Essay: Science

By
prof isaac galistein

Science is great. I love science. It confirms us as brilliant thinking beings. But there are many problems with science. It has been so successful that for too many people it is the only system that counts. Unfortunately, single systems are always wrong.
Typically, it holds little moral guidance. Further, our knowledge is always reflected in how society thinks of itself. Science confirms a universe that is chaotic, fragmented and without meaning. So society behaves as if it is too. Knowledge should be balanced by a belief, as used to be provided by religion. But belief can only be superstition in the modern world.

SCIENCE OR VALIDATION?

This, too, holds a problem for science. It is so fundamental a means of knowledge, banishing the idea of belief, that nothing can ‘be’ unless science can measure it. Thus, unknown dangers could exist because science has not yet caught up with nature. But these dangers are ignored in a process I call ‘anti-superstition’.
Most of science is not actually science, but validation. There have been very few true scientists – people who have moved forward our knowledge in a paradigm-shifting way. These scientists were rebels at odds with the established view. This confirms that the validators who follow are actually guardians of old knowledge.

HYPOTHESIS JUNKIES

Science is also choosy about what is valid data. Without a hypothesis with which to sieve data, data seems chaotic. It can only become ordered once a hypothesis is made. Yet if the established view is more a guardian and validator of old knowledge, hypotheses will reflect this and be dictatorial in nature, locking out contrary data from analysis.
Surviving hypotheses eventually become theories within which data gives a probability of correctness. This becomes scientific truth, but too often the ‘probability’ factor is not understood by the public. This leads to a feedback loop of consensus reality.

CONSENSUS REALITY

Because the world clearly offers evidence of action, the idea grows that the theory answers how that action occurs, and ‘reality’ becomes a mind model as opposed to a definite.
Of course, this process cannot be proved to occur, but neither can it be disproved, as evidence would be identical whether it was true or false. Yet the simple possibility should be enough to demand a little more humility from science.

Essay: Morality

by
philip osophy

Morality can be a dangerous word nowadays. The subject is concerned with what is right or wrong, or the goodness or badness of character or behaviour. As an intellectual subject, it is known as ethics.
I’m dipping my mind into the moral maze, offering my basic views on the subject. Agree or disagree, vital to a moral outlook is the importance of debate and the right of any individual to offer their views.
I’ll begin with one important aspect often not appreciated. Morality invariably involves more than one person – one to do and one to judge. After all, can every one of us say that when we’re on our own our behavioural standards are as high as if we were not?

RELIGIOUS OR SECULAR?

Morality, to many, is religion based. Rules are definite, and breaking them risks Divine Retribution. This is a clear cut moral approach. But things changed with the decline of popular religion.
In a more secular world, ethics moved to the philosopher. This involved personal reasoning, the outcome being that definite rules could not be guaranteed. To many, this was the beginning of a moral free-for-all.

IDEOLOGY

Morality often becomes as one with an ideology. In the Industrial Revolution, for instance, laziness was immoral, thus requiring absolute industriousness from people. In all cases, I think this is wrong. It should be the arena for scripture or the philosopher. In other words, people who have influence, but not power. For morality should never be used as a political tool.
Many people believe that the modern liberal ideal of morality is correct. It is proven by the general good order of society. I’d argue that this is not the case. Good order occurs because services are such that people do not have to strive to be ordered. Should those services fail, I think we could quickly revert to barbarism.

A PROBLEM OF SEPARATION

One central moral problem is separation. By this, I mean the failure to separate non-consensual physical acts against the person, society, or property thereof (criminality) from lifestyle. Whilst punishment can be variable, I think attitude towards transgression should be absolute. A crime must be a crime, regardless of the reason.
Lifestyle is different. Nature flourishes because of total diversity. Whatever can be done is done. Hence, society can best flourish by following this same principle. What is done by consenting adults is no one’s business but their own.

THE NORM

There is one proviso to this. Any society reaches a ‘norm’ of behaviour. This is essential for order and manners. Hence, total diversity of behaviour is something to do in private, or clearly accepted public arenas. In the general public, I feel people should always moderate their behaviour.
This is an important point. All too often, morality concerning lifestyle is not morality at all. Rather, it is the furtherance of sensationalism. This is supposed to get a message across concerning lifestyle, but most of the time it is simply about exhibitionism.

TRANSGRESSION

One other important aspect of ethics is this. People will always transgress, and this is how it should be. Because if being moral is seen as easy, then our standards are not high enough.
Today, morality is moving in many new directions. Human rights verses the nation state; the morality of science; our moral responsibility towards the planet. It is a subject that I will no doubt return to in the future.

Essay: Victims

by
guru Tony

We are said to live in a victim culture but what is a victim, and why has it become so important? Life is full of adversity – some of our own making, some not. This produces casualties, but these are not victims. Victimhood comes from self-indulgence upon your problems. Hence, 50% of victimhood is self-made.
Such adversity should fuel the person to rise above it, thus being the making of you. We should thrive through adversity, so why is this not the case for so many today? One reason is that life is no longer about survival. We have time on our hands to think too much about our place. This led, correctly, to the idea of human rights, but also to the idea that life is not fair. This is very true, but a pointless attitude.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

However, what we are is usually dependent upon the system and culture to which we belong. Predominant here is political correctness and the idea that minority groups are victims to the majority. Again, this is quite true and it is right that such groups achieve equality. But the system did not leave it here.
As super-capitalism arose, it was realized that political correctness destroyed meaning in an over-culture. Meanings such as tradition used to ease feelings of alienation and offered direction, but there was no profit in this. But if tradition could be destroyed, then meaning could be transferred to the personal and self-satiation. And what better way to achieve this than the owning of luxury consumer goods?

PERFECTION

But even this was not enough. Soon the idea of consumer perfection arose, with a celebrity culture goading you on to be even more perfect in terms of clothes, accessories, looks and lifestyle.
But the reality is, perfection is an unachieveable goal. Thus the feeling of victimhood is intensified, with your only course the continuing vicious circle of consumerism in the vain hope that you may achieve and no longer be an alienated victim. In the victim culture, super-capitalism has captured the human psyche.

Essay: Freedom

by
polly ticks

We always need rules to guide how our freedom and excellence is expressed. For instance, you have the freedom to excel in, say, football or as a violinist, but it can only be expressed within the confines of a team or orchestra.
What we think of as freedom is actually a balance between freedom and unfreedom. Lose the balance and we have totalitarianism or anarchy, the latter still ending up as licence for the strong to dominate the weak.

individuality

Individuality can be counter to freedom. It makes you answer only to the culture to which you belong, which is inevitably guided by the powers-that-be. Important to this process at the moment is the degrading of family. Traditionally, family is the defensive line between the person and the powers, so ‘individuals’ do the job of the powers for them.
Such power in society forms naturally. Indeed, it often feels like a conspiracy is going on. This is not the case – but the powers need such scares so as to make detractors seem crazy.

totalitarianism

Of course, you seem to have freedom, but totalitarianism isn’t total. As long as you toe the line of the ideology they leave you alone. Hence you can be anything you want to be as long as you have a mortgage, fat pension plan, love shopping, wear designer clothes, buy a new car every year and holiday often.

Essay: Media

By
Pappa Razzi

We all watch it, read it, sometimes even breath it. It informs, entertains, moulds, advises, sells, even befriends us. I’m talking about the media. But just how does it work, and what effect does it really have on us?

SIGNS

Semiotics may be useful here. This is the science of ‘signs’ – things that inform us, such as a road sign. A cloud can be a sign of rain. But they react strangely. A label showing soup on a tin can make us salivate – a bodily action due to an assumption, not the food itself.
Drama provides oodles of signs. And it is a peculiarity of storytelling that the bad guy is always more interesting than the good. But whilst there is no direct link between TV and violence, could constant repetition of the sign have a more subtle effect?

SOAPS are not good

SOAPs are particularly interesting. Daily media has been used in the past to ‘condition’ social behaviour. This is evident in the Christian year, linking daily activity to Christ’s life through the Bible. Although a different culture, in a sociological sense, SOAPs carry out the same function. Behaviour and drama may be more closely linked than we realize.

HOPES

This process is increased by media motivation. Today’s media barons have a mania for ratings. Hence, in all forms of media, the idea is to grab your attention. This is done by the use of sensationalism. We are being taught extreme behaviour.
Modern media also promises affluence. This is good for mass consumerism, but bad for tradition, where morals such as thrift and duty reside. Affluence is easier, we are told, so why stick with boring tradition? So media takes away the impulses that could place a brake on our desires to consume. How fortunate for Big Biz.

EMOTION is the key

Emotion is important to modern media. You see it particularly in the news. News should be cold and simply tell the facts. Now we see victims all the time, stirring up the emotions. This prompts an immediate response, but without reasoning. Hence, when the emotion passes, so does our desire to do something about it. Emotion stops us thinking.
Opinion polls work at the emotional level. Media will do them at the height of a social emotional outburst. This pushes our responses towards the extreme. Then the media publishes the results and governments are forced to act. This is media manipulation of us in order to induce government policy that Big Biz likes. Direct democracy stinks.

UN-INFORMED

Media also keeps us uninformed. This might seem strange in an information age. However, media is dependent on advertising. Advertisers won’t advertise in media that does not support the Big Biz system. Hence, issues that disagree are not covered by main media. Media naturally marginalizes ideas counter to mass-consumerism.

CELEBRITIES

Celebrities are essential to media. They live the ultimate dream of affluence. In other words, they are ‘perfect’. This is another old device. Saints used to be perfect. But the point is, perfection is unattainable. It used to condemn people to be sinners. Now it condemns us to angst, satisfied by retail therapy.

CONTROL

Media is moving into new forms of control. This is achieved by the way you can now use technology to provide exactly the media you want to watch. At first, this appears empowering. But in reality it traps you in an individualistic world of your own making. There is just you and the media. Nothing else. You’ve been alienated from all other influence.
Media has removed the dividing line between fact and fiction. This is seen particularly in 24 hour news. What really happens is not defined until after an event. So in providing ‘news’ as it happens, you’re really dealing in gossip. We’re all conditioned now.
Orwell would be so proud. Or not.

Essay: Reality

by
philip osophy

What we’re told is reality invariably isn’t. Consider ‘reality television’. Nothing can be further from the truth. It’s a lie. Unless you believe it. Then it’s a psychosis.
Television also gives us the ‘celebrity’. The ‘reality’ of this is that they are robots. This is the only explanation I can think of for such stupidity. Except …
The urge to be famous is such that they are so adaptable to image that the ‘person’ disappears. Hence delete ‘robot’, insert ‘zombie’.
So, ‘non-existence’ of celebrities as real people? This would be understood by the sociologist, Baudrillard. He argued that media is now ‘infotainment’, merging reality and fantasy to such an extent that we no longer know which is which.

SIGNS & NORMS

Mind and culture conspire to increase un-reality. The world is full of ‘signs’ that guide us, but lie. A soup can makes us salivate. Yet do you know it doesn’t contain worms?
We also have a societal understanding of what is ‘normal’. This defines what is ‘abnormal’, and to be marginalized as ‘different’. But is anyone normal?
We have our own view of ‘reality’. Philosophers have theorized we each have a ‘mind filter’ that views the world in our own particular way. So how can there be a definite reality when we each have our own?

REALITY, HALLUCINATION & MORE

Your mind is even in conflict over what is ‘reality’. We have a left and right brain, one looking at things emotionally, the other rationally. Who’s to say which is right? Argue this one out with yourself!
We also hallucinate ‘reality’. Now, people think this way madness lies. But the mind constantly interprets sensory expression. And if our attention isn’t on the world, it makes up its own mind. Spooky!

MODERN MAGIC?

Science complicates it further. The properties of the subatomic particle are such that we can never know its true state. The world is fundamentally a matter of probability.
But if this is so, how can we ‘see’ a definite reality? Well, the theory is that a definite reality is created by our ‘observation’ of it. Before we see it, it isn’t.
This makes us our own magicians. The world we create is as much about our perception of it as the actual existence of it. If it exists at all.
Confused? Come now, haven’t you seen The Matrix? Maybe not an exact reality (pun), but there is a theory that God is a baseball capped computer geek, and he’s playing a video game called ‘us’.

Essay: Space Exploration

By
prof isaac galistein

The first thing to realise about space exploration is it hasn’t begun yet. All we seem to do is send unmanned toys to Mars and Venus, and fly around the planet in high orbit like flies buzzing around something dead.
Some would say the Apollo missions were real exploration. After all, we got to the Moon, man! Sorry, it was nothing of the sort. It was simple oneupmanship – a consequence of the Cold War, and the determination to beat the Commies.
We SHOULD be getting out there. The urge to explore has been the crowning glory of the human race, moving out of our natural habitats in Prehistoric times, and eventually navigating the planet. We are Homo Curious, you see. We need to know!

PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS

But at present, it has all stopped. Maybe it’s because space is such a magnificent, terrifying leap. And because we’ve lost our courage, we’ve descended into the trivia and celebrity obsessed world of today. In other words, we’re burying our heads in the sand.
Another problem to space exploration proper is government. Space is run by government, but history shows they are terrible explorers. All known exploration in our history has been pushed forward by businessmen, intent on trade. Governments play catch-up.
For that reason, Big Biz should be looking spacewards, not fuelling our trivia obsessed society. They’re the real cowards, happy with their profits. Well, listen, Big Biz. Get the hell off of this planet!

YES, IT IS IMPORTANT

Some people say space exploration is of no use to us. This is wrong. One thing that is becoming clear is that real exploration cannot be done by any single country. It would be a planetary affair. And I can think of no better impulse to bring us together more as a species. So there is an advantage. Peace.
The media can play its part. Every advance in our society has come due to a new idea. We need a Big Story to fuel us. So it’s time to think up a good Big Story about our planet, and its place in the Cosmos. Get us all inspired!
Our solar system holds wonders by the million, all waiting to be explored. Our technologists are up to the task of building adequate space vessels and closed habitats capable of providing for small colonies. The only thing holding us back is our fear.
And I’m not just talking about our solar system, either. Ever since the 1960s plans have been on the drawing board for innovative designs of fast and generational starships, with innovative engines, even collecting hydrogen fuel as they go to the stars.
Many believe faster-than-light travel is impossible because of the barrier placed by Einstein. But what we forget is Relativity is not a theory of the universe, but of man. And the best way to find out if such travel is feasible is to place an imperative on scientists to find out. I, for one, think it’s bunkum.
Star travel could even begin a new form of existence for man, as one of the peculiarities of such travel is that the faster you travel, the more time slows down. So if light speed was attained, a journey that seems to take years viewed from Earth, would only actually only take a matter of weeks on the ship. Hence, our new star travellers could actually live through many centuries.
One final barrier is the idea that man is too violent and destructive to be let loose in space. From my experience, man is never more violent than when he is bored. When he has a real mission to achieve, he excels as a human being. So, is it time for Blast-Off?

Essay: Ufology

FROM
THE
WEIRD OBS ORG

It began in 1947 when newspapers reported a sighting of ‘Flying Saucers’. Except it didn’t. Before that people saw ghost rockets, and before that foo fighters, and before that mysterious air ships, and before that flying sailing ships, going right back to Classical gods flying through the air.
A week after that inaugural sighting, Roswell – home to the only nuclear bomb wing on the planet – ‘experienced’ a saucer crash, complete with little aliens. It set a pattern for repeating saucer retrievals, intermingled with conspiracy theory concerning MJ-12, a secret committee involved in handling the ‘alien’ problem. And soon Area 51 was allegedly back-engineering alien technology for our benefit.

UFO REALITY?

Of course, most UFOs end up as IFOs, or ‘identified’. Everything from cloud formations, to insect swarms, to laser light shows can cause air scares, but about 5% of sightings remain unexplained. Does this mean the phenomenon is real – true visitations from ET? Well, if you see something that doesn’t exist, yet it still has an affect on your mind, don’t your actions give it a level of reality nonetheless?
One form of such partial reality is the poltergeist. To me such events are psychodramas. A family is, for whatever reason, in fear. It breeds and an alternative reality is experienced within the sum total of the minds involved. Now go back to Roswell, its importance regarding its cutting edge, and a media storm of reality changing headlines. A poltergeist breaks out, aping the existent culture. Is there any wonder there was a conspiracy? Government wouldn’t want it be known that a cutting edge unit could go ‘mad’.

ALIEN ABDUCTION

Another scenario. A person alone, tired. A blinding light is seen and little creatures appear. Transportation occurs and you find yourself in a fantastic place, prodded and poked, before being returned. Is this the alien abduction, where the person can be impregnated with an alien foetus – a hybrid? No, it’s a Medieval fairy abduction, where often a changeling is involved. Do you see the connection?
Many researchers see the UFO phenomenon in terms of ‘cultural tracking’, where the same phenomenon has always been experienced, but in different cultural clothes. Such ideas suggest that we’re dealing with a form of psycho-sociology rather than alien visitation. Indeed, there are psychological prompters for the alien abduction, be they more mundane.
Many abductions happen to drivers. After the event, they have continued to travel and time has elapsed. Now, have you ever been reading a book when the mind wanders? Afterwards you have to go back to where it began as you’ve continued to mechanically read. Could this be the answer to the time and distance distortion in alien abduction? You have continued to drive as the cultural scenario played out.

WHY?

Why experience an alien abduction? Why see the UFOs in the sky? We live in material, atheistic times and we’re told spirituality is dying. I disagree. If you follow how the UFO epoch is playing out, it holds within itself the seeds of spirituality and the birth of religion. UFO cults are already well established, and once culture grabs an idea, it tansfers to ready minds as if a virus. Spirituality will out even if involuntary.
This is often seen in the development of a particular UFO case. A researcher will investigate and soon, just like the focus in the poltergeist, he will become the centre of its culture. Could it be that the researcher involuntarily confirms, expands and sensationalizes the incident, giving it a reality of its own? Has he become the flying saucerers apprentice?

CULTURE CATCHERS

As we saw in the beginning, strange events have always occurred, what is seen being dependent on the existant cultural clothes. This includes Medieval witchcraft, werewolves and vampires, the 19th century prevalence of ghosts and Spiritualism, and now the alien and flying saucers. As I see it, we could well be dealing with ‘psychic waves’ forever directing our psychology – quite literally global poltergeist infestations.
There is also an allied possibility to the present infestation. It is now known that electromagnetic pulses can affect brain chemistry, thus causing mystical experiences and hallucinations. We also know that changes in weather patterns cause changes in electromagnetism. Is there, thus, a connection between climate change through global warming and increases in alien activity? After all, many abductees end up spiritual, ecologically minded people. Maybe the planet is now fighting back, changing our psychology through slow Rapture.

LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

I’m attempting a graded theory here, so is there any way we can fit actual alien visitation into the mix? Possibly. In Pt 12 of my Paranormal Series (see UNEXPLAINED inset above) I argue for the existence of a universal consciousness. It can be seen as similar to ecosystems, which can exist from the very small to the very large, all inter-related and having an effect on each other. An element of one can invade another by jumping through a higher system. Applying this to universal consciousness, distant lifeforms become connected to the entire universe, including us, so could information of them infiltrate into our level of consciousness? Of course, it would be affected by our own fantasies, but the theory doesn’t rule out such visitations.
Information does, of course, lie at the root of reality, and the universe seems to work by manipulating this information into the reality we experience. Hence, if this process were to be achieved technologically by an advanced alien species, then ‘real’ visitations could be achieveable. And as information seems to react spontaneously at the information level of the universe, ‘transportation’ from one to the other could also be immediate.
This is, of course, highly speculative, but would such possible aliens be benevolent? I’m of the opinion that an advanced planetary species faces an important test. Once their technology reaches the point of approaching interstellar travel, they also have the technology to destroy themselves. Hence, they face doing so, or becoming benevolent. As such, I think a star travelling species would be benevolent – providing, of course, they class those they meet as sentient. If not, we could be lunch.
By the way, we’re approaching that test ourselves.

Essay: Lost Civilization

FROM
THE
WEIRD OBS ORG

Most religions have the belief that there was once a more perfect world, from which man has been banished. This has often been interpreted as meaning a real previous civilization used to exist, populated by beings we now see as gods.
Outside religion, central to such ideas is Atlantis, a mythical island deep in our past with a perfect, but powerful society, finally destroyed by the gods when they were corrupted.

EVIDENCE?

Could such a lost world have actually existed? Well, perhaps not a single island of Atlantis. But the idea of a lost civilization is something quite different – and something I think can be explained rationally.
Of course, many ideas for such a civilization have been put forward, mostly of a spurious or sensational nature. Hence, academe is loath to even consider such a possibility. But I think they are mistaken.
Does evidence exist for a lost civilization? No. Not of a definite kind – but there are plenty of indicators around the world that could fit into the concept, if, that is, they were properly researched.
These concern the myriad myths of sunken cities, and structures off-shore that could be man-made. From the Bimini Road in the Caribbean, to Yonaguni in the Far East, tantalizing glimpses of possible human endeavour exist under the sea, not far from the coast.

THEORY

How do we make sense of the implications? By providing a theory that allows them to be, at least, man-manipulated, and tying that theory with known or reasoned elements from the past.
The predominant theory of man’s proliferation around the planet is the Out of Africa hypothesis. In this model, modern man moved out of Africa in prehistory and populated the globe. However, this would only have been achieveable by the crossing of large expanses of water.
Boats, it seems, would have been needed some 40,000 years ago. How else would we explain this proliferation? These boats would have been rudimentary, but is it feasible to suggest that the boat builders then abandoned their boats and continued Stone Age existence?

HUMAN SPLIT

I think this is unlikely. Rather, I suggest a split in humanity between a maritime culture, and the inland hunter-gatherer. Boats, of course, would require harbours. These would be static, and as happened in the later Agricultural Revolution, I suggest these static societies produced all the advances in organization and engineering that seemed to come later.
In effect, I’d argue that a Fisheries Revolution occurred, thousands of years in the past, in isolated coastal communities around the world. Advancing possibly up to a stage equal to the ancient Egyptians, they eventually learnt navigation and linked up into a global cosmopolitan civilization.

THE ANSWER?

From 12,000 to 8,000 years ago, the last Ice Age ended, raising water levels. Hence, these communities were wiped out, leaving only enigmatic structures poking up from the sea bed, the survivors going inland and using their expertise to kickstart the Agricultural Revolution. These survivors are remembered only as gods. And the first global society rose to greatness, and was finally wiped off the face of the Earth.