Wednesday, October 10, 2007

D & D

1. Dungeons and dungeons
The first thing you are told when you are initiated into the world of Dungeons and Dragons is that the kind of dungeon in question is not just a secret dark and drippy castle cellar with an iron grate in the ceiling and manacles attached to rings in the wall, but an underground maze extending in every dimension, with all manner of chutes and shafts and arras-concealed spiral staircases, keeps and caches, catacombs, crypts, and mausoleums, sacrificial theaters and mossy temple ruins with winged columns, censers, flames of worship, and smashed mosaics, throne rooms with chessboard floors of life and death, magic mirrors, springs and wells, reservoirs and rivers and sluice gates and spillways, catwalks and canals and bridges behind waterfalls, an infinitely productive inner space organized in the sort of rooms that Piranesi or Coleridge or de Quincey might have known in dreams, sketched on on graph paper by the Dungeonmaster, the game's host or narrator, who is separated from the players by a sort of Trapper Keeper folder fort that conceals whatever dungeon he has drawn, with little symbols indicating false walls, ladders up or down, a bloody trough or plinth or dais with a chest of gold or plate.

2. Dragons and dragons
Carl Sagan:
The pervasiveness of dragon myths in the folk legends of many cultures is probably no accident. The implacable mutual hostility between man and dragon, as exemplified in the myth of St. George, is strongest in the West. But it is not a Western anomaly. It is a worldwide phenomenon. Is it only an accident that the common human sounds commanding silence or attracting attention seem strangely imitative of the hissing of reptiles? Is it possible that dragons posed a problem for our protohuman ancestors of a few million years ago, and that the terror they evoked and the deaths they caused helped bring about the evolution of human intelligence? Or does the metaphor of the serpent refer to the use of the aggressive and ritualistic reptilian component of our brain in the further evolution of the neocortex? With one exception, the Genesis account of the temptation by a reptile in Eden is the only instance in the Bible of humans understanding the language of animals. When we feared the dragons, were we fearing a part of ourselves? One way or another, there were dragons in Eden. (The Dragons of Eden, 149-50)

5 Comments:

Anonymous Perezoso said...

Sagan's Invisible Dragon-in-a-Garage argument also offers some phunn (tho' I suspect you are doing some sly anarchistic parody of Sagan here and would gladly have gulag'ed the geek.)

Sagan/Dragon

That's from "Demon Haunted World" methinks.

10/14/2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

If I were some communist minister of culture, I'd keep Sagan behind the helm of the Ship of the Imagination, like on Cosmos, where his appetite for robust reality is in the service of cosmological wonder, which I personally would never want to parody. His natural-historical speculation isn't mean-spirited like Dawkins or Dennett, and I wish he were around to bring some decency and Campbell-like perspective to the current atheism debate. Sagan the debunker of pseudo-science, like in DHW, is less interesting to me, but I think his arguments are sound.

10/14/2007 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Perezoso said...

I don't care forthe Dawkins & Co. style of skepticism either, though one must grant that Dawkins' arguments are well-constructed (and he makes use of Sagan, Russell, Dennett, the usual suspects). There's a "Toryish" sort of atheism, which seems fundamentally rightist (as Hume was rightist, really), perhaps even nihilist (God is dead!--let's head to the tropics for infant-rape and cannibalism session, mateys! Then take in the splendid flora and fauna). Maybe the V2 squads weren't so sinister after all.

10/15/2007 1:34 PM  
Blogger kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Not too wise
if you get succumbed:
you could be suck/cum/bed by a demon.
Better to dream about Seventh-Heaven
in this existence finite.
Lemme tella youse summore, kapiche?
...or Imma gonna breaka yer legs,
and makea youse sleep wit d'fishes.

Just as there's only 2 positions
for a light switch, UP or DOWN,
the 'on' position is pointing skyward...
while the 'off' position is pointing
toward our demise, to the whorizontal,
so only 2 eternities...
and 1 of em aint too cool.

Many analogies we might surmise
of that proposition... yet,
only 1 belief in the King of Hearts
who gives U.S. His Magnificent Light.

If that's too difficult 4u2c,
here's what I suggest:
I suggest you getta pair of GodSpex
from the Divine Physician, mortals.

God bless your indelible soul.
Yes, earthling, I was an NDE...

3/15/2017 3:45 PM  
Blogger kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Not too wise
if you get succumbed:
you could be suck/cum/bed by a demon.
Better to dream about Seventh-Heaven
in this existence finite.
Lemme tella youse summore, kapiche?
...or Imma gonna breaka yer legs,
and makea youse sleep wit d'fishes.

Just as there's only 2 positions
for a light switch, UP or DOWN,
the 'on' position is pointing skyward...
while the 'off' position is pointing
toward our demise, to the whorizontal,
so only 2 eternities...
and 1 of em aint too cool.

Many analogies we might surmise
of that proposition... yet,
only 1 belief in the King of Hearts
who gives U.S. His Magnificent Light.

If that's too difficult 4u2c,
here's what I suggest:
I suggest you getta pair of GodSpex
from the Divine Physician, mortals.

God bless your indelible soul.
Yes, earthling, I was an NDE...

3/15/2017 3:47 PM  

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