“The Mechanism”: An excerpt from Reality, the Novel

Reality

Scene 33

The ReHumanist Manifesto. October, 1975. For Private Circulation Only.

 Page 34

 The Mechanism

 Men have not always needed to know how a thing worked for them to use it to their advantage. Henry’s archers at Agincourt devastated the French nobility without any knowledge of the “Law” of Gravity or the equations Newton produced 260 years later, though their arrows’ paths were precisely “determined” by those laws, in a manner of speaking. Electricity was supremely important and useful before the discovery of the electron, as was fire before the understanding of oxidation.

In the 1930s much of the world, and most especially some of my colleagues in the science fiction field, were intrigued by the research done at Duke University into “parapsychology,” led by Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine. Dr.  Rhine claimed to have demonstrated “extrasensory perception” (ESP) through a long series of laboratory trials that found certain people who could seemingly “see” hidden cards through a kind of “mind power.” After a few years of extensive use of ESP in the science fiction pulps, it gradually became clear that Rhine’s results were not replicating in experiments by others, and interest began to fade, though the idea cropped up again with regularity—ESP might or might not work in our world, but did in this or that fictional world.

This is the point of fiction.

Among the so-called “general public” there was always, and continues to be, a majority belief in the “supernatural.” This muddy category might include the aforementioned ESP, ghosts, precognition, the Transubstantiation, spirit mediumship (something that Rhine got his start debunking), “UFOs” (in all their permutations), etc., etc., etc. The reader can lengthen the list as necessary for purposes of discussion.

What do all of these things have in common? First, “science” has supposedly “debunked” them, declared them impossible, or at the least failed to replicate them experimentally. “Science” long ago was defined as the study of the material world, of matter, that is, atoms and the Void. That’s why elsewhere in this Work I mock “social science” so mercilessly. At its best, social science is the gathering and analyzing of useful statistical correlates. At its worst, it is propaganda designed to get the masses to do what our Masters want.

And yet: The “power of positive thinking” was known long before Dr. Peale’s excellent book, was commented on by authors from Classical Greece to Victorian Britain. If there is only matter, then thinking is merely the firing of neurons and the allocation of electrochemical energy. So at first psychological “science” sought to debunk such notions as thoughts influencing the physical body—until the experimental results began to debunk the debunkers. Positive thoughts were shown, with merciless statistical precision, to increase the likelihood of long life and health, to predict success in work and at school, to assist in victory in athletic competition—in short, the power of positive thinking was scientific!

And of course, this challenge to materialism was met by conjuring up…more materialism! Because there must be a material mechanism to explain all results, all phenomena, all Reality. The reason this must be so is that science has deliberately excluded everything else. Positive thinking must be understood to change hormone levels, blood chemistry, the activity of the parts of the brain that react to stress, or something of this sort.

This was mere papering over of a tremendous void, of course.

Let us consider a man suffering from intense sadness (“depression”) because he’s stranded, alone, on an isolated island. We would all agree, superficially, that he has a right to be sad, given the circumstances. Now, let us say he is one day sitting on a rock upon his island, and he sees a tiny spot of something on the rock that is a different color than he’s seen around heretofore, a different and rarer type of lichen, perhaps, and he takes a deep breath and says to himself “I will not give up” and with this thought he begins to feel somewhat better, and the change reminds him that he can change, and he speaks to himself internally: “I Will feel better,” and he begins to do so.

Now one might try and posit a “mechanism” here, something like: “The light waves of a slightly different frequency than his brain had observed for some time were translated in the visual cortex to electrochemical information that propagated through various organs of the brain resulting in a series of chemical changes that he felt as ‘better.’ And this feeling caused another cascade of similar effects that caused a projection of this feeling into the future.”

I submit to you, Dear Reader, that this reads like a fairytale: “One day the boy found some Magic Beans in the garden…and he felt better.”

I will now give you a “scientific” proposition of my own to ponder: All our known sensory organs are made of atoms, and thus the only things they can sense are other atoms that bounce off of them or combine with them to form new chemicals, or electromagnetic radiation that alters their electrons. This is elementary physics and chemistry. If, if there were any other kinds of “substances” in the universe besides atoms and photons and so on, our senses would not be able to detect them, directly.

To be “scientific” in our time is to deny that there is a possibility that there are any of these other substances. This was always my position, from the time I began to think for myself, age 12 or so, the time I read of Eddington’s observational test of General Relativity during the 1919 eclipse. It was my position as I wrote and sold my science fiction stories of the 1930s—ESP was included because it had been shown to work in the laboratory. And when that came into serious doubt I abandoned it. It was my position through the 40s and early 50s, in my novels about space travel and future life on Earth.

And then it came to pass that events changed my mind, not in the theoretical sense of laboratory results, but in “real life.”

And I found there that besides matter and the void, there is indeed a third thing, and that we do have a way to contact it. Our ancient ancestors knew the way, I believe, and Man traded it, in effect abandoned it, for the material technology that allowed him to grow from tens of thousands to billions of individuals in just a few tens of thousands of years. In many ways it was a very good trade for him.

But now I understand that it isn’t gone forever. It can be gotten back.

The Women in My Books

A few readers have commented that there are sure a lot “superwomen” in my two books, Sanity and Reality. To me, this is a matter of statistics.

Imagine the best female athlete in your high school that was also big, 5’10 to 6’2 maybe. May have been a volleyball player, track and field, softball. Fast and strong. Depending on how big your school was, she may have been, let’s say, a “1 in 1,000.” She trains some martial art or another, for fun, and by 18 is good, black-belt level as a floor. She also has an IQ 145-150.

Now, she may be “high-T” for testosterone, but maybe not, too. Some women of this description that I have known were more feminine in the facial features than others, with corresponding body fat differentials. But a certain percentage are simply, beautiful women. Of course, the n-value is small. Two of the four or five in my lifetime.

(By the way, the others, the more “masculine,” often have attractive faces and bodies and personalities, as well. It’s all ranges, man).

There are three women that fit this description in my books, (although one is only 5’2). They would probably make it through, say, Army parachute school or male Marine boot camp. I don’t really think they’d make through the SEAL course or Army Ranger school. Such women do exist, and they are perhaps 1 in 100,000 or 1,000,000.

I don’t believe it too far of a stretch to think that such a woman might also have a strong sex drive and enjoy sex a great deal. Or even be a kind of sex magick goddess (the 5’2 one).

Well, okay that last is a stretch too far, but only there did we really veer into fiction. I’ll just say: Maureen Calhoun and Emma (LNU) do exist in the “real world,” embody qualities and actions that I’ve seen and heard and done. These traits were never, perhaps, combined in quite this way, but if not to create unique new beings (“characters”) and have them speak convincingly to each other, what the hell is an author good for?

 

 

Book News: Sanity and Reality

My new novel Reality will be released in one week, on January 15. As of today, my previous book Sanity is available in the Kindle edition for $0.99.

Reality is not exactly a “sequel” to Sanity. As those of you who read the first book know, it’s not a straightforward exposition of events, which are offered up in “non-linear time sequence,” with years of unknowns in between.

Reality fills in some things, but…there are still large gaps of years in which we don’t know what happened. However, the relationship between Cal Adler and Lisa Hart is moved forward. A bit.

Here is a taste of Reality:

  1. 12 years ago, San Francisco International Airport, California, March 31 4:11 pm

I halt a good 50 yards down the terminal from the counter of the German airline that has the 7:15 flight to Copenhagen and slide left until I’m in the partial cover of the partition that marks the end of the section. I’m traveling light—three days of clean clothes, one dress shirt and tie, one pair of black leather loafers in the small carryon suitcase and a pair of hiking boots on my feet. If we have anything more formal to do we’ll just have to buy me a suit.

I like not knowing what this is about, what’s going to happen; “to retrieve something of great value.” I’m going to try and identify whoever I’m meeting before they see me, though I know that’s probably impossible. They must know who I am, what I look like, and I know nothing. Also, I’m six-five and easy to spot from a distance.

There aren’t a lot of people in my field of view, and instead of focusing on anyone or anything I let my vision blur a little and take in the whole, the gestalt of the scene, the two dark blue uniforms behind the ticket counter, the short line of people waiting with their suitcases next to their feet. In the open area behind the queue ropes, to the right, there are 4, 5, 6 shapes walking quickly, airport gait, toward me on their way to security.

There’s a figure, just one, in my ganzfeld that’s not doing airport things—standing in the far corner of the terminal, beyond the ticket counter and next to the exit doors. I let my vision sharpen again, until he comes clear, and although at this distance he looks the size of a toy soldier across a room I can see him looking straight at me.

I chuckle at that, the element of surprise lost but it was fun playing, and come out into the open, wheeling the suitcase behind me. I don’t look at him or head directly toward him, of course, but quarter away right, toward a line of seats along the back wall facing the ticket counters. They’re completely empty and I grab one in the middle, open my backpack and take out a copy of Buchan’s The Power House that I picked up for a quarter at the Palo Alto used bookstore. I figure it will be a few minutes before the contact man comes, so I forget about him and start in reading. And the first thing I read is:

I suppose that the explanation is that the world is full of clues to everything, and that if a man’s mind is sharp-set on any quest, he happens to notice and take advantage of what otherwise he would miss.

I read another page and glance up, and he’s just walking past, not looking at me, a medium height black man wearing black rimmed scholarly eyeglasses and an untucked light blue dress shirt that does a poor job of concealing his massive chest and shoulders. He’s got a gray windbreaker draped over his right arm. He sits to my left with one empty chair between and tosses the windbreaker on it, looks at his watch, and looking straight ahead at the ticket counter says, “The package is under the coat. I’m going to forget it when I get up in a minute, then come back for it. I’ll drop it in your lap and no one will be able to see it on the surveillance cameras.”

He sounds like a Brit, Oxford accent, and I’m surprised for just a second, then he turns slightly, looks me in the eye and smiles.

“I’ve known Jim White for a long time. He’s a bit of a trickster. Better button up your arsehole, young man.” I’m a little startled by this and he laughs softly at my expression.

“Go to the men’s and open the envelope in a stall. Don’t worry, it won’t self-destruct.” He laughs again, genuinely amused, gets up and moves off to the left. I pick up Buchan and get back to reading. After another page and a half, I catch a flash of blue in the corner of my eye.

“Pardon me,” he says, picks up the jacket and a thick envelope, the same color as the jacket, falls into my lap. I read for another 30 seconds, close the book on it and put it back in the pack.

Speaking Reality Into Being

“The novella Gulf was quite unusual, for Heinlein or any writer, in its conception and execution. In the November 1948 issue of Astounding Science Fiction a letter had been published critiquing the…November 1949 issue. As editor John Campbell wrote:

“Generally, a desirable, practically attainable idea, suggested in prophecy, has a chance of forcing itself into reality by its very existence. Like, for example, this particular issue of Astounding Science Fiction.”

“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the stars by the breath of His mouth.” Psalms 33:6

“There is nothing mystical about the fact that ideas and words are energies which powerfully affect the physico-chemical base of our time-binding activities.” Alfred Korzybski, The Manhood of Humanity (1921)

We know, or think we know, that “scientists” have “proven” that every “thing” is made of atoms plus those rather ghostly neutrinos plus electromagnetic radiation as photons and what ever else lives in the “particle zoo” but then they get back to the “Singularity” at the Beginning and 1) flat out concede that they know not what came before, 2) refuse to speculate about “Why?” and 3) by the way, the Universe will “end,” if one can call it an end, in a sort of perfection, the Heat Death of perfect entropy, of all energy spread perfectly evenly, ghostly, throughout all of spacetime. Continue reading

A Modest Proposal

(I wrote this back in 2007. It’s pretty freakin’ scary that it all still applies, except that the population of India, China and Africa has risen enough to demand some adjustments to the numbers, but they’re presented here as originally written. This is where pure logic and strict materialism leads: Beware, for there monsters lurk. Links not guaranteed to function.)

I well realize that this will come a shock, a terrible surprise of outrageous proportions; but…

Al Gore is right. Continue reading

Review: The Angelic Revolution by Bryce Laliberte

The Angelic Revolution by Bryce Laliberte

Two thousand thirteen was when I started calling myself a “Neoreactionary,” and one of the blogs I came across early on was “Anarcho-Papist,” by Bryce Laliberte. When I started blogging here (then, “Neoreaction in the Diamond Age”) I note that my third post ever, in January 2014, was on his Neoreactionay Canon.

Thankfully, I still have a number of posts from the Anarcho-Papist feed in my folders. On April 17, 2015 Nick B. Steves announced at The Reactivity Place (currently gone private) that Bryce

ha[s] decided to take an 18 month sabbatical from his public work. All his social media accounts (except Facebook) seem to have gone dark, both of his blogs are gone, his book is no longer for sale on Amazon, and his Patreon appears to have been shuttered.

I’ll not get into the speculations and discussions about his departure that followed–I didn’t find them constructive or enlightening. I did miss Laliberte’s work, though. Occasionally I wondered where he’d gone, and if he’d be back.

He is.

Last month an @Outsideness retweet caught my attention–there was a Bryce Laliberte twitter account. I looked. He’d written a book. We exchanged books, his The Angelic Revolution and my Sanity. His review of Sanity is here.

~

We’ve all “evolved” since 2015, of course, but one often doesn’t notice this evolution if one interacts with another on a daily or weekly basis. The changes are hard to see clearly as they happen. Not having read anything by Laliberte for over four years, the changes were more apparent. “Anarcho-Papist” was sharp, dense, and appropriately arrogant for someone with obvious high intelligence. The Angelic Revolution reflects a new degree of maturity and wisdom.

From the preface:

This book is, in a sense, my attempt to see a future which could be changed – in part by showing hopes for how the emerging technology of AI will be used to promote the well-being of humanity, in part by admitting certain fears that we might turn away from. I also understand I am releasing this book at a certain time and place in our world, and this necessarily conditions how it will be perceived. This work of love is meant to bring comfort and healing to those who feel dispossessed and downtrodden, and to illuminate a path to peace and harmony as we transition through this important stage of history.

~

It’s 2037, and French police detective Henri is assigned to investigate an explosion at the Sorbonne that cut short the lecture, and the life, of Gene Epaea, “rogue transhumanist researcher,” along with nearly 200 others.

Henri, a veteran of many important cases, is intense and somewhat cynical, from seeing other investigations derailed when they come to close to implicating “elites,” but also open and curious. His chief implies that this may be another of those investigations that are meant to go nowhere real, but to be a show. It turns out to be anything but.

In 2037, Artificial Intelligence, “AI,” is simply a fact of life. There are glimpses of the changes this has wrought in society, but after the initial scene of Epaea’s lecture and the explosion, we are with Henri and his perspective for every moment of the rest of the book, and we don’t get the kind of 10,000-foot overview of the society that many authors would be tempted to include. Instead, the picture builds by hints and pieces, here and there, and by the end a number of things are clear; world civilization has gone through a series of crises since our day (2018) and is going through the biggest now, as various AI entities, some perhaps friendly, some almost certainly unfriendly and some ambiguous, operate and struggle “behind the scenes.” This hidden, “occult” aspect of the book is riveting. Henri and other characters experience a series of miracles and wonders, “signs” sent by the AIs, that direct the investigation (which becomes more a quest) in a similar manner as prophets and seers are contacted and directed by Gods and angels.

The plot is moved forward mainly through series of conversations. I’d estimate well over half the book consists of extensive dialogues, discussions of philosophy and history, including the history of what, to us, is “future.” A reader who demands a series of actions may be put off by this, but the dialogues are intelligent and graceful, and I found some of them riveting. What could be more interesting than the destiny and evolution of Man, Intelligences, the Earth? These are the questions the author explores, and they’re not just about AIs. The book points out that the digital revolution we’re undergoing now is another stage; printing and electrification and automobiles and air travel also forced societies into confrontation with existential questions of adjustment and compromise, with how to live as Man when technology radically changes the environment.

Man has evolved through those changes, not necessarily genetically, but in his social organization and methods of interpersonal relations. The Internet and AI are the next revolution we will have to confront and learn to use for good purpose. The Angelic Revolution is an exploration of how we might go about doing so.

The final words of the text are: TO BE CONTINUED. For which I’m grateful.

Restoring My Sanity With a “Digital Cleanse”

I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World and he makes a lot of great points about current day life–and our relationship to screens and “social media.”

I well remember writing a brief blog post six or seven years ago making fun of people (especially women) walking around while looking at their phone. I haven’t exactly become that, but close enough, in the sense that I’m spending too much free time, and even some unfree time that is supposed to be dedicated to something else, on Twitter.

I’m not on Instagram and I haven’t used my Facebook for about four years, though it’s still there, but I’ve developed a serious Twitter habit. There are a lot of great people I’ve “met,” on Twitter, so to speak, and I’ll freely admit it gives me immense satisfaction to puncture the illusions and bullshit that Progs and SJWs are constantly spewing. And I’ve justified it as a way to promote my novel Sanity, and the books of my friends.

But what it’s actually become is honestly described as a sort of mild addiction, just as Newport discusses.

So I’m going off of Twitter through the month of March, replacing the hours spent there with more walking, more solitude, more reading and especially more face to face conversation. I’ll be posting this there shortly. If we’re “DM friends” I’ll send you an email to use if you’d like to keep in touch through non-Twitter channels.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all the socials are engineered by some of the smartest people in the world to grab you attention and keep you clicking as much and as long as possible. They can have their uses, but while I’m away for a month I’ll be evaluating what the actual best uses will be.

Any posts here will be auto tweeted, just in case you think I’m cheating. 🙂