TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Precognition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Precognition. Show all posts

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Psychic Spies and Time Cross Predictions


Image Source: BackPackerVerse.

Welcome to another countdown to Hallowe'en! This year, October 31st will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant ReformationMartin Luther (1483-1546) nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. On October 31st, I will publish a special interview about Martin Luther.

The Hallowe'en countdown is an online event, a mass blogathon, in which dozens of blogs count down to the end of October every year. The countdown is led by this blog (where you can see the other participants), run by the American comic book and graphic novel writer, John Rozum, and blogger Shawn Robare, who runs the Gen X Website, Branded in the 80s.

My contributions to the Hallowe'en countdown, to be published this year every three days, tend to cover odd subjects which nonetheless shed light on mainstream Millennial technology and culture. Today's post deals with the precognition and temporal psi protocol developed by the US Army in 1978, known as remote viewing. This was one of the primary psychic weapons cultivated in the Stargate Project; you can read the table of contents of the Stargate manual at the CIA's online reading room, here.

During the Cold War, the US military used remote viewing to view its enemies psychically and to foresee the future. A film dramatized this work, The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009); it was based on the 2004 book of the same name and starred George Clooney. On 12 August 2017, Leonard (Lyn) Buchanan, one of the US government's former remote viewers (and the person upon whom Clooney's character was based), gave an interview on Youtube, below.

Original Govt. Psychic Spy Reveals Remote Viewing Secrets (12 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Buchanan stated that at the end of World War II, the Nazis' secret research was shared among the Allies. Due to lack of interest from the USA and UK, the Russians took the Germans' psychic and esoteric experiments, including remote viewing. According to Buchanan, the Russians developed this body of knowledge, and achieved apparent successes, to the alarm of the Americans. The most famous psychic in the Russian program was Nina Kulagina (1926-1990), who was later accused of fraud.

This was what led the US Army to develop the Stargate Project, officially until 1995, although the CIA may then have taken it over under another name. You can read a 1985 Master's thesis, Psychokinesis and Its Possible Implication to Warfare Strategy by W. G. Norton, here. There is a 2004 report by Eric W. Davis, Teleportation Physics Study, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, here.

Lyn Buchanan claimed that remote viewers can see the past and present with high degrees of accuracy. They can view the future, but the future (unlike the past and present) is changeable. Buchanan maintained that he had been tasked to view as far into the future as the year 2080, whereupon he got into strange, conspiratorial territory:
"An agrarian society with very few people. Large cities, mainly deserted, and most people very self sufficient on their little farms. ... A low population count. That's what I found. ... [Between now and 2080] there's going to come some rough times. ... The population will be greatly affected. ... Intentional changes, from the tasking - remember there's 30 per cent inaccuracy here - from what I've found, the first step of all that is what is called chemtrails. The chemtrails are a selective thing that will damage the health of, or even kill off, certain types of people, while leaving others not so badly affected. And in the process, a sort of genetic selection will be made. But that's doom and gloom, and one of the rocks in the pond of time, I don't think there's very much we can do about that."
Other weirdness associated with Buchanan's remote viewing involves psychic police work; gambling; space exploration; space aliens; cosmology; and consciousness. He said he does not "kill things" using remote viewing, but "it's scarily easy to do." Another figure associated with this project is Joseph McMoneagle, who was the first recruit in the US Army's remote viewing program. He was designated as 'Psychic Spy 001.' You can hear an interview with him below. He spoke of visiting Russia, touring their remote viewing facilities and meeting his Russian psychic spy counterparts, who did remote viewing in the conflict in Chechnya. He remarked that the Russian capacity for remote viewing is "substantial."

Joe McMoneagle US Army Remote Viewer aka Psychic Spy 001 (2 March 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

The CIA is also rumoured to have used this parapsychological tool in psychic espionage. The US government's remote viewing training manual is here and here. I have previously written about psychic military projects here.

Excerpt from a CIA document on remote viewing. Click to enlarge. Image Source: 4chan.

Remote viewing is considered pseudoscience, but it has understandably attracted a lot of attention. After all, what government - or civilian group - wouldn't want to be able to predict coming events, re-examine historical events, or send spies to learn closely guarded secrets at almost no expense or risk?  The Chinese have studied remote viewing. The UK's Ministry of Defence secretly ran a remote viewing experiment in 2001 and 2002. Some members of the public are also attempting to conduct organized investigations of this protocol. For example, German remote viewers are listed here.

Proponents of remote viewing claim that the technique seems to work best under blind conditions, that is, viewers should not know what target the project leader has assigned. Some remote viewers, like this one trying to foresee the possibility of war with Russia, use Associative Remote Viewing (ARV), which involves knowing the target.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Tornado


A tornado in Colorado, USA (7 May 2016). Image Source: Tori O'Shea.

This blog is skeptical of conspiracy theories because they are not consistent with the way reality is created. Conspiracy theories about current events - for example, regarding the disastrous situation in Syria - are examples of modern urban folklore, which impose exactly the same superstitious, deterministic logic onto the world that an established religion would. Many of today's orthodoxies are nominally secular, but they are no less based in blind faith. Actors on the international scene do try to impose strategic control on the world's hot spots; the media come to these hot spots with spin, preconceived ideas and even false flag agendas. However, the notion that anyone - governments, politicians, banks, shadowy cabals, unseen actors, evil establishments - controls the reality that ensues from fluid conditions is incorrect.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Orthodox Christmas: Life in the Adjacent Possible


Image Source: The Culture Concept.

Any apiarist, keeping watch over a hive of bees sleeping through the winter, would tell you that civilization can only function under certain circumstances. Apiculture is one of the world's oldest professions. It is a founding pillar of agriculture. In colony collapse disorder - now threatening beehives across Europe and North America - workers stock up a hive but then abandon their helpless queen. The plague is blamed on pesticides, pathogens, and mobile phone towers, with bee-keepers reporting that roughly one third to one half of their hives have been dying over winters every year for the past decade, despite various high tech solutions. It is hard to say how new this disaster is. There were reports of 'mystery diseases' and 'disappearing diseases' in hives in 1918-1919 and in the mid 1960s. Whatever the causes, the insects' tiny world of flowers and pollination remain critical to human survival. In 2010, the United Nations estimated that the worth of global crops pollinated by bees was 153 billion euros, or "9.5 per cent of the total value of human food production worldwide."

Image Source: My Greek Spirit.

The remarkable way bees organize themselves remains symbolically powerful. Their honey production makes their system seem much friendlier than the terrifying laws that govern your average ant hill. Any agricultural society would see bees as the civilized agents of the natural world, a properly arranged mini-society with a sweet output.

Today, 7 January 2015, is Eastern Orthodox Christmas. Due to the traditional symbolism of the apiary, beeswax candles are held in special esteem in Orthodox rituals. At Mystagogy, John Sanidopoulos explains that for Orthodox Christians, beeswax candles symbolize purity, adaptability of the heart, forgiveness of sins, and divine grace garnered from the wax's floral sources. Candlelight and the sweet smell of burning beeswax recall summer days to illuminate and banish darkness caused by fear, corruption and misery.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Riding the Wheel of Fortune


Waterwheel at Daio Wasabi farm in Azumino, Nagano, Japan. The farm appeared in Akira Kurosawa's film, Dreams (1990; see film clip, below, and my previous posts on that film, here, here, and here). Image Source: Youtube.

Is time a circle? Sometimes, it looks as though the wheel turns and returns. The wheel of fortune represents two opposing things: a divination of the future, or luck at the roulette table. That means the wheel, which is also a symbol of human technology, mixes a message about the passage of time because it combines order with chaos. The wheel supposedly reveals the points where Fate meets Fortune. Looking at a problem linearly, we might believe the past is gone, done and fixed, indicating the path of future destiny. But if time is a circle, we can revisit the past, gamble again and change its story.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Not-So-Discreet Charm of Lateral Thinking


Meanwhile, in Vienna: David LaChapelle's dual poster, Once in the Garden 1 & 2, features American transgender model Carmen Carrera playing Eve in one poster and Adam in the other (May 2014). I can't show the whole poster due to Blogger's policies. Image Source: Out.com.

There are a lot of wannabe artistes out there in the online world. But you cannot mistake the genuine type. Only Ms. Dia Sobin at Trans-D Digital Art could find the link between bird song, medieval-derived 3-D geometric art, and lucid dreams about the mathematics of nature. Somehow, she recognizes the buried associations that "decode the living matrix." And I have to thank her for marrying bird song to the underlying art of the universe, because she identified a bird that warbles beautifully outside my window.

I've tried for ages to find its identity. It is not quite the wood thrush Sobin describes: "the song of the male is often cited as being the most beautiful in North America." She cites a 20th century naturalist who wrote: "As we listen we lose the sense of time—it links us with eternity…Its tones…seem like the vocal expression of the mystery of the universe, clothed in a melody so pure and ethereal that the soul still bound to its earthly tenement can neither imitate nor describe it. 

The bird outside my window is a hermit thrush, sampled for the Mockingjay's song in the 2012 film, The Hunger Games. The Globe and Mail writes of the hermit thrush:
A Fluttering of Wings to Lift the Heart: The hermit thrush ... spends its summers in the cool woods of the north. You rarely see it then, because its brown-grey back and speckled white breast are perfect camouflage in the dappled light of the forest.

You know it is there only by its haunting song, perhaps the most beautiful of any North American bird. One ornithology site calls it a “clear, flute-like note followed by a series of ethereal, bell-like ascending and descending tones,” but words can’t really do it justice.
You can hear the hermit thrush's song here and here. These are only partial samples of what it can do. Juvenile birds learn songs from their parents, and the one in my yard is a virtuoso, pealing waterfalls of cascading bell notes. It really is unbelievable. The bird sings in stereo.

This point brought me to another surprising fact: American robins are thrushes, whereas European robins look completely different and belong to the flycatcher family. This means the need to preserve robins in the culture was strong enough - it was seen as a bird that sang to Christ on the cross and fetched water for souls in purgatory - that colonists pressed the symbolic role on another bird when they arrived in North America.


Getting to the point, somehow, some day: proponents claim that lateral thinking is synonymous with creative thinking. Critics disagree and call lateral thinking 'divergent.' Image Source: Lateral Action.

Some argue that to think artistically is to think laterally, not linearly. Lateral thinking is defined on Wiki:
Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic. The term was coined in 1967 by Edward de Bono.
In this theory, lateral thinkers differ from linear thinkers. Chuck's Lamp gives a simple contrast:
[M]uch of our world is indeed structured upon the concept of logic (very basic logic at least). We learn math, deductive reasoning, and tend to apply these logical processes to our everyday life. Our drive to do so comes from our inherent need, as cognitive humans, to categorize our experiences in our minds and make projections about what the outcome of an action will be. We compare our expectations with our experience, weigh the similarity, and adjust our thought processes as needed. Linear thinkers are very much the same. They start at step one and usually do a good and efficient job of completing the task before moving on to step two. They are driven, focused, and don’t easily get off topic. ...
[By constrast, in lateral thinking h]uman thought [is] characterized by expansion in multiple directions, rather than in one direction, and based on the concept that there are multiple starting points from which one can apply logic to a problem. Non-linear thought increases possible outcomes by not being so certain about the starting point for any logic process. Non-linear thinkers tend to jump forward, and from side to side through the steps of a project, in an effort to see the big picture and tackle those areas where they have the most interest. Where non-linear thinking falters is in finally carrying out the required action, because as a thought process it often encourages a user to agonize incessantly over where to start (that agreed upon truth, from which logic can be applied and action can be taken).
Systemic problems diminish the performance value of the status quo. And this theory suggests that lateral thinkers are better at breaking current thinking patterns or overturning the status quo to solve problems. They ask why accepted values or systems exist. Or to solve a given problem, they engage in
provocation techniques—wishful thinking, exaggeration, reversal, escape, distortion, or arising. The thinker creates a list of provocations and then uses the most outlandish ones to move their thinking forward to new ideas.
It seems that lateral thinkers and linear thinkers are arrayed, facing each other across a great divide of Millennial change. The lateral side is immersed in infinite chaos and displays occasional redemptive epiphanies. For the most part, lateral thinkers gain their insights because they are alienated from the forward march of technological progress qua 'progress.' And the other, linear, side stolidly clings to what remains of stable ideas and pushes relentlessly forward, logically, sometimes with brute force, through tabulation and data management to control, authority and power.

In the push and pull between these mentalities, the future technocracy is up for grabs. Will it, or will it not, become a police state? To put it in a less dire way, consider the words of Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of the United States Congress, who was quoted in a recent documentary: "Stories unite people. Theories divide them." What arcane mix of these two manners of thought will take us down the better path?

LaChapelle's artwork defaced at a Viennese bus stop. Image Source: BBC.

I was reminded of all this on 9 June 2014, when BBC's Hard Talk broadcast an interview between Stephen Sackur and world famous photographer David LaChapelle. Sackur was the voice of inquiring reason. He asked about the uproar caused this spring in Vienna by LaChapelle's transgendered poster for the HIV/AIDS benefit event, Life Ball (31 May 2014) and associated exhibition at Ostlicht Photography Gallery (2 June - 14 September 2014).

LaChapelle is known for his kitsch pop surrealism (see his website portfolio here); his splashy portraits of celebrities are dreams on the verge of nightmares. Think: Bubblegum Salvador Dalí meets Vogue in the subdivision - or the rain forest.

Stephen Sackur wanted to know whether LaChapelle thought it was appropriate to have Carmen Carrera's transgendered nudity simultaneously playing Adam and Eve this spring in Vienna's streets. He asked about small children who could see the poster and ask questions, which they reportedly did, about Carrera, who has male genitalia and female breasts.

LaChapelle dismissed this in the interview, but he did in fact worry about backlash. Both he and his model increased their security during their visit to the city. From Page Six:
“David and Carmen both had four bodyguards each from the minute they landed in Vienna until the minute they left,” said a rep for the photographer, who had an exhibition at a Vienna gallery this week following the Life Ball, which included nude images of Carrera.
The FPO had filed suit against the Life Ball, and its spokesperson claimed that LaChapelle’s work “[doesn’t] just cross the boundaries of good taste…but…also the limits of criminal law.” But the posters, LaChapelle pointed out, had been ­approved as art by the city before they were hung in train stations and other public places.
Some who objected to the images began defacing them by covering up Carrera’s exposed parts with spray paint. One 70-year-old woman, who graffitied the posters after dark, in a local report said of the images of busty Carrera with a penis: “My 4-year-old grandson asked me while walking if I actually also have a spatzi.” (We’ll let you figure out the translation on that one.)
In the end, all the controversy only amped up interest in the LaChapelle work. An original ­image titled Once in the Garden, on which the posters were based, was expected to sell for $41,000 at the Life Ball’s auction, but went for a record-breaking $245,500. An Audi car designed by LaChapelle sold to members of the Missoni family for $136,400.
“Art was victorious…it was all love,” LaChapelle told Page Six of the event, where Ricky Martin and Kesha performed, and guests included Bill Clinton and Courtney Love.
LaChapelle passionately pleaded that his work is not pornographic, that Once in the Garden is a Botticelli-esque expression of unfettered beauty. Once marginalized sexual imagery is no longer marginal but mainstream. In response, Sackur asked about LaChapelle's furry-oriented photo of a half-nude Angelina Jolie having her breast nuzzled by a horse. Is that mainstream too?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Amazon Delivers What You Will Buy Before You Order It


Coming soon. Image Source: Amazon via the Daily Mail.

On Christmas Eve of last year, Amazon filed a patent for anticipatory delivery. You can read it here. The Irish Times explains how microdata and personal branding have intersected so exactly that Amazon expects that it knows what you want before you even know you want it; it will purchase the item you want before it occurs to you to purchase it, and ship it preemptively:
The online retail giant now wants to start shipping items to customers before they have even ordered them. Taking the buying process to the next level, Amazon has developed a system that pre-emptively delivers goods to customers based on their previous purchases.
The company believes it can predict shoppers’ needs so precisely, that it wants to have a package in transit to them, before they have placed the order.
The e-commerce juggernaut has obtained a patent for what it calls “anticipatory package shipping”, a system whereby the company anticipates buying habits and sends potential purchases to the closest delivery hub, waiting for the order to arrive, or, in some cases, even shipping directly to a customer’s door.
According to the patent filing, items would be moved from Amazon’s fulfilment centre to a shipping hub close to the customer in anticipation of an eventual purchase.
“In some instances, the package may be delivered to a potentially interested customer as a gift rather than incurring the cost of returning or redirecting the package,” the patent reads.
“For example, if a given customer is particularly valued (according to past ordering history, appealing demographic profile, etc), delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill.”
Amazon says the system is designed to cut down on shipping delays, which “may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants.”
In deciding what to ship, Amazon said it may consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.
See other reports here and here. As Amazon walks an insidious line between psychological intrusion and arrogant clairvoyance, not one word is said about how intrusive and manipulative this is. The patent doesn't say it, but presumably the anticipatory ordering function will also reflect Amazon processing previous buyers' personal information on social networks. Imagine if this concept, or something like it, was used by other businesses. Is a convenient service really worth so much? Why are all these initiatives accepted so passively by the public, with no regard for their larger implications?

Amazon additionally seeks to undercut the competition in shipping by setting up drone deliveries which will ship your order in 30 minutes or less. The drone program is called Amazon Prime Air. The program has a few years of R&D to go; it also has to pass Federal Aviation Authority regulations in the US. But on 7 March 2014, the Daily Mail reported that a transport judge recently dismissed a fine enforcing an FAA ban on commercial unmanned aircraft in the US.

One friend, C., on hearing this, expected that people will shoot the drones down, steal their packages and sell the contents on eBay, hence completing a near-perfect Internet Circle Of Life. In the meantime, sit tight and await the drones. Below the jump, see the drone package delivery promo video.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Countdown: The Girl Who Survives

Image Source: Djano23 at deviantART via In the Mouth of Dorkness.

In Halloween II (1981), Donald Pleasence's psychiatrist character mumbles about the meaning of Hallowe'en. He says it really refers to the pagan Gaelic festival of Samhain, the start of the darker half of the year. This seasonal shift provides an elemental connection to the other world, to memory, death, and ancestors. The spiritual dimension is also an elaborate folkloric metaphor for access to the darker parts of ourselves. The screenplay combines Christian symbolism with these ideas:
Samhain, it means the loft of the dead. The end of summer. The festival of Satan. ... In order to please the gods, the druid priests held fire rituals. Prisoners of war, criminals, the insane, animals were burned alive. By observing the way they died the druids believed they could see elements of the future. 2000 years we've come no closer. Samhain is not spirits, it's not goblins, ghosts or witches. It's the unconscious mind. We're all afraid of the darkness inside ourselves.
Dr. Loomis says repeatedly that Michael Myers is not human; he is "pure evil." Michael is a violent supernatural force, an instinct to kill that never stops, which is why he can be shot repeatedly and not die. Of the first 1978 Halloween film, director John Carpenter said, "The movie's about the 'revenge of the repressed' and Jamie Lee has a connection with the killer because she's repressed too."

Horror films are morality plays. The horror stems from some transgression or violation through indulgence of the unspeakable. The story is about a collapse due to that degradation and the effort to correct the problem, to return to safety and security, to survive.

A collection of African horror stories on Wattpad offer typical examples. Swish, Swish! is a warning against laziness, vanity, selfishness, shortcuts around hard work, and hurting others to get ahead. Another, The Witch's Mist, is a grisly injunction against black magic and vampirism (here the literally cannibalistic form, not the soul-sucking variety). Cannibalism, the ultimate horror, is never far away, as the current lifestyle and tribal subculture of human-blood-drinking vampires show.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Millennial Mysteries: Bizarre Twists, the Lost, the Missing

Plaque at the gate entrance to Disneyland. Image Source: Wiki.

Many people, at some point in their lives, enter a realm bounded by mystery. This is a famous theme in noir and horror movies. David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) explored what would happen if two 'normal,' 'everyday,' 'rational' people veered off into mystery.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Look Skyward: Shadow Eclipse of the Moon

Le Chemin Des Clones © Layachi Hamidouche. Image Source: The Chess Art Thread.

There will be a barely visible penumbral eclipse of the moon tonight, the second of three lunar eclipses this year.  The moon will just touch the Earth's shadow.  Astrologers take note of this event's symbolic significance. Dark Star Astrology sees this eclipse as a moment when our demons, false faiths, and illusions are exorcised:
The Lunar Eclipse May 25 2013 is at 4º Sagittarius which sits between Acrab and Dschubba both on the forehead of the Scorpion. These stars have a somewhat fiendish reputation. Neptune forms a T-square to the eclipse, god or grand delusion depending on at what vibration you tune into. The geometry of the chart looks like the slicing off of heads by the revolutionary blade of Uranus square Pluto. These “heads” will be false gurus and people at the very top of the churches. Neptune is about devotion, it rules the age of Pisces which is coming to an end. This eclipse could start the process of dissolving those belief systems that have been retarding humanit[y']s spiritual evolution. ... The eclipse asks what is real pure universal love and what is just overpowering sexual infatuation, which many of us mistake for love. Neptune’s promise of a soulmate does not guarantee Happy Ever After. In fact the more one yearns for redemption through love, the more one will find oneself disappointed. The same goes for any religion that promises a savior.
Be that as it may, here is a little Sylvia Plath to contribute to astrologers' promised atmosphere. This is a poem in which the poet finds only desolation in hauntingly beautiful images and symbols, perhaps an apt parallel to Dark Star's prediction of lunar eclipse disillusionment (Hat tip: The Chess Art Thread):

The Moon and the Yew Tree

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black.  The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door.  It is a face in its own right,
White as knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quite
With the O-gape of complete despair.  I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky--
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up.  It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother.  She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness--
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way.  Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this.  She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness--blackness and
   silence.

Monday, May 20, 2013

So Near, And Yet So Far


"The Lady of Shallott [1905] by William Holman Hunt, painted from 1888 to 1902." Tennyson's 1842 poem was a speculation on entrapment inside one's own subjectivity. Image Source: Wiki.

Who would you be, had you taken a different path? The road not taken. The road less traveled. The one that got away. The grass is always greener. The missed opportunity. Cheat fate. Dodge a bullet.

The world's moral and philosophical systems sit at the crossroads of destiny and contingency. Moral values grow from the question: do we have any control over the passage of time? Perhaps the idea of fate stems from a subliminal awareness that time is self-enclosed, finite, already a done deal, or otherwise complete or looped back upon itself. In other words, perhaps 'god' or 'destiny' relates to our sense that the past and the future are the same, cyclical or related, as if time were a Möbius strip. A recent speculation on how ancient times, myths and sensibilities relate to those of the future - a favourite trope of the new Millennium - can be found here.

A belief in fate, destiny and higher powers can provide some comfort. If your life is predestined and is simply part of the universe's great unknowable, inevitable equation, then the weight of your responsibility to yourself is lifted. In Old English, this idea was called the Wyrd, a force that could not be changed or challenged. This is the story of the person who vows never to make the mistakes his parents made, and then, despite everything he does differently, find he follows in their footsteps. That is the Wyrd.

In the early modern period, John Calvin developed the notion that followers of his Christian interpretation were members of God's 'Elect' - predestined from creation to be saved at the end of time. To prevent this idea from cultivating arrogance, Calvinists developed a corollary that the Elect could not rest on their laurels. You could never be sure you were one of the Elect. And if you were really one of the Elect, your predestined status would shine forth through your daily words and deeds.

Conversely, if the universe is random, and you are at the mercy of blind luck, you are off the hook for your own actions. In chaos, you live in the moment and take life as it comes. Actions carry no inherent meaning, other than to deliver pain or pleasure. If that is the case, you are no longer responsible in any grand way for what happens to you. However, the quality or depth of your perception at least affords you a degree of awareness or wisdom about what is going on. That said, perception is infinite, meaning there is no objective truth or larger consensus to which we can refer to find the difference between right or wrong. This is the standpoint taken by countless Millennial individualist, solipsistic, videotastic libertines, whose sole source of moral restraint is their own subjectivity - boundless, intersecting egos.

This is the endgame of the "I'm OK, You're OK" 1969 motto. This was the win-win psychological message of mutual self-interest that dovetailed neatly with the Boomers' sexual revolution: anything goes between consenting adults. There was no worry that "I'm OK, You're OK" could end with: "We are all not OK." In other words, the limitless indulgence of personal freedoms led to mirrored personal enslavements, masquerading as liberations, which had a detrimental effect on the common good. This moral confusion emerges when the sensibility which time grants to a stream of events (an approach toward an objective perspective) is denied in favour of the eternal now of personal choice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Papal Apocalypse

Image Source: Constantine (2005) © Warner/DC via i09.

There is an apocalyptic prediction which pertains to the Pope's resignation; it likely dates from around 1595, although it is attributed to Saint Malachy:
Is the world only a Pope away from the End? Yes, if you believe a chilling 12th-century prophecy. Attributed to St. Malachy, an Irish archbishop canonized in 1190, the Prophecy of the Popes would date to 1139. The document predicted that there would be only 112 more popes before the Last Judgment — and Benedict XVI is 111.

The list of popes originated from a vision Malachy said he received from God when he was in Rome, reporting on his diocese to Pope Innocent II.

The story goes that St. Malachy gave the apocalyptic list to Innocent II and that the document remained unknown in the Vatican Archives some 440 years after Malachy's death in 1148. It was rediscovered and published by Benedictine Arnold de Wyon in 1590.

The prophecy consists of brief, cryptic phrases in Latin about each Pope. It ends with the 112th pope, named "Petrus Romanus" or "Peter the Roman."

According to the premonition, Peter the Roman would "feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the City of the Seven Hills shall be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will judge the people."

Often highly enigmatic, several prophetical announcements in the document appear to have come true.

For example, Malachy prophesied the first pope on his list would be "from a castle on the Tiber." Celestine II, elected in 1143, was born in Toscany on the shores of the Tiber River.

Malachy predicted another pope would be "elevated from a hermit." Nicholas IV, pope from 1288 to 1292, had been a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles.

The 45th pope in the prophecy is described as coming "from the hell of Pregnani". Indeed, Pope Urban VI (1378-1389) was born Domenico Prignano and came from a village near Naples called Inferno (hell).

Most scholars consider the document a 16th-century elaborate hoax. Until 1590, when the prophecy was published, the mottoes were easily derived from the pope's family, baptismal names, native places or coats of arms.

After 1590 the epithets become much more vague. According to the Catholic Pages, "the inclusion of anti-popes would also appear to militate against the authenticity of the prophecies."

Yet, uncanny similarities also appear when reading the mottoes associated to modern-day popes.

For example, the 109th pope is described as "of the half of the moon." John Paul I, elected pope in 1978, "lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half," the Catholic Pages noted.

As for his successor, the late Pope John Paul II, Malachy described him in Latin as "de labore solis," meaning "of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labor of the sun."

"John Paul II (1978-2005) was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse… His Funeral occurred on April 8, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas," the Catholic Pages wrote.

Finally, "Glory of the Olives" is the motto for Benedict XVI, the 111th pope in the list. A branch of the monastic order founded by St. Benedict is called the Olivetans.

As for the doomsday pope, one would think we are quite safe: according to church tradition, no pope can take the name Peter II.

However, one of the favorites to succeed Benedict XVI is Ghanaian Cardinal Turkson. His first name is Peter.
Story from Discovery News via i09.

The Prophecy of the Popes. Image Source: Wiki.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Welcome to the Hotel Informatica

Album cover, Hotel California (1976) by the Eagles. Image Source: Eagles Fanart.

My friend, S., says that the Internet is just like the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. There are some who are moving now to acquire great wealth and power from that fact. 

From the Evil Technocratic Dystopia Files: the Guardian reports on multinational defence contractor Raytheon, which has developed software that will harvest your data off social networking sites, smartphone data, and search engines to predict your future behaviour:
A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.

A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients.

But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing "trillions of entities" from cyberspace.

The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns.

The sophisticated technology demonstrates how the same social networks that helped propel the Arab Spring revolutions can be transformed into a "Google for spies" and tapped as a means of monitoring and control.

Using Riot it is possible to gain an entire snapshot of a person's life – their friends, the places they visit charted on a map – in little more than a few clicks of a button.

In the video obtained by the Guardian, it is explained by Raytheon's "principal investigator" Brian Urch that photographs users post on social networks sometimes contain latitude and longitude details – automatically embedded by smartphones within "exif header data."

Riot pulls out this information, showing not only the photographs posted onto social networks by individuals, but also the location at which the photographs were taken.

"We're going to track one of our own employees," Urch says in the video, before bringing up pictures of "Nick," a Raytheon staff member used as an example target. With information gathered from social networks, Riot quickly reveals Nick frequently visits Washington Nationals Park, where on one occasion he snapped a photograph of himself posing with a blonde haired woman.

"We know where Nick's going, we know what Nick looks like," Urch explains, "now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future."

Riot can display on a spider diagram the associations and relationships between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter. It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare, a mobile phone app used by more than 25 million people to alert friends of their whereabouts. The Foursquare data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them.

The video shows that Nick, who posts his location regularly on Foursquare, visits a gym frequently at 6am early each week. Urch quips: "So if you ever did want to try to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday."

Mining from public websites for law enforcement is considered legal in most countries. In February last year, for instance, the FBI requested help to develop a social-media mining application for monitoring "bad actors or groups".

However, Ginger McCall, an attorney at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said the Raytheon technology raised concerns about how troves of user data could be covertly collected without oversight or regulation. ...

Jared Adams, a spokesman for Raytheon's intelligence and information systems department, said in an email: "Riot is a big data analytics system design we are working on with industry, national labs and commercial partners to help turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation's rapidly changing security needs.

"Its innovative privacy features are the most robust that we're aware of, enabling the sharing and analysis of data without personally identifiable information [such as social security numbers, bank or other financial account information] being disclosed."

In December, Riot was featured in a newly published patent Raytheon is pursuing for a system designed to gather data on people from social networks, blogs and other sources to identify whether they should be judged a security risk.

In April, Riot was scheduled to be showcased at a US government and industry national security conference for secretive, classified innovations, where it was listed under the category "big data – analytics, algorithms."

According to records published by the US government's trade controls department, the technology has been designated an "EAR99" item under export regulations, which means it "can be shipped without a licence to most destinations under most circumstances".
For more on this system, dubbed 'Google for Spies,' see here and here and below. When are privacy rights advocates going to look into allowing individuals to copyright data from their own personal lives, movements, photos, conversations, social networking and other activities? Then individuals could impose copyright protection upon their personal data, as published property that they inherently own, and they could charge companies for use of that data.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Visions of the Future


"Koji Yamamura's vision of the future is based on a painting by Pieter Bruegel." Image Source: BBC.

The BBC is currently running a contest, What If? Visions of the Future, asking people to submit - in a variety of visual media, from animation to tapestries - what they think the future will look like:
This year the BBC is looking into the future, finding out what it holds for health, education, transport and even love. The season is called What If? - and we want you to be a part of it. What does the future look like to you? We want to know and we want you to share your vision of the world as part of our competition - you could even win a laptop worth £2,500.
The BBC invited six artists to provide visions to kick off the contest; most of them came up with apocalyptic pictures. Further information on how to participate is here.

There's a touch of Mordor to animator Glenn Hatton's futuristic city. Animation Still. Image Source: BBC.

"Children's author and illustrator Levi Pinfold's illustration is fueled by concern." Image Source: BBC.
 
"Spain's 'photographer-poet' Chema Madoz's vision is based on natural resources." Image Source: BBC.
 
Abdoulaye Konaté's tapestry is a mediation on humans and their environment in the future. Image Source: BBC.

Friday, December 21, 2012

World's End

July 20, 1956 'Emergency Edition' of The Buffalo Evening News, a faux headline that was part of Operation Alert, a US civil defense exercise in the 1950s, was a dress rehearsal for potential nuclear annihilation. Image Source: Conelrad.

Why is the end of the world so popular? It is a resilient human expectation which has transcended all times, all cultures, all religions. If the end of the world weren't such a frightening message, it would amout to a comforting reminder of human commonality.

Image Source: Oxcgn.

Baby Boomer astrologer Rob Breszny, in his book Pronoia (p. 12) sums up the popularity of doom-saying:
As far back as 2800 BC, an unknown prophet wrote on an Assyrian clay tablet, "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end." [See this story questioned here, here and here.] In the seventh century BC, many Romans believed Rome would suffer a cataclysm in 634 BC.

Around 300 BC, Hindus were convinced they lived in an "unfortunate time" known as the Kali Yuga - the lowest point in the great cosmic cycle. In 426 AD, the Christian writer Augustine mourned that this evil world was in its last days. According to the Lotharingian panic-mongers who lived more than 1,000 years ago, human life on earth would end on March 25, 970.

Astrologers in 16th century calculated that the city would be destroyed by a great flood on February 1, 1524.  American minister William Miller proclaimed the planet's "purification by fire" would occur in 1844. Anglican minister Michael Baxter assured his followers that the Battle of Armageddon would take place in 1868. The Jehovah's Witnesses anticipated the End of Days in 1910, then 1914, then 1918, then 1925. John Ballou Newbrough ("America's Greatest Prophet") promised mass annihilation and global anarchy for 1947.
Breszny directs his readers to the Website, A Brief History of the Apocalypse - here. On this site, compiled by Chris Nelson, you get a timeline of failed doomsday prophecies across the centuries. The timeline reveals that doom-sayers have predicted the end of the world more or less continuously every few years since ancient times.

November 2012 solar eclipse by Phil Hart. Image Source: Starship Asterisk.

World's end is one of the most profitable and popular film, genre fiction, and video game themes. In a lousy economy, entertainment about massive doom and destruction is guaranteed to make money. In marketing terms, scenes like the one below have more consumer appeal than any smiling flower or singing teddy bear.

Image Source: Bethesda Softworks via io9.

Since the turn of the Millennium, technological communication has multiplied the type and number of millenarian apocalyptic predictions to several per year - see here. What is interesting is the sheer number of coincidental fateful predictions set for the end of this year and into next year. Does the sun have a shadow twin (see here, here and here)? Have we reached the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy? Are we leaving the Age of Pisces and entering the Age of Aquarius? Have the Mayans read the heavens correctly to predict a new era (see here, here, here and here)? NASA is concerned enough to post articles and videos to reassure the public. Conspiracy theorists on the Internet have responded by arguing that NASA is keeping the 2012 disaster a secret!

People love to imagine the end of the world. Is it because it gets them off the hook from all their worries and responsibilities? Is it because promised apocalypses give dire meaning to things when the world seems wayward, misdirected, or in the grip of frightening change? Is it a most seductive way of falsely predicting the future? Does the prediction's attraction stem from the way it is used to justify requests for power and money from vulnerable people?

I would argue that the 2012 phenomenon stems from concerns far more profound than those associated with late capitalism. The 2012 phenomenon centres on today's solstice because it is a distillate of all our Millennial fears and anxieties, explained through the mythology and astronomy of the ancients.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Moon Myths of the Past, Present and Future

Image Source: Crystalinks.

Tonight there is a full moon, known in northern climes as the Harvest Moon or Full Corn Moon in North America. It rises at 11:19 ET (3:19 GMT). Seemingly this is a harmless good old full moon that appears closest to the September equinox and has shorter rising times; under this moon, farmers work into the night bringing in their crops. Oddly, a great deal of online chatter casts this moon in a different and frightening light.

Psychics and spiritualists worry (in very unusual ways) that the full moon may spark castastrophic earthquakes. Astrologer Susan Miller calls this full moon a 'Monster Moon.' Miller's Twitter feed and other astrologers' remarks confirm that many people who are already stressed are reading into the stars around this full moon to support their sense of uneasiness about their private concerns, politics, the environment, world affairs and the economy. Miller suffered personal bereavement on 27 September and read it as part of the full moon's influence. Her fellow astrologers believe that this full moon in Aries is the most powerful full moon of the year; Anne Reith explains their reasoning:
I have spoken to so many people during the past week who are going through MAJOR shifts in their lives, both externally (e.g., losing jobs, death of loved ones) and internally (e.g., major insights, emotional breakdowns leading to breakthroughs). ...  
This is the most powerful Full Moon of the year because it is connected to the ongoing square (90°) between Uranus (the planet of change revolution) and Pluto (the planet of transformation and deep healing). As with any Full Moon, the Sun and the Moon are in opposition (180°) to each other. But the Moon is also conjunct Uranus, and both the Sun and Moon are squaring (90°) Pluto. This forms a very powerful astrological configuration called a T-Square (with very tight orbs). And all of these planets are in cardinal signs, which heralds in new beginnings and new energy. Overall, the wheels of change are turning, and this change can be revolutionary. This energy is so great that it can topple governments, shake up corporations, and be the catalyst for major personal transformations. On the one hand, this energy can evoke insecurities by washing away well-laid plans; but on the other hand, it can be seen as the inspiration for breakthroughs that will shape individual and collective visions of the future. It is riskier now to stand still than it is to move ahead. It is important now to make smart decisions regarding the concepts and values that are worth fighting for and which are best left behind. Adapting to uncertain circumstances and avoiding overreaction will help all of us to ride out these storms in relative safety.
The moon's aspects will primarily affect the sun signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

While some see the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement as indications of larger rebellion, other chatter focuses on radical individual change and personal transformation; Alexis Mincolla wrote: "uninstall your bullshit this saturday and be cleansed by fire." Sherene Schostak feels that this Harvest Moon is about personal revolutions:
On Saturday, September 29, the full Moon in Aries could be one of the most explosive lunations of the year as it stands right on the precipice of many incendiary factors. For one thing, the Uranus-Pluto square becomes activated by this full Moon, setting off the urgent need for cataclysmic breakthrough. 
Mars, the ruler of Aries, is incredibly strong at the moment in Scorpio, which makes our determination to break through stagnation, denial and repression a do-or-die situation. The time is right now. It is a time for action. We are feeling the dire need to change and let go of what no longer serves the authentic “I am” self -- even if it kills us (or before it does). 
If that isn’t enough of edge: Serious Saturn is about to change signs next week after spending two-and-a-half years in the opposite sign of this full Moon (Libra). The cosmic taskmaster will be moving into the same sign as Mars: Scorpio. So again, the theme of letting go, shedding skin and killing the killers in our lives becomes extremely pronounced. 
Aries (Mars) is about bringing out the big guns and taking no prisoners. Don’t ever ask an Aries or person with heavy Mars in their chart to wait patiently. You get the idea: this full Moon is screaming at us to wake up and stand our ground. If we’ve been too nice and people-pleasing (Libra) at the expense of honoring our true self, this full Moon will light the fire needed to burn that nonsense down to the ground.
On the other hand, some astrologers think that this full moon is about history repeating itself, from 1933 to 1966 to 2013. They claim that this moon is influenced (so to speak) by the second of seven ominous and revolutionary confrontational squares between Uranus (electric change) and Pluto (death, the Underworld and transformation), an aspect last evident between 1932 and 1934. By contrast, the two planets entered into a synod, or synthetic conjunction, between 1964 and 1967, often deemed to be a positive revolutionary trend. You can read an astrological geometry and history of Uranus and Pluto interactions here. This interpretation suggests that we are somehow entering a celestial time loop, or perhaps a symbolic period of déjà vu, in which the conditions of the 1930s are being revisited in order to deliver a harsh karmic response to the revolutions of the 1960s.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Mayan 2012 Doomsday Tablet Discovered

"A detail of carved steps shows 1,300-year-old Maya text that provides only the second known reference to the so-called “end date” of the Maya calendar."Image Source: David Stuart/Tulane University via Archaeology News Network.

Two days ago, archaeologists announced a new discovery in Guatemala: a second Mayan tablet which predicts the doomsday date of 21 December 2012.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Recession, Apocalypse and Hipster Futures

"The photo was taken December 7, 1978 in Albuquerque, New Mexico before the company moved its offices to Washington. The people in the photo are (from left to right, starting at the top) Steve Wood, Bob Wallace, Jim Lane, Bob O' Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, Gordon Letwin, Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, and Paul Allen." Image/Text Source: Museum of Hoaxes.

Remember the poster of the original members of Microsoft Corp. in 1978, which challenges investors' ability to recognize future trends? Museum of Hoaxes comments on the Baby Boomer board's future worth:
If you had chosen to invest your money with this bunch of scruffy looking characters back in 1978, you'd be quite rich now. But how rich did the people in the photo become? Here's their estimated wealth, listed in descending order:

Bill Gates: Still with Microsoft as it's chairman and chief software architect. His fortune is somewhere in the range of $50 billion.

Paul Allen: Left Microsoft in 1983 but remains a senior strategy advisor to the company. Worth around $25 billion.

Bob O'Rear: Left Microsoft in 1983. Is now a cattle rancher and is worth around $100 million.

Bob Greenberg: Left Microsoft in 1981 and then helped launch those Cabbage Patch Dolls that were so popular in the 1980s. Last time anyone checked, he was worth around $20 million.

Jim Lane: Left Microsoft in 1985. Now has his own software company and is worth around $20 million.

Gordon Letwin: Left Microsoft in 1993 and now devotes himself to environmental causes. Is worth around $20 million.

Steve and Marla Wood: They both left Microsoft in 1980 and Marla then sued the company for sex discrimination. They're worth around $15 million.

Bob Wallace: Left Microsoft in 1983. Worth around $5 million.

Andrea Lewis: Was Microsoft's first technical writer. Left the company in 1983. Worth around $2 million.

Marc McDonald: Was Microsoft's first employee. Left the company in 1984, but recently rejoined the company when Microsoft bought Design Intelligence, the company he was working for. Has the honor of getting to wear badge number 00001. Probably worth at least $1 million.
Nothing has changed since 1978. It is equally difficult to recognize today's counterparts of Microsoft Corp.'s scruffy characters.

2012: Would you invest in this man? Image Source: Bike Co.

This post is about two things: the tanking economy and the Internet-based underclass who will be architects of a future society in the post-recession wreckage, if they are lucky.

First, the tanking economy. Yesterday, the market plunged in another general global loss of confidence. The Wall Street Journal summarized the rat-a-tat-tat of headlines: Moody's downgraded the ratings of fifteen financial firms with global capital markets operations; Asian markets sank over fears of a "deepening global economic slowdown"; US stocks suffered the second worst day of 2012; for the EU, the advice was to dump Greece, and save Italy and Spain; and tech stocks slumped in a broad sector retreat. Following yesterday's Wall Street nosedive, Aussie stocks opened down today. Business Spectator: "The Australian stock market extended its losses at noon on the back of disappointing economic data from China and Europe and a move from the US Federal Reserve's to slash its growth forecast for the United States." The psychological atmosphere in the financial sector yesterday was one of anxiety, worry, frustration and thwarted premature optimism.

In other words, the recent economic recovery was only a middle part of a double-dip recession; the economy passed through the calm eye of a storm and is now hitting the wall on the other side. This argument demolishes the fiction that the recession ended in 2009, when it is in fact still ongoing. Today's drop was predicted by Charles Nenner, a former Goldmanite who remarked in March 2012 that the stock market rally in the first quarter of this year - the best since 1998 - would peak in April. He promised (here) that the rally would be followed by a plunge, which is now occurring.