Tag Archives: thought experiment

Alien Intelligence

As a child and adolescent, paranormal threats would frighten and obsess me more than any ghost, vampire, or irrational phobia. The most nightmare-inducing movies for me were the Day the Earth Stood Still, Fire in the Sky, and even Mars Attacks! I was addicted to the X-Files continuity, and to books like Communion by Whitley Streiber. I kept my ear glued to Coast to Coast AM, long before the befuddled yet charming (much like my father) George Noory, during the smoky-voiced Art Bell years, managing to handle ridiculous claims and speculation with both eyebrow-raised incredulity and eager thirst for woo.

Listening to it still, but with an older more skeptical mind, it’s amazing how much hardcore paranormal believers reveal about what exactly is happening in the brain by what they say. A number of them describe alien, ghost, shadow people, and old hag encounters that, regardless of the character in place, are apt illustrations of hypnagogic dreams in action. Numerous callers, and the Mothman Prophecies author Jim Keel, claim that when supernatural forces “notice you noticed them” presumably continue to act out further for that enlightened person’s benefit. They are quite closely describing their own confirmation bias, seeing the very thing they are keyed up to look for, for that very reason. Utilising the mechanism of the brain that builds patterns out of nothing, and holding firmer to their position out of fear of their invested belief being wrong, and rewarded by the childlike part of the brain that endorses mythology, animism, imaginary friends, and religion.

Their conspiratorial-minded community reinforces that they are wiser and more enlightened for having gotten in on the secret(s). Believing their information to be factual and superior, they consider themselves the truly critical-thinking ones, because their minds are open to accept such outlandish claims. Many claim a healthy mixture of open-mindedness and skepticism, and then use this justification to heavily land in the former. Mythology is interesting stuff, and perfectly healthy to delve into, but only when recognized as perfectly false.

How can anyone really be sure that their minds, through various combinations of hypnagogic sleep states, pareidolia, or confirmation bias, aren’t fooling us into supernatural superstition no different than those in the past? Jim Kieth, himself a paranormal investigator, inadvertently revealed some of the weaknesses in his Casebook on the Men in Black, explaining how we have always had some cultural awareness of (as Terence McKenna calls it) “the Other”. Men in Black used to be iterations of Old Scratch, the devil himself, or else the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. Greys used to be any number of various little green men, fairies, goblins, or demons. And if one doesn’t accept the more grandiose implications of a Jungian collective unconscious (used to support a metaphysically telepathic astral plane of nightmarish archetypes), but simply the deeply ingrained set of socio-psychological beliefs, then the disconnects only seem to hurt the credibility of the phenomenon being an external physical force, more than mere mental construct. One can make the argument that these phenomena actually have been observed as a constant but simply described (I would argue, widely) differently. That the inter-dimensional or mystically quantum nature of these objects and beings make them ephemeral spirits, manifesting differently. Even if this is the case, it only lends to the unfalsifiability of the whole matter.

At least with accounts of Bigfoot, the reporting and sightings throughout history are fairly consistent.

What is surprising is that even when skeptics, astronomers, astrobiologists, xenobiologists, and philosophers suppose the existence of alien intelligence, it is usually described as autocratic, organizational, and would probably have mathematically subcategorized our sector. At least partially or wholly integrated with machine, they would be cold telepathic drones, more like one giant organism than many, frightening in their passionless drive to accomplish hive goals. The commensurate measures that led to cellular life growing more diverse, apes to be social climbers, and humans to be the planet’s most winningest species, might certainly have allowed a space-faring race to survive in the perpetuity necessary for interstellar travel. Their motives would be so far removed as to seem malevolent (but in actuality no moreso than the automatic slapping of a mosquito), their technology like the ‘magic’ of Gods, their thoughts unknowable, their abilities seemingly without limit. One thing would be certain, they would have their own limits and needs, beyond our comprehension, but as important to them as ours are to us. It is frighteningly coincidental how this model fits the described greys and their behavior. Listen to any specific person on the matter, however, especially those that receive mental messages from our astrological space brethren, and you’re in for a world of intellectual hurt.

Even the Catholic Church now believes in our brothers from the stars, also saved by the Judeo-Christian God. This may not help either argument much.

The thing is, we’re all on the inside of a false centre looking out at all the things that are when we aren’t even sure what “are” means.

Ultimately, it all comes down to faith. Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard believed that taking that leap of faith (be it a god or love) was ultimately scary and could prove to be wrong, and therefore should take courage. No such evidence could ever be enough to pragmatically justify the kind of total commitment involved in true religious faith or romantic love. Faith involves making that commitment anyway. Kierkegaard thought that to have faith is at the same time to have doubt. So, for example, for one to truly have faith in God, one would also have to doubt one’s beliefs about God; the doubt is the rational part of a person’s thought involved in weighing evidence, without which the faith would have no real substance. In essence, those who try to use science to prove their faith do not have real faith. Faith and scientific method are mutually exclusive. You cannot use phenomena to explain or justify itself, or rely on mostly unreliable witness testimony. Proponents or willing adherents to the supernatural should try like the dickens to falsify their own hypotheses.

This surely works the other way, and die-hard skeptics should explore the evidence of outlandish claims, if for no other reason than it is fun. Similar to theologian Tim Mawson’s claims that atheists should attempt prayer for some period of time, to strengthen their disbelief. Wouldn’t their logic would supersede any patterns of magical thinking? And how would one know which God to try this with? Of course many skeptics would argue that the burden of proof does not lie with those that posit something’s nonexistence.

What interests me most about all this is this; Why is it much more difficult to accept the existence of God or UFOs, than a pig (which you have seen before but are not looking at right now) or Japan (which you may have never directly observed)?

Happy Halloween, everyone!

A trip down memory link

Oh, I couldn’t go an ENTIRE YEAR without you, LJ! But I almost did.

I blame the future. Inexorably roiling, rolling, crushing down on us like the accumulation of so many dirty, unclean… socks?

Look up a few things on the internet from your past. Think about:
*The person you were back then, compared to this person you are at this place now.
*How has your philosophical outlook on the world changed?
*Can you even be said to be the same person, if most of your bodily cells have been replaced, your mind totally (hopefully!) altered, the pulses of your brain rerouted, and the electrons of the World Wide Web that preserve that former you replaced by exact duplicates JUST AS SOON AS they bolted into existence in the first place!
*Are old pictures and posts of your friends the same people?
*What is your proudest moment and why?
*What is your most shameful moment and why? Have you left it recorded? You should, this is arguably more important than the last. Never throw away the shittiest parts of yourself. You’re only deluding and depressing the future you, looking back for comparison.
*Now, slightly less ignorant than you were then, are you equally less blissful? Or about the same? Can you even remember?
*Are your frames of reference so changed that they are too errant a slide rule to use with any degree of accuracy?
*Do the posts or pictures by your friends muckrake some nearly-foreign memory? Why is it so alien to you? Why was it so important to them, but you nearly forgot it? Check that, you DID forget it, but for this little exercise.
*Are there things from Ye Internet of Olde that you remember that no longer exist? Old forums, pics, joke sites, geocities pages, references, or perhaps video before video… Why do you remember them? Why were they important enough? Why are they gone?
*Would you go back to that antiquated system of tubes? For a day, a week, a year?
*What if you had to give up all the memes and references you now know the internet has produced? (Maybe especially then)
*How did you think of the world back then, through the lens of technology at that point? Frustrated at the slowness of dial-up? The poor quality of pictures? The difficulties of such rudimentary interglobal communication? Has the alleviation of your frustration been at equal pace with the rapid development of these technologies?
*Perhaps you were nonetheless optimistic; so many sharing common interests, showcasing new ideas and concepts, embracing both simple quirks and commodities as well as new and complex modern issues,
larger and larger communities reaching out, exploding, connecting their wildly spinning randomly splitting tendrils with the whiplash of rubber tautness, old world modalities slowly dying, withering spent and useless facing the hydra.

NOW! QUICK!

Think about the future.

And go to bed.

I ask too much

I ask too much of myself, of others, and of reality. I ask too many questions in general. Generally, I ask too much.

Are thoughts something physical, do they exist without the mind, are they sent to us from some place besides the mind, or do they exist only because we do? Are thoughts simple cells of the brain stimulated with electrical currents leaping from synapse to synapse, dendrites twittering rapidly like birds in heat? Or are thoughts independent of the mind, corporeal forms that remain long after our physical brain has decayed and returned to the matter whence it came?

What is time? Is it an illusion of a series of still images placed over our eyes to tell us that we exist in a single timeline moving forward at some arbitrarily divided measurement system? Does all of time happen within one instant, or is all of reality as we perceive it with no distractions, with no loopholes, with no catches, with no deception?

Is there only one universe, or are there an infinite number of them for all eternity, and how would we know the difference? More scarily, how would we be able to tell the difference between a world dictated by the edicts of free will and one of predetermination? How would we tell the difference between a universe with God and one without Him? And if there is a God, and we were conceived by His mind, shouldn’t our minds have the ability to understand at least part of him, to realize him and conceive him as He conceived us? Is there a collective consciousness, and if so, then I go back to the question of the infinite universes…

If there is such a thing as infinity, then how can two doppelgangers, one evil and one good, exist when one would have to go to hell and one would have to go to heaven? Do they negate each other? Would your evil (or good) twin cancel you out? Where would you go? In an infinite system, there must be no limitations, stipulations, regulations or barriers. Every scenario must and shall be played out, meaning that there must be an infinite number of universes and timelines that directly and incontrovertibly contradict each other into nothingness, as would all of infinity be?

If there is no afterlife, then what is that void? You cannot picture blackness, because that is something, you cannot picture space, because that is something, a black hole is still something, you brain in a jar in the Matrix is still something, and heavenly clouds are still something and what you see when you close your eyes is still something, as is the wolf from the Neverending Story.

And a mathematical paradox occurs to me, infinity and nothingness are semantic opposites, mathematical principles expressed in symbols because they are so abstract that our finite minds cannot understand them in entirety. But it is also logical to say that zero infinity because zero can cancel out infinity, and perhaps that the two are inexorably intertwined, are, perhaps, synonymous? Are they also synonymous with God? All things that we have no solid tactile concept for…

How can you prove/disprove infinity? How can you prove/disprove nothingness? How can you prove/disprove God?

It all answers one question easily, however, and that is the question of why I haven’t been able to sleep restfully for days.