Remiss

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2009 by morleyfamily

True, I have been remiss in keeping up with this blog. I’ve come across many interesting stories, and made a lot of good food in the meantime. And read some great books. The latest is Spiritual Survival in a Radically Changing World-Time. It’s a very important book, full of questions and answers with the author, essays and probes of The Fourth Way

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Gold

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2008 by morleyfamily

The internet has been bereft of good booksellers lately, so I’m grateful to have found UsedEsoteric.com . They have a wide variety of spiritual oriented books. Their primary focus is initially around Gurdjieff, but their ever-expanding library promises something for everyone.

Bible Park USA

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2008 by morleyfamily

Developer Armon Bar-Tur is trying to push plans for a new 280-acre theme park in central Tennessee called Bible Park USA. Rather than featuring rollercoasters and water slides, Bar-Tur’s behemoth will feature actors in a Galilean village, the “Exodus Experience” with 25 foot high waterfalls and a burning bush. bibleparkusa.com also promises a “large-scale Noah’s ark and viewing a short play with actors dressed as animals to tell the beloved story.”

Although Bible Park USA’s home page boasts an influx of 1,200 new jobs in the first two years, the permits are not a done deal. National Public Radio’s story on the park says the developer is taking heat for developing farmland. The development would create a need for parking lots, roads, gas stations, shopping centers, etc., and would get rid of otherwise farmable acres. Besides the environmental and consumer-oriented footprint, Bible Park USA is another example of cheapening an already cheapened faith, with its promises of distraction and “edutainment.”

Video Games for Exercise

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2008 by morleyfamily

At the end of May,  Nintendo is releasing the “Wii Fit” for video gamers. The Wii Fit attempts to make video gaming a physical sport and asserts that one can rid one’s house of useless exercise equipment. The interface is a flat, squat platform that looks much like a scale. Standing on the Wii Fit, the gamer is led through a series of dance and balance exercises. It even seems to run through several yoga postures.

The slickly produced marketing video trailer for the Wii Fit runs the gamut of types: the lone yoga student following the video prompt to take a pose; an awkward teenage girl working to improve her balance; a buff twentysomething doing pushups; and a family of four comparing their ability to step onto and off of the Wii Fit.

This is the trailer for it:

Gurdjieff in Egypt

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 15, 2008 by morleyfamily

It’s a great thing that this documentary has been made: the roots of Gurdjieff’s esoteric teaching seem to be in Ancient Egypt. I look forward to seeing this.

The World According to Lockheed Martin?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 7, 2008 by morleyfamily

The Wall Street Journal today reported a strange story about new high school course materials underwritten by large corporations. Curricula–which can be costly to produce and implement–are more and more frequently taking monies from companies like Lockheed, Intel, and accounting firm Deloitte. In exchange, the corporate world exacts a certain level of control over the types of material being taught. In a recent four-color glossy hand out in Roselle, NJ, about career choices, five employees from Deloitte were profiled, under a quote: “Consider a career you may never have imagined…[w]orking as a professional auditor,” says the Journal. Across the board there is a push for American teenagers to take an interest in engineering, computer programming, and other professional fields, particularly in the defense industry (hence, Lockheed), whose contracts largely prohibit international outsourcing of sensitive material.

One reason the Journal gives for such a push by corporations is an aging workforce of professionals, with slender prospects for the future. Engaging students prior to college level is a good way vie for them. The article interestingly relates what corporations are doing now to what the fast food and snack food industries have been doing for years: subsidizing school lunches through installing vending machines, and rewarding honors students with free pizzas.

Project Lead the Way is one of the key curricula to enter the high school arena. With the aim of providing a “hands-on, project and problem-based…approach” Project Lead the Way promises to present an applicable reason for learning math and science. That the National Fluid Power Association, as well as Lockheed and car manufacturer Rolls Royce, contribute hefty monies and get special mentions (“by kind permission of Rolls Royce”) embedded in the advertising–ahem–lessons, is beside the point.

In a way, this is a logical extension to the embedded advertising we find in everywhere in the world: product placement in movies, television, and even pop music; in our language (it’s no longer a cappucino, latte, or mocha: it’s a “Starbucks”); even American churches, synagogues, and temples are sometimes underwritten by foundations or corporations, with an affixed logo. Though a logical extension, I still find this to be a very strange phenomenon. Interesting how the world becomes a shadow of what it was, and how we ultimately come to view things topsy-turvy.

In a bookstore

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 25, 2008 by morleyfamily

I went to a bookstore in Memphis and was looking at periodicals, and came across some titles that took me aback. The journals in the spirituality section had the run of the mill Christianity Today and three or four Buddhist-oriented mags (Yoga Journal and other yoga magazines were relegated to the exercise section), but then I came across two “gems:” The first was Faerie Magazine, which features stories about people who like faeries, and believe that they exist. The magazine is replete with photos of people dressed like faeries, and illustrations of what a faerie might look like.
The second publication was Spirituality and Health, a benign enough name, the type of title that anyone might pick up. But the key feature of this month’s pub? “Find Your Stage of Consiousness: A Self Test.” I didn’t take the test, but did thumb through and saw page after page of glossy full color advertisements.

This isn’t the spirituality publication for me: I’d much rather see a self-published, international periodical like The Gurdjieff Journal, which supports itself through readership subscriptions and doesn’t offer such cheap buyout stories such as that. Their current series of essays on Gurdjieff vis-á-vis the New Age (called “Gurdjieff & the New Age”) shows such a broad and deep understanding of contemporary culture.