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!

What is Right Anymore?

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I don’t even know where to begin tonight, as so much of this is ready to just burst out of me like a Ridley Scott alien.  This year has been a significant turning point in my life, as it has been the first time I decided to become emotionally and intellectually invested in an election process, at least beyond what appears to be the investment that an average American has made in the past (this includes me).  This statement is not meant to disparage the average American voter, as most of us only have so much time and patience to commit to the turmoil of the election process, where it sincerely feels like our voice is never heard anyway.  To be honest, I was previously of the mentality that has most likely plagued a great deal of the millennial generation: that our opinion and our vote doesn’t matter, since the country is run by the privileged elite anyway.  I am a bit ashamed of my apathy regarding my responsibility, and I now hold to the fact that regardless of how biting and vindictive the current political climate may be, at least it seems like people of all ages are making the sincere effort to be active and informed.

Getting back to my underlying point, though; regardless of which candidate you are supporting, the most frustrating point of this season, and of living in a culture of free speech in general, is the incessant need to be RIGHT, which inevitably comes at the expense of others being WRONG.  Of course free speech is a human right and should not be restrained or subdued by any outside force; but what about restraining it within ourselves?  Not because of any outward oppression or judgment, but because maybe, just maybe, we don’t always need to be right.

I will use myself as an example, as I try my best to be a representative of this ideal.  As I’ve related before and is apparent in my About page, I am a 30 year old Christian white male, the supposed epitome of privilege and source of oppression to so many.  I cannot help but sadly shake my head at this notion, not because I dismiss any concerns, but simply because you do not know me, just as much as I do not know you.  You don’t know that I’ve endured traumatic hardship, that I’ve been abused and tormented by an unfaithful, drug-addicted spouse, or lived in filth due to lack of any other option.  You don’t know that I’ve been through bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills that I could not pay, or endured multiple surgeries due to chronic medical issues that brought on those bills in the first place.  You don’t know that I am still buried in student loan debt, from just trying to make make something better of my life.  Unless you knew me personally, how could you know any of that until just now?  And yet some would say that I am an oppressor?   The only thing that I have oppressed, or rather suppressed, is crippling depression when enduring these realities, just enough to keep pushing forward and, with hard work and the Lord’s help, dig myself out of them.  This type of argument is faulty due to the simple fact that it fails to account for any individual.  No one race or gender or political persuasion is a representative of all its constituents.  So many people struggle so fiercely to be recognized for their uniqueness, and yet utterly fail to do so in return to their audience.

I need to stay on topic here, because I really am striving to refrain from singling out any particular group or ideal in this discussion.  This is because THERE IS NO ONE PERPETRATOR.  I only want to get across the point that you aren’t always going to be right.  Your beloved politician may fail you, your enamored movement may falter in representing you, even your religion may not always have the perfect fit you so desire.  IT. IS. INEVITABLE.  We live in an imperfect world filled with incredibly imperfect people, and you are one of them.  You are a single life in the midst of billions currently, trillions past, and untold numbers yet to come.  While I applaud your desire to make a difference, please remember that you are not omnipotent or infallible.  If you believe in God, then there is only one omnipotent and infallible Being.  If you don’t, there there are literally none.  Regardless, you are not among that severe minority.

So, instead of beating our heads against the wall, or as in many cases, trying to beat someone else’s head against the wall, maybe if we just shut our mouths and open up our eyes, ears, and hearts, we could learn how to truly coexist more peacefully.  SO MUCH pain has been caused by the straightforward fact that some individual or group believed they must enforce their beliefs or ideologies on others.  Put whatever label on it that you want: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Athiest, Feminist, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Gay, Straight, I could be here all night citing labels… they are all guilty in some way of trying to enforce their standards on everyone else.  Maybe if we all took the time to understand and embrace the true beauty of freedom, we would realize that the core tenet of that liberty is letting others have the same, and living by a standard we can all abide by: treat others as you would have them treat you.