Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Continuation of my thoughts on " Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11"


A significant, but unspoken, subtext of the book is that there was meaning behind the 9/11 attacks; that it was not a senseless tragedy, but part of a grand plan, greater, even, than the attackers who, depending on which conspiracy theory you embrace, were Saudi, Pakistani, Iraqi, CIA, Zionists, or Republicans. The meaning behind the tragedy is indecipherable.  It is for this reason that I tend to reject conspiracy theories. From a supra-physical level, the villains of this tragedy were convenient actors in the drama. This does not negate their evil, but it does suggest that there was a "higher" (I don't care for that term but can't think of an equivalent) force involved that, for reasons unknown, allowed the event to transpire.  The victims understood on an unconscious level what was about to happen; their premonitions suggest that they knew both the awfulness and importance of their participation.  Their premonitions were of such specificity that one can't help but think that they were being given a choice. They could have opted out of the tragedy.  Most did not.

This may be a difficult concept for many to swallow, but I have personally experienced it in miniature in my own life... A lifetime of hunches followed--and ignored--and numerous precognitive dreams that sought to warn me of impending tragedy. In one instance, it probably saved my life. Not too many years ago (around about the time of the 9/11 attacks), I was going through some extreme job stress brought on by a manager who I can only describe as evil... not only in what he was, but what he did. He literally drained the life from me, bit-by-bit, day-by-day. One night, I had an vivid and specific dream that warned me that I was about to be attacked , robbed, and killed by two men on the street. The dream was unusual in that it was quite specific: not only did I experience the attack, but the dream "narrator" specifically told me what was happening. I walk several miles a day, and back then, I was working in a bad area of town, with a couple of drug hangouts nearby. It was a credible possibility. I was concerned but not really alarmed.  But what happened the next day stunned me. An elderly friend who considers herself "psychic" called with a warning: she had received a vivid impression of me being rushed by two men on the street, robbed, and killed. She was made to understand that in my daily, rambling walks, I was being watched and targeted. A dream is one thing; a warning by a self-described psychic is another; but the warning, following a dream and duplicating it, is quite another. The specific, credible nature of the warnings, from two sources (I had told no one about my dream) was enough to scare me into never walking those streets again.  The sceptic might say, "The woman was simply picking up on your fear. Or maybe it was a coincidence." However, I choose to believe otherwise. In the depressing circumstances that I was in, I was unconsciously setting myself up for attack. And "someone," "somewhere" thought that I needed to be warned in a dramatic way.  I was given a choice, and I chose.

As Seth argues extensively, we choose our experiences (or we allow others to choose them for us), and there is meaning and purpose behind all experiences, good and tragic. It took me most of my adult life to accept this. We instinctively want to believe that experiences are thrust upon us, that we are victims of events, that we are good people who do not deserve the the bad treatment that evil people inflict on us. While this belief might grant us many hours of moral superiority as we acquire stars in our heavenly crowns, the alternative argued by Seth--that our lives are woven from threads of cooperative and collaborative experiences of incalculable complexity--actually goes further to "explain" many of the strange, synchronistic and seemingly "supernatural" events that are sprinkled through our lives.

Postscript: One of the striking elements of "Messages" is the widespread appearance of butterflies in the individual stories. Their appearance is interpreted by mourners as "signs" from the deceased or as "spirits." There is even a mention of the sighting of thousands of butterflies over Ground Zero shortly after the towers fell. I remember hearing this briefly mentioned at the time on "Coast To Coast"--and I doubted then that it was true--so I was impressed that McEneaney included this account in her book, from a source likely more credible than a "Coast" guest.  Personally, I don't think a whole lot about butterflies. They've never manifested to me in any supernatural way.  But while driving home today, I caught the tail end of "Talk Of The Nation" on "Rebuilding Joplin, One Year After Tornadoes," where I heard this account:

"And I just - when I went back in September and was able to connect with a few people and heard some more stories. And I guess, one of the ones that I would really like to share is a lady had covered her children with a mattress and her body and when the tornado passed, that they all survived. Thank God. They had described seeing little white butterflies all around them. And there was more than one family member, or excuse me, more than one family that would - that talked about these white butterflies. And to this day, I don't think anybody can prove or unprove(ph) what they saw or what it was that they saw, but I don't know. My opinion, I think it was just little guardian angels watching over them."

 To find this account in a mainstream news report is significant, I think.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11, by Bonnie McEneaney

At this point in my life, I'm ready to move on to reading "normal" material, beyond the metaphysical, but interesting books, like the above, manage to reel me in. The 9/11 attacks were traumatic on both a personal and national level, and though they have begun (fortunately) to recede somewhat in the collective memory, we daily live with the effects of that singular event. The obtrusive security state, the delusions of the alternative paranormal field, the endless wars, and the dysfunction of the American political process, arguably, began here. This book is an effort to find meaning in that trauma from a spiritual perspective.

In my opinion, McEneaney's book is a landmark work in the emerging "New Thought" belief system, which I see as supplanting conventional religions in our century. It is impeccably researched, sensitively written, and utterly sincere, and any open-minded reader will have to acknowledge that it presents a compelling case that a greater "unknown" reality guides the observed physical one.

The book is a collection of premonitions, synchronistic events, and actual post-death materializations of victims of the 9/11 tragedy. I can't even begin to summarize all that's presented, but these are the things that I noticed as significant:

The 9/11 victims that are examined all had premonitions, of varying degrees, of their impending death. The premonitions almost always began in the summer of 2001, and peaked in the weekend before the attack.

The victims seemed to be of an unusually high moral character, admired by co-workers, loved by family, happy, devoted, and characterized by a high degree of selflessness, going above and beyond to help those less fortunate.

Universally, the victims managed to convey to their surviving friends and family that while they subconsciously foresaw the event, and could have avoided it, they chose not to.

[To be continued]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Richard Dolan's new podcast

I was casting around for something new to listen to when I discovered that Richard Dolan--the guest of many paranormal shows--has launched his own podcast.  Since it is called "Truth Out," I expected a sort of ramble-rousing political screed, but I was pleasantly surprised that his first three-hour solo podcast kept my attention without difficulty, even though I'm only peripherally interested in UFOs nowadays. Plus, he has cooler bumper music than Coast. So I'm downloading more.

Among the stuff he covered....  He addressed, tangentially, Alex Jones, who I've always thought was unbalanced.  He brought up some valid points reiterating the view of many in the paranormal counterculture, that the American republic is turning into an Orwellian police state. He related an encounter with Glenn Beck that made Beck sound mainstream.  He told some fascinating UFO stories.  Richard Dolan is sure to add some intellectual heft to the paranormal counterculture, which is in dire need of it.  I'm able to listen to him without my usual filters and BS detectors, knowing that he has thought about what he says before saying it.

There is only one observation that I would like to make, and that's on the issue of government secrecy.  I think that most of us who were persuaded to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 have been very disappointed with his administration's tendency to expand the police state apparatus that his predecessor developed.  However, if you take a long, careful look at history, you can discover that with every extremist tendency or movement, there has always been a balancing counter-movement. I believe that the Internet was developed, and has exploded as it has, in direct response to the increasing authoritarianism of our age.  True, if you watch CNN or the other mainstream news outlets (which I don't), you are essentially getting establishment propaganda, and if that's all we had, we'd be lost.  But that's not all we have.  We have a choice.  And I predict that in twenty or so years, any regime that aligns itself with reactionary authoritarianism will fall.  This is why I believe that China, for all its prosperity, cannot continue along its current path as an authoritarian state.  And neither can the United States.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Found a curious ebook on amazon.com...

It is called "The Lives Of Jesus" by Eldon Peat. I can't find much out about the author, and there are no reviews of the book--but it's free, and it's a top-seller in the New Age / Reincarnation category at Amazon.com.

Purportedly, it was channeled from the "Akashic records," a claim that automatically invites skepticism, but it doesn't read like any channeled work I've read. Quite the contrary, it is both scholarly and contemporary. A human being seems to have written it.

The book's claim is one that I happen to agree with: That Jesus was, contrary to myth, an ordinary man, born in a normal way, who lived a normal life, but who had extraordinary charisma and a powerful message. The true history of the life of Jesus has been distorted, twisted, and mythologized, but something happened in the first century C.E. involving this person that, within a couple of centuries, propelled a local Jewish sect to world domination and contributed to the downfall of one of the most odious and brutal empires ever to inhabit the planet.

This singular feat cannot be easily explained away as the act of a simple carpenter's son, which leaves those of us who reject many of the core tenets of established Christianity searching for clues of what, instead, it was.

Part of me wants to dismiss the book as a fabrication, yet I can't disagree with its principle arguments, and the historical data seems to check out.

As an example, the author makes a couple of obscure observations about the Essenes that ring true. I have never embraced the mainstream scholarly argument that the Essenes lived an ascetic life, and the invisible author of this book says that they most assuredly didn't. The book also argues that many of the Essene texts that were extant were forgeries--something that "Seth" goes to great length discussing in "Seth Speaks"-- and that these forgeries inadvertently formed the basis of a significant portion of Christian mythology.

For the moment, this book is falling into my self-defined category of "too internally and externally consistent to be true"--on my assumption that "truth" is both messy and ambiguous--but I welcome any input from any stumblers-upon this entry who might wish to instruct me otherwise.

Postscript: I've decided that "The Lives Of Jesus" is a well-written fictional narrative that reminds me of the alternative history genre. It reads too much like a novel. (The preface hints that Eldon Peat was not the actual author, which, if I am interpreting this correctly, is strange.) And I doubt that it's channeled, for the reasons above.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First impressions of the Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire has been the only Android tablet that I've been interested in buying. I picked up a refurb unit for the good price of $139 and have been using it all weekend. Compared to my iPad "3," its like driving a Subaru after riding in a Porshe--reliable, no-frills, and adequate, which is not a bad thing. It all depends on what you want--and expect--a tablet to do.

Basically, the Fire is a gateway drug to Amazon Prime. Included with the purchase of a Fire is "one free month" of Amazon Prime. You can get this free month anyway without a Kindle, but the main attraction of Prime for me--the ability to "borrow" Kindle books for free--is worth the price, and these borrowed Kindle books can apparently be viewed only on the Kindle. They do not show up in my iOS Kindle apps. Assuming I borrow one $8 book a month, the Prime account pays for itself.

The overall user experience of the Fire is fair-to-good. The Android tablet can do a few things that an iOS device can't. I can browse the entire file structure... I can download and save YouTube videos. I can access Flash content, theoretically--I've yet to see any Flash content--and the essential apps seem to be there. There's no DropBox, but a third-party app called "File Expert" can access DropBox folders. There's no Opera, but there's something called "Maxthon" that is actually better than Opera, and I use it whenever I don't want to bother with Silk's irksome dependence on Amazon's cloud server buffering. However, the iPad user experience is so superior to the Droid tablet's that one doesn't miss any extra marginal functionality that the "more open" Droid OS might offer. The Fire is clunkier than the iPad; basic functions like typing, error-correction, system-wide navagation are far less intuitive and elegant than the iPad's. Not to mention--the Fire is only secondarily a Droid tablet. If is primarily a content delivery system that just happens to use a fork of the Android OS.

It is apparent that Amazon is using the Fire to break Apple's monopoly on digital content, which is both laudible and understandable. But in so doing, they are creating yet another walled content garden--albeit one with much more content. As such, the iPad holds the edge. I can import and access digital content from both Google and Amazon on the iPad, whereas there appear to be no Google apps for the Fire. This prevents the Fire from being a full-fledged tablet. It is essentially a platform the delivery of Amazon.com content, with a few common apps thrown in.

I am seeing the Apple - Windows wars of the early '90s being repeated, and I fear that the outcome will be same. Apple introduces a quality device that is both disruptive and transformative, changing the entire user experience, only to have hungrier companies copy the form, hardware, and intellectual property of said device, and produce a cheaper, more basic knockoff. So while the iPad will live on, I am not sure that it will remain the dominant player in the category that it trailblazed. Which, depending on your point of view, can be good or bad.

(Sent from my Kindle Fire)

Friday, May 4, 2012

The template of meaning

I've had an interesting life, philosophically speaking. At a very young age, influenced by the humanism of Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek," I was an atheist. In my teen years I joined a fundamentalist Christian church while simultaneously dabbling in emerging New Age philosophies. I then became an agnostic, which I remained throughout the '90s. I have sampled many beliefs and religions, discarding much, retaining some core insights.

I now hold, as a core belief, something that most Southern Americans are taught from an early age to believe: that there is meaning and purpose behind human experience, and there is a positive guiding force that moves human events... And that this guiding "force" can be engaged; that we can walk in partnership with it.

Unlike others, however, I arrived at this belief through personal experience, and despite the subtext of catastrophism that informs both the American religious mainstream, and the extremes of New Age and paranormal ideology.

I can't rule out the very real possibility that I believe the way I do, and interpret reality in this way, because it is how I want reality to be; that I'm projecting onto my experiential reality a template of meaning, and cherry-picking the memory of my experiences to conform to this belief.

Furthermore, my readers may strongly disagree with my view of reality. They may insist that events are generated by random occurrences of biological action, or rather psychological gestalts that evolved from primal survival mechanisms, that have no connection to an altruistic "creator," or first cause. We throw the dice, and what we get, we get... And nothing from my experience will convince them otherwise.

Such believers may well be "right." In fact, I'm sure that they are... just as I am "right." Because, in the end, the human mind / brain is a powerful reality-creating tool, powerful enough to mould a reality that faithfully, consistently, and measurably gives us what we believe that it will. To peek behind the curtain, to glimpse the ultimate nature of reality, is the goal of both the materialist particle physicist working on the frontiers of science, and the humble metaphysical blogger working on the fringes.