Daily Archives: March 22, 2008

Moses: Stoned Immaculate

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High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

“As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the “burning bush,” suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

“The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon,” he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to “see music.”

He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil’s Amazon forest in 1991. “I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations,” Shanon said.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible.

via Breitbart

hat tip Adam B | KSU Quorum

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You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss

You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss

A few days ago I was sitting in a cafe in Palo Alto and a group of programmers came in on some kind of scavenger hunt. It was obviously one of those corporate “team-building” exercises.

They looked familiar. I spend nearly all my time working with programmers in their twenties and early thirties. But something seemed wrong about these. There was something missing.

And yet the company they worked for is considered a good one, and from what I overheard of their conversation, they seemed smart enough. In fact, they seemed to be from one of the more prestigious groups within the company.

So why did it seem there was something odd about them?

I have a uniquely warped perspective, because nearly all the programmers I know are startup founders. We’ve now funded 80 startups with a total of about 200 founders, nearly all of them programmers. I spend a lot of time with them, and not much with other programmers. So my mental image of a young programmer is a startup founder.

The guys on the scavenger hunt looked like the programmers I was used to, but they were employees instead of founders. And it was startling how different they seemed.

So what, you may say. So I happen to know a subset of programmers who are especially ambitious. Of course less ambitious people will seem different. But the difference between the programmers I saw in the cafe and the ones I was used to wasn’t just a difference of degree. Something seemed wrong.

I think it’s not so much that there’s something special about founders as that there’s something missing in the lives of employees. I think startup founders, though statistically outliers, are actually living in a way that’s more natural for humans.

I was in Africa last year and saw a lot of animals in the wild that I’d only seen in zoos before. It was remarkable how different they seemed. Particularly lions. Lions in the wild seem about ten times more alive. They’re like different animals. And seeing those guys on their scavenger hunt was like seeing lions in a zoo after spending several years watching them in the wild.

Read the rest of the article here.

via Paul Graham | hat tip Hugh MacLeod [gapingvoid.com]

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