Lost Geographies

When I started writing the original blog upon which this piece is based, the arrival of yet another East Asian autumn, with the falling leaves and golden Gingko berries starting to line the streets, reminded us yet again of passing time; and reminded me, yet again, that I was another year older.

In that year, there had been changes of geography, turmoil, in fact, as I have passed rapidly and destructively between jobs at a time when I would have preferred to be settled and comfortable in a new routine.

And I have been reminded, yet again, of how the passage of time dims our memories; of how, as we grow older, our recollections from the most distant parts of our lives become progressively harder to maintain among the constant barrage of information which assaults our senses daily. My life is full of lost geographies – places, people, things, even past eras – the recall of which becomes ever more difficult with the passing of the years, and yet, in those times, those places, those eras, in those moments, everything was crystal clear.

Now, there is nothing inherently unnatural in this: our peak of intellectual performance (we are told) is in our early to mid-twenties, and declines thereafter as our brains lose (allegedly) something like ten thousand neurons per day. But the types of institutions and power structures we have been discussing here previously do their very best to take advantage of this. What follows is merely a “heads up” to something which we experience each day, and which is extremely pernicious, and which partly follows on from the theme of the previous posting. In the confusion of today, how can we hold on to, or rediscover, perhaps, the lost geographies of our past?

In fact, I started writing this article a couple of years ago, and with the recent forced migration to the new blog site and the concomitant analysis of what should go where (and when), which at the time of writing this is still ongoing, was reminded of the original intention, which was to adumbrate the concept of “false starts” as a means of mass mind control. What I mean by this is the idea that certain “interested parties” would introduce an idea by providing a false beginning, suggesting that a phenomenon was never observed earlier than a particular point in time and that ergo there was not (and could not be) existence of that phenomenon prior to that start date. Originally one would have pointed to (for example) the “void” at the beginning of Genesis (of which more later), but it is troubling to note that the formerly religious/cultic tendency to try to substitute a false “Year Zero” has long since been subsumed into scientific canon. Worse, science also has other implausibles which seem to be intended to bolster the prevailing paradigm, even though common sense would suggest otherwise.

However, it is not only within the realms of science and religion that we find this phenomenon; it is very common in journalistic reportage, also. It is a frequent experience for anyone old enough to remember that most of the time, newspapers are happy to forget a lot of often quite important things that they have reported in the past, simply because their recollection in the present would be so inconvenient (like past sloppy reporting on their own part, for example, or supporting the wrong political party). In this, they form an irritating dyad with politicians, who likewise prefer to forget their past failures, misdemeanours and scandals in the present, although one should say that the former’s tendency to remind their readership of the latter’s past actions is often highly amusing.

But at the back of all of this is a pernicious control mechanism: very often, politics and journalism depend for their effectiveness upon the forgetfulness of their audiences. And since memory tends to dim with time (and let’s not forget that in a court of law, eyewitness testimony is considered the least reliable type of evidence for precisely the reasons we will discuss here), one would suspect that this would be a powerful tool in the wrong hands, whereby a combination of memory substitution and persuasiveness and persistence in the pursuit of a devious end would eventually convince less critical minds that something happened, when in fact it never did.

So, where could we possibly start with all of this? I will choose to begin with the question of flying saucers [1] (a ridiculous term if ever there was one, of journalistic origin and, as we shall see later, a completely inaccurate warping of quoted speech) and extraterrestrial life. When I was a kid, back in the 1960s and 70s, my life was filled with science fiction – Doctor Who, Gerry Anderson (Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space: 1999), Space Patrol, Star Trek (TOS), Lost in Space, to name but a few, plus all the periodicals like DC and Marvel comics (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Superman, and the king of them all, Doctor Strange) . . . with all of this floating around in my head, by the time I got to the mid-70s and information about allegedly ‘real’ UFOs began to percolate through to me, mainly via the local public libraries, you could say that I was quite open to any suggestion about extraterrestrials and their presence (or otherwise) around Earth.

But as the years passed and I became more educated, knowledgeable and experienced, and indeed, reading and otherwise taking in more information about the subject, more and more implausibility tended to creep in. New ideas started to arise about what we were seeing and some of them had nothing to do with “extraterrestrials” at all, and I started to realise that we were making at least one fundamental mistake: very little attempt was being made to distinguish between the obviously artificial and anything which could be described as natural. Then there was the problem of “Well, if it’s artificial, is it really made by us or them?” – there was a necessary filtration or categorisation of observed phenomena which was missing from the field, and this is surprisingly important. And I am sure that it interdigitates quite nicely in the minds of deceivers that there should be such confusion, not least because it keeps idle minds occupied and more acute minds busy trying to figure it all out!

I will return to this in a later blog, but for now, the simple truth is that what I am adumbrating here is pervasive and is applied to all fields of human experience; it is all, to a greater or lesser extent, tainted by the desire of “interested parties” to control all of those who do not wish to belong to their pernicious little groups, for their collective benefit. Both religion and science have this, but it is at the limits or borders of those enterprises that the cracks begin to show and we begin to realise that the whole thing is a con. History is, in fact, a complete con: a fabrication written by “interested parties”, and to make sure that alternative interpretations are not possible, essential information is kept hidden (or even destroyed) by those same people, who act as the gatekeepers of the truth, whatever it may be. Time for some gatecrashing! Let’s party!!!

I suppose that when it really started to crystallise in my mind was shortly after George Carlin died. Carlin, whom I almost did not know at all (because I was from the wrong side of the Atlantic, of course) was a fantastically funny man, but his material was, at its heart, satirical: and as he was chronicling the absurdities of (mainly American) life, he was in fact admonishing his audience to have critical minds and not simply accept what we were told, like dumb sheep [2]:

I had (at that time) recently discovered the joys of YouTube, and came across another commentator of a different kind, who calls himself Jordan Maxwell [not his real name] [3]. He had brought out a new book called Sons of God, and so he was therefore making a kind of Bible commentary, but I felt at the time (and still feel now) that whatever the extent of his veracity might be, he was making some serious points which, as his countrymen might say, had always been “hidden in plain sight” but were overlooked because of their locations within the larger text. One realises, as one gets older, that very often the reason why some knowledge which is not destroyed proves difficult to uncover is that it is deliberately placed in difficult locations; a library, which is ostensibly a repository of information, is actually a perfect place to hide obscure data. But sometimes, as in this case, it was before your eyes all the time – you just have to pay more careful attention . . .

The most important points that Maxwell seemed to be making were as follows:

1: The ancient “Hebrews” were not originally monotheistic (i.e. assumed a single godhead), but were in fact henotheistic. Maxwell explains that by this, he means that they had a selection of “gods” and chose their “god” from amongst them. What started me off looking at this was the realisation that if the ancient Hebrews selected a “god” from a line-up of “gods”, then the expression “Lord God” needs to be pronounced in a certain way to make it intelligible. “Lord” needs fortis; “God” needs lenis: “The LORD God” – I suddenly realised why it was printed this way in the Bible – the other “gods” were “lesser” gods (small “g”) but he was the LORD. But the “lesser gods” did not cease to be “gods”, something I shall return to later during a similar discussion relating to Michael Tsarion and the Atonists.

So we should note in passing (as we will return to this later) that mention is made of “gods” rather than “God” in several places in the Bible. Indeed, Maxwell points out in passing (for example) that in Psalm 82, it reads:

82:1: God standeth in the congregation of the mighty;
He judgeth among the gods.

and that the term Elohim is in fact plural, not singular.

2: Genesis does not state initially that “God” “created” man in his own image. Genesis 1:26, which is part of the account of the sixth day of creation, states:

1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Only after this does a singular reference to “his image” appear:

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

As Maxwell expresses it, the Elohim, according to this account, took an existing indigenous Earth creature (a hominid) and remodelled it in their image.

3: Again, in Genesis 3:22, “God” speaks in the plural:

3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: . . .

4: “Adam” was not “created” by “God” in the “Garden of Eden”. Instead, he was created elsewhere on the sixth day of creation and then placed in the “Garden of Eden” by “God” (singular), who had also created the “Garden” for this very purpose:

2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he
put the man whom he had formed.

5: “God” sends the Great Flood to exterminate all except the eight people (Noah, his wife, and their three sons and their wives), and then instructs them to:

9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Here we come to an interesting recollection from the beginning of the Book of Genesis. When “God” speaks to Noah after the flood, he repeats what he said to Adam and Eve in the first chapter:

1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

3: The existence of an inexplicable void before the creation of man:

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Maxwell points to this having been a “mistranslation” by the English scholars who created the King James Bible of the term tohū vā bohū. This term, according to the annotations which Maxwell was using, means “became a waste” or “became a desolation” – in other words, the world was a wasteland at the time being discussed in the Genesis narrative, but was not a wasteland before – something happened which caused it to become a wasteland, so this was not its original state.

The term tohū vā bohū appears again later in the Book of Jeremiah, where “God” tells Jeremiah of how the world used to be before “He” created man.

In Jeremiah 4:23, it states:

4:23 I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

4:24: I beheld the mountains, and lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.

4:25: I beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.

4:26: I beheld, and lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger.

4:27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.

4:28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

And the meaning of this? Before the creation of Adam and Eve, the Earth was a beautiful place, but was then destroyed (by “God”), and it was the task of the new men to replenish (reoccupy by multiplication) the vacant wasteland. Jeremiah is given a vision of this, and according to Maxwell, these are the only two occasions in the King James Bible where the term tohū vā bohū can be found.

So the account of “creation” found in Genesis is, in fact, a false start; the Earth existed before that, but when men multiplied and “God” determined that they were corrupted, he destroyed them with the Great Flood, and only Noah and his family were allowed to survive, along with (according to the story) the pairs of animals in the Ark with him. Why Noah in particular was spared is a story for another time, but it relates directly to the story of Enoch.

And again, in Jeremiah 4:28, “God” says: “yet I will not make a full end”.

It’s a false beginning, convenient for the story.

The world existed long before the story began; we know this now, because the same story tells us so!

“God” did not wish to destroy the world, only the corrupted inhabitants, so that new civilisations could be “created”.

And when they also became corrupted, “He” levelled the whole thing to the ground with a “Great Flood”, and started again.

If we look at other accounts of Creation, for example the Popol Vuh from South America, we see very similar stories. Indeed, this particular one tells how the “gods” were successively dissatisfied with their creation, and re-made it no less than three times; a new beginning each time. And in the tohū vā bohū sense, in the Bible, after one “creation and corruption”, “God” lays waste to the civilisation (which “He” presumably created), creates a new one, becomes fed up with it again, destroys his second (we assume) creation, kills off all but a select few (Noah and his family), and starts again. In fact there are more stories like this (Lot, for example), but I think the essential point is made – all of these events create a new “datum line”, beyond which (one suspects) the “official version” of history is or was meant to begin.

My central point here is that human history (as it is taught to us) is a succession of attempts to impose a new “datum line” upon our consciousness, and that within the new context, whatever went before is (or is intended to be) meaningless, irrespective of how substantial it might have been. In the Bible, from the Christian point of view, one might argue that the new “datum line” was the birth of Christ – and the Western calendar as it exists today certainly derives from this.

We should note also that the Biblical account is heavily localised. It really refers only (and exclusively) to the areas of the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia: Sumer, Akkad, Assyria), parts of North Africa esp. Egypt, and the Levant (Palestine and its environs); only in the New Testament does it begin to stray. Although the events related in the Bible may reflect the localisation of global events during past eras, there is a huge amount that we cannot infer from them, for example events in the Far East and Oceania, or even in northern Europe and the Americas. And yet we could hardly assert that events were not happening in those locations during the formative period of the Biblical narrative. But we can be quite certain that they were, and that what we see in the Bible hardly represents the last word in “datum lines”. One should be suspicious that a story which turned out to be so powerful over the last couple of thousand years concerns itself so specifically with such a restricted area.

When the convenience of a false start was required, in historical terms, at least, there were plenty of precedents; what we see in the Bible are only early attempts at this.

I would not say, however, that the presence of these things in the Bible makes it irrelevant, only less accurate than it claims to be. I would have no doubt that it describes real people and their affairs from past times, but their experiences (victories in battle, in particular) are partly speculative and nonverifiable by independent means, something I would certainly level in general terms at the dubious discipline of archaeology (and by extension, therefore, palaeontology and cosmology).

So . . . where would we look next?

We have already mentioned the arrival of Christ. His arrival marks the main split in what we now call the “Bible”. Similarly, we might point out that in Islam, the years are counted from the arrival of Mohammed. But what about in more modern times?

Well, somewhere at the beginning of the twentieth century, something similar seems to have happened. A new “datum line” emerged, somewhat surreptitiously, with the emergence of a new scientific paradigm, and the period seems to have been roughly 1905-1911, and began with the publication of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Why would this be important? For several reasons:

1: It represented a paradigm succession from the “mechanical universe” model of Newton, dominated by the effects of gravity and mass, into a new paradigm dominated by the bending of space-time by matter.

2: It also represented a change from the requirement to demonstrate the validity of a new hypothesis by physical experimentation to demonstration by calculation, i.e. that the calculations themselves represented proof of validity rather than a visual demonstration, and led to a kind of “truth by proclamation” (rather as in the religious context, perhaps?). This has led us, with the progression of computer technology since the end of World War II, into a situation where modern sciences are largely dominated by simulations, and where the simulation is touted as proof of the validity of both the hypothesis and the dominant paradigm. That such mechanisms often fail in predictive accuracy (and are therefore open to the accumulation of anomalies) can be seen any time at http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/daily-tpod/. No shortage of examples there!

3: In the mainstream historical account, the progression from Ptolemaic to Newtonian to Einsteinian cosmology is often presented as a purely natural progression. But what is clear is that the real progression is from practical to theoretical, from that which can at least be demonstrated from some part of physical experience to that which can only be easily explained through recourse to analogy. But the problem with this is that the recourse to reason and analogy, without recourse to physical examination, leads only one way – to abstraction. This is why a computer model is often presented nowadays as “proof” when, in fact, because of its very nature, changing any one variable in its programming is likely to produce a different result. This type of science is therefore a scam because it relies upon belief rather than rationality, and when science has become a belief system, it has also become a religion or – worse, perhaps – a cargo cult. [4]

4: By the time Einstein’s General Relativity paper was published, the Western art world had already become enamoured with the idea of “modernity” and the new atomic-level science which was emerging from physics laboratories, and the burgeoning products of technology in the new century. This was (along with other media input) creating a social psychological environment in which new ideas were easier to accept, but naïve when it came to distinguishing genuine ideas from obvious deception, and certainly not concerned with the possible future consequences of current developments. [11]

In fact, we might say that this “datum line” mechanism is rather worn-out; it has been used too many times historically and one’s patience with those who would use it has worn rather thin, especially as pointed out by Thomas S. Kuhn in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), that much of what passes for “normal science” is in fact merely trying to “verify” the theory rather than being genuinely “scientific” and challenging it with new, rival theories, the successes of which would lead eventually to a succession of new paradigm over old. Rather, those who might be able to articulate reasonable alternatives tend to be marginalised by the mainstream.

There is a whiff of something here, and it smells fishy; what we have been told constitutes “history” is nothing of the sort – at best, it can only be a “version of events” according to the narrative of the current paradigm, and if modern science is anything to go by, it is moribund (because it has little predictive power) and corrupted (because the only way to success within the current paradigm is to massage results to fit what is expected, rather than trying to interpret results with a view to paradigm succession, which ideally would lead to greater verisimilitude).

And the machinations of the priests of the current paradigm are really only to keep this ramshackle structure going as long as possible because, of course, when the time inevitably comes that the accumulation of new data overwhelmingly contradicts the current paradigm, it must fall like a house of cards; but what we must not forget is that this is entirely intentional – science is built like a castle on sand, and persists only until the sand (and therefore the castle) are washed away by the tide of new information. This is something to fear only if we are so attached to the old paradigm that we feel that its passing also triggers our own demise, so strong is the mind-control of the ramifications of its loss upon our lives. But there is no permanence in science; the progress towards verisimilitude means that although older ideas may be discarded or, at best, subsumed into the new paradigm, their influence is inevitably and irreversibly diminished and hence, also, the prestige of their former practitioners.

So we come to another example, really the one which set it all off in my mind: the Kenneth Arnold story. Kenneth who?

If you look at his Wikipedia entry [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arnold], Kenneth Arnold was an American businessman who sold fire suppression systems, and combined his business with the eminently practical travel solution of being a private aviator. As such, he was often involved in search and rescue missions, but because his clientele were widely dispersed, flying between airfields was also a faster way of transiting between customers. However, on June 24th, 1947, he had an experience which has completely flavoured (and, one might say, “prejudiced”) the study of what came to be known as “UFOs” ever since . . .

According to his report, he was flying close to Mount Rainier in Washington state, en route from Chehalis to Yakima, hoping to get the $5,000 dollar reward offered during the search for a missing Curtiss Commando C-46 transport plane, owned by the Navy [5]. He reported (partially):

“The sky and air was clear as crystal. I hadn’t flown more than two or three minutes on my course when a bright flash reflected on my airplane. It startled me as I thought I was too close to some other aircraft. I looked every place in the sky and couldn’t find where the reflection had come from until I looked to the left and the north of Mt. Rainier where I observed a chain of nine peculiar looking aircraft flying from north to south at approximately 9,500 foot elevation and going, seemingly, in a definite direction of about 170 degrees.

They were approaching Mt. Rainier very rapidly, and I merely assumed they were jet planes. Anyhow, I discovered that this was where the reflection had come from, as two or three of them every few seconds would dip or change their course slightly, just enough for the sun to strike them at an angle that reflected brightly on my plane.

These objects being quite far away, I was unable for a few seconds to make out their shape or their formation. Very shortly they approached Mt. Rainier, and I observed their outline against the snow quite plainly.

I thought it was very peculiar that I couldn’t find their tails but assumed they were some type of jet plane. I was determined to clock their speed, as I had two definite points I could clock them by; the air was so clear that it was very easy to see objects and determine their approximate shape and size at almost fifty miles that day.

I remember distinctly that my sweep second hand on my eight day clock, which is located on my instrument panel, read one minute to 3 P.M. as the first object of this formation passed the southern edge of Mt. Rainier. I watched these objects with great interest as I had never before observed airplanes flying so close to the mountain tops, flying directly south to southeast down the hog’s back of a mountain range. I would estimate their elevation could have varied a thousand feet one way or another up or down, but they were pretty much on the horizon to me which would indicate they were near the same elevation as I was.

They flew like many times I have observed geese to fly in a rather diagonal chain-like line as if they were linked together. They seemed to hold a definite direction but rather swerved in and out of the high mountain peaks. Their speed at the time did not impress me particularly, because I knew that our army and air forces had planes that went very fast.

What kept bothering me as I watched them flip and flash in the sun right along their path was the fact that I couldn’t make out any tail on them, and I am sure that any pilot would justify more than a second look at such a plane.

. . . As I was flying in the direction of this particular ridge, I measured it and found it to be approximately five miles so I could safely assume that the chain of these saucer like objects were at least five miles long. I could quite accurately determine their pathway due to the fact that there were several high peaks that were a little this side of them as well as higher peaks on the other side of their pathway.” [6], [8]

As can also be seen at Wikipedia [7], although Arnold used terms like “saucer” and “saucer-like objects” when addressing the press, he also used other terms: “like a fish flipping in the sun”, “like the tail of a [Chinese] kite” and “half-moon shaped”. However, it was through the press that the term “flying saucer” came into coinage, and Arnold himself probably did not help matters when he stated his belief that they might originate off-world:

In an Associated Press story from July 19, Arnold reiterated his belief that if they weren’t Army, then they were extraterrestrial:
“The ex-University of Minnesota swimmer and footballer says he now believes:
1. The disks are not from any foreign country.
2. The Army could give the answer if it would — ‘if they don’t have the explanation now they certainly could do something to find out.’
3. If the Army has no explanation the disks must be — ‘and I know this sounds crazy’ — from another planet.”

How Arnold’s story becomes one of misrepresentation lies in the fact that 1947 was later to be regarded as a seminal year in the UFO canon: less than two weeks later came the alleged crashes at Roswell and Aztec (both in New Mexico), of which the former, upon its later rediscovery by Stanton Friedman, would become little short of a legend. But what came to be known as “UFOs” had been well-characterised long before 1947, and as Dr. Chuck Missler points out in Return of the Nephilim, many books had made mention of sky objects before the twentieth century [12].

Personally, very soon after his first encounter, Arnold was to become involved in the Maury Island case, bankrolled by Ray Palmer, publisher at that time of “Amazing Stories”, and a good coverage of which can be found here: http://ufocon.blogspot.kr/2010/07/maury-island-no-longer-mystery-ufo-hoax.html [13].

However, from his own account it seems that Arnold thought at the beginning that they must be jets of some kind (as jet aircraft were new, having originated at the end of WWII), despite their apparent slow speed. But the perception of “flying saucers” mushroomed out of control in the media until level-headed discussion was impossible – a situation not helped by the likes of so-called “contactees” such as the obviously fraudulent (and alleged CIA operative) George Adamski, who became so prevalent during the 1950s.

Speaking of Adamski, I came across a very interesting opinion piece by Marc Hallet at Skeptic Report [10], interesting not least because of a paragraph which partly encapsulates what I am adumbrating here:

“On that day [see original article], Adamski did exactly the same as he had done in the Desert in 1952: he asked his friends to stay where they were and wait for him, went into the distance, disappeared, then came back again later saying that something very important had taken place. This method is based upon the same psychological method used by conjurors who give their audience the impression that something extraordinary is taking place when, in fact, something very ordinary actually happens.”

That matter is that, far from being purveyors of the truth, mass media are purveyors of deception. What we see or hear or read is subject to editorial discretion, a process during which it is easy to alter or even remove anything which is not deemed to fit into the larger picture the audience is meant to receive. And far from being “independent”, many editors are required to dance to the tune of their paymasters, or at least to lean towards their requirements in plausible fashion, and the more one tends towards the lower-quality, “tabloidy” end of the publishing spectrum, the more the editors are interested in momentary spectacle and sensation with a view to the bottom line. This is not a reliable source of information of any kind.

A wider assertion of principle might be that since no source of information is completely reliable or without fault, it is unreasonable to assume complete accuracy, and this means that the most essential part of the educational process is the inculcation of a judgemental process which allows the individual to more easily determine and filter out sources of non-information (or, worse, misinformation or disinformation). An implication of this is that since no source of information is completely reliable, it is unwise to make oneself dependent upon single information sources, whether they be personal, historical, philosophical, religious or scientific. There are no undeniably reliable sources of information, so don’t take any of them one hundred percent seriously. And the more noise they make, the more certain you can be that they are seeking your attention for a reason.

These two cases we have examined cursorily here have showed two kinds of deception. The first is lack of attention: not seeing the glaringly obvious due to not examining the source closely enough, although in fairness, we should remind ourselves that the source in this case passed through a number of languages and even incarnations before we could see it in the form in which it appears today (which is truly a story in itself); and the second is deliberate sensationalism, distraction and contradiction, a problem which continues to worsen in the mass media. Kenneth Arnold was an experienced pilot and a keen observer of detail, but the effect of the Mount Rainier and Maury Island affairs has been to cast doubt upon him as a reliable witness and investigator, which is surely unfair.

The end result is that the physical and psychological geography that we had in the past becomes an increasingly dim memory; the hallmark of modern media communication is a plenitude of confusion which blights our recollection of those things which we used to think were so certain. The sadness of the Internet age is not that there is a shortage of information; it is that so much of it is completely uncorroborated, unverifiable or just outright bogus.

When confronted by this maelstrom of contradictory information, the best that we can do – perhaps – is to restrict the input and filter out the extraneous distractions which have been added with the intention of deliberate obfuscation. Then we establish facts between events which have been verified to our satisfaction, and proceed to build our own, personal schema of the situation from there. Perhaps, then, we can work backwards, as best as possible, to reconstruct those lost geographies of our past without the pointless diversions of the present, the better to understand what lies in our future.

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” – Lenin


1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arnold

2: George Carlin – 10 Commandments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE8ooMBIyC8

3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7KBw1W8ABw

4: http://neurotheory.columbia.edu/~ken/cargo_cult.html

5: http://www.saturdaynightuforia.com/html/articles/articlehtml/positivelytruestoryofkennetharnold1.html

6: http://www.project1947.com/fig/ka.htm

7: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arnold_UFO_sighting#Publicity_and_origins_of_term_.22flying_saucer.22

8: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arnold_AAF_drawing.jpg

9: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arnold_UFO_sighting

10: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arnold_UFO_sighting

11: See Jacob Bronowski’s “The Ascent of Man: World Within World”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV9WE-k-y3M

12: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0gZMFD34Vc

13: http://ufocon.blogspot.kr/2010/07/maury-island-no-longer-mystery-ufo-hoax.html

Why Modern Democracy Cannot Work

Readers may be surprised to learn that I have not voted for any political party since the late 1990s. One reason for this, of course, is that I have been out of the country since September 2002, and although allowed residency in the various locations where I have lived, as a non-citizen of those countries, I have not been enfranchised and in fact, I am quite grateful for this.

If you were to ask me what my political leanings were, I would say that by nature I am (and ever have been) a nationalistic person. Many people who know me may find this odd – they might say that my obvious nature, as they normally see it, makes them think that I am nothing of the sort. But it’s true: I am a former Conservative voter and despite what anyone may think of me, I am conservative (with a small ‘c’) by nature and inclination, and I seem to feel this more and more as the years pass, perhaps as a result of all the errors I have made which make me averse to certain courses of action when decisions have to be taken. And I have a great desire to see my own country (and others) in a state of peaceful equilibrium where the executive carry out their functions in accordance with the wishes of the people. Unfortunately, I do not think that this is possible. It is hard for me to see how modern democracy can work effectively, or even whether it still is “democracy” at all.

For democracy to work, representatives have to accept that they do not “run” a country. They have to accept that “law” should not be a bloated tome constantly added to by a professional legislature, but rather a basic set of documents whose essential principles enjoy popular support and (most importantly) comprehension.

In our modern state, we look back at the likes of ancient Greece and (maybe) the ancient Hebrews possibly with a sense of amusement that they could have run their legal systems and societies with so few laws; after all, they did not have the modern problems of (for example) online copyright infringement or international trade (although other problems such as peculation were rife). Our legislators seem to feel that these things require a succession of ever more severe legal punishments, one response to which has been the growth of media outside of the normal arrangements of companies and direct sales of products to consumers via the Internet. It does not escape one’s notice that powerful lobbyists seek constantly to have the lawmakers enact legislation in their favour.

There are those who feel, in fact, that they have a “right” to rule others. I will not go into a discussion of those people in depth here, except to say that their behaviour affects the majority of people who have no desire or need to be “ruled”. The would-be “rulers” have assumed powers to which they should never have been allowed access, and nothing seems to make them happier than the idea that they should go about their dubious and deadly business without hindrance from such things as, say, accountability to the electorate.

The other most important requirement for a functional democracy, I would suggest, is a large amount of consensus among the electorate, rather than among (for example) commentators, politicians and academics. These are few in number, and their opinions are largely irrelevant. Moreover, if left unchecked, we see that usually they will squander national resources upon those with whom they have working relationships – businesses of one or another description, or other political allies or other creditors. In many countries, lobbying has become an industry unnaccountable, again, to the electorate upon whom they are essentially parasites.

I will return at a later date to this idea of social parasitism, but will merely note at this juncture that the business of the modern politician seems geared towards profiting from diverting the wealth of nations into the pockets of their associates. If this is not true, I would be very interested to hear how they justify this behaviour, although I suspect that their reasoning would be rather shallow and egregious.

Modern politics seems to go hand-in-hand with a rather hysterical media apparatus. One cannot avoid noticing that, rather than presenting balanced and accurate accounts of current issues, media are instead more involved with trying to convince the viewing public that the government’s line is correct, even when it is manifestly dangerous bordering on the tragic. The reason is to sow disharmony and dissent, to make people argue and disagree, but also to maintain tension and foster a sense of panic, in which rational thinking is difficult or impossible. One only has to look at how currency exchange rates are up and down all the time, and periodically have catastrophic collapses, to see what a powerful tool this is. But truth is not the business of the media; their bottom line is profit and advertising revenue.

The constant desire of Western politicians to involve their countries illegally in the affairs of other nations, either by means of subterfuge or direct assualt, is an insult to the intelligence and decency of all those who are enfranchised in their own countries. War is not the natural state of the human organism: we claim that we have intelligence, but the fruits of intellect are constructive – the rise of technology during the Industrial Revolution had sequelae such as improved sanitation and hygiene and the supply of good food, improved transport and employment prospects, the rise of the modern novel and instantaneous communication. Yet the ability of the industrialising countries to undergo this transformation had already come to depend upon the import of materials which could only be kept cheap by the subjugation of non-industrial nations which were too weak and disorganised to offer resistance to what was essentially the appropriation of their wealth at gunpoint.

The role of the media has often been to bolster the position of the robbers rather than to question the moral and legal basis of their behaviour, and the performance of newspaper and television reporting over the past few decades has completely undermined their own credibility; it has been said that Western media nowadays are so subservient to their governments that when the latter control access to information, any outlet which questions the source too closely will be frozen out of the loop – but this rather begs the question of whether what they are reporting is “news” at all!

Then there is the question of political parties. One would like to think, in an ideal situation, that they exist to represent the views of their members; a healthy society, one would imagine, has a spectrum of viewpoints, and ideally they would all have something constructive to contribute. Yet there has, for a very long time, been a situation arising in which legislatures are dominated by single parties, often for very long periods, who use their time in power only to alter the country to suit their particular political slant.

We often hear that a newly-elected government wants to enact “reforms”, but since World War Two, irrespective of the alleged political leanings of those concerned, measures seem only to have been in one direction – to reduce freedom of virtually every aspect of an individual’s life, including even their freedom of thought and reasonable speech, by means such as controlling access to basic information, enmeshing businesses in increasing amounts of bureaucratic regulation, restriction of movement and setting different groups against each other in one way or another, for example allowing large numbers of people to enter the country so that competition for jobs is exacerbated. In the UK, one side-effect of the expansion of the tertiary education sector was a glut of graduates for whom economic recession destroyed any hope of a career, or at the very least gave such a hope major setbacks. The resulting competition between candidates can thus be used to keep salaries down – but how can an economy thrive when disposable income is curtailed? Indeed, how can any economy grow when everyone is competing with everyone else to offer services for the lowest price?

Personally, I would dearly love to know (and I know that others feel similarly) just what it is that makes certain groups in human society feel that they are somehow more entitled to a greater share of society’s benefits than others; what makes them feel that they are somehow so wise that the counsel and opinions of those they are elected to serve are somehow meaningless and can be ignored; what right they have to ruin economies by pointless adherence to dogma, why they think that the wealth of their country should consistently be funnelled into the pockets of big business and why it is that the likes of pension funds are ripe for plunder? Why is it that the defence industry has become a sacred cow, but car manufacturers and the people who grow our food are somehow not worthy of support? And why should the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries be allowed to affect the way in which health systems and food legislation are enacted?

As I said at the beginning, I have not voted for any political party for many years, and with good reason: they simply cannot represent my personal interests. Only I can do that. I may have a lot in common with the person next to me, but I remain an individual with idiosyncrasies and responsibilities, and these things are my concern and mine alone, my inalienable right, so to speak. There is no place in my life for anyone to make decisions for me. I do not authorise elected representatives to drop bombs on the inhabitants of other countries. I do not authorise them to print money so that the value of the currency declines with time. I do not authorise them to raid the pension funds for which so many worked so hard all their lives. I do not authorise them to create “false flag operations” to justify unwarranted aggression against other nations. I do not authorise them to pervert living organisms or pollute the environment for contemptible levels of profit. And I do not authorise them to do any of these things at my own personal expense! This is not “democracy”, this is not the reasoned self-government of the people, it is naked plutocracy.

The final point I would make here is a technological one. Democracy is all about expressing one’s opinion by voting, yet consistently and (I would suggest) increasingly, politicians see the expression of the people’s political will as a barrier to their personal self-aggrandisement and aims, whatever they may be. It is amazing that in the twenty-first century, we still depend so much upon paper ballots, but we cannot have an election station in every house to ensure that as many people as possible are allowed to express themselves because technology is so easily perverted by those with the motivation and access to the means.

It seems to me that if “democracy” is to have any meaning, the people must take back power from those who have saught to abuse it, and make sure that their duties and capabilities are severely restricted in the future. They must ensure that public servants at all levels are subjected to scrutiny to avoid abuses of position and power. And perhaps most important of all, to forever divorce those who seek public office from the unwelcome influence of private money and to forbid gross lobbying of the kind which emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Although the ancient Greeks had open elections, the number of electors – a small group, but representative of all levels of society – was restricted and voting was by the use of coloured stones or ostraka. It was simple and unambiguous, and unlike some modern elections we could mention, was tightly observed and could not be rigged – something more greatly assured by limiting the number of electors allowed to cast votes on any particular occasion, and by ensuring that different people voted on different occasions. Although restricted, democracy had meaning for the Greeks.

Maybe it’s high time that we rediscovered that meaning.

An Eye For An Eye Makes The Whole World Blind

I love to see stuff like this:

Even I with my background in science, couldn’t stand it any longer . . . all so pointless . . . I gave up long ago.

See their web site at http://inertiaempire.com/

The Return

Hello folks, and welcome to my new blog. Setting this up was occasioned by the impending demise of my original Opera Blog, which (alas!) is now to go the way of all things, as the Powers That Be at Opera have decided that (after all these years) this is a part of their community which they no longer wish to maintain. Previous postings will be rescued and archived here, one at a time.

However, it was not just the demise of the blog which made me consider actually setting up a proper, paid Web presence. Before the onset of Opera’s fateful decision, my main free e-mail service of many years, Yahoo, similarly decided that a revamp was required, and unfortunately, the result of this appears to be semi-functional, working properly only with their “recommended” browsers, and still requiring frequent reloads. So the time for a proper, “professional” e-mail service where I could get feedback and advice seemed to have arrived. And then there’s the question of the NSA . . .

I guess we could say that things change as life progresses, and that it is probably less than realistic to hope that a familiar and trusted on-line service should remain completely available and reliable until we are finally shoved in the ground; and so often, the new is forced upon us when we preferred the old. But on the other hand, as I discovered, the cost of a “proper” service was not equivalent to an arm and a leg, and is far less than a lot of other annual costs which I pay without thinking.

Those things in our lives which we take for granted and always expect to be there for us represent a kind of prison, even a tyranny, and it is the duty of all human beings to escape them. Over-dependence upon such things as free mail servers, TV and the dubious purveyors of so-called “knowledge” creates a psychological prison from which escape can be difficult until we learn to change our attitudes and habits; and that process begins when we decide that we have tolerated as much of our habit-worn situation as possible, and that the time for change in our lives has finally arrived. Until we approach that crucial moment, the small psychological box we have constructed for ourselves, which exists between our ears, is at once a prison and a coffin.

My former life in the UK was a set of habits. I went to work each day. I had a car and a place where I lived. I ate certain foods and drank certain drinks. But there was never any real progress. Every working day was pretty much the same as the one which preceded it; the tasks I had to perform each day were much the same; it all led nowhere. And it had little or nothing to do with the career for which I had been undergoing my  undergraduate education – I had been repeatedly shunted sideways into other areas where my “transferable skills” were useful to others, and it seemed to me that this was a waste. The work, also, was often of a temporary nature, which is not really good for one’s fortunes. If I were in that situation today with the knowledge and experience that I have now, perhaps things would have worked out differently; but it is major error to spend large parts of one’s life fretting about “how it might have been . . . if only I had done things a different way . . . if only I had not made that decision . . . if only . . . if only . . .”

So it does seem that the fact that I find myself sitting here now, typing in a new blog, is an important part of the journey, the progression, the experience, the enlightenment and – perhaps – the approach to the numinous, the seeking of the thing which haunts us all our days and drives us to do the things we feel are necessary for our development and evolution as individuals; it is perhaps just one stage among many, one of many possible timelines which are forever in the future, waiting to unfold as each decision in my life is made, for better or worse. But again: regretting one’s decisions, when they turn out bad, is an error and should instead be re-framed as a learning experience. The events in our lives, better or worse as they may turn out to be, are all experiences from which we can learn; this is a crucial restatement of how we should see the reality which surrounds us.

The day that I flew out from Heathrow Airport to my first destination in East Asia was truly the day that my life changed. I have to tell you now that I have never regretted that decision.

As for my blog’s new home, I chose this particular WordPress template, which its creator named “Colourise”, because I felt that viewers should not have their eyes stabbed by a bright set of web pages. Personally, I tend to stay in subdued light environments, especially at night and at home, so something subdued seemed to be appropriate.

The title is essentially an optimistic one: in the West, we have always looked eastwards to the rising sun as the harbinger of the future, the deliverer of the new day, the saviour from the night; and even though the sun rises each morning, the sense of “newness” is still there, the sense of hope for what is to come and the idea that, somewhere beyond that far horizon, new lands, new vistas and new peoples lay waiting for us to discover them – perhaps, as Kipling memorably put it:

Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated – so:
“Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges –
Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!”

With this thought foremost in mind (although I have always been something of an armchair explorer), and preparing also for a change of job and location, I stride forth into the light of the new morning.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,