Aliens in the Bible, and Let’s Just Keep Making it Weirder I Guess

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Once again there has lapsed a significant amount of time between my last submission and this current one, but please understand that this takes a great deal of study that is carved out of the minimal amount of time left in my day-to-day life after work, family, etc.  I am blessed by my commitments to such a wide variety of pleasantries, but I am also exhausted by them.  My hope is that you will enjoy my musings and take advantage of the times in between them to ponder them to their fullest extent.  I am also always open to questions and discussions, to please do not hesitate to inquire!

Moving forward, this entry is slated to focus on something I have not yet covered but which interests me deeply, as is usual.  Though it may ultimately first strike you as the reflections of a somewhat eccentric person, I implore you to at least give my presentation a listen before reaching your ultimate conclusions.  I argue this time that not only do aliens exist (yes, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, you can have this one), but that they interact with us currently, AND that this doesn’t not interfere with the belief in a creative force and His personal relationship with us.

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Yes, aliens exist, in a myriad of different forms, and we are anything but alone in the universe.  Is this an unsettling thought?  It probably should be.  Arthur C. Clarke penned it most aptly when he stated regarding our circumstances that “two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not.  Both are equally terrifying.”  Think about it for a good few minutes and answer me honestly: which of these possibilities is more troubling to you?  As a species we are prepared for neither, so if nothing else the next question should be what is most likely, followed by how should we prepare accordingly?

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Let us consider the Milky Way and it’s buffet of billions of planets that offer the possibility of supporting life as we know it.  Every year we discover that more and more nearby planets occupy that habitable zone of their stars and present the real potential of supporting earth-like life.  The newest is one that is only four light years away, orbiting the smallest of the Alpha Centauri system, Proxima Centauri.  The hope is that this newly discovered system will present us with dramatic new discoveries and wonderful insights into our galaxy, but the odds are that we will not learn much that we did not already know.  Even if we determine that a planet in a nearby galaxy can support us, what then?  We are in no position to present ourselves as cosmic allies in terms of technological capabilities.  We find ourselves faced once again with a problem we must honestly approach and consider.

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There is a fascinating prospect known as the Fermi Paradox that proposes a nearly infinite number of civilizations should have, by now, already had the opportunity to develop into a civilization that could communicate with ours, and yet as far as we know, they haven’t.  I will explore some of the very real reasons why other civilizations might just not bother with us at this point later on, but just be prepared for the fact that we may just not be that important in the grand scheme of things overall.

Aliens in the Bible?

First I would like to address things from a Biblical perspective and answer some questions that I myself have investigated about this subject.  Most of you familiar with the Bible would be hard-pressed to cite a scripture that references the existence of alien beings or crafts, but it really doesn’t take too much digging to find anomalous passages that seem to allude to something otherworldly.  One must only consider the fact that many translations we currently use were analyzed and deciphered in an era well before the advent of any of our current technology, and they were simply interpreted through the understandings of the time.  When reexamined through the lens of our current understanding, however, things can, and do, take a much different shape.

Erich Von Daniken, a respected researcher and author in several fields of fringe science, elucidates on several topics that suggest the presence of alien influence at different times in history in this video (forewarning, it is a long video but well worth the watch).  The portion of note is that in reference to the Biblical book of Ezekiel, in which the namesake prophet expounds on some fantastic “visions” he has experienced, which seem to depict interactions with angelic beings and with God Himself.  Upon closer examination of the original intentions of the writings before translation, however, a much different story is presented.  I urge you to view the video I have linked above to receive the full picture, as Mr. Von Daniken paints a very clear and logical picture of how Ezekiel’s interactions were, in fact, with alien visitors with advanced technological craft, not divine beings.  It is important to note, however, that none of what is presented contradicts the existence of God or any of the other tenants put forth in the Bible, it only demonstrates that there is evidence of an extraterrestrial interaction recorded in the Holy Scriptures, preserved for generations until a time would come that we could fully understand its meaning and implication.

This brings me to an important point that I do not wish to gloss over; many skeptics of religious faith will question why, if beings not of this earth do exist, were we not informed about them in the Bible?  There are two sensible answers here, both of which I believe are valid.  One is that we do indeed have evidence of such beings in texts such as Ezekiel, as well as more in other apocryphal books like the book of Enoch, also referenced in the video above.  We were simply not intended to have fully comprehended the impact of the details presented in these texts until the appropriate time.  This leads me to number two: considering that the Bible is the Living Word of God given through men, it would make perfect sense that God would not burden us with the knowledge of life outside our own planet until we are ready.  We certainly weren’t ready many centuries ago, and many of us are still unprepared to accept such a revelation now.  God knew that we had more than enough to focus on here on Earth, developing ourselves and our relationship with Him, before we would be ready to look out to the stars for new discoveries.  Considering the state of current technology and the new developments and discoveries we are making every day, it would seem that perhaps we are now nearing that point of being ready for the next major revelation; we are not God’s sole creation, and we have so, so much left to learn.

The Limits of Civilization

Are we really ready, though?  I referenced earlier that we, as we are now, are not prepared to enter the galactic playing field, and here is a small demonstration of why.  Based on a theoretical analysis of the development of planetary civilizations developed in 1964 by the Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku has proposed that the next 100 years will be what determines our ultimate fate in the universe.  The Kardashev Scale of rankings 0 through 5 postulates that over the course of many millennia, intelligent life can and hopefully will progress through a measurable scale of development.  You can read the details of the full scale at the site I have linked, but the gist of what you need to know is that we are currently a type ZERO civilization, and are at best within 100-200 years of reaching the next level.  This means that we have yet to master our own planet, yet alone fully harness the energy of our nearby star, the Sun.  Reaching type one would be a tremendous breakthrough for the human race, because it would mean overcoming the petty issues we focus so keenly on these days, and extending our perspective to what will truly be necessary for the survival of the human race.  Only once we achieve this will we have the potential for even greater things, including exploring the universe in ways only dreamed of in science fiction as of yet.

As we currently stand, though, there is a conceivable reason why we feel so isolated and alone in the universe.  Considering the endless wealth of potentially habitable heavenly bodies that we have previously discussed, the odds for the development of a type zero civilization, the state we currently occupy, are exceedingly high, and we are a rather unremarkable commodity.  If there were other higher level civilizations out there with the capability of communicating with us, the odds are significant that they would not bother, save for mere observation, in the same way that we might observe an ant hill.  From the outsider’s perspective, the odds are likely that we will destroy ourselves before ever making that all-important leap to type one, so we do not rank very profoundly as a priority.  As highly as we might think of ourselves, this is the reality of where we stand in the universe, and it should be significantly humbling.  God can certainly still love us, but in this scenario He is holding out hope that we will utilize our free will to eventually correct our ways and join the rest of His creation.

Other Issues

I am well aware than some reading this may not even be willing to accept most of what I’ve presented, arguing instead that perhaps alien visitations and other phenomena are merely manifestations of demonic influence.  I do not dismiss this, and in some cases, I can see the parallels and connections drawn to reach this conclusion.  The main concern is that we might be dismissing something very real under a false pretense, so further scrutiny is prudent.  Some others may suggest that unidentified aircraft are simply evidence of the government developing secret technologies.  While the latter suggestion is actually highly reasonable, and even likely in some cases, it does not account for all of the strangeness experienced by normal people of entirely sound mind and rational judgement.  Some simple, unbiased research on the internet or in your local library can yield some startling information that contradicts any and all of the common dismissals for such misunderstood phenomena.  Once again, I apologetically implore you to watch more lengthy documentary footage that can relate such information better than I in this format.  One such resource is the records of Dr Roger Leir M.D., who over the course of his career removed numerous anomalous implants that had absolutely zero scientific explanation.  I of course concede that information like this is still not definitive proof (otherwise articles like this would not really be necessary), but it is cause to pause and consider that it is possible, nay, probable, that WE DO NOT YET UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.

Conclusion

I know I cannot prove to you that aliens exist and/or that we are not alone in the universe.  As always I just hope that you will receive the information I have presented, digest it with an open mind, and maybe be willing to accept that this is not yet an open and shut case.  As humans, we are SO restricted by our opinions, our assumptions, our biases, that the odds of us really being able to preserve the human race beyond our myriad conflicts are infinitesimally small.  I only hope that we can keep remembering the words of Carl Sagan in our minds: “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”  Let us not waste the precious small bit of space we have been gifted.

One More Go Around?

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I have approached several topics so far over the past couple years, but one fascinating concept that I have yet to explore, until today, is reincarnation.  More than most, this is a topic of some contention within the realm of Christian ideology, as at first glance, there appears to be notable conflict between what the Bible states about the limitations of our existence, and the reality of certain documented occurrences in recent history.  To establish a baseline, let’s first review the general bases of opposition that Biblical canon presents.

The most direct opposition to the idea of reincarnation can be found in Hebrews 9:27, where it is stated that it is appointed to man only once to die, and then to be judged.  A soul is considered a unique creation, given unto a singular existence in the mortal realm, where the actions and path of said soul determine its final judgment and ultimate residence in the beyond.  Based on this, most theists of the Christian faith have resolved that reincarnation simply isn’t permissible if the Bible is to be taken literally.  In studying and contemplating reincarnation, I have approached the idea from this perspective first, simply to establish the parameters and identify the baseline of allowances and restrictions according to Biblical text.  I will elaborate on this in the next section.

Let us consider an example of a single soul.  For a more familiar reference, I often imagine the ideas and visualizations put forth in the beautiful and thought-provoking movie, “What Dreams May Come” (Robin Williams is one of my favorite actors, RIP).

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In the afterlife as imagined in this cinematic masterpiece, a person, or soul as it were, is permitted, if they so desire, to return to earth in a new body, to live a new life after their most recent death.  We can assume from watching the film that this is only possible for those who end up on the heavenly side of eternity.  If were a choice available in hell, I’m sure it would be a pretty empty place, wouldn’t you?  While this option may seem like an adventurous and romantic proposal, one must also stop to consider the risks.  Is there a guarantee that just because you apparently met the criteria for heaven the first time, that your soul will inevitably repeat the process in a way that brings you back to paradise in the end next time?  We are all human and subject to our fallible nature, so what is there to stop your next life from not turning out so well and, in your innate weakness, you follow a path that leads to the more unpleasant and permanent destination?  Not only does this present an immense dilemma in your decision-making process regarding returning to mortality, but it also flatly negates the rules clearly established in the Bible.  Lastly, this perspective assumes we would retain fleshly ambitions and motives in the hereafter, as shown in the movie, where we should instead, according to scripture, be experiencing paradise beyond imagination, and have no iota of desire to return from whence we came.  Overall, this certainly does reinforce the divide currently established between the two ideologies.  A great deal more information can be found on this contradictory nature here.

A strange question then arises: did my soul not exist in any form before my physical birth?  Was I at any point a queued-up pupae of a soul, existing yet still awaiting a fleshly home, or did I blink into existence at the moment of conception?  Perhaps the “man” that has only “once to die” is simply the meat casing that holds an infinitely more complex entity bound by entirely different rules.  Might it be that the specific man, or woman, or child, currently encasing a soul, does indeed have but once to die and be judged for its actions during its existence, but the soul within is a much more fluid conglomerate of its incarnations, that is judged over a vast spectrum of its dips into mortality?  If nothing else, the possibility should be considered.

There is talk that early versions of Christians texts, as well as texts not recognized as official canon, do acknowledge reincarnation as a part of the faith.  I am in the process of reading such texts here, and may very well write another article on these matters in time.  For now, let us examine some current examples of evidence of reincarnation, as purported by documented happenings in recent years.

There are numerous cases, predominantly involving children, where a person recalls accurate memories of a life prior to their current corporeal form.  There is a slight chance of some of these being explained by overactive imaginations, or by the child overhearing something and concocting an elaborate story around it, but the odds are slim to none that all of these stories are mere fabrications.  One of the most famous examples is the tale of Shanti Devi, an Indian child in 1930s Delhi, who retained an astonishing amount of information from her claimed previous life.  Not only was she able to identify the location of her residence in her previous life, she also correctly identified critical individuals from her hometown in this location, such as her neighbors, husband, and even her son.  She did this despite the attempts by those observing to fool her into incorrectly identifying people and places, hoping to disprove her claims.  In the end, her knowledge was completely accurate and beyond question, even delving into personal and sensitive matters of the townsfolk, with details that had been shared only in quiet gossip during Shanti’s previous existence.  This seems to prove the reality of reincarnation, does it not?  Here is an article with more detail on Shanti’s case, and her story is readily found via basic Google search.

Does this mean, then, that we should just close up shop and stop questioning the inclusion of reincarnation into standard everyday dogma?  Not quite yet, I’m afraid.  While all of this is truly fascinating and worthy of investigation, as a modern-day Christian I am not yet resigned to either committing reincarnation to or shunning it from the realm of possibility.  Indulge me, if you will, an alternate viewpoint on the subject, as I feel this is a sensible perspective that you are likely to hear from other believers when approached with this topic.

I have previously discussed the topic of familiar spirits and demonic possession.  Well, unfortunately most, if not all of these occurrences are likely to fall squarely into this realm.  As stated, familiar spirits are demonic presences that may have resided with a person or family for years or even generations, and are thoroughly familiar with every detail of the person’s life and their interactions with others.  Does this not sound like the ideal candidate for something attempting to create the illusion of an earthly continuation of the soul?  Consider this perspective: the familiar spirit, or demon, has a straightforward purpose: to create disquiet and to deceive.  Many can perpetuate their ruse for years upon years in order to enact a specific purpose, that may not even seem “evil” at first glance, but we must be careful to analyze the end goal.  You may be asking, “what harm have these individuals like Shanti Devi caused with their stories?”  Well, by acknowledging these seemingly innocuous cases of children recalling past lives, we are giving credence to the possibility that the Bible and the rules it has set forth regarding existence are faulty and can be circumvented.  While I am fascinated by these cases and I will not entirely shut out the possibility that something we do not yet understanding is occurring, my first instinct is to pause, and ponder what ulterior motives might be at work.  As a Christian, that should be the first bar by which things are measured.

This has been a difficult topic for me to write about, as typically I prefer to leave things a little more open-ended when I reach my conclusions.  This is because I understand the importance of remaining open-minded and studying things for yourself instead of just blindly taking someone’s word on it.  I suppose in the end this simply must apply to my words as well.  I may have reached the perspective in my studies where I feel reincarnation is not a likely possibility, based upon what I have discovered and what I believe.  You, however, may have additional thoughts, ideas, and perspectives that lead you down another path, and I would love for you to share those things with me.  Let me know how the internal struggle with these timeless questions has effected you, and maybe we can help each other to understand things in ways we never dreamed possible!

Thank you for reading, and as always, keep on smashing! 🙂

Strange Realms and Where to Find Them

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Up front note: I was not aware that moving into a house is a task that can require literally all of your spare time, and not just for a few weeks.  I’m talking months of adjustment, especially when you throw the holiday season into the mix.  I apologize for being away for so long, but in the interlude I have acquired a fantastic new desktop PC setup, and I am ready to begin diving back into the realms of the esoteric once again.  Speaking of which…

Having just returned from the theater from a viewing the recent Doctor Strange movie (yes I am lagging behind a bit on current movies, as in many things), I found myself mesmerized and intrigued by many factors of this movie.  Aside from the jaw-dropping visuals, of which there are plenty, there is a theme mentioned in this article of Christian Today analyzing the juxtaposition between the concreteness of science and the realm of faith in things beyond those that can be proven by current science.  This tends to be where my curiosities fall most of the time in general, as a Christian who believes we just don’t understand many things as of yet.  I hope to use this as a branching point for my perspectives, which I will elaborate on below.

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Neither science nor religion has all the answers to every question we face in this modern age.  Certainly many Christians will follow the ideal that the Bible has all the necessary guidelines for how to conduct ourselves regardless of era, and to an extent I agree that this is true.  Treat others the way you want to be treated, honor the commandments, love your neighbor; these are basic tenants that we can all agree upon and follow in a just society.  There are some things that are not covered in the Bible or any other religious text, however, and yet they are questions that we face today with much uncertainty.  I often jest, partly as an example, that there are no WiFi passwords in the Bible or other sacred texts, are there?  Any descriptions of x-rays, modern energy production, or propulsion methods?  That doesn’t mean that these things are witchcraft or of the devil, though, as they may have been deemed in the not-so-distant past.  We are just in the process of understanding how our amazing universe works, and we have so much left to learn.  Just because we don’t understand something now, doesn’t mean it has to be relegated to the realm of the supernatural or occult.  We are currently capable of so little in comparison to our potential, and it simply takes time, very much time, to fathom achieving the extent of that potential.

Let us consider the concept of astral projection.  Many religious viewpoints would consider this either a product of some alternative religious philosophy, or a dangerous practice that can leave a person open to invasion by malevolent influence if not understood.  The first point is one of debate, as there are several non-religious philosophies that accept the practice of astral projection as a normal part of existence.  Religion, including Christianity, tends to see this practice as something not of God, and is therefore risky and undesirable, as you may be opening yourself up to attack from dark forces.  Once again, I’m somewhere in between these viewpoints.

The first consideration is the idea of the soul existing outside of the body without death being involved.  Haven’t there been numerous examples of this in all sorts of literature and even scientific studies?  The Bible cites many examples of the soul continuing on after death, and even instances of individuals being brought back from the dead with their same soul (Lazarus) days after expiring.  In fact, the general underlying premise is that our souls will continue on after death in order to experience our earned place, whatever that may be.  In science, myriad instances of near-death experiences (NDEs) have been recorded, after which many of the patients possess knowledge they could not possibly have without having traveled beyond their physical body during the NDE.  Examples include numerous instances of patients being able to recite things that were spoken around them when they were considered brain-dead, having knowledge of items in strange places that they had never physically been (a patient correctly identified that there was a pink shoe on the roof the hospital where they were being treated, which was locked and inaccessible), and many similar stories.  There are event the scientific studies conducted in the early 1900s that concluded the weight of dying patients consistently decreased by 3/4 of an ounce upon the moment of death; the weight of the soul.  Something of substance evacuated those bodies and continued existence in some other form.

Is it therefore, then, so extreme to consider the possibility that we might have the capacity to push beyond our corporeal selves in some state aside from the brink of death?  Dreams are an excellent example here, and one that you may know I hold in high regard.  I know I have personally obtained astral projection, albeit unintentionally at first, through my usually heightened state of dreaming.  While I do permit that it is a realm where caution is prudent for the inexperienced, it does not strike me as something to be forbidden or condemned.  My instinct tells me that existence beyond our physical shell is merely the next level of consciousness yet to be understood, and that before long it will no longer be quite so empty of a place, sojourned by many more who will come to understand.

Returning to the analysis of the movie, however, I found that the visualizations of the astral world and its manipulations to be as accurate as I could imagine them in reality, and they mirror the fractal distortions of my lucid dream experiences in an all too familiar manner.  As an example, in a dream I had only two nights ago, I found myself fully lucid, and enthralled with testing the capabilities of my powers.  With basic gestures of my hands, I willed two massive buildings to trade positions, then a tree to grow forcefully upward hundreds of feet, then lastly I simply took flight, and traveled swiftly of the landscape of that current world.  All of these actions were nearly effortless and entirely exhilarating, and they felt akin to what those practicing the same things as Dr. Strange might experience.  This may be a bit of a reach, but as someone who has successfully lucid dreamed more frequently and vividly over the years, I feel like I am progressing towards something that I cannot yet quantify or explain, and it’s almost as if this movie offered me a glimpse of what could be possible with dedication.

All of this may sound silly, and I wouldn’t necessarily fault you for opposing my perspectives, but the point of this blog is taking commonly held opinions, religious or secular, and challenging them based on legitimate possibilities.  I welcome everyone’s input, regardless of how my viewpoints may or may not jive with your current outlook.  My central focus is the admission that no matter what belief system you hold, there is still a literal abyss of unexplored information yet to be understood about our own existence, and dozens of unknown frameworks as to how we fit in with the rest of the universe.  It is foolhardy and even arrogant of us to assume understanding of any significant portion of creation at this point, or at any point in the foreseeable future.

I hope that you will return as I continue to delve into more topics of fringe science, religion, the paranormal, and much more.  As my tagline says, keep smashing ideas together to see what might be possible!

Muddy Expectations

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It’s great to have a few talents to be able to show off and earn the admiration and respect of others from time to time.  Do you know what else is great, though?  Guarding some unexpected talents that might only be best employed in an emergency, or when true necessity arises.  I work on a computer all day doing programming and such, and so naturally family and friends would ask me all the time for help with their computers and such.  Except for those who know me well and those I’ve allowed into the, well… trust Continue reading

Deviations from Standard

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I apologize for the longer than normal gap between posts, but life has been incredibly busy lately.  My wife and I are looking to purchase our first home (yay!) but the hunt is intimidating and arduous.  I’ll do my best to keep posting new content as often as possible during this frenzied time, but please forgive any short lapses!

Anyway, this week I am going to cover a couple related topics that fascinate me to no end.  While they may exist under a variety of pseudonyms, the more widespread and general awareness of the concept can be traced back to this memorable scene of the first iconic Matrix film:

Glitches in the matrix

Happenings that just don’t fit with the standard expectations of reality, and may involve changes or quirks in the world around you that only you notice.  Often times it can be something simple that might be dismissed as coincidence, such as sightings of unrelated individuals dressed exactly alike (several examples appear in this fun list).  Many others are much more personal and profound, though.  This blogger compiles several experiences shared by reddit users in the Glitch community, which is an excellent source for exploring current tales of unsettling alterations in reality.  Here is one such tale that is both amusing and unsettling, shared by reddit user /u/-SheltieMom:

“So I never knew that there was a name for this or indeed that lots of people had experienced odd things. Stoked to have found a Reddit dedicated to this sort of thing.
We moved in to our house in October and the first morning we woke up there, I got up early and made waffles. He had one, I had one, he had his second and I had made my second one and left it to cool for literally 20 seconds while I answered the phone. When I turned around, my plate was there, but my waffle was gone. Vanished. My first thought was that my partner had taken it but he swears he didn’t and I’ve never known him to eat things that weren’t his, or to eat three waffles for that matter. And I don’t think he could have eaten it in the time allowed either. Our dogs were at my parents’ because of the move, so counter surfing was not an answer either. In time I stopped wondering and it just became a joke to ask, “but what happened to the waffle?”
A couple of weeks ago, my partner got up first, made coffee, brought me a cup and we were enjoying a lazy morning. Over an hour later, I wandered off to the kitchen to make eggs and there, on the counter, was a hot waffle.
I feel it prudent to mention now that I am the classic skeptic. My partner is the classic believer. We call each other Mulder and Scully in jest. This is precisely the kind of long con joke he’d play, in the interest of proving that there’s something I’ll believe, even for just a moment, so instead of freaking immediately, my reaction was to march into the bedroom, intending to throw the waffle at him and call him on his prank. Halfway down the hall it hit me: the waffle was still warm as if it had just come out of the maker. He hadn’t left my sight the entire time. There was no way that it would have still been warm. I turned around and looked for the waffle maker, and it was not only under other small appliances, it was cold. It’s ancient and always takes ages to cool off and it was clear it hadn’t made anything that morning. There was no way to make the waffle and no one to make it. How did it get there?
I can’t think of any rational explanation for this.”

Another story by /u/thehotdogmaker highlights yet another dubious topic of discussion which I plan to address in a future post, reincarnation:

So this happened some years ago when my youngest daughter was 3 years old. She was playing in the living room and my wife and I are watching TV. I notice that she is doing something that she is not supposed to so I tell her to stop ( can’t remember now what she was doing) Anyways, she says “Why?” and I give the usual parent response of, ” Because I am your dad and I said so.” She stops doing the thing and goes back to playing, then,a few minutes later she says, “You know you are not my real dad?” So I think she is being cheeky so I ask, “Oh yeah, then who is your real dad?” She looks confused for a sec then says, “I don’t remember his name, but he was my dad before I came here.” At this point I am interested so I get down on the floor. “Okay, before you were here you were in mommy’s tummy.” I say. She giggles and goes and snuggles into her mom. “No, it was before I was in mommy’s tummy, I was waiting to come here with the other people, but before that I lived in a house with my other mommy and daddy, and I had a sister also…but not sissy.” Here she is referring to my older daughter. At this point my wife joins in, she asks, “So where did your other family live?” My wife is looking at me with a confused look. My daughter says, ” We lived in a house in a city, then the fire came and I tried to get out but I couldn’t open the door so the smoke went in me and I went to sleep. That when I went to wait to come here.” She says this completely nonchalantly and goes back to playing. My wife and I just look at each other totally astonished. We tried to get her to say more but she said it was all she remembered. She has no memory of it now, but she has an intense fear fire and smoke. I will never forget that conversation.

We must ask ourselves what could be the reason for these bizarre occurrences that seem to defy the well-defined laws of physics, time, and other seemingly immutable constraints on reality.  One belief that has gained some following is that we are indeed already living inside a sophisticated computer simulation.  This belief resides in the postulation that any civilization, once advanced to a significant enough degree, will employ simulation technology in order to analyze the behaviors of sentient beings in different environments and situations, the purpose of which would be to identify the most beneficial courses of action for the controlling beings.  In other words, before attempting some drastic alteration in societal norms, for example, they might enact the intended changes on a set of virtual consciousnesses and observe the outcome in order to determine the efficacy of the proposed change.  For any of you who have played games in the Sims franchise, you would have a reasonable, albeit rudimentary, understanding of this concept.  The glitches we encounter, then, are explained by the assertion that we currently reside in a simulated world, and the programmers sometimes make a few observable mistakes.  For some not-so-light reading on the subject, I would recommend checking out this paper on the Simulation Argument.

The Many-Worlds Interpretation and the Mandela Effect

The suggestion above regarding our reality may not be easily accepted by many individuals, and rightly so, since it implies that we are nothing more than fabricated, programmed puppets enacting sequences of complex code, unaware of our masters and acting out an existence of little or no meaning.  Let us then explore a different perspective on reality and the reason for these hiccups in continuity: the Many-Worlds Interpretation.

To simplify an extraordinarily complex and oft-confusing theory, the Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) supposes that we, as we exist at this moment, are merely one of an infinite number of “versions” of our reality.  Some interpretations suppose that each and every choice made by every individual, no matter how seemingly insignificant, spawns an entirely new reality based solely on the outcome of that choice.  Hence, some realities may be nearly indistinguishable from another, save for some minute mutation rendered by the thoughtless choice of a random individual.  Since these realities reside so closely together (think of soap bubbles pressed together, an oft used analogy), it is not uncommon for “slips” to occur between worlds, which is where the Mandela Effect comes into play.

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The Mandela Effect, as defined by the reddit community of the same name,  is described as The phenomenon where a group of people discover that a global fact – one they feel they know to be true and have specific personal memories for – has apparently changed in the world around them.“.   The name is derived from the commonly held recollection by a large portion of the population that iconic personality Nelson Mandela had passed away while imprisoned long before his actual death in December 2013.  The realization of this inconsistency between memory and reality began a period of heightened awareness that accentuated numerous other disparities, some of which I identify with personally.  One example that particularly drew my interest is the apparent change in the name of a popular children’s book series that I, along with MANY other people, noticed since this phenomena came to light.

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As a child born in 1986, I have fond and very distinct memories of reading stories about the escapades of the Berenstein Bears.  Yet when you search online, or anywhere else for that matter, for information on this series, it is listed under the name Berenstain Bears.  This isn’t some change made by the publishers along the way, either; it is purported that the name has always existed as the latter incarnation.  While this may seem to be an inconsequential issue to many, it serves as a prime example of the Mandela Effect – a specific personal memory of a global fact that has apparently changed in the world around us.  There are plentiful examples of similar inconsistencies when one is simply willing to look for them, and it begs the question of whether the assumed persistence of our state of reality is really such a reliable supposition.

Whether the Matrix or Multiverse or Mandela Effect is in play here, one is hard pressed to argue that there isn’t indeed something out of the ordinary occurring to many individuals who call this reality home, myself included.  If we concede the possibility of any of these notions, which in all honesty we can’t rightfully ignore, then we open the door to an infinite number of additional theories for the peculiar and wonderful and terrifying happenings in this ontological persistence.  So do me a favor: forget what you see through the peephole, unfasten the deadbolt, and turn the knob to open the door to the magnificent possibilities that await on the other side of unhindered understanding.  You may find the other side just as fascinating and inviting as I have.

Altered States: Really the Devil’s Playground or just the Next Misunderstood Magic?

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Some fascinating new research has emerged recently on a subject that occupies a station of great controversy in my own mind and also in that of many folks who might be reading this.  For the uncertain: “An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of mind or mind alteration, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking beta wave state.”  I hope that tonight I can offer some cogent point-counterpoint comparisons that will at least get you thinking, since I know I can’t stop.

In some of the previous articles where I cataloged the points presented at Bible Study,  I referenced a general aspect of Christian beliefs that considers altered states of consciousness to be dangerous and something to be avoided at all costs.  Typically, the reason for avoidance is the fact that the participant is willingly leaving themselves open to various types or influence or attack, namely on the spiritual, in some cases demonic level.  Often opponents of the practice will reference hypnosis as an example, where a person relinquishes their will to another individual entirely, without knowing what might be asked of them or to what humiliation they might be subjected.  There are significant factors regarding hypnosis, however, that are contrary to popularly held impressions of the act.  I personally feel that while it isn’t something to be taken lightly or played with, there is a place for hypnosis in a controlled, professional environment, for the purpose of uncovering repressed memories and the like.

So what is the emerging research that has prompted my exposition on this matter?  Imagine, if you will, the implications of being able to “untangle” your brain via the act of removing previously established neuronal connections, essentially returning your brain to the hyper-receptive state that you enjoyed as a newborn.  Doesn’t that sound interesting?  Sounds like it could be used for a myriad of options, like the following:

  • Perhaps learning multiple languages, something that is simple for a child’s brain to adopt, but adults vainly struggle with because their brains have already assigned all the appropriate language pathways in the brain and associated them with familiar sensations.
  • How about being able to think more creatively, having a more uninhibited imagination, or just being able to connect the hypothetical dots more easily?
  • Here’s a tough one: how about being able to once again see or sense something as an adult that you had once seen as a child, but had successfully convinced yourself of its fantastical nature?

Would these shake your perceptions a bit?  I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest, but perhaps a good shaking is exactly what our perceptions need.  By the way, the drug in this case is lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD or acid.  Yep, acid, the big bad wolf of hallucinogens, when its effects are observed and measured scientifically, can actually demonstrate profoundly positive effects.  As stated by Dr Carhart-Harris here: “Normally our brain consists of independent networks that perform separate specialized functions, such as vision, movement and hearing – as well as more complex things like attention. However, under LSD the separateness of these networks breaks down and instead you see a more integrated or unified brain.”  This is one of the major reasons why experimenters with hallucinogens cite a profound connectedness with the world/universe as a major component of their experiences.  Existence as a whole is so incredibly complex and intimidating that our brains have evolved (or been designed) in such a way that they adapt to only the more important and often used types of stimuli.  Rewiring, then, can offer incredible new opportunities in cognition, creativity, and open-mindedness at the expense of some very brief confusion.  Even micro-doses of LSD have been shown to dramatically increase creativity in professionals by intensifying the connection between the visual cortex and other parts of the brain, essentially making the brain more agile and flexible.

LSD isn’t the only method of achieving these types of altered states, however.  There are of course other chemicals, such as psilocybin (found in “magic” mushrooms), MDMA (ecstasy), and DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a naturally occurring compound found in the human body that is theorized to play an important role in thought processing, dreaming and near-death experiences, as well as meditation and out-of-body experiences.  Altered states of consciousness can also be brought about by physiological factors, such as extreme lack of food or sleep, or even chronic conditions that effect mental state, such as epilepsy.  Lastly, dreaming is regularly considered an altered state of consciousness, and lucid states are often linked with subsequent experiences of astral projection (personal experiences here abound, I will expand another time).

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My question then, spurred not only by this but myriad other concerns as well, becomes this: if altered states can occur so readily, either via naturally occurring chemicals or regular physical changes or simple dreaming, why is the assumption of negativity so prevalent?

I want you to stop, just for a single minute, and consider just how little you and I know about everything.  By everything I mean EVERYTHING.  Be honest with yourself about it, this is important.

It wasn’t that long ago that we had no idea what wifi or even electricity was, and just a short stint before that society was burning witches for damn near everything they didn’t understand.  So as smart as we may feel in this enlightened age, this may just be another example of us thinking we now know everything when really we’ve only reached the next step on an endless upward climb.  Perhaps our assumptions about the unknown these days are yet another representation of Arthur C. Clarke’s most poignant words: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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Here’s a unicorn.  Could be magic, could be a robot, who knows.

Okay, now perform the imagination test again, yet this time consider these things when you do:

  • Perhaps chemicals are a naturally occurring way for us to reacquire the cognitive abilities we once had, and utilizing them might enable us to attain levels of spiritual connection that we have long since lost
  • Maybe abilities such as lucid dreaming, astral projection, remote viewing, and other such frowned-upon things are simply a next step in the evolution of our mental abilities.  Even in the Bible we were promised gifts such as dreams, visions, discernment, etc.; couldn’t these be something of God that we simply don’t fully understand yet?

Biblical scriptures give us incredible wisdom and numerous answers to our everyday quandaries.  Most Christians need to admit, though, that there are questions arising these days to which the Bible may not have exact answers, only guidelines.  As long as I continue to observe this marked divide between spirituality according to Biblical scripture and the scientific understanding of our universe and its quirks, I will continue to pursue evolving answers with my God and understanding of the new tools that might be at our disposal.

In other words, JARED SMASH! 😉

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Bugging Out on a Budget, part 2

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I am happy to report that I was able to fit in making another episode of Bugging Out on a Budget this past week before I lost my voice completely.  Let me explain… unfortunately what was a relatively minor cold earlier in the week has now blossomed into full-blown bronchitis and I can’t sleep due to the coughing. 😦  So I have opted to put my bleary-eyed time to good use by getting this posted, before I attempt to catch some winks again.  Please enjoy the next round of demonstrations and discussions for my most recently purchased products, and absolutely leave me more feedback!  I am still just getting this thing off the ground and doing the best with what I have, and your advice and input can go a long way in helping me provide even more quality content.  For example, I did obtain and utilize a tripod for recording this time, so my poor wife didn’t have to try to remain motionless for another 15 minute video (bless her heart for being willing to do the first one!).

In this video, I have also addressed some questions and suggestions I’ve received from viewers, and will continue to do so as appropriate.  One viewer from the Bugout community on reddit mentioned that the bag I chose to purchase, shown in my previous video, has some issues with comfort and usability.  I won’t be able to fully comment on these concerns until I’ve had a chance to take the bag on a decent excursion, but for now I can at least demonstrate what the bag looks like full, and how it fits on my body.

Here is the bag fully stocked with all the essentials I’ve shown in my videos.  It handled everything with some room to spare, and it was easy to organize things by frequency and urgency of use.  I helped maintain a solid flat surface on the side that rests on my back by first inserting my folded shelter tarp into the bag pressed against the very back, and then packing in other items around it to keep it in place.  Since this bag doesn’t have a frame, arranging your contents like this can help provide some added comfort.

Overall I am happy with the feel of this pack, but as I said I will need to put it through some rigorous endurance testing to be able to fully judge its efficacy.  The weight feels pretty evenly distributed, with no noticeable pressure points or areas of discomfort.  The adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps provide a high degree of customization to the fit of this pack.  I am a sturdy 6’0″ and just shy of 200 pound man, though, so I can only assess its comfort and portability according to my standards. 😉  I thoroughly hope that it turns out to be a great bag, since that wonderful $30 price point is just so darn hard to turn down.

Thanks again for reading and watching, and I hope you’ll keep coming by to see what I’m SMASHING next!  🙂