The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Things of interest, besides UFOs

While most of you have a slight or inordinate interest in the UFO phenomenon, most of academia and science find their obsessions elsewhere; UFOs are of little or no interest to intellectuals of various human disciplines.

For instance, Mathematics is/are getting enormous attention by persons for whom mathematics was a peripheral or subsidiary process, for them, at one time.

Edward Frenkel’s book, Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality proposes that mathematical structures (equations, numbers, arithmetic, et cetera) are among the “objects of reality”; they are every bit as real as anything in the physical or mental world. Moreover, they are not the product of human thought; rather they exist timelessly, in a Platonic realm of their own. [Writes Jim Holt, on page 29 in his NYRB review of Frenkel’s book, December 5th, 2013]

Max Tegmark’s article in Discover magazine [December 2013, Page 44 ff.] from his book, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality [Knopf/Doubleday/Random House, NY] insists that “Everything in the universe – stars, chess games, and you – is part of a vast mathematical structure.”

Again, citing Plato, Tegmark writes “that our physical world not only is described by mathematics, but that it is mathematics [which] makes us self-aware [that we are] parts of a giant mathematical object.” [Page 47]

“Modern physics has made it abundantly clear that he ultimate nature of reality isn’t what it seems.” [op. cit]

Tegmark’s piece falls inside that same Discover issue which has Zeeya Merali’s article, “Do We Live in the Matrix,” another ongoing theme of science which is at the top of the discussion ladder lately.

Merali notes that “Tantalizingly, just weeks before The Matrix came out … astronomers analyzing the light from distant galaxies published hints that the universe’s ‘constants” might not be so constant.” [Page 26]

Math and quantum physics meld in such a way that physicists and scientists are questioning reality, abandoning string theory, but still trying to salvage M-Theory, as scientific thought is now geared to the Platonic ideas of reality, existence outside the cave.

(You can find Steven Weinberg’s “Physics: What we Do and Don’t Know” at NYRB.com, the November 7th issue of the Review for more, if interested.)

Not quite The Matrix but Sue Halpern’s “Are We Puppets in a Wired World” [NYRB, November 7th 2013, Page 24 ff.] will provide a slew of works showing how the internet and current technologies impact and alter our lives and reality itself.

Consciousness and thought processes are getting a make-over once more, with almost everyone in psychology, philosophy, neurological science, et al. weighing in on the matter of brain versus mind.

Oliver Sacks is my go-to guy for mind/brain analogues but you can find all the current discussions, online (via Google or Bing), although I suggest discrimination about what you find or read. (Some of our visitors here only get their information and “smarts” from writings online or YouTube, not being forensic about the source or authors of the stuff they think is intellectually pristine.)

And, finally, while working on a Shakespeare book, I’ve discovered one more playwright and writer of his time who might have been part of the consortium that created the Shakespeare oeuvre, George Chapman.

That, to me, is more exciting than UFOs, Roswell, or anything in the paranormal realm; it’s to do with our human reality, within or without the Matrix.

So, UFOs be damned. They offer little in the way of practical knowledge about what we are or who we are. And they take us from thinking sensibly often.

Others, of a more-rational bent, eschew UFOs, and one can see why, if they (including me) abandon their obsession with the obtuse phenomenon.

There is more to life and reality than UFOs can resolve, whether they remain unexplained or eventually get a solution from some real UFO researcher.

RR

14 Comments:

  • I’ve discovered one more playwright and writer of his time who might have been part of the consortium that created the Shakespeare oeuvre, George Chapman.

    Oh my god(s)... surely you're not one of those people??

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Monday, November 25, 2013  

  • Indeed I am...Paul.

    The idea that the pedestrian man Shakespeare wrote the plays and poetry in such diverse manners is, for me, improbable, almost impossible.

    But the tale has yet to be proven, as you know.

    The problem, up to now, has been, that others see one man as the progenitor of the Shakespeare output, when it was many, all easily (or almost so) identifiable.

    RR

    We'll see...

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, November 25, 2013  

  • Well, I've taken a break from the topic for the past couple of months and I'm better off for it.

    Spent one week in Hawaii with my wife and my daughter is getting married next month...this being more important than UFOs unless ET is willing to foot a portion of the bill...I'll not hold my breath.

    I lucked out and didn't have to walk a union picket line, new 4 year contract, such is the state of health care and the workforce dealing with the University of California Medical Centers...again no collective bargaining with ET representatives to be had.

    A cogent posting by Rich which most, if not all, should consider even for the short run.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Monday, November 25, 2013  

  • Personally, it's the simple fact that there has been nothing intellectually new said on the subject for a long time. It's a proverbial retread of old tires.

    Some who shall remain nameless were ( are ) sort of entertaining cranks to me, whose obsessions last with me as long as it takes to read them..and even that misbegotten interest has gotten very stale..the narrow focus of some digging themselves deeper into a hole for fame and fortune is good for a "I can't believe this crap" sort of moment. but lately I an't bring myself to even achieve that....the proverbial ten thousand year old frozen turkey..with no nutrients left after desiccation sets in.

    My interest in the subject is now relegated to my morning coffee with a quick browse around several pet sites the majority of which have nothing to do with so called ufo material. I sometimes wonder if other folks actually have interests beyond the UFO subject..

    When the spirit moves me, I will post a new essay on my own site just to amuse myself...if and only if there's nothing else going on and if I actually have something new to write about..
    There's so much self aggrandizement, ego tripping and blah blah blah..that has nothing to do with anything but self reflected glory that the question is....why bother?




    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • There are those who try and apply mathematics to ufology. Not often, but there has been the odd occasion.

    Here is one conundrum: apply the theory of probability to prove that out of all the unexplained sightings (either official or unofficial ones), at least one of these 'unknowns' represents a scientific/technological development beyond our present day scientific knowledge. It is easy, isn't it? Just take all the 'unknowns'. Each has been thoroughly investigated to the point of exhaustion. Therefore each has a low probability of explanation, but call it 25% for each one.

    Now multiply all the probabilities together (in the true mathematical way) and arrive at a figure that gives the probability of all those sightings being explainable. You get a very very low answer. Therefore the probability that at least one IS unexplainable is very HIGH. That one (whichever it is) proves that we have a genuine unknown phenomenon - unknown to present day science.

    Now find the fallacy in that argument. It is not difficult.
    I am pretty certain Douglas Hofstadter, whom we discussed before, can answer it immediately. Assuming he is the least interested, of course.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • Insert UFOs into any discussion or academic dialogue, CDA, and eyes will glaze over or people will leave the room.

    It is a taboo topic in my circle(s).

    Hofstadter would very likely puke should UFOs come up in any conversation with him.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • It is about time I finally commented, so here is my first comment:
    I’ve been reading this blog almost daily since late May 2012 and on numerous reads I’ve wanted to ask, and now do so, whether the author or commenter had actually seen a UFO.

    For the record, I did once in the late ‘70’s. It was a large floating box drifting over the town at a relatively low altitude, perhaps 3000 feet and by the angle of my view I’d guess a mile away, maybe less. Watched it for a minute or two from my back porch in late afternoon before it just drifted over a cloud bank. It left me confused.

    I was an Air Force pilot back then and started asking quietly (I was a young and cautious lieutenant) whether other pilots and aircrew had seen anything ufo-like. Essentially none had seen anything beyond some unexplained lights pacing their aircraft out over the Atlantic. We all saw St. Elmo’s fire from time to time which, while entertaining, wasn’t extraordinary.

    As Bruce noted that his interest in the subject was becoming relegated to his morning coffee, I too have found decreasing interest borne of frustration with Photoshop altered images, regurgitated conspiracy oriented Roswell, Area 51, and other similar refrains. I must also mention my distain for pin point lights in the night sky photos and videos. Again, like Bruce, I cruise a few sites, like this one, commonly in the morning over coffee, looking for disclosure, first contact, a series of great daylight photos from multiple witnesses, more information on the large and low black triangles, and etc.

    Thanks for the blog RR and others for their comments.

    BD

    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • Bryan...

    I've noted my UFO sightings a few times here, recently delineating them for French skeptic Gilles Fernandez.

    You might find them a few months back.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • Rich, You're an intellectual with eclectic interests. You also, if I'm remembering correctly, had your own ufo sighting which may have precipitated your own interest in the gnarly subject.

    I know that did it for me. If it weren't for that seminal, early CE with others (family members, neighbors, guests) in daylight right over my parents backyard replete with physical after effects, I'm not so sure I would have caught the ufo 'bug'.

    But, I have done other things with my life in my spare time outside of education, work, marriage and raising a child.

    I'm involved with
    a Chihuahua/Chi-mix rescue in the New England~western NY area and a cat rescue in my immediate area....I do bird IDs/counts for Mass Audubon right on a secluded trail near my home...Also I'm an avid, obsessive collector of fragrances - ranging from middle-eastern ouds to fairly common celeb scents....Then there's my flower gardening where I'm always on the lookout for hearty heirloom perennials that will last for years to come...Oh and daily trail walks, sometimes hikes as well.

    We have to have other interests or else we might end up ranting about demon hornet aliens that send telepathic messages to us. There are some forums out there populated with many pained, fearful 'experiencers' and their dark claims. But for the grace of God go us.

    I hope you (and other Americans here) have a pleasant Thanksgiving! [what a lame segue from the demon hornet aliens ;-)]

    ~ Susan

    By Blogger brownie, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • Susan, my sweet, smart friend, I know you will have a wonderful holiday.

    You have a rational approach to UFOs and life.

    Your multi-interests intrigue. We need to really discuss them sometime.

    Have a great Thanksgiving, full of stuffing and cranberries, and good friends and family.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, November 26, 2013  

  • Susan
    I can relate to having a variety of interests as well that never went away along with a concurrent interest in UFO material..it would be interesting to see what other interests the other "regulars" who post here pursue along with edge topics.
    From the earliest age, I was fascinated by all things mechanical,especially clockworks..I restore old lithographed toys, sketching in pen and ink,working with historic preservation groups, gardening etc.
    The point I got from your post that I felt compelled to respond to is that none of us can be pigeon holed as simply a lunatic fringe with a one track mind..

    I hope all have a wonderful time with family and loved ones on Turkey Day..

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, November 27, 2013  

  • You Americans always give thanks, for something, near the end of November. We Brits never seem to give thanks for anything. Why is this?

    There is one thing we might possibly give thanks for one day - when the Scots finally get their independence we shall be rid of them. Possibly...

    But I tread on dangerous ground here!

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, November 27, 2013  

  • !!!!! Brownie You're A Birder
    OMG OMFlippin' Gawd!!!!!!!!

    (sorry Mr. Reynolds, couldn't restrain me enthusiasm)

    and, as it happens, one of my favorite and most respected species of birder: visiting and documenting the birds in one particular spot over time. Gets even less attention than the birders with long lists and 'big years'; but so much more important to science and preservation, and requiring much more discipline. Plus you get to see the most awesome, magical things the birds do.

    Why don't we live close?!?!? (waaahhhh.....) i went all over the place by myself in my thirties, much to the alarm of my mother, but health and responsibilities make it much harder for me to get out these days. Glad i did it when i could! :) Also, we've had a big resurgence in mountain lions in the area in the last decade, so i do not relish the idea of birding alone in dense scrub at dawn......irrational as my fears no doubt may be. Just a weenie, i know. Fortunately, you have the Big E, tadpole connoisseur, for protection.

    Bruce, my dad worked for Western Union from the 1950's thru the 1980's (or 1990's?) and he has a couple of the old electric, pendulum time-synch clocks from the very early 1900's. He snagged them as they were decommissioned in Fresno, CA; i am hoping to be the obnoxious kid who inherits the 6 foot tall oak one (he recently sent the works off back east for refurbishing). Those clocks spend half their life with their guts spread out on some horizontal surface or other, i love them! Oh, Bruce, i would love to see some of your reconstructed toys.

    My interests are too numerous for me to ever do them justice. A brief list: anthro/archaeology esp. sustainable ecologies and ancient mythologies/worldviews; visual arts esp. photog right now; mushrooms; california native plants and ecologies (Kat Anderson's Tending The Wild will blow the mind of anyone with an interest along these lines, as will Charles McCann's 1491 and 1493); carnivorous plants (bonus mom is president of Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Society, if you're around they are very active so check them out!); succulent and caudiciform plants (said mom just gave me a Dortenia gigas which is happily doing quite well); yoga; meditation and spiritual development (lived in a tibetan buddhist meditation center for a couple of years, v. interesting); how the various med-hi strange experiences exhibit deep structural similarities and what do these similarities point to in terms of underlying structures and question for further research (George Hanson's work in this area is outstanding); magick and it's potential for making possible reproducible med-high strange experiences (tickles me pink that the road to 'scientific reproducibility' in the psi arena may well lie thru magick, that most radioactive of human activities re: the materialist worldview. I find Jeffrey Mishlove's book on Ted Owens, The PK Man, very pertinent here); style as opposed to fashion (Angie Cox of You Look Fab is the Queen for good reason); minimalist wardrobing for maximum style impact; slow sewing (blog at The Dashing Eccentric); stenciling and surface design (check out Alabama Chanin's resource section, search for Marcy and Katherine Tilton); strategies for finding and developing one's personal style.

    and run on sentences.

    oh, and i've been apprenticing with my dad to do windows computer tech support for home and small businesses. Dad's a retired network administrator, i have experience in computer customer support and warranty sales, so it's a good mix - the brains and the communicator :)

    How encouraging to see these varied and interesting responses to your post, Mr. Reynolds. Off to prepare for tomorrow's doings, everyone have a wonderful feast day!!!! steph

    By Blogger tinyjunco, at Wednesday, November 27, 2013  

  • Thanks Steph...

    I hope you and Susan, two bird enthusiasts, are having ham instead of Turkey tomorrow [11/28].

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, November 27, 2013  

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