The Real Alternative

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Become Nika – What does ecology mean to people on the street?

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DVD Review – The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll

Title: The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll
Genre: Documentary, Biography, Mystery, Fantasy
Production Company: Reality Films

I picked up my very first copy of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland while doing graduate work in India. Renowned for its mysticism and unusual happenings, India seemed like an appropriate place to enter into the intriguing world of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, best known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

Funnily enough, I never read the entire book. I tried several times but for some reason it just didn’t work. Perhaps Carroll was a bit too intellectual for my tastes. Although the book is often regarded as a nonsense tale, author/director Philip Gardiner and co-writer Brian Allan rightly point out in The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll that it’s anything but nonsense.

We all know the basic story. Alice’s adventures have become a part of pop culture. The rock group Jefferson Airplane released a hit single “White Rabbit” on their 1967 record Surrealistic Pillow, and the Quantum Physics/New Age movie What the Bleep Do We Know?! (2004) was enhanced and expanded in a 2006 version called What the Bleep!?: Down the Rabbit Hole.

Although I’m reviewing this DVD without having fully read Alice In Wonderland, that doesn’t really matter. If I can enjoy a documentary about a book I haven’t finished, if I can get what the film is saying and learn from it, then that’s a testament to the skillfulness of its creators. And this is what happened with The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland.

The DVD has provocative biographical material on Carroll’s childhood, struggles with his family’s Anglican religion, Oxford days as a respected mathematician, and possible links with the esoterica of Theosophy and the Rosicrucians. It also delves into his controversial pursuits as a photographer, a hobby that seemed to reflect an interest in girls.

The commentary on the controversy around Carroll’s photos of nude or semi-nude girls is noteworthy. Essentially, The Initiation of Alice asks us to bracket our 21st century Western notions of normality and try to imagine things as they might have been in the genteel Victorian circles in which Carroll moved.

This segment of the DVD should spark heated dialogue around notions of absolute versus cultural morality. Perhaps we can leave it to God to know the right answer to this potentially divisive issue.

After working through Carroll’s biography, the film moves, quite competently, into the imaginary world of Alice. The novel Alice in Wonderland is mostly interpreted from the perspective of contemporary Gnosticism, where several belief systems are said to point to a common inner truth.

On the whole, the analysis of Alice’s underground adventures conforms to the Jungian idea of a collective unconscious where the conventional rules of space and time no longer apply. And like Jung’s work, the concepts of magical, mystical and The Holy are not as clearly delineated as some might like.

For instance, when exploring the symbolism of Alice’s ingesting unusual substances in Wonderland, The Initiation of Alice sets up an analogy between the reception of the Holy Eucharist and taking psychedelic mushrooms.

Gardiner and Allan’s extensive analogical theorizing leaves much room for interpretation and debate. As with C. G. Jung’s work, some would applaud the far-reaching use of analogy while others might abhor it. Regardless of one’s take on this, it would be hard to come away from this film not feeling a little bit closer to Carroll and his amazing imaginary realm.

Just a day before watching this video, I saw the movie The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for the first time, having made a few unsuccessful attempts to read the Douglas Adams novel, for much the same reasons as Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Its seems these two great stories – the one set in Victorian England and the other in contemporary society – have something in common. Both seem silly and nonsensical but, at the same time, point to political and, especially, quantum realities that humanity will eventually have to come to grips with.

The Initiation of Alice in Wonderland: The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll is a probing, comprehensive film that Carroll enthusiasts and interested browsers should learn much from.


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This video is a few years old but still relevant today. Some folks seem to carve out a personal identity by parroting scientific studies that support their beliefs, all the while turning a blind eye to additional data that doesn’t. Well, science does a lot of good things. But it’s still a set of theories. It doesn’t explain everything, is usually riddled with experimenter bias, and is always subject to change.

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DVD Review – Hamish Miller on The Parallel Community

Title: Parallel Community
Genre: Body-Mind-Spirit
Author’s Website:
Production Company: Reality Films

Shot mostly outdoors in the United Kingdom’s beautiful West Cornwall, Hamish Miller on The Parallel Community looks at Earth energy, dowsing, near-death experiences, ancient ancestors, spiritual cleansing, alternate realities and a new global movement called the Parallel Community.

Miller, himself, appears to be a happy, likable fellow very much in tune with nature. He tells of his former life as a successful entrepreneur where conforming to the work ethic (where work is commonly understood as getting some kind of paycheck) gave him everything… but happiness.

One day while driving along in his car he came across a stunning sunset. Miller wished he had time to enjoy it and suddenly realized that he did. So he stopped his car and got out to watch the natural beauty unfold.

This and other pivotal experiences have contributed to this intriguing man’s metamorphosis from international businessman to mellow blacksmith and unofficial leader of the Parallel Community, a group of kindred spirits interested in living in harmony with the Earth.

Among his many recollections in this film, Miller’s personal account of a near-death experience is extremely convincing. Likewise, his story about a serious illness during which time he envisioned sacred beings helping to make him well again comes off utterly natural and believable.

The only reservation I have with this DVD has to do with its claims about dowsing. I’m no expert in this field but, from what I’ve seen so far, I remain unconvinced.

Although the dowsing material seems a bit too easy, this shouldn’t deter one from exploring Miller’s unconventional and far-reaching ideas. Rarely if ever do I completely agree with another person’s perspective—unless perhaps he’s Jesus Christ.

This much said, Miller is an engaging, innovative figure who just might be a herald for a better future. And The Parallel Community explores ideas that definitely need exploring in a world absorbed by the dimly lit menus of the latest technological trinkets.

—MC (with revisions from 2010)

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DVD Review – The Viking Serpent by Harald S. Boehlke

Title: The Viking Serpent: Secrets of the Celtic Church of Norway, Their Serpent Worship and Sacred Pentagram Geometry
Genre: Documentary, Religion, Ancient History, Occult
Production Company: Reality Films

The Viking Serpent takes the viewer into the heart of Norway, where Harald S. Boehlke, son of a Norwegian diplomat, presents his case for a radical reinterpretation of the traditional Biblical symbols for evil.

Longstanding tensions between orthodox and Gnostic Christianity are highlighted with Boehlke favoring the Gnostic position. Boehlke’s unusual and unique pro-Gnostic argument is backed up with on-site evidence, cartographic analysis and historical data.

At the very least, this DVD is thought-provoking and should serve as a launch pad for those interested in following up on Boehlke’s extraordinary and far-reaching claims.

The DVD also contains some truly beautiful footage, with director and host Philip Gardiner facilitating as a kind of guide to Boehlke’s challenging exposition.

The Viking Serpent is recommended for those wanting to learn more about Gnosticism and the Celtic Church while enjoying some breathtaking scenes of the natural and architectural marvels of Norway, surely one of the most aesthetically pleasing countries in the world today.


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Review – Reality UFO Series Volume 2 (DVD)

Reality Films

Title: Reality UFO Series Volume 2
Genre: UFO, Abduction, Supernatural, Paranormal
Production Company: Reality Entertainment

Reality UFO Series Volume 2 takes us into the strange world of UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligences, probing deep into largely unexamined mysteries of the body, mind and beyond.

The film features four speakers. First, Dr. Richard Boylan talks at length about the Star Kids, those supremely gifted children said to have a host of paranormal powers at their command. Dr. Boylan comes across as a pleasant, sincere individual who’s just saying it like it is. In his presentation he recites e-mail correspondences with a mother of a Star Kid, whose incredible stories will make even the most open-minded investigators rethink human potential and what, in fact, it means to be human.

Boylan also presents an alternative history of the human race, suggesting that we’re being monitored by well-intentioned and compassionate ETs whose only goal is to get things right in the universe. His premise is that all intelligent life is intricately connected, making our Earthly actions perceptible to the far reaches of the cosmos. No wonder, then, he claims we’re being watched. To illustrate this idea he sets up an analogy: Just as developed countries are concerned about violent activity in unstable global regions, Boylan says ETs are keeping an eye on us—especially since we’ve learned how to harness the power of the atom.

Next, Freddy Silva talks about crop circles and their transhuman possibilities. Silva is a well known expert who left everything to immerse himself in the study of these intriguing circles. He believes their odd but beautifully symmetrical designs are cosmic signs and, perhaps, sentinels beckoning us to respond to our inherent spirituality and greater purpose within the expanded multiverse.

Reality Films

Reality Films

In addition, Peter Khoury gives a detailed and highly personal first hand account of his unconventional experiences, including an encounter with a female ET that’s tinged with erotic elements. Although talking about pretty far out stuff, Khoury’s candid presentation lends to his credibility. He seems like a regular guy who didn’t ask for what happened to him. Basically, he tells of a series of UFO-related and possible abduction experiences beginning when he was 6 and a half years old.

Finally, Keith Basterfield lectures on links between UFO encounters and psi abilities. Covering the area quite competently, Basterfield recounts the main trends and figures through 1975 to 1999. Like the other presenters in this film, he gives the impression of a well-rounded individual with feet planted firmly on the ground.

Altogether, Reality UFO Series Volume 2 provides comprehensive coverage of documented cases and leading theories about UFOs, ETs and the paranormal, the respective talents of the four presenters serving up a good blend of personal asides, research and reported evidence.

Unlike other Reality Films, this DVD doesn’t make use of flashy graphics. But those wanting to settle in for several hours to get the facts should come away feeling like experts in the field.


This review has been revised from an original review posted 2009/06/30

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Dr. Robert E. Carter talks about self-cultivation

Professor Carter was one of the best undergraduate professors I ever had. His lectures on Chinese philosophy were second to none.

I remember presenting the Tao of (subatomic) physics for his class in the mid-1980s. Back then it was a pretty new idea. So I broke it down with a lot of diagrams.

The presentation went very well. So well that Dr. Carter asked me to present again for another group studying the same course. Interestingly enough, the second presentation bombed. Same material, same presenter, very different audience and response.

Dr. Carter was diplomatic about it. He said something like, “Well, now you can see the other side of the coin.” His comment seemed to fit with the yin-yang philosophy that we were studying at the time.

After that, I was invited to present my Ph.D research at Dr. Carter’s retirement gathering at Trent U. Although my little talk about C. G. Jung’s concept of synchronicity was adequate, it certainly didn’t bring the house down.

Again, Dr. Carter was kind and diplomatic. He really did embody all that was great about undergraduate learning.



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