Sync Log: Intruders

Well, it's been an interesting week here. 

I've been very busy which is why I've been out of the loop the past few days. But as per usual, I've also had the usual backlog of posts in the queue that I can't seem to get any traction on. It's not a question of inspiration, the majority of posts on this blog were half-formed ideas that sat stewing for some time until I could get a handle on them. It's just the writing process.

Then there are those posts that seem to be written for you, or are the result of a series of improbable events that beg to be sorted out and commented on. 

Thursday was a typical day for me, until my daughter called me down to the living room. "What's that?" she asked, with a semi-panicked tone in her voice. Well, "that" was a rather enormous wolf spider, sitting there on the wall. 

How the hell it got in the house was a mystery, but I was more concerned with getting it out of the house without harming it or you know, myself.

My daughter took the photo on her phone and she's quite a bit shorter than I am so there's quite a bit of obvious perspective distortion here. Suffice it to say the critter was a good four inches, toe to toe. 

It may not seem all that intimidating here in this low-rez cellphone pic but in person-- and in your frickin' living room-- it gave more the impression of this....

Anyhow, I used a trick with a glass bowl and a piece of paper to get the little fella safely out into the wild, where he looked a lot less intimidating. It got me thinking about the Alien movies and how they are based in our natural revulsion of insects and other arthropods, which in turn got me to thinking how alien the natural world often seems to us, which got me to thinking...well, you know.

As fate would have it the UK Independent featured a story on Thursday (and a story I didn't happen upon until after the episode with Wolfie) about Australia, which is well known for its epic spider problems. 

I couldn't help be struck by the connection with "angels" and the rest, since I've been doing a lot of research into the roiling subculture of "UFOs as fallen angels" theology, a movement that seems to be picking up steam as traditional Evangelicalism wanes. That would turn out to be more than an idle revery, when my son came home and showed me this video, that he taped at work on Thursday night...

Detail from video, courtesy of Mike Clelland

... of your classic, hovering lights-type sighting. As he told it, the lights appeared about 15 minutes before the end of his shift at a local recreation facility and simply hovered there, not moving (they comment on the lights lack of movement on the video). They had to leave the grounds but apparently the lights were still there when they left. (SEE POSTSCRIPT)

The wind was 4-8 mph N/NW so you figure if they were flares or balloons there would have been some visible movement at that apparent altitude (the wind today is only 5 mph and there's a lot of movement in the trees as I type), even at that short duration. You can see the heavy, low cloud cover so it's unlikely they were stars or satellites. My son said they were very large. I doubt any kind of aircraft would be flying that low in formation. 

And of course, these lights weren't flying...

The area they are hovering over is forest as best I can tell. This facility is on a mountain, so it's possible they are something like the Brown Mountain lights or the lights of Hessadalen, earthlights as it were. 

Then again for all I know they could be daemonic orbs, heralding the coming Apocalypse. I simply don't know.

Because the point here is that the synchronicity of it all is what grabs me, especially in light of the weird intruder earlier in the day. 

My belief is that lights in the sky are just lights in the sky until they tap into deeper streams of meaning. And the conjunction of the uninvited guest and these strange lights in the night certainly coincides with a deeper current of discovery that has been revealing itself through a strange accumulation of evidence (some of it kind of creepy) over the past year or so.

Another detail from video, showing lights below clouds

Additionally, my son is the same age (22) as I was during my own strange light sighting (I call these UHLs rather than UFOs- unidentified hovering lights), though that event involved my older son.  But it should be noted that my own sighting also involved three lights, though in that case they were in motion. 

These intruders into mundane life reminded me how Synchronicity can impose itself even when you're occupied with other matters. It also got me to thinking how common these sightings have become, or at least our awareness of them. My son and his coworkers are caught up in this mystery now in some way, having had it intrude into the most mundane setting imaginable- their menial outdoor jobs.

It's funny, I was going to blog about the "Roswell Slides" debacle, but why drag myself through that mire? That whole Nuts-n-Bolts culture, with its codependent believers and debunkers, is so depressing, so exhausted. But it did get me to thinking why we so often see these episodes of evidence-manufacturing in the Nuts-n-Bolts world. 

It's because the actual evidence simply doesn't support their paradigm. As tiresome as I might find the Evangelicals' theology, they generally have a more interesting phenomenological conception of UFOs. 

Though maybe not as interesting as Alexander Leek's: "You noticed them and they noticed that you noticed them."


Of course all we have to look at is a 25-second video of rather poor quality (and the upload here is especially poor, thanks to Blogger's recompression- my apologies) taken in low light. We're hearing this absurd mantra from the skeptics in response to evidence like this, "A UFO! Quick- grab the worst camera you can find!" This simply reveals the roots of the skeptic movement in the arts of rhetorical deception. 

Most people don't have access to "cameras" anymore- they use their cellphones. The cameras on phones are fine for taking selfies and candids, but pretty useless for filming stuff in the sky or at night and most certainly in the sky at night.

But I'll tell you a secret: taking decent pictures or video of flying objects you aren't expecting to encounter is next to impossible, even with a good camera. Case in point: A few years back I was bringing the kids home from school and three giant red tails swooped into the yard, right above our heads. I got the kids in the house, grabbed our very expensive digital camera, got it out of the bag, got the cap off, turned it on and waited for it to do its annoying bootup routine and ran back outside. 

By the time I did all that the fucking birds were halfway down the street. I tried taking a picture of them but the god-damned autofocus didn't know what it was supposed to zoom in on and by the time I got it turned off, I snapped that masterpiece there.

Skeptics know this full well but are intentionally poisoning the well by casting doubt on evidence they can't emotionally deal with by working up snappy taglines.  Of course, by this point they're really only speaking to each other. Sad.

This recompress is unwatchable. Again, my apologies.

UPDATE: Boy, my son's workplace is quite the feast for the eyes- he says a bald eagle also nests there and tonight he showed us pictures of rather terrifying funnel clouds forming in the next county (we're under tornado watch tonight).

The Great Stagnation: When Futurism Fails

If you're on Facebook or Twitter you've probably noticed an uptick in messianic science headlines, which seem to imply we're finally on the verge of Jetsons reality. AI, VR, DNA editing, moon bases, asteroid mining, flying cars and all the rest are finally waiting in the wings, getting ready to change all of our lives.

Well, it may be true that robots might soon be putting a lot of people on the unemployment lines (though that too remains to be seen) but these headlines usually don't stand up to much scrutiny. I touched on the endless promises we're bombarded with in a recent post and I've long joked that DARPA consists of a fax machine and a Green Lantern subscription. 

It's kind of amazing to me that all the skeptics out there never give Bigfoot a rest for a minute or two to train their sights on the endless bullshit that emanates from the PR departments of Big Science. And by 'kind of amazing' I mean 'not even remotely surprising'. There is an ideology at work here.

Big Science, controlled and surveilled at every conceivable level by the Military Industrial Complex, has become a kind of substitute god for scientific illiterates who still imagine Science is the freewheeling pursuit of maverick humanitarians. 

Every authoritarian religion needs to allay the doubts of the faithful and Scientism is no different. But there are many who believe that all the low-hanging fruit of the scientific and technical trees have been picked (it's amazing to ponder how many technologies we use are over half a century old, conceptually), that we are actually mired in what is called "The Great Stagnation." This isn't a fringe theory, but it is most certainly something that is not encouraged as a conversation topic, for rather obvious reasons.

So miracles need to manufactured, the pump must continually be primed. It helps when your intended audience is inattentive, ideologically-motivated and worshipful. The micronic attention spans encouraged by social media speed the process along so every headline can become a hammer to wield against those Wreckers, those shadowy agents who are perpetually working to undo our Glorious Deliverance.

Here's a headline that's been getting a lot of shares: Warp drives that let humans zip around other galaxies may no longer belong purely in the realm of science fiction.
Nasa is believed to have been quietly testing a revolutionary new method of space travel that could one day allow humans to travel at speeds faster than light. 
Researchers say the new drive could carry passengers and their equipment to the moon in as little as four hours. A trip to Alpha Centauri, which would take tens of thousands of years now, could be reached in just 100 years.
The system is based on electromagnetic drive, or EMDrive, which converts electrical energy into thrust without the need for rocket fuel. 
The way these press releases are written (and press releases make up a near majority of the crap you see in the news these days) is that the money shots are frontloaded and the cold dose of reality is buried at the bottom, since most of today's zero attention span readers don't make it that far. In this case, the wording for the inevitable disclaimer starts with a "hey, you never know, stranger things have happened" and ends with a slap upside the head: 
However, Nasa's official site says that: 'There are many 'absurd' theories that have become reality over the years of scientific research.
'But for the near future, warp drive remains a dream,' in a post updated last month.
Near future means "conceivable future," but it's still an interesting story in one sense. Why? Because it does put UFO skeptics in a jam, since although warp drive remains a "dream", the science has been done in a laboratory setting. Kind of hard to argue about those impossible distances-- if you believe the story, that is. But that's a topic for another day.

This story got a lot of play, and was stretched far beyond reality by some outlets. Why, I can't say.  The headlines have been reading something like this: Chinese Team Reports Gene-Editing Human Embryos
In an ethically charged first, Chinese researchers have used gene editing to modify human embryos obtained from an in vitro fertilization clinic.
That's all well and good, but I noticed a lot of variations on this report (NPRs, strangely) made it seem like the Chinese were fixing to start designing their babies from this day forward. I linked to Technology Review, since it's more likely to be read by more literate folks and include the inevitable cold water splash:
The team’s report showed the method is not yet very accurate, confirming scientific doubts around whether gene editing could be practical in human embryos and whether genetically engineered people are going to be born anytime soon.
Yeah, I thought so. I've seen this kind of thing for a very long time. Here's another pie in the sky headline: Gold nanotubes launch a three-pronged attack on cancer cells. Here's the lede:
Scientists have shown that gold nanotubes have many applications in fighting cancer: internal nanoprobes for high-resolution imaging; drug delivery vehicles; and agents for destroying cancer cells. 
But here's the inevitable disclaimer.  
The use of gold nanotubes in imaging and other biomedical applications is currently progressing through trial stages towards early clinical studies.
That's PR jargonish for "this technology is not even remotely close to application." How about this then? 'Fountain of Youth' Discovered? Scientists Might Finally be Able to Reverse Aging
Researchers from the Salk Institute in the U.S and the Chinese Academy of Science have discovered the deterioration of a specific set of DNA bundles called "heterochromatin" largely determines how fast or slow a person ages. 
"What this study means is that this protein does not only work in a particular genetic disease, it works in all humans. This mechanism is general for the aging process", said Belmonte.
Wow, really? Sign me up! Oh wait... Here's the "maybe possibly hopefully potentially" part:
"If we are artificially able to play around with these marks, we may be able to alter the process of aging."
Well, OK. I'm going to get old. But I can get old on the Moon! Hey, it's true- they're going to build a Moon colony! It's just around the corner!
Europe's Next Space Chief Wants a Moon Colony on the Lunar Far Side
 The incoming leader of the European Space Agency is keen on establishing an international base on the moon as a next-step outpost beyond the International Space Station (ISS).
Johann-Dietrich Wörner expressed his enthusiasm for a moon colony at the Space Foundation’s National Space Symposium, a gathering of global, commercial, civil, military and "new space" experts that was held here from April 13 to April 16.
Oh, wait: shouldn't they actually, I don't know, send a mission up there before they go and build a base? Maybe a few missions? The earliest we're hearing for that is around 2030 or so, so I guess I better take my vitamins. 

Well, in the meantime we'll be able to enjoy our telepathic Internet! Well, at least according to the article that was originally promising that soldiers would be reading each others' minds with their telepathic helmets:
Forget battlefield smartphones; the future of soldier-to-soldier communication may be electronic telepathy. A group of researchers in Europe have developed what they are calling the first “human brain-to-brain interface,” allowing people to communicate telepathically through the Internet without a surgical implant, bringing us closer to the day when soldiers behind enemy lines exchange information via sensors reading their thoughts.
But sure enough, it turns out maybe this isn't such a hot idea after all. But it probably has great potential for gaming and other peacetime applications. They're working on that, right?
Brain-to-brain communication over the Internet may never be the best solution for the battlefield, despite the millions of dollars of Pentagon research money that’s gone into exploring it (!) But the military may achieve interesting results with direct brain control over machinery, as several German researchers recently demonstrated via an experiment where subjects successfully steered simulated aircraft via an EEG interface. The commercial market for brain-based gaming systems, such as the NeuroSky console, while still small, has grown quickly enough to support multiple conferences and Kickstarter campaigns in just the last three years. 

Wait- this is in the experimental stage? It's funny, I remember hearing it was just around the corner 20 years ago. It was even mentioned in an X-Files episode ("Nisei").

Similarly, Artificial Intelligence is forever just around the corner. But maybe it won't ever materialize, not in the way we've imagined it. At least not according to this Economist article, "The dawn of artificial intelligence."
Powerful computers will reshape humanity’s future. How to ensure the promise outweighs the perils 
Such artificially intelligent beings are still a very long way off; indeed, it may never be possible to create them. Despite a century of poking and prodding at the brain, psychologists, neurologists, sociologists and philosophers are still a long way from an understanding of how a mind might be made—or what one is.
This is just a taste- now that you know what to look for you'll see this kind of thing everywhere. Big headline, small story.

The always-helpful Gordon sent me an article from Gizmodo, of all places, entitled "Why Scientific American's Predictions from 10 Years Ago Were So Wrong." It details some of the predictions made by scientists that never came to pass. 

It seems scientists are just as bad as psychics at predicting the future. 

Aside from a list of failed predictions, Gizmodo offers up a surprisingly sober assessment of the reality of Big Science, as opposed to the pie-in-the-sky fantasy you are subjected to in your Facebook feed:
Number one on the list was a stem cell breakthrough that turned out to be one of the biggest cases of scientific fraud ever. (To be fair, it fooled everyone.) But the list held other unfulfilled promises, too: companies now defunct, an FBI raid, and many, many technologies simply still on the verge of finally making it a decade later. By my count, only two of its 16 medical discoveries of 2005 have resulted in a drug or hospital procedures so far. The rosy future is not yet here. 
No, it's not. It seems that cancer is rampant, that autoimmune diseases are out of control and asthma and allergies and digestive disorders are at record levels as well. Science and medicine are great things in concept and much more problematic in practice. 

Worse, these kind of pseudo-stories might generate some fake excitement but the cumulative effect will eventually sour people on science and technology, associating not only with the many problems they leave in their wake (economic dislocation tops that list) but with silly, broken promises. The propagandists don't see that as a possibility or aren't thinking that far. 

Either way, unmaterialized miracles will eventually wear most but the most brainwashed  dripstain. I still follow science and technology news but I do so with an extremely jaundiced eye, having lived through decades of wonders that never seem to arrive.

As to the The Great Stagnation, it may be a reality. But I don't think it's a problem necessarily. There are other aspects of the human experience that have been shunted aside in our technocratic age, pursuits we'd do well to rediscover.

 If that means getting off the treadmill of false progress, then so be it.

Still Seeking the Sun's Secret

You never know when you're going to strike a nerve. I was doing some reading on reincarnation and blogged about it previously. The subject is something I keep meaning to go into greater detail about, but it keeps getting shoved to the back burner. It's long been a subject of interest for me and something that has a personal interest as well.

I was reading the chapter on the subject in Colin Wilson's The Occult and was struck by the resonance of case studies on reincarnation, some of which I was familiar with from other texts. I'm not commenting on their veracity per se, I'm commenting on their narrative power, which is rather immense.

One thing I did find interesting is that Wilson went from discussing reincarnation to a brief essay on UFOs, a segue-way I found particularly interesting given the fact that the two topics seem incongruously linked (you'd think UFO people would be all about ascension).

Yet the notorious UFO cult Unarius is just as much about reincarnation as it is flying saucers, and the Heaven's Gate cult believed that they would reincarnate on the Hale Bopp saucer. As Mike Clelland noted in the comments, there's plenty more where that came from.

But I suppose I was blogging about reincarnation because a model for it had occurred to me a short time ago. It struck me that human beings were judged to be alive by their ability to generate heat, and that perhaps that this heat was that elusive thing we call spirit, itself a kind of conscious radiation.

Since basic thermodynamics teaches us that heat rises, it occurred to me that this heat/spirit would come into contact with the power of the Sun, and that perhaps the Sun itself was not only conscious, but the author of all consciousness within the solar system. A "broadcaster of souls," as I called it.

This was simply an intuition. I don't even know if such a thing could be tested for. But in these days where terabytes of information can be attached to laser beams-- focused energy, after all-- the model didn't seem so far-fetched.

Following that model it then struck me that, reincarnation or no,  living creatures are like stations in a network and the network is Solar Consciousness. Everything we can touch or test is made of Sun, why wouldn't it express Sun? In the end, everything we accept as our reality is mostly a function of necessity of physical life- cars, houses, clothes, language- not of consciousness itself.

We simply think of the Sun today as some giant light bulb in the sky but science tells us it's the source of everything we really know (I'll refrain from commenting on our speculations about other solar systems simply because they're ultimately based on a latticework of guesses and don't let anyone tell you different). How can we have consciousness- however you describe it- ex nihilo?

Doesn't it make more sense that we are a reflection of consciousness? After all, it wasn't so long ago that we didn't realize that plants had consciousness. Why stop there?

This needn't even conflict with someone's religious beliefs because we are talking about a system here, not who or what is necessarily operating it.

Anyone who's had a powerful psychedelic experience realizes that our daily consciousness is but a veneer, and that deeper layers of consciousness lie beneath (not all of which are especially pleasant), many of which have been ascribed to plants, or to the Earth itself. If we ascribe consciousness to the Earth, why not to the Sun from which it came? After all, the Sun produces music, doesn't it?

What greater signal of consciousness could you ask for?

I realize I'm going into a bit more detail here than I did in the previous post. The post before was really a reflection on personal experience but that's not what most people seemed to tune into. The mention of the Sun in relation to reincarnation was almost an aside, just a passing mention of a possible mechanism for this transmigration. But it certainly seemed to strike a very deep chord, provoking a number of fascinating replies on the connection between the Sun's mysterious power and the survival of bodily death.

Of course, this really brought me back to the origins of this blog and the work behind it, the Mystery religions- whose chief concern was the fate of the soul following death- and Sun worship. There were a number of Mysteries but as time went on the Solar mysteries seemed to take power and precedence, eventually become chief among religions in the Roman Empire.

Of course Sun worship was brought into Rome through foreign evangelists, but chief among these were the Syrian sun cultists who came to the Eternal City with the so-called Syrian Emperors, who were in fact descendants of the Phoenicians with their mysteries, both great and small (Ba'albek, for starters).

Many of the "New Mythologists" argue today that the Christianity of Rome was itself just an elaborate form of ritualized sun worship, a compromise between Roman sun worship and Asian Christianity.

One thing that should be noted is that many of the Solar Mystery cults preached a ritualized form of reincarnation in which the adherent was slain to the world and rose into the precepts of the cult. That the beliefs of the world were no longer valid and were to be rejected.

It's interesting to note that among the intellectuals of their time you saw much the same kinds of rationalist and skeptical belief systems, as well as the same kind of mindless hedonism and narcissism, that we see today. That is precisely what these cults rejected and abhorred, in the most militant and often gruesome ways you can imagine.

All of which is to say that even back then you had the Sun and reincarnation linked in a very powerful and profound way (not to mention UFOs- no, really). It struck me that plasma-- which I've written about in depth in relation to UFOs-- also relates back to the Sun. There seems to be a taboo against looking into such connections. 500 years ago you'd be accused of witchcraft, today you'd be accused of "pseudoscience", which is just a fancy synonym for the same thing.

The link between the Sun and these greater Mysteries was all consuming to me a few years back. For a number of reasons I drifted away from that particular path of inquiry, but maybe because there were questions I found myself getting hung up on. The ancient Sun cults were not dilettantes and were not dabblers, they were some of the most hardcore bonecrushers of the ancient world.

Something compelled them, something beyond our secular understanding. I still haven't figured out what exactly it was. (Either way, I think you should take strength from their example. The smart set were all about Epicureanism and Stoicism and other kinds of proto-atheistic thoughtforms. They probably looked down on all those superstitious maniacs too).

What authors like Angus argue however is that the Mysteries faded because their arcane cosmologies were too esoteric for popular appeal. People preferred the simple appeal of Christianity. I would argue this is a political argument, since the Isis cult was as populist as Christianity, and didn't die but was in fact simply absorbed into the Church.

When shopping for salvation, Angus seems to argue, the simplest explanations are usually the most compelling.

I'm not selling salvation but I can't think of a simpler model for the immortality of the soul than the one I laid out here. Now, please note that I'm not going to talk about karma and rising and falling along the levels of attainment there. Wilson cited a scholar who dismissed reincarnation because it negates compassion, by arguing that one's karma is earned by actions in a past life. I agree- that all smacks a bit too much of priestcraft for my liking.

All I know is this simple intuition, this stray realization,  got me to think a lot more seriously about reincarnation than I've had in years. Maybe having some kind of reasonable model -- with at least a veneer of science-- is what I needed all along.

Now, about those flying saucers...

NOTES: I wrote about animal reincarnation back in 2007 when our beloved cat Mary seemed to reappear in an nearly-identical form as a kitten. Since then this new incarnation (who we call Fruit Wrinkles) has only become more eerily like the previous one, favoring the same spots in the yard and generally behaving and carrying herself in a startlingly-identical manner. I believe that event and circumstance shape our personalities in powerful ways so Fruit Wrinkles was quite different in her youth (Mary had kittens shortly after her first birthday) but as time goes by the similarities are amazing. 

It did occur to me that they could be related but there's no way of proving that and their origins are such that it's extremely unlikely. What's more remarkable is how Fruit Wrinkles just seemed to drop into our lives as if an inevitability. I don't expect this to be anything but an anecdote to most people, but it's rather stunning evidence for us personally.