Five hundred years after the publication of The Prince, the informative BBC documentary “Imagine… Who’s Afraid Of Machiavelli” asks how relevant is The Prince today, and who are the 21st century Machiavellians? [Via]
History Of The Devil is an entertaining documentary about the origins of Satan that Top Documentary Films sums up best:
“The History of the Devil is wickedly good, informative and concise. A no-frills Welsh film produced in association with SBS Australia and distributed by Siren Visual, it’s roughly 52 minutes in length and packs a fair dinkum amount of history into its slender running time.
The documentary itself is made up entirely of mostly still images alternating sporadically with talking heads; religious scholars, theologians and reverends.
Directed by Greg Moodie and written and produced by Dave Flitton, it was researched by Eibhleann Ni Ghriofa, Deirdre Learmont and Craig McGregor.
It’s an impressive and very open-minded account and offers some fantastic insight into the evolution; the hows and whys the specter of the Devil has existed and morphed through the ages from the dawn of civilization through to the new millennium.
So despite its relatively low-fi approach, the richness and diversity of its imagery; the historical plaques, plates, engravings, illustrations, paintings, drawings, and the occasional staged re-enactment (some dude dressed up in rather bemusing demonic attire), keeps the documentary at a high level of beguilement.”
Engraving made by Cornelis Galle I, After Lodovico Cigoli, Belgium, 1591-1650. Lettered extensively around image with excerpts of Dante’s Divina Comedia.
• The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance. The Vulgate employs the word also for “the light of the morning” (Job 11:17), “the signs of the zodiac” (Job 38:32), and “the aurora” (Psalm 109:3). Metaphorically, the word is applied to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12) as preeminent among the princes of his time; to the high priest Simon son of Onias (Ecclesiasticus 50:6), for his surpassing virtue, to the glory of heaven (Apocalypse 2:28), by reason of its excellency; finally to Jesus Christ himself (2 Peter 1:19; Apocalypse 22:16; the “Exultet” of Holy Saturday) the true light of our spiritual life.
• The Syriac version and the version of Aquila derive the Hebrew noun helel from the verb yalal, “to lament”; St. Jerome agrees with them (In Isaiah 1.14), and makes Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel who must lament the loss of his original glory bright as the morning star. In Christian tradition this meaning of Lucifer has prevailed; the Fathers maintain that Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen (Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4).
Via Assaf Kintzer.
HELL: INTO EVERLASTING FIRE»
For hundreds of years, Hell has been the most fearful place in the human imagination. It is also the most absurd.
The shape of Hell, as Dante described it (and he, together with Milton, is the primary textual source for the Christian Hell, at least), is an inverted funnel of several layers separated by rocky banks, with each layer deeper and narrower than the last. The Buddhist Hell is similar. But Hell has many mansions. Hinduism has 21 main Hells and a lakh of smaller ones, mostly for religious offences. Sinhalese Buddhism has 136 and Burmese Buddhism 40,040, one for each particular sin—including nosiness, chicken-selling and eating sweets with rice. At the entrance to the Underworld proper in most religions there is a trial of sorts, in which the damned are separated from the not-so-bad. It is always peremptory: as Jesus pictured it, as brief as a farmer ripping weeds out of a field. Then come the long fall and the fire.
Image: Dulle Griet by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Dulle Griet arrives to us from Flemish folklore in which a peasant woman, Mad Meg, allegedly in the possession of “otherworldly” powers gathered an army of women to storm the gates of Hell.
Increasing numbers of ‘terror suspects’ are being arrested on the basis of online and CCTV surveillance data. Authorities claim they act in the public interest, but does this intense surveillance keep us safer?
“I woke up to pounding on my door”, says Andrej Holm, a sociologist from the Humboldt University. In what felt like a scene from a movie, he was taken from his Berlin home by armed men after a systematic monitoring of his academic research deemed him the probable leader of a militant group. After 30 days in solitary confinement, he was released without charges. Across Western Europe and the USA, surveillance of civilians has become a major business. With one camera for every 14 people in London and drones being used by police to track individuals, the threat of living in a Big Brother state is becoming a reality. At an annual conference of hackers, keynote speaker Jacob Appelbaum asserts, “to be free of suspicion is the most important right to be truly free”. But with most people having a limited understanding of this world of cyber surveillance and how to protect ourselves, are our basic freedoms already being lost?
(Source: Boing Boing)
“Between 1948 and 1986, during his career as a prison guard, Danzig Baldaev made over 3,000 drawings of tattoos. They were his gateway into a secret world in which he acted as ethnographer, recording the rituals of a closed society. The icons and tribal languages he documented are artful, distasteful, sexually explicit and provocative, reflecting as they do the lives, status and traditions of the convicts that wore them. Baldaev made comprehensive notes about each tattoo, which he then carefully reproduced in his tiny St. Petersburg flat. The resulting exquisitely detailed ink drawings are accompanied with his handwritten notes and signature on the reverse, the paper is yellowed with age, and carries Baldaev’s stamp, giving the drawings a visceral temporality – almost like skin.” ~ Fuel Deisgn
‘This is what is destroying us!’
This tattoo is widespread in criminal circles. There are several versions, with and without text.
A ‘warrior’s grin’.
‘I love smoking men’s cigarettes’
A youth tattoo known as ‘The Smoker’. Made in a women’s corrective labour camp in Novozybkov, Bryansk Region in 1990.
The acronym stands for ‘If you’re unfaithful, I’ll cut your balls off’.
The tattoo of a criminal ‘authority’.
First recorded in 1954. it was later widespread in the corrective labour institutions of the Urals.
Widespread male eyelid tattoos.
‘Queen’s firm – sotzsupersex’
A prostitute’s tattoo.
Images via The Russian Criminal Tattoo Archive.