Merlin is my work in progress.

This 120 second video  of what “Merlin” is  was produced and directed by talented videographer, Jonny Jermyn. The whimsical music is provided by the  dark and dramatic Bernard Herrmann.

Winston Churchill once said,  “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with,  it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”

My virtual and social friends have asked me  to where I have disappeared.  I have been inconsistent with my blogging, and I mean no disrespect to my loyal  subscribers.  I have  been so out of the twitter, facebook, and instagram   scene,  I have received  urgent PMs from friends as to whether or not I am  still alive.

Thankfully,  I am. My absence has  largely been  due to the adventure  of which Churchill so eloquently speaks. I was hoping to have the Merlin novels wrapped up by now, but Merlin continues to be a  muse with many charms and much wisdom.

This Merlin is inspired by the works of Robert de Boron , a 13th  century French author. While de Boron’s work  remains significant  to the Arthurian Canon , Merlin’s  demonic conception and  his ties to  Joseph of Arimathea have never been realized in a fictional narrative. Two of de Boron’s greatest contributions to the Arthurian Canon – the Holy Grail and the Round Table have never been realized in a populist manner in the  way de Boron created them.

I wrote a draft of the  first book on Merlin  in ninety days and it was in good shape  and many concurred.  Two years and three editors later, the story  continues to amaze  in spite in now being a tyrant.

As Merlin is now sixteen hundred years old, I suppose two years is not much of anything :-).

The Secret Service After the Intrusion - Sepetmber 20, 2014

The Secret Service After the Intrusion – September 20, 2014

Lincoln the man is hard to separate from Lincoln the legend. But when the Director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson,  resigned yesterday over the major breeches of the White House over this past month, I couldn’t help remembering this nifty  story of a White House long ago.

The story is taken from the marvelous book, Iron Man, A Book About Men,  by national treasure, poet and educator, Robert Bly.   In his milestone book, Bly outlines the stages of men as red (savage youth), white (engagement), and black (growing wise – swallowing the ego, embracing mortality).

Here is the story Robert Bly tells:

“A mother once got into the White House and woke Lincoln up at five in the morning, saying that her son had been sent by train to Washington a few days before, had no sleep and now was going to be shot at eight that morning. If Lincoln had been in the red (younger) , he might have shouted to the guards, ‘Who let this woman in here? Get her out of here!’

If he were in the white (young adult) , he might have said, ‘Madam, we all have to obey rules. Your son didn’t obey the rules, and I feel as bad as you do about it, but I can’t intervene.’ He didn’t say either of these things (he was in the black stage of wisdom). He said, ‘Well, I guess shooting him wouldn’t help him much,’ and he signed a piece of paper.”

In Lincoln’s day, there was no Secret Service to protect the President. In fact, Lincoln’s assassination occurred on April 15, 1865. As a result of the tragedy of April, the Secret Service was installed several months later on July 6, 1865.

I have no idea whether Bly’s story about the  female intruder is “real” or has become the “truth” of history.

Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. From an August,  2014 Facebook post by Joan Rivers

Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. From an August, 2014 Facebook post by Joan Rivers

With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, the question has come up again from Christian students as to whether or not suicide is the “unforgivable sin”.

 So what is the answer from a Christian perspective?

The answer is that suicide is forgivable. It is certainly sad and tragic. But as  Jesus says  murder,  adultery, theft  are  all forgivable.

Then is there one unforgivable sin?

According to Jesus, there is only one. It is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

As Jesus says in Luke 12 :10 “…Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man (Jesus) will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against The Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

What is the Holy Spirit? It is a spiritual  gift  from God available to all men and women. By inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives we become changed. And what does that mean exactly?

 According to Romans 8:26,” …the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Galatians 5:22-25)

And once the Spirit takes hold of us, we are transformed for “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law….Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in touch with the Spirit.”

So to those who have been asking, Robin Williams, according to Scripture, did not commit a unforgivable sin. For all those Fundamentalists Christians who  pridefully have all the answers including who is a “Christian” and who is not, I like to end with the quote from Nobel  Peace Prize winning social advocate, Bishop Desmond Tutu.  “We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.”  

The Bot and I at MIT

A Him And A He At  MIT

HIM” is backed by capital from the  founders of PayPal, Facebook, and Tesla. Him is known as “Vicarious”.

According to the Vicarious Company,  Vicarious will be a “machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain. Our first technology is a visual perception system that interprets the contents of photographs and videos in a manner similar to humans. Powering this technology is a new computational paradigm we call the Recursive Cortical Network.”

Some of Silicon Valley’s most influential billionaires are backing Vicarious which aims to recreate the human neocortex as computer code.  Peter Thiel, from PayPal, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, and Elon Musk from Tesla are all in the creation game.  The young men have thrown $40 million in capital to HIM,  according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The neocortex is the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres and in humans is crucial to the use of the senses as well as activities such as language, motor commands and spatial reasoning.

The  Vicarious Company has already managed to create software that will solve Captcha, the online tests used by many websites to supposedly identify humans from computers. Vicarious  founder Scott Phoenix said that if they are successful, Vicarious will have created “a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn’t need to eat or sleep”.

By the definition from Mirriam-Webster, Vicarious is  experienced or felt by watching, hearing about, or reading about someone else rather than by doing something yourself. Just another giant leap , not for mankind, but for HIM.