Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Past Few Years in Review

I just saw the new David Cronenberg film, A Dangerous Method on the 29th, and it was fortuitous as I had been re-reading Jung’s "Synchronicity" as well as Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious after a good many years of not visiting his work. I’d highly recommend A Dangerous Method, a fascinating character study about Jung, his relationship with Freud and the growing divide that develops between them, Jung’s affair with Sabrina Spielrein and the negative influence of Otto Gross.

It has become fairly obvious to me that I have to contend with C.G. Jung’s work in order to continue writing for the Lexicon Blog, and I am well aware there’s a broad enough swath of the public (that reads this Blog) that might be aware of Jung’s work, yet many X-Files fans might not be aware of Jung, and so we will have to spend time exploring his key theories in 2012.

I’m a big believer that life is about cycles, about growth changes that develop organically, and for those reasons I have stayed clear of allowing outside schools of thinking to influence the gut reactions that have driven many of the subjects within the blog for the last few years, but I have aspired to form my own insights, and not just regurgitate the insights of others. But you also need tools to develop and refine those insights. In the past, Joseph Campbell’s work has influenced my basic understanding of myths and hero archetypes, but one can also become shackled to such models when they no longer fill nor satisfy deeper questions. Therefore, it’s a time for reflection, research, and more personal meditation on what subjects to look into next year.

It occurred to me that some of my arguments over the past few years could be misconstrued to mean I am a ‘knee-jerk skeptic,’ in the view of some believers of the paranormal or esoteric fields of study. What has driven the tone of a certain number of topics had less to do with narrow skepticism, and more a concern with how such fields of study are depicted, and how those depictions can undermine legitimate areas of interest.

It has been apparent to me for a long time that while the skeptic community is a cottage industry (and as such an industry, they accuse the believer community of the same thing), proponents of the paranormal is also a cottage industry in its own right. In fairness, financial disclosure within various skeptical organizations has not been forthcoming, and yet as evidenced by this source, this , and this, such skeptical organizations will offer huge financial rewards to debunk psychics. So, the question remains; where do the source of their financial contributions come from? Individual donors? corporate donors? or black operations as some have surmised? This will be explored further.

The very problem with either skeptic / believer movements as cottage industries are the following: Both sides are so preoccupied with swaying public opinion that the truth--the Veritas--of any given subject, becomes the first casualty of these ideological divides.

I must have sensed the dilemma of these issues beginning in late January of 2009 with the following ‘skeptical’ piece. I still must maintain that while Richard C. Hoagland’s theories are fascinating, he also can undermine his arguments with shoddy scientific evidence, and he can be guilty of being inconsistent. While I can’t completely discount his hypotheses with various subjects, I also take a percentage of it with a grain of salt. There was a growing concern over taking UFO photos at face value when their legitimacy should have been questioned.

I followed that piece in February 2010 with a pair of fabrications to further expand through illustration on digitized depictions of UFO documentations.

In December 2010, I explored documented depictions within Cryptozoology from the past, their relationship to our deep-seated interest in pre-historic creatures, and contemporary video documentation of Cryptos.

My analysis of Steven Spielberg’s A.I. – Artificial Intelligence was used as a template for a new kind of deconstructionist / reconstructionist approach to depictions of unexplained events, from October and November of 2010. I plan to write more reconstructing articles about Urban Legends, as well as photographic and video depictions of spirit / poltergeist sightings this year.

Then there was an hypothesis put forth about H.P. Lovecraft this past February.

But these concerns have not been monochromatic, as I emphasized within these entries from December 2009 and August 2011, and furthered tackled Nostradamus and his Lost Book of symbols in late December 2009 and Early January 2010, as well as Ophiuchus, how they cycle, and in what way symbols could be interpreted.

Then there was the more contentious thread about James Randi from this October 2011. I feel it would be remiss for me not to clarify a point from that topic that wasn’t emphasized clearly enough. The Florida Federal authorities were investigating Jose Alvarez. James Randi at the time of the writing, wasn’t listed as a ‘person of interest’, nor were there any impending investigations on Randi’s personal conduct; therefore the weakness of Tim Bolan’s argument was that it consisted of inferences based on heresy, with insufficient corroborating evidence.

I’d like to close with some clarifications about my preoccupation concerning perception and the Paranormal, and hope to illustrate why this has remained such a central concern of mine for so long. One of my favorite rock documentaries of the past year was Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living In The Material World.

George made an observation about Catholicism and the notion of trusting a religious figure who argues to believe in God because they are told to. How can you believe in something intangible if you can’t perceive it? This was further expanded in an interview from 1982, conducted by Mukunda Goswami:

George: The word Hare is the word that calls upon the energy that's around the Lord. If you say the mantra enough, you build up an identification with God. God's all happiness, all bliss, and by chanting His names, we connect with Him. So, it's really a process of actually having a realization of God, which all becomes clear with the expanded state of consciousness that develops when you chant. Like I said in the introduction I wrote for Prabhupada's Krsna book some years ago, "If there's a God, I want to see Him. It's pointless to believe in something without proof, and Krishna consciousness and meditation are methods where you can actually obtain God perception."

Mukunda: Is it an instantaneous process, or gradual?

George: You don't get it in five minutes. It's something that takes time, but it works because it's a direct process of attaining God and will help us to have pure consciousness and good perception that is above the normal, everyday state of consciousness.

I feel that this argument about perceiving God in order to believe in God also applies to what is deemed “The Paranormal." simply believing in something because someone tells you isn’t enough, however much of an authority that person may be. To some degree, one’s beliefs are formed based on their point of reference in relationship to the rest of world, and their reality.

Therefore, I would have to come clean and admit to being a ‘borderline agnostic’ -– I don’t know what is true within the field of paranormal research, but my belief might be altered if I can perceive in something intangible.

Perhaps the point of Jung’s Synchronicity is to offer us a tool, a way to refine that perception of the intangible. Christopher Knowles commented that a tremendous amount of rigor must be applied to Synchronicity, to get past simple coincidences and happenstance, to discount minor occurrences to see the bigger picture.

Above all else, one should always seek the VERITAS of any field, and there should always be a kind of intellectual rigor, not so much to just reject a hypothesis and to not just accept something at face value, but to find a balance between skepticism and belief.

Very often intangibles might be more complex and stranger than the memes used to define them.