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Awani
05-01-2012, 03:38 AM
What: 1st International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism
Where: Stockholm University, Sweden
When: August 27-29, 2012

I'll be there... will you?

http://www.erg.su.se/contemporary-esotericism/about-the-conference

:cool:

Salazius
05-01-2012, 07:40 AM
Will it be in English ?

Awani
05-03-2012, 12:42 AM
Yes I am pretty sure it is (hence the name international). Everyone in Sweden knows English so it would be strange if it is not. Some of the people I know that are going don't speak Swedish so if it is not in English we will all riot. LOL!

I can arrange free sleeping quarters for you if you plan to go... it's only 50 Euro plus the plane ticket (or bus ticket, but I have gone from Paris to Scandinavia on a bus once and I was almost suicidal by the end of it).

:cool:

Salazius
05-03-2012, 05:06 PM
Hmmm August ... lot of stuff going on before august ... I can't say !! :)
Thanks for free sleeping quarters by the way, very cool to propose it !

Awani
08-27-2012, 12:41 PM
I am at this event right now with sleeveless and Zephyr. It is all in English.

:cool:

Awani
08-28-2012, 10:38 PM
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h18/deviadah/forum/IMG_0597.jpg?t=1346193702

To be in a room full of phd academics was something I looked forward to, but alas a phd (as I kind of already knew) does not mean you know something. In fact I was hoping they would teach me, instead it felt I could teach them. Just because you have a degree doesn't mean you know anything (naturally there are exceptions). I have now had this fully proven. Nothing beats direct experience.

It's all bullshit.

Still the conference is/was good and gave me some ideas/insights and if not greater confidence in my own private work. I know now I can match these scholars without much effort. LOL!

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h18/deviadah/forum/IMG_0602.jpg

Also made some Masonic contacts...

:cool:

zoas23
08-29-2012, 03:44 AM
To be in a room full of phd academics was something I looked forward to, but alas a phd (as I kind of already knew) does not mean you know something. In fact I was hoping they would teach me, instead it felt I could teach them. Just because you have a degree doesn't mean you know anything (naturally there are exceptions). I have now had this fully proven. Nothing beats direct experience.

It's all bullshit.

Still the conference is/was good and gave me some ideas/insights and if not greater confidence in my own private work. I know now I can match these scholars without much effort. LOL!

LOL....

I went to a VERY similar conference some 5 years ago. It wasn't a conference actually, but a 6 months seminar on alchemy, hermeticism and gnosticism... by two very famous philosophers (at least "famous" in the Spanish speaking parts of the world, if I wanted to bring their names, you probably wouldn't know them at all).

The classes lasted 3 hours each one, we had one class per week... so it was more or less 3 hours x 4 weeks x 6 months = some 72 hours.
In those 72 I've leanrt... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

There was honestly not even one single thing I've learnt there. The professors were most of the time saying the most obvious and trivial things and quite often saying other things which were absolutely wrong (i.e, they were convinced that the Kybalion was a very ancient text written in Alexandria).

From time to time there is a scholar who has something interesting to say from an "academic" point of view (LOL... it is a shame that we use the word "academic" nowadays in that sense!).
i.e, Frances Yates, Ioan Culianu and some cases like that... but they are very strange exceptions.

Ghislain
08-29-2012, 06:45 AM
I guess that number three and four in the list below fits the discription then Dev/Zoas...

Academic from dictionary.com

adjective

1. of or pertaining to a college, academy, school, or other educational institution, especially one for higher education.
2. pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied, as the humanities or pure mathematics.
3. theoretical or hypothetical; not practical, realistic, or directly useful.
4. learned or scholarly but lacking in worldliness, common sense, or practicality.
5. conforming to set rules, standards, or traditions; conventional: academic painting.

:confused:

Ghislain

zoas23
08-30-2012, 01:37 AM
I guess that number three and four in the list below fits the discription then Dev/Zoas...

Academic from dictionary.com

adjective

1. of or pertaining to a college, academy, school, or other educational institution, especially one for higher education.
2. pertaining to areas of study that are not primarily vocational or applied, as the humanities or pure mathematics.
3. theoretical or hypothetical; not practical, realistic, or directly useful.
4. learned or scholarly but lacking in worldliness, common sense, or practicality.
5. conforming to set rules, standards, or traditions; conventional: academic painting.

:confused:

Ghislain

When I wrote "it is a shame that we use the word *academic* nowadays in that sense!"... I was mostly thinking about the origin of that word:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_Academy#Site
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akademos

The mount "Academy" was a sacred place for the Greeks, it was a site, actually a mountain, consecrated to knowledge of the divine.
Plato started to teach philosophy there because philosophy was, during that time, a doctrine and practice related to divine knowledge and related to improving the soul. It was, of course, a spiritual practice.

The school of Plato started to be called "Academy" because that was the physical place in which it was created.

It was later that any school in which something related to knowledge was being taught started to be called "academy" too.

Then again, it does get absurd how the sense of the word was reversed... and nowadays what we discuss here is "not academic", whilst what is taught in very profane places is "academic".

That's the bizarre fact... and how a word we use nowadays means exactly the opposite of what it was meant to mean in the first place.

Zephyr
09-04-2012, 01:18 PM
Just my two cents, having been there (and presented). I don't think it is ALL bullshit, although there was some, for sure. The academy has it's own jargon, and often what is supposed to sound impressive is just water muddying. For instance, the word "hermeneutics" is a synonym for "interpretation". Examples like this put people off. I do wish to give credit where credit is due: the works that were historical and researched based were very useful to me, because these scholars did what I don't: meticulously find out the who, what, when, and where, of texts, practitioners, and chains of influence. This adds a lot to our knowledge, imo. I learned alot from the presentations of DeSilva, Greer, and others.

Coulianu and Yates are superb examples of exceptional scholars, but there are others, too. On the other hand, I am going to agree with D. The actual capacity to interpret, and discern the meaning and relevance of signs and symbols (HERMENEUTICS!) is often lacking, the sensitivity gained by practice is not there, and so the interpretations are comical. Anyone recall the supposed "solution" to the 666 cipher in Revelation as "ceasar nero(n)", a perfect example of academics, using their institutional credibility to make the "buck" stop at a perfectly facile reading of the text.

The academy is suited for analytical work, but when it comes to synthesis, and to intuition, they fall short, IMO. All this being said there is a growing connection between the two worlds of academic and practical esotericism, and one that I wish to encourage. As the scholars plow through libraries looking to reconstruct the outer contours of the tradition, practitioners can use this information, and illuminate the actual meaning an relevance of the material.

If the purely scholastic students of the occult are guilty of one thing, it is that they severely underestimate the intelligence, versatility, and capacity of practical esotericists. On the other hand, practical esotericists may often err on the side of metaphor until it decomposes into wish-fulfilling fantasy. Rigorous scholarship is an antidote to this.

Analysis and Synthesis, and a balance between them. That's how I would characterize the relationship between the two worlds of the academic and the practitioner in terms of esotericism. To be fair, I think, we ought to aim at the balance.

z

Zephyr
09-04-2012, 01:30 PM
Just to add: there is no such thing as "occultists" and "academics". There are 1000 sorts of occultist, and 1000 sorts of academic. we should avoid the trap of speaking overmuch in generalities, I think.
-Z-

Awani
09-04-2012, 02:27 PM
I don't think it is ALL bullshit, although there was some, for sure.

Neither do I, I was more thinking about the Academic game/social structure/drama/hierarchy more than the actual conference.

:cool:

Zephyr
09-04-2012, 03:21 PM
Man, I just remember the look on your face, and your posture, when the lady was doing feminist theory on estoericism, and taking paragraphs to speak sentences worth of content... I was laughing inside....

Also, another thought. There were actually a good number of practitioners there, so it was a very worthwhile meeting, I think. Certainly good people met good people....

-Z-

Awani
09-04-2012, 06:25 PM
He he, listening to her I suddenly thought I had lost my understanding of the English language. I liked your phrase Verbal Diarrhea.

There were some good intelligent folks there, also I think some of the good ones should have had an hour instead of 20 minutes.

:cool:

Zephyr
09-04-2012, 06:58 PM
It wasn't so much that you "lost your understanding of the english language", as there was a displacement of the system of signs in relation to an ideational cluster self identifying as "male", "alchemist", "swedish", in so far as the circuit of semiotic tensions "it" inhabits were undermined by a lack of apodiectic reference withing the vernacular, vis-a-vis the langue/parole distinction. By queering the gap between the speaker/spoken assemblages, a variety of lines of flight were enabled which may have led to the reportage of discombobulation. For a complete list of references, please pm me (don't).

:)

-Z-
(who shockingly, can translate academese)

Awani
09-04-2012, 06:59 PM
Exactly.

:cool:

zoas23
09-05-2012, 05:15 AM
Just my two cents, having been there (and presented). I don't think it is ALL bullshit, although there was some, for sure. The academy has it's own jargon, and often what is supposed to sound impressive is just water muddying. For instance, the word "hermeneutics" is a synonym for "interpretation". Examples like this put people off. I do wish to give credit where credit is due: the works that were historical and researched based were very useful to me, because these scholars did what I don't: meticulously find out the who, what, when, and where, of texts, practitioners, and chains of influence. This adds a lot to our knowledge, imo. I learned alot from the presentations of DeSilva, Greer, and others.

Coulianu and Yates are superb examples of exceptional scholars, but there are others, too. On the other hand, I am going to agree with D. The actual capacity to interpret, and discern the meaning and relevance of signs and symbols (HERMENEUTICS!) is often lacking, the sensitivity gained by practice is not there, and so the interpretations are comical.

I haven't been there... so I was, for sure talking about similar events, not this specific conference.

What you said made me remember of a very funny story.
There was a FANTASTIC Argentinean Artist whose name was Victor Grippo. Mostly the whole of his works were related to alchemy and a lot of them involved organic materials having different types of processes that mostly were showing alchemical ideas or analogies (he was for sure one of the most interesting artists who worked with subjects related to alchemy).

One of his most famous works involved a table full of potatos that worked as batteries... the liquids of the potatos created oxidation in some metals... and this process created energy that was used for the light-bulbs that gave light to the work.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_z_WtjjsdHc0/SxUtAsS2EtI/AAAAAAAAAJU/Api2FSn0SIY/s1600/13_mellado_2.jpg

O.K... some years after Victor Grippo died, a museum in Buenos Aires was organizing a retrospective of his works. Most of them had to be re-built for the exhibition, since the originals did no longer exist (mostly the ones that involvd organic materials like potatos, beans, etc).

Anyway... a big team of artists, curators and chemists were hired for the exhibition because it wasn't easy to re-build his works. After trying to do it a few times, the works involving the potatos were not working... the "experts" (a group of artists, curators and art critics who had a lot of ideas about his works) were getting crazy, because they have repeated all the stuff that Grippo had done and the works with the potatos were doing nothing at all.

Finally one of them had a weird idea... he brought a greengrocer to the exhibition and showed him what they were doing and what Victor Grippo had done and asked the greengrocer if he could understand what was going on. The greengrocer, who probably had been in a museum less than 5 times during his life, laughed and told the "experts" that they were using the wrong kind of potato... they had bought different kinds of potatos which are sold in shops were the middle-class buys food... but they needed the type of potatos which the working-class eats, the cheapest one... so he went to his shop and brought them the right type of potato. As soon as they tested with the potatos that the greengrocer gave them, everything worked perfectly well.

When it comes to "the real thing", sometimes a greengrocer can be wiser than a group of "academic experts".

I have no problems with the "academic scene"... but, there's a Spanish proverb I like a lot, which is quite hard to translate to English... but a rough translation would be: "you can't expect pears from an elm tree".

Zephyr
09-05-2012, 02:47 PM
That's a great story. My own response was really to mitigate the tendency to create "camps", of us and them, and to encourage a more case-by-case attitude. Academia is theoretical, its true, and theory only goes to a certain point. I am perhaps an unusual case, as I am working on my doctorate in interdisciplinary studies, but my involvement with occultism is as a practitioner. It's physical practice and contact that makes the difference IMO, and there is a bit of a false prestige attatched to knowing over doing, which we see in the way some academics hold themselves as experts in a superior capacity to the more "humble" operative workers. This predjudice, though, to be fair, this elitism, might actually go back as far as Plato's academy, as well, seeing as there was a definite priviledging of the contemplative over the physical. Anyhow, I agree with both you and Dev, although I see our posts pouring into the thread like streams into a crucible, so, the content of my own posts are adjusted towards keeping a balance. It's a funny thing. Amongst conservatives I am accused of liberalism, amongst liberals, of conservatism... basically, I am interested in the most variety and nuance as possible, and this means giving credit where credit is due: letting academics contribute their bit, and also giving honor to the role of practitioners... I think that academics can really make a hugely positive contribution to the work of practitioners, as have Coulianu and Yates (and perhaps Caruthers, and Faivre, and Abrams, and others), but something has to be done to keep the coversation from becoming too abstract, and that is practice, and an understanding of the irreplace-able role of practice.
-Z-

Ezalor
09-06-2012, 11:11 PM
Regarding academic, theoretic, scientific, practical etc. it reminds me to a zen story, in which the master presented his pupil a glass of water, and asked him: What is this? And the pupil took the glass and drank it. Then he presented a chair and asked: What is this? And the pupil sat upon the chair.

I think this sums it up. ;)

Ezalor
09-06-2012, 11:27 PM
When it comes to "the real thing", sometimes a greengrocer can be wiser than a group of "academic experts".
If you look into Zen Buddhism, there are pretty many stories in which monks (often actual masters) meet simple peasants and common folk, and are amazed by the wisdom of some, that have never studied the Dharma, were completely uneducated, worked day and night at the fields yet seemed to understand very complex truths, which they learned through their daily work.

Everyone has their own ways, no path is superior to another, Alchemy neither is superior to growing barely - each must be inspected in its own environment, and each path may lead to the same wisdom.

---

One such Zen story is as follows:

Once an abbot of a monastery (in some versions, it is Lin-Chi) was walking the countryside, and noticed a farmer who drawn the water for the fields with his bare hands by great effort. He asked him: Say, why not you erect a shadoof so you could draw water with much more ease? And the farmer said:
If I did that, I would finish my work faster. Now what would I do with my free time? I would work more fields. Then I would erect more shadoofs which would save me more time, and I would then work even more. So in the end, doing that would cause me to work much more!