Tag: critic

Circular thinking: Stonehenge’s origin is subject of new theory




Excerpt from theguardian.com

Whether it was a Druid temple, an astronomical calendar or a centre for healing, the mystery of Stonehenge has long been a source of speculation and debate. Now a dramatic new theory suggests that the prehistoric monument was in fact “an ancient Mecca on stilts”.

The megaliths would not have been used for ceremonies at ground level, but would instead have supported a circular wooden platform on which ceremonies were performed to the rotating heavens, the theory suggests.

Julian Spalding, an art critic and former director of some of the UK’s leading museums, argues that the stones were foundations for a vast platform, long since lost – “a great altar” raised up high towards the heavens and able to support the weight of hundreds of worshippers.

“It’s a totally different theory which has never been put forward before,” Spalding told the Guardian. “All the interpretations to date could be mistaken. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge the wrong way: from the earth, which is very much a 20th-century viewpoint. We haven’t been thinking about what they were thinking about.”

Since Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in the 12th century that Merlin had flown the stones from Ireland, theories on Stonehenge, from plausible to absurd, have abounded. In the last decade alone, the monument has been interpreted as “the prehistoric Lourdes” where people brought the sick to be healed by the power of the magic bluestones from Wales and as a haunted place of the dead contrasting with seasonal feasts for the living at nearby Durrington Walls. 

The site pored over by archaeologists for centuries still produces surprises, including the outline of stones now missing, which appeared in the parched ground in last summer’s drought and showed that the monument was not left unfinished as some had believed, but was once a perfect circle.

Spalding, who is not an archaeologist, believes that other Stonehenge theorists have fallen into error by looking down instead of up. His evidence, he believes, lies in ancient civilisations worldwide. As far afield as China, Peru and Turkey, such sacred monuments were built high up, whether on manmade or natural sites, and in circular patterns possibly linked to celestial movements.

He said: “In early times, no spiritual ceremonies would have been performed on the ground. The Pharaoh of Egypt and the Emperor of China were always carried – as the Pope used to be. The feet of holy people were not allowed to touch the ground. We’ve been looking at Stonehenge from a modern, earth-bound perspective.”
“All the great raised altars of the past suggest that the people who built Stonehenge would never have performed celestial ceremonies on the lowly earth,” he went on. “That would have been unimaginably insulting to the immortal beings, for it would have brought them down from heaven to bite the dust and tread in the dung.”

Spalding’s theory has not met with universal approval. Prof Vincent Gaffney, principal investigator on the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project at Bradford University, said he held “a fair degree of scepticism” and Sir Barry Cunliffe, a prehistorian and emeritus professor of European archaeology at Oxford University, said: “He could be right, but I know of no evidence to support it”.
The archaeologist Aubrey Burl, an authority on prehistoric stone circles, said: “There could be something in it. There is a possibility, of course. Anything new and worthwhile about Stonehenge is well worth looking into, but with care and consideration.”

On Monday Spalding publishes his theories in a new book, titled Realisation: From Seeing to Understanding – The Origins of Art. It explores our ancestors’ understanding of the world, offering new explanations of iconic works of art and monuments.

Stonehenge, built between 3000 and 2000BC, is England’s most famous prehistoric monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire that draws more than 1 million annual visitors. It began as a timber circle, later made permanent with massive blocks of stone, many somehow dragged from dolerite rock in the Welsh mountains. Spalding believes that ancient worshippers would have reached the giant altar by climbing curved wooden ramps or staircases.

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Criticism of Study Detecting Ripples From Big Bang Continues to Expand

The lab housing the Bicep2 telescope near the South Pole. Credit Steffen Richter, Harvard University
nytimes.com

Stardust got in their eyes.
In the spring a group of astronomers who go by the name of Bicep announced that they had detected ripples in the sky, gravitational waves that were the opening notes of the Big Bang. The finding was heralded as potentially the greatest discovery of the admittedly young century, but some outside astronomers said the group had underestimated the extent to which interstellar dust could have contaminated the results — a possibility that the group conceded in its official report in June.

Now a long-awaited report by astronomers using data from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite has confirmed that criticism, concluding that there was enough dust in Bicep’s view of the sky to produce the swirly patterns without recourse to primordial gravitational waves.
“We show that even in the faintest dust-emitting regions there are no ‘clean’ windows in the sky,” the Planck collaboration, led by Jean-Loup Puget of the Astrophysical Institute in Paris, wrote in a paper submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and posted online Monday.
As a result, cosmologists like the Bicep crew cannot ignore dust in their calculations. “However,” said Jonathan Aumont, another of the Planck authors, also from the Paris institute, “our work does not imply that they did not measure at all a cosmological signal.

Moreover, due to the very different observation techniques and signal processing in the Bicep2 and Planck experiments, we cannot say how much of the signal they measured is due to dust” and how much to gravitational waves.

So this is not the end of the story, both the Planck scientists and the Bicep group agree. But the original euphoria that the secrets of inflation and quantum gravity might be at hand has evaporated. Planck and Bicep are now collaborating on a detailed comparison of their results.

John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, lead author of the Bicep paper, said the new report confirmed in greater detail the trend suggested by the first Planck papers in the spring, which indicated there is more dust even in the cleanest parts of the galaxy than anyone had thought.

Raphael Flauger of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N. J., who first raised the issue of dust in the Bicep report, said it confirmed what he had thought. “It doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room,” he wrote in an email, “and it seems clear that at least the majority of the signal is caused by dust.”

The gravitational waves may exist, although they would be weaker than the Bicep analysis indicated, causing theorists to reshuffle their ideas. As Richard Bond, an early universe expert at the University of Toronto and a Planck team member, put it: “Planck showed that dust could possibly be the entire Bicep2 signal, but Planck alone cannot decide. We have to do this in combination with Bicep2.”

The joint comparison and Planck’s own polarization maps are due at the end of the year.

If true, Bicep’s detection of gravitational waves would confirm a theory that the universe began with a violent outward antigravitational swoosh known as inflation, the mainspring of Big Bang theorizing for the last three decades.

The disagreement over the Bicep finding will not mean the end of inflation theory; it just means it will be harder for cosmologists to find out how it worked. The Bicep group and an alphabet soup of competitors are soldiering on with new telescopes and experiments aimed at peeling away the secrets of the sky.

Michael S. Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, said: “This is going to be a long march, but the goal of probing the earliest moments of the universe makes it well worth the effort. Dust is the bane of the existence of astrophysicists — and cosmologists. It is everywhere, and yet our understanding of it is very poor.”

Others are less optimistic. Paul J. Steinhardt of Princeton University, a critic of the Bicep paper — and of inflation theory — said in an email that the Bicep paper should be retracted, “and we should return to good scientific practice.”

The Bicep observations are the deepest look yet into a thin haze of microwaves, known as cosmic background radiation, left over from end of the Big Bang, when the cosmos was about 380,000 years old.

According to theory, the onset of inflation, less than a trillionth of a second after time began, should have left ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves. They would manifest as corkscrew patterns in the direction of polarization of the cosmic microwaves.
The Bicep group — its name is an acronym for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization — is led by Dr. Kovac; Jamie Bock of Caltech; Clement Pryke of the University of Minnesota; and Chao-Lin Kuo of Stanford. They have deployed a series of radio telescopes at the South Pole in search of the swirl pattern. Their most recent, Bicep2, detected a signal in the sweet spot for some of the most popular models of inflation, leading to a splashy news conference and a summer of controversy and gossip.
As the critics pointed out, things besides quantum ripples from the beginning of time could produce those swirls, including light from interstellar dust polarized by magnetic fields in space.
Planck, launched in 2008 to survey the cosmic microwave sky, can distinguish the characteristic signature of dust by comparing the sky brightness in several radio frequencies, as well as measuring its direction of polarization. Bicep2, in contrast, looked at only one frequency, 150 gigahertz.

The Bicep astronomers asked for Planck data on their patch of sky, but it was not available until now because of suspected instrument problems, Dr. Aumont said. So they extrapolated from existing data to conclude that there was little dust interfering with their observations.

The new Planck report has knocked the pins out from under that. But there are still large uncertainties that leave room for primordial gravitational waves at some level. For example, the Planck team had to extrapolate some of its own measurements.

As the Planck report says, “This result emphasizes the need for a dedicated joint Planck-Bicep2 analysis.”

The group hopes this analysis will include data from the latest Bicep telescope, called the Keck Array, which has been gathering data for several months. In an interview this summer, Dr. Kovac said, “It’s been a funny year to be in the spotlight like this.” He said the group stood behind its work, even if the ultimate interpretation of the measurements is up for grabs.

Acknowledging that dust would not be as sexy a discovery as ripples from inflation, Dr. Kovac said, “It’s really important as an experimentalist that you can divorce yourself from an investment in what the answer is.”

He went on: “One thing that would distress me bitterly is if a major mistake in the measurement or of the analysis would come to light. The most pressing question is, what are the dust contributions to the signal?”

Stay tuned.

Lyman Page, an astrophysicist at Princeton, said the episode illustrated the messy progress of science.

“Taking a step back,” he said by email, “it is amazing that a precise measurement of the cosmos can be made, discussed in fullness, and refuted by another measurement in such a short amount of time. It is testament to a healthy field.”

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The Inner Flame of Wisdom

{mainvote}

Channeled through Shazi

17-May-2012

Hello Son,

The Inner Flame of Wisdom

When the conscious meets the subconscious, the flame will open.

When the path is set and the target becomes a goal, the flame will open.

...

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YOU Have Everything You Need

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Message from Ascended Master Rakoczy Channeled by: Julie Miller April 30, 2012

I observe from my ethereal retreat the coming and goings of Earth. There a good many wonderful souls who are trying so hard to discover what they ...

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Luminous Being: Entry into 2012

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a message from Meredith Murphy

Tuesday, 28 February, 2012  (posted 10 February, 2012)

I am still humming with awe at my entry into this auspicious year of 2012, and astonished by what can be accomplished by forgiven...

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Physical Beauty

{mainvote} a message from AkashicRecords

channeled by Jen Eramith MA

Monday, 31 January, 2011  (posted 1 February, 2011)

Why do societies and individuals measure beauty according to conventional standards that not everyone fits? How...

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HEAVEN #3695 One Ocean of Love , January 6, 2011

God said:

How love assails itself in hearts. Love is truly a one-man show. Love is from yourself and to yourself. Love is from Me and to all of Me. Yes, love is a monologue. In the world, there are shades of love, degrees of love, love found,...

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Heaven #3544 Wanting to Go Back to Sleep

a message from God channeled by Gloria Wendroff

Sunday, 8 August, 2010  (posted 12 August, 2010)

Look at one leaf or petal in your garden, and know I AM God. One leaf or petal is enough. And yet you ...

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I forgive myself…

The natural ebb and flow of conscious energetic experience is very real.  Some days the energy strong, a flowing pressure within my body and others not so much.  Meditation has brought the awareness that this is very natural and when understood creates additional space to work with the experience.  I saw it this morning in my shamanic journey as a replay of my last dance class.  My teacher, showing us the flow and timing of the Waltz steps said something like this…

The movement never stops… the rise and fall, even though the beat suggests an actual pause, never stops moving.  There is always movement, even within the pause…

It took me a few days of my own experience of releasing more of the past, a complete identity that was an external shell that I presented to the world, dissolving with forgiveness and release.  It took some doing to release, as most identities are deeply connected into the subconscious and vested in sticking around.  But, what if the identity is no longer serving me?  That is the case with me and as my spiritual growth continues, this particular identity was other than aligned to my highest truth.

So, naturally as I continue my practice the discrepancy becomes more and more apparent.  Those traits that made up the identity that are other than aligned with the way I want to be right now begin to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb and create discomfort.  I have felt lethargic and energized, happy and sad, ecstatic and depressed, all within the blink of an eye.  At first, I looked within the realm of reason, allowing my mind to analyze the situation and got the expected answers.

However, my healing has come about from shamanic practices and access to the higher realms of consciousness.  My experience with western medicine in all cases left much to be desired, so all I needed to do was listen to my minds analysis to know the identity was making its last attempts to hold on.  Your sick, your depressed, your angry, you don’t have what you need/want… Lack, lack lack.  And that is how I know.

I am healthy and happy.  Love and kindness are abundant in my life.  I experience profound Truth on a regular basis.  I am the Light of this perfectly functioning body, the Universal One and beyond this perfectly functioning mind, I am that complete Radiant One.  I KNOW this as I have directly experienced it.  So, the question was, who am I?

Funny thing, I had known the identity longer than my Authentic Self and I had been actively cultivating that identity since my early childhood.  For the longest time it apparently worked for me.  So personally did I embraced this identity that it created residency within my being and ran the show for a long time.  Much of what I have released, bit by bit, over the past couple of years was created by that identity and I am happy to see it go.

Now that I know that Love flows through me naturally as the vibration of Creation, I am less tolerant of the identities behaviors, wants and desires.  Because I have done Soul Retrieval and reclaimed my energy from much of those past experiences, I have come to understand where I had allowed my Authentic Self to be pushed aside to be replaced by the outward personification of an internal projection.

Somewhere early along I became my biggest critic and I began judging myself within the context of my surroundings.  The standards that I was being held to in the external world quickly became adopted and the projection began.  I started to see myself within the framework of limitations placed upon me at the time.  I became adept at “succeeding” within those parameters and thereby strengthened the newly forming identity, giving it power over my Authentic Self.  I see now that it was a choice, albeit that I made with limited Truth about the situation, but I did make it thus solidifying the identities roots.

And now I know different.  I am Love and Kindness…  That is the core energy of my Creation and when I am feeling other than this way I look for the source.  In the past, the source came from Soul Trauma that I needed to heal and now I see the source as the identity.  He is weak now, desiccated, dry and bony this being is dying.  I have ignored him for a very long time, effectively starving him from attention and it has shown.  It appears that I have healed enough of my past discretions to be able to see the True Source of the years of misguided actions and resulting wounds.

Now, seeing this being within me who had guided my life askew for so long, I am filled with compassion. I no longer wish to starve this being in hopes that he withers away and dies, but rather I embrace this part of me and Love it completely.  It was a part of my Soul’s Journey and I understand it now.  I no longer need to identify with it, as I know who I am. I must forgive myself completely for all my thoughts, words and actions while identifying with this being. And I do…  It has taken a few days of intense, deep meditation on forgiveness and release but this identity has been crossed over.

It serves me no more and I let it go with Love and Kindness.  I recognized this identity as a shadow to my light and shone my consciousness on all facets of my being.  OK…  I wasn’t a very nice person to myself or others.   Right here, right now I choose Creation, the vibration of Love.  And in doing so, I am able to forgive…

As I continue this shamanic exploration of the dance a whole new world of energy is opening up to me.  The dance, in it’s purity, is enhancing my own experience with Creation and I am better able to be present.  In that presence, I found this identity… In that presence I am the embodiment of my Soul, the original blueprint of my Creation.  Other than that is exposed, seen for its Truth, Loved, Forgiven and Released…

The last couple of days, as I was releasing this identity, I had the sensation of being stuck.  Paused…  If I connected with it, I felt as though I was being sucked into a vortex of despair, but I knew that was not true.  I kept being reminded that this would pass, that I was releasing and the energy would come full circle.  This morning in my awakening meditation, I was greeted by my dance pro to experience his discourse on the motion of the Waltz.  And it made sense…

In the Waltz, there is such grace and elegance, ebb and flow, rise and fall and sway side to side.  There is motion even when a step has stopped, it is merely the appearance of a stop, but within the grace continues.  This is life and I choose to dance elegantly through it from now on.  There is much to learn from the Ballroom Dance as it relates to this shamanic journey and so I continue.  There is more to this life than that identity allowed me to see, so I thank it for its service and Love it back to source, forgiving and releasing all that was, I am now able to fully experience life’s dance.

Love and Kindness,

Marc

the Buffalo Diaries

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