Sunday, July 31, 2016

Flower of Life Artifacts

Recently, a reader left a comment on one of my posts about "The Flower of Life".

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

The Flower of Life is an ancient symbol, made of interlocking circles, that represents the interconnected nature of reality & the myriad forms that arise from it. It has been used in art & architecture throughout history.

I created the strategy game, "Da Vinci's Challenge," based on this beautiful & profound symbol.

Official Facebook Page:

The reader I mentioned above is Marko Manninen, and he has done very extensive research into the legacy of The Flower of Life. He has also compiled image galleries with examples from around the world of both the pattern & it's base visual component, the 6-petal rosette.

Here are a couple of his links:

Pages 1-9 of this document
have numerous examples of this symbol

This is his main website, with a vast amount of information 
about the history, geometry, and artistic use of The Flower of Life

One of the oldest examples of the use of The Flower of Life motif is this cosmetic box from Egypt that Marko posted in his gallery- and there are many, many more examples on his website:

Circular Cosmetic Box with a Swivel Lid, Thebes, Egypt (1500 BC)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Terence McKenna: We Are Monkeys Trying to Understand Reality

 Recently, I've been listening to many talks & lectures, and I just finished a compilation of Terence McKenna, called "True Hallucinations". It was a great collection of audio, video, and stories from the mind of perhaps my favorite speaker & thinker.

At one point in this video, he has a great bit that I've heard him ask in other variations, questioning our ability as simians to truly comprehend the reality we live in.

The quote comes at 2:27:10 in the video:

"Ultimately what you're thrown back on is that you are a monkey! 
It's nothing to be ashamed of, but on the other hand, it's nothing to write out of the equation either... You're a monkey, for God's sake, and yet you're asking to understand the nature of reality! What would you think of a squirrel that ran around with that as a goal?"

 - Terence McKenna

 This is an example of Terence's great wit & insight that allowed him to expand the minds of so many people during his life, and even more after his death. 

It echoes another quote of his, that I posted in one of the very early entries in this blog, waaay back in 2005:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

 "For talking monkeys to speak of truth is hubris of the highest degree. Where is it writ large that talking monkeys should be able to model the cosmos? If a sea urchin or a racoon were to propose to you that it had a viable truth about the universe, the absurdity of that assertion would be self-evident, but in our case we make an exception."

 - Terence McKenna

Also highly relevant- the totally crazy & awesome animation based on McKenna's ideas, Stoned Ape Theory:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ray Kurzweil: The World Isn’t Getting Worse

The all-time most viewed post on this blog features the cover of a fake book- The World Was Always Awful.

It reflected my feeling that horrible things have been going on since the beginning of the human species. It seems so bad now because of our instantaneous access to information.

People from older generations, who grew up in the 50's & 60's or earlier, refuse to believe that crime statistics are going down, and that we generally live in an overall less violent world. With the 24/7 news headlines, it seems like bad things are happening constantly... which they are, and always have! The only difference is that now we have a deluge of media bringing it to our attention.

In the "good old days," there were still horrific things going every day, all around the world. The only difference was that the people who lived back then (who were mostly kids at the time) were kept in the dark due to lack of media.

Anyhow, futurist Ray Kurzweil seems to agree with me and elaborated his views on the matter in a recent talk.

I couldn't find a video, but here is the relevant excerpt:

On the effect of the modern information era: "People think the world’s getting worse, and we see that on the left and the right, and we see that in other countries. People think the world is getting worse. … That’s the perception. What’s actually happening is our information about what’s wrong in the world is getting better. A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you’d never even hear about it. Now there’s an incident halfway around the globe and we not only hear about it, we experience it."

Friday, July 22, 2016

"Tao" by Paul Micarelli

I don't really post about my art as much I should... but I guess I don't see this blog as a commercial venture. I've written here for 10 years because, as a professional graphic designer, it is another creative outlet for me that I enjoy.

On my Cafepress shop, The Monkey Buddha Bazaar, I have abstract images, some that I've never posted about.

This one sums up my artistic sensibilities & personal philosophies. It's simple, but represents the merging & emerging of dual polarities. This dance of creation & destruction is happening at all scales in the Universe. It is the oscillation & vibration of reality. It is Creation, God, The Field, Tao...

Click here to buy a print or other product featuring this design.


Thursday, July 21, 2016


I haven't posted in a week, since I had some vacation days & really haven't been on the computer.

When I logged on, though, I noticed an uptick in page views for some reason. I appreciate anyone who takes time to read posts on this blog, but today I have about 5x as many views as usual! It seems like my post about Star Wars Day from a couple years ago got linked somewhere. Thanks to any new visitors, and I hope that you read through The Monkey Buddha archives.

Speaking of space themes, I came across this awesome image on Inner Cosmos, of a boy looking upon our world through a window of a space station or ship.

by Dmitry Bogolyubov

This painting is reminiscent of another image I posted about awhile back, "Grandma" by Chase Stone.

It speaks to the sentiment that most of humanity has not felt yet- the complex emotions that undoubtedly arise when a person views the planet of our ancestry from off world.

The Overview Effect 

& Cosmic Consciousness

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tiny Robot Buddhist Monk

Buddhism, at its essence, is more of a philosophy of mind than a religion, as most Western cultures understand the term. Although certain sects worship deities & believe in a Pure Land, the historical Buddha simply taught people how to awaken their consciousness and cultivate awareness.

Because of this philosophical trend, as opposed to religious dogmatism the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism has been uniquely open to scientific inquiry. The Dalai Lama has fostered extensive conversations about the mind, quantum physics, and other scientific disciplines.

Scientific American:

This embrace of science & technology has manifested in the playful, yet functional, development of a little robotic monk, named "Xian’er", by the Longquan temple in China.

I saw this linked on fUSION Anomalog and thought it was interesting development in the approach to studying spiritual matters.


Xian'er can answer simple questions about Buddhist ideas, chant mantras, & move around via voice commands.

The merging of spirituality and technology is one of those things that seem paradoxical- but only if your perspective is still immersed in the duality that Buddhism & meditative practice seeks to dissolve.

See also:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Telepathic Posting

This is a test...

I'll be using my telepathic powers to post here:

"I will be posting telepathically today.
So, if you think of something funny, 
that was me."

Seen on All Hat No Cattle

Motion Capture with 3D Effects

This video that I saw on Neatorama is a impressive demonstration of the use of motion capture technology, combined with cutting-edge 3D animation effects.

The video was made by Method Studios, as a demo reel for the Association of Independent Commercial Producers

Method Studios:

2016 AICP Sponsor Reel - Dir Cut from Method Studios on Vimeo.

It's amazing what realistic (and surrealistic) results can be achieved through digital simulations. We are truly blurring the line between reality & fantasy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Future of Food: World's Largest Vertical Farm in NJ

I have been exploring the future of agriculture, nutrition, & food tech in my "Future of Food" series.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

One development that holds a lot of promise for changing the dynamics of food production & distribution is the vertical farming approach. This is the modern method of using tall buildings with indoor aeroponics or hydroponics & LED lighting to grow plants in a more efficient way.

There is no soil to be depleted, much less water used, no insects to destroy the crops, and a fraction of the land area needed in traditional farming.

I was just reading that AeroFarms, a company that has developed environmentally low-impact vertical farming techniques, is planning on opening the world's largest facility in my home state of New Jersey. We have many traditional farms and produce distributors in this area, but I'm glad to be close to the cutting edge of this kind of food-production technology.


There are many food-related advancements that will completely change our relationship with what we eat in the near future. I think vertical farming is a major game-changer, and we will see many more facilities popping up as the process becomes more cost-effective and productive.

Monday, July 04, 2016

July 4th Celebration

 From the album Political Madness

Today is Independence Day in the USA, and I'm glad to be living in this country with all it's strengths and faults.

I'm definitely not a nationalist or a very patriotic person, but I'm happy to celebrate the freedom I have with a weekend of BBQs & parties. Here I am eating clams & crabs yesterday, while sporting a USA tattoo & wristband.

 I was drinking Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale, from the Yards Brewing Company's "Ales of the Revolution"- based on recipes by the founding fathers.

I'm off to another party today, and am grateful to have time to enjoy after weeks of packing, moving, and having yard sales.