Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On the Dangerousness of the Zero/ Part 1

By Brian George

The dawn banners of the Asvins

“Yes! I will place the earth here, or perhaps there. Have I not drunk Soma?...I am huge, huge! flying to the cloud. Have I not drunk Soma? I am going—a well-stocked house, carrying the oblations to the gods. Have I not drunk Soma?”—From “The Soma Drinker Praises Himself,” The Rig Veda

In her essay “Crop Circles; An Invitation,” Amely Greeven describes and theorizes about her experience in Wiltshire, England, in the summer of 2009, where more than 70 complex crop circles appeared between April and the end of August—an average rate of one circle every two days. Among these was a 600-foot “Portuguese-man-of-war” jellyfish. To me, the scale and flawless complexity of these circles argued for their “other-than-human" creation, at least insofar as the word “human" is currently understood.

Occam’s Razor would reveal the simplest explanation; in this case, much evidence points to the very explanation that we are also the most reluctant to confront.

When the essay was posted on Reality Sandwich, I was amazed by the number of mechanical comments on the forum, and decided to play the role of “agent provocateur.”

Many “skeptical reductionists” dismissed the phenomenon of the circles out of hand; they argued, as is the custom with such thinkers, that the most wildly implausible of explanations was—of necessity—the most “scientific”; so long as one’s own habits were not called into doubt. True science should be subject to small tweaks, as well as open to the demands of a continuous revolution. Step by step, the laws of Nature can be modified, by word or paradigm-generating act, as they have been with each passing year. One universe is rolled off; another is rolled on. Slight-of-hand rules, and by far the great majority of our views are not formed by “objective” means. The “conventional wisdom” is a law unto itself; it yearns for the classical solidity of a world that never did exist.

Most often, these flat-earth proponents would explain that the mystery of crop circles had been long ago cleared up. Reasons ran the gamut from A to D, and then back again to A:

A) They had a friend who knew a guy who had met one of the circle makers.

B) It had been reported by the 5 large media conglomerates that this or that group of circle-makers had “confessed.”

C) The best reasoning by the biggest brains had been proven to be circular; nothing unreal can exist, and thus the phenomenon of the circles could not be other than a Hoax.

D) All of scientific theory from the time of the Renaissance would be wrong if such a thing as inter-dimensional artwork could exist.

Or variations on the above. For example, “InOurbrain” wrote, “The first crop circles appeared in 1966 and the creators of the circles eventually admitted crafting the hoax after recent tales of UFOs. Now that digital space/flight imaging is more affordable and graphing software is widespread, it’s amazing that these human and computer crafted pieces of art are thought of as anything more.”

In this comment, there is no trace of anything that might resemble a piece of evidence. Instead, the author imagines humans at their desks, chuckling to themselves as they perfect their ever more incomprehensible Pythagorean brain-teasers, and “wondering who will come up with the mythology to define them first.” To have launched such a 43 year transcontinental project, these Neo-Pagan technocrats would have to have been busy bees indeed.

Roger Scott, a passionate science teacher with often highly idiosyncratic views—and a thinker for whom I have a great deal of respect—argued that we have so far not accumulated enough “facts”, and that it was only a question of becoming more systematic in our approach. Science was not at all ill-equipped to interpret such a “mystery’; instead Science had not yet deployed the full arsenal of its methods. I could grant his point, and yet still ask, “Why?” With a phenomenon of such complexity and duration, one has to wonder what mainstream Science has been waiting for.

Based perhaps on her experience as a teacher of Vedanta, Amely argued for what I would call a “methodology of wonder.” This is the orientation to which Keats referred as a state of “negative capability”; the capacity to wait—to actively do nothing—and by waiting to remain open to many contradictory views.

She writes, “Try too hard to decode, translate, and semiotically read the symbols and you risk losing the essence of what they're about. A child, frankly, can understand the symbolism of the crop circles, because they trigger an instant experience. For example, looking at a perfect geometrical image, which is what many of the formations are, will deliver an instant understanding of something profound. At some universal level of reality, even if it's far below your chaotic reality, you know that everything is balanced and in the right order. You don't have to understand ‘how’ geometry works. You don't have to know the significance of twelve arms of the mandala versus ten. Like hearing notes in a tuneful chord, you immediately experience the harmony as a felt experience inside yourself when you see it depicted visually.”

There were few significant differences between Amely’s views and my own, and yet I decided that a more confrontational attitude was in order. The resulting tone of voice was one that my wife described as “mean,” as well as “self-important.” Perhaps, but that is neither here nor there; for this was a voice that I recognized as one belonging to my “Double.” It taunts me also, and probes the Body/Mind for flaws. As harsh as it is generous, it provokes me to confront the full extent of the unknown—from which I have come. It mocks my ignorance of the preexistent records, of the bad faith of the gods, of the Archimedean Point from which the circles are projected; it challenges me to adapt to the technology of the vacuum.

In many of my forum comments, I had put on the mask of a 432,000 year-old Trickster; who, although his native language was “Paradox,” was also fluent in the grammar of these geometric glyphs—a sub-dialect, say some, of the Music of the Spheres.

The circles spoke clearly; it was we who had refused to listen or respond. We would far prefer to be tortured on the Procrustean bed of the Psyche. It was easier to ignore any and all such ultimatums from the beyond. Quite oddly, I did believe that we knew exactly what we were looking at; we simply chose to pretend that we did not.

The mystery of the crop circles is not a problem to be solved; it is a boundary between the existent and the non-existent orders; a test that we must pass.

At the table of the Transparent Ones a chair is waiting for us to sit in it. Again, the archaic smile will return. The Great Year tunes its instruments. Again, we have been invited to join hands with the 12. We may go here or go there, and subject ourselves to any method of dismemberment; yet in each case, we are here—at the intersection of Hyperspace. From time out of mind, laws have dictated that we should see the world from only one direction. We must dare to remove to two hands from the clock. To see the world at once from all of 360 degrees would be to overthrow the atomic guardians of Duality.

(Illustration: Brian George, Head with lightning sphere, 2004)

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