Cultural Discourse looks at a broad range of cultural issues.


The editors of Cultural Discourse

John David Ebert
John Ebert is an independent cultural critic whose essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in periodicals such as Lapis, Alexandria, Utne Reader and The Antioch Review. He is the author of Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society ( 2005) and Twilight of the Clockwork God: Conversations on Science & Spirituality at the End of an Age (Council Oak Books: 1999) . Formerly, he was an editor at the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

John Lobell
John Lobell received architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His continuing studies have included mythology with Joseph Campbell, and quantum theory. Lobell is a professor at Pratt Institute where he teaches architectural history and theory, and issues in technology and culture. He is the author of Joseph Campbell: The Man and His Ideas and Between Silence and Light: Spirit in the Architecture of Louis I. Kahn. See for more.

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  1. 1 On October 16th, 2010, Brian Kelly said:


    Have you seen Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet yet? It’s undoubtedly the best film I’ve seen in a while. I don’t have many specific parallels to draw from it right now, having just finished watching it tonight, but many archetypes and hero myth themes are definitely spot on throughout – what a contemporary katabasis, for starters!

    I was thinking your insight on this film might lead to a rich essay, another crowd-drawing addition to Cinema Discourse, since the American films you’ve written about for the last few months have been average (in my opinion) at best.

    Also, I really enjoy the Cultural Discourse essays. You do great work for readers like me who really struggle with the issues that seem so innocuous to society today. It’s all tremendously inspiring to me. Your syllabus can be a bit overwhelming but I’m never wanting for valuable authors and book titles.

    Lux tua nos ducat.

  2. 2 On October 13th, 2016, Martin Thau said:


    I shall recommend two unique titles that could inform your approach

    “Deleuze Through Wittgenstein: Essays in Transcendental Empiricism”
    M. Curtis Allen | The University of Western Ontario (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository) – the only essay I do know to seriously play these two thinkes simultaneously

    The other one is unique as well and very informative

  3. 3 On June 11th, 2017, drew hempel said:

    Re: Ebert of SF,

    Dear John Lobell: You say you were teaching Eastern philosophy, I’m listening to your Ebert, part 2 podcast, thanks, as per recommendation from someone who discovered my research. In 2000 I did intensive meditation training with a qigong master to finish my master’s degree at U of MN. I critiqued Zizek back in 1996, after my colleague was his direct student at U of MN in the early 1990s. Zizek responded with his Plague of Fantasies book in 1997 after he sent me a postcard in 1996 stating my monograph was “very interesting” and he would read it and get back to me. My perspective is music theory, paranormal physics, and ecofeminism radical ecology. I took quantum mechanics at Hampshire College in 1990. I then finished a masters degree in 2000 at U of MN in “sound-current nondualism” – technically the new Master of Liberal Studies at U of MN but self-designed interdisciplinary analysis.

    My philosophy was still too western after my master’s degree – as I discovered from mathematical analysis. I read one scholarly book a day for 10 years since 2000 while I sat in full lotus trance meditation, after I had done intensive meditation training in nonwestern philosophy. So then I began corresponding with math professors (and many other professors) – and was asked to submit my math-music research for publication. I had to keep researching though. I did discover what I dubbed the Actual Matrix Plan in 2001, based on this music-math analysis.

    Finally I broke through with what I had been searching for – “noncommutative phase” – and I have a free pdf that is the training that was discovered by the person I first referenced who led me to your podcast, the person who follows Ebert. is the free pdf of the noncommutative phase nonwestern training as the solution – lots of images.

    Essentially Zizek critiques Buddhism but my best friend who studied with Zizek is a first generation immigrant from Taiwan – and so in high school I was already introduced to Buddhism. His name is James T. Hong – he got his Ph.D. in math, had the top undergraduate thesis at U of MN (school of 50,000 people) on Heidegger and also did a math degree. Now he is an avant-garde political film director. He just got shown at Guggenheim so he is too successful to correspond with me anymore. haha. I got arrested 8 times doing civil disobedience against U.S. genocidal imperialism.

    I had already been reading Master Nan, Huai-chin, a best-seller in China but unknown in the West for the most part. In other words Zizek sets up “strawman arguments” – (he doesn’t really understand Buddhism). I recommended Zizek read Master Nan, Huai-chin to truly understand Buddhism, and that website was soon after taken down with no response. Zizek had set up similar “strawman arguments” in his response to my critique of him in his 1997 book (of course he didn’t name me when he dismissed ecofeminism, parapsychology and then he also emphasized music theory). Zizek had misunderstood my argument, so my 2000 master’s thesis was an attempt to clarify my argument. But as I said – I was still too Western – so I did the intensive meditation training, had a permanent psycho-physiological transformation (yes ghosts are really, precognition is real, long distance nonlocal holographic healing is real, telekinesis and telepathy are real, etc.).

    So then we need to understand that the oldest philosophy of India is based on the “three gunas” and this in turn is from nonwestern music theory. This goes back to the original human culture – the San Bushmen – centered on spiritual training by the males, again modeled by music theory. The original human culture, as Elizabeth Marshall Thomas titled her book, The Harmless People, know the secret of ecologically balanced, peaceful and spiritually advanced living. See for example Andrew Zimmern breaking out in tears from his holographic healing experience –

    That is also what the qigong masters do – I was befriended by – he traveled through Africa – Jim Nance – he also has a master’s degree – he can leave his body at will. He was a kungfu master in the 1960s – and then a professional basketball player in Turkey.

    Ebert is still stuck on the problem of the West – Jean Gebser is good but similar to Ken Wilber – I critiqued Wilber in my master’s thesis also, just as I critiqued Zizek.

    The key is to focus on the solution and what the solution really means – in terms of “noncommutative phase.” Only one other analyst discovered this – a quantum physicist at Stanford who studied psychology, extending the research of Gregory Bateson – Eddie Oshins. Oshins is an “academics’ academic.” He didn’t even get his Ph.D. but the other Stanford professors kept getting Oshins funded. Oshins taught Wing Chun and realized that 720 quantum spin that is noncommutative is the secret of the Tai Chi martial arts training.

    So Oshins made the same discovery that I did – independently – only Oshins didn’t connect it to music theory.

    Thanks for your time. My blog with my links to all my free information – is

  4. 4 On June 13th, 2017, Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #10 – The Alchemical Microcosm: Terence McKenna & The Evolution of Consciousness | Archiving Terence McKenna said:

    […] Blend magazine #56 (August 1997) included the second part of an interview with Terence McKenna by John David Ebert. I’ve included some snippets of that interview here. There are also some advertisements […]

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