Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


2 Comments

Today’s Top Tweet – Woman claims ETs spliced her genes

Ms Kapiteli said her mother’s eggs had been harvested while she was sleeping, and fused with those of an alien – leaving Ms Kapiteli’s genes spliced with extraterrestrial DNA.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3962348/Face-alien-Meet-woman-claims-extraterrestrial-DNA-astral-travel-Mars-fancies-it.html#ixzz4R2Kl0w7k

Call me a nut if that makes you feel better, but I think it’s entirely possible that some sensitive persons might intuitively connect with ETs. There’s just so many planets out there. To assume that Earth is the only place where intelligent life exists is, well, just that. An assumption.

Problem is, we think we’re smart with our 4K TVs, smartphones and information wars. But compared to what could be out there, our intelligence is probably quite limited. So even if some of us were to intuitively connect with other, ET minds, chances are we’d drastically misinterpret the whole event. That’s why I tend to doubt most ET hunters who anthropomorphize their understanding of ETs. The drawings, canned photos, etc. always seem to reflect nothing more than imaginative extrapolations of current tech and trends in artistic design. Same thing with sci-fi movies. Watch an old 70s sci-fi film or TV show and what do we see? We see the 1970s. Not much more.

Now, I am not saying this woman is not part ET. I cannot know. But my suspicion is that she’s had some unconventional experiences which she’s interpreted a certain way, a way that conforms to current understandings of how things work. It is much harder to imagine someone simply piercing through space-time, without any high tech intervention, and connecting with an ET light years away. But honestly, I think that could happen. A kind of psychic, “wormhole” connection. Not a genetic splicing or chip implant, as others seem to believe.

However, our culture generally does not believe in psychic phenomena or aliens. And we cannot create or control bona fide wormholes on demand. So a genetic meddling or microchip implant theory makes more “sense” to most UFO and ET enthusiasts. It might also be an easier sell for hucksters.

Mind you, not all folks interested in ETs and UFOs succumb to heavy-handed anthropomorphism. There are some who see it as pure psi. And perhaps both scenarios are true. For all we know little gray/green men and women with big, black eyes are in close proximity. They could be hiding in a pocket of space-time and also forging psychic connections with sensitive persons. And yes, it is conceivable that they could be intrusively engineering these things.

Point is, we just don’t know. So I ask, why doesn’t Lea Kapiteli get a DNA test and settle the matter? Even if the results were negative, she still might be in touch with an intelligence beyond herself. Just not the way she thinks.


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – Mysticism hits the mainstream

Today’s top tweet points to a story about an Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) exhibit claiming that mysticism has the power to save our violent, secular society.

It’s a nice sentiment and I’m happy to see the topic of mysticism reach a mainstream venue. But, really, it’s not that simple. Most religious traditions and depth psychologist point to the belief that dark, “downward” mysticism coincides with light, “upward” mysticism. And most spiritual people believe that we are always tempted by the former.

So those with unresolved psychological issues are more likely to fall prey to – even come to enjoy, in a twisted way – the “power of the dark side,” as the Star Wars saying goes.

Art Gallery of Ontario at dusk. Toronto, Ontar...

Art Gallery of Ontario at dusk. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bible also talks about a struggle with dark forces in high places. I’m not sure what that means. Maybe evil rulers on Earth being influenced by the numinous power of Satan. But the point is, there’s always struggle. And mysticism alone won’t solve that. However, good ethical choices will help. That’s a bright ray of hope that empowers us all.


Leave a comment

Major update to entry on James Randi, the Canadian/American debunker of spiritual and paranormal truth claims


Leave a comment

Mysticism needs a reality check

This is one of the better articles on mysticism I’ve seen in a while. Not only does it gently rebuke those Christian fundamentalists who proclaim that mysticism is “of the devil.” But it also mentions how Evelyn Underhill, one of my favorite writers on mysticism, points out as far back in 1914 that the word mysticism means different things to different people.

To a Zen monk, mysticism might mean stopping one’s thoughts and living in the moment. To a Hindu, it might mean feeling a psychological expansion, making the ego and worldly affairs appear trivial.

Most conventional Catholics interested in or claiming to be mystics seem to frame their approach, experiences and understanding within some – but usually not all – of their Catholic teachings, legends and practices.

Over the years I’ve heard some pretty questionable claims from some self-proclaimed Catholic mystics. One element that unconfirmed mystics seem to have in common is that they believe they have no need for dialog or spiritual direction. In their minds, they are right about practically everything.

English: Evelyn Underhill. Author given as Wil...

Evelyn Underhill via Wikipedia

But who among us is without some kind of human limitation?

Because we are all limited, I believe it is essential for budding mystics to receive some kind of direction from another person or persons. I don’t believe a Catholic must necessarily see a Catholic spiritual director. That may help in traditional situations where everyone shares the same beliefs without question. In common parlance, if it’s a good fit, why change it?

But for Catholics uncomfortable with aspects of the greater Catholic culture, guides and critics from other traditions and with different perspectives might be more appropriate in keeping them real.

This reminds me of another type of mystic I have encountered. I call these creative souls “wildflowers.” Unlike the well cared for “hothouse flowers” of traditional Catholicism, the wildflowers are just out there. I’ve found them in the most unusual places, each different but definitely tuned in.

One had pink hair and worked in a record store, another was a ‘normal’ looking man who owned a milk store. And yet another lived in my apartment building back in my student days. These wildflowers seem to be able to access subtle, interior insights without really having to go to any kind of church or temple.

Sometimes I wish I was more like the wildflowers. But it seems I am something of a hybrid between a wild and a hothouse flower. I need the Catholic Eucharist to stay on top of things. However, I do approach my religion in my own way. I don’t do this to be rebellious. On the contrary, I feel it’s important to approach one’s religion by the spirit rather than the letter of the law.
harding_gs

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:6

This is a basic Christian teaching that sadly, I think many Catholics have forgotten with the rules, regulations and hypocrisy that might be turning so many thinking people away from discovering something truly glorious.


Leave a comment

Updated – Article on “Remote Viewing”

Just updated my entry at earthpages.ca about the controversial idea of Remote Viewing. Perhaps not a literary masterpiece, I do think my entry is more balanced than the Wikipedia entry. The Wikipedia entry reads like an airplane repair manual or something. But those sympathetic to psi say that the “subtle science” of these alleged phenomena doesn’t work that way. So who knows.


1 Comment

Psychiatry and Spirituality – Even professor “night” can’t stop the sunrise

While doing my PhD at the University of Ottawa, I wrote a paper in 1992-93 that examined the psychiatric diagnostic system, known at the time as the DSM-III-R. I looked at the extraordinary claims of mystics and saints from different religious traditions. Would some historical spiritual figures be viewed as “mentally ill” today? I asked. To ground my paper I offered a summary on postmodern ideas about truth and power. After all, this was a graduate seminar in methodology.

Sadly, it seems the professor hosting the seminar was more interested in getting a paycheck than in trying to open his mind and encourage new research in uncharted territory.

English: The Communist States

The Communist States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was the type of guy who said in class that it was “hopeless” talking about feminism. I guess he feared that, whatever he said, he would be jumped on.

I wasn’t writing about feminism, per se, for this particular paper. But the professor’s unwillingness or inability to probe anything but his own small, esoteric field in religious studies made him a dreadful brick wall to run into.

I say “brick wall” because for some reason this incompetent, intransigent man had a lot of power at the university. Most everyone seemed to shrink in administrative offices whenever his name was mentioned. I still can’t figure it out. But I had serious problems with him later on when trying to get letters of recommendation (outlined here).

For a while I thought it had something to do with his immigrating to Canada from a communist country. But I have met many immigrants from communist countries who are an absolute delight. In seeming contrast to professor “night,” as I will call him, psychologically healthy immigrants from communist regimes can see both mindsets – authoritarian vs. authoritative – and consciously choose which they like better.

So immigrating from a communist country, alone, wasn’t it. There must have been something else to this man that made him so difficult and, in my case, authoritarian.¹

Published by the American Psychiatric Associat...

Published by the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM-IV-TR provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By way of contrast, I wrote a similar paper for another professor at Trent University back in the mid 1980s. He was the “day” to the University of Ottawa’s professor “night.”

The Trent professor was a true humanities teacher. He was a PhD in psychology but also up on literature dealing with the subtle nuances of the psyche. His reading list included works like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Long Day’s Journey into Night and that old psychological classic, Macbeth.

Professor “day” clearly understood where I was coming from and what I hoped to achieve. He also wrote a glowing letter of recommendation that helped me to win a graduate scholarship.

We need more well-rounded professors like that. And hopefully the University of Toronto and Ryerson will continue to encourage quality thinking on this topic. Otherwise, too many people, imo, will be compromised by the system. And they might not even know why.

Having said that, I don’t believe strident, one-sided anti-psychiatry tracts are the answer, as we sometimes see, for instance, at Mad in America. The reality is that the psychiatric system is in place. It has legal power over other perspectives, probably in large part because psychiatric drugs can effectively subdue potentially violent or suicidal individuals (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

In some ways psychiatry does a lot of good. But it does need tweaking. And that’s why today’s tweet is highlighted.

¹ When I asked professor “night” why he changed his mind and would not provide a letter of recommendation perilously close to scholarship application deadlines, he answered that his letter would be “weak.” Perplexed and traumatized, I reminded him that he gave me an “A” in his course and that my academic future was at stake. At this he snapped “I GAVE YOU MY REASONS.” And that was it. End of an otherwise promising academic career.


Leave a comment

A good, non-denominational Sunday read

For a while I tried out doing Christian New Testament commentaries on Sunday. But that didn’t really go anywhere. I find it more interesting to compare different religions than to just write about one.

Today I updated my earthpages.ca entry on Ram Dass, someone pretty popular back in the day, and who still has some devoted fans. The update came out pretty good, if I do say so myself. So I thought I’d list it here as “non-denominational” Sunday reading: