Friday, March 15, 2013

Rupert Sheldrake's TED talk: ideas worth suppressing?


I find an email from Rupert Sheldrake in my inbox, telling me that his TED talk has been removed from the TED London website - although it is still available here - because two scientists have objected to the promotion of the ideas contained within it, it seems.

It always amazes me when scientists wish to eliminate something which doesn't fit within their paradigm of science when there are some simple questions which science cannot answer. If the universe is infinite, what does that mean in terms of what is beyond and beyond and beyond? If the universe is finite, then what is around it? And around that? and around that?

The rise of modern theoretical physics means that very few people in our reality will be able to test out the hypotheses that are put out by perfectly scientific people, or even to understand them. For most lay people the idea that a particle has a chance of being in four places at once is so outside our common experience as to be completely illogical.

Our concept of what science is, in terms of testing hypotheses with scientific method, complete breaks down when observation or non-observation may change the outcome of the experiment... and yet these two scientists, named in Sheldrake's email as Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers are *so* afraid of Sheldrake's ideas, that they have demanded that the video which challenges the dogma of science should be removed.

The fabric of the TED talk which has been removed, is a challenge to the idea of science as a religion, as a substitute for religion, in which a rigid view of what science is and can be is imposed by scientists who control the realm of the possible and probable and refuse to allow any enquiry outside those realms. It is manifestly demonstrated that this view is true, from the very action of its opponents.

TED should be ashamed of themselves. Not only are they priced way outside the realm of most ordinary people's pockets (and thus exclusive and elitist) but they respond to pressure by caving, instead of maintain free speech and the opportunity to listen to an alternative point of view. I thought better of them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Carlos Diaz UFO contactee film

New film about the experience of Carlos Diaz, UFO contactee, using text to voice and illustrations. It's an interesting story.


The message about the oneness of all is one which is at the heart of most of our religions and spirituality, but one which humanity as a whole has not learned yet. The message which we should be listening to is... to love our neighbours as ourselves. If we did this, we would be unable to produce the sorts of damage that we have wrought on the planet. We are mostly living as though we are living on a planet of infinite resources, with infinite capacity to withstand our abuses. When we do not honour the life of the planet, we kill ourselves, and when we kill each other we prove that we haven't learned to love our neighbours.

It's a simple childlike message, but one which fails to penetrate the bubble we all wear, which is a preoccupation with getting as much as we can of whatever is available. We need to find a way forward which doesn't mean crushing other people in order to achieve our aims... and it's only when we understand the importance of that, that humanity will be ready to progress to the next stage.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time travellers

BoingBoing carries a video from Jamie D. Grant, a magician, which purports to show a time traveller.  I don't usually like to put spoilers in my blog, and the video is only a couple of minutes long.  You can see it here....

OK... a guy who has a modern look appears in an old photograph. It's a bit like the video of the old lady apparently using a mobile phone... you see what you think you see only with the perspective of your time and place. I've embedded this version only because I think it is the original, but the guy does witter on a bit - the actual film starts around two minutes 39 seconds.



The Hakan Nordkvist case is more intriguing on first viewing. It's a hoax... how can it not be? Apparently a stupid retirement company thought a viral hoax might encourage young people to plan for their retirement. Once again, the "proof" isn't proof at all.



The most persuasive argument against time travel is simply that we do not have people from the 31st century arriving as tourists to screw up the future in some mind-bendingly confusing way. I'm assuming anyone capable of developing a time-travelling machine will be a geek who's watched enough Star Trek to know it never turns out well anyway.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dying birds falling into the sea

Robin photograph from Wikimedia Commons CC attribution Pierre Selim




If I hadn't caught the end of the six o'clock news on BBC Radio 4 tonight, I would not have heard about the latest example of bird death to hit the UK.  There was a short report at the end of the news of birds plunging into the sea off the coast.  These are garden birds at the end of their migratory journey to our country, who are arriving exhausted, so exhausted that they cannot avoid drowning in the sea a short distance from the coast.

There's very little detail online.  It always amazes me that this sort of story attracts so little attention.  The Independent has a couple of paragraphs at the end of an article about the change in weather this week:

"The bad weather is also affecting wildlife. Thousands of migrating birds have been dying before reaching England this week because of an appalling combination of fog and winds around the coast, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

"Some fishermen have told the charity of the deaths of many exhausted and disorientated "garden" birds plunging into the sea around their vessels, a spokesman said."

The assumption seems to be that the colder weather and fog are to blame, but the scenes described on Radio 4, where they also talked to fishermen who saw birds dropping into the sea around them, seemed more apocalyptic than that sounds. I'm keeping an eye on the subject, but it is hard to summarize when virtually no detail is reported.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reincarnation scrapbook

Itzhak Perlman and Schubert. 






Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lucid Dreaming

I've been a lucid dreamer for some years. Lucid dreaming is when you are dreaming and know you are dreaming, and may be able to control what you do in the dream. On the first occasion I did it, I hadn't heard the phrase Lucid Dreaming, and wouldn't have known that's what it was.

I remember how it happened vividly. In my dream I was at my mother's house, which is slightly unusual in that it has a long room with a staircase behind a door. I was walking up the staircase when I became aware that this was a dream, and I realized that I was dreaming in colour, which answered one of the questions I'd always had about whether I dreamed in colour.

I put out my hand and ran it over the carpet, which answered another question... I could feel the pile of the carpet beneath my hand, and when I put out my hand to the wood it felt cool and smooth - indistinguishable from real life. I've since been told that you can't feel pain in a dream, which is why pinching yourself works.

I turned around and went downstairs, still aware that I was dreaming, and was surprised to find a shop in my mother's living room. I was still fascinated with touching things and feeling the cold of glass, fabrics, the grain of wood, and realizing that I could see bright colours, and feel things just like waking life.

The next time I remember lucid dreaming, I had had a lot of broken nights, and I was trying to sleep in my daughter's bed. I'm not sure how long I had been asleep before I started to dream, but I found myself in a tower with a book open on a lectern in front of me and sun streaming through an open shutter. I looked at the book and was instantly aware that I was dreaming. I thought I could make any letter appear on the book and initially I succeeded, but then the effort woke me up.

Not long afterwards I started to read about Lucid Dreaming, and discovered that keeping a dream diary could help you both to remember your dreams but also to trigger Lucid Dreaming. I did find this to be true. I kept a dream diary for about three weeks before I had a lucid dream. This time, when I realized that I was dreaming, I had an experience I can only describe as being launched from a cannon... I felt as though my body was catapulted forwards, and I believe I may have had an out-of--body experience. I remember floating above my body and feeling a soft thing beneath me, soft and warm.

Around this time I had a lot of false awakenings: dreams where I would wake up and go to the bathroom, realize I was dreaming, wake up and go to the bathroom, realize I was still dreaming, wake up and stand up in my room, realize I was dreaming.... Sometimes I would have five or six false awakenings before finally waking up.

It was a few months later that I restarted my dream diary and tried a technique that I saw on a website: fixing on an object and deciding that if I saw it I would ask myself the question, am I dreaming? I decided on the moon, but in actual fact in the dream I didn't see the moon, but I did see moonlight, and it triggered me to ask if I was dreaming. As I could see a ploughed field outside my living room window, an unnaturally neat and tidy and almost drawn or painted ploughed field, it didn't take me long to decide I was indeed dreaming. Again I had a very strong impression of being pushed forward fast. I don't remember the rest of the dream, I think I woke myself up trying too hard.

Not long after this, I decided to ask myself the question when I saw a pencil in my dream and a couple of days later I did indeed see a pencil. I had the rapid movement forward, and stood up from the sofa where I had seen the pencil in my hand. I took the decision to visit a friend in Rotterdam, and found myself floating over the channel, aware of the swell of the sea beneath me as I travelled rapidly across the sea.

I arrived at a Chinese restaurant I didn't know, and saw people around but didn't know if they were real or dreamers. I started to search for the building my friend lived in but got frightened and woke up.

I have only had the wonderful vibrant colours that some people experience, once or twice, and I have had frightening experiences too... once I felt that someone or something was trying to pull me out of my body, and I found the bed vibrating very strongly, and that scared me. On another occasion I saw horrible faces around me and that scared me too. Maybe I am just a coward, but I didn't want to experience more and woke myself up. The good thing about lucid dreaming is that it is fairly easy to wake yourself - the trick is to remain asleep but lucid if you are enjoying yourself.

I think the experience of lucidity is much easier to gain if you keep a dream diary. I tend to do this for a few weeks and then forget or lose my pencil! Writing down what you have dreamed about as soon as you wake up and before you move or get up is the best way to do that. I find that if I move I tend to forget most of the details of the dream and only retain a general impression.

Certainly the technique of linking dreaming to common objects seems to work for me. And if you think you may be dreaming, always ask yourself the question. If you are dreaming, that alone can be enough to trigger lucidity.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Transformer explosions

I was sent a link for transformer explosions in Fort Worth, Texas, which happened a few days ago. The video shows amazing coloured explosions which were attributed to lightning strikes on the power lines somewhere out of shot.

The comments on the video on YouTube draw attention to the orbs/spheres/things which can be seen in the sky at the beginning of the film. Some people questioned the authenticity of the film, but it seems to be borne out by eyewitnesses and news reports around Fort Worth and I see no reason for assuming it is fabricated.

In the comments on the video, some people drew attention to the fact that there had been transformer explosions around the US in the days around the Fort Worth explosions. SheilaAliens has gathered reports of four here.

There are also reports of transformer explosions in Germany, Brazil and Portugal. It made me wonder if this sort of thing is going on all the time and we simply don't notice it, or whether this is a new phenemenon... or maybe tied to the age of the transformers? Seems odd, anyway. I will add to this post as I find more videos of thesame phenomenon.