Today’s post is late and brief because my cat hasn’t been responding well to his bronchitis medicine, and it’s been a bit challenging. He’ll be going to see the vet again this week, and I sincerely hope that the vet can find the right medicine to help his cough.
Did you know that the Josh Gates documentary series Expedition Unknown returned for its second season this past week? Neither did I. Granted, I don’t watch the Travel Channel very frequently, but apparently the show generates such little buzz that I didn’t even see a Facebook mention, a tweet, or a commercial. Oh, well; I didn’t miss much.
The second season premiere sent Gates to the United Kingdom in search of King Arthur. He covered the usual sites and many of the most popular recent claims about the alleged historical Arthur, particularly efforts to find in him an early medieval post-Roman military leader. There was no mention of more interesting suggestions that seek mythic origins for Arthur in Late Antique or Indo-European lore. The photography was typically beautiful, but there was very little in the show I hadn’t heard many times before. Heck, in describing the famous medieval hoax whereby Arthur’s bones were alleged to have been unearthed in 1191 at a fortuitously important moment for Glastonbury Abbey, which desperately needed money, Gates didn’t even both to share with his viewers one of the most interesting reasons the claim is almost certainly a hoax: The bones were supposedly those of a giant! Giraldus, writing in the Liber de Principis instructione, Distinctio I, folio 107b (c. 1193), made this clear: “You must know that Arthur’s bones, which were found in that place (Glastonbury), were so big that in them the words of the poet seemed to find fulfillment: ‘The farmer … will … marvel at gigantic bones in the upturned graves’ (Virgil, Georgics 1.497).” He goes on to give measurements, which are translated in my Fragments on Giants page.
Meanwhile, Matthew R. X. Dentith, the author of The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories, attended a lecture at the Leys Institute Library in Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand, in which two lecturers tried to explain the spiritual mission of UFOs. I was dumbfounded at how a lecture given in 2015 was virtually indistinguishable from a Theosophical lecture given more than a century ago, though with the addition of flying saucers and anti-U.S.-government conspiracy theories. The underpinnings of the esoteric, though, were pure Theosophy:
Gordon, himself admittedly perplexing by what he was saying, told us about the various planes of the physical; the known and admitted to by the Sciences planes of the solid, liquid, gaseous, which are just but a part of the grand nature of the physical. Science, it seems, is either blithely unaware – or hiding the existence – of the four etheric planes. These etheric planes are important for our knowledge of cosmology, because whilst Mars, for example, might look like a dead world, that is only because the space brothers who live there exist in the etheric. Indeed, Earth is the only planet in the solar system where humans like ourselves exist purely in the dense, non-etheric physical planes. That’s also where we will stay until such time we stop using nuclear power.
In December 1905, David Starr Jordan, the first president of Stanford University, attended a lecture by the Swami Ram Telang (who had borrowed the name of a more famous Indian holy man who had claimed to be an incarnation of Shiva), and he heard the same set of claims, including etheric planes, space brothers on other planets, and so on. It’s Theosophy in its most cosmic form, and I’m amazed that anyone still promotes it as a revelation! Jordan’s report was published in “The Plane of Ether” in Popular Science Monthly and is noteworthy mostly because he misunderstood Theosophy as genuine Hindu philosophy, and Helena Blavatsky as an Indian man. I’ve posted his article in my Library. That said, a still closer parallel can be found in this 1921 Theosophical text.
10/12/2015 05:54:35 pm
I did know about the season premier of Expedition Unknown, and I watched it, albeit having missed the first half--because I didn't know it was going to air. Had to catch the rerun on Saturday to see the beginning.
10/12/2015 06:10:24 pm
Hope that your cat gets better. My wife and I had a dog once that was sick for over a month (it had been stung by a bee and developed an infection) before it improved. We both worried night and day. A pet becomes a member of the family easily. I did catch that episode when I was channel surfing and watched for a few minutes. I think the best exchange I heard about King Arthur and his magical sword was that in Monty Python's "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
10/12/2015 07:48:32 pm
I should have re-read the quote "Soggy tarts lying about in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."
10/13/2015 09:54:09 am
I thought it was "farcical tarts," I'll have to watch it tonight. Dennis is such a great character.
10/12/2015 06:22:07 pm
Happy Crowleymass! [I'm not a fan; just think it's funny]
10/12/2015 06:25:58 pm
If your cat is older, yep, it will *always* be challenging to find the right medication. I wish you both the best.
The troll Krampus
10/12/2015 06:29:41 pm
Nostalgia, mystery, fantasy, and hope are the bane of humanity. Anything to help us escape the facts of reality: pain, ignorance, and suffering.
10/12/2015 07:08:53 pm
I hope all goes well with your cat.
10/12/2015 08:05:06 pm
Doesn't Theosophical BS still permeate society in the latest version of the Law of Attraction as popularised by such pedestrian works as the Secret, which is really just the Secret Doctrine-Clifford?
10/13/2015 08:57:20 am
I've cheekily posted a comment on Matthew Dentith's page, linking back to this page and to the Wikipedia article on Maitreya in Theosophy.
10/13/2015 09:07:52 am
So Arthur was a Nephilim! I wonder if he was also an alien.
10/13/2015 02:51:13 pm
All the best for your kitty.
The chat ups on conspiracy and UFOs prompted me to relate- It is with a some dismay that I see X Files is returning... not that I disliked the original show, but because of the motivation of the Fox network producers. They essentially said that the American viewing public is sufficiently paranoid, fearful of the government and prone to believe in any conspiracy, that the idea seemed like a good one to bring back.
10/13/2015 05:23:05 pm
Megan (the second speaker) did talk a little about Blavatsky (admitting she is a source of information but also admitting she hasn't finished any of her books because they are hard going), and in my notes I wrote quite a bit about the theosophical debt "Share International" (the group behind these talks) owes. I also didn't talk at all about Gordon's discussion of Adamski; this Maitreya/Space Brothers doctrine is really just a hodge-podge of early to middle 20th Century views, with a new and special anti-science gloss over the top to explain why no seems to take them seriously anymore.
10/13/2015 06:01:46 pm
It will happen on the day when one of these Theosophical types has an original idea!
10/14/2015 05:08:18 pm
Best wishes for you and your cat.
10/16/2015 09:31:16 pm
dude sorry bout your cat, but I wanted to see your op on gates new episode, and all of sudden your talkin bout giants and ufo's. wtf.
terry the censor
10/18/2015 10:47:25 pm
> the spiritual mission of UFOs
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