Historical

7 Things to Consider Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Are you “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestine”? It isn’t even noon yet as I write this, and I’ve already been accused of being both.

These terms intrigue me because they directly speak to the doggedly tribal nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You don’t hear of too many other countries being universally spoken of this way. Why these two? Both Israelis and Palestinians are complex, with diverse histories and cultures, and two incredibly similar (if divisive) religions. To come down completely on the side of one or the other doesn’t seem rational to me.

It is telling that most Muslims around the world support Palestinians, and most Jews support Israel. This, of course, is natural — but it’s also problematic. It means that this is not about who’s right or wrong as much as which tribe or nation you are loyal to. It means that Palestinian supporters would be just as ardently pro-Israel if they were born in Israeli or Jewish families, and vice versa. It means that the principles that guide most people’s view of this conflict are largely accidents of birth — that however we intellectualize and analyze the components of the Middle East mess, it remains, at its core, a tribal conflict.

By definition, tribal conflicts thrive and survive when people take sides. Choosing sides in these kinds of conflicts fuels them further and deepens the polarization. And worst of all, you get blood on your hands.

So before picking a side in this latest Israeli-Palestine conflict, consider these 7 questions:

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1. Why is everything so much worse when there are Jews involved?

Over 700 people have died in Gaza as of this writing. Muslims have woken up around the world. But is it really because of the numbers?

Bashar al-Assad has killed over 180,000 Syrians, mostly Muslim, in two years — more than the number killed in Palestine in two decades. Thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Syria have been killed by ISIS in the last two months. Tens of thousands have been killed by the Taliban. Half a million black Muslims were killed by Arab Muslims in Sudan. The list goes on.

But Gaza makes Muslims around the world, both Sunni and Shia, speak up in a way they never do otherwise. Up-to-date death counts and horrific pictures of the mangled corpses of Gazan children flood their social media timelines every day. If it was just about the numbers, wouldn’t the other conflicts take precedence? What is it about then?

If I were Assad or ISIS right now, I’d be thanking God I’m not Jewish.

Amazingly, many of the graphic images of dead children attributed to Israeli bombardment that are circulating online are from Syria, based on a BBC report. Many of the pictures you’re seeing are of children killed by Assad, who is supported by Iran, which also funds Hezbollah and Hamas. What could be more exploitative of dead children than attributing the pictures of innocents killed by your own supporters to your enemy simply because you weren’t paying enough attention when your own were killing your own?

This doesn’t, by any means, excuse the recklessness, negligence, and sometimesoutright cruelty of Israeli forces. But it clearly points to the likelihood that the Muslim world’s opposition to Israel isn’t just about the number of dead.

Here is a question for those who grew up in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority countries like I did: if Israel withdrew from the occupied territories tomorrow, all in one go — and went back to the 1967 borders — and gave the Palestinians East Jerusalem — do you honestly think Hamas wouldn’t find something else to pick a fight about? Do you honestly think that this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are Jews? Do you recall what you watched and heard on public TV growing up in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt?

Yes, there’s an unfair and illegal occupation there, and yes, it’s a human rights disaster. But it is also true that much of the other side is deeply driven by anti-Semitism. Anyone who has lived in the Arab/Muslim world for more than a few years knows that. It isn’t always a clean, one-or-the-other blame split in these situations like your Chomskys and Greenwalds would have you believe. It’s both.

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2. Why does everyone keep saying this is not a religious conflict?

There are three pervasive myths that are widely circulated about the “roots” of the Middle East conflict:

Myth 1: Judaism has nothing to do with Zionism.
Myth 2: Islam has nothing to do with Jihadism or anti-Semitism.
Myth 3: This conflict has nothing to do with religion.

To the “I oppose Zionism, not Judaism!” crowd, is it mere coincidence that this passage from the Old Testament (emphasis added) describes so accurately what’s happening today?

“I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods.” – Exodus 23:31-32

Or this one?

“See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers — to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — and to their descendants after them.” – Deuteronomy 1:8

There’s more: Genesis 15:18-21, and Numbers 34 for more detail on the borders. Zionism is not the “politicization” or “distortion” of Judaism. It is the revival of it.

And to the “This is not about Islam, it’s about politics!” crowd, is this verse from the Quran (emphasis added) meaningless?

“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you—then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” – Quran, 5:51

What about the numerous verses and hadith quoted in Hamas’ charter? And the famous hadith of the Gharqad tree explicitly commanding Muslims to kill Jews?

Please tell me — in light of these passages written centuries and millennia before the creation of Israel or the occupation — how can anyone conclude that religion isn’t at the root of this, or at least a key driving factor? You may roll your eyes at these verses, but they are taken very seriously by many of the players in this conflict, on both sides. Shouldn’t they be acknowledged and addressed? When is the last time you heard a good rational, secular argument supporting settlement expansion in the West Bank?

Denying religion’s role seems to be a way to be able to criticize the politics while remaining apologetically “respectful” of people’s beliefs for fear of “offending” them. But is this apologism and “respect” for inhuman ideas worth the deaths of human beings?

People have all kinds of beliefs — from insisting the Earth is flat to denying the Holocaust. You may respect their right to hold these beliefs, but you’re not obligated to respect the beliefs themselves. It’s 2014, and religions don’t need to be “respected” any more than any other political ideology or philosophical thought system. Human beings have rights. Ideas don’t. The oft-cited politics/religion dichotomy in Abrahamic religions is false and misleading. All of the Abrahamic religions are inherently political.

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3. Why would Israel deliberately want to kill civilians?

This is the single most important issue that gets everyone riled up, and rightfully so.

Again, there is no justification for innocent Gazans dying. And there’s no excuse for Israel’s negligence in incidents like the killing of four children on a Gazan beach. But let’s back up and think about this for a minute.

Why on Earth would Israel deliberately want to kill civilians?

When civilians die, Israel looks like a monster. It draws the ire of even its closest allies. Horrific images of injured and dead innocents flood the media. Ever-growing anti-Israel protests are held everywhere from Norway to New York. And the relatively low number of Israeli casualties (we’ll get to that in a bit) repeatedly draws allegations of a “disproportionate” response. Most importantly, civilian deaths help Hamas immensely.

How can any of this possibly ever be in Israel’s interest?

If Israel wanted to kill civilians, it is terrible at it. ISIS killed more civilians in two days (700 plus) than Israel has in two weeks. Imagine if ISIS or Hamas had Israel’s weapons, army, air force, US support, and nuclear arsenal. Their enemies would’ve been annihilated long ago. If Israel truly wanted to destroy Gaza, it could do so within a day, right from the air. Why carry out a more painful, expensive ground incursion that risks the lives of its soldiers?

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4. Does Hamas really use its own civilians as human shields?

Ask Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas how he feels about Hamas’ tactics.

“What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?” he asks. “I don’t like trading in Palestinian blood.”

It isn’t just speculation anymore that Hamas puts its civilians in the line of fire.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri plainly admitted on Gazan national TV that thehuman shield strategy has proven “very effective.”

The UN relief organization UNRWA issued a furious condemnation of Hamas after discovering hidden rockets in not one, but two children’s schools in Gaza last week.

Hamas fires thousands of rockets into Israel, rarely killing any civilians or causing any serious damage. It launches them from densely populated areas, including hospitals and schools.

Why launch rockets without causing any real damage to the other side, inviting great damage to your own people, then putting your own civilians in the line of fire when the response comes? Even when the IDF warns civilians to evacuate their homes before a strike, why does Hamas tell them to stay put?

Because Hamas knows its cause is helped when Gazans die. If there is one thing that helps Hamas most — one thing that gives it any legitimacy — it is dead civilians. Rockets in schools. Hamas exploits the deaths of its children to gain the world’s sympathy. It uses them as a weapon.

You don’t have to like what Israel is doing to abhor Hamas. Arguably, Israel and Fatah are morally equivalent. Both have a lot of right on their side. Hamas, on the other hand, doesn’t have a shred of it.

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5. Why are people asking for Israel to end the “occupation” in Gaza?

Because they have short memories.

In 2005, Israel ended the occupation in Gaza. It pulled out every last Israeli soldier. It dismantled every last settlement. Many Israeli settlers who refused to leave wereforcefully evicted from their homes, kicking and screaming.

This was a unilateral move by Israel, part of a disengagement plan intended toreduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians. It wasn’t perfect — Israel was still to control Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace — but considering the history of the region, it was a pretty significant first step.

After the evacuation, Israel opened up border crossings to facilitate commerce. The Palestinians were also given 3,000 greenhouses which had already been producing fruit and flowers for export for many years.

But Hamas chose not to invest in schools, trade, or infrastructure. Instead, it built an extensive network of tunnels to house thousands upon thousands of rockets and weapons, including newer, sophisticated ones from Iran and Syria. All the greenhouses were destroyed.

Hamas did not build any bomb shelters for its people. It did, however, build a fewfor its leaders to hide out in during airstrikes. Civilians are not given access to these shelters for precisely the same reason Hamas tells them to stay home when the bombs come.

Gaza was given a great opportunity in 2005 that Hamas squandered by transforming it into an anti-Israel weapons store instead of a thriving Palestinian state that, with time, may have served as a model for the future of the West Bank as well. If Fatah needed yet another reason to abhor Hamas, here it was.

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6. Why are there so many more casualties in Gaza than in Israel?

The reason fewer Israeli civilians die is not because there are fewer rockets raining down on them. It’s because they are better protected by their government.

When Hamas’ missiles head towards Israel, sirens go off, the Iron Dome goes into effect, and civilians are rushed into bomb shelters. When Israeli missiles head towards Gaza, Hamas tells civilians to stay in their homes and face them.

While Israel’s government urges its civilians to get away from rockets targeted at them, Gaza’s government urges its civilians to get in front of missiles not targeted at them.

The popular explanation for this is that Hamas is poor and lacks the resources to protect its people like Israel does. The real reason, however, seems to have more to do with disordered priorities than deficient resources (see #5). This is about will, not ability. All those rockets, missiles, and tunnels aren’t cheap to build or acquire. But they are priorities. And it’s not like Palestinians don’t have a handful of oil-rich neighbors to help them the way Israel has the US.

The problem is, if civilian casualties in Gaza drop, Hamas loses the only weapon it has in its incredibly effective PR war. It is in Israel’s national interest to protect its civilians and minimize the deaths of those in Gaza. It is in Hamas’ interest to do exactly the opposite on both fronts.

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7. If Hamas is so bad, why isn’t everyone pro-Israel in this conflict?

Because Israel’s flaws, while smaller in number, are massive in impact.

Many Israelis seem to have the same tribal mentality that their Palestinian counterparts do. They celebrate the bombing of Gaza the same way many Arabs celebrated 9/11. A UN report recently found that Israeli forces tortured Palestinian children and used them as human shields. They beat up teenagers. They are oftenreckless with their airstrikes. They have academics who explain how rape may be the only truly effective weapon against their enemy. And many of them callously and publicly revel in the deaths of innocent Palestinian children.

To be fair, these kinds of things do happen on both sides. They are an inevitable consequence of multiple generations raised to hate the other over the course of 65 plus years. To hold Israel up to a higher standard would mean approaching the Palestinians with the racism of lowered expectations.

However, if Israel holds itself to a higher standard like it claims — it needs to do much more to show it isn’t the same as the worst of its neighbors.

Israel is leading itself towards increasing international isolation and national suicide because of two things: 1. The occupation; and 2. Settlement expansion.

Settlement expansion is simply incomprehensible. No one really understands the point of it. Virtually every US administration — from Nixon to Bush to Obama — hasunequivocally opposed it. There is no justification for it except a Biblical one (see #2), which makes it slightly more difficult to see Israel’s motives as purely secular.

The occupation is more complicated. The late Christopher Hitchens was right when he said this about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories:

“In order for Israel to become part of the alliance against whatever we want to call it, religious barbarism, theocratic, possibly thermonuclear theocratic or nuclear theocratic aggression, it can’t, it’ll have to dispense with the occupation. It’s as simple as that.

It can be, you can think of it as a kind of European style, Western style country if you want, but it can’t govern other people against their will. It can’t continue to steal their land in the way that it does every day.And it’s unbelievably irresponsible of Israelis, knowing the position of the United States and its allies are in around the world, to continue to behave in this unconscionable way. And I’m afraid I know too much about the history of the conflict to think of Israel as just a tiny, little island surrounded by a sea of ravening wolves and so on. I mean, I know quite a lot about how that state was founded, and the amount of violence and dispossession that involved. And I’m a prisoner of that knowledge. I can’t un-know it.”

As seen with Gaza in 2005, unilateral disengagement is probably easier to talk about than actually carry out. But if it Israel doesn’t work harder towards a two-state (maybe three-state, thanks to Hamas) solution, it will eventually have to make that ugly choice between being a Jewish-majority state or a democracy.

It’s still too early to call Israel an apartheid state, but when John Kerry said Israelcould end up as one in the future, he wasn’t completely off the mark. It’s simple math. There are only a limited number of ways a bi-national Jewish state with a non-Jewish majority population can retain its Jewish identity. And none of them are pretty.

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Let’s face it, the land belongs to both of them now. Israel was carved out of Palestine for Jews with help from the British in the late 1940s just like my own birthplace of Pakistan was carved out of India for Muslims around the same time. The process was painful, and displaced millions in both instances. But it’s been almost 70 years. There are now at least two or three generations of Israelis who were born and raised in this land, to whom it really is a home, and who are often held accountable and made to pay for for historical atrocities that are no fault of their own. They are programmed to oppose “the other” just as Palestinian children are. At its very core, this is a tribal religious conflict that will never be resolved unless people stop choosing sides.

So you really don’t have to choose between being “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestine.” If you support secularism, democracy, and a two-state solution — and you oppose Hamas, settlement expansion, and the occupation — you can be both.

If they keep asking you to pick a side after all of that, tell them you’re going with hummus.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Experiencing ‘Spiritual Meltdown of Historic Proportions, and Turning to Jesus.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man looks down from a rooftop at a mass prayer in Jerusalem March 2, 2014.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man looks down from a rooftop at a mass prayer in Jerusalem March 2, 2014

Analysis from a news portal on the Messianic Jewish community in Israel has claimed that some in the Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, who are often opposed to Jewish people turning to Jesus Christ, are experiencing a “spiritual meltdown of historic proportions” and are reexamining their beliefs.

“It would appear that the haredi community is quietly experiencing a spiritual meltdown of historic proportions. These people, who literally spend all their waking hours in Torah learning, are so starved for the real Word of the LORD that hundreds are willing to read ‘forbidden’ material in order to find Him,” Kehila News reported, reflecting on a Hebrew-language article published earlier in June on MyNet, the city of Petach Tikva’s news site.

Kehila News said that the article serves as a warning to citizens in the city to “beware of the propaganda” being distributed by Messianic groups, which is a common complaint by the haredi against Jesus-believing Jewish people.

The news portal argued that in part, the article is nothing special, as it makes the same accusations against the Messianic community as it does every year, namely that Jesus followers are practicing deceit by embracing Jewish customs, that their leaders are motivated by lucrative salaries, that they recruit new believers through entrapment, and indoctrinate minors to leave the Jewish faith.

Christians and Jewish followers of Christ are often accused of such actions by the haredi, which has also led to legislation seeking to supress religious freedom. In June 2015 it was announced that the Jerusalem Municipalityhas been obliged to consult with the city’s Rabbis before allowing Christians to host events in the city, fearful of gatherings that would see to convince Jews to follow Jesus.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have protested Christian gatherings on many other occasions as well, including an instance in May 2014 where they grouped at the site of the Last Supper near Jerusalem ahead of Pope Francis’ visit at the time, arguing that the presence of Christians violates their beliefs.

Later, the MyNet article takes a turn, however, as it suggests that Messianic Jews might be good for the nation, and positioned that followers of Christ may have more to fear from the haredim than vice versa.

The article seemingly admits, Kehila News stated, that material about Jesus is drawing in hundreds of new adherents from the haredi community, which is supposed to be strongly opposed to missionary efforts.

The report argued that the admission is remarkable, as anti-missionary publications always dismiss Jews who turn to Jesus as people who have been alienated by their Jewish heritage, or who are ignorant of the Jewish Bible.

Kehila News added: “A few Israeli believers were asked by MyNet if they understood why the ultra-orthodox are so hostile toward us. Their answers focused on what the haredim think of us, ranging from the perception that they ‘sometimes come to accept us after they get to know us’ … to the conviction that ‘they are against us no matter what we do.'”

The news portal reflected that the “real reason” behind anti-missionary panic in Petach Tikva is that the “Messiah is so powerfully reaching those of our people who have lived all their lives ‘behind the Torah Curtain,'” that even the haredi are recognizing the truth now.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/ultra-orthodox-haredi-jews-spiritual-meltdown-turning-to-jesus-165448/#VRKrQLSOwJC5GKKr.99

TORUN, Poland (AP) — About 2,000 NATO troops from the U.S., Britain and Poland conducted an airborne training operation on Tuesday as part of the biggest exercise performed in Poland since the 1989 end of communism and amid concerns over Russia.

This should make Russia look, oh ya they talk about nukes, but even if they used a tactical nuke, it would kill there troops as well, and make a dead zone not only in Poland, but Russia too.

This is the way to make Putin look and be scared, we need to Box them in, so that if they try and use Tactical nukes, they too will be affected, i am getting sick and tiered with all this “WE HAVE NUKES ” shit coming from Moscow. They need to start looking at what the real price will be if they try to make a Crimea attack again! Their little green men without Russian badges, that only makes them look like cowards, a real military, would show who they were, not try and hide from us.

 

Scores of U.S. troops and then military vehicles parachuted into a spacious, grassy training area on the outskirts of the central city of Torun. The force’s mission was to secure a bridge on the Vistula River as part of the Polish-led Anakonda-16 exercise that involves about 31,000 troops and runs through mid-June.

Nineteen NATO member nations and five partner nations are contributing troops to the exercise that will train and test their swift joint reaction to threats on land, sea and in the air.

Airborne forces from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland conduct a a multi-national jump on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 201...

Airborne forces from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland conduct a a multi-national jump on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The exercise, Swift Response-16, sets the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force training event Anakonda-16. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

In a complex operation that was precisely planned and timed, troops of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division flew directly from their U.S. base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Their Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft were refueled in midair. The British troops flew from a NATO base in Ramstein, Germany, while the Poles arrived from their base in Krakow, in southern Poland.

The exercise “confirmed that we can count on our friends who are capable of flying over the Atlantic to be here with us in a matter of hours,” said Polish Gen. Miroslaw Rozanski, deputy commander of the exercise. “We can look into the future with calm. We have good allies and good partners.”

Russia considers NATO troops’ presence close to its border as a security threat. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Tuesday in Moscow that the military exercise in Poland “does not contribute to the atmosphere of trust and security on the continent.”

Poland and other nations in the region, as well as NATO leaders, say that any military presence or exercises are purely defensive and deterrent measures.

The drill is being held just weeks before NATO holds a crucial summit in Warsaw expected to decide that significant numbers of NATO troops and equipment will be based in Poland and in the Baltic states.

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Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

A C-130 plane drops paratroopers from the Polish 6th Airborne Division during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain ...

A C-130 plane drops paratroopers from the Polish 6th Airborne Division during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The exercise, Swift Response-16, sets the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force training event Anakonda-16. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division jump during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland on to a design...

U.S. C-17 planes from the 82nd Airborne Division drop paratroopers during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The exercise, Swift Response-16, sets the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force training event Anakonda-16. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division General Richard D. Clarke, left, runs after jumping during a multi-national jump conducted by forces from the U.S., G...

Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division General Richard D. Clarke, left, runs after jumping during a multi-national jump conducted by forces from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The exercise, Swift Response-16, sets the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force training event Anakonda-16. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

A British C-130J plane from the 16th Air Assault Brigade drops paratroopers during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Bri...

A British C-130J plane from the 16th Air Assault Brigade drops paratroopers during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The exercise, Swift Response-16, sets the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force training event Anakonda-16. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

A U.S. C-17 plane from the 82nd Airborne Division drops paratroopers during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain an...

A U.S. C-17 plane from the 82nd Airborne Division drops paratroopers during a multi-national jump with soldiers and equipment from the U.S., Great Britain and Poland on to a designated drop zone near Torun, Poland, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The exercise, Swift Response-16, sets the stage in Poland for the multi-national land force training event Anakonda-16. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Ancient Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered, This could end-up being bad!

An Egyptian Handbook of Ritual Power (as researchers call it) has been deciphered revealing a series of invocations and spells. It includes love spells, exorcisms and a cure for black jaundice (a potentially fatal infection). Written in Coptic (an Egyptian language) the 20 page illustrated codex dates back around 1,300 years. This image shows part of the text.

Credit: Photo by Ms. Effy Alexakis, copyright Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre

 

Researchers have deciphered an ancient Egyptian handbook, revealing a series of invocations and spells.

Among other things, the “Handbook of Ritual Power,” as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.

The book is about 1,300 years old, and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. It is made of bound pages of parchment — a type of book that researchers call a codex.

“It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner,” write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power” (Brepols, 2014).

The ancient book “starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power,” they write. “These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business.”

For instance, to subjugate someone, the codex says you have to say a magical formula over two nails, and then “drive them into his doorpost, one on the right side (and) one on the left.”

The Sethians

Researchers believe that the codex may date to the 7th or 8th century. During this time, many Egyptians were Christian and the codex contains a number of invocations referencing Jesus.

However, some of the invocations seem more associated with a group that is sometimes called “Sethians.” This group flourished in Egypt during the early centuries of Christianity and held Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, in high regard. One invocation in the newly deciphered codex calls “Seth, Seth, the living Christ.” [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

The opening of the codex refers to a divine figure named “Baktiotha” whose identity is a mystery, researchers say. The lines read, “I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents,” according to the translation.

“The Baktiotha is an ambivalent figure. He is a great power and a ruler of forces in the material realm,” Choat and Gardner said at a conference, before their book on the codex was published.

Historical records indicate that church leaders regarded the Sethians as heretics and by the 7th century, the Sethians were either extinct or dying out.

This codex, with its mix of Sethian and Orthodox Christian invocations, may in fact be a transitional document, written before all Sethian invocations were purged from magical texts, the researchers said. They noted that there are other texts that are similar to the newly deciphered codex, but which contain more Orthodox Christian and fewer Sethian features.

The researchers believe that the invocations were originally separate from 27 of the spells in the codex, but later, the invocations and these spells were combined, to form a “single instrument of ritual power,” Choat told Live Science in an email.

Who would have used it?

The identity of the person who used this codex is a mystery. The user of the codex would not necessarily have been a priest or monk.

“It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks, but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn’t really want to be labeled as a “magician,'” Choat said.

Some of the language used in the codex suggests that it was written with a male user in mind, however, that “wouldn’t have stopped a female ritual practitioner from using the text, of course,” he said.

Origin

The origin of the codex is also a mystery. Macquarie University acquired it in late 1981 from Michael Fackelmann, an antiquities dealer based in Vienna. In “the 70s and early 80s, Macquarie University (like many collections around the world) purchased papyri from Michael Fackelmann,” Choat said in the email.

But where Fackelmann got the codex from is unknown. The style of writing suggests that the codex originally came from Upper Egypt.

“The dialect suggests an origin in Upper Egypt, perhaps in the vicinity of Ashmunein/Hermopolis,” which was an ancient city, Choat and Gardner write in their book.

The codex is now housed in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Physicists Warming Up the LHC Accidentally Create a Rainbow Universe : WOW and WTF!

After two years of extensive upgrades, the Large Hadron Collider was warming up on March 21 for another round of experiments when a circuit controlling one of its massive magnets shorted out. Dismayed, scientists began repairing the equipment, hoping for a short delay. Just yesterday, CERN announced that the LHC could restart within days.

Then the unexpected happened. As physicists were testing the repairs by zipping a few spare protons around the 17 mile loop, the CMS detector picked up something unusual. The team feverishly pored over the data, and ultimately came to an unlikely conclusion—in their tests, they had accidentally created a rainbow universe.

In a “Rainbow” Universe Time May Have No Beginning

If different wavelengths of light experience spacetime differently, the big bang may never have happened

What if the universe had no beginning, and time stretched back infinitely without a big bang to start things off? That’s one possible consequence of an idea called “rainbow gravity,” so-named because it posits that gravity’s effects on spacetime are felt differently by different wavelengths of light, aka different colors in the rainbow.

Rainbow gravity was first proposed 10 years ago as a possible step toward repairing the rifts between the theories of general relativity (covering the very big) and quantum mechanics (concerning the realm of the very small). The idea is not a complete theory for describing quantum effects on gravity, and is not widely accepted. Nevertheless, physicists have now applied the concept to the question of how the universe began, and found that if rainbow gravity is correct, spacetime may have a drastically different origin story than the widely accepted picture of the big bang.

According to Einstein’s general relativity, massive objects warp spacetime so that anything traveling through it, including light, takes a curving path. Standard physics says this path shouldn’t depend on the energy of the particles moving through spacetime, but in rainbow gravity, it does. “Particles with different energies will actually see different spacetimes, different gravitational fields,” says Adel Awad of the Center for Theoretical Physics at Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt, who led the new research, published in October in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. The color of light is determined by its frequency, and because different frequencies correspond to different energies, light particles (photons) of different colors would travel on slightly different paths though spacetime, according to their energy.

The effects would usually be tiny, so that we wouldn’t notice the difference in most observations of stars, galaxies and other cosmic phenomena. But with extreme energies, in the case of particles emitted by stellar explosions called gamma-ray bursts, for instance, the change might be detectable. In such situations photons of different wavelengths released by the same gamma-ray burst would reach Earth at slightly different times, after traveling somewhat altered courses through billions of light-years of time and space. “So far we have no conclusive evidence that this is going on,” says Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, a physicist at the Sapienza University of Rome who has researched the possibility of such signals. Modern observatories, however, are just now gaining the sensitivity needed to measure these effects, and should improve in coming years.

The extreme energies needed to bring out strong consequences from rainbow gravity, although rare now, were dominant in the dense early universe, and could mean things got started in a radically different fashion than we tend to think. Awad and his colleagues found two possible beginnings to the universe based on slightly different interpretations of the ramifications of rainbow gravity. In one scenario, if you retrace time backward, the universe gets denser and denser, approaching an infinite density but never quite reaching it. In the other picture the universe reaches an extremely high, but finite, density as you look back in time and then plateaus. In neither case is there a singularity—a point in time when the universe is infinitely dense—or in other words, a big bang. “This was, of course, an interesting result, because in most cosmological models, we have singularities,” Awad says. The result suggests perhaps the universe had no beginning at all, and that time can be traced back infinitely far.

Whereas it is too soon to know if these scenarios might describe the truth, they are intriguing. “This paper and a few other papers show there could be a rightful place in cosmology for this idea [of rainbow gravity], which is encouraging to me,” says Amelino-Camelia, who was not involved in the study, but has researched frameworks for pursuing a quantum theory of gravity. “In quantum gravity we are finding more and more examples where there is this feature which you may call rainbow gravity. It is something that is increasingly compelling.”

Yet the concept has its critics. “It’s a model that I do not believe has anything to do with reality,” says Sabine Hossenfelder of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics. This idea is not the only way to do away with the big bang singularity, she adds. “The problem isn’t to remove the singularity, the problem is to modify general relativity in a consistent way, so that one still reproduces all its achievements and that of the Standard Model [of particle physics] in addition.”

Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, who first suggested the idea of rainbow gravity along with Joao Magueijo of Imperial College London, says that, in his mind, rainbow gravity has been subsumed in a larger idea called relative locality. According to relative locality, observers in different locations across spacetime will not agree on where events take place—in other words, location is relative. “Relative locality is a deeper way of understanding the same idea” as rainbow gravity, Smolin says. The new paper by Awad and his colleagues “is interesting,” he adds, “but before really believing the result, I would want to redo it within the framework of relative locality. There are going to be problems with locality the way it’s written that the authors might not be aware of.”

In the coming years researchers hope to analyze gamma-ray bursts and other cosmic phenomena for signs of rainbow gravity effects. If they are found, it could mean the universe has a more “colorful” history than we knew.

 

“Rainbow universes were pure speculation before this happened,” said Jessica Czerniski, the CERN physicist who was overseeing the warm-up procedures. “We had some solid math backing us up, of course, but none of us ever dreamed we would live to see this day.”

cms-inner-tracker-barrel
An inside look at the LHC’s CMS detector
First proposed back in the early 2000s, the theory of rainbow gravity posits that different wavelengths of light are affected by gravity in different ways. Rainbow universes are thought to be a natural result of rainbow gravity, but with the peculiar qualities of not having distinct beginnings. In other words, rainbow universes have been around since forever, which has physicists stumped over the “creation” at the LHC.

“When I first saw the paper posted on the arXiv [a site for scholarly publications], I almost spit out my coffee,” said Randall Pattinson, a professor of physics at the Princeton University. “Rainbow gravity has some real physics behind it, but actually seeing evidence of it? It’s like finding an original edition Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper that your daughter wanted for her birthday. It’s almost too good to be true.”

Technicians close to the CMS detector reported hearing a loud noise, something of a cross between screeching metal and tearing cloth. In a thick haze that hung over the magnet, initially thought to be smoke from the short circuit, they saw a shimmering halo that spanned the full spectrum of visible light which vanished after a few seconds. Scientists studying the CMS data later confirmed the anomaly lasted for about 2.6 seconds.

Czerniski and her team would like to repeat the conditions that led to the appearance of the rainbow universe, though only after carefully analyzing the current CMS data. “We’d like to ensure that there aren’t any unanticipated consequences from attempting to create a more stable version of the rainbow universe,” she said, acknowledging that CERN is aware of the public’s concerns over its experiments. (When the LHC was first started, some people feared the powerful accelerator would create a black hole here on Earth.)

rainbow-uni
A visualization of the data captured by the CMS detector
Among the curiosities Czerniski and her colleagues need to sort out is an artifact in the data that, when recreated in three-dimensions, appears to be the ghostly outline of a dolphin. At first they thought it was merely the computer’s desktop wallpaper bleeding through a transparent window, but after confirming the terminal’s settings, they dove deeper into the data. Subsequent analysis suggested the apparition is real as it registered at five sigma.

Should the CERN team be successful in creating another rainbow universe, proof of a rainbow gravity could force physicists to rethink the origins of the universe—the Big Bang theory, for example, would likely be thrown out. But such a confirmation could also finally bridge general relativity with quantum mechanics.

“We’re literally on the edge of our seats,” Czerniski said. “If this pans out, maybe we’ll finally be able to convince the international community to build the space-based particle accelerator we’ve been hoping for. There’s a perfect spot on the International Space Station for it—right next to the dolphin module that was installed last year.”

Wormhole Created in Lab Makes Invisible Magnetic Field: Amazing!

magnetic wormhole

A new device can cloak a magnetic field so that it invisible from the outside. Here, a picture of how the wormhole would work.
Credit: ordi Prat-Camps and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Ripped from the pages of a sci-fi novel, physicists have crafted a wormhole that tunnels a magnetic field through space.

“This device can transmit the magnetic field from one point in space to another point, through a path that is magnetically invisible,” said study co-author Jordi Prat-Camps, a doctoral candidate in physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. “From a magnetic point of view, this device acts like a wormhole, as if the magnetic field was transferred through an extra special dimension.”

The idea of a wormhole comes from Albert Einstein’s theories. In 1935, Einstein and colleague Nathan Rosen realized that the general theory of relativity allowed for the existence of bridges that could link two different points in space-time. Theoretically these Einstein-Rosen bridges, or wormholes, could allow something to tunnel instantly between great distances (though the tunnels in this theory are extremely tiny, so ordinarily wouldn’t fit a space traveler). So far, no one has found evidence that space-time wormholes actually exist. [Science Fact or Fiction? The Plausibility of 10 Sci-Fi Concepts]

The new wormhole isn’t a space-time wormhole per se, but is instead a realization of a futuristic “invisibility cloak” first proposed in 2007 in the journal Physical Review Letters. This type of wormhole would hide electromagnetic waves from view from the outside. The trouble was, to make the method work for light required materials that are extremely impractical and difficult to work with, Prat said.

Magnetic wormhole

But it turned out the materials to make a magnetic wormhole already exist and are much simpler to come by. In particular, superconductors, which can carry high levels of current, or charged particles, expel magnetic field lines from their interiors, essentially bending or distorting these lines. This essentially allows the magnetic field to do something different from its surrounding 3D environment, which is the first step in concealing the disturbance in a magnetic field.

So the team designed a three-layer object, consisting of two concentric spheres with an interior spiral-cylinder. The interior layer essentially transmitted a magnetic field from one end to the other, while the other two layers acted to conceal the field’s existence.

The inner cylinder was made of a ferromagnetic mu-metal. Ferromagnetic materials exhibit the strongest form of magnetism, while mu-metals are highly permeable and are often used for shielding electronic devices.

A thin shell made up of a high-temperature superconducting material called yttrium barium copper oxide lined the inner cylinder, bending the magnetic field that traveled through the interior.

magnetic wormhole device
A new device has created a magnetic wormhole, in which a magnetic field enters one end and seems to pop out of nowhere on the other side.
Credit: Jordi Prat-Camps and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The final shell was made of another mu-metal, but composed of 150 pieces cut and placed to perfectly cancel out the bending of the magnetic field by the superconducting shell. The whole device was placed in a liquid-nitrogen bath (high-temperature superconductors require the low temperatures of liquid nitrogen to work).

Normally, magnetic field lines radiate out from a certain location and decay over time, but the presence of the magnetic field should be detectable from points all around it. However, the new magnetic wormhole funnels the magnetic field from one side of the cylinder to another so that it is “invisible” while in transit, seeming to pop out of nowhere on the exit side of the tube, the researchers report today (Aug. 20) in the journal Scientific Reports.

“From a magnetic point of view, you have the magnetic field from the magnet disappearing at one end of the wormhole and appearing again at the other end of the wormhole,” Prat told Live Science.

Broader applications

There’s no way to know if similar magneticwormholes lurk in space, but the technology could have applications on Earth, Prat said. For instance, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines use a giant magnet and require people to be in a tightly enclosed central tube for diagnostic imaging.

But if a device could funnel a magnetic field from one spot to the other, it would be possible to take pictures of the body with the strong magnet placed far away, freeing people from the claustrophobic environment of an MRI machine, Prat said.

To do that, the researchers would need to modify the shape of their magnetic wormhole device. A sphere is the simplest shape to model, but a cylindrical outer shell would be the most useful, Prat said.

“If you want to apply this to medical techniques or medical equipment, for sure you will be interested in directing toward any given direction,” Prat said. “A spherical shape is not the most practical geometry.”

Realtime coverage : Firefighters Missing After Deadly China Blasts, No known cause yet, Looks like a 5K nuke?

Authorities reportedly lose contact with 36 firefighters at the site of two blasts that ripped through an industrial area.

Dozens of firefighters are missing after two large explosions hit an industrial area in the Chinese city of Tianjin, killing at least 17 people and injuring hundreds more.

Authorities say they have lost contact with 36 firefighters at the scene, the Beijing News reported.

Nine firefighters have been confirmed dead. It was not immediately clear whether they were among the 17 people already reported dead.

Map of showing the Chinese city of Tianjin

More than 400 people have also been injured in the blasts, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The first explosion at happened at around 11.30pm local time, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

The explosion, believed to have involved a shipment of explosives, triggered a blast wave that could be felt miles away, CCTV said.

The second blast, which was much bigger than the first, happened about 30 seconds after the initial explosion.

The blasts sent huge fireballs into the air.

The initial explosion also triggered other blasts at nearby buildings, Xinhua said.

Reports say many of those were wounded by broken glass and stones.

Police said the initial explosion happened at a warehouse owned by Ruihai Logistics.

Senior management at the firm have been detained by authorities, state media said.

President Xi Jinping is demanding severe punishment for anyone found responsible for the explosions, reports said.

There has been no indication of what caused the explosions.

Beijing News said the explosions shattered windows and knocked doors off of buildings in the area.

Video: Huge Blast Rocks Chinese City

Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, who lives several kilometres from the site of the warehouse blast, said: “I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on.

“Only once I was outside did I realise it was an explosion.

“There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds.

“Everybody could see it.”

Ms Zhang said she could see wounded people crying, and added: “I could feel death.”

Han Xiang said: “It was like the earthquake back in 1976 with glass breaking.

“But then there was a huge mushroom cloud so we thought we were also in a war.”

The fire has been brought under control, CCTV reported, although it is still burning.

Tianjin, home to around 15 million people, is one of the biggest cities in China.

A black hole 12 billion times more massive than our Sun has been detected

It’s so big, we need new physics to explain it.

Step aside regular black holes, astronomers have detected an ancient black hole that’s so incredibly massive and luminous, it defies our understanding of the early Universe.

In fact its quasar, the shining object produced by a supermassive black hole, is 420 trillion times more luminous than our Sun – despite forming only around 900 million years after the birth of the Universe. This makes it the brightest object ever spotted in the ancient Universe. It’s so impossibly bright that it’s almost, well impossible.

“How could we have this massive black hole when the universe was so young? We don’t currently have a satisfactory theory to explain it,” the lead researcher, Xue-Bing Wu, from Peking University in China and the Kavli Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in the US, told Rachel Feltman from The Washington Post.

The quasar, known as SDSS JO100+2802, is located around 12.8 billion light years away from Earth, and was spotted by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, before being verified by three Earth-bound telescopes.

Reporting in Nature, the team explains that for the black hole to reach such a massive size in less than a billion years, it would have been constantly sucking in interstellar mass at its maximum rate. But this doesn’t fit with our current understanding of black hole growth, which states that the process is limited by energy that blasts out of the quasar as the black hole heats up.

Following that hypothesis, and also factoring in the limited amount of matter available in the early Universe, it makes it extremely difficult for scientists to explain how the supermassive black hole exists – and how it came to be 12 billion times more massive than our Sun.

“With this supermassive black hole, very early in the Universe, that theory cannot work,” Fuyan Bian from the Australian National University, who was involved in the research, told Genelle Weule and Stuart Gary for ABC Science. “It’s time for a new hypothesis and for some new physics.”

But even though we’re still not sure how the mega quasar is possible, it’s going to be a useful tool for finding other objects in the Universe.

“This quasar is very unique. Just like the brightest lighthouse in the distant universe, its glowing light will help us probe more about the early Universe,” said Wu in a press release.

Sources: ABC ScienceThe Washington Post

Read this next: The masses of black holes are more predictable than we thought

Mother Earth weeps as Arctic Circle ice cap slides into the sea | Don’t believe in global warming? Watch!

Image credit:Jason Roberts, BBC-Cracked surface: The largest ice cap in the Eurasian Arctic – Austfonna in Svalbard -

The Austfonna ice cap is located in northeastern Svalbard within the arctic circle north of Scandinavia. “Roughly  28% of the ice cap bed lies below sea level and over 200 km of its southern and eastern margin terminates in the ocean [Dowdeswell, 1986; Dowdeswell et al., 2008], with parts resting on a retrograde slope.”

Like most glaciers that terminate at the sea, warm water from the Atlantic is making its way north to the Arctic ocean (including Berants sea) where the warmth helps to melt the underside of the glacier which in turn causes thinning resulting in rapid retreat. This process is also exacerbated by melt water and bedrock warming.  This is changing the flow dynamics of the glacier.

The Earth Story describes the dynamic change as follows:

This glacier appears to have come ungrounded, flowing out to sea at a rapid pace and draining ice from the ice cap in the process. The ice cap is now thinning by an average of 25 meters per year.

 The waters of the Arctic Ocean have warmed at a rapid pace relative to the rest of the world over recent years, and 2012 in particular was a year of exceptional melting and warmth in the arctic due to some extreme storms. The sudden movement in this glacier suggests that this pulse of heat has helped destabilize glaciers in the surrounding territory and it is happening at an exceptionally rapid pace.

The technical study concludes:

To date, the observed dynamical imbalance has propagated 50 km inland to within 8 km of the ice cap summit, producing widespread ice loss to the ocean. Currently, the glacier terminus rests on a broadly undulating bed; however, farther inland the bed deepens, providing the potential for future instability if further ungrounding occurs [Schoof, 2007]. The imbalance could have been triggered by a number of processes, including an internally generated surge, increased meltwater availability at the bed [Dunse et al., 2014], or enhanced ocean- or atmosphere-driven melting at the terminus; indeed, a combination of factors may have contributed [Nick et al., 2009; Jenkins, 2011]. Across Austfonna, however, there is a coherent pattern of ice margin thinning at all marine-based sectors, which is not apparent at land-terminating basins (Figure 1). This may suggest either a common ocean forcing or the influence of bed conditions specific to marine settings. Additional evidence of anomalously warm waters offshore [Polyakov et al., 2005, 2013] and insignificantly increased atmospheric melting in recent years leads us to favor the former mechanism, rather than one linked to increased melt water delivery to the bed, although a definitive link would require dynamical modeling and measurements at the calving front. Until then, it is unclear whether the moderate rates of thinning of other marine ice sectors are a prelude to similar widespread mass loss in these areas, or whether the large dynamical imbalance at basin 3 will be sustained over time. Nonetheless, the behavior recorded here demonstrates that slow-flowing ice caps can enter states of significant imbalance over very short timescales and highlights their capacity for increased ice loss in the future.

This video is from Chasing Ice where Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. Though not Austfonna, we get the idea of what is happening to our glaciers worldwide.

Einstein’s Credo: Here’s what Einstein believed in

Did you know that Einstein fancied himself something of a loner, and didn’t believe in free will? Read Einstein’s Credo, written during his last years in Berlin.

In August 1932, Albert Einstein wrote “My Credo” in Caputh, Germany, outlining his ideological and political ideologies during his final years in Berlin. The original was handwritten in German, and entrusted to Konrad Wachsmann, the architect of his summer home.

At the end of September that same year, or perhaps the beginning of October, Einstein read his credo out loud and recorded it for the German League of Human Rights. There are apparently just 10 of these original recordings, on vinyl, left in the world. “The spoken word compared to the written word lets you feel the high emotional value and the depth of information of the recording – despite all the technical inadequacies and its shortness,” Hans-Josef Küpper writes at the Einstein Website. “In this recording the great physicist and humanist shows his craving for truth, humanity and peace in an impressive way.”

That recording is in German, but if you want to get a good idea of what Einstein sounded like when he was speaking in English, head to Open Culture to hear a recording of him reciting an essay on ‘The Common Language of Science’, in 1941.

Below, you can find the English translation of Einstein’s credo, courtesy of the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

And it pretty much goes without saying, but what a fascinating man. Just last monthit was announced by the Digital Einstein Project that the 80,000 documents left behind by Einstein are now being digitised so they can be freely viewed online by the public, and what we’re getting the opportunity to see because of it is precious. A highlight is this letter from Einstein to Marie Curie in 1911, and, quite simply, it’s telling his esteemed colleague to ignore the haters.

And now, here’s Einstein’s Credo:

“My Credo

It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one’s personal fate and from the attitude of one’s contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large.

Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own. I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them.

I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer’s words: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.

I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary. I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism.

Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state.

Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated.

The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimely reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.”