June 9, 2006


I want people to read this more than my own novel. I wonder what would happen if everyone on earth read and absorbed this book. The Amazon graphic makes this especially accurate and amusing:

amazon pinchbeck

There are plenty of ideas that people will be skeptical about, but if you come away from this book thinking about reality in the same way as before then, frankly, there’s something wrong with you. I can’t even begin to summarize all the bits of wisdom in this book. Pinchbeck’s first book Breaking Open the Head broke open my head. This book did it again.

The book is a very serious look at ideas that are mainly ridiculed or ignored: UFOs, Global Warming, crop circles, mysticism. These are all issues that have major implications for the future of humanity. UFOs, are you kidding me? The fact that such a critical issue has been banished to the tabloids is evidence alone of humanity’s blindness and fear of new ideas. The "What if" scenario is reason enough for this issue to be explored with seriousness and sobriety and not cast off, as it is by intellectuals, with, "I don’t believe in flying saucers." The "Flying Spaghetti Monster" of the left is a conservative invention. Tossing away important ideas with a laugh. Snark is the enemy of sincerity. Because wishy-washy New Agers have taken over certain mystical ideas, they’ve lost their validity. It’s like saying Christ’s message is B.S. because Pat Robertson is evil. I hear people react to the actions of the religious right by saying, "See, that’s why I’m an atheist," as if one has anything to do with the other. Global Warming is part of the same fabric. People see it as a fantasy, or ignore it outright, instead of facing the obvious.

The book doesn’t propose a new religion. Pinchbeck is not painting himself as a guru, only as a person on a personal exploration. I trust what he has to say. I love Pinchbeck’s point of view because it’s similar to my own--a cynical city boy who had no use for spirituality. Punk rock had taught me nihilism. I come from a family of doctor-headed people where science was the answer to religion. Punk rock also taught me to go against convention. The conventional wisdom today is that science is progress and spirituality is primitive. Also that they’re mutually exclusive. Science has created the capacity to kill along with the capacity to heal. Religion is the same. Both are imperfect systems of thought, or at least they are used incorrectly, an extension of humanity’s imperfections. There has to be another answer. This book tries to uncover that.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m going down this road. So far I’ve written about celebrity, but I think these issues are two sides of the same coin. I’ve written about targeting superficiality and materialism. Fame is killing people’s self-worth: if you’re not famous, you’re nothing. Fame teaches people to worship rather than look within themselves. It’s dangerous and I don’t think I’m taking it too far. Scientific materialism is just an extension of that--that science is the answer to everything. A Theory of Everything can try to come up with the how but it won’t come up with the why. 2012 is like a Theory of Everything Else. I deeply recommend it.

More: an interview with Pinchbeck on the RU Sirius radio show. A lot more to listen to on that site as well.

Here’s my new desktop. A few years back I had been obsessed with all of these ideas in preparation for writing a novel, and then promptly dropped them. I’m very glad to be getting back to it. Click on the picture for a much larger image:



Coimbatore Guy said...

Nice picture. You have got a different thought process than normal humans.

Anonymous said...

I think there are so many worries in our daily lives that people push UFOs out of their heads "for the moment" but then that moment ends up being years, and pretty soon they start beleiving UFOs are hokum again. I do believe there is a phenomenon and it only gets more intriguing the more research, investigation and evidence is uncovered.

Empty Drum said...

There's no doubt that UFO's exist -- in the literal sense of "unidentified weird stuff in the sky".

However, unless I'm mistaken (and I hope I am; "I want to believe"), there is not a bit of scientific data suggesting that they are anything other than secret man made shit (those military black budgets are quite large, you know), and / or as-yet-not-understood natural phenomena.

I think it's an interesting mystery superficially, but gets much less interesting as one digs deeper and finds not much at all in the way of conclusive evidence.....

Nathan` said...

i agree with drum... maybe you should focus more on Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster - something that is more probable to truth.

Henry Baum said...

E.D., if you believe in widespread black ops projects, you’re not that far off from believing in ET UFOs. There’s more proof than you are allowing. Crop circles and alien abductions are a phenomenon. That much is true. Whether it’s human or non-human, thousands of people are reporting very similar experiences. The same goes for lights in the sky. The phenomenon is the evidence, even without nuts and bolts proof. Something is happening. Even on the level of collective power of suggestion or if crop circles are an ambitious art project, it’s worth studying. It could be that a non-human or super-human intelligence is working through those crop circle artists. A crazy idea, maybe, but it’s a big universe and we’ve explored almost none of it. I like what Jacque Vallee has to say--that UFOs are a phenomenon so beyond our consciousness that we can only see it as a form of technology. I don’t know what books you’re reading but the more I read about it, the more likely it seems that it’s real.

Empty Drum said...

if you believe in widespread black ops projects, you’re not that far off from believing in ET UFOs.

Bullshit. We know that secret military research exists because we see the results of that research (Aurora for example) without having first known about the programs which produced them. Also, such programs do not show up in military budgets, and yet they cost loads of money.

Therefore, secret, or "Black Ops", military research is a fact. It's not a matter of faith.

There is not even a tiny bit of empirical evidence that UFO's have anything to do with extraterrestrial intelligences.

The phenomenon is the evidence, even without nuts and bolts proof.

That's so wrong, I don't think I even need to explain why.

I don’t know what books you’re reading

Kind of a mixed bag. I'll send you a list. I might as well admit now that I recently read the first two books in Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series and really liked them. Sue me.

but the more I read about it, the more likely it seems that it’s real.

I'm interested to hear the evidence presented in these books for the ET hypothesis. Not conjecture, not correlation, not belief, but evidence. Just a little tiny bit to start with..

Henry Baum said...

I don’t really want to argue this much further. Your skepticism is a belief, you know that, right? You have a preconceived notion and you look for evidence to support it, like any faith-based system. About the black ops: if the military is responsible for every last UFO encounter, then, yes, that is as fantastical as UFOs. The phenomenon is the proof, I stick by that. Actually needing a wing or a busted lightbulb from a UFO is not really looking deep enough. The issue is complicated enough that whatever it is can choose how much to be seen. There are pages and pages of testimony from credible people. Discounting all of them is mysterious in itself.

Henry Baum said...

By the way, everyone should also read Kabuki’s acid trip.

Empty Drum said...

I don’t really want to argue this much further.

Why not? It's just getting interesting! Much better than dumb political arguments....

Your skepticism is a belief, you know that, right?
You have a preconceived notion and you look for evidence to support it, like any faith-based system.

No. Skepticism is not a belief. It's an approach to reality which places a high importance on empirical evidence. A true skeptic must be willing to *abandon* (or at least file away under "more data needed") beliefs for which there is insufficient evidence.

I'll give you a case from my own life. I believe in ghosts.That's sort of an article of faith. At the same time, I have to concede that there's really no evidence to suggest that ghostly-type phenomena are caused by the discorporate souls of dead humans. So I file that away and await better eveidence.

I don't claim that because I believe in ghosts, and millions of credible people do, too, that therefore ghosts exist. No matter how many pages of testimony exist in the affirmative. If that sort of "evidence" was good enough to base decisions on, we'd all still be howling at the moon and beating each other over the head with mastodon shanks or whatever.

About the black ops: if the military is responsible for every last UFO encounter, then, yes, that is as fantastical as UFOs.

Agreed,but that's not what I said. Read my post again.

The phenomenon is the proof, I stick by that.

Thereby sweeping aside millennia of scientific and philosphical thought.

Henry Baum said...

I’m not saying that the phenomenon is the only proof that’s necessary. But it is proof that something’s happening. I don’t buy that even a crashed UFO would solve every dynamic of this issue. I’ll take back the skepticism is a belief part, but I still think it is powered by a preconceived notion of what you want to be true--what you already believe to be true. On a deep unconscious level most people don’t want UFOs to be real--it’s too terrifying, it blows everything apart. Skepticism is a safer route.

Henry Baum said...

Oh, and the testimonials of people who have seen UFOs is a bit different than a form of mass belief. These are witnesses of evidence. At the same time, people used to see apparitions of the Virgin Mary, now they see UFOs. I never said it wasn’t complicated.

Empty Drum said...

Once again, yes, UFO's exist. And once again, no - there is nothing to suggest that they are anything other than man-made or earthly phenomena.

I would like nothing more than to find out that ET's are here and have an interest in the fate of humanity. Scary, yes -- but also liberating and consciousness-expanding.

It's something I grew up wishing for and wish for still. But there's no evidence that it is true.

The thought that we are alone in the universe (though almost certainly false) is the scariest thought of all. This is why people abandon critical thinking and cling to faith.

Skepticism is not blanket denial of the unknown. It is the belief that the unknown can become known through rigorous application of the rational mind, and is the basis for all human progress.

A skeptic, because he holds all claims up to the same standards, no matter how outlandish or mundane, must be open-mined in the true sense, not in the blinkered sense used by the faithful and the pre-convinced.

You have a different understanding of the words "science", "skeptic", and "evidence" than I do. I'm arguing from a position of reason, and you're arguing from a position of faith.

And you know how well those arguments always turn out!

Henry Baum said...

Just got back from a trip up the coast. Got into the car not knowing where we were going and landed at Carpinteria, CA. A nice time. It gave me a lot of time to think about these things. Thanks for that last comment. It’s the least aggressively contrarian. Still, I think your language such as "cling to faith" points towards a prejudice towards faith. Faith and critical thinking don’t have to be in separate camps, even if faith has been misused by zealots. I would say everything comes from faith: even scientific experiment. The faith that an experiment will run the same way twice. Consciousness is more binding than you’re giving credit. This might be a "faith" but there’s a lot more rigorous thought on these subjects than you’re acknowledging. The world is built on theory--any philosophy is a theory, the Big Bang is a theory. To believe in it takes an act of faith. Scientific theories are continually being rewritten, meaning what we believe to be true at present is an act of faith. Like it or not, faith is part of being human.

I don’t know why this became an argument about the scientific method. No one’s talking about discarding it. But for issues that are so beyond our current scientific comprehension, or scientific resources, we need to be open to alternative ideas. Science has gone forward largely due to great leaps of imagination, shocking the current system. I read about Richard Feynman (I’m pretty sure) who talked about stepping onto a bus and suddenly being hit with the answer to a scientific formula. Even he talked about it being a sort of magical process. Look at art. Can you explain where artistic inspiration comes from? No, not verifiable. The conception that the scientific method is the only avenue to truth is an extremist point of view. I could go off on this subject forever. I’ll stop. My daughter wants to play with me.

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