Monday, October 12, 2009

Towards a New Astronomy

Today I'm going to start off talking about astronomy, and we'll see where that takes us. Since I recently started studying the discipline at a graduate level, I feel I'm somewhat qualified to hold forth on the subject (for a change ... not that I've ever let that stop me before.)

Anyhow, let's forget for a moment the question of what astronomers say they can measure and thus infer about the properties of the universe - activities that by necessity use the majority of their time, and now by extension mine - and focus on what it is, most fundamentally, that they do. Every scientific discipline, and for that matter most every field of human endeavor, has at the end of the day some purpose within the wider sociocultural complex. Architects design buildings, engineers figure out how to build them, construction workers arrange the matter into place: there is a role for everything, and it is always something practical ... even the fine arts (the most frivolous of activities) provide a gateway to and from the collective subconscious, and in the this respect are of vital importance to the maintenance, growth and evolution of the shared, cultural reality.

At first glance astronomy doesn't seem nearly so practical. No matter how much we know of the stars, after all, there is very little we can physically do with that knowledge. We can't build anything with it, as the stars are such fantastic distances away in a cosmos so vast and apparently void. Perhaps someday, some Zephram Cochrane will arise and mankind will have its own homegrown UFO but for now, creating elaborate charts of stellar and galactic positions and tabulations of their various characteristics is a seemingly quixotic survey, an almost autistic exercise in obsessive classification that has no immediate value.

It would seem so, in fact, perhaps most primarily to the astronomers themselves, who of course as adamant as they are that nothing in the heavens can affect us here on earth on any sort of human scale of space and time (save perhaps for the occasional freak meteor impact or the small possibility of some nearby star going supernova) thus often wonder just why precisely they do what they do. No doubt they'd answer, simply because it's interesting, and while the intellectual fascination of elaborate puzzles no doubt accounts for a certain amount of their professional activity the question begs: if that's all there really is, then is not their value primarily one of entertainment?

For what part do they thus play in wider society, this collection of men (and truth be told, at the graduate level in this discipline as in most others here at the birth of this new age, as many women as men) who have made it their life's mission to study and speculate on the stars? In the lives of most of their compatriots, they are eccentric intellectuals, who appear every once in a while to show some beautiful pictures of objects in the heavens, and then tell a story about them. If the pictures are sufficiently striking, or the stories sufficiently fascinating, the response of the people (most often through their governments) is "Great! Go build a big new telescope, and train some more of you while you're at it. Oh, and have a conference in Hawa'ii, on us."

Really, when you think about it, it's a pretty good gig if you dig that kind of thing.

And truth be told, that's the way astronomy's always been done, since back before there was any difference between it and its long-estranged misfit cousin, astrology, the black sheep of the scientific family with a disreputable occupation, living in sin in a foreign country, that everyone conspicuously avoids asking about or mentioning at family gatherings.

Those Ptolemaic astronomers, with their ingenuous yet fatally flawed geocentric cosmos, where the perfect orbs of the planets sat upon vast, rotating crystalline spheres held up by angels ... really, what a beautiful picture to paint in the peoples' mind while they looked up at the sky. And while they did not have telescopes and pictures, they at least had some neat tricks, like predicting when the Sun would be eclipsed by the Moon, and some sharp-looking carvings and imagery that they used to perform that prediction, pulling the information out through arcane means that few could grasp.

Funny thing ... no matter when you look, astronomers have never got the story exactly right. Some times are more right than others, or so we like to tell ourselves, seeing our own culture's model of the cosmos as being superior to all others in not just the precision of its description (which is phenomenal) but its theoretical accuracy, too. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't all just different kinds of wrong ... if the particular description a given age or society gives to the universe is more a projection of that culture (with all the complexity of relationships and fallibility of judgement that implies) onto the universal palimpsest, rather than the projection of the universe onto the cultural consciousness.

See, the ancients saw the heavens as being just another expression of the Mind of God, of which everything was composed, including naturally enough human minds and the events and agency (or rather, agencies) that flowed through them. There might not be just causal connections between everything that happened, but also acausal - what the Jungians would call synchronistic - connections between events as well, connections formed at the archetypal level of reality, a sort of hyperdimensional influence congruous to every point in the universe.

Of course, this Mind is endlessly complex and subject to a vast range of permutation (it is after all fundamentally infinite) and like a vast elaboration of the human mind (which can be seen as a sort of holographic fragment of this cosmic mind, both individually and collectively) it is capable of things like planning, and subject to things like moods. These occur on a much greater scale, and in far more intricate detail than is possible for a merely human mind to logically comprehend: after all, being a holographic relation, the resolution at the human scale is enormously smaller than at the cosmic. However, the principles are pretty much the same.

So you can think of the Plan of the universal mind as fate, more or less. As for the Moods, call them the archetypes, if you wish. Or gods: another word for the same phenomenon, that of events which share certain loose but prominent characteristic features at the conceptual level, tending to cluster together temporally, much as words within a lexical map form separate associational complexes based on meaning ... or much as the human mind tends to behave in certain characteristic psychoemotional ways, as though playing out variations on a fixed repertoire of archetypal dramas. Once one is in a certain mood, things tend to more or less play out in a certain very definite direction until the drama (whatever it happens to be) is played out.

Apply this thinking to an explanation of the universe and the conclusions are obvious: there will be correlations between the movements of the heavens and the events of human lives. From there, it is nothing more daunting than an ages-long empirical study of the heavens, matched against a close observation of how events in the wider world and one's immediate life tend to be playing out. A project that took the patience of generations, and over time produced a thorough-going and internally consistent theory of the archetypal correspondances of the planets, one that was concentrated in a thousand different ways into a rich, symbolic mythic structure by which the multivalent associational complexes associated with the various archetypes could be most compactly and efficiently communicated.

Then Galileo looks through a telescope, Newton 'figures out' gravity and all of a sudden this deep and ancient repository of cultural wisdom is a bad pickup line. "What's you sign, baby?"

Astronomers of course will tell you that astrology is a lot of hokum. There is nothing in the theoretical description of the modern cosmos that would allow for any mechanism of cause and effect between where Jupiter is in the sky and whether you eat shreddies or fruit loops in the morning, and if you skip breakfast altogether in lieu of coffee and a couple of smokes on the way to work it's not because Mercury is rising in the seventh house, it's because you were up until 3 in the morning writing things that have nothing to do with homework.

The astronomical community is entirely right of course that there's no plausible means of causation. Correlation, however, is another case entirely and I find it fascinating in this light that many quantum theorists think of the universe as a giant, quantum computer, linked together in a nonlocal (ie acausal, or instantaneous) fashion through quantum entanglement. This is entirely non-controversial and yet, somehow.... The implications never get followed through.

Now, it would be easy to blame the astronomers for this. It's not exactly as though they have a great history of being open-minded to the ideas of outsiders: the treatment of Halton Arp, Hannes Alfven, and the whole crew of electrical engineers and plasma physicists who have developed a new model of the cosmos based on a more complete understanding of plasmas and electromagnetism is by any standards of scientific etiquette enourmessly rude (which, that being said: at least for them, 'burned at the stake' is only a metaphor). "It only takes one inconvenient fact to bring down even the most beautiful theory" is an axiom every scientists should know but, sadly, few take to heart. It always takes far more than one fact. In some cases, seemingly, one wonders if 'fact' is the deciding factor at all....

It would be easy to blame astronomers for being close minded, wouldn't it? But it would also be simplistic.

You see, what would it mean if the astronomers started telling everyone that the world they were looking at was acausally connected through vast reaches of time and space, to the degree that for all intents and purposes the universe as such did not experience time, at the highest level? That all is indeed one, thanks to the laws of quantum mechanics? And that indeed, our very sun was powered by an interstellar current of power that was merely a small filament of that which powered the galaxy, and that itself only the smallest branch of a vastly larger universal circuit that might most profitably be compared to the circulatory system and connective tissue of creation.

Forget about the science, for a moment. Think of what a change such a picture of the cosmos would bring at a cultural level. Because here's what astronomers really do, what they've always really done: they tell society the story of the context of everything that serves as the backdrop to human life here on earth. Might not seem like much, I grant you: for the vast majority, any attention placed on the stars is fleeting, and most will cheerfully admit they've no idea what 'black holes', 'dark matter', 'dark energy', or 'the accelerating expansion of the universe' mean. Nor I imagine did medieval peasants spend all that much time contemplating the angels turning the celestial spheres, nor did Hindu farmers for the most part wonder about that stack of turtles....

But no matter the nature of that story, that story will inevitably be there, in the subconscious, a background to all decisions, all actions, all other beliefs and relations to and with the world. The existence of the entities populating any given cosmos (regardless of their objective physical existence) is assured at the metaphorical level. By being presumed in some sense real, whatever archetypes they happen to connect with will be subtly but powerfully strengthened.

Is it any accident that our financial system is behaving exactly like a black hole, which in the modern scheme lies at the center of every galaxy, invisible but orchestrating the movements of every star and cloud of dust due to its overwhelming concentration of gravitational force? That the forces that move our world, both in the wider cosmos and behind the terrifying march of current events, are said to be influenced mostly by 'dark energy' and composed primarily of 'dark matter'?

In the midst of this grimly, deliberately incomprehensible universe we find the Sun, middle aged, with a span due to expire some billions of years hence, after roasting the Earth alive (or rather dead, for life is unlikely to survive even that long). The Earth itself, as well as every other major body of the solar system, has been more or less where it is for all of the last four and a half billion years, in a universe at once dynamically moving yet preternaturally stable, the stars are impossibly distant, and mankind and the awareness it possesses is an isolated and insignificant chance epiphenomenon of complex organic chemistry on the surface of a speck of dust that is of less consequence to the cosmos as a whole than is a flea sitting on a hair on an elephant's ass to the price of ivory in Johannesburg?

Makes you feel kind of ... small, doesn't it?

Now, I'd like to throw something else out there, something I think might actually tie all of this and a lot more besides together into some sort of comprehensive picture. It's an obscure (to non-physicists) expression known as the Dirac equation. Within physics, it is famous as being one of the most successful equations not just within quantum physics but physics, period, simply for the number of correct answers it gives for a variety of physical properties of the universe, ranging from Einstein's famous E=mc^2 to virtually anything to do with the electron and its unaccountably rare evil twin, the positron.

A few years ago, an English professor named Hotson published a paper on the Dirac equation in which he used the original solution, which implied both positive and negative states of energy. Back in the 30s the negative energy solutions were removed and sort of swept under the rug of the textbooks (in similar fashion to the earlier mutilation of Maxwell's original equations) and physics has proceeded since in ever-complexifying, kludgy and bewildering fashion: describing the world in growing detail but at the expense of an ever-dwindling simplicity ... to the point today where the state of the art in string theory (the most ambitious 'Theory of Everything' to date) is so accurate that it is able to perfectly predict every single property of the universe we observe ... and 10^500 equally probable universes besides, each with their own unique physical constants, parameters, and subatomic particles.

Beautiful, no?

So, Hotson takes this negative energy, and from it he shows how something very similar to a Bose-Einstein Condensate might exist, only in dimensions sideways from our own. This he postulates is the medium on which light travels, as well as the stuff of gravity (indeed, the description of gravity he provides accounts not just for a few phenomena as does relativity but also for Bode's Law, a definite harmonic order of the orbital radii of the planets that remains unexplained to this day). It is also, he speculates, the ultimate source of quantum non-locality. His theory does all this and more with far more elegance than conventional theories manage, too, requiring only two particles - the electron and the positron - and two energy states, positive and negative, to (in essence) derive the universe.

Now, that's a lot of heavy stuff conceptually and a bit more detail than I want to go into here so I'll leave that part alone except to emphasize that right here we have a physical object (this hyperdimensional Bose Einstein Condensate), in principle measureable, which in additon to explaining the mystery of what exactly photons and gravity are also provides the necessary physical organ by which synchronicity might express itself. It may also be the physical basis for consciousness, given that many of its properties match up precisely with what we'd expect a universal Mind to possess (for instance, in a BEC all particles share the same wavefunction, which is tantamount to all information being instantaneously shared throughout).

From a practical perspective a negative energy physics opens the doors to the possibility of free energy. The implications of this are so large that I felt it required its own paragraph.

Think about all of this for a moment, and if you also think of what sort of state the world is in these days and the principle reasons for that ugly state of affairs pretty soon I expect you'll be thinking about why it is that astronomers can't be allowed to go around talking about quantum nonlocality and an electric cosmos and all of that nonsense. There's a 'who' behind that 'why' and it's because I'm more or less ending on this note that this is a Moon Food piece.

See, we are at war now. Are we not? No matter that war has not been officially declared, the war against the people has been raging for some time, waged in silence, behind veils of deception, with daggers hidden in helping hands and fixed smiles distracting attention from dead eyes.

This war must be fought at many levels. Indeed it is being fought, every day, everywhere in the world, by the few who are able to see past the veils that camouflage it. Merely the act of seeing can be seen as an engagement in this war, for to one who fights first with illusion, perception is the first and highest danger. A tiger may have claws, but if its stripes hide it not it starves.

A million or two years ago some hominids picked up a club and went looking for the leopard that up til then had stalked them. Since that moment, never did go the same for the leopards of this world, nor for any other beast of prey. Which isn't to say predation disappeared, for it too is an archetype of a kind. It evolved too, in time expressing anew as the psychopath: the predator that builds its camouflage inside the belief structure of the human mind.

We approach a time now, very similar to the time that first clever hominid picked up a branch and brained a big cat. New tools, new technologies, new capabilities of consciousness present themselves to us. But this time, of course, the game must be played at a higher level. Oh, we can have more revolutions, and civil wars, and violence and unrest and disturbance. We can overthrow this group of tyrannical deviants just as others have been overturned and plowed under, try them and execute them, and get our revenge in a thousand different and cathartic ways and ... that's all been done before, in a thousand different ways and always, always, the psychopaths returned. Always, the same cycle repeated.

We can stop the cycle, if we want. But only if we get at the root of our susceptibility to their manipulations. Ultimately, this is fear, and fear comes from the first error: that of separation. If all understand that all is one, then death is nothing and fear disappears. So what have you to fear if another plans to kill you? But if all know that all are one, who would attack another? For he would in so doing attack himself. Thus neither motive for aggression nor defense ... and through this (and it can only be in this fashion), world peace.

Now, mystics have been saying this for thousands of years to ever-enlarging audiences and to ever-diminishing effect. While no doubt many of you reading this see things in a broadly all-is-one kind of way, it's certainly not the default mode of operation for the culture as a whole, now, is it? Hence the wrack, ruin and destruction wrought large, in land after land and life after life, around the world, as human after human succumbs to fear to acts accordingly....

All because the psychopathic reptiles running this place have got us believing the Big Lie that it's all separate: every atom a discrete particle, every human a lone mind, ever star an isolated point of light.

Substitute truth for that lie - show the ever-present connections at multiple and mutually supportive levels that make every part an element of a transcending whole - and the psychocultural support within the collective subconscious for that control disappears.

Astronomy - a renewed, real and open-minded astronomy, based on interdisciplinary and holistic science, in perfect balance with all of its sibling sciences - will go a long way towards providing a bulwark against mass mind control, by rendering the cultural environment inhospitable at best for psychopathic predators who use lies to produce fear and thus gain control.