least a few of the recipients will read the message at the airport while waiting for a flight. It seems like a good way to liven the monotony of the fortune cookie factory working experience, and it might cause a few people to question their worldview, if nothing else.

I imagine if that actually happened to me, it would seem very ominous, but I would still get on the plane. It might seem to go beyond the limits of coincidence, but I can imagine scenarios to explain it, like the fortune cookie factory prankster scenario.

What is more difficult to imagine is that something could know exactly what is going to happen in the future, and warn me of it through a message in a cookie. Is my future ghost speaking to me through a ticker tape?

I wonder if the message might be more effective if it was less direct, requiring me to read into it more. Something like "Avoid high places today" or "You will meet a tall dark stranger today" (the depths of the ocean).

This reminds me of a superstitious episode I had recently. I applied for a job at a local Target store, and a few days after applying I imagined myself getting the job, and later being killed by a shooting in the store (literally becoming a target). I could see myself drifting off in a pool of my own blood thinking "Target". I didn't get the job, but I probably would have taken it in spite of the vision.

vegetable theories
04-25-2009, 04:49 AM
And even the most blatant acts of charlatanry rarely contain no core of truth.
The skill is in the discretion.
The understanding is not in the book.
That's your job.
.

I love that.Especially the first sentence.

Thanks for the Grasso link ! I'm going to digest that today.

I'll also check out the Situationists, thanks.

Odalisque
04-25-2009, 10:22 AM
I'd love to read a situationist comic!


Alas, I have no copy. Quite a few were distributed free at Lancaster University in the early summer of 1970. Most of the rest were, I think, destroyed by someone involved in the printing. He was rattled by the combination of (a) the idea that the police wished to arrest those involved for sedition, and (b) the fact that at least some copies bore inky fingerprints. But I suppose it's easy for me to take a lofty view of this. I was only involved in drawing and writing, not in the printing. Had the police employed handwriting experts, though, I suppose they might conceivably have linked me with it. I wonder whether any copies survive. Perhaps not.

The Black Ferris
04-25-2009, 11:58 AM
I just had a dream that I read this comic! It was great! Inside the dream, it played out more like a cartoon.
I found it on the sidewalk outside of a classroom/ train station where I was happenstance spying on an old girlfriend from 15 years ago. Everyone in the 'real' world of the dream was in Victorian attire, but there were THX style police patrolling the area.
The comic provided a sort of cover. I found that everytime I went into the world of the comic, I re-emerged closer to her.
By the time I made it to where she was, class was over and there was a crowd waiting for the train.
I tried to find her, but everyone was smiling at me and everyone seemed to be her for a moment.
The train arrived, but it was the whistle that brought me home.
Thanks! I had a great time!
I suspect that even if no copies exist on the physical plane, someone still has a few on the oneiric. Good thing, too or I might have gotten arrested!;E
As an aside...
The Algonquians name for "priest" means "dreamers of the gods".
The Mayans, "listeners".

Sin cerely,
The Black Ferris

Russell Nash
04-25-2009, 12:39 PM
Let me get back to the original question just one more time.

What if... you don't get one the plane, and it crashes just after taking off? Would you really think that there is a relationship between what was written and the accident? If the answer is no, then you saved your neck this time but by pure chance. If the answer is yes, then, and even stranger is the fact that a machine that makes thousands of fortune cookies with the same printed legend that goes to different stores in many cities, has the ability to foretell your destiny but failed to foretell the destinies of all the other thousands of people that read the same legend but (of course) no other plane crashed. Unless all of the passengers that died had eaten a fortune cookie with the same legend before taking off and disobeyed destiny?

The New Nonsense
04-25-2009, 01:19 PM
Let me get back to the original question just one more time.

What if... you don't get one the plane, and it crashes just after taking off? Would you really think that there is a relationship between what was written and the accident? If the answer is no, then you saved your neck this time but by pure chance. If the answer is yes, then, and even stranger is the fact that a machine that makes thousands of fortune cookies with the same printed legend that goes to different stores in many cities, has the ability to foretell your destiny but failed to foretell the destinies of all the other thousands of people that read the same legend but (of course) no other plane crashed. Unless all of the passengers that died had eaten a fortune cookie with the same legend before taking off and disobeyed destiny?

This is a good question. If I didn't get on, and the plane ended up crashing, I would probably think there was some correlation between the message and the event. There's no way I could know, of course, and I'd still think pure coincidence is entirely possible, but I'd probably think there was something more to it given the circumstances. I'm not sure how I'd explain it. In reality I'd probably just be too relieved to care, but perhaps I'd chalk it up to some kind of precognitive ability. Perhaps the cookie actually read something completely different, yet what I read was, "Don't get on the plane". This all depends on whether or not I'd actually kept the paper to verify later.

One could come up with all sorts of science fiction explanations, such as a message from the future; or more even far out, that our minds can actually effect outcomes. Before the cookie is opened it's a sort of a Schrödinger's Cat. Until someone reads it, it is only a potential message -- it could say a multitude of things, at least until it's observed. Perhaps while it's in a state of quantum superposition one's mind can unconsciously manipulate or imprint the message, presuming of course one can get a sixth sense of an immanent disaster. But as I said, this is all science fiction and Twilight Zone material, but interesting nonetheless.

I don't believe in fate or karma, so I don't now how I'd explain it. Perhaps I wouldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth, as they say.

Russell Nash
04-25-2009, 01:59 PM
Schrödinger's Cat?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_Interpretation

There is a proposal by Penrose, which is complicated to explain in layman terms but I try, suggesting that by the action of gravity we can avoid having multiple possibilities derived from Schrödinger's assumption. Do I believe that either Penrose or Schrödinger is right? Well, I'm not a scientist really, but I would say that there is a possibility that we just have one event, that either Schrödinger's Cat is dead or alive but not both. Penrose is one of the most brilliant minds of 20th century, along with Hawking. I hope that we don't find an answer yet, that we don't, because if the question is still unanswered we could have much more debates on the subject, and keep reading sci-fi books. Whether there is destiny or not, I believe there is not, but I can't prove it, and if there is one, I don't want to know mine. If I read: "don't get on the plane", I would, and if I die, well, at least it was my choice, even though my last one.

The Black Ferris
04-25-2009, 02:02 PM
What if... you don't get one the plane, and it crashes just after taking off? Would you really think that there is a relationship between what was written and the accident? If the answer is no, then you saved your neck this time but by pure chance. If the answer is yes, then, and even stranger is the fact that a machine that makes thousands of fortune cookies with the same printed legend that goes to different stores in many cities, has the ability to foretell your destiny but failed to foretell the destinies of all the other thousands of people that read the same legend but (of course) no other plane crashed. Unless all of the passengers that died had eaten a fortune cookie with the same legend before taking off and disobeyed destiny?
I think this might be a perspective on reality thing.
As it stands, we know we are spinning. From the heavens down to our sub-atomics. If you believe in the possibility of alternate dimensions, than this possibility stretches into infinity.
Now consider a roulette wheel or the big wheel on The Price is Right.
If the ball or spoke (interesting word for that) that signifies the number of the prize were, in metaphor, that fortune cookie, not everyone on the wheel is going to get it.
Yes, indeed it would be an amazing singularity. Even more so, and at the same time less, a multiplicity.
But that seems to be the way things werk around here.
If I were the infinite mind of "GOD", per se, I would see no reason not to explore every possible avenue of being and stretch every sense of experience into that infinity, since I AM doing this in the first place.
Therefore, I, the person with the cookie, would have been (this time around, in this 'NOW') led down quite a path of experiences to get to the point where I'm in this scenario.
In fact, everyone getting on that plane has gone down a seperate, quite different set of experiences to get them on that plane at the same time, whether it crashes or not. If it does crash, how many people had eaten chinese that day?
Quite a set of co incidents.
Hmm, yes. Quite.
So if your perspective is that your 5 senses percieve everything possible that there is to percieve in this place, then this is all there is.
There's no reason not to get on the plane. There's no reason to read the fortune, even if you eat the cookie. Most folks, I find, are just the opposite; they read the fortune and leave the cookie.

Sin cerely

Russell Nash
04-25-2009, 07:41 PM
I could believe in anything that put to test is verified.

If you believe in the possibility of alternate dimensions, than this possibility stretches into infinity.Up to now, no one discovered any "alternate dimension" and "infinity" is only a word, because no one has seen infinity... yet. The mere idea of infinity is also mind-boggling.

if your perspective is that your 5 senses perceive everything possible...My father had this dream about 42 years ago. He dreamed that my brother and me (technically a bun in the oven at that time) would meet in front of the house he himself built but years in the future. In that dream, my brother called me "Alberto" and that's why my father following his dream gave me that first name. I was certainly lucky that he didn't dream of Paracelso, Sigmund, or Anaximander. Just imagine my name being "Paracelso D. Hetman". I was tempted to let time go by and verify or refute his vague dream. My brother lives in the States, who knows where, I live in Toronto, Canada, and the house was already sold. His dream turned out to be false. I would love to believe in something beyond my 5 senses, but unfortunate nothing that I couldn't explained with them happened to me.

Except, perhaps, being here, breathing, conscious of myself, without knowing why...

The Black Ferris
04-26-2009, 02:22 PM
I don't know.
I kind of dig Paracelso.
As to something else we'll never know, I wonder how your life would have been different.
My name is Arthur Laverne Cullipher Jr.
In my childhood, everyone called me Lee, or Baby Lee, as that's the name my father goes by.
When I became a writer, I decided I didn't like it.
A lee is a meadow.
Arthur is the king!
My outlook did indeed change greatly. All I had to do was reclaim my birthright from those who had hidden it.
An examination finds my name meaning "The Green King, Keeper of Doves, Collector of things".
Paracelso, huh?
Not as wordy as Auroleus Phillipus Theostratus Bombastus von Hohenheim!
Is it Hat Man? Hit Man?
Words, words, words, words
You may as well listen to the birds

Steve Dekorte
04-27-2009, 05:47 AM
Okay, here's a scenario. Say you're at an airport awaiting a flight (tickets nonrefundable nor transferable). While you wait you grab some Chinese in the airport's food court. After your meal you open a fortune cookie. The fortune reads, "Don't get on the plane.".

So. Would you ignore it and still get on the plane?

I like to think I'm a pretty rational guy, but receiving a message like that just before embarking on a flight stretches the limits of coincidence. In this case it would be a warning worth considering, at least to me. I don't think I'd get on the plane.

This is a more dramatic scenario of something that happened to me this afternoon. All morning I was contemplating purchasing a very expensive book. I couldn't decide; kept going back and forth. Then for lunch I had, you guessed it, Chinese. The fortune cookie read, "You shouldn't overspend at the moment. Frugality is important." No kidding. I put off buying the book.

I find it interesting that this story seems to assume that if there was some supernatural force at work, that it would be benevolent. Given the state of the world, wouldn't it seem more likely that it was malevolent and that you should board the plane against it's advice?

Of course, why would an entity with presumably the power to see the future, to change it and to create matter at will (the contents of the cookie) not simply fix whatever problem was to occur instead of routing you away from it? For dramatic effect?

Dr. Bantham
04-27-2009, 05:59 AM
I find it interesting that this story seems to assume that if there was some supernatural force at work, that it would be benevolent. Given the state of the world, wouldn't it seem more likely that it was malevolent and that you should board the plane against it's advice?

Of course, why would an entity with presumably the power to see the future, to change it and to create matter at will (the contents of the cookie) not simply fix whatever problem was to occur instead of routing you away from it? For dramatic effect?
TLO Quotations - Mad Night of Atonement (http://www.ligotti.net/quotes.php?s=&all=&perpage=&searchtext=&searchauthor=&searchcontext=Atonement)

The Black Ferris
04-27-2009, 09:40 AM
Well said, Doc.

Russell Nash
04-27-2009, 11:09 AM
some supernatural force at work...benevolent...malevolent...?an entity with presumably the power to see the future, to change it and to create matter at will...Allow me to test this so called "supernatural force" or "benevolent or malevolent entity" that could create or change matter at will. This is my own experiment called "the absent choice".

Let's say that I flip a coin
RANDOM.ORG - Coin Flipper (http://www.random.org/coins/)
and that this event has two results,
1. heads, meaning: "flip your coin again",
and 2. tails, meaning: "do whatever you want".

If the result is (2) then this entity has very limited powers since it's finally me who is going to choose my own future after all, it's what I want, my own choice.

If the result is (1) I simply flip my coin again.

By "the absent choice" I don't give this entity or supernatural force the opportunity to choose the result of the outcome. If this force wants to decide for me, and not having the choice to do it, it would simply force the outcome to be (1), or flip your coin again, because when the result is (2) then it will be decided by me.

What would you think this entity would do? Force the result to be (1) all the time, zillions of times, not to allow me to choose my own destiny, or common sense prevails and it would finally say: "f***, I can interfere with his destiny". Basically, if we decide to rule our lives with the outcome of this experiment, it is clearly seen that there is no destiny, and such an entity, or supernatural force cannot exist.

Steve Dekorte
04-27-2009, 07:57 PM
If the result is (2) then this entity has very limited powers since it's finally me who is going to choose my own future after all, it's what I want, my own choice.

If the result is (1) I simply flip my coin again.

By "the absent choice" I don't give this entity or supernatural force the opportunity to choose the result of the outcome. If this force wants to decide for me, and not having the choice to do it, it would simply force the outcome to be (1), or flip your coin again, because when the result is (2) then it will be decided by me.

This would make for amusing dialog between two characters in a puppet show.

The Black Ferris
04-28-2009, 10:37 AM
It sure has.

vegetable theories
04-28-2009, 01:54 PM
This is a fascinating thread for me.
I've just been reading Ted Hughes Letters. He was very superstitious and very interested in magic.
He thought that writing academic work actually weakened his immune system. He suggested that writing Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being might have caused the cancer that he eventually died of. I read somewhere else that he stopped writing fiction because he felt that it had an almost prophetic effect, on one occasion foretelling the death of someone close to him. Only poetry it seems was "safe" and healthy for him, although I think he was wary even of that, or at least he would have taken the power of words or symbols very seriously.
I've got no doubt that he'd have paid close attention to the message in the fortune cookie.
This sort of reminds me of something I read in Alan Bennett's Diaries. He was in a book shop, picked out a book and opened it and noticed an underlined sentence. As he read the sentence he became aware that the underlining was a long black hair that slipped away..
It would be easy to give significance to an incident like that. Almost like a private message.

The New Nonsense
04-28-2009, 03:44 PM
This sort of reminds me of something I read in Alan Bennett's Diaries. He was in a book shop, picked out a book and opened it and noticed an underlined sentence. As he read the sentence he became aware that the underlining was a long black hair that slipped away..
It would be easy to give significance to an incident like that. Almost like a private message.

A few year ago I took a few classes on magick and the occult taught by author and occultist Lon Milo Duquette. One of his favorite methods of divination was bibliomancy; specifically, using the works of Mark Twain. With a question in mind or spoken aloud, he'd take out one of Twain's works, open to a random page and point. The passage almost always eerily seemed to give specific advice to the question at hand. Duquette was convinced Mark Twain was the greatest author the world has ever seen.

One wonders how bibliomancy would work using Ligotti's works. Using the airport scenario, one might be likely to open up to the passage, "There is nothing to do and there is nowhere to go. There is nothing to be and there is no-one to know", and then choose to stay home.

G. S. Carnivals
04-28-2009, 07:03 PM
A few years ago I took a few classes on magick and the occult taught by author and occultist Lon Milo Duquette. One of his favorite methods of divination was bibliomancy; specifically, using the works of Mark Twain. With a question in mind or spoken aloud, he'd take out one of Twain's works, open to a random page and point. The passage almost always eerily seemed to give specific advice to the question at hand. Duquette was convinced Mark Twain was the greatest author the world has ever seen.

One wonders how bibliomancy would work using Ligotti's works. Using the airport scenario, one might be likely to open up to the passage, "There is nothing to do and there is nowhere to go. There is nothing to be and there is no-one to know", and then choose to stay home.
I once employed a variant of bibliomancy to lead me to quotable passages by Mr. Ligotti. I asked candy to toss some numbers off the top of her head. The numbers became page numbers which led me to wonderful material which now resides in the Quotation Forum. Why not? It was worth a try.

G. S. Carnivals
04-28-2009, 08:28 PM
"And how often I have found that every superstition has its basis in truth."
Thomas Ligotti - “The Journal of J.P. Drapeau”

Odalisque
04-29-2009, 12:58 PM
I once employed a variant of bibliomancy to lead me to quotable passages by Mr. Ligotti. I asked candy to toss some numbers off the top of her head. The numbers became page numbers which led me to wonderful material which now resides in the Quotation Forum. Why not? It was worth a try.

I think that there have been several references, on the TLO, to The Egnisomicon which Des and I wrote in 1968. We decided that the last line should be selected at random from the almost completed book. The random selection proved curiously apt:

Men shall be taken over by their mythology

:eek:

candy
04-29-2009, 03:15 PM
I thought GSC was crazy when he was asking me for numbers of the top of my head lol but they were very good quotes. Maybe I should use that strategy for the state lottery!!!:D:D:D

The Black Ferris
04-30-2009, 10:32 AM
The sheer number of profound truths to be found E-V-E-R-Y-DAY on this site is staggering!

Odalisque
04-30-2009, 11:40 AM
I thought GSC was crazy when he was asking me for numbers of the top of my head lol but they were very good quotes. Maybe I should use that strategy for the state lottery!!!:D:D:D

Or not, perhaps. In the lottery of life, lotteries for money are slippery customers.

But how would I know, I've never bought a lottery ticket. :confused:

The Black Ferris
04-30-2009, 11:46 AM
But how would I know, I've never bought a lottery ticket. :confused:
Me either. Thanks, Shirley Jackson!

Odalisque
04-30-2009, 11:52 AM
But how would I know, I've never bought a lottery ticket. :confused:
Me either. Thanks, Shirley Jackson!

It's rather a relief to know that I'm not the only one.

I'm old fashioned enough to think that gambling is a bad thing. Perhaps this is reflected in my novels with idea of gamblers winding up enslaved for debt. ;)

The Black Ferris
04-30-2009, 12:16 PM
I like the term Crap Shoot.
Ya never know what kind of crap you're gonna shoot, but you can bet it will be crap.

The Black Ferris
05-01-2009, 04:18 PM
“'From the earliest days of man there has endured the conviction that there is an order of existence which is entirely strange to him. It does indeed seem that the strict order of the visible world is only a semblance, one providing certain gross materials which become the basis for subtle improvisations of invisible powers. Hence, it may appear to some that a leafless tree is not a tree but a signpost to another realm; that an old house is not a house but a thing possessing a will of its own; that the dead may throw off that heavy blanket of earth to walk in their sleep, and in ours. And these are merely a few of the infinite variations on the themes of the natural order as it is usually conceived.'”

Thomas Ligotti- The Journal of J. P. Drapeau

The Black Ferris
05-01-2009, 04:31 PM
This is a fascinating thread for me.
I've just been reading Ted Hughes Letters. He was very superstitious and very interested in magic.
He thought that writing academic work actually weakened his immune system. He suggested that writing Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being might have caused the cancer that he eventually died of. I read somewhere else that he stopped writing fiction because he felt that it had an almost prophetic effect, on one occasion foretelling the death of someone close to him. Only poetry it seems was "safe" and healthy for him, although I think he was wary even of that, or at least he would have taken the power of words or symbols very seriously.
I've got no doubt that he'd have paid close attention to the message in the fortune cookie.
This sort of reminds me of something I read in Alan Bennett's Diaries. He was in a book shop, picked out a book and opened it and noticed an underlined sentence. As he read the sentence he became aware that the underlining was a long black hair that slipped away..
It would be easy to give significance to an incident like that. Almost like a private message.

Beautiful. Thanks for that.
I'm afraid I also believe in those things. Writing is dangerous.
I've written prophetic werk. I've made myself ill from the energies I have sacrificed to my creations.
Have you heard this one?
You have to suffer for your Art.
Sometimes others do, too.
But how could it be otherwise?
Particularly for our tribe, the tribe of the weird.
(Nuthin', but a buncha WEIRD worshippers!)
These things need fuel like everything else.
It is your spirit that makes It live.

The Black Ferris
05-01-2009, 04:34 PM
“There can be no belief where there is no doubt. There cannot be something where there is no nothing. This is far from secret knowledge, as if such knowledge could change anything. This is only how it seems, and seeming is everything.”

Thomas Ligotti - The Mystics of Muelenberg

Steve Dekorte
05-01-2009, 04:41 PM
If there is a remarkable aspect to supernatural beliefs, it's how mundane they are. Simple agency attribution errors with some mish mash of crude archetypal imagery. Yet somehow people find this combination irresistible.

Or as TL put it:

"...the multitudes of mannikin saviors, as one might view them - their faces smooth and serene behind display windows, welcoming the faithful who, upon their death, will enter a department store paradise of the most vague and intangible delights."

The Black Ferris
05-01-2009, 05:04 PM
Dig it.
But then I begin to wonder who's running the store?
Who owns it?
What construction company built the mall in which these stores do their business?
Who hired them?
Who does their advertising?
Is it me?
Maybe, it's you.

Steve Dekorte
05-01-2009, 05:40 PM
Dig it.
But then I begin to wonder who's running the store?
Who owns it?
What construction company built the mall in which these stores do their business?
Who hired them?
Who does their advertising?
Is it me?
Maybe, it's you.

The trick is realizing that these questions presume agency.

This bias to see agency in the world may come from our evolutionary history. As suggested by Raza and Dawkins, it may have been a selective advantage to be biased towards false positives for agency (mistaking a bush for a tiger) than false negatives (mistaking a tiger for a bush).

What's odd to me is how such biases can so easily trump our reason. Or as Bertrand Russell put it:

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way."

The Black Ferris
05-02-2009, 03:17 AM
I will not argue that the path of superstition is trod by many a fanatic.
Religious superstition, in particular, has led to a number of terrible events that may have been otherwise avoided had the instigators used reason.
Yet, for people like you and I, I wonder if our reason is not often trumped on the other side, as well.
I have come to view people in terms of their function.
In my life, yes, in their environment, sure, but further, to the point of atomic, sub-atomic, cellular function.
The cells of the universe. ;E
Whether there is design or not, there is function.
It seems that the human mind and it's workings are not so bad a basis as a model of the milieu from which they stem.
Limited, undoubtedly, but then so is my stomach. It's means of alerting me to a problem are few, but effective.
I may not be able to fix the problem entirely, but I can avoid eating certain foods or take medication. If the problem persists, perhaps a surgery is in order.
My stomach, however does not have agency. It does its job to the best of its ability, but does not understand the greater scheme of the being in which it resides.
Still I may try to take care of my stomach anyway, as it is in my best interests. Or I may go on a bender of illicit substances that my stomach surely will not like, but I will gain an experience that is beneficial to another organ.
Pretty heavy handed, but you get the idea.
Should we assume that because humans, a lowly animal indeed, have what we refer to as agency, that this perception is somehow only in our minds, is of no value to or has no real function in the universe?
Are we somehow removed from all of this?
I believe the best model of the universe we have is ourselves. This is not to say that man is in any way superior or that "we've got it right".
But isn't it reasonable that this thought of agency in the first place is a function of the human being necessary to the organic processes of the environment from which we sprang?
Perhaps even a step further outside the lines to say that what we refer to as hallucination, in some cases, may be vestigial or developing sensory response to stimuli from inputs we do not currently recognize with our holy 5?
But then, reason itself begins to break down as we realize the limitations of our senses.
The plane leaves the airport at 5:55. It is carrying 55 passengers. 5 of the passengers ate Chinese before boarding the plane. 5 of the passengers were Chinese before boarding the plane. 5 seats are vacant due to bad fortune cookie predictions. The other passengers are Irish. Where does the plane land?
Huh?
And if a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long will it take the monkey with the wooden leg to beat the seeds out of a dill pickle?
Perhaps the illusion of agency is strictly Earthbound. Perhaps the sense of agency is response to unknown stimuli.
Either way, what an interesting feature of the human body;
the perception of the want to percieve that which it is not equipped to percieve.
I wonder if my stomach is equipped to respond to the stimulus of all that Chartreuse.
Maybe I should have been more reasonable.

The Black Ferris
05-02-2009, 03:25 AM
And speaking of divination through Ligotti, I love that everytime I return to the home page, I get one of his fortune cookies. What do you think of this one per that last post? Eh? Eh?

“Suffering through the days and nights of an illness, especially an intestinal virus, one becomes highly conscious of certain realities, as well as highly sensitive to the functions of these realities, which otherwise are not generally subject to prolonged attention or meditation. Upon recovery from such a virus, the consciousness of these realities and their functions necessarily fades, so that the once-stricken person may resume his life's activities and not be driven to insanity or suicide by the acute awareness of these most unpleasant facts of existence. Through the illumination of analogy, I came to understand that the Teatro operated in much the same manner as the illness from which I recently suffered, with the consequence that the person exposed to the Teatro-disease becomes highly conscious of certain realities and their functions, ones quite different of course from the realities and functions of an intestinal virus. However, an intestinal virus ultimately succumbs, in a reasonably healthy individual, to the formation of antibodies (or something of that sort). But the disease of the Teatro, I now understood, was a disease for which no counteracting agents, or antibodies, had ever been created by the systems of the individuals--that is, the artists--it attacked. An encounter with any disease, including an intestinal virus, serves to alter a person's mind, making it intensely aware of certain realities, but this mind cannot remain altered once this encounter has ended or else that person will never be able to go on living in the same way as before. In contrast, an encounter with the Teatro appears to remain within one's system and to alter a person's mind permanently. For the artist the result is not to be driven into insanity or suicide (as might be the case if one assumed a permanent mindfulness of an intestinal virus) but the absolute termination of that artist's work. The simple reason for this effect is that there are no antibodies for the disease of the Teatro, and therefore no relief from the consciousness of the realities which an encounter with the Teatro has forced upon an artist.”
Thomas Ligotti - Teatro Grotesco
As if you couldn't guess.

ninjashoes
07-04-2009, 06:17 PM
I used to want to get one of those ultra-lights or whatever you call them but that John Denver thing sorta turned me off. I really don't have the money to travel so I just stay home and look at places through the internet.