Artificial-Death – A better deal than any supernaturalist religion can offer? It seems to me along the lines that Julian Huxley intended. Some relief from fear of death. Morality self judged and perhaps situational – but not ethical codes forced on you by an imaginary invisible bullying tyrant(s) or a human calling upon His name.
A lot – possibly most- individuals on trans/ singul/ posthuman lists are drawn to radical futurism for specific reasons of extending life and attaining immortality (continuation of awareness) after physical death by technology. Different groups are working on different projects, but posthuman.org is concentrating on MVT analog circuits with Zenet interface. This is much less ambitious than approaches involving whole brain/ personality/ memory preservation, since there is only need to retain signals relating to game decision making. But who wants to be particularly aware of being dead?
Perhaps because the survival/ longevity/ immortality instinct cuts across all ideologies, I have observed over the decades different clusters of radical futurists of all political persuasions, from Marxists and woke Feminists on the left to Prometheans, Nietscheans, Libertarians and followers of Ayn Rand on the right. Who really cares? Those motivated primarily by political ideology soon get bored with geekism and seek out those more like minded. If any posthuman political party is going to work it should concentrate on the immortality, life extension and avoid areas of contention. Posthuman Politics FB Group.
Of course, immortality itself may be an area of contention between religious futurists and the rest? On a psychological level the notion of training a Zenet machine to learn your cognitive style so that beloved(s) and future descendents can continue to play Zenet with you after passing is positive. Instead of complete nothingness looming; there is promise of a little bit of awareness that may be able to sense fluctuations in light (solar powered), or gain a glimpse of existing again. Or conceivably, who knows, the ancient Egyptians may have been correct in which Zenet will take you safely over the dangerous first stages of travelling in the underworld directly to the Hall of Ma’at or the eighth (Hierus) soul and avoidance of the second death. Psychomorphology. Games are dynamical systems.
Previous post THE 31st GOD introduced the game of Passing, the bridge between the worlds, but I want to say something about the overall concept. You could maybe use a different game, but Zenet suggested itself to me as ideal. Rules vary very slightly between living and dead, which is a help to my coding. I worry slightly about cryogenics for reasons of expense and ecology – if everyone was cryogenically preserved huge amounts of energy would be drained from needs of the living. Both technologies have their place, and maybe new options will be developed in future. The current price of hardware required for the MVT design is a few $1,000 (but practical implementation &c no doubt add to bare hardware costs) and I will also release a digital version for a fraction, $100 target. That version would give psychological solace, even though you would understand that the deceased isn’t actually playing the game with you. It would probably move faster and might well make less mistakes also.
Is this MVT method “uploading”? You could say uploading, but “whole-part fusion” better describes it. There will be a ton more when I get round to next phase of the posthuman university. Top picture is The Morrigan from WB Yeats Celtic Enochian Chess
Ancient Egyptians clearly thought our species WAS equivalent of the Goddesses and Gods. Not just Pharaohs were considered deities during their lifetime, but lowborn individuals such as Imhotep could raise themselves to this status through great works. In the newly democratised New Kingdom (after the overthrow of dire monothesim for the second time) the ritual game of Zenet/ Senet became a state recognised religion in its own right, and non-royals could attain Godhood. This is one of the reason why I have selected this vehicle as the interface for Artificial-Death; the other major reason being it is the only recorded method whereby living and dead could communicate.
Artificial-Death is a limited form of ‘uploading’, retaining mentation involved in stategic game decisions. In ZENET, the game of Passing, when involving a deceased player, the living player moves first. The deceased plays the other side of the board. A question, or name of the deceased individual, can optionally be written down the central path. Digital versions of the game might be just as good and reliable (and are certainly faster) as the heavily engineered MVT (unconstrained, analog) circuit; but digital (hard-wired) computers cannot compute in real-time because of the rounding errors, so cannot sustain experiential ‘uploading’.
I support the claim that Chaturanga, (Sanskrit: चतुरङ्ग; caturaṅga), ancient four-handed chess, is the direct ancestor of common chess. It has a history of over 3,900 years according to Sir William Jones or possibly upwards of 5,000 years by the account of Prof. Duncan Forbes. It has origins in the Gupta Empire north India with references dating from the sixth century CE, and possibly earlier.
Historians favouring the priority of the two-sided chess have tried to defend their case by asserting that early descriptions of Chaturanga as found in the Bhavishya Purana date from no earlier than the 10th Century AD and on the strength of this doubtful proposition rests the foundation of the case of those who support the widespread and conventional view that two-sided Chesse/Shatranj is the original form of the genus and Chaturanga is a mere variant of the same.
It is however obvious that the written Bhavishya Purana account must have been transcribed from some more ancient verbal tradition – as is true also of the Vedas and Upanishads. Studying (around 1978/9) Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit at Surrey University with Professor Sivesh Thakur confirmed me in this view. As the respected Victorian chess historian, Edward Falkener, has pointed out reference to the mythical and not historic characters of Yudhishthira and Vyassa, Mahadeva and Parvati denote an antiquity beyond record.
Several recent chess historians, taking their lead and evidence from the mammoth “History of Chess’, by HJR Murray, have written in defence of the establishment or conventionalist preference for priority of two-sided chess. A high degree of authority and kudos goes along with the “original and genuine’ tag, and those who make a living from practice of the two-sided game are quick to the defence of their own best interests.
As far as possible I shall present the facts unfiltered. To this ends I have included virtually the entire Forbe’s History of Chess, probably the Most detailed and researched Chaturanga sourcework.
Let us examine the evidence: 1) An individual QueenVizier does not appear amongst the earliest chess sets found. This is easiest explained by the fact that the role was originally given to a captured Rajah of an ally in Chaturanga who then took part in the game under control of his captor in the new secondary role as King’s advisor. The extensive powers of the Queen in modern chess date from no earlier than C15th Europe – the game being known for some time as either “New Chess” also as “L’esches de la dame enragee” and in Italy as “ala rabiosa” – mad chess!
There is no disputing that the modern chess with which we are all familiar is not particularly ancient. But its forebear the arabic Shatranj DID include the Vizier piece, and we would expect this piece to appear in the very earliest chess sets discovered if two-sided chess is the most ancient form of the game.
2) Cullin explains the duplication of the pieces (2 bishops, knights rooks) as occurs in common chess as a result of the amalgamation of the two armies in Chaturanga after the capture of an allied Throne (a well documented rule).
Two-sided chesse is best seen as an adaptation of Chaturanga, missing out the preliminary stages of the game, and facilitating Chaturanga to be played between just two persons. The historian Stewart Cullin (on reflection surely the winner of the great Victorian debate) impressively argues that 2-sided chess is a variant of the 4-sided original whilst I have yet to read any account countering Cullin’s case by showing how Chaturanga could possibly have been adapted from the two-sided game! Murray disputes Cullin’s argument but offers no proper explanation for the origin of Chaturanga, and admits that he cannot make CHATURANGA fit the pattern of known later chess variants.
3) The earliest chessboards were grids, not chequered, since they were based on the playing cloths of the Ashtapada-Pachisi-Thaayam group of ancient four-handed race games. There is no dispute about this. Nor that such games clearly pre-date the more sophisticated war-strategy “chess’ category.
The traditional Chaturanga board retains the crosses marking Castle squares from the old Ashtapada-Pachisi game- board although these play no part in the rules of CHATURANGA itself.
The race games in question were four-handed and it is highly feasible that the pieces in these race-games were given special powers, evolving over time into the complex Chaturanga. The chequered board was a later Arabic innovation more suitable for a game with just two coloured pieces.
4) The connection between early board-games and mystical rituals based on the four elements or directions has been convincingly demonstrated by historian Stewart Cullin who presents a strong case that recreational games in general have evolved from divinatory processes or perhaps were used to help keep awake during all-night religious observances. Professor Needham and recent work by Yugoslavian Chess historians also support this opinion.
5) There are strong linguistic reasons for suggesting the priority of four-handed chess. CHATURANGA means “Quadripartite’, and was used to describe the Indian army which had four divisions: Elephants, Chariots (Ships in parts of Hindustan), Cavalry and Infantry. It is the name CHATURANGA which gives us variations and abbreviations such as Chatrang, Shatranj, and Chess.
6) There is incontrovertible historical evidence that warfare in ancient India was rarely conducted between just two parties and that the middle-most army and supporters of both sides were normally involved. Chaturanga much more closely resembles actual warfare in ancient times than does any two-sided representation.
Much other evidence exists to support my case and to dispel the case put forward by Richard Eales and other modern day disciples of HJR Murray and Antonius Van der Linde. The full evidence is fairly technical and is more fitting for the book than for a magazine, but I hope that having established the historical importance of this game, I can now proceed to point out something of the degree of neglect with which Chaturanga has been treated. Having been for so long been ignored in favour of its bastardised two-sided offspring its rehabilitation is long overdue.
Reasons for the neglect are several and varied. First of all, medieval scholars were more familiar with Persian and Arabic traditions than with ancient Indian culture, and Shatranj may have become the established Chess form following the crusades.
Also the Christian church of the dark ages issued Papal bulls against the use of dice in games and outlawed gambling both of which are a well recorded facets of Chaturanga which also seem to have been common with early two-sided Chesse in Europe. The doctrine of Good vs Evil and the simple black white dichotomy in which the Church psychologically painted the world must also have favoured the spread of two-sided chess.
Many moralities were written using Chesse as a handy metaphor for conflict between life/death and other accepted philosophical dualisms of those times. A complex four-part game would not have fitted the restricted medieval outlook so well (despite 4 being the natural number for logical types – though I will spare you the full discourse on symbolic logic for now – sighs of relief!). Hopefully in these modern days, as in the times before the dark era, most of us are able to think in shades of colour as well as in simple monochrome.
Chaturanga was played into modern times in some of the remoter parts of India, (see MODERN INDIA, 1874 A.D.) almost exactly as it was when recorded by the traveller and writer Abu-Raihan Muhammad, also known as Al-Beruni (973-1048 ad). As even HJR Murray is forced to admit it is unlikely that Chaturanga is merely a variation of two-sided chess since none of the known variants have demonstrated anything like its longevity.
(Forming and breaking Alliances is part of the rich historical rules options that are built into the software. The ’empires’ gambling system was also a rules option in variants where Rajahs could be ransomed for money, also an option in the app. I wrote this game some time ago but increased processor speeds has meant there hasn’t been any need to optimize the games engine. At the higher and analysis levels, I feel the software in pure strategy variants is unbeatable. There are delayed “time-bomb” moves because each player moves every fourth turn, unlike anything found in chess or shogi).
This first volume introduces each of the posthuman psychological topics to be covered in this series. Primal eye evolutionary theory of mind has useful applications in the real world, not least in Psychology. Understanding how ancient brains evolved from lockstep E2 to unconstrained E1 circuits allowing abstract thought and dreams, gives us a much needed model how modern brains function. Without clear explanation for all waking and sleeping mentation, all sorts of irrational, religious and supernatural claims fill the scientific void.
Steve worked as a psychotherapist and NSHAP hypnotherapist in the UK, has an MSc in Neural Computation, MBPsS. Steve has worked intermittently as a games theorist, software developer and publisher since the 1980’s, was originator of primal eye theory in 1979, and started the posthuman movement in 1988. Now available for pre-order.
Second in “TSAKLI perfected images” series 20 SMALL WIDE TSAKLI. This Tibetan (probably) or Mongolian series (possibly) series of twenty is unusual in being landscape rather than portrait orientation. Presumably these are C16th or C17th (from the painting style; there is no reverse text to help date them). A few of the cards are quite age damaged. Most are finely and intricately painted, but any shellac has darkened over time.
Because of the condition, differently from most other books in this series, I accompany large untouched and uncropped tsakli images with smaller images that are digitally restored to bring these (thin mulberry) cards closer to their original colors when first painted. I suggest a Sutra text that these may be illustrations from. But even without certainty of some details, and despite their aged condition, a faded beauty still haunts these rare survivals.
NEW KINDLE Vicenzo Cartari described these 88 imagos in Renaissance Italy in 1571 CE. Cartari was an antiquarian, and most of the imagos he depicts come from the late Ptolemaic period. In Tarot of the Four Worlds (T4W) I allocate each imago to a specific Elemental World (Chess board) and to one of the 88 netibuth. My names won’t be agreed by everyone and can be argued about, but the reasons for these names are given here with reference to Cartari and Linche.
The many extra b/w illustrations throughout are from different editions of Cartari (I was an antiquarian book dealer specialising in Emblem books, and have most early Cartari editions). Divination meanings, history of the deck, magical theory, the original written descriptions and mythology from C16th Italy are given. Also an easy to learn spreads and some advice on using these in divination. Taro of the Four Worlds provide an immediate and fascinating insight into the minds of the ancients. This 2020 kindle edition retains all text and illustrations from the 2006 lulu first editon paperback, but adds hypertext and colour.
These engravings, are by Bolognino Zaltieri. A later 1614 edition has slightly different engravings by Paulus Hachenberg, and fairly soon I hope to publish a volume with colored versions of these imagos. Of particular interest is that some retain banners of names or slogans associated with particular emblemata. Example imago 30 shown below.
The birth of Tarrochini in Italy predates Cartari. The “Four Orders of Virtue” game by Martiano da Tortona is first mentioned in 1425 CE. Robert Place and Ross Caldwell have replicated the lost paintings of the da Tortona using written descriptions. My approach is to use “Images of the Ancient Gods” (Cartari’s book) as the source images for Apollo, Hercules and the others. These icons would have been familiar to da Tortona, and likely formed the basis for his lost paintings.
On a practical note, there are four Enochian Chess boards and four sets of pieces, but only one tarot pack to service all four chessboards. Since there are 88 netibuth (paths) 4 x 22 across the Four Elemental Worlds; to extend the limited Golden Dawn system you need 88 (4 x 22) major and 224 (4×56) minor atous to make four tarot decks each of 78 cards. These 88 are ready made. By serendipity (or because tarot triumphs “Wheel of Fortuna” and so on were Christianised from Hellenic originals, so can swiftly be deconstructed back) I found it fairly obvious to identify which 88 T4W belonged in the 4 groups of 22. Again, you can argue around the edges.
George Wither’s (4 x56) Minor Arcanaii TARO OF THE FOUR WINDS
A ready made 4 sets – attributed to the four elements – of 56 minor atous in each set (also Hellenic emblemata) are bequethed to us by George Withers (see Tarot of the Four Winds, lulu publication). More information on both Taro 4 Worlds and Taro 4 Worlds in Hypermodern Magick, Khemetic Chess. Color kindle “Tarot of the Four Winds” out soon.
Further to my previous blog post “magician born of nature” I have released the new kindle version. Includes a series of Tarot lectures that she gave to either the Golden Dawn, Masonic, OTO, Druidic or Gnostic Orders in which she was ordained. Also four essays on the Qabalah – “The Crown and The Kingdom.” Other articles offer profound insights into Neoplatonic (Hermetic), Alchemical or Gnostic philosophy, The Cube of Space, Druidry, there is a Ma’at ritual, painted and hand-drawn illustrations, De Astris Interioribus – Western and Eastern Chakras, The Pilgrimage – a one-act play, Tattwas through the Day, Crowley – The Dying Kick of the Dying-God, Taro as Colour (surrealism & Yeatsian automatism), plus an Introduction by Steve Nichols, and Appendixes including Dion Fortune, impressions of Initiation Thoth-Hermes GD Temple, WB Yeats and Maud Gonne, and a brief Biography. Reprint of 2007 edition with minor updates. The kindle edition is in colour and has hyperlinks.
The paperback is proving more problematic and may be some time (will be more expensive, b/w, am not sure whether to bother). Maybe I was wrong and the old Lulu paperback first editions will be collectable and worth the high sums being asked. BTW if you have any old copies of Prytania I might be interested in purchasing them …..
Even more than Yeats, or Regardie, or Crowley or indeed anybody from the occult firmament – I have been influenced by Ithell Colquhoun. To reflect this admiration I have decided to adopt her title of “Magician born of nature” which seems to perfectly encapsulate the posthuman condition.
The Ithell Colquhoun FB group has been running for a while now. Ithell events and exhibitions still crop up regularly, and Fulgar recently reissued Ithell’s Taro as Colour. Last couple of years there has been a flurry of interest in Ithell’s “Celtic travel” books amongst the UK literati.
I explore and hopefully explain Ithell inspired “psychomorphological magick” in my esoteric autobiography vol two Hypermodern Magick/ Khemetic Enochian Chess which is illustrated by bits and bobs from my Ithell collection (similarly in volume three WBY).
Sorry for long delay in moving from Lulu (too expensive) to Amazon (too big to ignore). ANNOUNCEMENT – There will be kindle and paperback reprint of the 2007 edition, also a new volume of Ithell material acquired since The Magical Writings of Ithell Colquhoun, 2007. These largely comprise handwritten pages of Ithell’s notes about WB Yeats, touching upon some political topics that have been trending about WBY recently. The reprint and hopefully both volumes will be soon(ish) so think hard before paying £265 for the old lulu edition (pictured above).
Posthuman Buddhism comes out of new scientific understanding of the early evolution of consciousness – and the change from E2 to E1 brains. “Emptiness is not complete nothingness; it doesn’t mean that nothing exists at all. This would be a nihilistic view contrary to common sense. What it does mean is that things do not exist the way our grasping self supposes they do.” M.V.T. shows that the (absent/ atrophied/ abstract/ phantom/ lacuna) Primal (old/ parietal/ median) Eye – the way our fundamental conscious circuitry evolved – is a psychological/ virtual construct that isn’t physically present, yet is experiental and central. MVT “Idealism” doesn’t require Berkeley’s “mind of god” and is consistent with evolutionary history, and modern findings of neuropsychology and connectionism.
Sir Julian Huxley (founder of Transhumanism, UNESCO and UK Humanism) advocated a rational (non-supernaturalist) “religion” to supersede the irrational and supernatural beliefs that pollute the world curently.
Tsakli (miniature painting tradition that dates back to C13th or so) depict an enlightened state, perhaps vision induced by tantric ritual or initiation, or perhaps a portrait of a bodhisattvha or buddist deity. Such visions are seen as self-originating (psychomorphological) rather than supernatural. These green tsakli (most have red borders) I find have a particularly calming effect. Colors change our mood – tsakli use surrealist and optical tricks to disrupt the mundane mind. Set of 36 unusual green tsakli, depicts Bonpo masters, and events relating to Tonpa Shenrab, legendary founder of the Bon tradition of Tibet. This is first in a longish series of kindle books (mostly images) and fewer paperbooks (more text) TSAKLI perfected images.
“A black imitation-leather, gold unpublished notebook dated December 1898, shows us the Yeats-Gonne-Pollexfen team at work. Virginia Moore transcribes in 1954 this record of these three Celtic Twilight magicians exploring the four fabled “Cities,” of Falias, Murius, Findias, and Gorias – regions of the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire – under their respective Gods (the Dagda, Danu, Brigid, and Lugh) and High Druids.
On questioning the four Druids, Maud Gonne discovered she and Yeats had received the Initiation of the Cauldron (purification/water). Gonne also received the Initiation of the Stone (earth); whereas Yeats had attracted the powers of the Wand (air) signifying supernatural inspiration. Beyond these Elemental Initiations came that of the White Globe, governed by the elder-god Elathan (front cover). Yeats and Pollexfen went – or thought they went – with help of talismans to Falias, wherein a rough stone house George saw a skeleton of gold with diamond teeth. Next, they went to Murias (water), where a Druid showed them a bath full of indolent bathers. Trips continued to Findias (air), and Gorias (fire), where Pollexfen saw the lower part of the fire God Aengus (“passive form of Lug”)