The Tragedy of Young Men

“There’s a huge investment in the Western world in self-destructive young men. We need to have these tragedies acted out for us… because we want to imagine what it must be like without actually having to do it ourselves.” — Joy Division – Under Review (1:04:26).

Consider professional boxing. It has a well-known track record of multi-million-dollar, champion boxers going broke — perhaps the best-known example of which is Mike Tyson. Likewise, according to one estimation, 80% of NFL players go broke three years after within three years of being out of the league. Leaving sport aside, singers and musicians have, as we know, ended up ripped off and/or dead — Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis being among the latter group. Continue reading “The Tragedy of Young Men”

Rekindling an Archetype: DIY Knighting

 

My son recently turned eight and I decided it was time to knight him. No, seriously. So much of the studying of culture and mythology that I’ve been immersed in has brought the deep loss of rites of passage to my attention. With so much early developmental mind mapping coming from technology and television, I’m doing as much as I can to introduce ancient and classical myths orally and experientially. I would like birthdays in my family to be symbolically marked by more than a stack of material gifts. This year, largely inspired by my own personal commitment to re-education in myth and meaning, I broke tradition to initiate a new tradition.

To be clear, I myself am not a knight of any official capacity whatsoever. Not many are after all. So, what made me feel able to perform such a ceremony? Well, I’m his damn father for starters. Secondly, I realized on the day, if not me, who else? The answer was obvious. The inspiration was sudden and came on the back of a week of my own contemplation of the loss of Rite of Passage rituals in our contemporary culture. Continue reading “Rekindling an Archetype: DIY Knighting”

The Sufi Mysticism of Music, Sound, and Vibration

Within the sayings and practices of both Sufism and music, one can find all the necessary conditions that are needed to cultivate higher states of observation and consciousness.  Upon the attainment of these higher states, says scholar Irene Markoff, the seeker can finally achieve the desired “spiritual intoxication (wajd) and a unique and intimate union, even annihilation (fana’), in the supreme being.”

In Sufi music, this practice is known as Samāʿ (Arabic: “listening”). It is the mystical approach of practicing “listening” in order to achieve remembrance (Dhikr) of the divine spark in our heart of hearts. Through chanting — and while in a mystical trance — participants reinforce their ecstatic state with the aim of reaching a “direct knowledge (maʿrifah) of God or Reality (ḥaqq).” Continue reading “The Sufi Mysticism of Music, Sound, and Vibration”