|The book, to which I have just referred you, was written by George Hansen, who happens to have been a de facto member of the Aquarium nearly since its inception. George's connection with the Aquarium stems from his interest in the 'Aviary', some of whose members he discusses under the topic of 'government disinformation.' Thoughtfully, George does not directly mention Ron who was a full-fledged bird person, and who garnered some considerable interest on George's part.
Can we then explain the Aquarium phenomenon or the Ron & Dan show as just another species of disinformation? Perhaps, but of all the possible forms that disinformation might take, the Aquarium would have to be one of the most peculiar and potentially the most sensitive.
For what it's worth, here is my own speculation about the Aquarium phenomenon.
Suppose you were God and wanted to stage a postmodern prophetic event. How might it differ from previous such alleged events? The main novel concern would be dealing with the mass media. If this event were to be world class, it would certainly have to come to the attention of the media, sooner rather than later. This makes things more than a bit tricky, and so we have the Trickster.
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Trickster (part 2)
So here we are. God with a message and the media looking for a story, as usual. One does not need much imagination to see how there might be a divergence of interest, depending on the nature of the message. For the sake of argument, let us assume that what you see on these pages bears some resemblance to the desired message.
If we wish to optimize the human participation in the eschatology then that participation must be voluntary and relatively spontaneous, and so the message itself must not be couched in a coercive context. Multiplying the fish with an audience of 5 thousand would not be qualitatively the same as with an audience of 5 billion, say. And still we have the problem of dealing with the powers-that-be. Looks like a job for the Trickster. Bring on Ron and the 'Visitors'.
Ron you already know. The visitors are known by that emblematic alien face that has managed to infiltrate the popular media, not to say, the mass psyche. More than a few people, even some who are well placed in various sects, fully expect the visitors to play a direct role in an imminent messianic event.
I would prefer for them a less direct role vis a vis the public, along the lines of minimalism. But I would suggest that they may have needed to be more assertive in their contact with key elements of the powers-that-be. To avoid a repetition of an event of the Herod type, they might have had to read the riot act to those key people, and it probably would have involved more than just reading. The most tangible evidence of such an intervention for public consumption would be something of the nature of the Ron & Dan show, were it ever to transcend that glass ceiling.
Just a speculation.
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The Messiah Contingency
World-wide expectations around the imminent emergence of a messiah of some sort may never have been greater than at present, and they are showing no signs of diminishing. The nascent clash between Muslim east and Christian west does nothing to mitigate those expectations.
It is not only the believers who are attentive to such emotions. Two related incidents were brought to my attention by Ron. First there was a large scale Christmas time AWOL incident within the ranks of the South Korean military precipitated by a local cult figure claiming ties to Jesus. I was told that a couple of plane loads of US advisors were hurriedly dispatched to the scene.
Later came the Falun Gong phenomenon in China. Ron has always expressed a concern for the emerging Chinese military threat to the US. It was no great surprise when he asked me to get in contact with the local Falun Gong chapter. I did so, but the results were desultory. With Ron's approval I sent a letter to the Chinese embassy, including his name and requesting a meeting with their Science attaché to discuss parapsychological issues. Again, no response.
Clearly there was a build up of spiritual expectation around the turn of the Millennium. And, by way of example, I inadvertently played a not insignificant role in the Hale-Bopp incident by circulating a piece of speculation concerning the visitors that was passed to me by a member of the Aviary. Another case of disinformation having unintended(?) consequences?
It was not too surprising that as we got closer to Y2K, and things appeared to actually be settling down that my ten year interlude with Ron was evidently placed on a back burner. I was mildly surprised then when he called me on 9/2/01 to say that something had come up and there was a pressing need to reactivate the Aquarium. Imagine my greater surprise and curiosity on 9/11. Needless to say, this curiosity remains unsatisfied.
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How to Save the World
A prophet is one thing and a messiah is another thing. We have considered how God might extend the prophetic tradition into our present postmodern context, hopefully without further destabilizing an already unstable situation.
Back in the 'good old days' prophets were a dime a dozen, it would seem. Modernity has, by definition, been prophetless, 'lo these many years. To now stage a prophetic event, even of the minimalist version outlined above, would, at the very least, bring postmodernism out of the academy and thrust it into the mainstream, along with the media attention that would necessarily be entailed. This could not help but rock every secular and sectarian boat. What message might God have for us that could possibly justify such world-shaking 'minimalism'?
It is no secret that the long-term survival of anything deserving the name of civilization has been very much in question for at least the last half-century. If at this critical juncture there is to be any divine intervention, it would surely have to address the question of survival that is on everyone's mind. When the question of survival gets raised to this metaphysical level, we are no longer talking mere 'survival', we are talking salvation. The bottom line is quite simple: forget the prophet, at this late date, nothing less than a messiah will suffice. It may be the minimalist version of the Messiah, but it will be a messiah nonetheless. For a Christian, this would have to be the Second Coming. After all this time and grief, we have a legitimate right to say, put up or shut up!
This is a rather tall order, but its all part of the one coherent cosmic story including the Alpha and Omega that is writ large and small on our world wherever we truly care to look.
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How to Save the World (part 2)
This time around it simply has to be all or nothing. Half measures are not called for, and will not suffice. Surely, our little Danny-boy is not up to pulling off this stunt, Trickster or no Trickster.
Yes, and no. God does have one final trick: the Spirit of the Truth. This is the personal Charism of a coherent cosmic truth. If it is anything at all, it is already written on everyone's soul. Just a quarter-century ago, almost to the day, I was given the privilege of feeling, almost touching, this Truth. I could not then grasp it with my nascently rational mind, but I knew that I would find it if I just followed my nose, persistently. There has been more than a little water under that bridge. I continue to wrestle with this eight-hundred pound gorilla. I know it is in here, even more than I know my own identity.
Daily on these pages and in my own mind I interrogate this Truth. I do my best to make an accurate transcription. I invite everyone to join in this transcribing, continually consulting our respective souls and consciences. The Whole will be much greater than its parts and greater than us. The Internet will be our witness. There will be no turning back.
Will this Truth be our salvation? If it is not, what else possibly could be?
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0.2e [5/29] And here we have Fred Alan Wolf, d.b.a Dr. Quantum, of What the Bleep do we Know, along with Jack and myself. To view this file, open a QuickTime player v. 6 or later, and insert [http://bestpossibleworld.com/fredgod2.mp4 this file was taken offline on10/21 due to its size] into the place where it asks for a URL. The mp4 file is 66 meg. It will stream only intermittently, because the download is longer than the 20 min. runtime. Jack has it compressed down to a 10 meg 3gp file, but that is supported only with QT v. 7, which is available only for the Mac. We'll try to do better next week. The film was taken on Thursday morning, 5/26, at Fred's home in the Pacific Heights section of San Francisco. Consider this the Blair Witch Project of eschatology. Parental guidance is suggested.
BPW -- Contents
(chronological up to 7/3/02)
0. The Best Possible World Page
* naturalism vs. supernaturalism
* possible worlds and their selection processes
1. The Nature of Mind
* the deconstruction of mind and reason
* the search for mental atoms
2. Taking Stock
* only two-and-a-half worldviews
3. A Turning Point?
* intellectual and spiritual void
* deus ex machina?
* emergent entities
* the only claim to existence of these immaterial forms lies in their perceptibility
* atomism vs. holism
* an immaterial realm that is of material consequence?
6. Beyond Naturalism?
* why not imagine an emergent intelligence beyond our own individual emergent selves?
* why the secular philosophers have already jumped through virtually every hoop in order to avoid even one actually emerging entity....
7. Post-Theology and-or Pre-Millennium
* if the intercosmic Genii is so smart why are we so stupid?
* But all is well that ends well.
* the power of creation is almost certain to emerge somewhere
* when it does there is a powerful bootstrap mechanism in place
* creation is likely to be the predominant source of all life
9. Something Wrong with this Picture?
* If the creative impulse is not to run amok there will be sources of restraint.
* [page to be omitted?]
10. So Bring on Chicken Little!
* the fragility of materialism
* about popping the balloon that is materialism
* and bringing down the Newtonian sky
11. Behind the Void
* A Newtonian reality still undergirds the entire apparatus of modernism.
* turning the world inside out and standing it on its head
12. How Many Buddhas?
* According to Leibniz, there can be but one void and one absolute.
13. How Many Worlds?
* Who needs a sub-optimal world?
14. Recap -- Metanarrative
* striving for plausibility, not proof at this point
* The Metanarrative is the only coherent alternative to materialism
15. Best World for Whom?
* best for everyone
* This world is the center of spiritual gravity.
16. Our Dramatic Cosmos
* a dramatic finale
* the teleology thereof
17. Only One Show?
* History goes around once.
* But it can reexperienced if necessary.
* We are all artifacts of the one, absolute experience.
18. Explaining Science
* The microcosmic alignment of the Metanarrative replaces Darwinism.
19. Explaining Science (part 2)
* distributed intelligence
* metabolic atomism
20. Dream Atom
* The 'atom' is merely a stand-in for a mathematical superstructure...
* e.g. the Monster group
* the teleology of atoms
* Nature is the veil of God.
* We would have to be weaned from the parental God.
* this alpha/omega bootstrap process
22. Concealment (part 2)
* We were so busy tracking dinosaurs and planets...
* the image of God planting dinosaur bones, like so many Easter eggs...
* The material Alpha of paleontology, and astronomy, embodied in the almost tangible Atom, will be amply reflected in the spiritual Omega that is our Eschaton.
* In the popular mind, eschatological doomsaying is the favored cliché for depicting fundamentalist irrationality and radicalism.
* Its allotted time is determined by the parameters of its teleological creation.
* 'Let's get this show on the road!'
* Is there anyone out there who would not agree that there has never been a more auspicious time for the Millennium?
* The fact that the primary result of all our technology has been the wiring of our global brain may not be incidental in the larger scheme.
* In the best possible world our demand for truth will subvert the materialist Juggernaught well before it pushes us further into tribulation.
* I would suggest that it could all come down to Google.
* Does anyone have a better plan?
* From an epistemic point of view, separation entails ignorance and concealment.
* This is the primary source of 'evil' in creation.
* It is the function of the pre-millennial messianic event to overcome these historical accidents and biases.
* I am looking to the Internet.
26. Millennium & Eschaton
* The concept of the Millennium has been integral to the prophetic tradition since its inception nearly thirty-five hundred years ago with Zoroaster.
* The notion of supernatural armies clashing in the heavens is replaced by the clash of paradigms.
* The potency of the Internet implies that the final messianic trigger could be the merest of 'butterfly' effects.
* Our sojourn into the limited dimensions of matter will be completed.
* Every engineer knows that a bridge needs two anchor points, and in our case they are the Alpha and the Omega.
* The Alpha Anchor is to be found in Angkor and in Giza.
* The actual time span of creation is framed in the stars.
* If we take teleology quite seriously, Jesus has not existed yet.
* The X-event was the death of God. This was the necessary self-sacrifice.
* The X-event is to the geodesics of of the Spirit, rather as Angkor, Giza, etc., are to the geodesics of the Earth.
29. Hanging by a Thread
* The idea of a coherent cosmos has simply fallen through the political and logistic cracks of academia.
* A dozen people knowing the truth and using the Internet can easily take this world away from the materialists.
30. Mere Words
* We do seem to posses an innate grammatical ability that is not reflected in any of the brute force procedures used to instruct machines in the use of language.
* What seems intrinsic to words is their ability to refer to other things.
* The fact is that there is nothing physical about referring.
* Any act of reference must transcend a purely causal nexus.
31. Straw Man
* The previously mentioned deconstructors of the mind will be our straw man until the warm bodies appear.
* Divine minimalism in history is exemplified in the prophetic tradition.
* In our case the Internet should minimize the problem of disseminating the message, and thus we have the concept of the mini-messiah.
* ... nothing other than the dictionary definition of salvation.
33. Saving the World
* You will notice that I am taking a recognizably Tom Sawyerish approach to this salvational fence painting.
* Publish or perish....
34. Hot Topic?
* If materialism is going to implode, this would be ground zero for that event.
35. The 'Competition'
* They are letting the materialists choose the battlefield, and set the terms of the engagement.
* Meanwhile, the theists are implicitly letting the pantheists continue their hegemony over immaterialism.
36. Never Mind?
* A very important lacuna among theists is the mind.
* Rationalism has almost never found fertile soil in either the east or the west.
37. Rational Theism
* Imagine the bloke who first figured that out.
* Would it not be much more difficult to prove that it is impossible for God to exist?
* What is to suppose that accessibility to universal mathematics is not a condition of existence?
38. The Ecology of Existence
* We cannot understand the meaning of one word without, potentially at least, understanding the meaning of every other word.
* The history of science is a steady progression in our appreciation of the complexity and interdependence of all existence.
* Given the apparent holographic, relational, bootstrapped nature of all existence, it would be incomprehensible that any part of creation or existence could be isolated from the creator....
39. The Level Playing Field
* Knowing God and having a buck seventy-five will get you a cup of coffee in Times Square.
* Any physicist will tell you that space is something awfully contrived.
40. An Idle Question?
* Why is there something rather than nothing?
* There must be a lower limit of some kind on what it means to be a world.
* If the principle of sufficient reason is possible, non-optimal worlds are impossible.
41. Is Mind Possible?
* All relations are ultimately subjective.
* Not only is mind possible, but it is the generator of all possibility.
* Is a kitten excluded from all contact with the Monster group?
* God can never be further from us than our own reason and feeling.
* The most mysterious thing about the world is its comprehensibility.
* The basis for existence is the process of relating.
* Where's the substance, if it is not in the matter? The substance is in the coherence.
* Coherence exists only in relation to a subjective pole.
* The atoms, while they are current, provide a centrifugal balance to the centripetal subject.
* In the eschaton, the centrifugal force is overcome.
* Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form
* The Kabbalah speaks of the Zim-zum
* 'seven thunders' that also play a central role in Joyce's Finnegan's Wake
* witnessed within history as the syzygy
* the stem cell of language
* this historical process is reversed and accelerated
44. The Relational Self
* Somehow the pantheists miss the nodal structure of the world.
* There is the even more fundamental dialectical dynamic
* As in the monadology, every node is a microcosmic hologram.
* The preordained harmony is the agape betwixt the Alpha and Omega
* Pantheism has served as a bit of a strawperson in these pages
* those pantheists are not real strong on rationalism, nor on the Metanarrative
* And remember there is no substance.
* The megalithic Angkor sailed right by them.
* If the modern materialist establishment needed a thorn in its side...
* [They] seem a bit impatient with my Metanarrative, bless their hearts.
* Without McCluhan how could they have known that the message was in the medium?
* If physics is unable to reduce itself...
* no one can point to any vital force
* but all the correlations in the world will not explain the existence of what is at least a very fortuitous dual aspect of matter.
* It is not for nothing that people are reluctant to rock the intellectual boat that is modernism.
* If numbers can exist then certainly relations can.
* Is the past real? If it is, it is only in relation to some actual present.
* If science is teaching us anything about the world it is the almost unlimited functional intricacy
* The isolated object, fact or word mean virtually nothing without regard to its relations.
* The degree of existence, however, is not something that can be directly observed.
* Physics works because it is so totally insinuated into our lives.
* And it is so insinuated just because it does its work. Is this circular?
* As long as astronomers are able to keep pushing the telescopic limits, they will not run into any cosmic or logical brick walls.
* In like manner, the PSR implies the BPW hypothesis as Gottfried was able to deduce several centuries ago.
* The poor reader may be getting a bit dizzy from going around in these circles.
* I am not writing a thesis.
* I am casting a loopy net into this vast ocean.
* Like those fair maidens of yore, I just keep on spinning.
* Down thru the ages, immaterialism and idealism have always been prevalent in philosophy and religion.
* The successes of science have managed to keep a heavy lid on idealist speculation
* We should wonder why the theists cannot find their way to the high road of idealism.
52. Immaterialism (pt. 2)
* For almost five years I struggled to find wholeness within a quantum dualism of mind and matter.
* Once one has opened the door to the possibility of mind on a cosmic scale, all the qualities are drained out of matter
* I realized that my leap from science to immaterialism was a luxury that my fellow scientists could ill-afford.
* Part of the rationale for irrationality is the scientific view that mind is an accident of nature
* Deep ecology, fundamentalism and postmodernism are the disparate responses.
* Historically, rationalism has been based in theism.
* In practice, however, the religious establishments have never been comfortable with the political possibility of free thought.
* along came science to provide a tremendous outlet for a sustained but restricted intellectual endeavor
* Now with the advent of the Internet, will the authorities find another stratagem to keep human reason in check?
54. [Some introductory pages came here chronologically. They are in the Topical Index.]