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Chenkel
05-13-2011, 11:17 PM
The online pitfalls presented to newcomers leaves me with the gnawing feeling that an appropriate use of my time is to attempt to present reliable online information to others as I learn. Many of us do this in various blogs, forums, correspondence, etc..

Wanna do something about this together? A group of educated, well meaning individuals focused on historical truth, working together crowd source style can accomplish much more than a single person could handle. Someone could spend a lifetime studying a single alchemical author.

One or both of the following seem like good goals 1) to promote and highlight the alchemists and their writings accurately such that people are more likely to come across these when googling... and are therefore less likely to be torn away towards modern problematic inventions and misinformation; 2) Focus on translating the above so that they’re more accessible.

Some possible ideas:

1) Make a concentrated effort to engage with larger information portals such as Wikipedia to attempt to correct biases and misinformation.

2) Make our own wiki. Far more alchemically relevant information and details could be accommodated vs. Wikipedia. Public domain documents / translations / images could be posted.

3) Make something else... not-a-wiki that would allow for crowdsourced translations of the public domain texts. (That would take a bit more know-how than I can offer.)

For the purposes of what ever information sharing project might take place, I’m guessing it would need to be limited to a highly referenced academic look into the time-tested authors and their works. Anything that involved speculating on processes or symbolism (which differ and IMO can only be accurately written on hearts not pages) would probably result way too much argument.

So.... I wanted to put some feelers out there and see what you guys thought?
Has anything like this been tried before?

Andro
05-14-2011, 12:57 AM
The online pitfalls presented to newcomers

Pitfalls and newcomers mostly go hand in hand. "Online" is merely a culture-specific concept.


I’m guessing it would need to be limited to a highly referenced academic look into the time-tested authors and their works.

What do you mean by 'time-tested authors'?


educated, well meaning individuals, focused on historical truth

All three above concepts are extremely relative. This is also the type of individuals which I prefer to stay away from. Especially the 'well meaning' ones.


Anything that involved speculating on processes or symbolism (which differ and IMO can only be accurately written on hearts not pages)...

I have an extremely small group of friends with whom I collaborate in Work and Philosophy, and it's hard for me to recall if we ever 'argue' about anything.

Mutual enhancement is a much better fitting term...

And despite the fact that our practical implementations may appear extremely different from one another to the untrained eye, they follow the exact same principles, nevertheless.

And maybe the time has come to drop the 'referenced academical' outlook altogether, and write on hearts instead...

(Which, by the way, some of the more 'classical' authors have already attempted to do.)

And I think good forums (such as this one) are already an excellent resource for a multitude of perspectives regarding the above mentioned topics. Maybe 'less' is 'more'...

Just my view on this... And I would rather recommend finding like-minded people to form small associations, so you can read, study, philosophize and work together.
You can even make your little own private forums to gather what you've discovered, or use other means of communication (like Skype or MSN), if you are not in geographical proximity.

IMO, the thing that is most lacking in the Alchemical 'community' is not another academically referenced database.

It's True Friendship and Brotherhood that are most lacking in these shark-infested waters :)

Chenkel
05-14-2011, 06:22 AM
Hi Androgynous:

I agree with you here on most points. Maybe a summary of what you’re saying is that alchemy cannot be learned through academics, and I wholeheartedly agree. I totally agree with going with your heart and learning alongside a trusted close-knit group. Yes, forums like this one are excellent resource, and yes, sometimes less is more.

That being said, I’m not really talking about a database. I’m not proposing another cut and paste of the information already widely available. The point you’re making about there being too many academic-type resources is one that I’m afraid I can’t agree with. Of course community is important. But what academically referenced databases are you referring to? I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand substantial alchemy related websites that I can trust knowing that they’ve both a) done academic due diligence, and b) get it... they’re primarily alchemists/alchemically-minded. Where are you finding too much academia? (If you’re trying to express that a lot of academics don’t bother to actually try to understand alchemy itself, I hear you there). Maybe you know something I don’t though, so I’m all ears. :)

While many alchemists are less likely to give in to the vanity/material gain involved in self-promotion, others have no such qualms set about promoting themselves, their own modern writings, and sometimes products, which too often fly fast and loose with alchemy, not always hitting the mark. That’s fine for them I guess... but I find online information to be grossly disproportionate in favour of the promoters and uneducated. Yup.... “Pitfalls and newcomers mostly go hand in hand”... You’re right.... I’m sure we’ve all experienced that. Maybe we can even call it traditional. Maybe we can even call it an ‘initiation’. But do think the stuff easily available is more-often-than-not an accurate reflection of thousands of years of alchemical thinking? Not me. I thought maybe a group effort that would hopefully negate vanity and bias might be a good way to help those coming after us, while still retaining for them the wonder of self-discovery. (It would also be a great way to build friendships with each other in the process) Other ideas?

All your points standing, and even if you think a collectively generated resource is a bad idea, what do you think of #1 above - trying to take a collective stab at rectifying/elaborating on some of the information out there on sites like wikipedia?

Thanks for the input,
C

Andro
05-15-2011, 01:30 PM
a) done academic due diligence, and b) get it...

I personally find it difficult to associate Alchemy with 'academic due diligence' as perceived nowadays...

The academical frames (and mind-frames) of today simply lack the initiatory aspects of the ancient, say, Egyptian and Greek Temples/Academies.

As for the 'Get It' factor... Well, it takes one to know one :)


Where are you finding too much academia?

Where not? In endless theoretical discussions, recipe hunts, ego-trips, little or no personal practical application (internal/lab work), 'student' recruitment, 'dinosaur'-like 'orders' and 'hierarchies'.
Basically saying and doing the same things over the same things over and over again, with my (personal) impression that it's mostly more about preserving the paradigm while claiming to attempt the opposite.


even if you think a collectively generated resource is a bad idea

I think this forum here is the best publicly accessible front for what you have stated above.
It's not run by egos run amok, it's completely non-profit and allows for every possible perspective by being so open-ended and open minded.
Not to mention the great collection of resources and debates/elaborations, from entry level to the more advanced stages alike.


What do you think of #1 above - trying to take a collective stab at rectifying/elaborating on some of the information out there on sites like wikipedia?

What I think, is that you should do what you feel you must do. If you want a Wiki, make a Wiki. If you build it, they will come :)

My personal position on this has already been posted on another thread, so I'll just quote myself from there:


I think a de-centralized Lab would be much more powerful and adequate to the Sign of the Times...

I also think you might want to check out Dev's entire LAB (http://www.deviadah.com/lab.html) concept HERE (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?1452-The-LAB).

Chenkel
05-15-2011, 05:44 PM
Where not? In endless theoretical discussions, recipe hunts, ego-trips, little or no personal practical application (internal/lab work), 'student' recruitment, 'dinosaur'-like 'orders' and 'hierarchies'.



Sounds like me and you mean very different things by 'academic'. All the stuff itemized above is exactly what I dislike.

What I mean by academic is stuff kinda like this: http://specialcollections.library.wisc.edu/khunrath/index.html

To me academic = a) largely unbiased, and b)When presenting points, gives accurate, varied references on the point (like footnotes) as insurance that the point is not fabricated. To call something academic in my mind means it must be the sort of thing that I could hand in as a university paper and not be failed on the grounds of insufficient research, plagiarism, poor logic, or conclusions that lack evidence.

***

At any rate: seems like I'm not getting much play on this, so maybe I'll go it alone and do what I can on Wikipedia and see where that gets me. :) Anyone else have thoughts?

Awani
05-16-2011, 07:56 AM
At any rate: seems like I'm not getting much play on this, so maybe I'll go it alone and do what I can on Wikipedia and see where that gets me. :) Anyone else have thoughts?

Not a bad idea... why? Well from my own experience it is easier to show people than to get people to do something. Once they "see it" they are more ready to "add" and "improve". Believe me I have tried the latter many many times. Especially off-line, but also on-line. Once you have built the foundations, like Androgynus quotes, if you build it they will come... sometime it takes many years, sometimes minutes...

Please documents your results in these forums... it is here you will find the right crowd!

Also Adam McClean's site (http://www.levity.com/alchemy/home.html) is probably the best academia site out there, although Adam himself is not the co-operative type. But the books he binds are amazing and worth buying... got 3 myself.

:cool:

Awani
05-16-2011, 08:13 AM
I also think you might want to check out Dev's entire LAB (http://www.deviadah.com/lab.html) concept HERE (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?1452-The-LAB).

You know the dream for such a haven feels closer now than when I first plucked it from the collective subconscious (where I think all great ideas are born).

Chenkel: Also check out on this forum the Invisible College: http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?1436-Invisible-College

:cool:

Chenkel
05-16-2011, 04:45 PM
Re Lab/Invisible College: Neat ideas. I look forward to visiting both.

Re Adam McLean: Yes. Absolutely. Him and the folks he collaborates with paint my picture of quality, responsible dissemination of alchemical stuff. Got one of those books... Hopefully more soon. A JB Craven work on Khunrath. Amazing. (Have you checked out his weblog... he's put some new stuff out in the past few weeks through blurb). We all owe him large.

Re build it and they will come: Yup. I hear that. Will work with the larger universe over on Wikipedia and will post here later with progress, ideas or topics that could use some love. Step one: Try to find every entry that says some thing like "He died at the age of 46, probably from mercury poisoning. Because... you know.... that's what happens to alchemists." and do something about it. :)

Chenkel
01-05-2012, 05:00 PM
Hi there. I promised to write back on this, and wanted to report that it's been a positive experience and feels rewarding. There's still a ***tonne*** of stuff that needs improving. I've found that doing a decent job there takes time -- even if the end product is only a few sentences. If you can quote from academic sources, are intolerant of bs, and are able to take a somewhat historical approach, I recommend it and would love the company.