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The Hindu Influence In Asia (part 1)

In 'Paradise' I mention early on that the new colony adopts the dress of the pre-Islamic empires of India and SE Asia, principally the sarong for both males and females. Most people do not know that during this era it was normal for women to go topless. The evidence is clear from the carvings on the temples throughout the region, from India proper to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to Bali, Indonesia. This historical reality has been suppressed by conservative Hindus, Muslims and Christians. However, we do have some photographic evidence. In the case of Bali, until quite recently (the Balinese [...]

Traditional Cultures (part 1)

One of the key themes of 'Paradise' is the notion of civilisation. Under the Christian myth of the Fall, indigenous nudity is equated with being primitive and 'savage'. The planet Eden is tropical and the colonisers decide to ignore this taboo, arguing that nudity is rational in a warm climate. Some of the colonisers come from tribal traditions and over time they adopt a wide variety of tribal adornment. These images are a reminder of that variety.

Bhutanese Monasteries

Since the decimation of Tibet, Bhutan remains one of the last places where Vajrayana Buddhism is practiced in its original form. The small kingdom is determined to preserve its heritage. Part of the story of 'Paradise' takes place in Bhutan, where the main protagonist converts a monastery to a hotel/command centre.

Bhutan: Painted Phalli

Early in Paradise, the protagonist Akash finds himself living in Bhutan. This beautiful country is extraordinary on many levels. It is the last bastion of the original teachings of Padmasambhava - the Nyingma lineage - which has a very frank approach to sexuality. Right throughout Bhutan you will find phalli painted on the sides of buildings. They are there to ward off evil, encourage fertility, but they can also be read literally as a symbol of sex. Here are just a few examples:

Dakini

The background mythology of Paradise is Tantric Buddhism. One key figure is that of the dakini (khandroma or sky-dancer). She is nearly always depicted naked to signal her non-attachment to the world. 

The Age Of Transhumanist Politics

Just another article that may be of interest. I'm not going to debate the merits of transhumanist politics on this blog. I'll save that for the pages of Paradise. An interesting interview with Roland Benedikter

Aldous Huxley And Brave New World

Okay, a confession (perhaps a spoiler), Paradise owes a lot to the Huxley's - Julian and Aldous. There are elements of Brave New World and Island in Paradise. There have been attempts made at filming Brave New World, but they usually falter at an accurate depiction, usually stumbling over the radical and frank approach to sexuality. We'll have to wait and see about this attempt by Ida Kar,photograph,1959 .  

Rethinking Architecture

What if you could go to a new planet and start again? How would we create a new architecture? New planet - new rules.

Gifted Kids: Alma Deutscher

Alma Deutscher is a truly extraordinary talent. Now imagine if we colonised a planet with children of this calibre?

Theoretical Physics

I'm not going to publish too many articles on advances in theoretical physics simply because much of it just that, theoretical, and there is still a lot of disagreement. However I did find this article interesting because it digs deeper and questions the fundamentals of space-time, something that the main protagonist of Paradise succeeds in doing."Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes."