Monday, September 22, 2003

"Human Devolution" has me walking an intellectual tightrope. Cremo does a credible job of looking at nonlocal consciousness through the lens of Vedic creationism; I'm enjoying the ride.

I'm increasingly convinced that close encounters, near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences are aspects of a central overlooked phenomenon; deciphering one will in all probability cast light on the others. While I don't believe in "life after death" as typically envisioned by religion, I'm sympathetic to the concept that consciousness is more than a dance of molecules. William James thought that the brain acted as a receiver for consciousness, rather than actually producing it. This idea is appealing. Consciousness may not be an effect, but an actual "stuff" or force -- however intangible it may seem to us.

This is where New Age nomenclature fails utterly; how to address something as strange and vast as self-awareness when limited to pseudoscientific jargon? I roll my eyes at vague references to "essences" and "vibrations" -- but is mainstream science really doing any better? Both camps are, to some degree, spinning their wheels. If a new paradigm is to emerge, we'll need a new syntax. And to make sense of a new syntax, we might need to purposefully mutate. Even if consciousness is eternal and omniscient, we still have to filter it through our carbon-based brains, with all of their neuronal shortcomings . . . at least for the time being.

Again, I wonder if the UFO phenomenon is attempting to demonstrate something along these lines. It seems virtually certain to me that the "aliens" are not literal extraterrestrials or manifestations of the psyche. They're likely real beings, some more "physical" than others -- and yes, I'm aware this sounds disappointingly like Victorian spiritualism. John Keel ("The Mothman Prophecies") seems to anticipated this with surprising lucidity; his casefiles mesh nicely with Cremo's Vedic model. (Apt chapter title from Colin Wilson's "Alien Dawn": "Goblins from Hyperspace.")

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