Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pope said what...?

"How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space, the womb, has become a place of unutterable violence?"

Pope Benedict XVI
Sydney, Australia
July 18, 2008 (World Youth Day)


Oh, hmm, I can't think how... certainly the Church had nothing to do with it! (/sarcasm)

Though to be fair it wasn't only the Church, the Hebrews started a lot of it in the Middle East, and centuries of legalized marital rape and other misogynistic practices throughout the world in a myriad different cultural and religious culture also contributed their own little pieces to the puzzle.

I am having a hard time understanding why the Pope said this. Yes, it was in the context of him condemning abortion, but he still said it, and I'm pretty sure the Church teaches that the body is sinful, and of no spiritual consequence. Interesting, isn't it, that he would actually say the womb is the most "sacred human space." I guess he is qualifying this space as human, which according to Church doctrine is really not all that holy at all. So his bases seem to be covered.

Unbelievable, that the Holy See could essentially say, out loud: "where does misogyny and the degradation of the sacred feminine come from?" Dude, look in your library. I've heard it's huge. Of course, the Vatican Library website says the library is to be closed for the next 3 years for renovation. Doing some more of that famous Catholic "cleaning?"

Maybe you could you re-insert a few of those stolen gospels and texts that affirm and celebrate the concept of the sacred feminine (or, God forbid, the Goddess!) back on the shelves while you're at it? It was Constantine who took them out after all, and not until 3 centuries post-Jesus. If they haven't all been destroyed by now, anyway...

gotta love religion... and fear... and book burning...

but on the other side, millions of people love and are inspired by the Pope, he does also bring messages of love, and peace. and he adores cats.

it would be so much easier if that part weren't true.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

a liar AND a coward

Rove Avoids Subpoena by FLEEING THE COUNTRY

This morning, Karl Rove refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about the politicization of the Justice Department, despite a subpoena... Yesterday, Rove’s lawyer wrote a letter declaring Rove would not testify, citing executive privilege. During the hearing, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) revealed that Rove had not only skipped out of the hearing, but had skipped out of the entire country. Watch the video here (scroll down).

After Rove proved to be a no-show today, the panel voted 7-1 to rule that Rove’s claims of immunity under executive privilege are invalid.

The committee gave Rove five days to comply with the subpoena.

Last week, Sanchez and Judiciary Chairman John Conyers threatened to hold Rove in contempt if he followed through on his promise to defy their subpoena. It's unclear whether they will follow through on that threat.

via raw story

Monday, July 14, 2008

pentagrams, pythagoras and the golden ratio

Some interesting facts about math, the pentagram, nature, and culture.

The first known uses of the pentagram (the simplest regular star polygon) are found in Mesopotamian writings dating to about 3000 BC. The 5 points represented the 5 astrological directions associated with Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn, and Venus (or Astarte, the local Goddess). The top or "above" point of the star symbolized Venus/Astarte - as she was revered as the "Queen of Heaven."

In fact, the pentagram (the simplest regular star polygon) has long been associated with the planet Venus, and the worship of the goddess Venus, or her equivalent... When viewed from Earth, successive inferior conjunctions of Venus plot a nearly perfect pentagram shape around the zodiac every eight years. (source)

click on the pictures below to see the full size images

At one time, the pentacle was used by Christians to represent the Five Sacred Wounds of Jesus. The ancient greeks and romans, among others, considered the pentacle a symbol of balance and health. The pentacle can be seen to resemble or symbolize the human body, the 5 points representing the head and 4 limbs. In the Tarot, the pentacle symbolizes the female suit of Earth - divinity manifesting in matter.

The golden ratio, (also known as the Divine Proportion, or φ (spelled PHI) can be expressed as:

φ = (1+√5)/2 ≈ 1.618

The Divine Proportion plays an important role in the the mathematical nature of the pentagram (among many, many other such phenomenon). In the pentagram each intersection of edges sections the edges in golden ratio: the ratio of the length of the edge to the longer segment is φ, as is the length of the longer segment to the shorter.

Also, the ratio of the length of the shorter segment to the segment bounded by the 2 intersecting edges (a side of the pentagon in the pentagram's center) is φ.

A pentagram colored to distinguish its line segments of different lengths. The four lengths are in golden ratio to one another.

As the illustration shows:

\frac{\mathrm{red}}{\mathrm{green}} = \frac{\mathrm{green}}{\mathrm{blue}} = \frac{\mathrm{blue}}{\mathrm{magenta}} = \varphi .

The golden ratio has fascinated intellectuals of diverse interests for at least 2,400 years.

"Biologists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists, and even mystics have pondered and debated the basis of its ubiquity and appeal. In fact, it is probably fair to say that the Golden Ratio has inspired thinkers of all disciplines like no other number in the history of mathematics." ~ Mario Livio
Adolf Zeising, whose main interests were mathematics and philosophy, found the golden ratio expressed in the arrangement of branches along the stems of plants and of veins in leaves. He extended his research to the skeletons of animals and the branchings of their veins and nerves, to the proportions of chemical compounds and the geometry of crystals, even to the use of proportion in artistic endeavors. In these phenomena he saw the golden ratio operating as a universal law.

Architecture was also profoundly influenced by the golden ratio. The Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Acropolis, the Great Mosque of Kairouan (built by Uqba ibn Nafi c. 670 A.D.), and the Tempietto chapel at the Monastery of Saint Peter in Montorio, Rome... these architectural wonders and many more are said to have been designed and built using the golden ratio.

Science has been influenced by the golden ratio as well. Jean-Claude Perez proposed a connection between DNA base sequences and gene sequences and the golden ratio [link]. Another such connection, between the Fibonacci numbers and golden ratio and Chargaff's second rule concerning the proportions of nucleobases in the human genome, was proposed in 2007.

one well known example of the golden ratio in popular culture can be found, of course, in a da vinci painting - in this case the vitruvian man. the painting illustrates the golden ratio as it is seen in the human body - for example, the ratio of the distance from your fingertips to your shoulder to the distance from your elbow will always be φ... same with the ratio between your hips, knees and feet. (look it up!)

The Greeks usually attributed discovery of the golden ratio to Pythagoras or his followers. The regular pentagram, which has a regular pentagon inscribed within it, was the Pythagoreans' symbol.

Pythagoras and his Pythagoreans - along with being vegetarians and espousing the Pythagorean Theorum (who doesn't love a2 + b2=c2?) venerated the pentacle and the golden ratio. Pythagoras viewed the pentacle as a symbol of mathematical and natural perfection . One of the Pythagoreans' main symbols was the Pythagorean Pentacle (above), a pentacle inscribed within a pentagon.

It is said that the pentagram had a secret significance and power to the Pythagoreans, and was used not only as a symbol of good health, but as a password or symbol of recognition amongst themselves.

The Pythagoreans were also great nature lovers.

Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise
Fyodor Bronnikov, 1869

post dedicated to the divine proportion