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Mental Health: Electroshock Therapy

Memoirs of a Captive Shaman

The following memoir explores the experiences suffered by one recently caught up in the abusive institutional network of mental health and psychiatric care. If you think the mental health field has come a long way since One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, guess again. Who is deemed crazy? And by what standards? By what right? And by what right are an individual’s rights to self-development entirely suspended?

I

The systematic suppression and oppression of society’s shamans and prophets by the priestcraft of psychiatry (the gnostic hierophants of mental health), has not only been a catastrophe for these gifted individuals—some of the most luxuriously bountiful specimens of mankind—but has also been instrumental in the demolition of Western society in toto. By casting the alarm and foreboding of our most wary seers (whose sociobiological function is in fact to warn us of future peril and present injustices) as a type of ‘paranoid schizophrenia’, or other ‘mental illness’, by drugging them to prevent their apprehensions from unfurling in a positive, healthy articulation, and by locking them away in cramped, socially occluded wards, their legitimate warnings have been silenced and ignored, permitting social maladies to dig their teeth ever deeper into the social body. The precipitous social rot of the West, which many dismissed for decades as mere speculation, but which now anyone with one eye still open & more than the memory of a goldfish can see (especially in the fate of Europe, which now seems all but sealed in the erection of a new Eurasian Caliphate/Hardcore Orwellian-Control State), is a direct consequence of the practices of this grave, unholy, and incredibly cruel psychiatric Anti-Church. In other words, our present turmoil is God’s vengeance on the wicked, unspeakably callous & complacent Western population that has unwisely purged itself of those who would blast a glaring torchlight upon the menacing demons it has summoned into its midst.  

II

If you harm, punish or psychiatrically ‘treat’ a bad man, he might just re-consider his wicked ways; but if you harm, punish or ‘treat’ a good one, he is liable to re-consider his good ways.

III

The troglodytic masses, those institutionalised non-mental-patients, while all too fatuously and recklessly embracing ideologies of social ‘progress’, are in fact frightened of a true inner transformation and are thus locked into necrotic patterns. Meanwhile, the madman (remember, the etymology of the word ‘mad’ is to ‘change’) has awakened to the need for spiritual becoming, both in himself and in others.

IV

Enlightenment thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke tried to appeal to and foster what is called man’s rational self-preservation, inserting it above all other goals as the centerpiece and pivot of the whole of society. Notice here how the concepts of reason and self-preservation are heavily intertwined, which still remains the case today. Madness, on the other hand, is commonly associated with throwing caution to the wind, tightrope walking over a precipice just for the sheer Hell of it, and embracing a variety of dangers that may very well end in personal extinction. However, when one considers the nature of our own inevitable mortality. . .  is making self-preservation our highest goal really so rational? In order to face life in all its grim reality, is it not necessary, at some point or other, to eschew ‘rational’ self-preservation for a bold leap (if only in the imagination) towards an affirmation and embrace of this inextricable fatality? Especially if one seeks to give birth to something greater than oneself, like the Christ, and take on the grave sacrifices so often required. In other words, rather than ‘rational self-preservation’, isn’t the ability for the ‘insane self-annihilation’ of loving sacrifice an even greater sign of maturity—or of true morality? Thus also the Buddha would seem to have it, who equally, in view of the passing away of all earthly things, preached ‘Loss of self’ rather than the steady incremental Lockean accumulation of an estate that is eventually destined to perish anyway; he who is said, out of compassion, to have given his life up to be voluntarily devoured by a starving tiger. Reminds me of those ‘voluntary patients’ in the ward!

V

Rather than being allowed to live as shamans, the spiritual leaders of society, such men and women are quietly tortured in sanatoriums and cast into ignominy. Thereby society is not only deprived of its natural guiding elite, but every citizen is trained to feel a senseless (‘paranoid’) fear and hatred of their own deepest spiritual roots that prevents them re-connecting with these taboo aspects of themselves and manifesting their true potential. In truth, the true mental illness is the senseless conformity which the ‘mental health’ establishment sacralizes. This sanctified madness then, unconsciously aware of its own shortcomings, in order to sustain its own self-conception as reasonable and sane, is driven to a fervent quest to identify and persecute those it delusionally deems ‘mad’ for the sake of externalizing and thereby gaining some sense of control over its own deepest insecurities.

VI

To counteract the tide of artificial, false pretenses to expert, scientific ‘objectivity’, and the docile, herd-like conformity that actually entails within social science, within the healing professions, and within society as a whole, I propose that a personal account of one’s life-story, focusing on how one has arrived at one’s central, integral values, become a standard for all such careers. This narrative of selfhood would be a move towards bolstering the development of personality and character throughout society, preventing people from hiding entirely behind their professional veneers, and presencing the true-lived experience and actual, rather than false selves. I don’t propose this merely as a helpful task for the ‘professional’ on the way to qualifying, but as a central piece that he must present to his clients (or patients); a true curriculm vitae

VII

His greasy trousers drove her to distraction. She very nearly called the ambulance once.

Lardy da, lardy da, lardy da.

He couldn’t care less of course, until the real threats came in. But, enough of that for now.

He only ever wanted to be a star. He only ever wanted to be cultural pioneer. He wasn’t too much concerned with his exterior everyday veneer. What a crime, what a sin; your Laws, your ‘morals’ are paper thin.

“Your trousers are filthy!” She’d cry. Optimus Einstein Bartholemew II looked at his dear mother, his tender heart hurt & bewildered as usual. He was pondering the technological Singularity, & whether Hell on earth could yet be averted in his own lifetime.

“I’m only saying it because I care about you, other people notice too but just don’t say anything!”

Yes, indeed.

______________________

Albert Einstein, Bartholemew’s namesake, had been a bit absent-minded, & shabby too at times, & he was almost universally heralded as the greatest genius of the 20th Century. W. H. Auden was a notorious mucky-pup. Nietzsche even pranced around in his room naked, occasionally hammering out Wagner on his piano. Perhaps if young Optimus were allowed to parade his lackadaisical attire for once without constant nay-saying & psychological black-magic from his mother, he might actually garner something of a reputation for caring about higher things, perhaps he might be thought of as a Saint of some kind (Nietzsche himself was nicknamed ‘the little Saint’ by his housemistress, despite his rampant ‘hate speech’ against Christians… & her cooking skills), rather than a messy, naughty little boy who couldn’t take care of himself.

It’s a little bit like the Amazonian medicine men who were ridiculed & spat upon for hanging around in only laurel leaves, & enjoying themselves all day in the forest (& actually healing people, unlike Western medicine), instead of rushing to become lumberjacks for enterprising timber-merchants, whereas now if they fancy it, they can make a veritable fortune selling DMT trips to high-flying sales consultants & rich kids from Miami. Lifting barely a finger.

Sadly, it seems that particular thought never occurred to his mother…

—nor did she take any DMT trips.

When he started gaining actual literary success, it confused her to no end that this little ungrateful brat, fruit of her loins, so recalcitrant to basic hygiene, could be seen side by side in magazines & journals with those above her own social echelon. For a long, long, long time she resisted this result with all her might, ratcheting up the personal attacks on his attire so that he spent a whole year in a Mental Asylum, losing half his genius & much more besides in the process. Still, as they say, you can’t keep a good dog down forever. (Well, perhaps you can, with enough detracting put-downs from one’s nearest & dearest…)

But eventually—fortunately—Optimus Einstein Bartholemew II did get there (though not before spending 6 months in winter on the streets of Brighton in hiding from his ‘benefactors’, of course). In his hey-day, he ended up resurrecting the Sonnet for Her Majesty’s 80th Jubilee, with a little fusion Jungle thrown in from his own youth (which Her Majesty loved also), reminding her of her own glory days as the prime symbol of the now (supposedly) harmless & ineffectual, humiliated “dress-up-doll” nature of the ancient class-tyrants.

Not that the whole episode didn’t leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouth. I mean, at first he was only doing it to make his parents proud; then, the way it turned out, it was as if he did it only to get back at them! It didn’t matter how he tried to forgive them & continue their relationship on a better footing; they wouldn’t forgive him for proving them wrong by not being a sick patient the rest of his life, or thanking them for their barbaric actions that more than half-destroyed & mangled their own original creation.

This is how we pay for the very crimes committed against us, & go on paying & paying. Until they actually do kill us.

What crimes had been perpetrated against dear Optimus’s parents to make them wage such an indefatigable war on their own legacy, I wonder? Could it be the tireless demands of society upon them to conform during their own upbringing? Hm, maybe it’s the progress of History; the older generations always feeling hard done by, missing out on all the new technologies, their marvellous abundance & the delicious fruits of their own labour.

Personally, I think they were simply born under the wrong star.

Anyway, it seemed to him that each spark of initiative, of virtue, dignity or authentic individuality he ever showed in their presence was scorned with utter vitriol & a vehement, indignant attempt to stamp it out lest it spread, & perhaps really take root. They say that spreading your own wings is the best thing you can do for others, since it gives them license to do the same. (But, some people just do not want that. Most likely your own parents are among them.)

At any rate, needless to say, the ‘success’ that his parents had once dreamed of for him as a small child became only a mortal wound after the whole psychiatric (mental health) debacle, filling them with a sense of only greater bitterness & defeat. You see, once you declare war on someone by having them ‘sectioned’ against their will, there is rarely any going back…

______________________

Stop in your tracks & you are deemed crazy by all around you, & unconscious & lazy. Wear a spotty shirt to a restaurant & you better stay alert, or the neighbours will be out to get you; they could well call the cops & have you thrown in jail ‘for your own good’.

Does it even matter, though, if the inner bird does sing? “What inner bird?” they cried. “Can’t you just be a good little parrot, like the rest of us? Savour your patched eye is all!”

VIII


“And there is a charge, a very large charge

For a word or a touch

Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,

I am your valuable,

The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.

I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Beware 

Beware.

Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.”

– Sylvia Plath, excerpt from “Lady Lazarus

Warning Label: This true personal account, only revealed 13 years after the fact due to the dreadful incapacitated state in which the events described left him in, will, taking a highly confrontational approach, no doubt be thought highly offensive to many (especially the perpetrators!). If you cannot tolerate a little salutary poison & malice in your panacea, please look away now. Side effects may include: much horror, legitimate remorse, bitter yet cathartic & healthy lamentation, extreme dizziness, ecstatic, trance-like states, life-changing epiphanies, rebellious outrage, vomiting up society’s propaganda, increased working vocabulary, uncontrollable weeping or laughter, shortness of breath & frothing angrily, indignantly at the mouth!

#PoetryNotPills#MeditationNotSedation#DietNotDrugs

Growing up is tough. Perhaps it has been an awful lot worse in the past. But today, it is still very hard, even in the more developed countries. Jordan B. Peterson, now the hero of a generation, makes this abundantly clear: in his work, we see how lost many people are; how lost many of us are or have been at times.

Our education system draws no attention to our spiritual life, to the cultivation of the virtues and dispositions that make life genuinely ‘meaningful’ (to use Peterson’s term). Many people, such as those Peterson speaks of, become brainwashed by the system, in a sense keeping their heads firmly in the sand and never questioning their social indoctrination. They merely become more and more fanatical. 

I wasn’t like that. I suffered from, if anything, the opposite pathology. Suddenly, when I read Nietzsche’s Beyond Good And Evil at 17, I found myself engulfed by so many doubts and reservations about the education I had received hitherto, and about the ‘values’ that most people take for granted, that it paralysed my ability to continue with life—with my formal schooling—in a productive manner. However I was so enthralled to the system, so ‘institutionalized’ by 14 years of public curriculum schooling and classroom routine, that I was unable to act independently and decisively to extricate myself from this same system. 

Thus I continued, going to University, pursuing a degree (Philosophy and Mathematics) that I didn’t even want. I think I would have faired better with P.P.E. — Politics, Philosophy, and Economics — but that wasn’t available at a top University other than Oxford until a year later. I should have taken an extra year and switched course, or simply abandoned the Mathematics, as I was only interested in the Human Condition at the time… but I was too indecisive, didn’t think Philosophy alone sounded as impressive or offered the same ‘career prospects’, and, not knowing what I really wanted anyway, was afraid of making any kind of a scene.

In the last year I was at University, because I was expressing my unhappiness, & had always been curious about psychoanalysis, after seeing it romanticized so splendidly in the incomparable films of Woody Allen, I foolishly consented to see a psychiatrist (an expert of mental health)—thinking I would get the full, in depth couch & dreams approach, the intrepid, disabused psychological delving & diving with a seasoned guide. 

But in reality…. 

The white-coated philistine asked me a bunch of puerile questions from his standard, poxy little ticklist, & unfortunately when he asked, “Do you think you receive messages from the T.V.?’, in my sweet naïvete, I simply answered, “Yes.” (Doh! The T.V. is a form of media; its whole job is to send you messages!) As a result of that moronic misphrased question and misunderstanding, the jumped-up invalid labelled me ‘schizophrenic’ there and then… & that’s how it happened folks! That’s how Eden got nuked! Because I claimed a T.V. sends messages!

Anyway… they didn’t kidnap me at that point. I merely returned to University after being kept in for a night on the ward, & then I just about passed my horrible course, after 4 years of intellectual sclerosis in the bloom of youth (though far, far worse was to come!)… But by the end of it, I was masturbating compulsively (to internet pornography), which continued for another 2 or so years at home again in my old bedroom of my parent’s residence. Then, to cut a long story short, I suffered a (minor) injury to my private parts, which I was convinced was more serious than it actually was, yet still I continued with the self-abuse, with ever mounting guilt and worry. I began having physical symptoms—coughing up phlegm, pains in my head—as well as extreme states of dysphoria upon attempts to withdraw from my porn addiction. I was concerned that I was verging upon doing permanent damage to my nervous system. 

To combat this, as well as the unpleasant effects I just mentioned, I began fasting and meditating for days, even weeks at a time. After prolonged fasting, I would then feast myself prodigiously, especially on lots of meat (yes, I invented the ‘meat-only, ketagenic diet’ a good decade before Peterson—which now is officially being used to treat ‘schizophrenia’, btw!—and, unlike him, I was roundly committed for it!). And blueberries.


Meanwhile my worried mother took me to see a Dr. (who I just went along with, not considering it of any great significance and vaguely hoping he might send me for a brain scan to see what was happening with my nerves). However, due to the fact I had spent all of the last two years largely alone in my bedroom (one of the ‘negative symptoms of schizophrenia’); because I said I was concerned that my excessive habits might be causing a problem with my brain (together with my unorthodox but actually quite effective attempts to rectify the issue); and as a result of my frenzied feasting, they thought I was delusional. Psychotic. So one night, when I was least expecting it…they came to my house and ‘sectioned’ me (though ’vivisectioned’ might be more accurate).

The above is of course only a brief summary, and it doesn’t nearly convey the inner turmoil that I was in at the time. But that inner turmoil was nothing compared to what I suffered after that, as a direct product of my sectioning (for those who don’t already know, this means I was involuntarily detained At Her Majesty’s Pleasure in a so-called mental ‘hospital’).

I’m sure it’s rather common (‘normal’) to be distressed when State workers accost you at your home, and basically kidnap you indefinitely (the technical term for it is ‘Kafkarian Nightmare’). But the reaction I underwent at this time was extreme, even by normal (or even abnormal) human psychological standards. Years of constant masturbation combined with succeeding attempts to heal myself via fasting, meditation, and feasting, had ignited enormous reserves of energy. At home, I had been able to keep my environment under very tight control, restricting my movements, my entire attention and dietary practices exactly as I required so as to free myself from the aforementioned addiction and its attendant malaise, along with progressing my spirit even further. When all this control was completely taken away from me, all the energies that I had been on the brink of directing toward productive purposes imploded. 

I was told and basically forced to accept that all of my attempts to control my own actions were wrong and I was prohibited from acting upon them. I was suddenly absolutely terrified of all my own impulses, as every expression of them was punished mercilessly by the most vicious slander, contempt and humiliation, potentially rendering me a medical captive for life if I didn’t lie to hide my excruciating agony

When you become scared of your own impulses, Ladies and Gentlemenespecially when they are running at literally 100 MPH under heavy assault with no way to defend yourself—the intense conflict causes them to self-destruct. They destroy you. That is exactly what happened, causing precisely the nervous breakdown I had been expressing fears about previously and for which the Dr.s had ridiculed and sectioned me in the first place!No growth is possible under such conditions. 

During this time, my distress and agony exceeded my tongue, and to this day that pain finds no correlative in verbal expression. For 6 months, I felt the most acute, extreme, and constant restlessness, which I was absolutely unable to do anything about no matter how much I paced around the cramped wards, and I watched internally as my nerves were crushed against my skull and gradually gave up the ghost. They said all my suffering was in my imagination. All a ‘hallucination’. They said, “You can’t feel brain damage!” They couldn’t have cared less about my agony—they laughed at me as I begged for mercy…

I suffered in Hell for 12 years as a direct result of their actions. They list in their idiotic ‘scholarly’ manuals that sleeping problems and unquenchable thirst are signs of such damage, and for the last 12 years I’ve been waking up over 20 times a night (as well as, actually more importantly, sleeping extremely shallowly compared to how I used to); whereas before, even in all my distress, I slept soundly every night. I’ve also had a more or less constant sense of some kind of nervous thirst, which nothing would satisfy and is unbearably frustrating & difficult to describe. Added to that, I have experienced a complete derangement and profound loss of my identity, memory and functionality since that time. . . I have only slowly re-gathered myself after 12 years!

Before I was (vivi)sectioned, I was extremely hopeful of writing my first novel within a couple of years. As it was, it took me 12 more years of most bitter Hell & purgatory to recover even a semblance of my former self from the iatrogenic effects of my ‘treatment’, producing a meagre one book of extremely angsty poetry (named “Madness: a form of love”). 

It is only really in the last year or so, having come off the drug-poisons in late 2018, after 12 years of oppression and being subjected to friendly, little compulsory monthly get-togethers with my drug-rapists, that I have once again regained some footing and my life has become worth living again.



Max J. Lewy (1983-) was born in the ex-coal-mining area of the South Wales valleys, U.K. to a Jewish father and English mother, and is now a recovering patient of Mental Health System abuses. He studied Philosophy at Warwick University, undergoing a spiritual transition and potential breakthrough which was aborted and derailed by misplaced ‘treatment’. He spent 6 months living on the street as a runaway from NHS ‘services’ in Brighton. He self-published his first book of poetry, Madness: a form of love (2018), detailing his ordeals as a form of therapy (#PoetryNotPills #MeditationNotSedation) and defence, and is the winner of RealisticPoetry’s 2018 “Perspectives Of Love” Poetry Contest for the poem “River Of Eternity (For R. W.)”. While currently spending his time writing poetry and philosophy about Mental Health, he is also considering retraining to work in the field of Artificial Intelligence (although, as he says himself, his intelligence is already highly artificial!). In his spare time, he plays tennis, drinks pure cacao sweetened with Manuka Honey, along with various other herbal remedies and holistic health rituals, and avoids doctors at all costs.  

Harmony of the World (1806) by Ebenezer Sibly

Symphony in Space: Max Planck, Birkeland Currents & The Plasma Universe

In this essay, Matthew Ehret explores the work of Max Planck and other pre-eminent physicists such as Hannes Alfvén and Kristian Birkeland, whose revolutionary breakthroughs in plasma physics suggest that solar systems do not form in empty space. Instead, an ocean of plasma constitutes the medium in which they arise and evolve. In other words, suns and planets are electrical phenomena wired to their galaxies. Moreover, the plasma fields in question are characterized by pulses, frequencies and wavelengths, making them more analogous to symphonies than to clockwork. How apt, then, to learn that Planck and Einstein often turned to music in order to bypass the narrow limits of mathematics and take leaps into the intuitive–the source of their greatest discoveries.

Pictured above: Harmony of the World (1806), an illustration by Ebenezer Sibly that he based in part on Harmonices Mundi, the book of Johannes Kepler in which he describes his concept of musical harmonies delineating the spacing of planets in our heliocentric galaxy.

Near the end of 2019, signals arrived to Earth from the Voyager-2 spacecraft which have shaken the foundations of modern physics, and brought into question the forces and principles shaping the space-time of stars within galaxies (and implicitly galaxies within clusters of galaxies). The data which NASA scientists received from Voyager-2 have catapulted mankind’s ability to finally answer the old question, “What constitutes the ‘space’ between stars or even between galaxies within our universe?” As Voyager Project scientist Edward Stone stated:

The Voyager probes are showing us how our sun interacts with the stuff that fills most of the space between stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Dr. Edward Stone

What Did Voyager-2 Encounter?

Launched in 1977 alongside Voyager-1 to measure magnetic field intensity, cosmic radiation flux and plasma density, Voyager-2 exited the Heliosphere (the spherical boundary shaped by the sun’s electromagnetic field) and moved into the interstellar medium on November 5, 2019, when the five sensors still functioning on the craft returned surprising results. The magnetic field intensity from the sun was no longer felt, and the spacecraft encountered a region of extremely dense cosmic radiation and plasma. Voyager-2’s results corroborate the measurements taken by the faster moving Voyager-1 when it traversed the Heliosphere in 2012, suggesting that this was not a “localized phenomenon.”

An image of the heliosphere moving through universal plasma
An artistic rendition of the recent exit of Voyager-1 and -2 from the Heliosphere into the interstellar medium
According to retired professor of Electrical Engineering (and Electric Universe Theorist), Dr. Donald E. Scott, Voyager 2 did not enter the true interstellar medium, but instead remained within the Birkeland Current plasma field of our solar system. View this video for details.

“Cosmic rays” is the loose term for all forms of highly energized protons and atomic nuclei which are produced in suns, supernovae and other galaxies. Cosmic radiation pervades the solar system and is infused with terrestrial activity by the earth’s magnetic field. Some examples of cosmic rays on earth include the aurora borealis and cloud formation (which mediates the warming and cooling of the earth: discovery by Svensmark and co.). Cosmic rays appear to also coincide with earthquake activity, activation/de-activation of viruses and may even play a significant role in the evolution of species. If you are a layman just encountering this idea, a wonderful introduction to the topic can be found in the 1957 film The Strange Case of Cosmic Rays, produced by Frank Capra and still as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.

Cosmic rays and plasma mediating the galaxy
The sun’s radiation moves not through an empty vacuum, but rather a densely saturated ocean of cosmic radiation towards the earth. Its emissions (and those of the broader galactic environment) are mediated by the ionosphere, Van Allen belts and the electromagnetic field of the earth, as featured in the artistic rendition above.

Plasmas are sometimes known as the fourth fundamental state of matter (the first three being solid, liquid and gas). When the atoms and molecules making up a gas are induced to lose their electrons (becoming ions), these ions and free electrons produce an electrically conducive plasma.

Various plasma manifestations
Pictured above: Some of the various manifestations of plasma featuring their temperatures and flux density per cubic meter

Rather than supposing the interplanetary and interstellar media are composed of “empty” space or a “vacuum,” international networks of physicists have accumulated bountiful evidence over decades that a realm of highly saturated plasma and cosmic radiation is the true medium in which our planets revolve around the sun, which moves through the galactic centre of the Milky Way every 230 million years.

The trajectory of the sun's orbit through plasma in our Milky Way galaxy
An infographic produced by NASA featuring the trajectory of our sun’s orbit around the galactic center every 230 years. Another fascinating cycle featured in this graphic is the solar system’s “wobble” above and below the plane of the Milky way which occurs every 30 million years and coincides with certain mass extinction cycles.

Some of the most important pioneers in the plasma universe model of solar and galactic space-time include pre-eminent physicists Kristian Birkeland, Winston Bostwick, Anthony Peratt and Hannes Alfvén. After winning the 1970 Nobel Prize for his discovery of magneto hydrodynamics, Swedish scientist Hannes Alfvén wrote:

In order to understand the phenomena in a certain plasma region, it is necessary to map not only the magnetic but also the electric field and the electric currents. Space is filled with a network of currents which transfer energy and momentum over large or very large distances. The currents often pinch to filamentary or surface currents. The latter are likely to give space, as also interstellar and intergalactic space, a cellular structure.1Hannes Alfvén. “Cosmology in the Plasma Universe: An Introductory Explanation.” IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science. No. 18, February 1990. p. 5-10.

Hannes Alfvén

The “pinch” effect to which Alfvén refers describes the natural compression of an electrical conducting filament by magnetic forces. It occurs in lightning and the aurora borealis; its use by scientists has enabled the formation of magnetically confined plasmas used in fusion energy research. Many breakthroughs in fusion research, however, have been held back for decades due to the pervasiveness of certain false concepts of “forces,” “vacuums,” “black holes” and “dark matter” prevalent in standard theory cosmology. One of the greatest paradoxes encountered in fusion research has involved naïve attempts to overcome the Coulomb barrier.

The "pinch effect" as described by Anthony Peratt
Pictured above: One expression of the “pinch effect” as applied to cosmology by Lapointe and Alfvén’s leading student Anthony Peratt.

Anyone who has ever attempted to press the identical polarities of two strong magnets together will have a visceral idea of the Coulomb barrier. This difficulty increases as the proximity of the magnets is reduced and is amplified by many orders of magnitude in the atomic world where the “fusing” of two helium atoms or hydrogen isotopes requires that positively charged nuclei from two atoms occupy one and the same space in order to transmute and release a great deal of energy in the process.

Without a concept of the organized harmonics that pervade plasmas—which researchers like Bostwick, Alfvén, Peratt et al. have proven—the only path to attaining fusion is through the brute force of pounding nuclei together and super-heating them to speed up their motion in giant Tokamak reactors. However when working with plasmas and the electromagnetic dynamics of Birkeland currents, we are now dealing with frequencies, pulses and wavelengths that can amplify or de-amplify and create consonances or dissonances with measurable observable effects. In this sense, space actually has more in common with a symphony than with kinetic objects emitting “forces” in a vacuum.

Super-heated plasma in the European JET Tokamak reactor
An inside view of the European JET Tokamak featuring an image of super-heated plasma confined by strong magnetic fields at right.

Anthony Peratt’s Galactic Insight

One of the leading figures of the plasma universe school is Anthony Peratt, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics and close collaborator with Hannes Alfvén. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, Peratt generated an incredible model of spiral galaxy structures forming within a charged plasma. It has long been observed that plasmas have a tendency to create minuscule steady-state superstructures like vortices and spheres (called “solitons” for their likeness to the sun). These observed structures form in plasmas for reasons that have not yet been fully ascertained and endure for very short intervals of time. In spite of their mysteriously short duration, they do exist and cannot be accounted for under any mathematical analysis that features Newtonian concepts of empty space and self-evident masses or forces.

Peratt took these observations to a new level of cosmology when he began to apply the results of two spherical plasmas “pinched” by two magnetic Birkeland filaments of 1018 amperes. In his 1986 paper “Evolution of the Plasma Universe: II. The Formation of Systems of Galaxies,” Peratt published several simulations featured under the M81 spiral galaxy image below:

Spiral galaxies of the plasma universe

Whereas the evolution of actual galaxies takes billions of years, the evolution of two adjacent plasma spheres into a fully formed microscopic spiral galaxy endures for mere picoseconds under Peratt’s models. The fact that the plasma universe model generates such analogues to the macro-verse is incredible. Though it is merely the matter of SCALE of physical space-time which differs in both cases, the qualitative effects are the same.

Equally extraordinary is the fact that this model doesn’t rely on any recourse to the imposition of imaginary entities like black holes or dark matter to account for the galaxy’s structure as mainstream mathematical physicists have been forced to do.

In another fascinating experiment, Peratt used information from three radio telescopes to form models of double radio galaxies and found similar analogies of the evolution of these galactic structures within laboratory plasmas as documented in his paper “3-Dimensional Particle-in-Cell Simulations of Spiral Galaxies.” Peratt’s simulations generated macro-structures in his laboratory identical to those same double radio galaxies observed in the universe.

Examples of double radio galaxies mediated by plasma

Peratt has been very clear that mainstream aversion to accepting this experimental pathway in physics stems from Newtonian doctrine regarding matter and the emptiness of space. He stated as much recently:

Space, being the most voluminous of the cosmos, when treated as pure vacuum, gives a false sense that most of the universe is in a known state, the only unknowns being the point-like masses occupying Newton’s universe. The discovery of the complexity of the planetary plasma magnetospheres proved that space is plasma with an electrodynamic complexity that exceeds that of the first three states of matter.2Cited in “Plasma Physics: Proceedings of the 1997 Latin American Workshop.” Pablo Martin, Julio Puerta ed. p. 54.

Dr. Anthony Peratt

As Above, So Below: Max Planck & Johannes Kepler

Peratt’s identification of Newtonian assumptions as the core mental crutch holding back researchers in the fields of cosmology and atomic physics alike is incredibly important. A few words would be appropriate here to clarify how and why these Newtonian principles crept into modern science when brilliant physicists like Max Planck and Albert Einstein, both of whom revolutionized these domains over a century ago, were not only unencumbered by Newtonian doctrine but in fact shattered it brilliantly. Throughout their lives, both men applied not the method of Newton in their creative work, but rather the method of Johannes Kepler. In his New Astronomy (1609), On the Six-Cornered Snowflake (1609) and Harmonices Mundi (1619), Kepler not only created the basis for a modern astrophysics establishing his Three Laws, but set that new physics upon the foundations of musical harmony.

An illustration of the three planetary laws of Johannes Jepler
Pictured above: Johannes Kepler’s 3 planetary laws unshackled physics from mysticism and relied on a musical insight outlined in his 1619 masterpiece Harmonices Mundi featuring his model of the solar system. The fact that his 3rd Law comprised the effect of this theory should cause the sceptic to think twice before dismissing Kepler’s insight as rubbish.

It is not uncommon for a mathematician to freak out when confronting the argument that the laws of macro-physics are in harmony with the laws of micro-physics, or even that the inner subjective world of mankind is in harmony with the outer objective universe. One could imagine a statistical probability theorist exclaim: Everyone knows that 20th century quantum mechanics has proven that the random, chaotic laws of the microcosm are entirely incompatible with the pre-deterministic laws of gravitation and electricity dominant in the macrocosm!

Well, if Neils Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli and the Copenhagen School interpretation of the quantum which took over the narrative of quantum mechanics at the turn of the 20th century is correct, then this addled mathematician’s claim is certainly true and there is no point in searching for discoverable principles that could furnish mankind with a unifying conception of the universe. Although adherents to the Copenhagen interpretation assert this schism to be an absolute truth beyond which no mind can pass, the irony is that this very school is celebrated for having disproven the notion of causality or truthfulness altogether! If anything, the micro- and macro-worlds may only be united under the presumed “irrationalism and statistical probability” which governed the inner universe of Bohr’s own mind.3See Billington, Michael. “Taoist Perversion of 20th Century Science.” Fidelio. Fall, 1994.

The 5th Solvay Conference of 1927
The 5th Solvay Conference of 1927 (pictured above) featured an all-out battle between two opposing schools of physics over how the paradoxes of the quantum domain should be treated. On the one hand, actual creative scientists who made sincere breakthroughs such as Max Planck, Marie Curie, Konrad Lorenz and Einstein defended the idea of causality and truth while the new breed of statistical probability theorists of the Copenhagen School (Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli et al.) asserted the contrary. Unfortunately for the 20th century, the “old guard” scientists were discarded as obsolete and naive.

However the question should be asked: what if those founding fathers of today’s quantum physics such as Einstein and Planck were right in their assertion that the new breed of statistical probability theorists of the Copenhagen school were wrong to deny causality and truth? What if Einstein was right in stating that “God doesn’t play dice with the universe”? Perhaps the lack of progress in fusion research or fundamental discoveries in general over the 20th century had something to do with the abandonment of a fruitful method of thinking which Einstein, Planck and other great souls understood.

Albert Einstein and Max Planck in 1931
Pictured above: Albert Einstein and Max Planck in 1931

Speaking against the abandonment of causality, Planck argued in his 1935 book The Philosophy of Physics that “the reason why the measurements of atomic physics are inexact need not be looked for necessarily in any failure of causality. It may equally well consist in the formulation of faulty concepts and hence inappropriate questions.

In the same work, Planck argued that the corruption of science (which has deepened 80 years later) was tied to two fundamental errors: (1) the imposition of mathematics into the dominant position above experimental physics which induced scientists to try to “fit” physical reality into the limited (and often wrong) cage of their mathematical language; and (2) the tendency to withdraw the subjective mind of the scientist from the equation of the objective universe he was investigating. On this point, Planck said:

In dealing with the structure of any science, a reciprocal inter-connection between epistemological judgements and judgements of value was found to arise, and that no science can be wholly disentangled from the personality of the scientists.

Max Planck, The Philosophy of Physics

Max Planck: Music as a Fundamental Principle of the Plasma Universe

Towards the end of his life, Max Planck strove passionately to re-infuse scientific practice with the sense of honesty and love which animated the greatest discoveries of human history including his own discoveries of the quantum and Planck’s constant. In both his incredible works The Philosophy of Physics and Where Is Science Going? (1932), Planck makes the point that the wave-particle duality paradox can only be resolved by infusing the mind of the inquirer into the equation and removing the conceptual wall dividing observer from observed.

To clarify the wave-particle paradox and Planck’s resolution, it should be noted that unlike a planet or other projectile, a light photon’s velocity and position cannot be simultaneously measured, for the moment one attempts to “see” a photon, those photons “hitting” the observed “object” change their position before returning to the eye of the observer. Planck states that the resolution to this must be found not in lazily assuming that light must simply have two opposing identities of wave and particle, nor that the truth of its essence cannot be known, but rather that the very definitions of wave and particle—as well as mind itself—must be refined by treating the matter of free will scientifically, for this is the only known case in which the act of observing changes that which is being observed. Planck states:

We may perhaps deal with free will. Looked at subjectively, the will, in so far as it looks to the future, is not causally determined, because any cognition of the subject’s will itself acts causally upon the will, so that any definitive cognition of a fixed causal nexus is out of the question. In other words, we might say that looked at from outside (objectively), the will is causally determined, and that looked at from inside (subjectively) it is free.

Max Planck, The Philosophy of Physics

Planck described the role of creative thought in this process most beautifully when he said:

A good working hypothesis is essential for any investigation. This being so, we are faced with the difficult question how we are to set about to find the most suitable hypothesis. For this there can be no general rule. Logical thought by itself does not suffice—not even where it has an exceptionally large and manifold body of experience to aid it. The only possible method consists in immediately gripping the problem or in seizing upon some happy idea. Such an intellectual leap can be executed only by a lively and independent imagination and by a strong creative power, guided by an exact knowledge of the given facts so that it follows the right path.

Max Planck, The Philosophy of Physics

While Planck was an accomplished pianist, Einstein spoke relentlessly on the importance of his soul’s adherence to classical music and his love of playing Mozart on his violin. Both men played music together frequently, and both testified to the vital role of performing classical music in allowing them to leap beyond the constraints of logical deductive/inductive reasoning (aka: formal mathematics) which had prevented them from formulating fruitful hypotheses.

Albert Einstein playing the violin

On the role of music in scientific discovery, Einstein said:

The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.4Recorded in a 1969 interview by Shinichi Suzuki, entitled “Nurtured by Love: A New Approach to Education.”

Albert Einstein

In another essay, Einstein went even further to describe the role of causality in a Bach fugue as a master key to unlock the mathematically unsolvable problems of the quantum and causality more generally:

I believe that events in nature are controlled by a much stricter and closely binding law than we suspect today, when we speak of one event being the cause of another. Our concept here is confined to one happening within one time section. It is dissected from the whole process. Our present rough way of applying the causal principle is quite superficial… We are like a child who judges a poem by its rhyme, and not by its rhythm. Or, we are like a juvenile learner at the piano just relating one note to that which immediately precedes or follows. To an extent, this may be all very well, when one is dealing with simple compositions; but it will not do for the interpretation of a Bach fugue. Quantum physics has presented us with very complex processes, and to meet them, we must further enlarge and refine our concept of causality.5From Einstein’s appendix to Planck, Max. Where Is Science Going?. Woodbridge CT: Ox Bow Press. 1931.

Albert Einstein

To my knowledge, nowhere was this idea better expressed in our modern age than in the short 17-minute video, “Is the Past Fixed? Part II – The Ontology of Mind.”

Max Planck On Putting Our Mind Back in the Driver’s Seat

It may seem that we have deviated from our original theme of a plasma universe. However, that is not so. The only reason why the natural creative evolution of science was artificially derailed during the 20th century was the failure of leading scientists, artists and philosophers to follow the superior method of creative discovery utilised lovingly by the likes of Planck and Einstein, such that fusion power was not achieved on schedule and revolutionary discoveries on par with those of the late 19th-early 20th century failed to occur.

Instead of a new age of breakthroughs in space travel, atomic discoveries and the dawn of world peace as envisioned by the followers of John F. Kennedy, the 20th century saw the formation of a new scientific priesthood and the transformation of society into a consumer cult attempting to forever live in the elusive now—ignorant of the past, fearful of the future and disdainful of human nature.

So as mankind’s understanding begins to penetrate beyond the limits of the heliosphere and into interstellar space, and as new discoveries are made into the secret world of the atom, let us be reminded of the wise words of Planck:

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature, and that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature, and therefore, part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. Music and art are, to an extent, also attempts to solve, or at least express that mystery. But to my mind, the more we progress with either, the more we are brought into harmony with all nature itself. And that is one of the great services of science to the individual.

Max Planck, The Philosophy of Physics

Matthew Ehret is a journalist and co-founder of the Rising Tide Foundation. He has published scientific articles with 21st Century Science and Technology, and is a regular contributor to several political/cultural websites including the Los Angeles Review of Books: China Channel, Strategic Culture, and Oriental Review. He has also authored three books in the Untold History of Canada series.

Joachim Du Bellay and Walter Benjamin on Translation

Joachim Du Bellay: Antiquités III: Translation and Commentary

After providing his own translation of a poem by Joachim Du Bellay, David Solway addresses the art of translation. Cicero, he contends, is a far more reliable resource than Walter Benjamin on this subject. Why Benjamin? Simply because his ideas have been very influential in this domain. Why Cicero? Because Cicero was the orator par excellence. In brief, Benjamin, advises the translator “to regain pure language fully formed in the linguistic flux.” How such a hierophantic feat is to be achieved leaves Solway as baffled as us. Surely a more attainable objective is possible. Cicero, on the other hand, tells us that a translator ought to retain the original ideas and forms of thought but must recast, renew and reinvent the poem in the contemporary language and idiom of the translator. The Rome of Du Bellay is a figure of that lost original, that past that we work to make present.

Pictured above: Joachim Du Bellay and Walter Benjamin. Du Bellay (c. 1522-1560) was a French poet and critic born into a noble family in the Loire River valley. He helped found the literary group La Pléiade in part to promote his belief that the French language of his time was capable of producing a literature as rich and expressive as that of ancient Greece and Rome. His book of verse, The Regrets, is a distillation of the Pléiade manifesto and widely regarded as one of the finest sonnet sequences in all of French literature. Meanwhile, Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a philosopher, cultural critic and essayist. Born in Berlin into a wealthy Jewish family, he became associated with the Frankfurt Institute during the inter-war years, and it was under its auspices that he produced perhaps his most influential work, an essay entitled “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936). In the essay, he introduces his foundational concept of the “aura”—the unique quality of an artwork that made it equivalent to a sacred icon in religious ritual. According to Benjamin, however, the timeless aura of the artwork dissolved in the age of capitalist mass production, which effectively rejected the concept of “originality.”

Les Antiquités de Rome III (1558)
Joachim Du Bellay

Nouveau venu, qui cherches Rome en Rome
Et rien de Rome en Rome n’aperçois,
Ces vieux palais, ces vieux arcs que tu vois,
Et ces vieux murs, c’est ce que Rome on nomme.

Vois quel orgueil, quelle ruine, et comme
Celle qui mit le monde sous ses lois,
Pour dompter tout, se dompta quelquefois,
Et devint proie au temps, qui tout consomme.

Rome de Rome est le seul monument,
Et Rome Rome a vaincu seulement.
Le Tibre seul, qui vers la mer s’enfuit,

Reste de Rome. O mondaine inconstance!
Ce qui est ferme, est par le temps détruit,
Et ce qui fuit, au temps fait résistance.

The Antiquities of Rome III
Joachim Du Bellay

You, the newcomer, seeking Rome in Rome,
well, there is no Rome there that you can see,
some walls and arches, mere antiquity,
crumbling palaces—that’s what we call Rome.
 
Just look! What pride, what ruin, what dusty blooms
of reminiscent grandeur yet remain
of she who tamed the world, and all in vain?
Not much, I’m afraid. Rome’s what Rome consumes.
 
Let’s say that Rome’s the only monument
and only Rome has conquered Rome at last.
As tributary to the future’s past

the Tiber’s all that’s left of all that’s spent.
For what is firm the years will soon erase
while that which roams still, somehow, keeps its place.


A Preamble on Translation

                                   The original is unfaithful to the translation

 Jorge Luis Borges

Approaching a poem written in another time and/or place, the translator faces a literal dilemma, a double problem of conflicting loyalties. He is always in two minds about what he is doing. He must obviously strive to remain faithful to the author’s intent and sensibility as exemplified in their lexical reification while simultaneously reflecting the cultural atmospherics and the language customs of the time or place in which he himself lives.

The rule was laid down long ago by Cicero in his De optimo genere oratorum (The Best Kind of Orator). Cicero was not a poet but among the greatest of orators, sharing with the poet the conatus toward rhetorical power. A master of apt words, phrasal sweep and the rhythms of persuasion, he is an authority worth attending to. Commenting on his translation of Greek authors, Cicero tells us that his practice involved “keeping the same ideas and the forms, one might say, the ‘figures’ of thought, but in language that conforms to our usage.” The translator must, as it were, be in two different regions at once, in particular when he is straddling two historical periods which may have little in common with one another. A certain balletic suppleness is required, a “doing the splits” with grace and apparent effortlessness, so that the performance moves seamlessly, avoiding the twin perils of awkwardness and rigidity.

In his well-known essay “The Task of the Translator,” Walter Benjamin asserts, in typical homiletic fashion, that the essential quality of a work of art “is not statement or the imparting of information” but a kind of penumbra of irreducible meaning consisting of “the unfathomable, the mysterious, the ‘poetic’.” This leaves us precisely nowhere, which does not prevent Benjamin from proclaiming that the translator must give voice “to the intentio of the original not as reproduction but as harmony.” Through the miasma of his annunciations, it is evident that Benjamin is not in sympathy with Cicero’s retention of the “ideas and forms” of the original production.

Benjamin’s contention that poetry is not a declarative medium, however, is true as far as it goes. A poem is intended to elicit a feeling, sensation or belief comparable to that experienced by its author; however, it is often rich with information as well, with what we call a “message.” A sonnet like Shakespeare’s “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” or Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee” (not to mention “Antiquities III” by Du Bellay) is not only indirectly evocative of a prior state of being but also directly communicative of a specific content. This is something the translator cannot afford to ignore without expurgating his subject. When Benjamin goes on to say that “any translation which intends to perform a transmitting function cannot transmit anything but information—hence, something inessential,” he shows that he is far more of a philosopher than a poet—or, for that matter, more of an arcane speculator than a responsible translator. As Yahia Lababidi writes in his book of aphorisms, Signposts to Elsewhere, “Philosophers, like roadmaps, are not to be consulted when driving.” The same caveat may apply to theorists of translation.

“Philosophers, like roadmaps, are not to be consulted when driving.”

Yahia Lababidi

I spend some time with Walter Benjamin since his essay on translation has exerted a profound influence on the practice. For him, the “intention of the poet is spontaneous, primary, graphic, that of the translator is derivative, ultimate, ideational.” Moreover, according to this expert, translation represents “the great motif of integrating many tongues into one true language.” Both claims are instances of sheer metaphysics at work and can neither be verified nor falsified. When we learn that “the tremendous and the only capacity of the translator” is “to regain pure language fully formed in the linguistic flux,” we may be forgiven for concluding that so ineffable a mandate can pertain only to the Son of God but must necessarily escape the ministrations of any baptismal precursor or apostolic successor.

If translation were the effort to attain to the one, true, pure language which is “the expressionless and creative Word, that which is meant in all languages,” no translator with a sense of saving humility would deign to put pen to paper to achieve so exalted a purpose. And if translation were merely “derivative,” something divorced from the creative impulse and deaf to the call of originality, no translator worth his dignity would undertake so diminished an enterprise.

Translation, so far as a non-professional like myself can see, is neither a mystical and portentous activity that broaches the realm of the Benjaminian sublime nor a mere proletarian engagement with verbal homologies and locutional replications. I understand the act of translation as a hybrid and diametric process which, manifestly, does not enjoy primary creative status since a given text must precede it to be worked upon. Nevertheless, translation at its best represents an entirely original endeavour. Translation is not mimicry or duplication. It is the strenuous and laudable attempt to remake a pioneer document in such a way that it is both old and new at the same instant, hewing close to the spirit of the predecessor via idea, form and message—both Cicero’s “‘figures’ of thought” and the thought itself—but assuming the lexical and syntactical mantle, the speech habits, of the contemporary moment. Ezra Pound’s famous dictum, “make it new,” is valid not only for the poet but the translator, too.

The text which the translator addresses is also an object-in-the-world and consequently implies a pristine subject materially equipollent with whatever the poet has chosen as subject. It signifies a correlative independence. This does not change the fact that translation comes afterward, as afterword. Translation is a secondary event. But in breaking new ground, it is no less innovative and novel for all that, no less seminal and unprecedented—hence, original. Thus translation may be provisionally defined as both formative and informative or, in short, as the literary act of serial inventiveness.


A Note on the Translation of “Antiquties III” 

In this particular instance, my fealty to the author and his poem can be expressed only by adhering to what we share across the centuries and across the dimensions which separate us, namely, the two factors of theme and form. With respect to his theme, the paradox of flow and stasis in the current of time, this is an experience which transcends the ages, for all human beings are susceptible to the feeling of wonder and anguish it evokes. With respect to poetic form, the sonnet has survived the dispersions of time and fashion and remains firmly embedded in the tradition of the craft, right down to the appropriate rhyme schemes, stanzaic divisions and the decasyllabic line.

The translator’s allegiance to the original, then, requires that he does justice to the poet’s message and that he reproduces, so far as possible, the technical armature in which it is negotiated and diffused. Clearly, the translator, like the poet,1For Benjamin, poetry and translation are incommensurable projects. “The task of the translator,” he assures us, “may be regarded as distinct and clearly differentiated from the task of the poet,” since great poets may be poor translators. But the relation of competence between the poet as poet and the poet as translator is entirely contingent and may be explained by empirical factors, personal issues or other variables. Nor is Benjamin’s assumption substantiated by facts. To take only example, T.S. Eliot was undeniably a major poet and, judging from his translation of the Anabasis of St.-Perse, a first-rate translator as well. Benjamin himself praises Holderlin for his translation of Sophocles–though, it must be admitted, he characteristically tempers his applause owing not to the work’s falling short in any way but to its very perfection: “the gates of language thus expanded and modified may slam shut and enclose the translator with silence.” What Benjamin giveth, Benjamin taketh away. may ring his changes upon the basic pattern bequeathed by the canon, but these are more like grace notes which vary or embellish the underlying melody.

At the same time, the translator must avoid the error of misplaced fidelity, that is, he cannot betray the gradients of his own time and culture without appearing clumsy, unresponsive and, in the pejorative sense, artificial. True artifice must always seem natural. The way in which the translator ensures and maintains the authenticity of his translation is by producing not a literal rendition of the verbal object but by adapting it to the linguistic norms of his own day, locale and practice. Continuity is preserved in difference.

Regarding this particular poem, I have tried to remain true to my subject by labouring to express his theme as unequivocally as possible and by approximately preserving the sonnet form he employs, though I have slightly modified the latter to conform to the rules of the English (or “Shakespearian”) sonnet mode. After all, this is an English translation.

But I have also tried to “free up” the diction in the direction of colloquial usage—in effect, the poetic vernacular of our time—in order to refresh the archive by giving the impression of contemporaneity. In other words, in other words. This is how, as the translator would like to believe, Du Bellay might have composed his poem if he were visiting Rome not, say, in 1554 but in 2009. Du Bellay spoke truly when he suggested in his La Deffence et Illustration de la Langue Françoys (1549), commenting on the translation process, that what you cannot render in one place you must compensate for in another: translation is not imitation. Mimesis has its uses but, to cite Du Bellay, it is “odious to imitate within one’s own language.”

As a result, the language I deploy in my version of the poem needs to align itself differently, closer to the measures of idiomatic or demotic speech, thus affecting a more conversational and informal tone, even at the level of line breaks and lower case line beginnings. One is not trying to clone the instrumentalities of the sixteenth century in the twenty-first but, at the risk of an arrant hybris punishable by the gods, to re-write the poem along a set of contours limning, and so befitting, the present moment. Translation is always, to an extent, re-writing.

Of course, Edmund Spenser’s translation of “Antiquities III” in Complaints: Ruines of Rome reads very much like a strict correlative of Du Bellay’s original, reprising the “poetic diction” common to the era. This is to be expected. The two poets were near coetanians, Spenser having been born at about the time Du Bellay made his Roman sojourn, and they were separated only by a channel. And Spenser, an educated European, knew French language and literature well. Poetic artifice was as natural to Spenser as it was to Du Bellay.

We can see the transition toward the linguistic meridians of the modern in Yvor Winters’ translation of Du Bellay’s “Rome.” Winters was a rigorous classicist and constructed a close verbal and formal equivalent; yet he permits himself certain modern liberties, as, for example, the insertion of the dash to conjure implication and a hint of phrasal currency in the use of prepositives.

My own attempt moves further toward the terminus of colloquial speech, which consorts with the language now spoken and written by poets. For the diction of the past, like Du Bellay’s Rome, has decayed, leaving only the occasional word-artifact and metric trace behind. But the perennials of human experience and the principles of the tradition, like Du Bellay’s Tiber, resist the erosions of time.


Commentary

The poem that the translator visits and lives in for a time resembles, in a displaced but simulated fashion, the very city of Rome which Du Bellay peruses, envisions and reconstructs in his imagination. It appears as alien, marmoreal and rather intimidating to the “nouveau venu,” in this case, the translator, who embarks on the process of coming to terms with its “presence” and of interpreting its meaning, however fugitive it may seem through the fragmentary glimpses he is afforded of the poet’s mind and the poem’s gestation.

In the course of time, through his efforts at taming and consolidating what can only be described as a monumental evasiveness, the translator produces a pale and inadequate facsimile of the original, called a “translation”—as specified in the word’s Latin etymology, translatus, something “transferred” or “carried over” from one place to another or, as it may also happen, from one time to another.

Gradually, in the act of transition from source language to target language, a curious phenomenon occurs in the mind of the translator. It is as if the original begins inexorably to destroy itself, slowly to disappear from view and to collapse upon its own textual structure, existing only in memory. It suffers a sort of décrochage and is replaced by the detritus of its own disintegrating presence, supplemented by more recent or different structures of thought and language, new additions from an ambient sensibility.

The transmutation that emerges retains a certain resemblance to its predecessor and yet constitutes a violation of the latter’s prior integrity, a falling off from its perceived grandeur and wholeness, as if marking the indiscretions of time. To translate is to bear witness to the devouring agent which consumes whatever has been built to withstand, so that, regardless of how impressive and original the construction which arises may be, it remains only a simulacrum of the perfection which escapes it.

In this sense, the translator who approaches his task finds himself in precisely the same position vis à vis his object as did Du Bellay in his nostalgic confrontation with a Rome that was no longer Rome. The translation, so to speak, is a residue of palaces, arches and walls that have succumbed to the relentless weathering of time and distance: the time that elapses from the first meeting with the original to the last revision of its errant double, which may be considerable; the psychic distance that divides the newcomer from his antecedence. Whatever triumph he may claim, or others may claim for him, his re-imagining of what is only partly there is always a function of regret and of missing. He is, as Du Bellay himself knew when he wrote Les Regrets, like le pélerin regrettant sa maison.

But we can go further. Since the exercise upon which we are now engaged entails the search of the “essence” of poetry, we can say, by extrapolation, that from the perspective of the poet in the act of composition, the enigmatic and tantalizing “essence” of poetry is identical to that of translation, that is, nostalgia, regret, contrition for the core of failure that resides in every tentative success and even in the greatest and most undoubted success. The sense of elation the poet feels in having brought his poem to term is always tempered by the sobering realization that he could have done better in rendering insight into language, but also by his recognition that the best of which he is capable is necessarily unequal to the challenge. The object always escapes his grasp, leaving only a token of its passage behind—a stone, an arch, a façade. 

The attempt to transpose experience into words approximates the relation of effigy to totem, of things resembling something else to things looking what they are supposed to look like. The poet is acutely conscious that the poem he has “carried over” from his mind onto the page or, alternatively, from the world to the word, remains only an effigy, an impoverished replica, of a reality that is resolutely totemic and so only partly translatable. And this is true no matter how luminous and gratifying the final product.

In this light, every poem is in itself a species of translation, a Rome that is no longer Rome. To cite once again from Du Bellay’s sonnet XII from Les Regrets, the “essence” of poetry—at least for the poet, for in itself it can neither be isolated nor described—is nothing more, though nothing less, than l’importun souci qui sans fin me tourmente

Finally, as I’ve written elsewhere, “both the translation and the poem are paradigms and images of all human striving, married to desire yet destined to failure, to realize the slippery and ever-elusive promise of transcendence from the given to the possible impossible, to establish contact between indiscernibles, to work at the rapprochement not only between two poets, two readers, two languages and two epochs but ultimately between two aspects of the divided self, the self we negotiate daily in the market of the commonplace and the self we intuit existing in potentia on the other side of language. 

That’s what we call Rome.


1 For Benjamin, poetry and translation are incommensurable projects. “The task of the translator,” he assures us, “may be regarded as distinct and clearly differentiated from the task of the poet,” since great poets may be poor translators. But the relation of competence between the poet as poet and the poet as translator is entirely contingent and may be explained by empirical factors, personal issues or other variables. Nor is Benjamin’s assumption substantiated by facts. To take only one example, T.S. Eliot was undeniably a major poet and, judging from his translation of the Anabasisof St.-John Perse, a first-rate translator as well. Benjamin himself praises Hölderlin for his translations of Sophocles—though, it must be admitted, he characteristically tempers his applause owing not to the work’s falling short in any way but to its very perfection: “the gates of language thus expanded and modified may slam shut and enclose the translator with silence.” What Benjamin giveth, Benjamin taketh away. 

David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. His most recent volume of poetry, The Herb Garden (Guernica), appeared in spring 2018. His manifesto, Reflections on Music, Poetry & Politics, was released by Shomron Press in spring 2016. He has produced two CDs of original songs: Blood Guitar and Other Tales and Partial to Cain, on which he was accompanied by his pianist wife Janice Fiamengo. His latest book Notes from a Derelict Culture (Black House, 2019) was delisted from Amazon as of Sunday December 13, 2020.

Sugarloaf is a prominent feature of Hallett Cove Conservation Park in Australia

Poem in April (Walking My Name Back Home)

             I set off walking south on the shoulders
Of these high cliffs, through kissing gates and over stiles, when summer
   Was a crude suggestion yet among the broom and gorse.
                 The winter
       That did not want to end was hedging
The heath, and the geology beneath it was heroic—its syntax
        Tortured, its story lines long and unsettled by tides
                And asides, its attitudes violent,
Its voicing portentous—and reading it was as difficult, the going as slowing, as Beowulf
        In the ancient tongue. The promontory that shields


               The town from the sky was stricken
With bracken and blighted with daffodils, and it stood as gaunt and lichened
        And slant as a headstone in a churchyard. In my overcoat,
                  Which flapped and yawed
        In the heartbroken wind, I felt like an eight-year old girl
  Lost inside her mother's dress. Below me, though, the sea was loosing
                 Perfect sets against the Secret Seven shore—Foxhole,
                          Raven's Beak, Cleave Strand,
Hallett's Shoot, Smugglers' Run, Tremoutha Haven, Clambeak, The Northern Door,
          The Strangles—and the wind kept up its perpetual complaint.


             The birds—blue tits, wagtails, jackdaws in their jaunty
Rat-packs, choughs waking rough, magpies flying kites, a raven or two and everywhere
         The plangent gulls—were telling fast the same story the rocks tell
                  Slow, and in between the sea,
         Marbled exactly the same way the rock is strung with alabaster,
  Peddled and piped and played like an organ in a chapel—Bach, Wesley, Handel,
          Parry, and Harris's "Flourish For an Occasion"—and this day was
                        Occasion enough. The wind, a faithful elder
Of the parish, long ago decrypted the flinty geomorphology of the shoreline and punched holes
                  Through High Church flanges and installed windows there


            In the greater glory of the God. The farm buildings
And mills of the old dispensation, when I came among them, crouching in the lee,
         Cradled in the stench of silage and the baked bread odour
                    Of ploughed fields, were as different
         From the ground they stood on as a rock is from a stone, or land is
   From landscape. The shingle roofs of Trevigue, for instance, ran a warp as wild
                As the strangled strata of the scarp behind the strand
                         Beneath its feet. House torques
The same way home torques here, each dwelling the same telling as the stones. And I walked
                  My name down to its bones that day


        In the glamour of the sunshine and in the clamour of the shade,
But I have no idea if what I felt as I closed in on my beginning again was the ecstasy
      Of exhaustion, or arrival. My name lives here, but I do not. There's a song
                  Going on as long as the sea, and I am the words
          It's forgotten. Home is the ground the distance sometimes makes up
  On me. And crossing the bridge at the end of that homespun myth of an afternoon
        Of the world, I startled a kingfisher dipping the skinny brook and she
                          Dropped her book and flew down-
River, stark in her sly grog blue and white clogs, and her flight was a race the same shifting shape
                   As the tongue-twisting bed she'd been singing.

Mark Tredinnick is an Australian poet, essayist, and teacher. His many books include A Gathered Distance, Bluewren Cantos, and Fire Diary. He has taught poetry and expressive writing at the University of Sydney for over twenty-five years, and in 2020, was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to literature and education. He won the Montreal International Poetry Prize in 2011 for his poem “Walking Underwater.”

Dr. Luc Montagnier

Dr. Luc Montagnier & The Optical Biophysics Heresy

In this paper, Matthew Ehret examines Nobel Prize-winning virologist Dr. Luc Montagnier’s breakthroughs in the field of optical biophysics which have given rise to his bold, controversial theory of “electromagnetic wave therapy” as an alternative to vaccines for the treatment of viruses as well as a revolutionary means of treating all manner of acute and chronic diseases.

Pictured above: Dr. Luc Montagnier on June 28, 2010.
Image credit: Bastian Greshake Tsovaras

Montagnier’s Wave Therapy: Quackery or Genius?

On April 16, Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier made headlines by asserting his controversial belief that COVID-19 was made in a laboratory, a statement in direct opposition to such respected figures as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, the World Health Organization and the teams of evolutionary virologists aligned with Nature Magazine. Only further research will reveal the truth in this regard, but more interesting than Montagnier’s hunch here is his infinitely more compelling proposal for an international crash program in something called electromagnetic wave therapy. Rather than investing in vaccines, Montagnier has explained that it would be much wiser for nations of the world to launch an intensive study of a very different approach to viral treatments, saying:

I think we can make interference waves which are behind the RNA sequences that can eliminate those sequences with waves and consequently stop the pandemic.

Dr. Luc Montagnier

President Trump indicated his interest in Montagnier’s approach in his April 23rd briefing in conversation with Bill Bryan, head of the science and technology division of the Department of Homeland Security. Here’s how Trump put it:

Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous…whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you are going to test it… And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you are going to test it.

Donald Trump

While Trump has been relentlessly—even compulsively—attacked as “unscientific” for these (and almost all) utterances, such criticism is unjustified, and is itself borne of an ignorance of the underlying science. It so happens that Montagnier is the pioneering mind advancing this idea, which follows from his incredible discoveries into the electromagnetic properties of life.

Montagnier’s innovations into “bleaching therapy” which Trump referenced in the same briefing are also much more complex than mainstream detractors assume and has nothing to do with simply injecting disinfectants into the blood stream. These therapies are highly interconnected with the electromagnetic waves emitted by certain types of bacteria which Montagnier has discovered to be the most likely driving mechanism of many chronic and acute diseases.

What Is Optical Biophysics and What Did Montagnier Discover?

Optical biophysics is the study of the electromagnetic properties of the physics of life. This school of science studies the light emissions and absorption frequencies from cells, DNA, and molecules of organic matter, how these interface with water (making up over 75% of a human body), and how they are moderated by the nested array of magnetic fields located at the quantum level and stretching up to the galactic level.

Without discounting the bio-chemical nature of life, the optical biophysician asks: what is the PRIMARY driver in growth, replication, and the division of labour of individual cells or entire species of organisms? Is it the chemical attributes of living matter? Or is it the electromagnetic properties?

Let me explain the conundrum.

There are approximately 40 trillion highly differentiated cells in the average human body, each performing very specific functions and requiring an immense field of coherence and intercommunication. Every second approximately 10 million of those cells die, to be replaced by 10 million new cells. Many of these cells are made up of bacteria, and much of the DNA and RNA within them are made up of viruses (mostly dormant), but which can be activated or deactivated by a variety of chemical and electromagnetic methods.

Here’s the big question:

How might this complex and fully coordinated system be maintained by chemical processes alone?—especially considering the timeframes involved: 10 million per second over the course of a day, a month, an entire lifetime.

The physics of the motion of enzymes which carry information in the body from one location to another simply doesn’t come close to accounting for the information coordination required among all these parts. This is where Montagnier’s research comes in.

After winning the 2008 Nobel Prize, Dr. Montagnier published a revolutionary yet heretical 2010 paper called “DNA Waves and Water” which took the medical community by storm. In this paper, Montagnier demonstrated how low frequency electromagnetic radiation within the radio wave part of the spectrum is emitted from bacterial and viral DNA and how said light is able to both organize water and transmit information. The results of his experiments are showcased wonderfully in this 9-minute video:

Using a photo-amplifying device invented by Dr. Jacques Benveniste in the 1980s to capture the ultra low light emissions from cells, Montagnier filtered out all particles of bacterial DNA from a tube of water and discovered that the post-filtered solutions containing no material particles continued to emit ultra low frequency waves. This became more fascinating when Montagnier showed that under specific conditions of a 7 Hz background field (the same as the Schumann resonance which naturally occurs between the earth’s surface and the ionosphere), the non-emitting tube of water that had never received organic material could be induced to emit frequencies when placed in close proximity with the emitting tube. Even more interesting is that when base proteins, nucleotides and polymers (building blocks of DNA) were put into the pure water, near perfect clones of the original DNA were formed!

Dr. Montagnier and his team hypothesized that the only way for this to happen is if the DNA’s blueprint is somehow imprinted into the very structure of water itself resulting in a form of “water memory” that had earlier been pioneered by immunologist Jacques Benveniste (1935-2004), the results of which are showcased in the incredible 2014 documentary Water Memory.

Just as Benveniste suffered one of the most ugly witch hunts in modern times (led in large measure by Nature Magazine in 1988), Montagnier’s Nobel prize did not protect him from a similar fate, and an international slander campaign has followed him over the past 10 years. Nearly 40 Nobel Prize winners have signed a petition denouncing Montagnier for his heresy and the great scientist was forced to flee Europe to escape what he describes as a culture of “intellectual terror.” In response to this slander, Montagnier said to LaCroix magazine:

I’m used to attacks from these academics who are just retired bureaucrats, closed off from all innovation. I have the scientific proofs of what I say.

Dr. Luc Montagnier

Describing the greatest challenges to advancing this research, Montagnier stated:


We have chosen to work with the private sector because no funds could come from public institutions. The Benveniste case has made it so that anyone who takes an interest in the memory of water is considered… I mean it smells of sulphur. It’s Hell.

Dr. Luc Montagnier

The Long Wave of Discovery & Scientific Schism

Montagnier’s fight is merely a shadow of a much larger clash within western science itself. While many people think simplistically that there is one singular branch of science from Galileo to Descartes to Newton to the present, the reality upon closer inspection indicates two opposing paradigms—one of which has been obscured systematically by politically-motivated witch hunts since even before the days of Huxley’s X Club and the 1869 founding of Nature Magazine.1Glumaz, Paul. “Hideous Revolution: The X Club’s Malthusian Revolution in Science.” Canadian Patriot Review #8, August 2013.

Since this schism in the sciences is so often overlooked, permit me a few words on the matter.

In opposition to the materialist tradition which has attempted to impose “material causes” onto natural phenomena, the more potent school of optical biophysics advanced by Montagnier was set into motion by none other than Louis Pasteur. Although famous for his insights into vaccinations, the bacterial theory of disease and the heating process that bears his name, Pasteur’s earlier revolutionary work was predominantly shaped by discoveries emerging from his investigations into the optical properties of life and the handedness phenomenon of life. In short, using a polarimeter (see image below), Pasteur discovered that solutions which had organic material dissolved within them had the incredible property of rotating polarized light to the “left” while liquid solutions devoid of organic material did not hold that capability.

Pasteur’s early discoveries on chirality and the rotation of polarized light are displayed in this compelling 2010 docudrama.
Louis Pasteur's theory of polarized light
Pictured above: Pasteur’s polarimeter

In an 1870 letter, Pasteur described his cosmological insight into this dissymmetrical property of life to a friend Jules Raulin:

You know that I believe that there is a cosmic dissymmetric influence which presides constantly and naturally over the molecular organization of principles immediately essential to life; and that, in consequence of this, the species of the three kingdoms, by their structure, by their form, by the disposition of their tissues, have a definite relation to the movements of the universe. For many of those species, if not for all, the Sun is the primum movens of nutrition; but I believe in another influence which would affect the whole organization [geometry], for it would be the cause of the molecular dissymmetry proper to the chemical components of life. I want by experiment to grasp a few indications as to the nature of this great cosmic dissymmetrical influence. It must, it may be electricity, magnetism…

Louis Pasteur

This left handed property of life still confounds astrobiologists over a century later. Research into the cosmic dissymmetric influence ended in Europe with the mysterious 1906 death of Pierre Curie who had expanded upon Pasteur’s research. And interest in this field was further devastated when World War I sent many of the brightest young minds of Europe into a four year meat grinder of trench warfare. However, the baton was taken up again by two Russian-Ukrainian scientists who worked together closely at the University of Crimea: Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945), father of Russian atomic science and founder of the school of biogeochemistry, and his friend Alexander Gurwitsch (1874-1954).

Vernadsky Revives Pasteur’s Insight

Vernadsky used Pasteur’s work extensively in his own modeling of the biosphere and emphasised how the electromagnetic properties of life were the driving force of biochemistry. In defining the mechanisms of the biosphere, Vernadsky explained that the true scientist must not start with individual organisms and “work from the bottom up” as too many radical Darwinists were apt to do. Instead, the more sound approach is to begin, as Louis Pasteur had, with the galaxy and an awareness of the cosmic electromagnetic radiation which shapes the directed flow of biospheric evolution.

In his 1926 book The Biosphere, Vernadsky introduced his subject with the following remarks:

The biosphere may be regarded as a region of transformers that convert cosmic radiations into active energy in electrical, chemical, mechanical, thermal, and other forms. Radiations from all stars enter the biosphere, but we catch and perceive only an insignificant part of the total. The existence of radiation originating in the most distant regions of the cosmos cannot be doubted. Stars and nebulae are constantly emitting specific radiations, and everything suggests that the penetrating radiation discovered in the upper regions of the atmosphere by Hess originates beyond the limits of the solar system, perhaps in the Milky Way, in nebulae, or in stars.

Vladimir Vernadsky
Vladimir Vernadsky's vision of the biosphere

Vernadsky spent his life focusing upon the macro-states of the biosphere and how they interact with the lithosphere and noosphere (the nested domains of non-life, life and creative reason, respectively), organized as they are within an array of magnetic fields moderating the flux of cosmic radiation through the universe.

Meanwhile, his colleague Gurwitsch was studying the intersection of light and magnetic fields within the micro-states of living cells. Describing his discovery in a 2011 study on Cosmic Bio-Radiation, researcher Cody Jones explains Gurwitsch’s basic insight as follows:

Gurwitsch developed three nested levels of field structures, arranged according to complexity and spatial extent, ranging from the molecular (molecular constellations), to the cellular (relations among cells), to the organismic levels (the different organs and systems that constitute a single organism). Each nested field could be described in terms of different mechanisms as to how the morphology advanced for any particular structure, yet they were all unified towards the realization of a definite future state of existence. Gurwitsch first revolutionized life sciences by shaping an elegant experiment, which demonstrated that cells emit weak bursts of ultraviolet light as they undergo mitosis. To prove his theory, Gurwitsch set up two onion roots in perpendicular relation and found that the higher rates of light emissions which occurred on the newer tip of the roots induced cell growth of 30-40% when brought in proximity to an older onion root. Although no instruments sensitive enough to pick up these ultra-weak frequencies existed during his lifetime, Gurwitsch demonstrated that light from the ultraviolet spectrum must be generated from new cells by separating the old and new onion roots with various types of filters which blocked out different parts of the spectrum; he found that only when UV light was blocked did the 30% increase in cell growth come to an end. Gurwitsch called this “Mitogenic Radiation.”2For a full exposition of Gurwitsch’s life’s work, see: Lipkind, Michael. “Alexander Gurwitsch and the Concept of the Biological Field: Part 1 and 2.” 21st Century Science and Technology, Summer 1998.

Cody Jones
Alexander Gurwitsch's original onion root experiment
In Alexander Gurwitsch’s original onion root experiment, two onions (Z1 and Z2) grow perpendicularly with the point of intersection (W) of the younger root emitted from Z1 and the older root of Z2. They are separated by a quartz lens blocking the ultra violet emissions from Z1 to Z2.

While Gurwitsch was ostracised by the scientific establishment during his life, technologies developed by the astrophysics community in the 1950s permitted scientists to measure extremely weak light frequencies in the range of Gurwitsch’s mitogenic radiation. When teams of Italian astronomers applied their equipment to organic material, Gurwitsch’s discovery was verified experimentally for the first time.

One would think such a discovery would have revolutionised all of biology, medicine and life sciences on the spot—however after a brief spike in interest, the discovery was soon forgotten and relegated as a “negligible” secondary feature of life which had no causal role to play in any of the mechanics or behaviour of organic activity.

Then another biophysicist named Fritz-Albert Popp arrived on the scene to pick up where Gurwitsch had left off.

Fritz Popp’s Biophotonic Discoveries

During the 1970s, Dr. Fritz Popp was a cancer researcher trying to figure out why only one of the two isomers of Benzpyrene caused cancer. (An isomer is sometimes known as a mirror image configuration of a molecule—that is, chemically identical—yet whose properties can differ vastly.) According to the predominant reductionist logic, there was no reason why one isomer (Benzpyrene 3,4) which is found in cigarettes and tar would induce cancer growth in lung tissue while another isomer (Benzpyrene 1,2) would be completely benign.

Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp discovered why only one of two isomers of Benzpyrene causes cancer

After discovering the work of Gurwitsch, Dr. Popp began measuring the ultra-weak light emissions from the Benzpyrene molecules and their effects upon cell growth in liver tissues and found that the extremely high light absorption and emission properties of Benzpyrene 3,4 are not only significantly linked with the disharmony of cell regulation, but in fact can have a causal relationship with cell health. A comparison of data measuring the light activity of both cancerous and healthy liver cell growth indicates that cancerous growth coincides with exponential light emissions while healthy liver light emissions are very stable.

Photo counts of normal liver cells versus cancerous cells

Over the course of his highly productive life, Dr. Popp discovered that these light emissions occurred at different wavelengths according to the cell types, function and species. When he brought two biological samples into proximity, things turned even more interesting as the “rhythm” of the emissions synchronized beautifully and fell out of sync when separated. This was outlined in his paper “About the Coherence of Biophotons.

Describing the clinical application of these discoveries, Dr. Popp stated:

Light can initiate, or arrest, cascade-like reactions in the cells, and…genetic cellular damage can be virtually repaired, within hours, by faint beams of light. We are still on the threshold of fully understanding the complex relationship between light and life, but we can now say, emphatically that the function of our entire metabolism is dependent on light.

Dr. Fritz Popp

Popp’s discoveries amplify those of the great Russian scientist A.B. Burlakov who found that the ultra-weak light emissions emanating from two sets of fertilised fish eggs separated by glass exhibited a powerful harmonizing effect. If one set of eggs were older, then the younger eggs would mature and develop much faster when brought into proximity. However if the age difference between the two sets were too great, then the scientist found that the younger set would succumb to a higher rate of death, deformities and retardation of development. 

This way of thinking about life has the scientist approach it in a manner more in common with a musician tuning his instrument to an orchestra or a conductor holding multiple sound waves in his mind simultaneously as a whole musical idea which is greater than simply the sum of its parts. It is a much more natural and effective paradigm than the predominant reductionist view that treats the organism like a machine and the whole as a mere aggregation of chemical constituents.

Casting Montagnier’s Research in a New Light

With the foregoing in mind we may return once more to Luc Montagnier, equipped with a fresh appreciation for the conclusions he draws from his scientific data on light waves, structured water, bacteria and DNA. Once recognised, his insights cause us to re-evaluate our understanding of life, disease and medicine. Following his lead, we ought to urge an international crash program in optical biophysics research and light wave interference therapy to treat diseases…and that includes COVID-19.

In the 2011 interview featured above, Dr. Montagnier recapitulated the consequences of his discoveries:

The existence of a harmonic signal emanating from DNA can help to resolve long-standing questions about cell development, for example how the embryo is able to make its manifold transformations, as if guided by an external field. If DNA can communicate its essential information to water by radio frequency, then non-material structures will exist within the watery environment of the living organism, some of them hiding disease signals and others involved in the healthy development of the organism.

Dr. Luc Montagnier

With these insights in mind, Montagnier has discovered that many of the frequencies of EM emissions from a wide variety of microbial DNA are also found in the blood plasma of patients suffering from Influenza A, Hepatitis C, and even many neurological diseases not commonly thought of as being bacteria-influenced, such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Alzheimers. In recent years, Montagnier’s teams have even found certain signals in the blood plasmas of people with autism and several varieties of cancers.

Over a dozen French doctors have taken Montagnier’s ideas seriously enough to prescribe antibiotics to treat autism in opposition to conventional theories. During the last six years they have found that among 240 autistic patients treated, four out of five saw their symptoms either dramatically regress or disappear completely.

These results imply again that certain hard-to-detect species of light emitting microbes are closer to being the cause of these ills than the modern pharmaceutical industry is ready to admit.

A New Domain of Thinking: Trouble for Big Pharma?

As the experiment filmed in the 2014 documentary Water Memory demonstrates, Montagnier managed to transmit the recorded frequencies of wave emissions within a filtrate in a French laboratory via email to another laboratory in Italy. Using the recording, the same harmonic was infused into tubes of non-emitting water at the new location, causing the Italian tubes to slowly begin emitting signals. These DNA frequencies were then able to structure the Italian water tubes from the parent source a thousand miles away resulting in a 98% exact DNA replica.

On the cusp of so many exciting breakthroughs in medical science, we should ask: what could these results mean for the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industrial complex which relies on a practice of using chemical drugs and vaccines to treat diseases?

Speaking to this point, Montagnier says:

The day that we admit that signals can have tangible effects, we will use them. From that moment on we will be able to treat patients with waves. Therefore it’s a new domain of medicine that people fear of course. Especially the pharmaceutical industry… One day we will be able to treat cancers using frequency waves.

Dr. Luc Montagnier

Montagnier’s friend and collaborator Marc Henry, a professor of Chemistry and Quantum Mechanics at the University of Strasbourg, adds:

If we treat with frequencies and not with medicines it becomes extremely cost effective regarding the amount of money spent. We spend a lot of money to find the frequencies, but once they have been found, it costs nothing to treat.

Professor Marc Henry

Matthew Ehret is a journalist and co-founder of the Rising Tide Foundation. He has published scientific articles with 21st Century Science and Technology, and is a regular contributor to several political/cultural websites including the Los Angeles Review of Books: China Channel, Strategic Culture, and Oriental Review. He has also authored three books in the Untold History of Canada series.

Gobekli Tepe

Mother of Invention: Decoding Göbekli Tepe

In this essay Martin Sweatman reveals how the organized, prehistoric effort to build the sacred megaliths of Göbekli Tepe (pictured above) set the stage for the development of a complex society. This case study suggests it was a belief system (scientific in its time, but religious to modern minds) that led to the earliest glimmerings of civilization, including the development of agricultural technologies. Such a heretical insight overturns the general consensus among scholars that religious temples emerged in Neolithic times only after the establishment of sedentary farming communities and complicated social structures. In other words, Göbekli Tepe demonstrates that technology did not lead to the advent of civilization, but instead, it was a belief system and a desire to live together that engendered the agricultural technology necessary to achieve that cultural goal. —Image credit: Teomancimit

Out with the new, in with the old

The origin of life, the origin of consciousness and the origin of civilisation are among the most profound problems confronting us. Naturally answers are hard to find. So hard, that until recently, these issues were typically reserved for philosophers or even priests.

But science advances inexorably and with Klaus Schmidt’s 1995 discovery of Göbekli Tepe—a 13,000 year-old megalithic hill-top temple in southern Turkey—it seems we can now answer probably the easiest of these. Civilisation, it appears, began with a bang!—specifically the global catastrophe known as the Younger Dryas impact—likely caused by Earth’s collision with a swarm of cometary debris.

Ironically, the religious have always known this, as most religions tell of a catastrophic event at the origin of the world—perhaps a great flood or conflagration often involving a dragon or serpent falling to Earth, followed by the emergence of a new civilisation. The serpent here probably represents this erstwhile comet.

It has taken a long time for science to catch up. There are good reasons why. Modern science has its roots in the European Renaissance and was born when European philosophers split with religion, i.e. Christianity. They wanted, quite rightly, (statistical) confidence in their theories, which is what science aims to supply. But by splitting with religion, its catastrophic imagery—the fire and brimstone—had also to be abandoned. Unfortunately, the bathwater and the baby were rejected.

Over the following few hundred years, science developed an alternative ‘gradualistic’ view of prehistory supported by its own dogma. Craters were thought to be formed by volcanoes; abrupt transitions in the fossil record were thought to be caused by wholesale erosion; and massive deposits of sediment were thought to be blown by the wind. Cosmic impacts, extinction-level events and mega-tsunami were ruled out. Earth was a safe haven—a paradise—and we needn’t worry ourselves over those serpentine comets that slink through the inner solar system with their immensely long and bright tails.

It was unthinkable that science could have made a worse job of understanding our past than religion.

Dissenters of this orthodoxy were side-lined or even ridiculed. Such was the passion with which the gradualistic dogma was held. It was unthinkable that science could have made a worse job of understanding our past than religion. But all that has now changed. Slowly the scientific evidence for immense global catastrophes, as well as somewhat smaller ones, has emerged and must be accepted. Gradualism in science is now dead and buried.

It is now clear that cosmic impacts occur regularly on Earth, causing immense destruction on geological timescales—millions of years. The Earth impact database grows ever longer and most asteroids larger than one kilometre in diameter in near-Earth space have been detected. The science of asteroid impacts is now well-established.

But despite this back-tracking in science, the possibility that a global extinction-level catastrophe could have occurred on the timescale of human civilisation—let alone have triggered civilisation only 13,000 years ago—just as the religious stories tell us, is still extremely hard for many scientists to accept. It’s the ultimate embarrassment for science. Even worse, this event was likely caused by collision with a comet, not an asteroid. Which means we have been cataloguing the wrong cosmic threat. Ouch! Probably we should have listened to the ancient myths that cast comets as the ‘bringers of doom’—quite literally ‘evil-stars’ that spell ‘dis-aster’.

Comet

How do we know it is more likely that the Dryas impact was caused by a comet and not an asteroid?

Geochemical evidence for the Younger Dryas impact is spread over at least five continents; The Americas, Europe, West Asia and Africa. Such a wide range of dispersion implies either a massive asteroid impact or a broad swarm of cometary debris. However, an asteroid impact on this scale is quite unlikely, given that we now know how many objects of the required size currently orbit in near-Earth space. Collision with a cometary swarm of the proposed size, on the other hand, is predicted by Clube and Napier’s theory of ‘Coherent Catastrophism’. This theory is based on the latest astronomical observations, which show it is very likely a giant comet, perhaps 100 kilometres or more in diameter, became trapped within the inner solar system in the last few tens of thousands of years and has since broken up and decayed, leaving dozens of large dormant comet fragments in near-Earth space along with the active comet Encke and a massive zodiacal dust cloud.

The Younger Dryas impact

The comet impact scenario circa 10,800 BC makes perfect sense according to all the scientific evidence we have. And it doesn’t just make scientific sense, we can now understand the basis for most of the world’s religions. So in the end it is a triumph for science—finally we can explain religion with its cycles of destruction and re-birth and its prominent ophiolatry.

Prehistory Decoded by Martin Sweatman
Martin Sweatman expands on the ideas in this essay in his book Prehistory Decoded.

Evidence for the Younger Dryas impact event is collected in several hundred research papers in some of the world’s top science journals.1See “Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis” accessed on 26/02/2020 for a full bibliography of papers related to the Younger Dryas impact theory. The data is clear and reproducible—the event definitely occurred and it was massive. Given the mountain of overwhelming evidence, it’s now irrational to deny this.

But the possibility that this impact also triggered a new religion that in turn gave rise to the origin of civilisation is disputed mainly by archaeologists, anthropologists and historians burdened by their dogma. Although Göbekli Tepe was revealed to the world over 15 years ago and its significance to the debate surrounding the origin of civilisation is generally recognised, the possibility that Göbekli Tepe was constructed to memorialise the Younger Dryas impact event is strongly disputed. The reason for this is the scale of the paradigm change required within these disciplines to accept such a radical new finding. Many of their most widely-held and cherished beliefs would need to be abandoned and this is simply not going to happen quickly. Especially when in recent decades these disciplines have themselves become less scientific and more like the religions they aimed to replace.

Championed by Darwin, gradualism has infected all academia. And yet it is actually a crazy extrapolation. No scientist today would dare to propose it.

Chief among these beliefs is gradualism, applied now on the timescale of human civilisation. As already noted, this belief stretches back several hundred years—to at least the time of Hutton and Lyell—and until recently formed the foundation of geology. Championed by Darwin, gradualism has infected all academia. And yet it is actually a crazy extrapolation. No scientist today would dare to propose it. Only its momentum keeps it going. Indeed, the evidence arrayed against this notion by neo-catastrophist astronomers specialising in cometary science is undeniable.2W. Napier, D. Asher, M. Bailey and D. Steel, ‘Centaurs as a Hazard to Civilisation’, Astronomy and Geophysics vol. 56, issue 6, p. 24-30 (1995).

Next up is local evolution of culture. Before the 1970s it was widely accepted that many aspects of culture were highly diffused—it seemed to be the only way to make sense of apparent similarities between widely separated peoples. The evidence in terms of linguistics and mythology, at least, seemed obvious. But since then, largely for political reasons rather than scientific ones, this view was generally abandoned by archaeologists in favour of a model that requires us to assume all similarities between widely separated cultures are coincidental. Fortunately, we have been rescued from this awful non-science by recent developments in the study of ancient DNA. It is now effectively proven that great migrations of cultures have occurred—repeatedly—spreading their identities and DNA over wide areas.3D. Reich, Who we are and how we got here: Ancient DNA and the new science of the human past (OUP Oxford, 2019). Nevertheless, the time-depth and geographical span of some of the diffused aspects of culture that we must now consider—namely art, astronomy and religion, which probably stretch back 40,000 years or more—is still difficult for most to countenance.

Then there is the history of astronomy. It is generally believed among historians that the Western set of constellations was invented by the Babylonians in the first millennium BC, although there are hints that some asterisms and star names were derived from earlier sources, like the ancient Sumerians. Moreover, precession was believed to have been discovered by Hipparchus of ancient Greece during the second century BC. The possibility that both were well-known over 40,000 years ago and that all the Babylonians did was fiddle with some of the constellation symbols is currently considered unacceptable by many scholars. But in general, these same scholars are non-scientists, unused to considering the extreme statistical likelihood that they are wrong.4M.B. Sweatman and A. Coombs, ‘Decoding European Palaeolithic Art: Extremely Ancient Knowledge of Precession of the Equinoxes’, Athens Journal of History vol. 5, issue 1, p. 1-30 (2019).

The list of scholarly beliefs that Göbekli Tepe overturns goes on, but perhaps the least contentious among them is that agriculture was not only invented but required, before civilisation could develop. This conviction was the reason for the intense archaeological activity in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East where agriculture first developed. But Göbekli Tepe—situated at the heart of the Fertile Crescent—has turned that belief, along with all the others, on its head. For it shows that megalithic architecture, proto-writing and a level of organisation that screams ‘civilisation’ were already in play several millennia before the accepted dawn of agriculture.

Sedentary agriculture emerged after Göbekli Tepe

What is the root assumption underlying this stubborn belief that agriculture preceded civilization? And why is it fundamentally erroneous?

Civilisation is itself difficult to define precisely. But typically, we think of it in terms of the appearance of larger settled communities with specialists, such as warrior, builder, artist and priest. It was generally assumed before Göbekli Tepe’s discovery that these specialisms can only occur when significant food surpluses are available, so that people can actually spend time specialising rather than searching for food. In turn, it was thought that significant food surpluses required agriculture, which can elevate food production far above natural levels. However, Göbekli Tepe—a massive construction project with advanced artistry that would have required significant organisation—appears several millennia before agriculture is established. More precisely, Göbekli Tepe was constructed several millennia before domesticated variants of animals and plants appear in the archaeological record—its people were, however, likely experimenting with animal husbandry and cultivation. This means it is the desire to live together in larger communities, rather than the existence of agriculture, which is the key to the origin of civilisation. Presumably then, agriculture developed as a necessity to support larger communities.

Pillars 18 and 31 at Göbekli Tepe
Pillars 18 (front) and 31 (rear) at Göbekli Tepe. Image courtesy of Alistair Coombs.

Göbekli Tepe

It is quite remarkable that such an amazing feat of artistic and engineering skill could have been accomplished by the hunter-collectors of the day, presumably using only their bare hands and basic stone tools. Nothing else comes close to the achievement of Göbekli Tepe—as far as we currently know—until the huge stone ‘city wall’ and tower of Jericho were erected around 3,000 years later. It truly is the world’s first ancient ‘Wonder’.

Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe
Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe. Image courtesy of Alistair Coombs.

More remarkable still, however, is the information encoded in the numerous carved animal symbols on Göbekli Tepe’s giant pillars. Klaus Schmidt, the site’s chief excavator until his untimely death in 2014, recognised these symbols might be precursors to those that appeared in Ancient Egypt 8,000 years later. Specifically, he suggested that the pillars’ many carvings of snakes that appear to threaten the other animals, might have morphed into the Uraeus symbol of Ancient Egypt. Very likely they represent an early instance of ophiolatry and symbolise the serpentine character of comets and meteors. Schmidt also realised that a code was deployed on the pillars in that the animals were symbolic and not intended to actually represent wild animals. But he could not decode their meaning.

Pillar 2 at Göbekli Tepe
Pillar 2 at Göbekli Tepe. Image courtesy of Alistair Coombs.

However, in 2017, together with Dr Dimitrios Tsikritsis, I provided an interpretation for these animal symbols that we now know is correct beyond reasonable doubt. It is now clear they represent practically the same star constellations we currently use today in the West. It appears, then, that the world’s first temple was also an observatory. Moreover, we could begin to ‘read’ the information on its many pillars. For example:

  • Pillar 43, an ornate pillar embedded into the wall of enclosure D, very likely records the date of the Younger Dryas impact using precession of the equinoxes. A fragment of Pillar 56 also appears to encode this date.
  • Pillar 2, one of two central pillars from enclosure A, very likely records the radiant path of the Taurid meteor stream, which was probably responsible for the Younger Dryas impact.
  • Pillars 18 and 31, the tallest pillars yet found that stand at the heart of enclosure D like a pair of sentries, likely represent comet-gods associated with the Taurid meteor stream. Perhaps they represent an early instance of the sky-twin myth documented across much of the known world. Later, in Ancient Egypt, the vulpine symbolism of Pillar 31 might have come to represent Set, god of chaos, while the bovine symbolism on Pillar 31 might have come to represent Osiris, Set’s brother and god of the underworld.

While these readings are not proven, statistical arguments show they are likely correct.5M.B. Sweatman and D. Tsikritsis, ‘Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry vol. 17, issue 1, p. 233-250 (2017). Translation of the animal symbols into constellations, however, is almost certain. If you find this hard to accept—and I don’t blame you at all because of the cognitive dissonance this new understanding generates—you’ll enjoy the next discussion even less.

Zodiacal dating

Realising that the code displayed at Göbekli Tepe was unlikely to have been invented shortly after the Younger Dryas impact, I soon began to look for other examples of it at earlier and later archaeological sites. My focus was on religious or cultic use of animal symbols that belonged to the ancient zodiac exhibited at Göbekli Tepe. Especially I searched for cases where four animal symbols are displayed together to represent a date using precession of the equinoxes—the four animals correspond to the constellations of the four solstices and equinoxes of a specific year.

Astonishingly, it seemed that wherever I looked almost every case I encountered obeyed this scheme. Many pre-historic cultures specifically in western Eurasia seem to have used it. Indeed, the only reason for limiting its use to ancient western Eurasia is that I have not yet looked further afield. For all I know, it could be global. For example, there are hints the Maya might also have used this code, with their Jaguar and Eagle warriors. Both the Eagle and Feline are members of the ancient zodiac—representing Sagittarius and Cancer respectively—and the dates of these respective warrior-cults fit well with these specific constellations and precession of the equinoxes.

Zodiacal dating system emerged from Göbekli Tepe

How might our understanding of human prehistory change if this ancient system of zodiacal dating turns out in fact to be global?

It is generally thought that the Americas were peopled from Asia by migrations across the Beringian land-bridge when sea levels were much lower at the end of the last ice-age—around 15,000 BC or so. If earlier migrations occurred, they likely involved only small numbers of people. Due to sea level rise, this route became impassable around 10,000 BC, except by those able to make ocean voyages. Again, the numbers would have been small via this route. Therefore, if the zodiacal system is found across the Americas, it implies the system was most likely carried there during the great migrations between 17 and 12 thousand years ago, providing clear evidence for the ancient provenance of this astronomical system and its durability. Note that Michael Witzel, professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, in his book The Origins of the World’s Mythologies makes a strong case for an extremely ancient mythological system that spans Eurasia and the Americas. He predicts this system—that he calls Laurasian—began around 40,000 years ago and continues to the present day in most parts of the world. This timescale and the core beliefs of the Laurasian religion fit perfectly with Clube and Napier’s theory of Coherent Catastrophism, for they can be interpreted as describing repeated destructions of the world by cosmic collision events.

Certainly, almost every animal painting in western European Palaeolithic cave art with a reliable radiocarbon date follows this system. The probability of this level of agreement occurring by pure chance is in the region of one in several hundred million.6M.B. Sweatman and A. Coombs, ‘Decoding European Palaeolithic Art: Extremely Ancient Knowledge of Precession of the Equinoxes’, Athens Journal of History vol. 5, issue 1, p. 1-30 (2019). It is this statistic—along with the incredible correlations observed at Göbekli Tepe—that show this system has been correctly deduced.

Even the oldest accepted pieces of figurative art—the 40,000 year-old Lion-man of Hohlenstein-Stadel cave and the lion figurine of Denisova Cave—agree perfectly with this system. These feline figurines likely represented the winter solstice constellation Cancer at the time they were made. It seems therefore that a consistent cultural trait endured within Europe for over 30,000 years.

Lascaux Shaft Scene (from Lascaux II, the replica cave). Image courtesy of Alistair Coombs.

Lascaux

Of all this art, perhaps the most astonishing is at Lascaux in southern France. The Lascaux cave system entrance aligns very well with the summer solstice—the orange light of sunset on this date illuminates the famous ‘Hall of Bulls’. It’s probably no coincidence that the bull symbol—according to the ancient zodiac—represents the constellation Capricornus, which was the summer solstice constellation at the time the caves were in use.

Further down the cave past the many fabulous animal paintings so carefully rendered is the entrance to a deep shaft. A difficult climb down into darkness brings you eventually to the most famous and probably most important Palaeolithic cave art of all—the Lascaux Shaft Scene.

Why was this scene painted in such an inaccessible location? Why does it consist of four animal paintings together with one of a dying man? And why did its painters feel obliged to invest such considerable skill, time and effort in its creation? Comparisons with Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe— another wondrous piece of art kept ‘secret and safe’ for millennia that also displays four prominent animal symbols and a dying man—are inevitable, despite their separation in time and space. Indeed, interpretation of the Lascaux Shaft Scene using the ancient zodiacal system discovered at Göbekli Tepe suggests its message is almost identical to that on Pillar 43.

The four animals of the Lascaux Shaft Scene are the bull, rhino and water bird on the main wall and a horse on the rear wall. Consulting our ancient zodiac, these paintings represent Capricornus, Taurus, Libra and Leo respectively. Knowing the approximate epoch in which these caves were occupied—somewhere between 13,000 and 17,000 BC according to stylistic analysis of the paintings and radiocarbon dating of charcoal pieces found on the cave floor—leads to a more precise zodiacal date for the scene—between 15,300 and 15,000 BC.

Lascaux Shaft Scene (from Lascaux II, the replica cave). Image courtesy of Alistair Coombs.

Very interestingly, this date range aligns closely with another climatic event at around 15,200 BC revealed by a Greenland ice core.7M.B. Sweatman and D. Tsikritsis, ‘Decoding Göbleki Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry vol. 17, issue 1, p. 233-250 (2017). More interestingly still, this date range is known to correspond to a major population bottleneck during the Middle Magdalenian period in southern France where these caves are situated.8C. Barshay-Szmidt et al., ‘New extensive focused AMS 14C dating of the Middle and Upper Magdalenian of the Western Aquitaine/Pyrenean region of France (ca. 19 – 14 ka cal BP): Proposing a new model for its chronological phases and for the timing of occupation’, Quaternary International vol. 414, pg. 62-91 (2016).

Perhaps then, the Lascaux Shaft Scene is telling us what happened at this time? Almost certainly, this is no ordinary hunting scene—as it is commonly described—and comparison with Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe looks to be particularly apt. Perhaps it is telling us about another cosmic collision event with the Taurid meteor stream, the painting of the dying man indicating extensive loss of life.

Further weight to this proposal is provided by the disembowelled bull. Given that we suspect the Bull actually represents a constellation, it makes sense to interpret the spear as another meteor strike, this time from the direction of Capricornus. Note that the Taurid meteor stream would have emanated exactly from this region of the sky at this time. Note also that in many later cultures the bull symbol is associated with death and the underworld.

We therefore have a fully consistent interpretation of this scene; an interpretation which aligns with other similar ancient artworks and explains why this scene was painted in such a remote location. Probably like Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe, the Lascaux Shaft Scene was an immensely holy shrine—a memorial to a devastating cosmic disaster—that had to be preserved and protected at all costs.

A lost civilisation

Moving forward in time from Göbekli Tepe, the same system is apparent at: Bonkuklu (8,300 – 7,500 BC, southern Turkey); nearby Catalhoyuk (7,000 – 6,000 BC); Lepinski Vir ( ~ 6,000 BC, Serbia); Ein-Gedi ( ~ 4,000 BC, Israel); pre-dynastic Egypt (~ 3,500 BC); early Bronze-Age Mesopotamia (3,200 -2,500 BC); the Indus Valley (2,600 – 1,900 BC); Celtic western Europe, including Iron-Age Denmark and Britain ( 100 BC – 100 AD); and Iron-Age Pictish Scotland (late first millennium BC – 500 AD). The religious art of these cultures appears to follow the same system, with only occasional and minor alterations to the zodiacal symbols. This accounts for much of the world’s most famous pre-historic art.

More controversially the system might also explain the apparently anomalous weathering displayed by the Great Sphinx of Giza. This famous ancient megalithic structure with clear astronomical alignment—it faces due east towards sunrise on the spring and autumn equinoxes—has always been a thorn in the side of conventional scholars. Zodiacal dating only adds to their woes since it suggests construction just prior to the 8.2 kiloyear event—the most significant climatic anomaly of the last 10,000 years—while conventional thinking places its construction around the early Bronze Age at the same time as the Great Pyramids.

Great Sphinx of Giza and Göbekli Tepe linked by Zodiac

What are specific examples of “anomalous weathering” evident on these monuments?

The weathering of the Sphinx and its enclosure has long been controversial. Deep vertical gouges and significant erosion in the western and southern edges of its enclosure walls suggest an age that far surpasses that proposed by Egyptologists. Based on this and on acoustic reflection measurements performed on the enclosure floor, Professor Robert Schoch of Boston University argued for a construction date for the Sphinx in the region of 7,000 to 5,000 BC, which agrees perfectly with my suggested zodiacal date. This is further supported by the fact that significant water runoff into the Sphinx enclosure can only have occurred long before the neighbouring Pyramids were built—since their quarries would have diverted the stream. Furthermore, recent optically stimulated luminescence measurements of the granite facing blocks that cover the Sphinx Temple, which lies next to the Sphinx itself, show they were emplaced at around the same time as the Pyramids. And yet these granite facing blocks are deliberately carved to fit over the weathered limestone Sphinx Temple blocks. This suggests they are much younger than the Sphinx Temple, which is known to be constructed from limestone blocks quarried out of the Sphinx enclosure.

This disagreement suggests an early stone-age Egyptian culture lost to science, wiped out by a suspected cataclysm around 6,200 BC. Only their enigmatic megalithic structures, like the Sphinx and its neighbouring temple, remained standing—to tease and confound modern scholars who interpret all the evidence they find at these ancient sites in terms of later cultures. Probably the pioneering people of Egypt prior to the 8.2 kiloyear event were culturally descended from Göbekli Tepe, given their proximity and similarity in terms of megalithic architecture, astronomy, religion and art.

But they would not have been the only culture to perish in the 8.2 kiloyear event, for the people living on Doggerland—a huge, low, flat island now submerged in the North Sea—were also swept away at this time by a mega-tsunami generated by the Storegga Slide—an undersea landslide of prodigious scale. And from ancient DNA studies, we now know that much of the hunter-gatherer population of Europe was replaced by Anatolian farmers shortly after this climatic event.9D. Reich, Who we are and how we got here: Ancient DNA and the new science of the human past (OUP Oxford, 2019).

We do not yet know why this great migration out of Anatolia into Europe happened, but severe climate change and widespread disease induced by one or more cosmic collisions with the Taurid meteor stream appears to be a distinct possibility. Likewise, the Storegga slide might also have been triggered by the same impact —after all, its timing perfectly aligns with the coldest decades of the 8.2 kiloyear event.  Indeed, orbital calculations suggest that Earth would have intersected the densest region of the Taurid meteor stream precisely at this time. It will probably do so again in the second half of this millennium. Adding further support to this idea, raised levels of iridium—an element found in much greater concentrations within asteroids and comets than on Earth—were found within an ‘8.2 kiloyear black mat’ in Chile, South America.10J.S. Pigati et al., ‘Accumulation of impact markers in desert wetlands and implications for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences vol. 108, issue 19, p. 7208-7212 (2012).

Taurid Meteor Shower
Image credit: Channone Arif

How does this ‘black mat’ found in Chile support the notion that the earth will collide with the Taurid again in about 1000 years?

An impact like the Younger Dryas event, which appears to be memorialised by Göbekli Tepe, is predicted by Clube and Napier’s theory of Coherent Catastrophism. Their theory also predicts further collisions with debris from the Taurid meteor stream over the past few tens of thousands of years, although the Younger Dryas impact might have been the largest. Because of the way the orbit of the Taurid meteor stream evolves, most (but not all) of its impact risk is confined to periods of a few hundred years every 3,000 years or so. The last high-risk period occurred just before 0 BC, which means the next high-risk period is due in around 500 to 1,000 years. Counting backwards, we can expect to find evidence for other impact events just before 3,000 BC, 6,000 BC and so on. For example, the 8.2 kiloyear event occurs at about 6,200 BC, making it a good impact event candidate. The first geochemical evidence supporting this notion—an abundance of iridium—was found recently within a black layer of sediment, known as a ‘black mat’, in Chile dated to this time. Moreover, the impact event indicated by the Lascaux Shaft Scene, at 15,200 BC, is also a good candidate. The Younger Dryas event, however, at 10,800 BC, does not fit this pattern.

Art, religion and astronomy

This tale about the origin of civilization is connected by a trio of immensely ancient and important activities: art, religion and astronomy. It appears they were joined by a fourth activity—megalithic architecture—from Göbekli Tepe onwards, although as has been discussed, dating stone is problematic. Probably the first three of these inter-linked and mutually supporting cultural traits were passed down the generations for 40,000 years or more. Such a long timescale requires some explanation: how was it possible?

Perhaps, because it was imperative. The regular destructions of the world by the Taurid meteor stream had to be recorded somehow to warn future generations. This requires astronomical knowledge and an information system capable of both describing and dating such events over extremely long timescales. Fortunately the configurations of bright stars we still observe today—the western set of zodiacal constellations—would have appeared almost identical 40,000 years ago. The only significant change in their position is caused by the very slow precession of the equinoxes.

Meanwhile, perhaps religion is the natural human response to such phenomena as giant disintegrating comets and the awful destruction they bring. With religion we might hope to understand why such events happen and how to control or appease these majestic, wrathful and mighty gods. So it is entirely natural that religion would have an astronomical flavour. Moreover, religion can engender a sense of strength and community needed to survive the dark days. Indeed, it appears this sense of community was sufficiently strong after the Younger Dryas impact event to trigger civilisation itself.

And finally, what better way than through great artworks might a civilization impress upon viewers the dire importance of this cosmic situation? Furthermore, astronomical and religious knowledge can be combined into one coherent system. In combination with massive architecture, the monumental nature of what’s at stake can be clearly communicated. There is no more perfect example of this principle than with the Ancient Egyptians, who according to ancient DNA studies, were descended mainly from the people of the Fertile Crescent.11V.J. Scheunemann et al., ‘Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods’, Nature Communications vol. 8, 15694 (2017).

Even today—although the essential message of these earlier religions has been subsumed by more contemporary political imperatives and the zodiacal system has been relegated by the invention of writing—the marriage of art, religion and monumental architecture remains clear. However, the original astronomical, catastrophic and cometary symbolism can still be seen in modern religions, if you know where to look.

The importance of Göbekli Tepe, then, is that it demonstrates how belief, based on the knowledge system of the time, guides the development of complex societies. In other words, the current orthodoxy has it backwards. Religion was not a leisure activity that grew out of the invention of agricultural technologies. Instead it was the belief system that determined the technology. In the case of Göbekli Tepe, an astronomical belief system gave rise to megalithic architecture and agricultural societies. Surely this conclusion makes more sense: astronomical knowledge, notation and beliefs, prompted by repeated cosmic destructions, begat monumental art and architecture, which in turn begat large communities and agriculture. Disaster, in sum, may very well be the ur-mother of civilisation, and belief, the true mother of invention.


Prehistory Decoded by Martin Sweatman

Martin Sweatman is a scientist (associate Professor) at the University of Edinburgh, one of the world’s leading universities, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. His specialism, statistical mechanics, has enabled him to solve one of the world’s greatest puzzles—the meaning of ancient artworks involving animal symbols. His book, Prehistory Decoded, was published in 2018 by Troubadour.

Globes exchanging electrical discharge in an Electric Universe

The Electric Universe Heresy

In this groundbreaking paper Wal Thornhill introduces a new Theory of Everything: The Electric Universe. Set aside everything you think you know about all things great and small because the ideas presented here overturn it all. Was there a big bang? Not likely. Einstein’s Relativity? Doesn’t hold up. Is the Sun a thermonuclear fusion reactor which will eventually run out of fuel and burn out? Nope. Are there black holes? No such thing. What about dark matter and dark energy? Forget about that nonsense and start learning about the science of the 21st century. “. . .the Electric Universe is the only coherent cosmology that has correctly predicted and explained discoveries in the space age.” For example, Thornhill specifically predicted the unexpected results of the Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 in October 2001, almost four years before the event. He was alone in successfully predicting what would be seen beneath the clouds of Saturn’s moon Titan.

The SAFIRE sun confirms the Electric Universe hypothesis that the Sun (and all stars for that matter) are not thermonuclear phenomena after all, but in fact fundamentally electrical in nature. Based on cutting-edge research, the SAFIRE team is developing a new, clean energy, nuclear-plasma reactor, which will not only be able to produce clean energy, but is expected to be able to clean up nuclear waste.

The Electric Sun Experiment

In 1972 an article in an obscure journal caught my eye. It was written by engineer Ralph Juergens from Flagstaff, Arizona. He wrote: 

I can find no way to state this diplomatically, so let me be blunt: The modern astrophysical concept that ascribes the sun’s energy to thermonuclear reactions deep in the solar interior is contradicted by nearly every observable aspect of the sun.1Ralph Juergens. “Reconciling Celestial Mechanics and Velikovskian Catastorphism.” Pensee. Fall 1972. p. 9.

Ralph Juergens

By attending to all of the most obvious features seen on the Sun; the photospheric granules, spicules, sunspots, chromosphere and corona, Juergens produced a detailed engineer’s model of an electrically powered Sun that seemed to account logically and simply for all the phenomena. The fixed belief that stars are isolated bodies in space, demanding internal thermonuclear energy to power them for billions of years, has resulted in untold waste in astrophysics and nuclear energy research.

In 2012 experienced Canadian engineer Montgomery Childs proposed an experiment to be done independently to test Juergens’ electric sun model. He said he could “find no disparities” in the model, which is unusual. Looking at the night sky, the process had to be simple and well-controlled. Otherwise the sky would look like the fourth of July. So was born the SAFIRE (Stellar Atmospheric Function in Regulation Experiment) Project. As the name might suggest, it was designed to mimic the critical features of the Sun and its plasma environment in a continuous and easily controlled way. Meanwhile the thermonuclear Sun model remains theoretical and unpredictive. Attempts to produce fusion energy like the Sun on Earth have got nowhere. The field of fusion energy is chronically unstable and unproductive.

In 2019 at the Electric Universe UK conference at Bath University, the SAFIRE experiment was declared a success. The SAFIRE team did a number of high-energy experiments, which met predictions such as transmutation of elements and extremely high energy levels, but also showed the potential for remediation of radioactive waste. The Sun’s energy is produced right before our eyes by electrical energy from the galaxy producing benign nuclear energy in the Sun’s atmosphere. Sunspots are dark simply because the body of the Sun is cooler beneath the photosphere! And as uncommon sense suggests, all bright stars continually produce heavy elements, albeit in their atmospheres! So the recent discovery by ESA’s Cluster mission of highly ionised iron atoms in the solar wind is not a surprise.2Iron is everywhere in Earth’s vicinity.” Physics.org.

The Electric Universe

The Electric Universe returns to the highly successful classical method of doing science in the 19th century. It adheres to the principles of physics and aims at simplification, in stark distinction to the explosion of imaginary particles and unexplained forces of the last century. For example, the Electric Universe has a single force operating in the universe—the electric force. Magnetism, gravity and the nuclear force are various effects produced by charged, orbitally structured protons and electrons in response to an applied electric force. All matter in the universe is connected by the electric force. And since the electric force can be either attractive or repulsive, there is a balance possible between the force of cohesion and the force that keeps things apart. The universe is in balance. The electric force is instantaneous, which is essential for coherence and stability of orbital systems on all scales. Time is universal. This real-time connectedness of the Electric Universe allows us to understand ourselves and our place in the universe more clearly. We are not isolated and alone in this ‘conscious’ universe of unknown age and extent. We are all subtly connected to each other, the Earth and the Electric Universe.

Electric universe cosmology is both simple and elegant. It could begin to be taught in primary school. Its history is inspiring. In the mid-1800s to early-1900s Kristian Birkeland was performing his electrical ‘little Earth,’ or Terrella, experiments in Norway, and Gauss and Weber were discovering the electrical structure of matter. Weber predicted the orbital structure of the atom, based on his generalized electrodynamic law, about 40 years before J. J. Thomson discovered the electron and produced his ‘plum pudding’ model of the atom. Later, Ernest Rutherford discovered its heavy nucleus and Neils Bohr produced an orbital structure. More than a century later, physicists have still not learned the lesson and have a structureless ‘plum pudding’ model of subatomic particles, filled with fanciful quarks that “wink in to and out of existence!”

Today, physicists labour under misconceptions about the nature of matter and the concepts of space and time; the relationship between matter, mass and gravity; the real nature of stars and galaxies; and the size and age of the universe. So, when astrophysicists turn to particle physicists to solve their intractable problems and particle physicists use it as an excuse for squandering billions of dollars on nonsensical particle experiments, few will admit that both fields are in crisis. It truly is the blind leading the blind. Their mysteries are of their own making. 

How has this situation arisen? In the 20th century, technologists perfected wireless communication and computers and got man into space while fundamental science dug itself deeper into its own black hole of complication, illogicality and pseudo-science. The principal cause has been the usurping, since Einstein, of natural philosophy and physics by mathematicians. Einstein, perhaps to his credit, remained skeptical about his contribution.3In a personal letter to Professor Solovine, dated 28 March 1949: “You can imagine that I look back on my life’s work with calm satisfaction. But from nearby it looks quite different. There is not a single concept of which I am convinced that it will stand firm, and I feel uncertain whether I am in general on the right track.” Quoted in B. Hoffman. Albert Einstein – Creator and Rebel. New York: Viking Press, 1972. Meanwhile, it served the egos of his followers to consecrate his work and treat dissent as blasphemy. Future historians of science will judge the last century harshly. School children in future will know the answer to the basic question, What is the principal force of the universe? as certainly as they presently know the answer to the question, What is the shape of the Earth? They will tell you that gravity itself is a type of electric force. It is an Electric Universe. 

Wonderful introduction to concepts presented in this paper.

Big Nothing Cosmology

Presently, the big bang picture is illogical, incoherent and hope-less. We are led to believe that we are isolated by the immensity of time and space on an atom of rock, circling a dust mote of a star. We got here by a miraculous creation ex nihilo event, followed by a random process of explosions, collisions and accretions (and this in an expanding universe). We are told that life itself is the result of a meaningless sequence of random events. None of these processes are understood. This hasn’t stopped the mathematicians. Until there is a simple, testable theory that can explain the natural spiral shape of galaxies without invoking unseen matter or strange forces, scientists cannot claim they understand gravity or that gravity rules the universe.

The twin pillars of big bang cosmology—Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum theory—are incompatible, so we cannot use them as a foundation for a real model of the universe. We must discard so-called modern physics and return to the classical physics of a century ago. This, perhaps, is the greatest hurdle—to discard our training and prejudices and approach the problem with a beginner’s mind. 

Clearly, to provide a sensible alternative theory we must address the problems with our present understanding of both extremes of scale, the subatomic and galactic. This paper outlines the conceptual possibilities as simply as possible under a number of headings in an attempt to correct our seriously distorted view of the universe.

The Origin of Mass in the Electrical Structure of Matter

The something absolutely fundamental that is missing in our explanation of gravity and quantum behavior is the electrical structure of matter. Here we are not talking about atoms. We must go down one more level and propose that all subatomic particles, particularly the electron and proton, are orbital systems (like atoms) of smaller electric charges of opposite polarity that sum to the charge on that particle. This orbital model was an indispensible insight of the great German physicist Wilhelm Weber in the middle of the 19th century.

Neutrons do not exist as stable particles in atoms (see later). They are a transient coupling of an electron and proton formed to avoid the powerful electric forces in atomic nuclei and active galactic nuclei—an essential requirement in building heavy elements and giving birth to quasars and new companion galaxies from active galactic nuclei.

The electron is not a fundamental, point-like particle. It must have structure to have angular momentum and a preferred magnetic orientation, known as ‘spin.’ There must be orbital motion of charges within the electron to generate its magnetic dipole. The transfer of electrical energy between the charges in their orbits must be resonant and instantaneous to conserve energy and for the electron to be a stable particle. Therefore Wilhelm Weber’s presently dismissed electrodynamic law in fact applies. The same argument applies to its positively charged partner, the proton. This sub-subatomic model satisfies Einstein’s view that there must be some lower level of structure in matter to cause resonant quantum effects. Moreover Weber’s law, being instantaneous, removes the ‘spookiness’ of the connection seen between widely separated (so-called ‘entangled’) particles that Einstein complained about.

We must have a workable concept of the structure of matter that satisfies the observation that inertial and gravitational mass is equivalent. First, gravity must operate at the subatomic level because Newton’s law refers to mass and not composition or charge on matter. The feather and the bowling ball fall with the same acceleration in a vacuum. Second, Isaac Newton wisely recognized the significance of his simple but most important spinning bucket of water experiment, where the water rises up the wall of the bucket against Earth’s gravity. It has been described as one of the simplest and most important of all experiments performed by Newton. Simply stated in a review4Marco M. Capria. “Review of Andre K. T. Assis, Relational Mechanics.” Apeiron. Montreal 1999. p. 285. of the seminal work of Prof. André Assis’ Relational Mechanics5Andre K. T. Assis. Relational Mechanics. Apeiron. Montreal. pp. 51-8.:

Take a bucket filled with water, and set it into rotation (for instance, by attaching it by a rope to the ceiling, twisting the rope and then letting it unwind); you shall see that as soon as the motion of the bucket is communicated to the water, the surface of the liquid will become curved (as a paraboloid), and curved it will remain if the bucket is stopped all of a sudden. This means that the water ‘feels’ the rotation independently of its relative motion with respect to the bucket. So this rotation must be regarded, in Newton’s opinion, as relative to absolute space [i.e. as absolute motion, emphasis added].

Marco M. Capria

Newton wrote:

The effects which distinguish absolute from relative motion are, the forces of receding from the axis of rotation. For there are no such forces in a circular motion purely relative. . .

Isaac Newton. “Scholium.” Principia.

This should have been sufficient to discard Einstein’s relativity! His principle of the equivalence of his ‘inertial frames of reference’ has the effect of making arbitrary moving observers the centres of their own individual universes, which is nonsense. To do physics requires absolute standards of measurement, not relative standards. If further argument were necessary, Einstein went on in his general relativity to discard the indispensable force of gravity! (more on this below).

Sir Isaac Newton and the Electric Universe Heresy
Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
Einstein by chalkboard
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Newton vs. Einstein It is critical to note that Newton was very careful to warn theorists away from mistaking what we call “time, space, place, and motion” with their true existence because physics concerns itself exclusively with “measured quantities.” Specifically he says: “those violate the accuracy of language, which ought to be kept precise, who interpret these words [time, space, place, and motion] for the measured quantities. Nor do those less defile the purity of mathematical and philosophical truths, who confound real quantities with their relations [analogies] and sensible measures.” In other words, we do not know true realities or even true measures because all we have at hand are heuristics, and we must therefore be careful not to confuse any clock with real time, or any measure with real space, or shape with real place—all issues he discusses in his definitions (and first principles) at the start of the Principia. Einstein falls directly into this fallacy when he mistakes the measures of relative time for actual time (which Newton called “duration”). Newton’s duration allows for simultaneity, whereas Einstein’s distorted spacetime scrambles reality and makes simultaneous action impossible—an argument ad absurdum that violates reality. Simultaneity is essential for universal coherence. 

Magnetism and Gravity 

Coulomb’s electrical force law is similar to Newton’s force law of gravity, which provides a fundamental clue. Gravitational mass plays the same role as electrical charges but it is independent of the charge on a subatomic particle. In 1992 Prof. André Assis of the State University of Campinas in Brazil published a paper showing how the works of the great experimentalists of the 19th century, particularly Wilhelm Weber, could explain magnetism, gravity and their magnitudes in terms of charge neutral electric dipole interactions! 

In conclusion we may say that in this model of generalized Weber electrodynamics we obtain: electrostatics as a zeroth-order effect, magnetism and Faraday’s induction as a 2nd-order effect, gravitation as a 4th-order effect, and inertia and precession of the perihelion as a 6th-order electromagnetic effect.6Andre K. T. Assis. “Deriving gravitation from electromagnetism.” Can. J. Phys. 70, 1992. pp. 330-40.

Prof. André Assis

Assis noted that the model could also apply to the electron and proton since they exhibit inertia. The orders of magnitude of the forces match observations, which is a remarkable fact.

The noted physicist, Fritz London, who had developed the theory of molecular bonding by the atomic electric dipole force, contemplated an electric dipole model of gravity. Like gravity as we experience it, the London force is only attractive because the electric dipoles can rotate into alignment like bar magnets on a glass tabletop. This induced-dipole to induced-dipole electrical attraction is the force that permits matter to condense into liquids and solids.

Similarly, on the subatomic scale, the Electric Universe model of structured electrons and protons has the gravitational force due to the distortion of the orbits of sub-subatomic charges orbiting within the electrons and protons in atoms to form subatomic electric dipoles, which, being free to rotate, line up radially. The orbital distortion (see diagram below) is then due simply to the offset of the heavy nucleus inside each atom of a body toward the center of mass of that body. Gravity is produced by the sum of the radially aligned subatomic electric dipoles formed by all the electrons and protons within a celestial body. The gravitational force depends only on mass because it is a subatomic phenomenon. And as a subatomic phenomenon, gravity cannot be shielded electrically. So, the inertia of a body is due to its gravitational interaction with all other bodies in the universe. The inertial mass is equivalent to the gravitational mass.

Gravity in the Electric Universe
Gravity in the Electric Universe

Newton’s universal constant of gravitation, or G, is neither universal nor constant. It is a dependent variable because it has a dimension including mass. G also depends upon stored electrical energy, or charge distribution, within the gravitationally induced spherical electret (or surface charge) of a celestial body. Therefore, we cannot deduce the density or composition of a celestial object by measuring its gravity! For example, comet nuclei are observed to be rocky with sharply featured geology and no surface ice—dismissing the dirty snowball model.

Comets are “Rosetta Stones” for the Electric Sun model.7W. Thornhill. Electric Comets & Asteroids. Changes in their surface charge gives rise to rotational disturbances and so-called “non-gravitational” acceleration. Moving remotely in the electric field of the Sun, comets have plenty of time to charge more negatively. As they accelerate in the inner solar system toward the Sun the rapidly increasing electric stress on the comet causes a plasma discharge—including a huge plasma sheath (coma) and well-collimated cold cathode discharge jets. Charge exchange with the solar wind changes the mass and moment of inertia of the comet causing unexplained gravitational accelerations and rotational anomalies. Mineral particles and atoms, including oxygen, are sputtered electrically from the surface. There is no “non-gravitational” force on the nucleus. The oxygen atoms combine with protons from the solar wind to give the misleading OH signatures attributed conventionally to water ice from the comet nucleus.8B. J. R. Davidsson et al.. “Nucleus properties of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 estimated from non-gravitational force modelling.” Icarus 187, 2007. p. 312. The water production rate falls off “around 30 days pre-perihelion, and continuing for the next 50 days,” which is not expected in the icy comet model but may match the electrical model since it coincides with the minimum radial acceleration of the negative comet with respect to the positive Sun.

Wilhelm Weber photo
Wilhelm Weber (1804-1891)

Wilhelm Eduard Weber worked with Carl Friedrich Gauss as his assistant and collaborator. With Weber’s help, Gauss invented accurate measuring of the intensity of magnetic fields; and to this day, we measure the strength of magnets in units of gauss. In 1870 Weber—before J. J. Thomson’s 1897 conception of the electron—posited dipolar (positive and negative) electrical particles attracting and repelling each other both in the direction of their flow and—if we picture flows along two wires—laterally or ‘transversely’ between the wires. In contrast, the predominant view today is that the particles are influenced by the field (or wiring, as it is usually understood) and the wiring influences the particles, but the particles do not influence each other. It is arguable that the electron radius calculation and the electron-proton mass ratio were implicit in his work.

Dipole Gravity and Cosmology

Notice that the same electro-gravitational pole faces outward in all celestial bodies. So they repel one another gravitationally as if they were particles of the same charge polarity. The repulsive gravitational force on the Earth from the rest of the universe is sufficient to accelerate the 6 x 1024 kilogram Earth by 60 km/sec every 6 months as it circles the repulsing Sun. Gravity is a real force.

Repulsive gravitation and the Electric Universe
Repulsive Gravitational Force

Of course repulsive dipole gravity forbids the formation of galaxies, stars and planets by gravitational accretion, mergers and collisions. It ensures balance and order in the non-expanding Electric Universe. The father of plasma cosmology, Hannes Alfvén, considered gravitational systems “the ashes of former electromagnetic systems.” That is why gravity applies only inside the Sun’s plasma heliosheath, or ‘heliosphere,’ which shields us from the local galactic electromagnetic environment. It does not work for electromagnetic galaxies.

Hannes Alfven photo
Hannes Alfvén (1908-1995)

Hannes Olof Gosta Alfvén was a Swedish electrical engineer and physicist who provided many of the fundamental theories of plasma cosmology and won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics. Alfvén contributed our knowledge and understanding of the aurorae, the Van Allen radiation belts, the effects of cosmic magnetism on the Earth, and the behaviour of plasma in the Milky Way.

Intrinsic Redshift and the Real Universe

The observational evidence for repulsive gravity was assembled by the ‘modern day Galileo,’ Dr. Halton Arp.9Halton Arp. “The Observational Impetus for Le Sage Gravity Pushing Gravity: New perspective on Le Sage’s Theory of gravity.” Apeiron. Montreal, 2002. The notion of ‘pushing gravity’ has been around since Isaac Newton but has struggled to find a sensible physical explanation—until now, when gravity is finally understood. Arp showed the visible universe is much smaller than cosmologists think because he found physical associations between high-redshift quasars and low-redshift active galaxies. In one fine example, the quasar is in front of the galaxy!10G. Burbidge et al. “The Discovery of a High Redshift X-ray Emitting QSO Very Close to the Nucleus of NGC 7319.” So redshift is largely an intrinsic effect in the young quasar rather than a Doppler effect from recession at high velocity. Edwin Hubble was right to believe the expanding universe hypothesis implausible.11Edwin Hubble: “on the basis of the evidence now available, a choice seems to be presented, as once before in the days of Copernicus, between a small finite universe, and a sensibly infinite universe plus a new principle of nature. And, as before, the choice may be determined by the attribute of simplicity.” “The Problem of the Expanding Universe.” Science 95, 1942. pp. 212-215. The “new principle of nature” he needed was a full understanding of redshift. Quasars are not isolated objects near the edge of the visible universe. They are ejected from the cores of active galaxies. Their redshift decreases and brightness increases with distance from their parent. High redshift and faintness are a measure of the youthfulness of a quasar and not its distance from us.12Halton Arp. “Seeing Red: Redshifts. Cosmology and Academic Science.” Apeiron. Montreal 1998. What we see is Hubble’s “small, finite universe.” The big bang never happened!

Significantly, Arp also found the redshifted light from quasars is quantised—it decreases with distance from its parent in discrete steps, which proves the effect is intrinsic to the matter in the quasar. The nonsense of quantum phenomena only occurring at the atomic scale is apparent here. 

The Electric Universe, following plasma cosmologists, has quasars born in pairs as oppositely directed beams of neutrons, escaping in ultra-high-speed bursts along the axis of the active galaxy’s toroidal dense plasmoid nucleus.13See Eric J. Lerner. The Big Bang Never Happened. Simon & Schuster, 1991. p. 244 ff. As the neutrons decay into electrons and protons they begin to slow in the galactic magnetic field and form condensed matter with gravitational polarization and mass. As Arp observed, the quasar increases in mass and slows down. The light electrons are slowed more than the protons by the parent galaxy’s magnetic field, so the quasar begins life electron-deficient. The electrical polarization within the quasar steadily increases with the arrival of electrons from the galactic jet ‘umbilical cord’ and their recombination with protons to form hydrogen atoms. As the energy state (electrical polarization) of the electrons and protons in the quasar atoms increases, the energies (masses) of one or the other will reach a quantum threshold (like an atom) and jump to a new resonant state. This will cause the emitted spectrum of the atoms to increase in frequency—that is, the redshift to decrease—in a quantum transition.

Quasars in the Electric Universe
Quasars in the Electric Universe

Based on this model, the surprising, alleged ‘accelerating expansion of the universe’ concept is invalid. Supernovae Type 1a cannot be used as ‘standard candles’ because their intrinsic luminosity is dependent upon the power available from their host galaxy; the higher the redshift, the lower the power and luminosity, which has given rise to the erroneous theory of an accelerating expansion of the universe and the introduction of another ad hoc ‘fix’—mysterious ‘dark energy.’ The visible universe is not expanding. Arp found it to be relatively static and balanced, which is why he reasoned that gravity is cosmically a repulsive force.

Conventional redshift diagram
Redshift

The above diagram shows the conventional view of redshift as a measure of distance from the observer. It explains that as the universe expands (a result of the Big Bang at the bottom of the diagram), light is stretched. This stretch is called redshift. The principle is that red is the longest visible wavelength of light. So any colour of light that moves toward red on the spectrum of colour would be considered redshifted even if it is not truly red. The opposite of redshift is blueshift. The Electric Universe contends that class of supernovae used as ‘standard candles’ to measure the expansion of the universe is fundamentally flawed. As Dr. Halton Arp discovered, redshift is an indication of a quasar’s age and its relationship to its parent galaxy. It follows that the universe is not expanding after all and that there was no Big Bang. It is worth noting that the Big Bang hypothesis was first proposed in 1927 by the Roman Catholic priest and cosmologist Father Georges Lemaitre. He saw the event as “the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of creation” (see S. Singh. The Big Bang. London: Fourth Estate, 2004).

Electrical Formation of Celestial Bodies

Plasma cosmology shows spiral galaxies and stars are accreted and formed by powerful long-range electromagnetic forces generated by intergalactic Birkeland current filaments threading the visible universe.14https://www.plasma-universe.com/galaxy-formation/, Electrical Birthing of Stars. It is such filaments between galaxies that produce the observed cosmic web. Gravity cannot do that. 

The Electric Universe simply states that stars and planets are formed at the same time and in the same electromagnetic accretion process, along ‘interstellar lightning bolts’ within molecular clouds. Inside the Milky Way, 

Herschel has delivered spectacular vistas of cold gas clouds lying near the plane of the Milky Way, revealing intense, unexpected activity. The dark, cool region is dotted with stellar factories, like pearls on a cosmic string.15ESA Report, 2 October 2009.

ESA Report, 2 October 2009.

In addition, secondary bodies are formed by electrical expulsion from stars undergoing sudden electrical stress in which the only recourse to restore equilibrium is to expel bulk charged matter in a nova or flaring event. That is generally the origin of close orbiting ‘hot Jupiters,’ and the many satellites of more distant gas giant planets in the process of capture of a gas giant by a star. ‘Accretion disks’ are generally ‘expulsion disks.’ For example, the ephemeral icy rings of Saturn signify Saturn’s recent electrical capture by the Sun, causing an expulsion event from the planet. This gains profound importance when it was subsequently found that the water on Earth matches that found at Saturn!16The water in Saturn’s rings and satellites is like that on Earth.” Phys.org. 3/12/2018. The mystery of the origin of Earth’s abundance of water may finally be solved.

The electrical birth process also explains the mystery of rotation of galaxies, stars and planets. Birkeland currents are a twisted pair of current filaments, a configuration familiar to electrical engineers for reducing electromagnetic radiation, or energy loss, from wire pairs. Accreted matter spirals in toward the axis of the twin filaments to form a single rotating body, or a pair of close-orbiting bodies. “The origin of binary stars has long been one of the central problems of astronomy.”17The Origin of Binary Stars.” Phys.org. 21/8/2017. It has been found that protostars and young stars are more likely to be found in binary pairs inside “elongated core structures” strung at intervals along a cosmic Birkeland current channel inside a molecular cloud. Similarly, interplanetary Birkeland current “thunderbolts” during close encounters may form smaller binaries in dusty plasma that may fuse together to form the classic dumb-bell shape, seen in many comets and asteroids. And the puzzling edge-on ‘boxy/peanut’ shaped central bulge of some spiral galaxies may be simply explained using this model. Gravitational accretion theory doesn’t work.

Birkeland currents central to the Electric Universe
Birkeland Currents

Left to right, top to bottom in the above image: (1) the galactic network of Birkeland currents; (2) the internal directional turning of Birkeland currents displaying counter rotation of layers; (3) the north pole of Saturn displaying layers that when viewed in motion, display counter rotation (see NASA footage); (4) the north pole of Jupiter displaying similar counter rotation (see NASA footage here as well). The foremost expert on Birkeland currents is Donald Scott. For an excellent introduction to the subject, check out Scott’s model here.

Watch this video to better understand Birkeland currents and our solar system.

Electric Stars

Stars form “like pearls on a cosmic string” along Birkeland current channels in molecular clouds. The electromagnetic accretion process known as Marklund convection18G. T. Marklund. “Plasma Convection in Force-Free Magnetic Fields as a Mechanism for Chemical Separation in Cosmical Plasmas.” Nature 277, 1979. p. 370-1. separates the elements by increasing ionization potential, radially from the current channel axis. The result is the heavier elements are coolest and found closest to the axis while helium and hydrogen form the outermost atmosphere. The hypothetical extreme conditions for thermonuclear energy generation in the core of a star are not fulfilled. Planets are formed in the same process. The distinction is simply due to a body’s mass and response to the ambient plasma electrical environment. The stars and planets grow in mass and are eventually left behind as their electrical umbilical cord snakes about.19A. M. Stutzl and A. Gould. “Slingshot mechanism in Orion: Kinematic evidence for ejection of protostars by filaments.” Astronomy & Astrophysics 590, A2, 2016.

However, the stars continue to act as a focus for ‘dark mode’ current from ubiquitous lower energy Birkeland current filaments, like those traced near our solar system by their radiation at radio frequencies.20G. L. Verschuur. “Neutral Hydrogen Filaments at High Galactic Latitudes.” Astrophys Space Sci 185, 1991. pp. 305-32.

Note that the mass of a body cannot tell us anything about its composition since mass is a property of matter, not the amount of matter. Mass is an energetic variable, according to E=mc2. The electric charge on the surface of a celestial body will contribute to the strength of the dipole field within the body and so affect its gravitational mass. For example, the existence on Earth of megafauna and megaflora in the past signals that the Earth has had a dramatic change in its electrical environment in the geologically recent past. It has been calculated on the basis of the cross-sectional strength of bone and muscle that for those giants to exist and be fleet-footed the Earth’s former gravity must have been as low as a third or a quarter of today’s strength.21T. Holden. “Do dinosaurs pose a gravity problem? Each planet in the solar system has its own history. It is obviously not a graded system formed by primordial accretion.

Newton’s law of gravity, in the repulsive sense, applies in interplanetary space beyond their gravitationally attractive ‘spheres of influence.’ Small bodies within those spheres of influence are dominated by the attractive polarization induced by the planet. We are simply attracted like iron filings to the nearest pole—the Earth’s surface. We are intimately connected as part of the Earth.

But perhaps the most confronting idea is that dipolar gravity, with the same pole facing inwards, will tend to produce hollow shells rather than condensed bodies with dense cores. So, there are no super-dense celestial objects like white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. A shell model of the Earth makes simple sense of deep earthquake data.22Jan Lamprecht. Hollow Planets: A Feasibility Study of Possible Hollow Worlds, 2013. The standard model of the Earth’s interior requires ad hoc inner and outer cores with special properties in a complicated attempt to explain seismic anomalies. Meanwhile, it has been found that the so called ‘core-mantle boundary’ is much rougher than the Earth’s surface. This is to be expected since matter will fall upwards to the inner surface during the Earth’s formation. And there are no internal erosive forces.

Of course, hollowness would also contribute to the low mass and calculated low densities of some celestial bodies. The Sun’s mean density is only 25 percent of the Earth’s mean density (but its photosphere is not a surface, it is the top of the Sun’s ionosphere). The planet Saturn would float on water. Comets have rocky and sandy surfaces, as shown by the Deep Impact experiment and comet 67P, yet they exhibit very low densities. Significantly, researchers recently found “sand-like material under the rocky surface of asteroid Ryugu” when they fired a 2-kilogram copper ball at the asteroid at 7,200 km/h.”23Initial findings of artificial impact on asteroid Ryugu.” Phys.org. 20 March 2020.

The neutron and the nucleus

We observe that a neutron combines the charges from a proton and an electron in a relatively long-lived metastable resonance outside the atomic nucleus, which decays in minutes. Its decay must have a cause and seems to involve an interaction with a neutrino. But we have no evidence that neutrons exist in the nucleus. There seems no binding energy within nuclei that might provide the known needed binding energy of neutrons.

The Electric Universe model has only one force—the electric force. So neutrons cannot exist in the nuclei of atoms. Atomic nuclei are composed of protons held together by a sufficient number of electrons to occupy a geometric structure where the repulsive force between protons is offset by the proximity of the electrons between them such that the resultant force is attractive. The nucleus is made up of protons and shared electrons. It is a ‘structured atom model’ that is being investigated and shows great promise in understanding details of elemental isotopes, their stability and their chemistry.24See https://etherealmatters.org/sam There is no such object as a neutron star. Plasma cosmologists have explained the detailed signal from pulsing neutron stars in terms of electrical activity in a normal stellar magnetosphere.25K. R. Healy, A. L. Peratt. “Radiation Properties of Pulsar Magnetospheres: Observation, Theory, and Experiment.” Astrophysics and Space Science 227. pp. 229-53.

A model for the neutrino and the essential æther

The famous equation, E = mc2, is an example where books and encyclopaedias slip unnoticed into referring to mass ‘m’ not as a phenomenon related to matter, but as matter itself. Yet this simple equation is telling us some profound truths that are fundamental for cosmology. They are—energy, mass and the speed of light are all attributes of matter.

This realization sweeps away the fog of modern metaphysics instantly. Mass depends on the energy of the matter. And the speed of light is not a universal constant because it is affected by the material medium it is passing through. Maxwell’s æther must be reinstated. The universe has a material medium, essential for the transmission of light. The ‘perfect vacuum’ doesn’t exist. And photons don’t exist because there can be no particle with zero mass.

Fundamentally, energy is bound up in the electromagnetic structure of matter. Einstein was wrong when he spoke in 1920, “according to the special theory of relativity, both matter and radiation are but special forms of distributed energy.”26G. B. Jeffery, W. Perrett. “Sidelights on Relativity. Einstein A. Ether and the Theory of Relativity: An Address Delivered on May 5th, 1920, in the University of Leyden.” ‘Energy’ remains undefined in physics because of the confusion. The Electric Universe defines energy as a measure of the motion of charged matter with respect to all other charged matter in the universe. Uncharged subatomic particles are included since they are composites of equal numbers of oppositely charged sub-particles.

Without matter there can be no ‘pure energy’ at the instant of the Big Bang or ‘vacuum energy’ afterwards. Matter cannot be annihilated. The term ‘antimatter’ is misleading and incorrect. The merging of a particle and its ‘anti-particle’ must result in the release of stored electromagnetic energy and the coalescence of the combined constituent sub-particles to form a collapsed, stable particle of vanishing internal energy, or mass. Such particles are called neutrinos. The process can be reversed if a neutrino receives sufficient resonant electromagnetic energy that it re-forms a particle and its mirror image particle. On this topic Dr. Halton Arp writes:

there can be no such thing as ‘new’ matter. So when we speak of creation of matter we do not mean matter coming into our universe from somewhere else (there is nowhere else) or from nothing. We must mean the transformation of previously existing mass-energy.27Halton Arp. “Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science.” Apeiron 1998. p. 239.

Halton Arp

Empty space is not empty. It is an æther of neutrinos. They are the sources of matter in the universe, awaiting the burst of gamma rays to open them to form the stuff of atoms. Being composed of orbiting charged sub-particles, neutrinos form the neutral dielectric ‘æther’ required by Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. It is the medium through which the electric force is transferred directly via chains of electric dipoles.

The real nature of light

What is the real nature of light? It cannot be both a wave and a particle. Einstein’s special theory of relativity discarded the medium (æther) required by James Clerk Maxwell for the transmission of light. Einstein was confirmed in his view by the Michelson-Morley experiment. However, that experiment showed a residual, which can be explained by the æther being ‘dragged’ along by the rotating Earth. This was later confirmed by far more rigorous repeats of the experiment by Dayton Miller. The Dayton Miller story makes interesting reading. If it weren’t for the extraordinary power of self-delusion, commonsense would tell us that a wave can’t exist in nothing. Maxwell was right, light is a transverse electromagnetic wave moving through a dielectric medium, the æther. 

The universe is teeming with neutrinos. And since neutrinos are resonant orbiting systems of charge, like all matter, they will respond to the electric force by distorting to form an electric dipole aligned with the electric field. The speed of light in a vacuum may be seen as related to the moment of inertia of the neutrino in response to an alternating transverse electric force. 

What about the bending of starlight by the Sun, which discovery raised Einstein to megastar status? The residual found in the Michelson-Morley experiments shows that the Earth and all ponderable bodies ‘drag’ an æther ‘atmosphere’ along with them. The bending of starlight near the Sun is the effect expected of an extensive neutrino atmosphere held to the Sun by gravity. Neutrinos do, after all, have some mass. Light will be slowed in the denser medium—causing normal refraction or bending of light.

Michelson-Morley experiment deemed faulty by the Electric Universe

The Michelson-Morley Experiment is conventionally taken to prove the non-existence of the aether. Essentially the idea was to use the interference properties of light waves to produce a dimming and brightening of observed light. If one simply merges two rays of light travelling at the same speed, their wave patterns (imagine undulating waves) will be synchronized (i.e. their crests and troughs will align). This alignment will result in a brighter light. If, however, one ray in this scenario falls behind the other such that one’s trough converges with the other’s crest, an observable dimming will take place. The assumption of the Michelson-Morley Experiment was that the aether is a flowing current of some sort. If it flows, goes the reasoning, then it must carry along waves of light slower upstream, faster downstream and at another rate cross-stream. Since light speeds could only be measured on a two-way trip, Michelson set up an experiment with a semi-reflective mirror that would allow half the light of each of two rays to pass through at right angles to each other with the whole apparatus set upon a rotating table. See here for an animated view of the experiment. When turning the table, one should observe a dimming and brightening of the light due to the interference of the aether flow. Although this experiment was performed under various conditions, no such fluctuation was observed.

The light-speed non-barrier

We must give up the notion that the speed of light is a real speed barrier for the transfer of information. Light speed may seem fast on our puny scale, but on a cosmic scale it is glacial. Imposing such a speed limit renders the universe totally incoherent. Weber’s electrodynamics, which encompasses gravity, is instantaneous. There would be no stable atoms, planetary systems or galaxies if this were not so.

We have direct evidence of the superluminal action of the electric force, given that gravity is a longitudinal dipolar electric force. Indeed, Newton’s celebrated equation requires that gravity act instantly on the scale of the solar system. The Earth responds to the gravitational pull of the Sun where it is at the moment, not where the Sun was 8 minutes ago. Otherwise, the Earth and all other planets in the solar system would experience a torque and be slung into deep space within a few thousand years.

The coherent, real-time, Electric Universe

What about time? With all matter in the universe connected in real time through the electric force of gravity, time is universal. There can be no time distortion or time travel—something that common sense always told us. However, atomic clocks—our most accurate timepieces—are subject to shifts in resonant states based upon their energy. And with a real definition of energy we can see that the atomic clocks orbiting above the Earth will ‘tick’ at a different rate to those on the ground. Forget Einstein! All the engineers do for the Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) is to set their clocks on the ground to count a different number of ‘ticks’ in orbit so they keep time with those on the ground.

Electric Biology

If information about normal matter can be transferred in real-time, why not more subtle information required for coherence of complex living systems? Modern biology has no idea how living systems maintain coherent control throughout a body. Here we enter the field occupied by scientists like biologist Rupert Sheldrake, with his theory of morphic resonance; and the cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, with his ‘intelligence’ of the living cell residing in the receptors on the outer cell wall. We have a real science model to pursue the mind-body connection, the ‘subtle energy’ of living systems, memory and consciousness. The many taboo subjects for today’s micro-specialists may be opened up for investigation at last. This model argues for a coherent, interconnected, conscious universe.

The Bigger Picture

Electric Universe cosmology is an unprecedented scientific and cultural revolution. The arts, history and sciences are combined in a phenomenal and awe-inspiring panorama of the recent history of the Earth and humanity. Perhaps only the few humans who have witnessed Earth from space have felt the inspiration that such a perspective offers. On Christmas Eve 1968 the Apollo 8 spacecraft with astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders entered lunar orbit. At the beginning of the fourth orbit, their spacecraft was emerging from the far side of the moon when “Earthrise,” one of the most influential images in history, was taken. The image affected Anders who said later, “This is the only home we have and yet we’re busy shooting at each other, threatening nuclear war, and wearing suicide vests. It amazes me.” He gave up his religious beliefs because he could not imagine a judgemental deity up there “wondering whether Billy was a good boy yesterday?” 

This comment by Anders emphasises that we must first understand ourselves before we can understand the universe. And for our long-term survival we must understand the origin of our existential fear, which is at the heart of our irrational, destructive behaviour toward each other and the planet. A desperate need for order seems to drive modern big bang cosmology, which has returned to Pythagorean and Platonic mysticism and has nothing useful or even sensible to offer us. It seems significant that real science,28Bruce G. Charlton. Not Even Trying… The Corruption of Real Science. University of Buckingham Press. “modern research is incoherent, and therefore whatever masquerades as checking and testing is not merely irrelevant but actively misleading–merely an excuse for unendingly funding permanently inconclusive research.” the search for truth, was disrupted in the catharsis following the end of the insane First World War. The world was keen to escape the reality of the re-enacted apocalypse. Lately, I have discovered that the great European scientists of the 19th century, who were experimenting with electricity and magnetism, were close to a real, coherent understanding of gravity, magnetism, light, the atom, and the Electric Universe. Sadly, we have wasted a century or more.

The big bang has its origin in the creation myth of the splitting open of a primordial ‘cosmic egg.’  Historically we have the unexplained exploits of the planetary gods brandishing their apocalyptic weapon—the ‘thunderbolt of the gods.’ Why is there global accord about the planetary gods? Venus is always female; the beautiful princess with long flowing hair; or her alter-ego, the terrible Medusa monster with venomous serpentine hair. Mars is always male; the archetypal warrior hero who saves the beautiful princess from chaos monsters. He is scarred in battle. North American Indians called Mars “Scarface.” How can these dramatic stories about tiny moving specks of light in the night sky have come about? Such foundational questions never occur to today’s specialists who have been disciplined to believe in Newton’s clockwork solar system where ‘bad things’ only happened in an unfathomably remote past.

Paradoxically, religions are the most divisive feature of human existence. They provide no scientific answers but rather pose fundamental questions facing humanity. What is the origin of the Chicken Little fascination with the end of days; of doomsday? In my lifetime I have seen fear of a nuclear winter; of comet impact; of an ice age; and now it is global warming and a pandemic. What was the origin of the divisive human obsession with heavenly gods; the old warring planetary gods and their apocalyptic weapon—the thunderbolt? I was in high school when I found an answer. In 1950 the textbook publisher, The Macmillan Company, released a best-selling book by Immanuel Velikovsky titled Worlds in Collision. It inspired me with a well-documented, multi-disciplinary forensic investigation of global references to planetary gods and their interactions. The archetypes and exploits of each planet are the same the world over. They must have been witnessed as the Earth rotated beneath some celestial spectacle. But it seems we never learn from past mistakes. Worlds in Collision suffered the modern equivalent of a medieval book burning at the hands of astronomer priests who threatened a boycott of Macmillan’s textbook business. The company was forced to transfer the rights of their best-seller to Doubleday.

Immanuel Velikovsky photo
Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979)

Immanuel Velikovsky is famous for the controversy that came to be known as The Velikovsky Affair. This was an embarrassing moment for mainstream scientists, who showed themselves to be emotional partisans of a cult rather than the rational objective thinkers they’d been pretending to be. In fact, their behaviour was so unbecoming, the populist scientist of the time, Carl Sagan issued an apology, expressing his regret that scientists and academics had lost all rational comportment and dignity in their vicious attacks against Velikovsky. His book Worlds in Collision is an incredible multi-disciplinary study that considers a mountain of evidence indicating large-scale planetary displacement in our solar system with catastrophic consequences on Earth during historical memory and recorded in Biblical tales and myths around the world.

The noted astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle wrote:

The book [Worlds in Collision] caused a sensation both with the public and among astronomers, the latter becoming stirred to near-violent displays of outrage. Such eminent figures as Harlow Shapley were heavily involved. It could be said that Shapley became angry even to the point of incoherence.

Sir Fred Hoyle

Of Velikovsky, Hoyle wrote:

He believed in the primacy of documentary evidence, whereas we believed in the primacy of mathematical rules, rules that enabled us to predict, with a high degree of accuracy, where and when the next total eclipse of the Sun was going to occur.

Sir Fred Hoyle

This belief in a primordial Newtonian clockwork solar system and dismissal of contrary evidence is unscientific but characteristic of mathematical theorists. It allows unrestrained retro-calculation. But the laws of physics are man-made and subject to revision, particularly in the case of the force of gravity, which in this 21st century still has no physical explanation. The law gives a purely mathematical description of planetary orbits. Yet the unbalanced force of gravity has no feedback mechanism to maintain order for 3 or more orbiting bodies. This disturbing fact is ignored.29Sussman G. J., Wisdom J.. “Chaotic Evolution of the Solar System.” Science 257(3), 1992. pp. 56-62. “the evolution of the solar system as a whole is chaotic, with a time scale of exponential divergence of about 4 million years.” Nonetheless, Hoyle was moved to ask:

could it be that Velikovsky had revealed, admittedly in a form that was scientifically unacceptable, a situation that astronomers are under a cultural imperative to hide? Could it be that, somewhere in the shadows, there is a past history that it is inadmissible to discuss?30Fred Hoyle. “Home is where the wind blows.” pp. 285-86.

Sir Fred Hoyle

Velikovsky “in a form that was scientifically unacceptable” had confirmed Hoyle’s suspicion.31Immanuel Velikovsky. Mankind in Amnesia. He was a polymath and psychoanalyst—a broadly educated classical scientist, unlike specialists of the last century. In his view, mankind demonstrates a clear desire not to know that the solar system has a recent catastrophic history. All catastrophes are pushed into an unimaginably remote past, so the uniformitarian history of the Earth reads like a reassuring “Once upon a time, long, long ago…” bedtime story. Meanwhile we have developed weapons capable of re-enacting the destruction from heaven wrought by the interplanetary thunderbolts and placed those weapons in the hands of amnesiacs, unaware of the post traumatic subconscious urge to repeat the past. Velikovsky warned that until we remember our past, we cannot heal from it and are doomed to repeat our irrational patterns of unsustainable behaviour toward each other and the planet. We are our own worst enemy.

Clearly, Velikovsky’s over-dramatic book title Worlds in Collision was misleading because what he, and the mytho-historians who followed him,32David Talbott. Thunderbolts of the Gods (2002). Dwardu Cardona. Newborn Star (2016). Ev Cochrane. Fossil Gods and Forgotten Worlds (2010). described were close electrical encounters of the Earth with other planets. Of course, we now read that the Moon was formed in far off times by collision of the early Earth with a Mars-sized body. Such stories are a result of the empty toolbox of astrophysicists. They only have explosions and collisions to work with. There is no specialist on Earth who understands cosmology as the “Queen of the sciences” for the simple reason that it requires coherence across all disciplinary boundaries. No university on Earth, with their focus on micro-specialisation, provides that. Natural philosophy has been pronounced dead by Stephen Hawking. However, “It is the inductive science of philosophy that teaches the ‘hard’ scientist how to be scientific.”33David Harriman. The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics. 2010. p. 243. And as Jacques Barzun wrote, “If he retreats from the indulgence of self-annihilation, man the philosopher will find ancestral voices to guide him.”34Jacques Barzun. Science: the glorious entertainment. p. 306.

At university in the early 60s, I think I was the only science undergraduate haunting the Anthropology section of the university library. Reading the creation myths of many diverse cultures convinced me that Velikovsky had made a case that must be answered. The Electric Universe cosmology is the result of a lifetime’s independent research shared with similarly inspired scholars from the arts, engineering and sciences. Because it includes human evidence of the sky stretching back into prehistory, it provides a surprisingly detailed big picture of the recent history of the solar system and our experiences of a series of dramatic interplanetary events. As a result, the Electric Universe is the only coherent cosmology that has correctly predicted and explained discoveries in the space age. And in 2019 a multi-million-dollar independent experiment to audit the electrical nature of stars was successfully completed.35See safireproject.com It will revolutionize the sciences. The Electric Universe is a scientific and cultural paradigm leap that must happen if we are to have a future on this blue jewel of a planet.


[1]Ralph Juergens, Reconciling Celestial Mechanics and Velikovskian Catastrophism, Pensée, Fall 1972, p. 9.
[2]Phys.org.  Iron is everywhere in Earth’s vicinity.
[3]In a personal letter to Professor Solovine, dated 28 March 1949: “You can imagine that I look back on my life’s work with calm satisfaction. But from nearby it looks quite different. There is not a single concept of which I am convinced that it will stand firm, and I feel uncertain whether I am in general on the right track.” Quoted in B. Hoffman, Albert Einstein – Creator and Rebel (N.Y.: Viking Press, 1972).
[4]Marco M. Capria, Review of André K. T. Assis, Relational Mechanics Apeiron, Montreal, 1999, pp. 285.
[5]André K. T. Assis, Relational Mechanics, pp. 51-8, Apeiron, Montreal.
[6]A. K. T. Assis, Deriving gravitation from electromagnetism, Can. J. Phys. 70, pp. 330-40 (1992). 
[7]W. Thornhill, Electric Comets & Asteroids.
[8]B. J.R. Davidsson et al. Nucleus properties of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 estimated from non-gravitational force modelling, Icarus 187 (2007) p. 312. The water production rate falls off “around 30 days pre-perihelion, and continuing for the next 50 days,” which is not expected in the icy comet model but may match the electrical model since it coincides with the minimum radial acceleration of the negative comet with respect to the positive Sun.  
[9]Halton Arp, The Observational Impetus for Le Sage Gravity Pushing  gravity: New perspective on Le Sage’s theory of gravity,(Apeiron, Montreal (2002). 
[10]G. Burbidge et al. The Discovery of a High Redshift X-ray Emitting QSO Very Close to the Nucleus of NGC 7319.
[11]Edwin Hubble,“…on the basis of the evidence now available, a choice seems to be presented, as once before in the days of Copernicus, between a small, finite universe, and a sensibly infinite universe plus a new principle of nature. And, as before, the choice may be determined by the attribute of simplicity.” The Problem of the Expanding Universe. Science 1942; 95: pp. 212-215.
[12]Halton Arp, Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science, Apeiron, Montreal (1998).
[13]See Eric J. Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened, p. 244 ff., Simon & Schuster, 1991.
[14]https://www.plasma-universe.com/galaxy-formation/, Electrical Birthing of Stars.
[15]ESA Report, 2 October 2009.
[16]Phys.org, “The water in Saturn’s rings and satellites is like that on Earth,” 3/12/2018.
[17]Phys.org, “The Origin of Binary Stars.” 21/8/2017.
[18]G. T. Marklund, Plasma Convection in Force-Free Magnetic Fields as a Mechanism for Chemical Separation in Cosmical Plasmas, Nature 1979; 277: 370-1.
[19]A. M. Stutz1 and A. Gould, Slingshot mechanism in Orion: Kinematic evidence for ejection of protostars by filaments, Astronomy & Astrophysics 590, A2 (2016).
[20]G. L. Verschuur, Neutral Hydrogen Filaments at High Galactic Latitudes, Astrophys Space Sci 1991; 185: 305-32.
[21]T. Holden, Do dinosaurs pose a gravity problem?
[22]Jan Lamprecht, Hollow Planets: A Feasibility Study of Possible Hollow Worlds, (2013).
[23]Phys.org, March 20, 2020, Initial findings of artificial impact on asteroid Ryugu
[24]See https://etherealmatters.org/sam
[25]K. R. Healy, A. L. Peratt, Radiation Properties of Pulsar Magnetospheres: Observation, Theory, And Experiment, Astrophysics and Space Science 227: 229-253, 1995.
[26]G. B. Jeffery, W. Perrett, Sidelights on Relativity. Einstein A. Ether and the Theory of Relativity: An Address Delivered on May 5th, 1920, in the University of Leyden.
[27]Halton Arp, Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science, Apeiron 1998: p. 239.
[28]Bruce G. Charlton, Not Even Trying… The Corruption of Real Science, University of Buckingham Press.“..modern research is incoherent, and therefore whatever masquerades as checking and testing is not merely irrelevant but actively misleading – merely an excuse for unendingly funding permanently inconclusive research.”
[29]Sussman GJ, Wisdom J.  Chaotic Evolution of the Solar System,Science 257(3): 56-62, 1992. “the evolution of the solar system as a whole is chaotic, with a time scale of exponential divergence of about 4 million years.”
[30]Fred Hoyle, Home is where the wind blows, pp. 285-6.
[31]Immanuel Velikovsky, Mankind in Amnesia,
[32]David Talbott, Thunderbolts of the Gods, (2002), Dwardu Cardona, Newborn Star, (2016), Ev Cochrane, Fossil Gods and Forgotten Worlds, (2010).
[33]David Harriman, The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics, 2010, p. 243.
[34]Jacques Barzun, Science: the glorious entertainment, p. 306.
[35]See safireproject.com


© Wallace Thornhill  2020

Wallace William Thornhill has a B.Sc in Physics & Electronics from Melbourne University. He left post-graduate study to work at IBM Australia for 11 years. In 1967, he was IBM’s systems engineer for the Research Schools at the Australian National University, which gave him excellent access to libraries and scientists there during the Apollo missions to the Moon. 

Recognition & Awards
Thornhill was awarded a gold medal in Hungary in 2010 by the European Telesio-Galilei Academy of Science. He presented the Natural Philosophy Alliance (NPA) John Chappell memorial lecture, “Stars in an Electric Universe” in 2011 at U. of Maryland and was awarded the NPA 2013 Sagnac Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Publications
Thornhill has published two books with colleague David Talbott (author of The Saturn Myth)—the first titled Thunderbolts of the Gods and the second The Electric Universe, on the combined subjects of the recent history of the solar system and the electrical nature of the universe. Also e-books are available online: The Big Bang?, The Electric Sun and The Comet

SAFIRE
Thornhill and his colleague, the retired electrical engineer Prof. Donald Scott, are responsible for initiating the multi-million-dollar SAFIRE experiment in Toronto, Canada, which successfully tested an electrical model of the Sun that is applicable to all stars. Some Canadian nuclear scientists have dubbed the experiment the most advanced of its type. It has successfully produced energy, transmuted elements and shown conditions observed in and above the solar photosphere.

The Electric Universe
The Electric Universe was first presented at a world conference in Portland, Oregon, in January 1997. Workshops and conferences were then held in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. He has presented at conferences in the USA, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. 

Further Resources
For more detail please visit Thornhill’s personal website: holoscience.com

Also check out the Thunderbolts website: thunderbolts.info

For a wonderful series of videos on the The Electric Universe (which have enjoyed 15 million views to date), see Space News on YouTube and join the growing subscriber list, now numbering 156,000. 

Darlingtonia californica, also known as the "cobra lily," is a carnivorous plant native to northern California and Oregon

Fields of Being: On Morphic Resonance

In this paper Rupert Sheldrake elucidates his controversial hypothesis of morphic fields and morphic resonance, a revolutionary expansion of the idea of Darwinian evolution that accounts for how living organisms assume their different shapes and develop their unique traits. The implications are far reaching and help account for phenomena of interconnectedness (like telepathy) overlooked by mainstream science.

Pictured above: the intricate form of Darlingtonia californica resembles a striking cobra with bared fangs. How does the “cobra lily” take on its bizarre, distinctive shape? (Photo Credit: David Berry)

Morphic fields underlie the organization of animals, plants, cells, proteins, crystals, brains and minds. They help to explain habits, memories, instincts, telepathy and the sense of direction. They have an inherent memory. They imply that many of the so-called laws of nature are more like habits.

This is, of course, a controversial hypothesis.

The fields of morphogenesis

My interest in these new kind of fields first developed while I was doing research on the development of plants at Cambridge University. To start with, I was concerned only with one particular kind of morphic field, namely morphogenetic fields.

How do plants grow from spores or seeds into the characteristic form of their species? How do the leaves of ferns, oaks and bamboos take up their shapes? These are questions to do with what biologists call morphogenesis, the coming-into-being of form (Greek: morphe = form; genesis = coming into being), one of the great unsolved problems of biology.

Detail of Plato and Aristotle from The School of Athens (c. 1509) by Raphael

In ancient Greece, philosophies of form fell into two main categories. Following Plato, the forms of living organisms were seen as imperfect copies of transcendent archetypes, or ideal Forms. Plato’s student Aristotle thought that the Forms of animals and plants were shaped by their souls, which contained the form of the body and attracted the developing organism towards the characteristic form of its species. A similar idea continued in Europe in the Vitalist tradition in biology. But by the late nineteenth century the mechanistic school of thought predominated, seeing all morphogenesis as a mechanistic process determined by inherited chemicals, which are now identified with DNA.

The naive approach is simply to say that morphogenesis is genetically programmed. Different species just follow the instructions in their genes. But a few moments’ reflection shows that this reply won’t do. All the cells of the body contain the same genes. In your body the same genetic program is present in your eyes, kidneys and fingers. If they are all programmed identically, then how do they develop so differently?

Thanks to the great triumphs of molecular biology, we know what genes actually do. Some code for the sequence of amino acids in proteins; others are involved in the control of protein synthesis. They enable organisms to make particular proteins. But these alone cannot account for form. Your arms and your legs are chemically identical. If ground up and analyzed biochemically, they would be indistinguishable. But they have different shapes. Something other than the genes and the proteins they code for is needed to explain their form.  

Biologists who study the development of form in plants and animals have long been aware of these problems, and since the 1920s many have adopted the idea that developing organisms are shaped by fields called morphogenetic fields. These are rather like invisible blueprints that underlie the form of the growing organism. But they are not, of course, designed by an architect, any more than a “genetic program” is supposed to be designed by a computer programmer. They are fields: self-organizing regions of influence, analogous to magnetic fields and other recognized fields of nature. 

But no one knows what these fields are or how they work. Most biologists assume that they will at some time in the future be explained in terms of regular physics and chemistry. This is no more than an act of faith.  

After ten years of research in developmental biology, I came to the conclusion that these fields were not just a way of talking about standard mechanistic processes, but something really new.

Alexander Gurwitsch (1874-1954) was a Russian biologist who first proposed the idea of morphogenetic fields in 1920
Alexander Gurwitsch (1874-1954)

The idea of morphogenetic fields was first put forward by Alexander Gurwitsch in 1920. The idea of morphogenetic fields was proposed independently by Gurwitsch in Russian in 1922, Hans Spemann in Germany in 1924 and Paul Weiss in Vienna in 1926. All were leading developmental biologists, and Spemann received the Nobel Prize in 1935 for his work on embryology. These field theories were widely influential at the time, but with the rise of genetics and molecular biology were eclipsed as the fashion shifted towards a bottom-up explanation of morphogenesis in terms of molecular mechanisms, rather than the top-down holistic approach that was intrinsic to the field concept.

The hypothesis of morphic fields

This was the starting point for my own development of the hypothesis of morphic fields first proposed in my book A New Science of Life1Sheldrake, R. (1981; third edition, 2009) A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation. Icon Books, London. and further developed in The Presence of the Past.2Sheldrake, R. (1988a; second edition, 2011) The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature. Icon Books, London.

All self-organizing systems are wholes made up of parts, which are themselves wholes at a lower level, such as atoms in molecules and molecules in crystals. The same is true of organelles in cells, cells in tissues, tissues in organs, organs in organisms, organisms in social groups. At each level, the morphic field gives each whole its characteristic properties, and interconnects and coordinates the constituent parts.

The fields responsible for the development and maintenance of bodily form in plants and animals are called morphogenetic fields. In animals, the organization of behaviour and mental activity depends on behavioural and mental fields. The organization of societies and cultures depends on social and cultural fields.3Sheldrake (1981), op. cit. All these kinds of organizing fields are morphic fields.4Sheldrake (1988a), op. cit.

Morphic fields are located within and around the systems they organize. Like quantum fields, they work probabilistically. They restrict, or impose order upon, the inherent indeterminism of the systems under their influence. Thus, for example, a protein field organizes the way in which the chain of amino acids (the “primary structure,” determined by the genes) coils and folds up to give the characteristic three-dimensional form of the protein, “choosing” from among many possible structures, all equally possible from an energetic point of view. Social fields coordinate the behaviour of individuals within social groups, for example the behaviour of fish in schools, or birds in flocks.5Ibid., Chapters 13 and 14.

The mathematician René Thom has created mathematical models of morphogenetic fields in which the end-points that systems develop towards are defined as attractors.6Thom, R. (1975) Structural Stability and Morphogenesis. Benjamin, Reading, MA; Thom, R. (1983) Mathematical Models of Morphogenesis. Horwood, Chichester. In the branch of mathematics known as dynamics, attractors represent the limits towards which dynamical systems are drawn. They provide a scientific way of thinking about ends, purposes, goals or intentions. All morphic fields contain attractors.

The most controversial feature of this hypothesis is that the structure of morphic fields depends on what has happened before. They contain a kind of memory. Through repetition the patterns they organize become increasingly probable, increasingly habitual. The force these fields exert is the force of habit.

Whatever the explanation of its origin, once a new morphic field, a new pattern of organization, has come into being, through repetition the field becomes stronger.  The same pattern becomes more likely to happen again. The more often patterns are repeated, the more probable they become. The fields contain a kind of cumulative memory and become increasingly habitual. Fields evolve in time and form the basis of habits. From this point of view nature is essentially habitual. Even the so-called “laws of nature” may be more like habits.

The means by which information or an activity-pattern is transferred from a previous to a subsequent system of the same kind is called morphic resonance. Morphic resonance involves the influence of like upon like, the influence of patterns of activity on subsequent similar patterns of activity, an influence that passes through or across space and time from past to present. These influences do not fall off with distance in space or time. The greater the degree of similarity, the greater the influence of morphic resonance.

Morphic resonance gives an inherent memory in fields at all levels of complexity. Any given morphic system, say that of a squirrel, tunes in to previous similar systems, in this case previous squirrels of its species. Through this process each individual squirrel draws upon, and in turn contributes to, a collective or pooled memory of its kind. In the human realm, this kind of collective memory corresponds to what the psychologist C.G. Jung called the “collective unconscious.”

A blue tit stealing cream from the top of a milk bottle, a phenomenon that first began in Britain in the 1920s

One example of the spread of a new pattern of behaviour suggestive of morphic resonance is the stealing of cream by blue tits (called chickadees in North America) in Britain starting in the 1920s, when fresh supplies of milk were delivered to the doorsteps of houses every morning except Sunday. At the time blue tits and several related species began to steal cream by removing the caps and drinking the cream from the tops of the bottles. The first record of this habit was in 1921 from Southampton and it spread throughout Britain as monitored by amateur birdwatchers between 1930 and 1947. Once cream-stealing had been discovered in a particular place, it spread locally by imitation. A detailed analysis of the records by scientists at Cambridge University showed that cream-stealing was probably discovered independently at least 89 times in the British Isles. The spread of the habit accelerated as time went on. This habit also spread to continental Europe. The Dutch records are particularly interesting. Milk deliveries stopped during the Second World War and began again in 1947. Blue tits live only a few years, and probably none that had learnt this habit before the war would have survived until this date. Nevertheless attacks on milk bottles began again rapidly.7Sheldrake (1981), Chapter 9.

Morphic resonance should be detectable in the realms of physics, chemistry, biology, animal behaviour, psychology and the social sciences. But long established systems, such as zinc atoms, quartz crystals and insulin molecules are governed by such strong morphic fields, with such deep grooves of habit, that little change can be observed. They behave as if they are governed by fixed laws.  

By contrast, new systems should show an increasing tendency to come into being the more often they are repeated. They should become increasingly probable; they should happen more easily as time goes on. For example, when a new chemical compound is synthesized by research chemists and crystallized, it may take a long time for the crystal to form for the first time. There is no pre-existing morphic field for the lattice structure. But when the first crystals form, they will make it easier for similar crystals to appear anywhere in the world. The more often the compound is crystallized, the easier it should be to crystallize.

In fact new compounds do indeed tend to crystallize more easily the more often they are made. Chemists usually explain this effect in terms of crystal “seeds” from the new crystals spreading around the world as invisible dust particles in the air, or chemists learning from others how to do it. But the hypothesis of morphic fields predicts that this should happen anyway under standardized conditions, even if dust particles are filtered out of the air.

Xylitol, seen here in crystal form, is a sugar alcohol often used as a sweetener in chewing gum
Xylitol crystals

Turanose, a kind of sugar, was considered to be a liquid for decades, but after it first crystallised in the 1920s it formed crystals all over the world. Even more striking are cases in which one kind of crystal appears and is then replaced by another. For example, xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in chewing gum, was first prepared in 1891 and was considered to be a liquid until 1942, when a form melting at 61 degrees centigrade crystallised out. Several years later another form appeared, with a melting point of 94 degrees centigrade and thereafter the first form could not be made again. Crystals of the same compound that exist in different forms are called polymorphs. The replacement of one polymorph by another is a recurrent problem in the pharmaceutical industry.  For example, the antibiotic ampicillin was first crystallised as a monohydrate, with one molecule of water of crystallisation per ampicillin molecule. In the 1960s it started to crystallise as a trihydrate, with a different crystal form, and despite persistent efforts, the monohydrate could not be made again.8Sheldrake (1981), Chapter 5.

Connections with quantum physics

Experiments to test for the spatial aspects of morphic fields imply a kind of non-locality that is not at present recognized by institutional science. Nevertheless, it may turn out to be related to the non-locality or non-separability that is an integral part of quantum theory, implying connections or correlations at a distance undreamt of by classical physics. Albert Einstein found the idea of “spooky action at a distance” implied by quantum theory deeply distasteful; but his worst fears have come true.9See Davies, P and Gribbin, J. (1991) The Matter Myth. Viking, London. Recent experimental evidence shows that these connections lie at the heart of physics.

Several physicists have been intrigued by the possible connections between morphic fields and quantum theory, including John Bell (of Bell’s theorem) and David Bohm, whose theory of the implicate order, based on the non-separability of quantum systems, turned out to be extraordinarily compatible with my own proposals.10Bohm, D. and Sheldrake, R. (1985) Morphogenetic fields and the implicate order. In: Sheldrake, R. (2009) A New Science of Life (third edition), Icon Books, London, p. 299. These connections have also been explored by the American quantum physicist Amit Goswami11Goswami, A. (1997) Eine quantentheoretisch Erklärung von Sheldrakes morphischer resonanz. In: Rupert Sheldrake in der Diskussion (eds Dürr, H.P. and Gottwald, F.T.). Scherz Verlag, Bern. and by the German quantum physicist Hans-Peter Dürr.12Dürr, H.P. (1997) Sheldrakes Vorstellungen aus dem Blickwinkel der modernen Physik. In: Rupert Sheldrake in der Diskussion (eds Dürr, H.P. and Gottwald, F.T.). Scherz Verlag, Bern. But it is still not clear exactly how morphic fields might fit in with quantum physics, if only because the implications of quantum theory for complex systems like cells and brains are still obscure.

Experiments on morphic fields

The hypothesis of morphic fields is a scientific hypothesis, and as such is experimentally testable. There are several possible ways in which it can be, and has been, investigated by experiment. Some of these tests attempt to detect the fields as they link together different parts of a system in space; other tests look for the effects of morphic resonance over time.

The easiest way to test for morphic fields directly is to work with societies of organisms. Individual animals can be separated in such a way that they cannot communicate with each other by normal sensory means. If information still travels between them, this would imply the existence of interconnections of the kind provided by morphic fields. The transfer of information through morphic fields could help provide an explanation for telepathy, which typically takes place between members of groups who share social or emotional bonds.

When I started looking for evidence of field-like connections between members of social groups, I found that I was moving into realms very little understood by science. For example, no one knows how societies of termites are coordinated in such a way that these small, blind insects can build complex nests with an intricate internal architecture.13Sheldrake, R. (1994) Seven Experiments That Could Change the World. Fourth Estate, London, Chapter 3. No one understands how flocks of birds or schools of fish can change direction so quickly without the individuals bumping into each other.14Sheldrake (1988), op. cit. Likewise, no one understands the nature of human social bonds.

One particularly promising area for this kind of research concerns telepathy between people and domesticated animals, as discussed in my book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home. For example, many dogs and cats seem to know when their owners are coming home, even when they return at non-routine times in unfamiliar vehicles such as taxis, and when no one at home knows when they are coming. The animals seem to be responding telepathically to their owners’ intentions.15Sheldrake, R. and Smart, P (2000a) A dog that seems to know when his owner is coming home: videotaped experiments and observations. Journal of Scientific Exploration 14, 233-255; Sheldrake, R. and Smart, P (2000b) Testing a return-anticipating dog, Kane. Anthrozoos 13, 203-12.

According to the hypothesis of formative causation, morphic fields extend beyond the brain into the environment, linking us to the objects of our perception, and are capable of affecting them through our intention and attention.16Sheldrake (1981), op. cit., section 9.6. This is another aspect of morphic fields that lends itself to experimental testing. Such fields would mean that we can affect things just by looking at them, in ways that cannot be explained in terms of conventional physics. For example, we may be able to affect someone by looking at them from behind, when they have no other way of knowing that we are staring at them.

The sense of being stared at from behind is in fact a common experience.  Experiments already indicate that it is a real phenomenon.17Sheldrake, R. (2003) The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind. Crown, New York. It does not seem to be explicable in terms of chance coincidence, the known senses, or fields currently recognized by physicists.

The unsolved problems of animal navigation, migration, and homing may also depend on invisible fields connecting the animals to their destinations.18Sheldrake, R. (1999) Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals, Part V. Crown, New York. In effect, these could act like invisible elastic bands linking them to their homes. In the language of dynamics, their home can be regarded as an attractor.19For a discussion of this idea, see Sheldrake, R., McKenna T. and Abraham R. (1998) The Evolutionary Mind, Chapter 4. Trialogue Press, Santa Cruz.

Morphic resonance in biology  

The build-up of habits can be observed experimentally only in the case of new patterns of development and of behaviour.  

There is already evidence from observations of fruit flies that morphic resonance effects may be occurring in the realm of morphogenesis. When fruit fly eggs were exposed to a chemical (diethyl ether), some of them developed abnormally, turning into flies with four wings instead of two. When this treatment was repeated generation after generation, more and more flies developed four wings, even if their ancestors had never been exposed to the chemical.20Sheldrake (1988a), Chapter 8.

Drosophila melanogaster, or the common fruit fly
Drosophila melanogaster

Photo Credit: Sanjay Acharya

In the 1950s British biologist Conrad Hal Waddington (1905-1975) conducted a series of experiments with fruit flies in his laboratory. In one experiment, he exposed fruit fly eggs to ether fumes for twenty-five minutes approximately three hours after they had been laid. Once hatched from their eggs, a statistically significant number of the flies developed four wings instead of the normal two. Waddington then selected these abnormal flies as parents of the next generation, which again he subjected to the ether stimulus. Continuing this experiment for several generations, he discovered that in as few as eight generations, a substantial number of fruit flies were born abnormally with four wings even when they were not exposed to the abnormal stimulus. Then, in the 1980s, geneticist Mae-Wan Ho (1941-2016) and her colleagues repeated Waddington’s fruit fly experiments, but this time, instead of selecting only abnormal flies as parents for the next generation, she allowed all the flies to mate at random. Nevertheless, she and her colleagues found that the percentage of abnormal fruit flies “progressively increased from 2% in the first generation to over 30% in the tenth.” Part of this effect could have been due to epigenetic inheritance, but when Ho and colleagues repeated the experiment with a fresh batch of fruit flies, instead of 2% showing four wings in the first generation, 10% did so; instead of 6% in the second generation, 20% had four wings.  This suggests an effect of morphic resonance.21Sheldrake (1988a), Chapter 8.

There is also much circumstantial evidence that animal behaviour can evolve rapidly, as if a collective memory is building up through morphic resonance. In particular, large-scale adaptations have occurred in the behaviour of domesticated animals all over the world.

One example concerns cattle guards. Ranchers throughout the American West have found that they can save money on cattle grids by using fake ones instead, consisting of stripes painted across the road. Real cattle guards are made of a series of parallel steel tubes or rails with gaps in between, which make it difficult for cattle to walk across them, and even painful to try. However, present-day cattle do not usually even try to cross them. The illusory grids work just like the real ones. When cattle approach them, they “put on brakes with all four feet,” as one rancher expressed it to me.

Is this just because calves learn from older cattle that they should not try to cross? Apparently not. Several ranchers have told me that herds not previously exposed to real cattle grids will avoid the phoney ones. And Ted Friend, of Texas A & M University, has tested the response of several hundred head of cattle to painted grids, and has found that naive animals avoid them just as much as those previously exposed to real grids.22Sheldrake, R. (1988b) Cattle fooled by phoney grids. New Scientist Feb 11, p.65. Sheep and horses likewise show an aversion to crossing painted grids. This aversion may well depend on morphic resonance from previous members of the species that have learned to avoid cattle grids the hard way.

There are many such examples. There are also data from laboratory experiments on rats and other animals that such effects occur. The best known involves a series of experiments in which subsequent generations of rats learned how to escape from a water maze. As time went on, rats in laboratories all over the world were able to do this quicker and quicker.23Sheldrake (1988a), op. cit. Chapter 9.

Morphic resonance in human learning

Morphic resonance has many implications for the understanding of human learning, including the acquisition of languages. Through the collective memory on which individuals draw, and to which they contribute, it should in general be easier to learn what others have learned before.

This idea fits well with the observations of linguists like Noam Chomsky, who propose that language learning by young children takes place so rapidly and creatively that it cannot be explained simply in terms of imitation. The structure of language seems to be inherited in some way. In his book The Language Instinct Steven Pinker gives many examples to support this idea.

One of the few areas in which detailed quantitative data are available over periods of decades is in the scores of IQ  (Intelligence Quotient) tests. If morphic resonance occurs, average performance in IQ tests should be rising not because people are becoming more intelligent, but because IQ tests should be getting easier to do as a result of morphic resonance from the millions who have done them before. This effect is now well known, and is called the “Flynn effect,” after its discoverer, James Flynn.

Large increases in IQ test scores have occurred in many different countries, including the USA, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Holland.24Flynn, J. (1987) Massive IQ Gains in 14 nations. Psychological Bulletin 101, 171-191. Many attempts have been made to explain this “Flynn effect,” but none have succeeded.25Neisser, U. et al. (1995) Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns. American Psychological Association Report; Horgan J. (1995) Get smart, take a test: A long-term rise in IQ scores baffles intelligence experts. Scientific American, November, 10-11. Flynn himself describes it as “baffling.”26Horgan, op. cit. But morphic resonance could provide a natural explanation.

Implications

The hypothesis of formative causation has far-reaching implications in all branches of science. For example, morphic fields could revolutionize our understanding of cultural inheritance, and the influence of ancestors. Richard Dawkins has given the name “meme” to “units of cultural transmission,”27Dawkins, R. (1976) The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press, Oxford. and such memes can be interpreted as morphic fields. Morphic resonance also sheds new light on many religious practices, including rituals.28Sheldrake, R. and Fox, M. (1996) Natural Grace. Doubleday, New York. Even scientific paradigms can be seen as morphic fields, stabilized by morphic resonance, with a tendency to become increasingly habitual and unconscious the more often they are repeated.29Sheldrake (1988a).

But however wide its implications, this hypothesis has a major inherent limitation. It helps explain how patterns of organization are repeated; but it does not explain how they come into being in the first place. It leaves open the question of evolutionary creativity. Formative causation is compatible with several different theories, ranging from the idea that all novelty is ultimately a matter of chance, to explanations in terms of divine creativity.30Sheldrake (1981; 1988a) op. cit.; Sheldrake, R. (1990) The Rebirth of Nature. Bantam, New York.


Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 90 scientific papers and nine books, including Science Set Free and Ways To Go Beyond, And Why They Work.  He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society.  He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sinces, Petaluma, CA, and of Schumacher College, in Devon, England.. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

Observer in cosmic mirror: objective observation

The Observer Observed

In the following essay Gary Lachman critiques the scientific doctrine of objective observation, traces its origins in Galileo’s thought and considers Goethe’s heretical approach to observation—“active seeing.”

Objectivity: Qualia vs. Quanta

In a book I wrote some years ago—A Secret History of Consciousness—a reader can find this statement: “We can characterize the advance of science as the sole arbiter of truth by seeing in it the gradual expulsion of human consciousness from its object of study.”1Gary Lachman. A Secret History of Consciousness. Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Books, 2003. p. 73. What I’d like to do here is to explore what I mean by this, to see where the “reality” behind this dictum has led the human mind and to look at a possible alternative to the methodology that such a view argues is unavoidable. 

This excising of the purely human or subjective from scientific study was most clearly expressed in the 15th century in the differentiation Galileo made between what he called primary and secondary characteristics, which, for convenience’s sake, we can call the quantitative and the qualitative aspects of our experience. Primary characteristics can be measured with certainty and will remain constant, regardless of who is observing them; speed, position, and mass are examples here. Secondary characteristics are all the “purely subjective” aspects of phenomena, the sensual side of reality: colour, smell, taste, etc. When Galileo dropped his spheres from the Leaning Tower of Pisa in order to test his theory that their different masses would not affect the speed of their descent, it made no difference what colour they were, how they felt to his touch, or, if he had bothered to find out, how they tasted. So, when I look at a blazing sunset and am awestruck, that is subjective; I am responding to secondary characteristics which, technically are not in the sunset itself but in me. When a scientist measures the electromagnetic waves emitted by the sun and which make up the “really real” aspect of the sunset, he is interested in the primary characteristics, to which we are generally oblivious. A recording device can measure wavelengths but it cannot feel awe, nor can it measure it. A recording device has no subjectivity, that is to say, it has no organ or means to register value. Hence, from the perspective of primary characteristics, the awe I feel is not “real,” or at least it is purely “subjective.” Why we are made in such a way that we do not blandly record electromagnetic wavelengths but instead see fiery reds and glorious yellows that we discover to our chagrin are not real, is a question yet to be answered.

In Science and the Modern World the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked that when Galileo made this distinction, reality “bifurcated,” that is, it split in two. Real, “objective” reality, was concerned with measurable wavelengths. Subjective reality—the one most of us spend most of our time in—was concerned with beauty, awe, wonder, and the other qualities that make up the world of value which cannot be measured. According to this view, nature, Whitehead said, is “a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless, merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly.”2Alfred North Whitehead. Science and the Modern World. New York: Macmillan, 1925. p. 77. This led Whitehead to remark that when the poets sing the praises of beautiful nature, according to science they really should be patting themselves on the back, as it is the subjective human mind which adds any beauty they may perceive to a world from which it is distinctly absent.

According to this view, nature, Whitehead said, is “a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless, merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly.”

Alfred North Whitehead

A later development of Galileo’s “bifurcation” is the “fact/value” divide recognised by the social scientist Max Weber in the early 20th century. A more recent one is the problem contemporary neuroscientists and philosophers of mind have in reconciling the qualia associated with subjective experience—our sense of things having value; i.e. beautiful sunsets—and the quanta, the physical neurons and electrical exchanges of the brain associated with that experience. How many neurons does it take for us to feel that something is beautiful? The jury’s still out on that one, and there’s no reason to think it will be back any time soon. My own belief is that we can pile the neurons up until doomsday; they will never amount to a thought or to the feeling of “the beautiful,” just as no matter how many oranges you gather, they will never produce an apple.3I am not saying that the neurons have nothing to do with it. But they have the same relation to my sense of the beautiful as my computer has to what I am writing on it now. It is the means by which my thoughts are made available; yet the pixels making up the words conveying those thoughts are not the thoughts themselves.

Now, this excising of the subjective from our attempt to understand the world scientifically was on the whole successful, at least in practical terms. To understand the laws of planetary motion, we had to kick the angels off the planets. To understand how nature worked—that is, physically, mechanically, in terms of cause and effect—we had to give the gods their walking papers. But while in terms of our ability to control the world, to predict what would happen where and when, Galileo’s bifurcation worked like a charm, it led to some less than cheery conclusions. From Galileo’s shunting of his secondary characteristics aside, we have arrived at astrophysicist Steve Weinberg’s remark that “the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”4Steven Weinberg. The First Three Minutes. New York: Basic Books, 1993. p. 154. One wonders if, had Weinberg stuck around for more than three minutes, his assessment of the universe would have been different. Comprehensible here means measurable. So, the more wavelengths we measure, the more Whitehead’s remark about a soundless, scentless, colourless, meaningless nature seems spot on.


Heisenberg’s Uncertainty

Oddly, by the time Weinberg made this assessment, the kind of detached, objective position that the scientist was supposed to enjoy had been for some time undermined, although the consequences of that undermining had not yet been fully appreciated, nor are they still today. In 1927 this detachment was breached by the physicist Werner Heisenberg, who introduced what has come to be known as the Heisenberg Observer Effect. Heisenberg discovered that rather than observe his elementary particles from some detached, uninvolved position, the scientist in the very act of observation alters what is being observed. This led to what we know as the Uncertainty Principle. This means that in trying to learn what an elementary particle is up to, we can only know either its position or its speed, but not both. We can know where it is, but not how fast it is moving; or we can know how fast it is moving but not where it is. This was not a problem that could be resolved through more acute observation via finer-tuned instruments, nor through ever more stringent measures taken by the scientist to preclude any interference on his part. It was part and parcel of the act of observation itself. It is rather as if a particle, catching wind that we are looking at it, decides to play hide and seek. Try as an observer may to extract himself from what he is observing, the very act of observation makes what is being observed aware of him and it says “Ha! Fooled you again!”

Watch this short video explaining the Double Slit Experiment, first performed by Thomas Young in 1801. Originally this experiment revealed the wave nature of light. As the video explains however further experimentation firing single particles through the slits has suggested that subatomic particles distribute themselves along wave-determined probability lines, as though even as individual particles, they know to distribute themselves according to wave patterns. Follow that up with the video below explaining the even more mind-blowing Delayed-Choice Experiment first proposed by John Wheeler in 1978 and the Delayed-Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment first performed in 1999. Here we discover that observation interferes directly with the outcome of particle choice. In fact, the particle will retroactively change its position as though erasing its original choice and history along with it.

One consequence of this arrangement is that the elementary stuff that physicists are interested in behaves in contradictory ways that are resolved only through the intervention of the scientist. This is the wave/particle conundrum. This means that depending on the type of experiment, the elementary whatever-it-is will act as a particle or a wave and only decides which it will be when the scientist tries to observe its behaviour and “collapses the wave function.” How the ‘wavicle’ knows what side of its character to show is another question yet to be answered.

Fascinating, puzzling and disturbing as this development was, it didn’t alter the primary/secondary dualism that Galileo had set in place. The alterations in the behaviour of electrons introduced by the act of observation did not have much to say about the distinction between the kinds of things we can measure and those we can’t. To be sure, much has been made of the strange behaviour of elementary wavicles and their supposed parallels with various elements in Eastern metaphysics; books like Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics and Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters are the best known works spelling these out. But although these developments put paid to the 19th century picture of a clockwork mechanical universe, and later insights into the science of “chaos” and “complexity” went on from there, they still accept that the “really real” things in the universe are these measurable whatever-they-are. They behave in crazy and unpredictable ways, to be sure, but they still have very little, if anything, to say about the sort of things that really interests us, like beauty, awe, or meaning.

Now although Heisenberg’s Observer Effect sent shock wavicles through the scientific community, an earlier observer of the effects of observation on the observed had come to conclusions a century or so before that were even more remarkable. Or they would have been, had anyone paid attention to them. A handful of people did.5One of them was Rudolph Steiner, founder of Anthroposophy. Steiner came to prominence as a young man through his editing of Goethe’s scientific writings; his system of “spiritual science” is based on Goethe’s approach to observation, what he called “active seeing.” Heisenberg was one of them (much later of course) and in an interview in 1932 he lamented the fact that the science of his day—and of ours—did not bring “the phenomena of nature to our thinking in an immediate and living way” as his predecessor wanted it to do. And so according to Heisenberg it did little to help our “understanding of the world,” a strange remark to come from someone whom we today consider to have done just that.6Quoted in Ronald Brady. “Goethe’s Natural Science: Some Non-Cartesian Meditations” in Robert McDermott, ed., The Essential Steiner. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984. p. 38.


Goethe’s Active Seeing

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

The person who wanted to bring “the phenomena of nature to our thinking in an immediate and living way” was Heisenberg’s countryman, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s most renowned poet but also one of its most interesting scientists. Scientist? Yes. Along with writing FaustThe Sorrows of Young Werther, and other works of world literature, Goethe was a scientist, although his approach to science was rather different from that of his time, and of ours. Although Goethe’s contributions to science are controversial—his disagreement with Newton’s ideas about colour are considered the most egregious—there is one at least that is incontrovertible.7For insight into Goethean science, see Henri Bortoft. The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way of Science. Edinburgh, UK: Floris Books, 2013. Long before Darwin, Goethe spoke of evolution, although again, his idea of evolution is not what we usually understand by that term. In 1784 he presented evidence for humankind’s kinship with the so-called “lesser animals” in the form of the intermaxillary bone. Prior to this the perceived absence of this small bone in human anatomy—it resides in the jaw—was taken as evidence that humans were something apart from the rest of creation. They had a special dispensation from God and were set apart from the other animals, which had the bone. Goethe discovered the presence of the intermaxillary bone in humans by observing and comparing human and animal skulls. After paying careful attention to the differences and similarities between these, he saw the bone. “Eureka,” he wrote to his friend, the philosopher Johann Herder: “I have found neither gold nor silver but something that unspeakably delights me.” It was the intermaxillary bone.

Darwin paid credit to Goethe’s discovery by calling it the starting point of our real understanding of evolution. But Goethe’s notion of evolution was not Darwin’s. “Natural selection” had very little to do with it. Evolution, for Goethe, was propelled not by the pressure of the environment and the chance mutations that aid an organism in its attempts to deal with it. It was the work of an intelligence working from within outward, not the result of mindless forces impinging on a passive, plastic stuff. But Goethe did not come to this conclusion via religious dogma or faith in Paley’s watchmaker. He came to it through observation.

Goethe had a lifelong interest in alchemy.8See Gary Lachman. A Dark Muse. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005. pp. 67-73. Transmutation, development, growth, were central to his world view and he brought the kind of close attention the alchemist paid to the metamorphoses taking place in his alembic to those taking place in the great laboratory of Nature. This was a kind of observation in which the observer does not try to be as detached as possible, but rather puts as much of himself into what he is observing as he can. It is the kind of observation an artist or poet puts into the subject of his work. Or the kind that a lover bestows on the beloved. Goethe called it “active seeing,” and it involves a kind of presence that the “objective” scientist shuns like the plague.9For more on “active seeing” see – actively, I hope – Henri Bortoft. Taking Appearance Seriously. Edinburgh, UK: Floris Books, 2014.      


Strasbourg Cathedral
Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, Alsace, France

Strasbourg Cathedral & the Urpflanze

As an example of “active seeing,” consider Goethe’s experience observing Strasbourg Cathedral. In 1770 Goethe was studying law in Strasbourg, and while there he was struck by the sight of the cathedral, a not uncommon experience, given that at the time it was the tallest structure in the world.10It remained so until 1874 when it was surpassed by St. Nikolas’s Church in Hamburg. The cathedral fascinated him and he observed it under a number of different conditions and at different times of day. He even climbed its tower, no small feat as Goethe suffered from vertigo at the time; climbing the tower actually cured him of it. In the form of the cathedral, Goethe said that “the sublime had entered into alliance with the pleasing.” But there was something else. Just before leaving Strasbourg for Frankfurt, Goethe mentioned to some friends that he believed the tower was incomplete, and to illustrate what he meant, he made a drawing of how the tower would have looked, had the builders stuck to the original plan. One friend knew of the original design and told Goethe he was right. But how did he know, given that the original design was not common knowledge? Goethe replied that the cathedral itself told him. “I observed it so long and so attentively and I bestowed on it so much affection that it decided at the end to reveal to me its manifest secret.” As Hans Gebert, commenting on Goethe’s experience, remarked, “Through observation, exercise, and mental effort, he had penetrated to an imperceptible reality, the idea of the architect.”11Hans Gebert. “About Goetheanistic Science”, Journal for Anthroposophy. Spring, 1979. pp. 45.

“I observed [Strasbourg Cathedral] so long and so attentively and I bestowed on it so much affection that it decided at the end to reveal to me its manifest secret.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On another occasion, Goethe’s active seeing made him privy to the designs of an even greater architect, Nature herself. During his Italian Journey (1786-88), while in Palermo, Sicily, Goethe discovered something he had been seeking for some time, what he called the Urpflanze or “primal plant,” the essential, archetypal plant form from which all others have emerged. He published his findings in 1790 in The Metamorphosis of Plants. Goethe’s “primal plant” was not a physical form, whose remnants could have been discovered fossilised in stone, but the non-sensory “blueprint” that eternally exists in a realm that the phenomenologist and scholar of Persian mysticism Henry Corbin later called the imaginal, to differentiate it from the “imaginary.” 

We tend to conceive the imaginary as unreal, as a world of “make believe.” This is not what Goethe had in mind, literally. For Corbin and for Goethe the imaginal was very real indeed; in fact it was the source of the physical world the senses reveal to us. It is the world we perceive through our imaginative—not imaginary—engagement with the elements of the sensory world, the kind of engagement Goethe experienced with Strasbourg Cathedral. For Goethe, the imagination, which most scientists want to excise from their efforts, is an organ of knowledge. It is a way of grasping reality, not of avoiding it, but a reality larger and more complex than the one we perceive solely through the senses, or which scientists map with their measuring devices. It is a reality in which the secondary characteristics, that Galileo austerely ejected from our attempts to know the “truth” about the world, were given at least equal, if not higher billing, with the primary ones.

For more on exactly how Goethe conceived of his “primal plant,” readers can consult my book Lost Knowledge of the Imagination.12Gary Lachman. Lost Knowledge of the Imagination. Edinburgh, UK: Floris Books, 2017. pp. 62-66. Goethe himself said that what he meant by his “primal plant” was not easy to convey. “No matter how clearly and exactly it is written down,” he wrote, “it is impossible to understand merely from reading.” One needed to experience it in order to truly grasp it. Goethe’s Urpflanze is often associated with Plato’s Forms or with Jung’s notion of the “archetypes.” But Plato’s Forms are grasped by the intellect, they are not “experienced,” and Jung’s archetypes are psychological, that is, they inhere in the human psyche. Goethe’s Urpflanze is something more than an “idea” but it is not only “psychological.” It exists in “reality,” but in that dimension of reality that resides between the purely conceptual on one hand, and the purely physical on the other. If we think of the image that comes to an artist as he strives to find the form that will embody his idea, we can get a sense of what Goethe means. The idea is purely conceptual, the finished form is physical. In between lies the image in his imagination. We can think of Goethe’s Urpflanze as an example of Nature’s imagination. Here let me conclude with what Goethe’s discovery of the “primal plant” meant to him and his method of pursuing science.

On 17 January 1787, Goethe was in the Public Gardens in Palermo, ostensibly meditating on a poem he was trying to finish, when something caught his attention. He remarked that here, where “plants were allowed to grow freely in the open and fresh air”—unlike under the hothouse conditions in Weimar—they could “fulfil their destiny” and become more intelligible. Could he not here discover the Primal Plant, that elusive but ever present form of all plants for which he had been searching? Goethe believed he could and in order to do so, he graced the plants he saw in Palermo with some of his active seeing. Goethe observed them, not with the cold detachment of the mechanical scientist, but with the warmth and involvement of the artist. He directed an inner warmth and attentiveness to the objects of his observation. He had observed plants in all the stages of their development, from seed to flower, and by doing so had participated in that development, just as he had participated in the design of Strasbourg Cathedral. We can say that where the quantitative approach takes very precise snapshots of natural processes at selected moments, freezing their flow into a fixed form so it can be “pinned down,” Goethe’s way was to slow down his consciousness, so that he could experience the growth of his plants as a whole. In this way not only is the observed affected by the observer, but the observer is affected by the observed. And just as Goethe intuited the original design of Strasbourg Cathedral through the warm attention he bestowed on it—thus perceiving an “imperceptible reality, the idea of the architect”—so too his discovery of the Urpflanze showed him, as he wrote to his friend Herder, “the secret of the reproduction and organization of plants” so that “it will be possible to go on forever inventing plants and know that their existence is logical.” Such plants would not be “the shadowy phantoms of vain imagination,” but would “possess an inner necessity and truth.”13Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Autobiography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 305. The “truth,” that is, of their architect, Nature herself.

[Goethe’s] discovery of the Urpflanze showed him, as he wrote to his friend Herder, “the secret of the reproduction and organization of plants” so that “it will be possible to go on forever inventing plants and know that their existence is logical.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For Goethe this meant that “truth” was not “out there,” as the objective scientist and The X-Files tell us. Nor was it “in here,” as the mystic and poet maintains. It is found in “a revelation emerging at the point where the inner world of man meets external reality.” “It is a synthesis of world and mind,” he said, brought about because “there resides in the objective world an unknown law which corresponds to the unknown law within subjective experience.”14Quoted in Erich Heller. The Disinherited Mind. New York: Farrar, Strauss, Cudahy, 1957. p. 31. Such truth as may be arrived at without this, by objective methods alone, may indeed prove remarkably practical and useful, as our conquest of nature makes clear. But it is a truth, as Goethe recognised, which exercises “those of our faculties which have the least bearing on what we are as people”—that is, on reality’s “secondary characteristics”—and which only “digs away at the gulf between us and the good life.” Such pursuits, Goethe believed, would condemn us to “fret away our days in the narrowest and most joyless limitation.”15Ibid. p. 21.

A science that arrives at the observation that the more we understand the universe, the more pointless it seems strikes me as condemning us to such joyless fretting. But a science that did not excise the “subjective” aspects of reality—that is, the contribution of the observer—but included them in its pursuit of “truth,” could, I think, avoid it. 


Gary Lachman is the author of twenty-one books on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness to literary suicides, popular culture and the history of the occult. He has written a rock and roll memoir of the 1970s, biographies of Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, C. G. Jung, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Emanuel Swedenborg, P. D. Ouspensky, and Colin Wilson, histories of Hermeticism and the Western Inner Tradition, studies in existentialism and the philosophy of consciousness, and about the influence of esotericism on politics and society. He writes for several journals in the UK, US, and Europe, including Fortean TimesQuestStrange AttractorFenris Wolf, and his work has appeared in the Times Literary SupplementTimes Educational Supplement, GuardianIndependent on SundaySunday TimesMojoGnosis and other publications. He lectures regularly in the UK, US, and Europe, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. He has appeared in several film and television documentaries and on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and is on the adjunct faculty in Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Before becoming a full-time writer Lachman studied philosophy, managed a new age bookshop, taught English Literature, and was a Science Writer for UCLA. He was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and in 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lachman was born in New Jersey, but since 1996 has lived in London, UK.

Blasted Guernica by Viktor Mitic

Viktor Mitic: On His Strange Art

In this review Ewan Whyte explores how the “bullet paintings” of artist Viktor Mitic transgress boundaries of what is acceptable in art by revealing the possibility of aesthetic beauty in the violence of everyday life.

Above image: Blasted Guernica, a 25-foot painting by Viktor Mitic (Materials: acrylic paint, canvas, bullets)

The deliberate destruction of the two giant Buddhas of Bamiyan1The statues were carved into the cliffs along the silk road in the Hazarajat valley of central Afghanistan in the sixth century. The smaller one was made in 504 C.E. and was 37 metres or 121 feet tall. The larger one was made in 554 C.E. and was 55 metres or 180 feet tall. by religious extremists in central Afghanistan in 2001 inspired Viktor Mitic to say: “It is incredibly shocking that people would destroy something of that significance, something which is one of a kind in the world, which means so much to others. It’s like tearing out part of someone else’s heart.” At that moment he wondered, could the process work in reverse: “Can guns ever be used to create something beautiful?” In the bullet paintings of Viktor Mitic, the visual art world is presented with guns as tools for the creation of works of art.

Guns, aside from being the weapon of choice for combatants in every modern war, are represented everywhere in popular culture and have become the overwhelming symbol of the power of life and death.

Roland Barthes compared the automobile in the mid-twentieth century as the “creation of its age” to the way the cathedral dominated the European imagination in medieval France. In that era, whole villages, towns and cities would join together to build local churches and cathedrals. Medieval France spent a greater percentage of its wealth to create cathedrals than the United States did in the 1960s to put a man on the moon.2Source?

For us now, it is the gun that is the creation of our age. They are everywhere. (The research firm Hoovers estimates the annual domestic firearms industry to be 6 billion dollars with an additional 9.8 billion in wages paid to workers in the industry in 2012). The US government estimates there to be 310 million guns in the US. Similarly the gun, the car, and the cathedral are all creations of almost entirely anonymous artists.

The act of shooting a painting may appear excessively violent or even obsessive. Its psychological impact is intense, especially when the shooting is so professionally done. Viktor Mitic shoots his paintings from close range, with a hard surface behind the canvas to get a small, even, perfectly rounded bullet-hole effect. By hanging the painting some distance from a hard surface and shooting it with a shotgun, he creates larger, sprayed holes to achieve a sort of “loose brush” effect with bullets. His gunshot paintings are carried out with what can be described as industrial speed.

However, there is a sense of harmony in the closure, or linking of spaces, between the bullet holes and the burn marks they make. There is a feeling of a boundary being permanently crossed by these acts of “violent” creation and the effects are significant. Viktor Mitic’s bullet paintings remind us that so much in ordinary, daily life is controlled or sublimated violence, and that this too can give birth to significant aesthetic experience.

May 03 Redux by Viktor Mitic

May 03 Redux is a revisiting of Goya’s The Third of May, 1808 and re-presents that painting with brighter colours, loose detail, and bullet holes. The Third of May, 1808, or The Executions on Principe Pio Hill, represents a historical event during the Peninsular War3The Peninsular War pitted France against the combined forces of Spain, Britain, and Portugal. It was fought between 1807 and 1814 in the Iberian Peninsula and southern France. when every Spanish man caught with a weapon during an insurrection against Napoleonic forces occupying Madrid was executed. Goya completed this painting not as an immediate compassionate reaction to these events but as an official state commission six years later after Napoleon’s final defeat. It is not a historically accurate painting, which is one of the reasons it is so good.

Mitic’s May 03 Redux takes this historical painting a few steps further than someone of Goya’s time could have hoped to. In Mitic’s work, the composition is roughly the same, but the hill behind the condemned and executed figures is painted a solid blue with several of the soldiers’ uniforms painted in variations of the same blue. One of the executing soldiers wears the exact same shade of red as the shirts of two of the people being executed and of the man waiting for execution at the side with his hands covering his face. The artist is stating, among other things, that this is the brutality of life itself, and as interchangeable humans this is what we do to each other. The blues give an eerily calming feel to the depiction of the violent act of execution. The small bullet holes outlining the hill and soldiers’ uniforms are compositionally balanced with the larger holes in and around those being executed. The colour of the monk’s robe matches the outline of the city, a reddish hue with gold-yellowish colours underneath. The colour has the appearance of very old paint and suggests the city and the monk have similar values. It also suggests that the population of the city is conservative like the monk and prefers the old order to the new distorted order that has become brutal and kills dispassionately. How obviously this relates to our time when we are still conditioned to rationalize away our humanity as an almost daily exercise.

Tarantino4Click here and flip through the Mitic catalogue Art or War to view this work. is a portrait of Quentin Tarantino, delightfully scored with bullet holes. This painting is immediately pleasing in its deliberately satirical approach. Tarantino’s films are a perfect example of a wallowing in the very violence the director claims to be satirizing. His presentation of graphic violence is not as emetic but as an existential simpleton’s understanding of Nietzsche’s “happiness of the knife.” Mitic’s bullet paintings are not an expression of “lust for the gun” but a creative display of lines and dots through colour that were made with a gun. The actual and potential effects of violence are more substantially felt by what is pointed to but unseen. This is something Hollywood film makers too often seem to misunderstand or simply ignore in favour of the box office.

Hole Jesus by Viktor Mitic

A painting of the Jesus figure shot with bullet holes may be startling to some. To others, it may seem perfectly appropriate. The effect of the bullet holes showing through as white against the lighter blues of Hole Jesus creates a vibrant impression, reminiscent of a religious shroud. The yellow halo is a complementary colour to the blue, and the strength of the yellow-gold with flecks of red creates harmonious contrast. There is a patient, mystical feel to this work despite the bullet holes. It is exactly what an executed religious figure that pointed ceaselessly to the human dangers of “mimetic rivalry” would be: calm.

McBang by Viktor Mitic

In McBang, the prospect of a famous fast food restaurant’s mascot being shot seems playful and vindicating for an adult audience, given the number of health problems some medical practitioners claim are brought on by a steady diet of such “Meals.”

Mao Tse Bang by Viktor Mitic

Mao Tse Bang is a portrait of Chairman Mao Tse-tung painted with pig’s blood, and then shot along the outlines. Its effect is stunning. Chairman Mao was a leader of great political acumen who won the Chinese Civil War, and has been credited with the birth of the modern Chinese state. However, his socio-political programs, such as “The Great Leap Forward” and “The Cultural Revolution” caused severe suffering and harm to the people, culture, and economy of China, and he was responsible for the deaths of some forty million people. The painting speaks of the real cost of gaining and holding absolute political power.

Blasted Guernica is a revisiting of Picasso’s Guernica, a painting that depicts the tragedy of war and the suffering it inflicts on innocent people. Mitic’s interpretation is exactly the same monumental size as the original, but its colours are softer and more calming, moving toward the blues rather than the greys of the 1937 original. Its outlines are more pronounced by the bullet effects, which convey a feeling of the controlled terror of the original historical event, relate it to the original painting, and reflect the terror of our own time.

Blasted Beaverbrook by Viktor Mitic

The provincial museum of New Brunswick commissioned Viktor Mitic to paint a portrait of Max Aitken, aka Lord Beaverbrook, the founder and main patron of the museum. Mitic took into consideration the press baron’s influential life when he composed the painting. Aitken who was the son of a Scottish minister in rural New Brunswick became a press baron with some luck and timing. He was a shrewd, even crafty businessman with a mischievous streak of self-preservation to offset his philanthropy.

He avoided prosecution for securities fraud by moving to England in 1910 and, with the support of his acquired fortune, went into politics. He gained control of a failing newspaper and made it the largest daily in the U.K. He became instrumental during the Second World War, as Minister of Aircraft and later as Minister of Supply, and Winston Churchill said of him: “His personal force and genius made this Aitken’s finest hour.” Mitic’s portrait pays homage to the style of portrait painting in Lord Beaverbrook’s era, but Blasted Beaverbrook definitely belongs to our time. The commission and the painting are examples of a gallery searching for something very contemporary.

Much of Mitic’s artwork is remarkable in that it combines aesthetic art on the edge of the creative forces of destruction with performative aspects of creation where the presence of the artist is felt in the finished work. There are many examples of this in his bullet paintings where it is easy to feel the process of creation as well as the presence of the artist in the bullet. This presence is also felt in his acid rain paintings where we can see the elemental forces of nature that he deliberately subjects them to sealed in paint long after the storms and rain have gone. His work sometimes includes profoundly provocative images that push previous boundaries of what is acceptable in art.

Dallas by Viktor Mitic

Dallas, a painting of John F. Kennedy as the persona of the iconic and dignified U.S. president looking straight at us in front of an American flag, gives off the feeling of popular collective nostalgia.

It is subtly deceptive in that it evokes an image of the United States in the early nineteen sixties. Its visual rhetoric is so powerful it seems the evocation of that age for those born long after. This portrait is also about how outsiders view the United States. President Kennedy is painted with a very skilled hand. In its distracting aesthetic we hardly notice the small holes in the canvas made with hundreds of bullet holes from the same caliber gun that killed the president. The shooting through the canvas after Mitic painted it is also subtle, especially around the president’s face and head. The backdrop of the American flag is more sparsely shot through with bullet holes.

It’s a looking back at an imagined America, an America that never really existed outside its ideal, which is a kind of remembering persona of the particular paradisiacal ideal of its time. It is more akin to the imagination of poetry rather than to any sense of how people actually lived or even saw the world at the time.

A flag is one of the ultimate symbols of rhetoric. Even before the period of the nation state, we have died for flags or flag-like symbols. As symbols, flags are typically metaphoric of an idealized place, or nation, or time, depending on the historical situation and its relation to the kind of flag. It is an ultimate symbol that is metaphorical in the way it has been used to trump up courage to get people to die for it. It is a kind of violent poetry of propaganda. This emotionally intense iconography is fed by laws that charge individuals for destroying flags when protesting, for example. The fact that many people can agree with sending a person to jail for burning a flag is a testament to its rhetorical power.

This American flag as painted loosely by Mitic with blurring stars and small rough edges of blue behind a more finely detailed face of president Kennedy evokes a mimicking desire of connection to this imagined time. It is a nice touch that the flag is the whole background with nothing else to soften it.

At a glance Dallas represents the nostalgic memory of the pain the United States endured after the assassination of its president, the only one in living memory. It is also nostalgic in its literal sense in being the pain of returning home. It is an imaginary home. It never existed in the Camelot version, the one those born long after the tragic event are exposed to. Many people talk about their memories of JFK and, over the years, the subtleties of the memory of his public persona have changed as we have changed.

Film director Roman Polanski famously described changing the ending of his film Chinatown from happy to tragic. That a gangster achieves his desired and twisted result is distressing but somehow more in tune with how the rest of the world sees America. It is not how America sees itself. So with Mitic’s Dallas: how a European who loves the United States sees it. It has a subtlety of sadness and hope without the typical sanguine optimism we are used to seeing with American flags. It seems there is a real presence of the artist in the work in that the bullet holes bring an eerie reminder of death but also strangely of an idealized life.


Ewan Whyte is a writer and translator. His stories, poems, translations, reviews and essays have appeared in publications including The Globe and Mail, The Literary Review of Canada and Arc Poetry Magazine. His translation of the poetry of Catullus was published by Mosaic Press in 2010.