Hello, hello. I hope you are all doing splendidly.

So, my guides came in strong with this little philosophical message about ethics and morality. I hope you enjoy:

What is right and what is wrong? There is no objective truth. Everything gains meaning in context, but actions themselves have no moral weight.

Instead, it is all about intention and purpose.

What may have seemed inherently “bad” at the time may ultimately cause more good in the future. Everything has its purpose and its plan.

Good and evil are human labels imposed upon fluid events. These two opposing ideals ultimately need each other. They are two sides of the same coin, forever locked together. You cannot have one without the other.

Morality may not be clear cut, but we still know in our hearts what is right. Follow that instinct. Let your intentions be of peace, love, wisdom, and grace.

The gods know what the final score of the football game will be, but we still have to play it - British classical scholar A.W. Gomme

Hello, hello. I hope you are all doing splendidly. Prepare yourselves for another mind-bending philosophical post.

This time, my guides will tackle an age-old question, one that fascinated philosophers for thousands of years: Free Will versus Fate.

So, without further ado, here are my guides:

You cannot avoid your fate. What is destined to happen will always happen. It will happen one way or another. However, you can delay and postpone the inevitable for a time and you can choose your route to that predestined destination. It is a delicate play, a delicate balance.

Do not fear your fate. It was not imposed upon you by some remote puppet-master, but you yourself. You co-created your journey with the universe in order to serve your highest and best good.

So, in one sense, you truly are the creator of your own destiny.

Channeled Message: Healing the Heart

Hello, my lovelies. Sending you light and peace.

So, just a little update on my self-confidence video. Affirmations really helped me. They really do work. It’s fantastic, but you have to tailor the phrases so they mean something to you. If you feel an active resistance in your body when you recite it in the form of tears or avoidance, you know you’ve found the right one. Say it until you believe it.

Okay, so today’s post is about the next step in the healing process, opening up your heart again.

So, without further ado, I’ll let my guides take it away:

You think this pain you are accustomed to is all there is. You think you are destined to suffer when it comes to love, but this is a dangerous falsehood. There is no need to attract more heartache into your life. Just because it was so in the past does not mean it has to continue into the future.

You already have overcome so many trying lessons, let the universe reward you with something truly spectacular. It may feel counter-intuitive to receive, but please accept this love and joy into your heart. You’ve earned it.

Of course, keep your wits about you. Your intuition is keen now. Use it. You will be able to discern the good apples from the rotten ones. There is plenty of goodness in the world. Embrace it with everything you have.

If you continue to hide away, you’ll deprive yourself of the glorious beauty of love. Being vulnerable in fully trusting another is one of bravest things one can do.

We know it is frightening to put your heart on the line, but for the right person, you’ll be all they’ve ever dreamed of, so fear not.

Channeled Message: The Self, The Soul, and Fear

Hello, my lovelies. You beautiful souls. I hope things are rocking and rolling in your world.

Today’s message is kind of a mixed bag, thematically. It touches on the soul, identity, and fear. it is honestly my favorite channeled message I’ve done so far. I love the metaphors my guides used and I found it really touching, so without further ado, here’s the message:

The soul as we tend to think of it, fixed and static, does not technically exist.

Look within and you’ll discover a diverse collection of thought-patterns and assumptions that are sure to morph and change with the years.

The real you, the one you love adore is not human, but a glimpse, one facet of the divine. This essence, this core connects and binds you to all living beings.

So, strip away the nonsense, the attachments that no longer serve you, your societal conditioning, your put-on persona, and let the real you shine through. The divine does not concern itself with petty minutiae, worry, or ego because it knows that all are one. There is no need to envy another when you understand that you are both waves on the divine ocean. You share the same root and you cannot envy what you already are.

So, let the world bask in the divinity that shines from your eyes. You are a flower in God’s garden. A flower does not fear growing. You are a brilliant, ephemeral rainbow in the sky of His mind, A rainbow does not fear revealing its coat of many colors for all to see. You are only granted a short window of time in this human form, so make it count. So, live boldly and live well. Do not allow fear to prevent you from claiming what is rightfully yours.

Hold firm, hold tight, and hold strong. We are with you till the end.

So, let me know what you think of this message. Be sure to comment and like! Thank you so much!

Channeled Message: Soulmates

Hello, my lovelies. I hope you are doing well. So, for today’s topic, I asked my guides about the nature of the soulmate relationship and here’s what I got, so enjoy!

Soulmates are a tricky business. Television and movies have portrayed them as easy, fairy tale connections, when in reality nothing could be farther from the truth. These are potent and profound bonds that require much  from you. This is not just about overwhelming desire, but two strong partners who have healed their respective wounds and now desire to put in the work, so to speak.

Once you've encountered this soul, your counterpart, your mirror, every other relationship will pale in comparison. These are the people who set your soul ablaze. This love will topple anything shaky or unsound in your sphere.

This beautiful soul will inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Just being in their presence will spark a euphoric high and a crushing low afterwards.

The significance of the connection will be apparent in both partners immediately, which can be terrifying especially if one is not ready or expecting it, which is why most people run away.

You need to be solid individually before you can come together. We urge you to remember the self. Choose yourself and love yourself first.

Also, remember that you have free will and may select an easier connection. However, the emotional payoff will not be as grand and spectacular.

And this level of connection is not just for your personal enjoyment and benefit, but will be an example of divine love and healing to others, which will spread out to the entire world in a ripple-like effect.

So, let me know what you think of this message. Does it resonate with you? Be sure to like and comment. Thank you so much!

Channeled Message: Intuition

So, today I would like to talk about the intuition, your connection to the divine, and how to accept it and develop it.

It took me forever to feel comfortable with it, because I realize that even just a hundred years ago, I probably would have been burned as a witch for this kind of thing, but it is time to open up. So, here goes nothing.

Starting when I was a kid, I could just sense protective energy watching over me, from the corners of my room at night.

In college, that I began to see my guides. Mine resemble orbs of iridescent blue light surrounded by a shimmering mist of emerald green. Yours may look different.

Also, when I experience moments of joy or inspiration, I can see flashes of bright blue and white light, eyes open or closed. Sometimes I even see the wings or feel a tickle on my cheek. It’s the best.

I will do a brief channeled message from my guides about embracing this type of connection, but first I wanted to explain a bit about my process.

Before I begin recording, I’ll open up with prayers and meditation, get the message through automatic writing. When I record and read the message, I tap into their energies once again. I feel infinitely calmer. I’ve noticed that my voice even changes. It’s fascinating.

Okay, so without further ado, I’ll my guides take it away.

It’s time to reconnect with your spirituality.  We’ve been trying reaching to you through songs and number patterns. Sometimes, we will briefly come to visit you in human form and offer you a message that you need to hear at that time. You will know its us due to the piercing blue eyes, the intense immediate connection, You will feel like you’ve known this stanger all your life.

We would like you to accept your divine purpose. We ask you to trust us, to trust your path, and believe that you are worthy of wonderful things, success, love, and bliss. Own it. Pretend like its already yours.

Talk to us, We can provide the answers you seek. All you have to do is ask and write down what what feels right.

You are never alone. We adore you endlessly.

So, let me know what you think of this message, if you’ve ever had an experience with a spirit guide. Thank you so much for watching. Bye for now!

Channeled Message: Heartbreak

So, I went through a break-up a while back. It was for the best. It was mature. I thought I was fine, but I realized that I hadn’t mourned the loss at all.

I asked my guides for assistance and you will hear the message I received. I have since followed this advice. It worked for me, but I understand this may not be the case for everyone. Nonetheless, my guides asked me to pass it along. I hope it helps.

Your heart is wise and true. It knows the way. Moving beyond a relationship is never easy.

Your soul was damaged and bruised, but it was all part of the plan. You will see that one day when all the smoke has cleared. You must grieve this loss.

Cry, cry, cry your heart out. It is allowed. It is necessary. This is the only way to purge yourself of desire. Do not repress your emotions, they will only leak out in unfortunate ways. If you do not rid yourself of this connection, you will keep attracting different versions of this person back into your life. You will love this type as many times as it takes to learn the lesson.

There is a tendency in humans to avoid, to push pain away, especially if the heartbreak was not traumatic, just a respectful parting of ways. You may think all is well, but examine how you react to the pleasant memories, if there is a hint of longing, of reverie, there is grieving to do.

Allow these tender recollections to fill your soul, recall every detail, and feel yourself back that mental space. Hold yourself there until the tears run hot down your cheeks. Do this many times, until you get sick of it, until the memory no longer sparks a reaction.

Imagine them happy with another person, let the jealousy engulf you. Let it simmer underneath your skin until it transforms into genuine goodwill.

Pain is healthy and tears are a sign of release. Know that you will experience many more wonderful memories once you complete this process and open your heart again. You are gaining wisdom and learning what you do not want. You must love what is wrong for you. Only then will be able to welcome what is right.

So, carry on, beautiful souls. We cherish and applaud your unyielding perseverance.

So, let me know what you think of this message. Thank you so much! Be sure to like and comment.

Channeled Message: The Afterlife

Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well. So, this post today is going to be a little bit different. Lately I’ve been exploring my ability to channel or receive information from spirit or my guides.

I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager, but I finally feel ready to start talking about it. So, essentially what I’ve been guided to do is ask about life’s big questions, the nature of the soul, the cosmos, and share the messages I receive.

I still want to do culture videos, but I think I’m going to start channeling more when I talk about more of the trippy philosophical theories.

The first topic I asked about was the afterlife and what follows is the channeled message.

It is a place of peace, of grace, of true understanding. It is an angelic realm of higher consciousness. All that was a mystery on Earth is clear here. All is well here. You are safe here. All is peace here.

You see all that you were on Earth. You see how your actions affected others and how you impacted the world around you. You see yourself the way others see you. You understand your role and purpose on Earth and why you chose to incarnate. There is no hell fire or brimstone like human religions have claimed, just you confronting your own thoughts and actions.

This is a place of healing, compassion, and recovery. Sometimes, the soul's journey is not an easy one. You will see what was truly lacking in your life and could have been done to remedy the situation. You may think of it like therapy or counseling. If you have karma to repay, you may choose to reincarnate when you are ready.

All beings are one here. All are connected energetically, so there is no missing, no sense of loss.

This is your home. You may have longed for this feeling of serenity and connection, not knowing its origin. You may remember what it feels like to be here in the depths of your soul ㅡ resolute, understood, and fully supported by your soul family. It is humankind’s birthright to revel and share in this energy.

Most of all, we wish humans to know that they are so loved and welcome here. You are more than worthy of this love and understanding. This is where you come from.

Be well, my child, for I am your voice and your guide. We dwell in your heart. We are here to help you understand. You are a child of light. We offer you many blessings. We offer you grace and courage. We are always here for whatever you may need.

Does The Universe Exist Within The Mind?

Alright, another trippy blog post delving into the nature of the universe, are you game? This time around, I’ll explore the realness of reality. Is life but a dream or perhaps some giant computer simulation? As always, please take these ideas with a massive grain of salt. I just think they worth a ponder.

Solipsism

Meaning “alone or self” in Latin; this is the philosophical theory that we can’t be entirely sure that the external world exists. Perhaps we are all just brains in a vat just like René Descartes speculated in 1641. In this dream-like reality, we hallucinate our entire existence.

Frans Hals,  Portrait of Descartes,  1649. I love his soul patch.

Frans Hals, Portrait of Descartes, 1649. I love his soul patch.

In pop culture, neo-jazz and soul singer Fiona Apple perfectly uses this idea in her 1999 banger Paper Bag. Here the speaker is crushing pretty hard on a guy, but he breaks her heart, revealing that she is just imagining this love. “He said it’s all in your head, “ but she retorts, “so is everything, but he didn’t get it.”

Computer Simulation Theory

In modern science, Solipsism is alive and well in the form of the popular computer simulation theory. First introduced by Oxford philosophy professor Nick Bostrom in 2003, this idea argues that eventually we will be able to simulate human consciousness en masse. Of course, we could very well destroy ourselves in the meantime, but if we don’t, there is actually a very good chance that we are living in a colossal Sims game. Given that these future beings will have virtually unlimited computing power, they will be able to run billions of simulations simultaneously. So, the chances that we are living in “base reality” are essentially slim to none.

I adore this theory because the “creator” could just be our descendants watching from the future. Also, according to a fascinating 2014 book called Your Digital Afterlives by philosopher Eric Steinhart, the afterlife could be your consciousness ascending to “higher-levels” in this video game.

So, let me know what you think of these theories and if you think they’re plausible. As always, thank you so much for reading. Be sure to like and comment below! Bye for now.

The Psyche and The Anima

For all those psychology and mythology enthusiasts out there, this is the blog post for you! Yes, that’s right, today we’re talking about the psyche.

As the root of the word psychology, the psyche is defined as the totality of the human mind. The 2nd century writer Apuleius personified this concept in one of my favorite myths, Cupid and Psyche. Here Psyche is a princess from an unnamed Greek city-state with beauty rivaling that of Venus, the goddess of love.

Károly Brocky "Cupid and Psyche," 1850-1855. Oil on canvas. Cupid, draw back your bow and let your arrow flow straight to my lover’s heart for me…

Károly Brocky "Cupid and Psyche," 1850-1855. Oil on canvas. Cupid, draw back your bow and let your arrow flow straight to my lover’s heart for me…

This allegorical love story chronicles the affair between the mortal Psyche and Cupid, the god of love and desire. It also represents the struggle of the human soul to attain eternal bliss.

Venus informs the young girl that her that in order for her obtain lasting happiness with Cupid, she must complete a series of seemingly impossible tasks, including going to the underworld to procure a drop of Queen Prospenia’s beauty. With some help, Psyche completes all the tasks and is then rewarded for her dedication with immortality.

So, according to this age-old myth, it is commitment to romantic love that makes the soul divine.

Carl Jung looking Daddy AF in 1910.

Carl Jung looking Daddy AF in 1910.

In the Jungian interpretation of this story, Psyche’s arc symbolizes the psychic development of the anima. This is the ideal feminine image residing inside the mind of every man as determined by both ancestral and daily experiences with women. Meanwhile, the woman’s inner male is called the animus. Jung believed that in order to achieve self-realization, we need to integrate the inner opposite gender aspect of ourselves.

But here’s the thing, my little psych babies, the anima and animus do not stay the same over the course of our lives, they evolves as we evolve. According to Jung, these archetypes mature from the purely psychical to the spiritually transcendent, just like what I talked about in my very first video, the Ladder of Love.

We also see plenty of examples of anima/animus in modern art, including Jackson Pollock’s early masterpiece Male and Female from 1942. (By the way, he was also a student of Carl Jung).

Jackson Pollock, "Male and Female," 1942. Oil on canvas. I guess it’s kind of like a men are from Mars, women are from Venus thing.

Jackson Pollock, "Male and Female," 1942. Oil on canvas. I guess it’s kind of like a men are from Mars, women are from Venus thing.

It is also my personal belief that Pablo Picasso’s 1932 painting of his beloved mistress Marie-Therese Walter titled Girl Before a Mirror is about this young muse confronting her animus. We know this because she is staring into an oval-shaped mirror called a psyche, and the image reflected back to her is much darker and more masculine. Also, Pablo liked to think of himself as Cupid, Marie-Therese as Psyche, and their love as a mystical, divine affair, uniting the sacred and profane.

Pablo Picasso, "Girl Before a Mirror," 1932. Oil on canvas. (Detail). 'Cause it's like you're my mirror.  My mirror staring back at me…

Pablo Picasso, "Girl Before a Mirror," 1932. Oil on canvas. (Detail). 'Cause it's like you're my mirror.
My mirror staring back at me…

So, let me know what you think of this myth, the idea of the psyche, the anima and animus. Thank you so much for reading.  Be sure to comment below. Bye for now!

James Joyce's "The Dead"

The awkwardness of miscommunication, the monotony of social routine, and the confluence of life and death - these are all themes present in The Dead, my favorite short story from James Joyce’s Dubliners. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day recently, I thought I would pay tribute to Irish culture by analyzing this little vignette about a disastrous dinner party.

James Joyce circa 1918 looking like every Dublin hipster.

James Joyce circa 1918 looking like every Dublin hipster.

The Dining Dead

In The Dead, two spinster sisters host a gathering every year on January 6th to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany or the manifestation of Christ’s divinity to the Magi. While the event is meant to provide a sense of warmth and togetherness in the dead of winter, all the characters seem to repeat themselves year after year, killing any sense of joy and spontaneity. And although the calendar year is fresh and reborn, the tedium remains. The guests perform the same memorized dance steps and the protagonist, Gabriel Conroy always gives a speech and carves the goose, another gruesome symbol of the pervasiveness of death.

Hell Hath No Furey

At the end of this long evening filled with awkward encounters, Gabriel finds his wife Gretta transfixed by another guest singing in the drawing room. As they leave the party, Gretta remains pensive and withdrawn. Gabriel finds himself enamored with his wife’s wistful mood. He hopes to have a romantic evening once they get back to their hotel room, but she rejects his advances and even bursts into tears. She reveals that the song had reminded her of her first love, a boy named Michael Furey who died waiting outside her house one cold one night.

The Aha Moment

Jealousy overcomes Gabriel, but he comes to an epiphany, realizing that his feelings are not rooted in love, but a desire to control his wife. As he calms down, he understands that he was not her first love and he has no claim over her emotions. After Gretta falls asleep, he feels compassion for Michael Furey and admires his conviction in dying for love. Gabriel now sees that the dead live on the memories of the living and that these two realms constantly intermingle.

Michael and Gabriel

Further marrying the human and divine, both Michael and Gabriel are names of archangels. Archangel Gabriel informed the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Christ. Our protagonist does find his own sense of revelation here, but Archangel Michael is considered to be the most powerful figure in the angelic hierarchy. Here Joyce associates this brave young man with a holy warrior.

Jan van Eyck,  The Annunciation  (detail). 1434-1436. Archangel Gabriel being fly as hell. Also, I want those wings. Do you think they sell them at Party City?

Jan van Eyck, The Annunciation (detail). 1434-1436. Archangel Gabriel being fly as hell. Also, I want those wings. Do you think they sell them at Party City?

As Gabriel drifts off to sleep, he watches the snow fall outside the hotel window, blanketing the entire country, the living as well as the dead, leaving both in a state of paralysis. He understands how numb and emotionless he was and the commonality of this trait. And while Joyce does offer the reader a slice of hope with Gabriel’s revelation and the coming spring, the reader is also left wondering if this epiphany will lead to any real, lasting change.

So, let me know what you think of this story and how are you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you so much! Bye for now.

Three Brief Theories of Time

Time, man. Does it even exist? Well, I think it’s high time that we discuss the fourth dimension. Here, I will delve into three mind-bending theories about the existence of time and the nature of its flow.

First up 一 the theory that time is cyclical. This is the belief that time consists of repeating ages. It’s just like Nietzche’s Eternal Recurrence and that episode of Futurama, The Late Philip J. Fry, when Fry, Bender, and the Professor use a time machine to go to future. They discover that time is a closed loop and they can get back home just by going around again.

Friedrich Nietzsche. Killer mustache, by the way.

Friedrich Nietzsche. Killer mustache, by the way.

Espoused by the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, and several Native American tribes, this ideology depends on the "Big Bounce" theory 一 the belief that the universe has expanded and contracted into the singularity an infinite number of times already and what we call the “Big Bang” is the latest iteration of this much larger pattern. Since the laws of the universe are unlikely to change, the same sequence of events will likely occur every single time.

The next theory is Presentism. Here, neither the future nor the past exists. Only the present moment is truly real. All events and entities that are wholly in the past or wholly in the future are just mental constructs.

Presentism contrasts with the final theory, Eternalism which argues that the flow of time itself is an illusion. The past, present, and future are not only all real here, but they are all happening at once. So, the extinction of the dinosaurs, Da Vinci laying the final strokes on the Mona Lisa, and human beings one day landing on Mars are all happening right now.

Also called the Block Universe theory, this notion presents space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional block. Your sense of the present is just reflecting where you are within the block. While this theory does depend on Determinism rather than Free Will, it does allow for time travel, which could be fun. However, if you do travel to the past, you can’t change it and same thing with the future. It’s just like Oedipus Rex, you can’t change your fate. The universe has a way of course-correcting.

So, let me know what you think of these theories. Do you think any of them are plausible? Do they resonate with you? Thank you so much! Bye for now!


Venus: The Art of Love and Beauty

Ah, the female nude 一 one of art history’s most pervasive themes. While this ancient trope can certainly be problematic given the gender and power dynamics at play, the iconic paintings I will dissect here also illuminate fascinating ideas about metaphor, womanhood, and divine beauty. I will attempt to trace these evolving notions and attitudes across the ages.

Starting with one of the earliest and most famous depictions of the female form 一 The Venus of Willendorf, this Paleolithic idol is likely a representation of a primitive mother goddess. Given the patterned cap that obscures her facial features, scholars agree that she wasn’t meant to depict one woman but broadly symbolize fertility and abundance. Standing at only 4 ½ inches tall, this portable good luck totem was used by brides looking to start a family. Observing this piece with our modern eyes, it is so refreshing to not only see a healthy, realistic depiction of curves but also their connection to a woman’s wealth and status.

T he Venus of Willendorf  - Artist unknown: c. 28,000 BCE – 25,000 BCE.

The Venus of Willendorf - Artist unknown: c. 28,000 BCE – 25,000 BCE.

While The Venus of Willendorf predates the Roman goddess of love, art historians typically use the moniker as a blanket term for the female nude as a protective title that makes it acceptable subject matter. What are you talking about? It’s not improper. I’m just considering the abstract ideal of beauty. This veil of metaphor in association with the goddess is also palpable in Titian’s 1538 masterpiece, The Venus of Urbino.

The Venus of Urbino  - Titian: 1534-1538. Don’t mind me. I’m just beauty and love incarnate.


The Venus of Urbino - Titian: 1534-1538. Don’t mind me. I’m just beauty and love incarnate.

We know that she is a Venus because of one very subtle clue - a myrtle bush in the background. This shrub is typically associated with the goddess. Commissioned by the Duke of Urbino as a wedding gift to his bride, the painting is a celebration of the erotic dimension in marriage. The dog curled up by her feet is a symbol of fidelity. Yes, her figure is soft, fleshy, and idealized here, but she also makes direct eye contact with the viewer, establishing a personal connection.

Olympia  - Édouard Manet: 1863. Like a boss.

Olympia - Édouard Manet: 1863. Like a boss.

Titian’s Venus of Urbino also offers us the birth of the reclining nude, a staple in Western art, one that would reappear hundreds of years later in another celebrated and controversial painting, Manet’s Olympia. This 1863 scene strips away the lush, painterly techniques and veil of mythology found in Titian. This woman is not supposed to be a Venus, but a real woman and a likely prostitute as the name was a  common one for sex workers at the time. Her features are realistic and almost corpse-like. There is no coyness in her gaze, in fact, downright confrontational. Her assertive expression draws the viewer into the painting, placing them in the shoes of one of her clients, therefore automatically implying guilt, as if to say, we all know why you’re here.

Let me know what you think of these paintings, this lineage and what they reveal about desire, the male gaze, and women’s empowerment. Thank you so much!

Alexander Pope's Eloisa To Abelard

In his exquisite 1717 elegy, Eloisa to Abelard, Neoclassical poet Alexander Pope pays tribute a tragic love story from the Middle Ages as he laments the excruciating pain of desire and memory.

Alexander Pope probably dreaming up some of these romantic verses.

Alexander Pope probably dreaming up some of these romantic verses.

Here Pope writes as a real 12th-century Parisian woman named Eloisa. Hailed as a brilliant linguist and logician, she was one of the most educated women of her time. She soon engages in a torrid affair with her teacher, the celebrated theologian Pierre Abelard.

Eloisa and Abelard sneakin’ a little smooch.

Eloisa and Abelard sneakin’ a little smooch.

Furious about this romance, as well as the couple’s secret wedding and pregnancy, Eloisa’s uncle, a high-ranking church official, hired a band of thugs to attack Abelard. He then retreated to monastic life as Eloisa took the veil. Although the couple never saw each other again, they wrote passionate love letters to each other for decades following their initial liaison.  

Abelard wooing his lady. Also, what is up with his feet?

Abelard wooing his lady. Also, what is up with his feet?

Pope’s poem imagines itself as one of the final letters Eloisa sends to Abelard after he implores her to renounce her passion for him and instead focus on God. Heartbroken, Eloisa scolds the philosopher-turned-monk for his cowardice in abandoning her.

Throughout the poem, she vacillates between wistful reverie and regret but claims that forgetting him is simply impossible. She compares their love to the flames of desire and damnation:

Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread?
The torch of Venus burns not for the dead.
Nature stands check'd; Religion disapproves;
Ev'n thou art cold—yet Eloisa loves.
Ah hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn
To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn.

She argues that the dead are not granted the opportunity to love, they must do so now, while they both still live and breathe.

Eloisa curses the flames that still burn, likening them to hellfire - torturous and everlasting. They rage on without even the slightest spark of hope.

Let me know what you think of this poem. Have you read it? Did you enjoy it? In your opinion, is this an accurate or interesting depiction of romantic desire? Thanks so much! Bye for now!

The No-Self Theory

Who are you? I mean who are you really? We as humans often believe there is a stable, autonomous identity at the center of ourselves, but is this truly the case?

According to Buddhist philosophy, our thoughts and feelings really do exist but there is no individual “person” or static soul behind them and if we stop to think about it, it makes sense. You are not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, even a moment ago. We are constantly learning and evolving. Even on a cellular level, our bodies are continuously dying and renewing themselves.

And what happens when we examine our minds? If we are honest with ourselves, we simply find a collection of transient feelings, sensations, and impressions.

And this rejection of a fixed, cohesive identity is not just found in Buddhism. Enlightenment philosopher David Hume came to this very same conclusion with his famed Bundle Theory. Here the great Scotsman argues that what we call the self is merely a bundle of ephemeral perceptions. He boldly declares, “I always stumble on some particular perception - heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure, but I never catch myself.” Hume reasoned that the human mind with its penchant for patterns and meaning simply cobbled together these fleeting experiences into an illusionary sense of self.

Hume are you? Who, who, who?

Hume are you? Who, who, who?

Given the blunt, unvarnished nature of this idea, many of the Buddha’s early followers mistakenly assumed that he was espousing nihilism, and this could not be farther from the truth. In reality, he posited that our true identity is actually rather broad in meaning and scope.

To help us understand, let us imagine waves upon the ocean. We typically identify ourselves with the small, individual waves as they crest and fall, ebb and flow.  This pervasive sense of individuality, of me and mine, can often give rise to clinging, jealousy, fear, and other poisons of the mind.

However, once you begin to identify with the boundless, infinite ocean of consciousness, with all of creation, you no longer drown in petty emotions and hangups. You see them for what they are - plays of form, like briny swells as they splash and crash. You recognize that the boundary between “you” and all of existence is merely an illusion and a wave of peace washes over you. Yes, this is a lot to take in and consider, but it is according to Buddhists, it is liberation, nirvana, ultimate understanding.  

So, let me know what you think of this idea.  Does it resonate with you? How does this fit in with your own world view? Thank you so much. Bye for now!


Plato's Ladder of Love

I thought I would begin this blog and video series with the philosophy of love and beauty as described in Plato’s Symposium.

Here Socrates makes an impassioned speech in favor romantic love or Eros in the voice of one of his teachers, the priestess Diotima. He goes into great detail explaining one of her seminal philosophies, the ladder of love. More than just the inspiration for a tender ballad by the 1950s doo-wop group, the Flamingos, the ladder of love illustrates the ascent of the human lover from pure lust to the contemplation of divine beauty itself. Referred to here as the Form of Beauty, this mental state is described as “an everlasting loveliness which neither comes nor goes, which neither flowers nor fades.”

According to the priestess, in order to gain access to this heavenly realm, one must first actively engage with five ascending aspects or levels of love. As a side note, Mary Magdalene also describes an eerily similar ascent of the soul in the Gospel of Mary, if you are interested.

So, the first rung on Diotima’s ladder is a love for one particular body. Here, she essentially describes puppy love. It is the first awakening of desire and attraction. However, she does not discount this lust, arguing that it is the catalyst, gateway to the divine, and entirely necessary step in the soul’s evolutionary process.

Following the desire for an individual’s physique, the second rung centers upon the realization that many bodies are beautiful. It is at this stage that we develop our “types,” including specific facial features, hair colors, and body types. We come to see that many people possess this type of beauty.

Making the monumental leap from the purely physical to the emotional, the third rung on the ladder is the love of beautiful souls. In this phase, the lover awakens to the moral beauty in a person and begins to desire a deep spiritual connection. While physical desire may still be at play here, it is not the be all and end all, but simply one aspect of a multi-dimensional bond. Again, Plato did not wish us to abandon our lovers but abandon the limited scope we see them in. It is from this rung on the ladder that we witness the seeds of Platonic love and the cult of the 11th-century troubadours.

First rising to prominence in the royal courts of France, these lyrical poets would often pen wildly romantic verses for their lady loves. However, they would never engage in romantic or sexual relationships with these women. Instead, they resided in the realm of idealized infatuation, the intoxicating first blushes of a romance before reality sets in. Believing this to be the best stage of love, the troubadours refused to taint this perfect image with something flawed and real.

Ascending even further on the ladder, the fourth rung on the ladder comprises a love of beautiful laws and institutions. Here, the lover develops a passion for democracy and a society rooted in justice and equality as well as in community in a legal and societal sense.

The fifth rung expresses a desire for the beauty of knowledge and philosophical wisdom that helped inform and create the beautiful laws, souls, and bodies of earlier stages.

Once the lover has achieved this lofty realm of thought, they can then begin to comprehend the final stage, this all-encompassing sea of beauty, a love for all of creation. According to Diotima, the Form of Beauty is the origin of our being. Our souls remember and sometimes ache for our spiritual home, this pure love and bliss. This is why we are drawn to beauty and begin our ascent in the first place.

One way to think about the ladder is to imagine it as the human body with the chakras or energy centers mirroring the rungs. With the lower chakras dealing with earthly pleasure, the middle ones dealing with feelings of connection, and the top ones assigned to the divine, let us stand tall and embrace all versions of our love.

Or perhaps another way is to see the rungs is like the notes of a musical scale composing a sublime symphony.

Here the Ladder of Love offers us a possible road map to the divine while arguing that desire is the driving force behind it all. It teaches us that romantic love is a glimpse of eternal splendor.

Treat each other well! Lots of love to all!