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Teeming Links – July 12, 2013

FireHeadImage courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week, a change in format: The Teeming Brain’s long-running “Recommended Reading” series will henceforth be titled “Teeming Links.” It will also shift to a streamlined format that does away with the former practice of including extensive excerpts and publication information from the linked items. I want to curate and share lots of fascinating, valuable, troubling, and sometimes necessary news, essays, videos, podcasts, and other things with you, and with multiple competing responsibilities and commitments continuing to mount in my life, this is one way to further facilitate that.

So, without further ado, here’s today’s entry:

NSA PRISM: George Orwell’s ‘1984’ is flying off the shelves (UPI)
“1984” book sales skyrocket following NSA surveillance scandal — sales rise 7000 percent.

Bilderberg Group? No conspiracy, just the most influential group in the world (The Telegraph)
Conspiracy theorists claim it is a shadow world government. Former leading members tell the Telegraph it was the most useful meeting they ever went to and it was crucial in forming the European Union. Today (June 6, 2013), the Bilderberg Group meets in Britain.

Tired of helping the CIA? Quit Facebook, Venezuela minister urges (Reuters)

‘Quit Google, Facebook’ suggests tech expert as surveillance scandal deepens (Wired)

Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender’s secret life as a Mossad and the CIA agent revealed (Independent.ie)

The Masters of Deception (Paul Levy for Reality Sandwich)
If we don’t understand that our current world crisis has its roots within and is an expression of the human psyche, and instead become entranced into believing that the many problems we face as a species have a concrete, objective and extra-psychic origin, we are doomed to unconsciously repeat and continually re-create endless suffering and destruction in more and more amplified form, as if we are having a recurring nightmare.

The Greatest Epidemic Sickness Known to Humanity (Paul Levy for Reality Sandwich)
Wetiko/malignant egophrenia is a disease of civilization, or lack thereof. The wetiko virus is the root cause of the inhumanity in human nature, or shall we say, our seemingly inhuman nature. This “psychic virus,” a “bug” in “the system,” in-forms and animates the madness of so-called civilization, which, in a self-perpetuating feedback loop feeds the madness within ourselves.

An intriguing consciousness theory, but skeptics want evidence (NBC News)
The idea that consciousness arises from quantum mechanical phenomena in the brain is intriguing, yet lacks evidence, scientists say.

Our Undue Focus on Long Life (The Atlantic)
Americans are living longer but not necessarily better.

“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control (Salon)
SWAT teams raiding poker games and trying to stop underage drinking? Overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise.

Strange Sightings in New Milford: Extraterrestrial or Not? (Litchfield County Times, Connecticut)
“Eight eye witnesses saw a caravan of unidentifiable flying vehicles in the Northville corridor of Litchfield County over Route 202,” they wrote in an e-mail to The Litchfield County Times.

Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches (The New York Times)
The next big idea in language, history and the arts? Data.

Why dreams are the new Book of Revelation in our post-apocalyptic world

From an essay by sculptor, guitarist, and Jungian therapist Paco Mitchell on the awesome significance of dreams as psychic, spiritual, religious, and mythic guides to our present and future age of apocalyptic breakdown and revelation:

We are living in an age widely regarded as “apocalyptic,” though many of us steadfastly try to keep the lid on our share of apocalyptic awareness. But, in the end, it is better to lift the lid and peer into the cauldron. Every therapist understands this, and every patient should as well. And the most direct way of seeing into the living darkness that surrounds us is through our dreams.

. . . In his great but underrated book Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky, Jung puts our position into perspective:

The present world situation is calculated as never before to arouse expectations of a redeeming, supernatural event. If these expectations have not dared to show themselves in the open, this is simply because no one is deeply rooted enough in the tradition of earlier centuries to consider an intervention from heaven as a matter of course. We have indeed strayed far from the metaphysical certainties of the Middle Ages, but not so far that our historical and psychological background is empty of all metaphysical hope. Consciously, however, rationalistic enlightenment predominates, and this abhors all leanings towards the “occult.”

Although Jung’s book was devoted to an examination of UFO reports as symptoms of a modern myth in the process of forming, the larger syndrome of a myth-in-progress includes more than just flying saucer sightings, reports of abductions, or first-person accounts of being “probed” by aliens. The fact is that revelatory (apocalyptic) images are most likely flooding the dream-field as we speak, enriching our personalities and lives like silt from the rising waters of the Nile. The aggregation of these dream images and the life-experiences associated with them, will contribute over time to the formation of the new myth. Whatever metaphor we choose — a birth, an approaching dawn, an awakening — the features and full dimensions of this emerging phenomenon are scarcely discernible as yet. However, this should not deter us from keeping our eyes open, or lending our shoulders to the wheel.

. . . This responsibility of individuals is all the more enhanced by the charged and peculiar circumstances of the present historical moment. Despite Christian teachings, which imply that all the revelations ever needed are safely contained within the Bible, the fact is that apocalyptic, revelatory impulses from the collective unconscious are just as necessary, and just as valid, today as they were two thousand years ago, when the classical world of antiquity was breaking down. Now, when we lay our heads on our pillows at night, each of us participates in a kind of dream-lottery, to determine who and how many will wake up to find the mantle of John of Patmos on their shoulders, inscribing their own versions of apokalypsis onto the parchments of their dream journals — fragments of the new, soon-to-be-assembled Book of Revelation.

More: “The Role and Value of Dreams in a Post-Apocalyptic Future

(Also see “‘Powerful and serious fictions’: The mythic/psychic reality of gods and other fictional characters.”)

‘Sirius’: A film about the scientific reality of UFOs, ETs, and advanced energy technology

Sirius_documentary

Tonight will see the official premiere in Hollywood of the new documentary film Sirius, which promises to be one of the more interesting — and perhaps more starkly significant? — UFO-related film projects to emerge since, well, ever. The film brings together the enduring “UFO disclosure” meme with the equally enduring theme of our planetary energy-and-environmental crisis, and includes as a central element the famous/notorious “La Noria ET,” the tiny humanoid “alien” found in Chile’s northern Atacama desert region in 2003.

The summary/teaser from the official press release conveys the gist (with, alas, faulty orthography in the form of a dropped hyphen):

Inspired by the work of Dr. Steven Greer, directed by Emmy Award winning Amardeep Kaleka and funded by the highest documentary crowd-funding in history, ‘Sirius’ introduces a DNA sequenced humanoid of unknown classification to the world and sheds definitive light on the scientific reality of UFO’s, ET’s, and Advanced Alternative Energy Technology. ‘Sirius’ is narrated by actor Thomas Jane (HBO series ‘Hung’).

In more detail, and with a similar smattering of mild orthographical gaffes:

‘Sirius’ deals not only with the subject of UFO and ET visitation disclosure but also with the advanced, clean, and alternative energy technology that’s getting them here. ‘Sirius’ goes into eye-opening detail regarding how the disclosure of such technologies, some of which have been suppressed for decades, can enable humanity to leave the age of the polluting petrodollar, transform society and improve mankind’s chances for the survival.

The film includes numerous Government and Military witnesses to UFO and ET secrecy. It also explains the connection to Free Energy and provides not only the vision of contact with ET civilizations as regularly witnessed by the CE-5 contact teams featured therein, but also the paradigm shifting physical evidence of a medically and scientifically analyzed DNA sequenced humanoid creature of unknown classification found in the Atacama desert, Chile. Additionally eye-opening, are the credentials and pedigree of the science and medical team behind this potentially profound and historical announcement.

One naturally wonders what to think of all this. Hokum? Hoax? The Holy Grail of UFO exposés? Or something intermediate? One thing’s for sure: the trailer is quite compelling, both in content and in tone, and the convergence of the specific issues and concerns addressed by Sirius — I’m thinking specifically of the challenge it mounts and describes for the reigning paradigms of scientific orthodoxy and depletion-based energy production — couldn’t be more timely.

Be advised that after tonight the film will, as I understand it, be available for free, full streaming and viewing. (I read that somewhere but can’t seem to track down the source just now.)

Thank you to Jesús Olmo, video artist extraordinaire and lobber of philosophically and aesthetically dazzling email grenades, for the heads-up about this film.

Anomalies, Materialism, and the Liberating Death of Ufology

On November 4, The Telegraph reported that the field of ufology, at least as it’s viewed and practiced in Britain, may be dead or dying:

For decades, they have been scanning the skies for signs of alien activity. But having failed to establish any evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life, Britain’s UFO watchers are reaching the conclusion that the truth might not be out there after all. Enthusiasts admit that a continued failure to provide proof and a decline in the number of “flying saucer” sightings suggests that aliens do not exist after all and could mean the end of “Ufology” — the study of UFOs — within the next decade.

— Jasper Copping, “UFO enthusiasts admit the truth may not be out there after all,” The Telegraph, November 4, 2012

This assessment comes from several expert sources, including Britain’s well-regarded Association for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena, which has scheduled a meeting to discuss the issue:

Dozens of groups interested in the flying saucers and other unidentified craft have already closed because of lack of interest and next week one of the country’s foremost organisations involved in UFO research is holding a conference to discuss whether the subject has any future. Dave Wood, chairman of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (Assap), said the meeting had been called to address the crisis in the subject and see if UFOs were a thing of the past. “It is certainly a possibility that in ten years time, it will be a dead subject,” he added. “We look at these things on the balance of probabilities and this area of study has been ongoing for many decades. The lack of compelling evidence beyond the pure anecdotal suggests that on the balance of probabilities that nothing is out there. I think that any UFO researcher would tell you that 98 per cent of sightings that happen are very easily explainable. One of the conclusions to draw from that is that perhaps there isn’t anything there. The days of compelling eyewitness sightings seem to be over.” He said that far from leading to an increase in UFO sightings and research, the advent of the internet had coincided with a decline … The issue is to be debated at a summit at the University of Worcester on November 17 and the conclusions reported in the next edition of the association’s journal, Anomaly.

These developments are in turn linked to the recent closing of the UK’s official investigations into UFO phenomena:

The summit follows the emergence earlier this year of the news that the Ministry of Defence was no longer investigating UFO sightings after ruling there is “no evidence” they pose a threat to the UK. David Clark, a Sheffield Hallam University academic and the UFO adviser to the National Archives, said: “The subject is dead in that no one is seeing anything evidential.”

Obviously, this is all quite interesting. But more than that, it’s highly significant, and not just for people who are directly interested in UFOs. Despite the fact that the Telegraph article perpetuates the perennial rhetorical and philosophical foolishness of dividing the UFO-interested community into “believers” and “skeptics” (and also uses the word “enthusiasts” to maddening effect), it’s a very valuable piece of work, because it points to a deeply meaningful cultural moment for the study of anomalous phenomena, and also, more broadly, for our collective understanding of the relative meanings and statuses of anomalies, paranormal events, and material science. Read the rest of this entry

UFOs, cultural synchronicities, and “a very real power in the creative process”

Over at Silver Screen Saucers, the always-interesting Website about Hollywood’s long-running engagement with UFOs, you’ll find a very long and totally absorbing essay by author and illustrator Mike Clelland about “a deep dark hole of synchro-weirdness” that opened up for him when he rewatched the 1974 television movie The Stranger Within, which he first saw as a child.

Clelland begins by noting that

Something extremely strange is interwoven into the UFO phenomenon. There are weird coincidences and synchronicities that seem to merge with the overall topic in ways that defy any easy explanation. This includes a kind of predictive manifestation in our pop culture. If you dig just a little bit you’ll find that movies, radio drama, literature and (especially) comic books all have a way of anticipating the plot points of the unfolding UFO drama.

Then he goes on to examine the multiply entangled weirdnesses of the movie’s resonances with the djinn motif of I Dream of Jeannie (since both the movie and the series featured Barbara Eden in the lead role), the basis of The Stranger Within in a short story written two decades earlier by Richard Matheson, Matheson’s own synchronistic nest of ingoing and outgoing creative and philosophical influences, the role and reality of hypnosis and channeling in alien abduction research, the birth and evolution of the human/alien hybrid meme, its thematic links to Egyptian and Christian religion and mythology, and his own personal experience of “missing time” after witnessing an aerial light flash when he was 12 years old in 1974 — the very same year, again, that The Stranger Within aired on ABC.

Especially fascinating in the midst of this thoroughly fascinating long-form exercise in creative synchronistic reflection are Clelland’s musings on the implications of these matters for the experience of creativity:

Richard Matheson’s output over the last 62 years has been astounding. The consistency and breadth leaves me dumbfounded. His first short story was published in 1950 and for the next decade he really cranked ‘em out. The short story Trespass (the basis for the movie) emerged during that creative frenzy. Like his other early stories, it was printed in a pulp sci-fi magazine.

I am convinced that there is a very real power in the creative process, and when abandoning (or disciplining) oneself to this kind of artistic inspiration, something mysterious can unfold. The artist can somehow tap into deeper truths. The work-a-day routine of sitting in front of a typewriter (or canvas, or 2-ply Bristol) can be seen as a ritual act, very much like the forgotten alchemist who sits before his candle. Matheson must have been on fire during those early years, and something weirdly predictive seems to have been manifested in this tight little story.

These ideas have been explored magnificently by Jeffrey Kripal in his book Mutants and Monsters [sic] and by Christopher Knowles on his blog The Secret Sun. Both these authors have examined the strange emergence of mythology in the tawdry pages of super hero comics and low-brow magazines.

— “The Stranger Within: Foreshadowing, Unexplainable Pregnancies, Hybrid Children and the Creative Process,” Silver Screen Saucers, October 11, 2012

Note that Clelland has also made a longer version of the same essay available as a freely downloadable PDF (via Scribd).

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recommended Reading 27

This week’s recommended reading covers Morris Berman’s diagnosis of, and prognosis for, the waning of our modern age of capitalism; the end of economic growth due to peak oil; a call from Jaron Lanier to recognize the wizard’s trick of delusion that we’re all pulling on ourselves with technology; a reflection on the soul tragedy of a culture of 24/7 digital connectedness; a report on the nefarious collusion of corporate funding in scientific research and reporting; a cool article by John Keel on the birth of flying saucers as a cultural phenomenon; an interview with the creator of a new multimedia project based on lucid dreaming and stretching the boundaries of conventional storytelling; a consideration of the enduring mainstream impact of occult/esoteric/”New Age” ideas on American culture and society; and words about Swedenborg and visionary mysticism and spirituality from Gary Lachman and Mitch Horowitz. Read the rest of this entry

Recommended Reading 21

This week’s recommended readings include: a mainstream news article about the distinct possibility of an Armageddon-like solar superstorm; a look at the origin, present situation, and apparently indefinite future of the “Great Recession” by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard; a consideration of the spiritual crisis of capitalism; reflections on the real relationship between writing and money; an autopsy on the American university, which has apparently expired at the hands of corporatization; a journalist’s firsthand and first-person account of investigating the global subculture devoted to ending the “scourge” of human death by extending life forever and/or using cryonics or other means to preserve people and then resurrect them; a report on current Disney-backed research into taking animatronics to real-life Blade Runner/Prometheus-type levels of realism by cloning human faces; an interview with a UFO researcher about UFOs, human consciousness, and government coverups; and a fascinating analysis of the cultural symbols and synchronicities surrounding the John Carter movie.
Read the rest of this entry

Recommended Reading 15

This week’s recommended articles and essays (and videos) include: the political battle behind climate science research; the rising push for a future where urban infrastructure is relocated underground; a look at Wal-Mart’s destructive effect on America’s middle class; the alteration of reading, writing, and publishing by the snooping technology that accompanies e-books; a brilliant, long essay by Theodore Roszak about the musical and psychedelic cultural streams that gave birth to today’s cyberpunkish utopia/dystopia of a computer-permeated civilization; an essay about America’s dangerous social experiment in raising galactically spoiled and lazy kids; interesting speculations about the relationship between Walt Whitman, Frankenstein, and Dracula; the use of infrasound for military purposes and to create perceived supernatural manifestations; a consideration of the relationship between movies and consciousness as informed by Inception; and a report on a new survey showing that a majority of Americans “believe” in UFOs.

Read the rest of this entry

Can dark matter, the multiverse model, and the observer effect help to explain UFOs and paranormal entities?

Here’s some fascinating, cogent, incisive, and subtle speculation/theorizing (marred in places by a mild stylistic clumsiness) from Kathy Kasten, whose accompanying bio describes her as “an experienced writer/researcher who delved extensively into the UFO phenomenon and related subject matter” and whose “resume includes acting as staff liaison on the Human Subjects Protection Committee while employed at the University of California at Los Angeles.” Ms. Kasten is ably connecting all kinds of compelling data dots, and is doing so in an admirably open-minded, nondogmatic way — which surely accounts for the philosophically and emotionally evocative vibe of her developing line of thought.

In order to get at the real phenomena we will have to begin to understand just what is human perception and how it functions…[M]ost of the time what appears to be happening “out there” is really happening “in here.”  Humans are continually projecting from “in here” to “out there”…[T]he universe does not exist in a state independent from the observer.  That new rule is according to Robert Lanza, M.D., scientist and author of “Biocentrism”…Dr. Lanza [states] that while we are in the process of sorting out the fact that time and space don’t exist without us, our reality will feel like a bit of madness. According to Dr. Mark Robert Waldman, the madness comes from the fact the human brain generates every type of belief.  Each human brain constructs its own version of reality and is biased by its experience of perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social beliefs, resulting in a limited view of reality of what actually exists “out there.”

Read the rest of this entry

Recommended Reading 13

This week’s installment of recommended links and readings covers: the psychological, spiritual, and cultural aspects of apocalypse; a bizarre restriction on media coverage of a major event unfolding in America right now; the psychology and spirituality of creativity in art and life; a hopeful statement about the future of books and publishing; a wonderful early essay about horror films by Robert Anton Wilson; and a cool artistic remix/reimagining of a classic science fiction film.

Read the rest of this entry