Hegel on sense-certainty

For the most part, the truth is a hard thing to come by. The truth about the world yields only to careful scientific techniques. The truth about others is shrouded in fronts and facades. Even the truth about ourselves is distorted by biases and self-deceptions.

But there’s one truth we can always rely on, which transcends all doubts and uncertainties: the simple existence of a given object. The fact that a table exists, for example, is so obvious and plainly apparent that it appears to constitute an absolute truth. …

A brief introduction to shamanism

Sparing a boatride down the rivers of the Amazon rainforest, a trek across the tundras of Northern Siberia, or a huddle at the campsites of the Cherokee Nation, most of us won’t be meeting a shaman anytime soon. But thanks to the comprehensive descriptions given to us by Micrea Eliade, one of the most prominent religion scholars of the 20th century, we can nonetheless learn a great deal about this striking and elusive figure.

Who is the shaman, and what are the major themes of their work? Let’s take a plunge into the world of this profession — which, alongside…

A play in three acts

Embryonic development can be likened to a performance: it involves a wide range of characters, each of which plays a specific role.

Here’s the script which the Divine Playwright has assembled, setting into motion every human existence, until the day the curtains drop.



Act 1: Copulating | Act 2: Racing | Act 3: Fashioning


The soft penis | The hard penis
Sperm #1 (the ‘crooked bastard’) | Sperm #2 (the ‘over-compensator’)
Sperm #3 (the ‘over-achiever’) | Sperm #4 (the ‘right guy’)
The egg (the ‘bachelorette’) | The cilia (the ‘girlfriends’)
The blastocyte | The embryo | The fetus

Act I

‘Love is…

An introduction to psychedelic trip-sitting

An artist’s rendition of visual hallucinations (Source)

A shaman, a ferryman, a doctor, a midwife. A trip-sitter is similar to all of them — similar, but not identical, because their task doesn’t involve a myth or an oar or a prescription-pad, but very simply, a trusting relationship.

A trip-sitter is a person who guides and supports the taker of a psychedelic drug. As far as the drug is concerned, the trip-sitter can be richly experienced or completely oblivious; they can partake alongside or observe from a distance. None of these conditions are essential: the only essential condition is their facilitation of the psychedelic experience.

As a potential…

You’re Deserving Of Love — Just As You Are

Life can take you to the ugliest of places and most dire of circumstances, torment and humiliate you endlessly, leave you paralyzed and struck with grief and indignancy and confusion. Life can do a most impressive thing, which is to leave you disdainful of life itself, contemptuous of every breath and heartbeat which takes you further along its path. Life can appear as a disease, as a most painful and unfortunate condition, so that even when you direct your gaze towards the world-at-large, you can only see it as a fluke, as an embarrassing mistake in need of correction, and…

Imaginary triangles, Buddhist texts, and psychedelic ego-death

An artist painting himself: his ‘self’ — whatever that means (Source)

We want to be ourselves, we want to love ourselves, we want to improve ourselves — despite the fact that we sometimes can’t help ourselves.

What is this ‘self’ that we’re so preoccupied with? We know that psychological growth involves a healthier and more appropriate relationship with ourselves. But what exactly that ‘self’ is remains elusive, obscure, and almost mystical.

In this article, we’ll read about the self as understood in psychology as the ego. Then, we’ll transition into talking about the self as a transcendental subject, using Buddhism as our guide. …

Don’t get too attached to the dog in this image (Source)

Your pet gets sick, nears the end of its life, and becomes severely debilitated. It limps, it moans, it struggles to see. You look at it one day and finally decide: it’s time to put it down.

To put down a pet isn’t literal, of course: it’s a euphemism for killing it. But the phrase is nonetheless a descriptive one. Cradling its head in their hand, the veterinarian injects the animal with a lethal dose of sedative. It becomes limp, and losing the support of its legs, falls lifeless to the table. It has physically been put down.

Now, we…

As a young boy in Columbus, Indiana, I attended an elementary school called ABC Stewart. Last night, having been primed for nostalgia by some Thanksgiving-inspired reminiscing, my family and I went through old boxes in a storage room, where we came across the school’s 2004 yearbook.

Evidently, the school still wasn’t progressive enough for two squares to hold hands

The cover features a number of crudely-sexed stick figures of various colors, presumably a signal of the school’s multiculturalism, and not an entirely unwarranted one: my sister and I were one of three first-generation Syrian families there.

On the first page we encounter the founder, matriarch, and principal of the school, Merry Charmichael, whose…

Hunter S. Thompson’s second book, The Rum Diary, remained unpublished for most of his lifetime. But more than half a century after it was written, the novel was adapted into a film starring his long-time friend Johnny Depp, who portrayed its protagonist and Thompson’s literary alter-ego, Paul Kemp.

The film adaptation was a poetic triumph for the late Thompson, who wrote the book as a struggling 22-year-old writer. …

As part of my job at an optometry clinic, I run patients through a series of tests which screen for common ocular and visual disorders and provide the doctor with important information prior to the eye exam.

This routine has become proceduralized, enough so that I can have a relatively coherent conversation while running and documenting all the tests, and yet there are two distinct situations which rise above the mundane and give me an opportunity to pause and reflect.

Stereo #9: a striking display of subconscious knowledge

The image of the world given by each of the two eyes is slightly different than the other. The brain…

Farid Alsabeh

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