Monday, 16 October 2017

Always Assuming…

This is something I contributed to Maybe Quarterly in 2006

By BogusMagus   (21 June 2006)

Consider an artist as a dreamer in control of hir dreams who invents a world and invites others to live in it.
A con artist does the same.

Have you ever felt conned by teachers, priests, politicians, acquaintances or family?
To achieve this outcome the scam-artist has to control the channels of communication.

Usually we 'potential victims' have multiple channels of input that we can use to verify our perceptions.
Cults, the military, the major religions, state education, practical jokers, hoaxers and confidence tricksters attempt to isolate us from a complete range of checks and balances, and ideally they control the few channels left available to us, through which they feed us data and models of their choosing.

If they can’t completely control our use of other channels they can create false trails, strange loops, confusion, social pressure, a hint of illegal activity, paranoia, manufactured evidence or misinformation to encourage us to distrust these alternative viewpoints, or reality checks.

The world they create differs from the ‘real world’ because it contains some of the hoaxer’s fictitious creations – a chair has gone when someone sits down, an account will prove empty when someone tries to take out their money / winnings.

We fail to distinguish the evidence of our senses from conclusions drawn – and maybe we secretly want to believe their version (easy money, eternal happiness).

The process usually involves a period of induction to build up the false world picture, which should appear consistent to any test the victim can apply.

RV Jones wrote a paper drawing parallels between practical joking and the work of the scientist confronted by a universe, as the scientist constructs a world based on any evidence he has, then tests it for consistency
with what he already knows, and takes action on the assumption of accurate data.

Beware - Be Aware - Be Wary

Thanks to The Pleasures of Deception by Norman Moss - hard to find a copy of this.

Check out R. V. Jones,  [find it in Scribd, here] “The theory of practical joking – its relevance to physics”

Bulletin of the Institute of Physics 1957, p. 193 - partially reprinted in A Random Walk in Science

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Archetypal astrology - notes on the course

The second class in this course on Archetypal Astrology consisted of  Stanislav Grof taking us through the pre-birth (perinatal) phases of development.  Bear in mind that the astrology appears minimal, as the tutors do not employ to the familiar Sun Signs, nor do they consider that charts 'influence' individuals or generations.

They simply refer to the angular relationships of the planets, and Transits (if you celebrate your birthday, or a Full Moon, or go visit an Eclipse, you are already into this stuff).  So away with the objections based on precession of the Equinoxes, or 'influence of the stars' or rising signs, Sun signs, etc.

All they are indicating, it seems, are a set of correlations, which you may prefer to consider synchronicities, or cyclic behaviour.

Here's a Reality Sandwich article as background.


This week was not so much about astrology.  Of course, astrology is highly focused on the moment of birth (in space-time) but I know relatively little about its consideration of the moment of conception, and nine months in the womb.

My own conception and birth

The war had ended when I was conceived (I seem like a celebration baby, on or about VE Day), and in spite of rationing, my mother must have been less stressed than in the previous few years. I imagine I could hear her singing.  I was born at home (mid-wives were available during the war, so newborns would not be all in one place, should a bomb hit).  So my mum was surrounded by family, and in a comfortable place.   As it was a very cold winter, she then carried me around (in the traditional manner) with a shawl tied over her shoulder.  And I was breast-fed.  So lots of positive experiences (as preferred in The Continuum Concept).  This could explain my tendency to 'trust Universe' even though I have no religion.

On the down side, one or both of my parents may have had what we call PTSD now, after five years in a bombed city.   And although my sister was born during the war, after that my mother delivered a stillborn boy, so I was a 'replacement', and didn't get an elder brother.

Still overall I had a good start, I guess.

Grof''s model divides the perinatal into four stages.

In the womb, linked to oceanic sensations, mostly blissful, etc.   Mythical link to Neptune.

When the contractions start, the environment becomes threatening, and the blood flow comes and goes, and there seems no way out.  Mythical link to Saturn.

The third phase is when the pressure begins to become directed towards escaping, the end of one way of living and the start of another, birth-death scenario.  Mythical link to Plutoig.

The final stage happens when the child emerges into a new world and the umbilical cord gets cut.  Mythical link to Uranus.

Fascinating stuff to contemplate.