Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery

During the late evening of 1 February 1959 to the early morning of 2 February, something very strange happened to nine experienced skiers in the Ural Mountains of the Soviet Union. Whatever happened to these 7 men and 2 women, the consequences cost them their lives.

The investigation into their deaths seemed to show that the nine fled the camp they had set up in sudden terror. The group fled towards a thick forest about a kilometer and a half away (about 1 mile). They were in such a rush to flee, they didn't even try to open the tent, which was tied shut against the wind and snow-instead slashing the tent open wih their knives! When they dashed down the snowy slope towards the thick forest, they left behind such essentials as skis, food and warm coats. They didn't have a chance of surviving in the forest where bitterly cold temperatures hovered around -30 C (-22F).

The investigators at the time offered the explanation which didn't really explain anything, that "a compelling unknown force" caused the deaths of the group. The area-now known as "The Dyatlov Pass" in honor of the fallen group and their leader was then shut off to amateur sportsmen for "reasons of safety."

There would have been a tenth member in the group that fateful eve/morn had he not fallen ill and turned back-Yuri Yudin. "If I had a chance to ask God just one question, it would be: "What really happened to my friends that night?" says Yudin.

Yudin and his nine comrades had left on their journey on 23 January 1959. Their destination was Otorten Mountain in the northern Urals. Yudin and eight of the other members of the group were either students or graduates of the Ural Polytechnic Institute of Sverdlovsk (now called Ekaterinberg-the city where the Tsar and his family were executed on the orders of V.I. Lenin in 1918).

The members of the group who perished are as follows: Igor Dyatlov, 23, and leader of the group=well respected for his expertise in cross-country skiing and mountaineering; Georgy Kolvonishenko (24), Yuri Doroshenko (24), Zina Kolmogoreva (22), Rustem Slobodin (23), Nicolas Thibeaux-Brignollet (24), Ludmila Dubinina (21), Alexandr Kolevatov (25) and Alexandr Zolotaryov, quite a bit older than the rest at 37.

Some silly rumours concerning Zolotaryov's involvement with the group began (as they will in these unexplained cases) saying he was either a "rather mysterious" or "unexplained" addition to the group. This was simply ridiculous. Zolotaryov had simply requested to go along because of his interest in the sport. Dyatlov had been initially reluctant to take him, but Zolotaryov had proven himself to be a very experienced sportsmen and came with a recommendatation from some of Dyatlov's own friends.

"Sports Tourism" had become very popular in the USSR after the years of austerity and privations caused by WWII and Stalin. Under Nikita Khrushchev's leadership, the USSR moved away from the extreme repression and terror under Stalin starting with Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the Twentieth Communist Party Congress of the Soviet Union in 1956. The Soviet Union was also experiencing great economic growth during the Khrushchev years (1955-1964), which allowed Soviet citizens to pursue other interests. Another reason sports tourism flourished was its apolitical nature.

Upon leaving on 23 January, the initial group of ten left for what was supposed to be a three-week journey. They travelled by train to Ivdel, arriving on 25 January. Then they went to Vizhay-the last inhabited settlement before the snow-covered wilderness between them and Otorten. On 28 January 1959, Yuri Yudin became ill and had to turn back, leaving the nine to proceed without him. This was the last time he saw his friends alive.

Events after Yudin's departure can only be reconstructed from the diaries and photographs left by the group, and the investigation into the incident. On 31 January the group reached the river Auspia, where they set up a base at the edge of the highland area, and left food and equipment there for the return journey. From here, they began climbing the pass towards Otorten on 1 February 1959.

For some reason-most likely bad weather conditions causing them to become disoriented-the found themselves on the slopes of the moutain Kholat Syakh, at a height of around 3600 feet (1100 meters). They pitched their tent here around 5 p.m. on 1 February, although if they had travelled just about another mile (1.5 km) down the moutain, they would have had some greater shelter from the bad weather in a forest.

The last diary entry made by the group indicated they were in good -even terrific spirits. The next day they planned to continue on to Otorten, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) to the north, before returning to their base camp.

What happened to the group during that tragic timeframe from the late evening of the first to the early morning of the second is of course, a complete mystery. There have been loads upon loads of unsubstantiated claims and rumours piled upon this case. Everything from alien creatures, secret military testing gone wrong, some members of the groups corpses were said to have a strange orange-tan color, revenge by an indigenous tribe called the Mansi for daring to intrude upon their sacred territory (there was not a shred of evidence to support this theory-absolutely no evidence of anyone besides the original members of the group was found), injuries on some of the corpses were said to be only explained by "high-pressure" concussion type events (simply untrue), high levels of radiation also was said to have been found on some of the bodies-radiation was detected-but it was low-level and explainable by natural forces, the Yeti or Almasty (abominable snowmen), there were even rumours that the party had somehow fallen prey to subterranean Russian gnomes-perhaps similar to Richard Shavers' "Deros"!

Apparently there were reports of mysterious "bright flying spheres" in the area around the general time (February-March 1959) of the tragic deaths. However, even if true, these lights can in no way be linked to this case with what we know about it. Perhaps a bit more should be said about the local indigenous people- the Mansi. When one or more investigators thought of the Mansi as suspects, they may have been thinking of an incident in the 1930s, when Mansi shamans reportedly drowned a female geologist for trespassing on land they considered sacred. However, even though both mountains related to the Dyatlov expedition were known to the Mansi, neither are considered a sacred or taboo site. There is the chilling coincidence that Otorten means "don't go there" in the Mansi language, and Kholat-Syakhl means, even more chillingly "Mountain of the Dead." These Mansi names are probably more related to practical warnings for the nomadic Mansi tan any sort of tribal mythology or curse.

Here are some observations from the Aquiziam site: (a) Ludmila Dubinina's tongue was not ripped out it was degraded through natural processes. (b) The radiation was inconsequential (c) The area was not sealed off to everyone-only amateur sports groups (d) The case was never classified (e) There are currently no records of any experiemental aircraft being tested in the area in 1959. (f) There is no evidence (now or then) that the area was used to test weapons. However, this doesn't rule out secret testing. (g) Photographs thought to be missile parts have turned out to be old radar units. (h) The "mysterious" envelope contained only general correspondence. (i) Photographs show that any discoloration of the bodies was wholly normal. (j) The injuries discovered are explainable and consistent with those that might be expected to occur in a group of desperate and clearly frightened people that had been stumbling around in dangerous conditions in the dark. (k) There is absolutely no evidence for crashed UFOs, Concussion Weapons, Mad Mansi, or Russian Death Squads. (l) All the physical evidence found at the time and subsequent analysis and testing indicates that there was no avalanche. However, at least one person involved with this case still believes that an avalanche was the cause.

And finally, from the Aquiziam site: "However, these now broadly accepted facts do not diminish the mystery-in a strange way they enhance it. As we have repeatedly said throughout these pages...Why did nine, experienced and sensible, ski-hikers abandon their tent in such a hurry and in weather conditions that were hostile and almost certain to lead to their deaths? What really happened that night?"

More here and here Infrasound was put forth as a possible explanation on the Aquiziam site (BTW-I would very much recommend going through all of Aquiziam's pages on this strange incident and the other links to get a "feel" for the case!) and I wonder if this is a good candidate? Infrasound is very-low frequency sound waves that can make the human brain think something supernatural is going on, i.e., produce terrifying and eerie feelings in people. However, I also have to wonder if a group such as these nine people would have been suggestible to this feeling? These were obviously no "Nervous Nellies" (like me- LOL). I will have to research infrasound further to see if this makes sense and will come back with a link for infrasound. All the best to anyone stopping by!

The first image is a picture made showing the original picture of the Dyatlov Party's tent with the area they went to when they fled in terror. The second image is of the Dyatlov group having fun-not at the final campsite. The third image is of the original search team. The last image is of 23-year-old Igor Dyatlov. OK- here is the link to infrasound information-I will try to find more on it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Strangeness In Chile

In Jenny Randles 2001 book- Time Storms, on pages 17-18, she tells of a very strange and disturbing encounter of the unknown in 1977 in Putre, Chile:

"On 24 April 1977, a small unit of army conscripts was sent on a two day excercise into inhospitable territory above the small town of Putre, Chile. The intention was to harden the inexperienced troops for the rigours of military life. That night they camped on a windswept, arid plateau at Pampa Lluscuma, at a height of 12,000 feet. In charge of the raw recruits was Corporal Armando Valdes.

At 3:50 a.m., Pedro Rosales, the recruit on guard duty, saw something very odd. He called out to Valdes, who came immediately. What appeared to be two fuzzy, violet lights were descending from the mountains and heading their way. The ground below was filled with an eerie glow.

Unsure if these were flares being used in a mock attack, Valdes sprang quickly into action. He ordered some of the men to screen the camp fire light with blankets in the hope that they might escape detection in the dark. He told the others to secure and prepare their weapons whilst he went to investigate. He told them to crouch behind a nearby well, rifles posed. Then, uttering a plea to God to protect him-and with, they reported later, a conviction in his eyes- the corporal clambered over the well and headed into the darkness towards the purple glow.

Within seconds the inky night had swallowed him up. Moments later, the violet glow below them disappeared too. The conscripts fell into stunned silence before debating what to do next. They decided to wait and hope that their commander might return-which at 4:30 a.m. he duly did. But he approached them from behind- not from the direction in which he had just walked. Moreover, he was clearly less than well.

The startled soldiers saw him wandering as if in a trance, his voice uttering words that sounded like those of a sleepwalker. "You do not know who we are or where we come from," he said in a monotone, although he never consciously recalled saying this. He reached the camp site, looking barely able to stand, and collapsed on the ground apparently unconscious.

Having cared for him as best they could, the men waited for a cold dawn to rise over the mountains. It was then that they noticed several very strange things about their stricken leader. Although they had seen him shave only hours earlier, he was now sporting several days' growth of beard. His watch had stopped at about 4:30 a.m., the approximate time of his return to the camp, but the date display-which had to be wound on manually through twenty-four hours at a time to alter it-read 30 April. It was as if Valdes had lived through five days in fifteen minutes.

At about 7 a.m. the corporal regained consciousness, but he was still far from lucid. He appeared to be in a state of shock, with massive memory loss and no proper body coordination. The troops took the decision to abandon their excercise and get him to the nearest town, a difficult two-hour trek.

At Putre, the local schoolteacher, Pedro Araneda, was the closest to an expert on hand and he taped an interview with the still only semi-coherent officer and some of the men. This was to prove important, because when the Chilean military arrived they put a block on the tape's release and the military governor of Arica province ordered Valdes to keep silent about his experience. However, Araneda was eventually allowed to release the transcripts."

Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet had to approve a journalist's request to interview Valdes in 1983. Unfortunately, Valdes was only able to confirm the details of the original story. Valdes still had no memory of the missing 15 minutes (or 5 days depending on how one looks at the case). "They are a void in my mind," he commented. The massive time loss factor in this case reminds me of the Travis Walton case in Arizona in 1975. The last gentleman pictured is the MegaHandsome Anton Antipov-I don't know who the other one is- unfortunately;-). More here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Heartwarming and Inspirational: 11 Year Old Helps Feed the Homeless

By Diane Herbst:

"It all began in third grade, when Katie Stagliano's (pictured above) 40-pound cabbage fed 275 homeless people. Now, Katie's six gardens have produced over 4,000 pounds of vegetables to feed the needy."

"When Katie Stagliano was in third grade, she planted a cabbage in her family's garden. When it grew to an astounding 40 pounds, she donated it to a soup kitchen, where it was made into meals for 275 people (with the help of ham and rice). "I thought, wow, with that one cabbage I helped feed that many people?" says Katie, now entering sixth grade. "I could do much more than that."

This story really "made my day" as we say in the USA sometimes! With regard to the post below- who do you think will win in the end (unless you think it will always be business as usual as many do) beautiful-souled folks like Katie? Or the very unpleasant and evil people represented by the global elite? Peace and be well to anyone stopping by! The hunkalicious guy is Nick Ayler!

More here

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ghosts of Regimes Now Past

One of the many features that I have always enjoyed enormously in Fortean Times magazine and the Fortean Times website is "Fortean Traveller." As you might guess, this feature involves the employees and correspondents of the magazine who go to many delightfully unique and bizarre locales around the world, and report back on their findings.

For the January 2009 issue, Mark Fernyhough visited a location not much removed in space from the "sceptre'd isle"- but one with a fascinating and unfortunately very bloody past. Berlin- more specifically the eastern part of the city.

The article, "The Ghosts of East Berlin" doesn't actually go into any "absolute" positives with regard to ghostly phenomena. However, the article is darkly atmospheric, interesting and brings up some wonderful thoughts and comparisons to other cities and their own hauntings. The article is very well worth the short time it will take you to read it!

The author visits the Friedhofspark Pappelallee, a graveyard established in 1847 which evolved to incorporate a children's playground, an intriguing juxtaposition of life and death. This cemetery is located in Prenzlauer Berg, which the author describes as "...a scenic refuge of flourishing bohemia where antiquarian booksellers, galleries and independent record shops quietly thrive in cobbled leafy streets." But for a lack of funds, the communist regime (1949-1989) would have razed and redeveloped the area because it was known to be a "notorious breeding ground of alternative viewpoints."

Mr. Fernyhough visits the "remains" fo the Palast der Republik, which he hilariously describes as havinb looked like "... a horrendously compelling work of 1970s futuristic architecture. Resembling a golden Borg ship straight out of Star Trek..."

Other spine-chilling locales inspected are the grounds of the former Communist state radio station headquarters and Sudwest Kirchof Stahnsdorf, one of Europe's largest graveyards. The author tells us "In the 1930s, during a chapter of typical Nazi distastefulness, 30,000 dead were dug up from the city's more central graveyards to make way for Albert Speer's grand 'North-South axis', part of the plan to transform Berlin into a new capital, Germania."

Mr. Fernyhough is also introduced to a former GDR U-Bahn (underground) driver named Detlef. Detlef reports that despite communist oppression, he has fond memories of the German Democratic Republic, telling his interviewer, "Passengers are less friendly these days and hardly acknowledge us drivers." The driver was almost killed in 1986 when the train in front of his caught fire under Alexanderplatz, saying, "We escaped in the nick of time through an emergency exit hole." This prompts Fernyhough to ask him if he has witnessed any ghosts or experienced any other odd phenomena in the tunnels-"We are greeted with dismissive laughter; he'd rather tell us about a couple on Bulowstrasse who make love with their curtains open."

Fernyhough ends his article with this insightful, and I think, poignant paragraph: "Such paranormal indifference regarding the U-Bahn compares poorly with London's own underground, in which virtually every station has a manifestation or ghostly tale associated with it. But then, in this city, half-remembered ghoulish anecdotes are not recquired. Here, fact is stranger, darker and more potent than any fictionally embellished nightmare. Indeed, the scope of the terror this place has endured in relativly recent history is almost unimaginable. Berlin's tragic past is a living entity, entwined in its conflicted architecture and constantly evolving landscape, and its resonance affects not only the personality of the city itself, but everybody and everything that dwells here."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Extra Strength Gamma-Ray Burst Detected on the Summer Solstice

A record-breaking gamma ray burst from beyond the Milky Way temporarily blinded the X-ray eye on NASA's Swift space observatory on 21 June 2010. The X-rays traveled through space for 5 billion years before hammering into and overwhelming the space-based telescope. "This gamma-ray burst is by far the brightest light source ever seen in X-ray wavelengths at cosmological distances," said David Burrows, senior scientist and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University and the lead scientist for Swift's X-ray Telescope (XRT).

A gamma-ray burst is a violent eruption of energy from the explosion of a massive star morphing into a new black hole. This megaburs, named GRB 100621A, is the brightest X-ray source that Swift has detected since the observatory began X-ray observation in early 2005.

Although Swift satellite was designed specifically to study gamma-ray bursts, the instrument was not designed to handle an X-ray blast this bright, "The intensity of these X-rays was unexpected and unprecedented," said Neil Behrels, Swift's principle investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Just when we were beginning to think that we had seen everything that gamma-ray bursts could throw at us, this burst came along to challenge our assumptions about how powerful their X-ray emissions can be."

More information here

The model is the ultra-luscious Nick Ayler!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Betelgeuse-We hardly knew ye!

Note-the spacing is a bit off to say the least for this article! I tried to work with HTML code as much as I can which isn't much and got it a tad better-but still not right-apologies to reader!

Betelgeuse is a semiregular variable star whose apparent magnitude ranges between 0.2 and 1.2, the most for any first magnitude star. It is the ninth brightest star in the night sky located between 520 and 640 light-years from Earth.

Classified as a red supergiant, Betelgeuse is one of the largest and most luminous stars known. For comparison, if the star were at the center of our solar system its surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter, completely engulfing Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars.

Betelgeuse is probably only between six and eight million years old. Its mass is so high- between 15 and 18 times that of our Sun-that it has evolved very rapidly as all massive stars do. For instance, our Sun may live about 10 billion years, and lower-mass stars than the sun can live from 15 billion to around 1 trillion years for the very lowest mass stars (around o.08% the mass of our sun).

Betelgeuse is the second brightest star in the constellation Orion (only behind Rigel AKA Beta Orionis). Betelgeuse marks the upper-right vertex of the Winter Triangle and center of the Winter Hexagon.

Recent ground-based infrared measurements of the disk of Betelgeuse gave a mid-infrared angular diameter of 54.7 (plus or minus 0.3 milliarseconds) in November 1999, slightly smaller than the typical visible-light angular diameter. These measurements ignored any possible contribution from hotspots, which are less noticeable in the mid-infrared, but factored in some limb darkening, whereby the intensity of the star's image diminishes near the edge, as the photospheric gas gets thinner.

It is difficult to define the precise diameter of Betelgeuse as the photosphere has no 'edge.' Instead the gas making up the photosphere gets gradually thinner with distance from the star.

On 9 June 2009, Nobel Laureate Charles Townes anncounced that the star has shrunk 15% since 1993 with an increasing rate. He presented evidence that UC Berkeley's Infrared Spatial Interferometer (ISI) atop Mt. Wilson Observatory had observed 15 consecutive years of stellar contraction. The average speed at which the radius of the star has been shrinking during the period is around 210-219 meters per second (m/s).

Despite Betelgeuse's diminished size, Townes and his colleagues, Edward Wishnow, pointed out that the star's visible brightness, or magnitude, which is monitored regularly by members of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), had shown no significant dimming over the same time frame.

The distance to Betelgeuse is not known precisely. The measurement of the optical parallax from space yield a distance estimate of 495 light-years, while parallax measurement using radio emission gives a longer estimate of 640 light-years. Assuming a compromise distance of 570 light-years, the star's diameter would be about 950 to 1,000 times that of the Sun! If the Sun were the size of a beach ball, Betelgeuse would be the size of a professional sports stadium!

Betelgeuse has most likely exhausted its supply of hydrogen and is currently generating energy by the thermonuclear fusion of helium into carbon and oxygen. On the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, the star has moved off the main sequence and has swelled and cooled to become a red supergiant.

The future fate of Betelgeuse depends on its mass, as it probably contains more than 15 solar masses, it will continue to burn and fuse elements until its core turns to iron, at which point Betelgeuse will explode as a type II supernovae. During this event the core will collapse leaving behind a neutron star remnant some 20 km (the size of a city!) in diameter-in other words very very dense! However, if Betelgeuse is at the lighter end of estimated mass, it may instead contract to become a white dwarf.

Considering its size and age of 8.5 million years, old for its size class, Betelgeuse may explode within the next 1,000 years. Perhaps it has already exploded, and because we are around 570 light-years away, we just haven't gotten the news yet!

The stars unusual name spawned the 1988 film Beetlejuice, and script writer Michael McDowell was impressed at how many people made the connection. He added they had received a suggestion the sequel be named Sanduleak-69-202 after the former star of Supernovae 1987A. In August Derleth's take on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos, Betelgeuse is the home of the 'benign' Elder Gods. There has been much debate over the identity of the red star Borgil mentioned in the Lord of the Rings, with Aldebaran, Betelgeuse and even the planet Mars touted as candidates. Professor Kristine Larsen concluded the evidence points to it being Aldebaran, as it precedes Menelvagor (Orion). Astronomy writer Robert Burnham, Jr. proposed the term padparadaschah, which denotes a rare orange sapphire in India, for the star.

Jeff Wells notes in his most recent post at Rigorous Intuition, "Hey hey, We're the monkeys": "It [Betelgeuse] appeared above, completing the constellation of Orion, as the first homogines appeared below, creating the evolutionary branch that differentiates us from chimpanzees. Australopithecus was obolesced by increasingly sophisticated models of symbologic acuity, able to connect the dots of the night sky into pictograms of their world. And in due, deep time, Orion became our superlative, celestial representation."

The first gentleman pictured is Craig Horner-thanks to Michael for bringing this guy to my attention-much appreciated! The last gentleman pictured is the super-hot and gorgeous Anton Antipov-unfortunately I don't know who the others are. I am going to continue with the Kabbalah series, and just need some time to gather information. I will try to post about other subjects in between as much as I can. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!
PS- can anyone tell me how to get a different template than the ones blogger provides? I am so tired of seeing the background for this blog. If it isn't too difficult to change, I would like to see something like I see at different blogs that I link to. If it is difficult -maybe I shouldn't even try with my 'puter skills-LOL!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

In Kabbalah, the 10 Sephirot are the emanations of the Divine attributes of God. The Ein Sof (limitless) is the unknowable, undifferentiated, infinite Divine essence. The 10 emanations of the Sephirot enable the Creation to know God, and become God's attributes that reveal divinity. They are also channels through which all of Creation is continu0us and God is the only true existence. A "Chain of Progression" (Seder hishtalshelsus) of interpenetrating "Worlds", including the Four Worlds (Atziluth, Beri'ah, Yetzirah, and Assiah-more on these in next article) links the Ein Sof with the physical world.

Each of the Sephirot consists of a "light" (an "ohr") that is vested in a "vessel" (a "kli"; plural keilim). This light is simple, pure and undifferentiated, as it originally flows from the Ohr Ein Sof ("The Light of the Ein Sof"), God's infinite light. It represents Divine revelation in the world. It is associated with the Kabbalistic Divine name of Ban. The differentiation between the 10 Sephirot, each with its own particular characteristic, arises from each of their different spiritual vessels. The light adapts itself to each vessel, to express the particular nature of each vessel.

Kabbalists read their mystical teachings into exegetical interpretations of scripture and Rabbinic literature. This arose from their belief that Kabbalah forms part of the Oral Torah inherent in the revelation at Mount Sinai. Consequently, in Jewish tradition, each verse and concept can be interpreted in the fourfold Jewish method of Pardes , with the metaphysical interpretations of Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy forming the Sod (secret) level of meaning. In this way, Kabbalah interprets a second meaning in Talmudic legislation and use of the term for "vessel" (kli).

In the Hasidic sense a vessel is an object that can serve a useful purpose, even if it may not resemble a physical receptacle. This term is used frequently in discussion of the laws of Shabbat . In Jewish mysticism, typically, these narratives are given metaphysical interpretations, which relate "kli" to its Kabbalistic meaning.

In Hasidic philosophy, the plural fourfold levels of meaning are viewed as uniting in a higher essential source of explanation that describes Divinity. Jewish mysticism views such alternative, spiritual interpretations of Torah as stemming from more revealed Divine realms in the Chain of Worlds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

In addition to the 10 "lights" of God contained and transmitted by the Sephirot, Kabbalah also describes a more primordial light that shines from the Ein Sof (Infinite) itself. This light, the origin of all Creation, and all lower lights, is called the Ohr Ein Sof ("the light of the Infinite" or otherwise, itself "The Infinite Light").

The Kabbalistic and Hasidic teachers asked the question of how there can be a revelation of God, in the Ohr Ein Sof, before Creation. They reasoned that before Creation, there could not be a being to behold a revelation of Divine light. The Ohr Ein Sof is a form of Divine self-knowledge, and through God knowing Himself, He created everything, with its subsequent historical unfolding, God its ultimate purpose in the innermost Divine Will.

Because the Ohr Ein Sof is itself infinite, it couldn't be responsible for the creation of Worlds. Any direct creations of the Infinite Light would be of infinite number, and would not be actual creations at all, as the would remain totally nullified ( "bittul") to the Infinite Light, and would have no independent self-awareness. Instead, it is only through the restrictions of the Sephirot and the descending "Chain of Progression" (Seder hishtalshelmus), that the Worlds could manisfest.

As the Divine Light descends through the chain of worlds from the Infinite to our finite realm, the creative flow of Divine light encapsulated in the Sephirot, undergoes countless restrictions, diminutions and veilings, to progressively hide Divinity. In Kabbalah these are called "Tzimtzum" (Constrictions-plural "tzimtzumin").

However, after the new teachings and doctrines of Isaac Luria (The "Arizal"), in Lurianic Kabbalah, these innumerable Tzimtzumin of the descending chain of Worlds are called the "Second Tzimtzumin." Isaac Luria taught the new concept of a "First Tzimtzumin", based on earlier allusions in the Zohar. As Lurianic Kabbalah became almost universally accepted in the Jewish development of Kabbalah, in modern times if the term Tzimtzum is used without qualification, it will invariably refer to the first, cosmic ultimate Constriction taught by Luria.

In Lurianic Kabbalah, the Tzimtzum concealed the Ohr Ein Sof, which resolved the dichotomy between the Infinite Light and the possibility of creating finite Worlds. Without this raidcal leap of a concealment of the Ohr Ein Sof, even the progressive, gradual concealments of the Chain of Worlds, the problem would not be properly overcome. Only a second, new light, extremely diminished, and of a different quality than the Ohr Ein Sof, could become the creative source of all reality. This new light, a "thin" illumination from the Ohr Ein Sof, called the Kav ("Ray), shone into the "Vacated Space" (this goes back to the concept of the "Ari", that at the beginning of Creation the Divine "withdrew" a complete tzimtzum from a "Chalal" ("Vacated Space"), to allow Creation to take place), and was a light that was adapted to the perspective of the subsequent creations on their own terms. It could relate to a finite creation (Divine Immanence), rather than the infinite Primordial light (the ultimate Divine transcendence).

Interpretations of this in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy, are careful to avoid literal, spatial, geometric understandings of the Vacated Space and the Kav , as such dimensional understandings relate only to our physical world. Nonetheless, circular diagram representations of this, strictly metaphorical, are used in Kabbalah to represent the process. In the first, a black circle is broken only by one thin, vertical, straight line that descends from the surrounding white into the centre of the black circle from the top. Here the surrounding white represents the Chalal vacated "space", and the thin white line represents the "thin" illumination of the Kav, derived from the Ohr Ein Sof, but able to illuminate into the Chalal on its own terms.

This representation is then augmented by a second, similar diagram, where the successive, unfolding Five Worlds, each with the original circle as a series of concentric circles. The descending chain of Worlds proceeds in the diagram towards the centre of the circle, representing our lowest physical realm. Each successive World and Sephira is a successively smaller concentric circle, representing diminished, more constricted Divinity.

The same Kav line is still shown connecting the outer Ein Sof to the centre of the circle, as the light of the Kav is the origin of all Creation after the Tzimtzum, towards the circles centre. The utilization here of concentric circles, or spheres is also significant, as with each subsequent lower step, the light "encompasses" (sovev-"surrounds") that level of "immanent" ("mimilei-"filled") creation. Each of the Sephirot comprise both an encompassing light vested in its immanent vessel. Each World similarly incorporates its own relative level of Divine transcendence, illuminating its own level of Divine immanence. An image of the interpenetrating Worlds of the Kabbalah and the light of the Kav is pictured below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

Ohr ("Light") in Hebrew or plural Ohros/Ohrot "Lights" are very important terms in the Kabbalistic tradition. Light, along with the human soul-body relationship are the two main metaphors for understanding Divinity in the Kabbalistic tradition. The metaphorical description of the spiritual Divine creative flow, using the term for physical "light" we perceive with the eye, comes from analogous similarities. These include the intangible physicality of light, the wonder it inspires and the illumination it gives, its apparently immediate transmission and constant connection with its source.

Light can be veiled (Tzimtzum-constrictions in Kabbalah) and reflected ("an ascending light from the creations" in Kabbalah). White light divides into seven colors, yet this plurality unites from one source. Divine light divides into the seven emotional sephirot, but there is no plurality in the Divine essence. The term "Ohr" in Kabbalah is constrasted with Ma'ohr, the "luminary", and Kli, the spiritual "vessel" for the light.

Of course, using light as a metaphor for the metaphysical "beyond" can only go so far. Human beings must use these analogies to spatial and temporal phenomenon to understand a spaceless and timeless eternity because that is all most of us know or have experienced.

Once these images are grasped, Kabbalah stresses the need to attempt to transcend them by understanding their deficiencies. Among the limitations of the central metaphor of "light" are the physical inability of the luminary to keep its radiance, the fulfillment of purpose light gives the luminary, and the categorical differentiation between the light source and its light. God created our world, the universe, the Sephirot and so on to infinity by an act of His will. God was not forced to create the Universe or Mankind, and the emanation of Creation did not complete some aspect of God He was lacking; the Godhead was already the Alpha and the Omega- timeless, spaceless and perfect beyond the ability of mere words to describe.

The distinction between the Divine light (beginning with the "Ohr Ein Sof" , which is the primordial "Infinite Light", and subsequently the emanation of the 10 Sephirot) and the Divine esscence (the Ein Sof) appears only relative to Creation. From God's perspective, Scripture states "For I the Eternal, I have not changed."

From the persepective of God's self knowledge, the emanations remain completely united and characterless to their source. This answers early Rabbinic criticism of dualism in Kabbalah. The term in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy fo this nullification is Bittul. In daily spiritual life (Dveikus) it inspires the mystical humility of nullification of the ego.

The Ein Sof (literally: "Without End/Limitless/Infinite) is the Kabbalistic term for the Divine essence. Kabbalah describes 10 Sephirot (The 10 Divine emanations or attributes), that reveal the unknowable Godhead to the creations and channel the creative life-force to all levels of existence. Big "however" here- these 10 attributes of God do not represent the Divine essence (the "Luminary").

This difference triumphed over criticism that the Kabbalists were trying to introduce a plurality of gods into the monotheism of Judaism. Kabbalistic texts use great caution to emphasize this difference, and warn against anthropomorphizing the subtle descriptions of Kabbalah in human terms. To avoid such heresies, the historical transmission of Kabbalah was traditionally restricted to direct teaching in close circles.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

One of the things I forgot to mention in the previous article, is the fascinating property that if one could travel at the speed of light-or ride on a beam of light-time would stop completely. Time would cease to exist for the traveller. For light time has no meaning. If it takes light 2.3 million years to travel from the Milky Way Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy-from the ray of lights perspective the trip happened instantly-literally taking no time at all.

As physical objects in our universe travel ever closer to the speed of light, time begins to slow down tremendously the closer one gets to light-speed. If humanity ever manages to build a starship capable of travelling at a very significant percentage of the speed of light, using a matter/antimatter propulsion system for instance, travelling at 99.99999.... percent the speed of light, not only are the stars within our galaxy within reach of the passengers of such a ship in the typical human lifespan but travel to the furthest galaxies in the universe could be conceivably possible within such a lifespan due to time dilation.

The Aura, Light and Spirituality

From page 165 of Michael Talbot's The Holographic Universe: "One mystical phenomenon that appears to involve the ability to see reality's frequency aspects is the aura, or human energy field. The notion that there is a subtle field of energy around the human body, a a halolike envelope of light that exists just beyond normal human perception, can be found in many ancient traditions. In India, sacred writings that date back over five thousand years refer to this life energy as prana. In China, since the third millenium B.C., it has been called ch'i and is believed to be the energy that flows through the acupuncture meridian system. Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical philosophy that arose in the sixth century B.C., calls this vital principle nefish and teaches that an egg-shaped bubble of iridescence surrounds every human body.

Many cultures believe the aura of an extremely spiritual individual is so bright it is visible even to normal human perception, which is why so many traditions, including Christian, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and Egyptian, depict saints as having halos or other circular symbols around their heads. In his book on miracles Thurston devotes an entire chapter to accounts of luminous phenomena associated with Catholic saints, and both Neumann and Sai Baba are reported to have occasionally had visible auras of light around them. The great Sufi mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan, who died in 1927, is said to have sometimes given off so much light that people could actually read by it."

And from pages 288-89 in the same book, Talbot talks of how consciousness is not only more fundamental than matter, but how consciousness actually "projects" the physical world: "Because everything unfolds out of the irreducible totality of Brahman, the world is also a seamless whole, say the Hindus, and it is again maya that keeps us from realizing there is ultimately no such thing as separateness. Maya severs the united consciousness so that the object is seen as other than the self and then as split up into the multitudinous objects in the universe," says the Vedic scholar Sir John Woodroffe. "And there is such objectivity as long as [humanity's] consciousness is veiled or contracted. But in the ultimate basis of experience the divergence has gone, for in it lie, in undifferentiated mass, experiencer, experience, and the experienced."

"The same concept can be found in Judaic thought. According to Kabbalistic tradition "the entire creation is an illusory projection of the transcendental aspects of God," says Leo Schaya, a Swiss expert on the Kabbalah. However, despite its illusory nature, it is not complete nothingness, "for every reflection of reality, even remote, broken up and transient, necessarily possesses something of its cause." The idea that the creation set into motion by the God of Genesis is an illusion is reflected even in the Hebrew language, for as the Zohar, a thirteenth-century Kabbalistic commentary on the Torah and the most famous of the esoteric Judaic texts, notes, the verb baro, "to create" implies, the idea of "creating an illusion."

DNA & Light

From one of Jeff Wells' many excellent articles at Rigorous Intuition- "Are You Being Served?" : "One work in particular resonates with this alien DNA argument. Entitled "What A Human Being Is," it depicts a twisted double strand that looks remarkably like a DNA molecule. This was about 50 years before Francis Crick and James Watson won the Nobel prize for the discovery. Aliens talking? Remote Viewing? These sorts of "coincidences" are just the sort of thing that orthodox Ufologists routinely ignore to their peril.

As well, on the RI forum thread, "Attack Ships on Fire" smartly noted that along with the DNA-like double helix, "there appears to be a prism effect happening near the base...[of the picture] another odd connection/premonition about DNA being able to emit photons of light."

The picture Jeff is referring to is by artist Af Klint ca. 1910, pictured below. I would highly suggest reading both of Jeff's articles that are linked in my article. Thanks again everyone for all of your thoughtful and intelligent comments! I hope to have the next article here pretty soon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

I have been thinking of light in relation to the Universe and the Kabbalah lately. Light is so fundamental to our very concept of reality that it is hard to imagine a world without light. From the Book of Genesis to the Special Theory of Relativity, light plays a STARing role. And how many times have you heard of light as a metaphor for good and darkness as a metaphor for evil? Or how about having knowledge as opposed to being "kept in the dark"?

The speed of light in a vaccuum is presently defined to be exactly 299,792,458 metres per second: In other words -pretty f^%$ing fast! The property of light that led to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is that it can NEVER go faster than itself. In a vacuum, light will always travel at a constant speed, even between particles of a substance through which it is shining. If you have a spacecraft travelling at 99% of the speed of light and it flashes a light beam ahead of it, the light isn't now going at almost twice as fast-it is still travelling at 299,792,458 metres per second.

However, even though you can't make light go any faster than its fixed speed you can bring it to a total standstill! Two independent teams of physicists have been able to bring light to a total stop by passing it through a strange state of matter called a Bose-Einstein Condensate of the element rubidium.

Some theories as to the physical and metaphysical nature of light follow: In 5th and 6th century BC India, the Hindu schools of Samkhya and Vaisheshika began to develop theories about light. According to the Samkhya school, light is one of the five "subtle" elements (tanmatra) from which emerge the "gross" elements. The atomicity of these elements is not specifically mentioned and it appears that they were actually taken to be contiguous.

The Vaisheshika school posits an atomic theory of the physical world on the non-atomic ground of ether, space and time. The basic atoms of those of earth (prthivi), water (pani), fire (agni), and air (vayu), that should not be confused with the ordinary meaning of these terms. These atoms are taken to form binary molecules that combine further to form larger molecules. Motion is defined in terms of the movement of the physical atoms and it appears that it is taken to be non-instantaneous. Light rays are taken to be a stream of high velocity tejas (fire) atoms. The particles of light can exhibit different characteristics depending on the speed and that arrangement of the tejas atoms. Around the first century BC, the Vishnu Purana refers to sunlight as "the seven rays of the sun."

Indian Buddhists such as the Dignaga in the 5th century and the Dharakirti in the 7th century, developed a type of atomism that is a philosophy about reality being composed of atomic entities that are momentary flashes of light or energy. They viewed light as being an atomic entity equivalent to energy, similar to the modern concept of photons. Well ahead of their time, they saw all matter as being composed of these light energy particles. The Rigveda posits that light consists of three primary colors: "Mixing the three colors, ye have produced all the objects of sight!"

I hope to be back soon with more. I am kind of stumbling in the "dark" with how to proceed with this series-but when I feel that I am finally totally flummoxed, a great comment or link from one of my readers/blogfriends "lights" my way! To my straight men and lesbian readers-sorry about all the beefcake lately- I am quite sexually frustrated right now- so please bear/bare with me-my uhh SortofSO/FB is in Europe right now acting as an escort for a very wealthy man until about the first of August-so it might be "Hunkalicious" at MFM for awhile! Until meeting him in April, I had no idea how incredibly creative and life- sustaining the act of intimacy could be. When we touch, I feel as if a supernovae's worth of "electric light" is going through my body and soul. He has also earned a place in my memory banks with the rather memorable (to me anyway) statement "Devin, not all private jets are luxurious, some are real clunkers!" Heavens forbid any man who has touched my soul to fly on a "clunker" of a private jet! With much love to anyone stopping by, Devin AKA Vayu (will explain the "vayu" soon).

The gentleman above is the stunning Nick Ayler. Lordy- what perfection! The gentleman for the "Keter" article is the Awesomely Astounding Anton Antipov. Anton and Nick remind me that God not only doesn't "play dice" but also allows a heavenly- sublime -ethereal- profound-beauty to echo through some of His MenCreatures!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keter: The Crown

Keter is the topmost of the sephirot of the Tree of Life. Keter means "crown." Keter is on the middle axis of the Tree and directly above Daath, Tiphereth, Yesod and Malkuth.

From "The sefira of keter develops into two partzufim (personaes). Its external partzuf referred to as Arich Anpin ("the Elongated Face"), corresponds to the superconscious power of ratzon (will) in the soul. Its inner partzuf, referred to as Atik Yomin ("the Ancient of Days") corresponds to the corresponding power of ta'anug (pleasure) in the soul).

The seven lower sefirot of Atik Yomin are enclothed within the partzuf of Arich Anpin (thus introducing pleasure as a primary motivational force driving the will). The three upper sefirot of Atik Yomin, which are not enclothed within Arich Anpin represent the unadulterated superconsciousness pleasure of emunah (faith)--deriving from one's essential rootedness within Divinity.

The meaning "crown" corresponds, in particular to "the head of nothingness," the source of Divine pleasure in the soul. The "crown" symbolizes the spiritual power to receive and integrated into one's consciousness the pleasure of Divine revelation, as our sages express with regard to the world to come: "the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and receive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine Prescence" (Tractate Kalah Rabati 2:3)".

Wikipedia: "Keter is so sublime, it is called in the Zohar "the most hidden of all hidden things", and it is completely incomprehensible to man. It is also described as absolute compassion, and Rabbi Moshe Corovero describes it as the source of the 13 Supernal Attributes of Mercy.

Keter, although being the highest Sehphira of its world, receives from the Sephira of Malkuth of the domain above it (see Sephirot). The uppermost Keter sits below no other Sephira, although it is below Or Ein Soph which is the source of all Sephirot.

According to the Bahir:

The first Sephirah is called the Crown, since a crown is worn above the head. The Crown therefore refers to things that are above the mind's abilities of comprehension.

Additionally, all of the other Sephirot are likened to the body which starts with the head and wends its way down into action. But the crown of a king lies above the head and connects the concept of "monarchy", which is abstract and intangible, with the tangible and concrete head of the king.

13 Supernal Attributes of Mercy

Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, in The Palm of Devorah, discusses ethical behaviour that man should follow, related to the qualities of the Sephirot, in order that man might emulate his creator. Through discussion of a line in Micah, 13 attributes are associated with the Sephira Keter:

Whos is God lik you, who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of his heritage? He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness. He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Show faithfulness to Ya'akov, kindness to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old. (Micah 7:18-20)

Non-Jewish Practices

In The Mystical Kabbalah, Dion Fortune describes Keter as pure consciousness, beyond all categories, timeless, a point that crystallizes out of the Ein Soph, and commences the process of emanation that ends in Malkuth.

The name of God given to it is Eheieh, the archangel that presides over it is Metatron, the order of angels that reside in it are the Holy Living Creatures (the Chaioth ha Qadesh), and its mundane chakra is said to be the First Swirlings of the cosmos (Primum Mobile, Rashith ha Gilgalin).

As pure formless consciousness, it is often compared with the Sahasrara chakra, in Indian Shakta Tantra.

In Aleister Crowley's Liber 777, Keter is associated with the Four Aces of the Tarot deck, White, Brilliance, Poseidon, Brahma, Wodan, Zeus, The Trinity, Almond in flower, Diamond, Elixir Vitae, Dao, and Death (not a complete list of te 777 associations).

It is said to have a negative aspect, the Qliphoth Thaumiel.

Keter is also indentified with the planet Neptune, the Atma in Theosophy and Raja Yoga, and the Khabs am Pekht in Egyptian mysticism."

More here and here and here .

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chokhmah: Wisdom

Chokhmah is the topmost of the sephirot of the right- hand column as Binah is at the top of the left-hand column. It is derived from the Hebrew word chokhmah which means "wisdom." It is to the bottom right of Keter, and under it are the sephirot Chesed and Netzach. The right-hand column of the three sephiroth is also known as "The Pillar of Mercy", while the left-hand column of Binah, Gevurah and Hod is known as "The Pillar of Severity."

Chokhmah usually has four paths going to Keter, Binah, Tiphereth and Chesed. Some Kabbalists place a path between Chokhmah and Gevurah.

In Jewish mysticism, it denotes the first intermediate step between Keter and the rest of the sephirot, channelling Or Ein sof through the rest of them.

Chokhmah is the first power of conscious intellect within Creation, and corresponds to tzelem Elokim ("the Divine Image") and the right hemisphere of the brain.

In its highest form, Chokhmah possesses two partzufim ("faces" or "features"): the higher of these is referred to as Abba Ila'ah ("the higher father"), whereas the lower is referred to as Yisrael Saba ("Israel the Elder"). United, these partzufim are referred to as Abba ("father").

In the soul, Chokhmah is associated with the power of intuitive insight; the feeling one gets with "aha!" or "eureka" moments when insight zaps across consciousness like a bolt of lightning. Wikipedia: " The partzufim Abba Ila'ah is associated with the power to spontaneously extract such insight from the superconscious realm, whereas the partzufim of Yisrael Saba is associated with the power to subsequently direct it into consciousness.

The "wisdom" of Chokhmah also implies the ability to look deeply at some aspect of reality and abstract its conceptual essence till one succeeds in uncovering its underlying axiomatic truth. These seeds of truth can then be conveyed to the companion power of Binah for the sake of intellectual analysis and development.

The word Chokhmah itself may be broken into two words- koach ("potential") and ma ("what is"). Thus Chokhmah means "the potential to be." This aspect of Chokhmah describes the state of Chokhmah in relation to the sefira of Keter. As Chokhmah emanates from Keter, the first dawning of the "Infinite Light", as it "appears" in an obscure and undefined state that is a virtual non-being. Thus the verse states, "and Chokhmah emerges from nothingness" (Job 28:12, see Zohar II, 121a, Zohar III, 290a, commentaries). The light of the Ein Sof becomes unified in the world of Atzilut though clothing itself first in the sefira of Chokhmah.

Chokhmah is related to the phallus and the straight line. It is variously attepted to relate it to different chakras in Indian mysticism. One attempt at reconciliation is that both Chokhmah and Binah are united in the Ajna chakra, which is where both Shiva and Shakti, subject and object are united.

In Aleister Crowley's Liber 777, Chokhmah is represented as The Four twos of the Tarot, Illuminating, Thoth, Vishnu, Joy, Odin, Uranus, Athena, God the Father, Man, Amaranth, VIAOV, Star Ruby, Lingam, Hashish, Phosphorus, Musk, and Yang (not a complete list).

Its opposite or Qlippothic equivalent has the name Chaigidel."

More here and here and here

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Binah: Understanding

Binah is the second intellectual sefira on the Tree of Life. It is directly below Keter on the left-hand column, across from Chokmah and directly above Gevurah.

There are usually four paths to Keter from Binah: to Keter, Chokmah, Gevurah, and Tiphereth. Some Kabbalists place a path from Binah to Chesed also.

In relation to the human body, Binah could be alternatively related to the left eye, left hemisphere of the brain or the heart.

Binah represents deductive reasoning or davar mitoch davar- understanding one idea from another. Whereas Chokmah is intellect that does not emanate from the rational process (it is either inspired or taught), Binah is the rational process of thought which works to develop an idea completely.

Binah is also associated with the feminine principle. This association with the feminine goes back to ancient times. Classical Jewish texts state Binah yeterah natun l'nashim ("an extra measure of Binah was given to women").

In its highest form Binah possesses two partzufim (faces/features): the higher of these is referred to as Imma Ila'ah ("the higher mother"), whereas the lower is referred to as Tevunah ("comprehension"). Together, the two are referred to as Imma ("the mother"). In the correlation of Binah with Shakti: and Chokmah with Shiva, Shakti is the animating life force whereas Shiva is dead, a corpse, without here energy.

Binah's Qlippothic or negative opposite name of the Tree of Death is Sathariel.

More here and here and here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Daath: Knowledge

Daath is a most interesting sephirot-not that any are boring! In most mystical systems Daath is not counted as one of the sephirot. This is confusing sometimes because it is on -or perhaps in is a better analogy- the Tree of Life. Instead Daath is said to be a "hidden" sefira. It is all ten sephirot united as one.

However, sometimes Daath is seen to be the First or Crown Sephirah instead of Keter. From this viewpoint, Daath is the reflection (from the perspective of finite creation) of the infinity of Keter.

For this reason Daath is placed on the middle axis of the Tree of Life; directly beneath Keter. It corresponds to the tzelem Elokim (the "image of God embedded in Humanity") and to the cerebellum-the "posterior brain."

Because all ten sephirot in the Tree of Life are united as one in Daath, the three sephirot of the left-hand column of the Tree, that would normally receive and conceal the Divine Light, share and reveal it instead. The sephira are no longer distinguishable from each other.

In a perfect world, the Divine Light would always be shining through its Creation; the Light is indeed there-but not all humans can see it. Whether the Divine Light of Creation is concealed or revealed through Daath does not take place in Daath itself. It only seems that way from the human perspective with Malkuth. The revelation of the Divine Light can only occur in Malkuth (our world).

People who become self-giving like the Light are able to perceive it, and for them the tremendous Knowledge of Daath's light seems "revealed." However, humans who are self-centered can't perceive the Light, and for them its Knowledge seems "hidden."

More here

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chesed: Mercy/Kindness

Wikipedia: "Chesed is the fourth sefira on the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah of Judaism. It is given the association of kindness and love, and is the first of the emotive attributes of the sefirot.

It sits below Chokhmah across from Gevurah and above Netzach. It is usually given four paths. To Chokhmah, Gevurah, Tiphereth, and Netzach (some Kabbalists place a path from Chesed to Binah as well).

The first three of the Ten Sephirot, are the attributes of the "intellect," while Chesed is the first sephira of the attribute of "action."

Chesed translated as "kindness", is often thought of as being synonymous with niceness, but the connotation of Chesed is much deeper. Chesed can be properly described as an act that has no "cause."

Chesed is proactive-it is the initiator of interaction, and must therefore be the first in the sephirot of action. Chesed deals with the level of the visible and, in the chain of social dynamics, is the primary spark that initiates subsequent action."