Animals can be many things, and over the years we have domesticated animals to such an extent that we consider them to be our friends and companions. Some people see their animal cohorts as their equals, and a lot of people attribute various personality traits to their pets which defy the simplicity of their animalistic nature.
Personally, I like animals because they are delicious.
There’s a lot of debate within the spiritual community as to whether or not it’s alright to eat meat; animals are, after all, just another expression of ‘source’, and have just as much right to exist as the rest of us. Organised, mainstream religions may even have their own rules regarding which animals it’s alright to eat, and some (like Buddhism) ban their members from eating meat in any form.
Why? Well, it’s pretty self explanatory really: People are animals, and if one eats flesh it’s sort of like you’re eating one of our peers. It’s another resident of Earth you’re chomping down on, not just a boneless chicken wing served in a bucket- and if you believe in such ideas there’s every chance that the chicken that wing came from was a reincarnation of your own mother. Well, that’s why the Buddhists don’t eat meat anyway.
But Threejumps! Loads of animals eat meat, why should they get to do it and not us? Well, once again the reason behind that is self-explanatory. Humans may be animals, but we’re complex animals capable of cogitation and experimentation, and we transcended our actual physicalneed to eat meat long ago. If you don’t have to kill something to survive, then surely you shouldn’t do it- that just makes sense, right?
So why do I still eat meat?
Surely by my own ethical standards and observations I’m a hypocrite for indulging in the ingestion of slowly decomposing, charred animal products? Well, perhaps- but there’s a difference between eating meat and eating the kind of garbage most people consider to be food, which happens to have once been an animal. The trouble with the fast-food industry is that it removes any semblance of dignity that the creatures it reconstitutes once had. So much effort goes into tricking us into believing that what we’re eating is delicious that we forget that it was once alive, and therein lies the problem.
If one is to eat meat and still claim to be an ethically sound being then one has to be prepared to face up to the fact that an animal has died to provide them nourishment. Part of that comes from the acceptance of death as a natural part of life on Earth, but part of it comes from defining what one is willing to do in order to gain food.
There’s a great line in Crocodile Dundee (the Paul Hogan masterwork) which sums up the belief of the Aboriginal people of Australia: “You don’t kill something unless you’re going to eat it.”
Well, that makes sense, right? Killing something for the express purpose of eating it is fine, so long as you don’t kill for pleasure, or indeed for sport- and the inedible parts of said animals can be put to use as well. Hides, furs and bones make excellent materials for use around the world even today; and the vast majority of this material comes from the meat industry. Admittedly we can replicate their effects just as easily now with petrochemicals, but that’s equally awful in itself, and if something’s dead anyway it’s a waste to simply discard the bits you’re not going to eat.
I’m not really sure why I wrote this editorial- perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve not eaten properly in about a week due to being poor (the last 48 hours have been powdered mash, long-life soup and nothing else) and my vegetarian friend has been harping on at me about my attitudes towards meat. If they don’t want to eat meat then fine- they’re morally awesome, but that doesn’t mean that I’m morally bankrupt simply because I can justify my diet of cow faces and pigs’ ass.
I mean beef and bacon are awesome, right?
TL;DR- if you can’t kill to eat then don’t eat meat. Revere your prey, and respect their sacrifice as their life now sustains you.
P.S. Don’t turn your nose up at meat that’s “left over”, that just makes you wasteful. If meat is going to spoil then you may as well eat it no matter what- it’s better than wasting it and means that dear old Porky didn’t die in vain. Oh, and veganism is pointless. Just saying.
If Sigmund Freud is to be believed, the Ego is one of the most important parts of a person’s psychological make-up. It is what we perceive ourselves to be, and as such the great ‘reflecting dish’ by which we interpret the world around us.
If certain members of the spiritual community are to be believed, then the Ego is a nigh-impassable hurdle which stops the vast majority of people from achieving enlightenment. We are told to “let go” of this sense of ourself, and with it all of our preconceptions of self-worth and self-loathing and to drop the barriers the ego imposes between us and the unity consciousness of the universe.
Personally, I’d say that the truth of the matter is somewhere in-between.
Sigmund Freud, a man of dubious credibility due to a long history of spousal abuse and drug-use, is the founder of modern psychology. He posited a lot of theories in his time, and in contrast with other psychotherapists and theorists, such as Karl Jung, they practically defined the theory of the ego, which has become one of the key factors in the definition of psychological theory even now.
So, before we go into any mumbo-jumbo let’s actually look at what the Ego “is”. Freud defined the Ego as: “part of personality that mediates the demands of the id, the superego and reality.” Now, what does this mean? Basically, that it’s the Ego which keeps us from acting on our basic instincts, like animals. It’s the thing which makes us socially acceptable, and defines the way in which we interact with other people. It is what makes us the members of society we’re meant to be.
Now, does that sound like the kind of activity we traditionally associate with egotism?
Egotism and egotistical behaviour are a completely different kettle of fish. The idea that the Ego is a negative thing comes not from the possession of an ego, as everyone on Earth has one by the very fact that they are human, but rather the over exaggeration of one’s Ego until it causes your sense of self-worth to outstrip the value of others. It is the very notion that you are in some way superior, simply by the merit of being you, because you’re a super-special individual rather than a couple of hundred pounds of dying meat.
Sure, self-worth is important. If you dislike yourself, and devalue yourself as a person then you’re at risk of becoming depressive; there’s nothing wrong with having some self-esteem, in fact that’s even commendable. It’s when your Ego grows so large that you begin to think other people are lesser than you that you become a problem. It is this non-technical version of what we understand as the Ego that spirituality deals with.
The spiritual version of the Ego deals almost exclusively with the understanding of the self, rather than a component of it. “The meek shall inherit the Earth,” the Hindu theory of ‘Ahamkara’, the Buddhist understanding of ‘skandhas’, all are connected intricately and show how followers should treat others. Now, I’m sure a part of this is a simple control system- removing followers’ self esteem to the point that they become submissive and do anything their religion says, but part of it at least is very very valid.
Think about it: How many people do you know that you view negatively because they seem like a big-headed, self-obsessed asshole? Someone who you think values themselves in a manner so ridiculous that their impression of you seems instinctively insulting? Someone who values themselves so much more than they do anything else, because they have the deluded idea that they are the most special snowflake?
It’s gonna be at least one.
So why do we hate these egotistical individuals? Well, part of it is to do with the Freudian idea of the Ego, and part of it relates to the spiritual view of the ego. As Freud and Jung understood it, the Ego helped us define the way in which we transcended our base nature and interact positively with other people- people considered to be Egotistical usually defy the regular conventions of social practise by being patronising or condescending, and people hate that. They do this because, to their mind anyway, their knowledge vastly outstrips that of those around them. They are, after all, the best person ever- and anyone who challenges this is probably just jealous of how super special awesome they are.
So, why is this “wrong”? Why does believing that you’re better than other people mean that you’re a worse human being than someone humble? Well, this is where the spiritual element of the Ego comes in; largely due to the perception that those who are obsessed with the self often consider themselves “too good” to act with compassion.
Look at Jesus- pretty cool guy, zombie Jew and carpentry expert- he was considered by many, many people in his lifetime to be the king of the Jews. He was also, pretty obviously, enlightened- never hurting anybody, and in the end he made the ultimate act of selflessness and allowed himself to endure a torturous death for what he believed would help mankind. Now, in spite of all this he was still the kind of man who washed the feet of prostitutes, and didn’t consider himself to be any better than the convicts he was crucified with.
What a guy.
This attitude isn’t unique to Christ either- Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews all have the same basic tenements when it comes to the ego. They all consider it to be an unsightly abomination which elevates us above our peers and causes us to neglect not only our spiritual side (worshipping ourselves as Gods) but also our fellow men. They demand that we put our selves to one side and concentrate on helping others, and not one of them says that we should feel pride for doing so. It’s just the right thing to do.
So, why do we, men and women- who do not feed beggars or save the world- believe ourselves to be better than one another? Well, that’s a topic for another time, but in brief it’s a mixture of contempt for others, misinformation, control systems, social rebellion and plain and simple capitalistic self-interest. We are raised to care about ourselves, to compete with our peers rather than collaborate with them and try to make our own lives good before helping others. No matter who we are- whether we claim to be enlightened, or just some asshole- we are still only human.
Let’s change that, shall we?
So in yesterday’s article I touched briefly on the frankly mental idea that any astrological “science” could be regarded as in any way valid citing a theory known colloquially as The Mars Effect.
The study itself is… Controversial. L’influence des astres (the influence of the stars), carried out in 1955 by French psychologist and statistician Michel Gauquelin was the first realistic sortie into a serious study of the viability of astrology. Since it was published back in the 50s, and given its remarkable findings the paper has received criticism and scepticism which, frankly, it utterly deserves.
The study itself is, in a word, long. As such I shall do my best to summarise what pertinent information can be found within its pages, as well as pointing out the holes poked in it by the scientific community in the last sixty years.
“The Mars Effect” itself refers to the apparent statistical link between the movement of Mars in the heavens and the birth of prominent athletes; an incredible finding and quite plainly observable in the graph above. The noticeable peaks outside the circle surrounding the twelve ‘sectors’, which represent the planes of Mars’ orbit show that those born with extreme athletic prowess were, in general, born at times where Mars was ‘rising’, or ‘culminating’.
Needless to say, it was a pretty revolutionary claim.
So, what caused the athletes’ apparent prowess? Well, much has been claimed but very little is truly understood. Was it interstellar radiation, kooky Martian magic or just plain astrological influence? Nobody particularly knew, and nobody took particular issue with the results at first; people just nodded quietly to themselves, and figured that their staunch faith had been validated. The study was even accepted and acknowledged by the renowned statistician and fellow psychologist Hans Eysenck, which is saying a lot.
It was, however, a short-lived acceptance.
The scientific community’s greatest asset is its inherent design by which older, inaccurate information is constantly revised and replaced by newer theory. It is this ability to go back and redact the studies which turn out to be lies which make it so much more reliable as a belief system than a religion, as rather than attempting to justify incorrect clauses it simply replaces them and says: “We were wrong. We now know this.”
This is precisely what happened when The Mars Effect was cross-examined by other scientists at a later date. The “beef” these individuals had with the study was that it allegedly deviated from proper operating procedure in both the procurement and compilation of its data. To fully explain these discrepancies it is important to understand the way in which L’influence des astres was carried out, and we’ll be looking at that right bloody now.
Gauquelin first looked at the births of prominent athletes both in France and abroad, and charted their birth on a fairly simple chart. He then mapped this data against a curvature which indicated a correlation between athletic success (and therefore ability) and the movements of Mars. Sounds simple enough, right? That’s because it is simple, as most things which turn out to be right are.
He then published the findings, and defended them three years later in 1956 by inviting a team of Belgian athletes- the Comité Para- where he repeated the test and found once more the correlation known as The Mars Effect! Two independent studies, even by the same person, are considered conclusive, however since these experiments concerned the (largely despised) ‘psuedoscience’ of astrology it had far more sceptics and disbelievers than your average foray into the unknown.
So, now that we have a basic understanding of L’influence des astres‘ methodology we can pretty much predict the allegations that were levied against it: Gauquelin must have fudged the numbers, right?
It was claimed by many (and later ‘proven’ in further investigations) that the study performed by Michel Gauquelin had used a despicable and unspeakable technique, of which any statistician would be ashamed. Apparently the data he collected had been done selectively rather than indiscriminately- in simpler terms, he disregarded anything which refuted his objective. Other contemporary athletes were deemed viable by Gauquelin’s counterparts and critics, while the man himself had claimed that they were “extraneous anomalies”.
It seemed that Gauquelin also had a clear motive for falsifying his data, as following the publication of the study he became quite famous, as well as a good deal richer. Well, a lot richer- if you can ‘prove’ that a popular pastime is valid then you can make a bunch of money in books, self-help and even pseudo-religion simply by selling your bullshit worldwide (see Kathara for further examples).
So, was this whole study a fraud planned by a balding Frenchman in an effort to placate the kind of morons who believe that someone calling themselves “The Great And Powerful Mystic Marta” and thereby profit hugely? Well… Perhaps, quite frankly. I can’t honestly give you any proof either way!
The fact is that the only person who really knows whether or not L’influence des astres was a legitimate scientific investigation is Gauquelin himself, and given the amount he has been discredited and scorned he’s not likely to talk. That and he’s dead. Whether or not you believe in the study is up to you, but given the harsh critique against him I think it’s prudent to mention that he had ardent defenders as well.
“Gauquelin adequately allowed for demographic and astronomical factors in predicting the expected distribution of Mars sectors for birth times in the general population,” said the biostatisticians Abell, Kurtz and Zellen in 1985.
The ‘errors’, deliberate or not were the primary criticism of Gauquelin’s work, and according to the men close to him he had accounted for these errors in his findings. These were men with no reason to lie, short of personal loyalty- and given that ten years elapsed between his shunning and this reappraisal of his findings it seems like a true statement.
Indeed, I personally find it more than plausible that the wider scientific community rejected Gauquelin’s findings on principle alone. Astrology has always been looked down upon, so any validity lent to it would betray the open-minded image that science had always adopted. It would have been, undeniably, a nightmare. People would have started planning pregnancies according to the stars, and that would be embarrassing for everyone.
Another defence that is commonly overlooked is that The Mars Effect wasn’t the only relevant statistical finding of L’influence des astres. It also found that many other professions had astrological factors, which flew in the face of other statistical analysis of astrology’s significance, which applied largely to another ‘soft’ science: Psychology.
In 1975, Paul Kantz published an article in his journal The Humanist criticizing Gauquelin. Naturally Michel didn’t take kindly to this, and he and his wife rose to the challenge and replicated the results of the original study; something nobody thought possible. This test was observed at every level, had a sizeable control group of “non-champions”, and was considered definitive proof that The Mars Effect specifically (as it was a study that focused on athletes due to the popularity of the initial findings) existed.
There were, however, events which transpired following what became known as The Zelen Test which obfuscated these findings: Elaborate post-test diversions were employed, including the ejection of a member of CSICOP, a man named Rawlins who had allegedly tried to fake elements of the test, casting doubt on the entire test’s legitimacy. Because of this spectacle, nothing like the Zelen test has ever been seriously attempted since.
Utterly bizarre, right? That the human race could have progressed due to a relevant finding which was shot down because it clashed with widely held beliefs? Sounds almost like science was, in its way, suppressing the truth as much as religions have done for centuries. Either way, there is reasonable doubt cast against the theory that Gauquelin was a liar. In fact, if anything it makes his findings- including The Mars Effect– appear more valid.
Guess astrology is at least partially valid. Huh.
Crash and burn.
So yesterday I may have had a little too much fun debunking the evils of mainstream astrological products but right now we’re going to rage hard into brass-tacks. It’s time, my friends, to get mathematical.
Now, if the validity of Sacred Geometry has taught us anything it’s that numbers have power; as such understanding this phenomenon can be one of the most beneficial undertakings a three-dimensional being can embark upon. It’s not easy, if it were then it’d probably be worth doing, and far more people would know the fundamental laws behind not only science but the very nature of reality itself.
Astrology is, at its heart, a mathematical science. I’d like to stress again (because it’s so fucking important) that this does not include the prediction of the future by amateurish frauds who work for the tabloid press. Rather, astrology is a study which utilises various factual data (which is embedded into every human being at birth) to ascertain various attributes pertaining to the person in question.
It’s pretty trippy stuff.
So, what can be gathered about a person at birth? Well, aside from obvious physical factors (gender, race, disabilities and such) there are a number of spiritual elements assigned which are prerequisites for the smooth-running of pure astrology. These factors are all incredibly simple once you know what you’re looking for, and are identified thusly:
- YEAR OF BIRTH: Defines Chinese Zodiac as well as some equinox stuff too complicated to go into right now.
- DATE OF BIRTH: Defines Babylonian Zodiac or “Star Sign”.
- TIME OF BIRTH: Calculates your Babylonian “Rising Sign”, which identifies how you interact with others.
- PHYSICAL STUFF: Gender, location of birth, who and where on the Earth you are and how that relates to you.
Yeah. That’s a lot more than reading Cosmo and finding out you should eat fewer carbs this month.
Anyway, put all of that stuff together and you end up with a complex astrological chart which, while occasionally seeming a little “cold-reading”-y, is still an often eerily accurate representation of the person to whom the chart belongs.
Now, once you’ve got a hold of this chart- called a “Natal Chart“- with its vertexes and its bizarrely awkward interpretive structure you’re pretty much back to square one as far as credibility is concerned. How can a chart like this define how a person turns out, where does this leave free will and who the hell believes what the Babylonians had to say anyway?
Well, why not try it for yourself? All you need is your Date of Birth, Time of Birth and Place of Birth and you’re off to a rip-roaring start! No, seriously, it’s great fun even if you’re just going to laugh at it: http://www.0800-horoscope.com/birthchart.php.
Ok? You done with that? Good. Now, if you’ve noticed an undeniable likeness to your own life, personality or upbringing then read on, if not then oh well, you got to put personal information into a computer screen and have it spirograph up some pretty data for you. Either way, you’ve probably noticed at least some validity to the words which just printed themselves on the screen, at least enough to listen to some actual data regarding the scientifically-proven validity of these bizarre charts?
It wouldn’t be a Study of Spirit article without quoting some obscure and little-known (yet entirely checkable) study performed by some weird scientists thirty years ago, so let’s take a look at one such instance!
Commercial astrology has been legitimately disproved by a study conducted in the 1950s performed by Theodore W. Adorno, who studied several astrological columns in various places (some more reputable than others) who concluded that their findings had no basis in factual reality. Their statements, he found, bore no resemblance to any world events and were relevant only on a personal level. Adorno, very simply, concluded that: “Astrology was a large-scale manifestation of systematic irrationalism, where individuals were subtly being led to believe that the author of the column was addressing them directly through the use of flattery and vague generalizations.”
This work was ratified in more recent years by the scientist Shawn Carlson’s “blind experiment”, which challenged 28 professional astrologers (not capitalist, journalist hacks as investigated by Adorno) to match 100 natal charts to 100 psychological profiles generated with the most up-to-date methodology available: The CPI (Calafornia Psychological Inventory). Needless to say, Carlson’s findings were that statistically natal charts were akin to a random stab in the dark, or in his words: “No better than chance.” His findings were published in Nature in 1985, and showed that the testing clearly and definitively “refutes the astrological hypothesis.”
There was discord caused by the last article, which was my own personal experience, but this is scientific data collated over fifty years. Astrologers cannot tell the future, and apparently can’t really divine anything from a natal chart. This is scientific fact.
Or is it?
In a wider sense modern scientific theory considers astrology a ‘pseudoscience’, being dismissed by even the great Bart J. Bok, who said: “We can see how infinitesimally small are the gravitational and other effects produced by the distant planets and the far more distant stars. It is simply a mistake to imagine that the forces exerted by stars and planets at the moment of birth can in any way shape our futures.”
It must be noted, however, that Carl Sagan himself (praise be upon him) declined to sign the statement, which was itself signed by other prominent members of the astronomic community. This is more telling than we can ever let ourselves believe. We could simply theorise that Sagan, a popular figure in the media, did not want to cause upset to his many fans who did believe in astrology as a viable derivative of astronomy, however the truth of the matter is far less sinister.
Sagan, an honourable man would not lie. He is renowned for his honesty, frankness and absolute belief in the beauty of the universe. He wouldn’t sign anything refuting something which he did not fully disbelieve, and if even an iota of belief in synchronicity or astrology remains in his mind following his obvious exposure to scientific studies to the contrary then we owe it to him to remain open-minded. It’s that simple.
There is, however, more compelling evidence than the reputation of a man for whom millions have the utmost respect, and that is in the form of what is known as the “Mars Effect”. I’m going to go into it more in the third instalment of this series of articles, because holy shit it pretty much confirms that astrology actually affects us, but for now I’ll abridge the information in as thorough a way as I can:
The Mars Effect is the popular name given to a study performed by French scientist Michel Gauquelin in 1955, which utilised natal charts and astronomical data to track the movements of Mars in relation to the birth of notable sportspeople. What the study revealed was incredible, and is considered by many to be the first piece in a puzzle revealing the true power of astrology; people born with prominent “Mars” signs were far more physically adept than their non-Martian counterparts.
Given what we know about the nature of the Martian people (spirit science 12, go watch it) does this not make perfect sense? And this is still observable today?! And the experiments can be replicated and may well be used in the selection of athletes for the upcoming 2012 Olympics?! What the fuuuuuuuck?!
It’s not just Mars either, Gauquelin found correlations of diurnal positioning between different celestial objects- most notably planets in our solar system- and other professions. Doctors, Lawyers, Journalists, they were all there and almost all of them had skillsets relating to astrological data. It was mindblowing, and of course took heavy flack. Gauquelin was accused of selective auditing, and fiddling the data, but after nearly sixty years the experiments and data still hold up! It’s a modern miracle!
Tomorrow, I’ll explain it fully in the final instalment of Astrology, Astrology III: The Mars Effect! But for now, just know that while there are frauds out there there is of course that 99% truth to everything that the devil will use to fuel his 1% hatemachine.
Man I can’t wait to write tomorrow’s article. Maybe to make up for lost time I’ll write it today.
Crash and burn!
The universe in which we live is littered with thousands of belief systems, all of which attempt to give us a little comfort in the vast, unseeable ocean of discord that is the future. We have no idea what tomorrow holds, be it joy or sadness, hunger or famine, life or death; and as such we fear that which we cannot see.
There are many means by which people claim to be able to divine coming events, and some of them have proven to be valid, but the most popularised one of all time is probably astrology. Any spiritual person can tell you that astrology isn’t a mere means of fortune-telling, and as such in another three-part series of articles I will be explaining the field in as much depth as can really be expected.
Today’s article will, however, be focusing primarily on the most-used (and therefore most ‘understood’) field of astrology: Its apparent usage in uncovering the future.
Did you know that Ronald Regean, when he wasn’t busy being senile, was a firm believer in the accuracy of astrological prediction? Did you know that the field was invented by the Babylonians, who used it to predict political and sociological change? Did you know that astrology was popularised in the second century by the poem of Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos? Did you know that as a practise the church outlawed astrology until the Renaissance?
Did you know that a whopping 39% of Americans believe astrology to be a science?
Now, a good place to start would probably be the means by which practitioners are able to ‘read’ the activity of celestial bodies to find their meaning and as such attribute the effects said activity will have on the world. Most of you reading this will be aware of your “star-sign”, which is of course based upon your date of birth, and is for the most-part inconsequential in every day life.
There are some who give these signs absolute power over their perception of others (Ooh, a Scorpio, I bet you’re oh-so sexual etc) and other more reasonable people who understand it as a simple method of cataloguing the first of three astrological prerequisites required for an accurate ‘reading’, but I digress. The first step to gathering a bead on the future is quite simply to understand the twelve star-signs.
Once you understand these twelve signs the next step is an understanding of the movements of stars, planets and indeed the Earth itself; a daunting feat, particularly for someone working from a shop above a tattoo parlour, but something all astrologists must be able to do. Thanks to the advent of the Internet this field is now open to many more than it used to be, with websites replacing the popular almanacs which used to litter bookshops for just this purpose.
Now we move onto prediction: Understanding which signs are associated with each planet and what ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ has to do with influencing the lives of those on Earth, as well as what the moon has to do with everything. Once you’ve done that it is usually prudent to attempt a channelling, as time is non-linear on higher planes and compare your findings against those plucked from the wisdom of higher-beings. After that, extrapolate geometrically the paths of both the sun and the moon in reference to the procession of the equinox to observe the effects that the Earth’s current tilt has on your findings and off-put them accordingly.
Then throw all of this out of the window and make up whatever you want.
It may surprise some of you out there to know that I am not the first journalist to emerge from the heinous gene-pool of my family. I cannot name names, because that would be ultimately awful for everyone, but trust me when I say that there is no adherence to standard astrological practise when it comes to newspaper horoscopes.
All one has to do to realise this is look at the fact that every single fucking one of them is different. If astrology is the scientific tool of divination it claims to be, by which people actually live their lives then surely there should be some correlation or cohesion between these pages? Also notice the heavy emphasis on disclaimers, as well as the claims that they are for ‘entertainment only’ and surely at least one of your eyebrows should be raised.
Indeed it has been my horrific task on multiple occasions to fabricate some horoscope readings, and let me assure you that there is literally no legwork involved. You simply sit there, new blood (because all the real journalists have actual stories to report on), and type the first thing that comes into your head. If you’re having a bad day, then everyone should avoid tall, dark strangers- if you’re happy that day then fuck it, everyone should play the lottery!
There are a few choice phrases to throw in, and if you’re feeling particularly lazy then you simply re-write a horoscope from either an almanac site (which has predictions for all year) or a rival paper. It’s that easy. Oh, and as for those “choice phrases”? That’s a technique used by spiritual frauds the world over for years known as ‘cold-reading’.
That’s right! For hundreds of years people like me have been confusing, misleading and flat-out wronging people like you with this ultimately awful psychological system! People still profit from it hugely today, in the form of television mediums, palm-readers and even televangelists; so what is it?
Every human being alive has certain things happen to them over the course of their life, and these things are practically universal. This doesn’t just apply to ass-troll-o-gee or psychics, you could walk up to anyone on the street with these techniques and have them believe that you were gifted with extranormal abilities. Cold reading simply uses these events to generate an emotional (and therefore convincing) response.
How many of you have had a friend or relative die? How many of you know someone named “Steve”? How many of you have lost a love, or met someone without ever meaning to? Or even lost a job or experienced a loss in any way?
Oh yeah: All of you!
Because of this, it’s remarkably easy to write a prediction of the future and then have it appear validated because of how non-specific your prediction is. “You will suffer an untimely loss,” could be any number of common occurrences, yet the second you lose your keys, your dog or your grandma you remember the prediction and gasp because holy shit they got it right!
TV psychics are notorious for this. “Did someone here lose someone recently? Oh, you did madam?” Instantly you then examine the person who raised their hand: If they’re middle-aged then it’s a parent usually, if they’re older then it could be a partner, look for tan lines where wedding-rings used to be for widows. Once this probability has been calculated then you say “Oh, yes- it was your husband/father/corgi!” and they will be amazed by your psychic powers!
Next, calculate the probability of their name, but never act with certainty: “I’m getting… I’m getting an S?” S is a hugely common letter as far as names go, and the poor grief-stricken person will usually provide the rest for you: “Yes! His name was Steve!”. From there it’s a simple case of telling them that they’re resting in peace, or (and this is usually a good one) they don’t want you to worry about the money. Everyone, ever worries about finance, so you can use this common fear to emotionally manipulate, and gain credibility at the same time.
People will pay good money for comfort, whether it’s emotional closure following the death of a loved-one or providing apparent clarity as to spooky future events. Capitalising on this fear of the future is what keeps horoscope writers in business, and the ultimately thick believing them. If you want to read more on the statistics surrounding astrology then I’d recommend checking out the pamphlet Astrology: Fraud or Superstition, and if you really want to find out about cold-reading then why not read up on some techniques at http://blog.coldreadingtechniques.com/?
Anyway, that’s just about enough for today: Tabloids and magazines can’t tell you the future. The only future is the one we make for ourselves, and sure it can be scary or difficult to carve happiness from the granite of the universe, but it’s better than relying on the words of fools and frauds.
Next time: I explain this horribly complicated diagram!
Crash and burn!
Today’s article is more of an editorial than a case study, but there has been more emphasis and personal investment in the investigation of this issue than most of my articles.
As most of you reading will know, I am an “Ascended Moderator” on the forum of the popular Spirit Science website. It’s full of some brilliant people and is one of the most spiritually diverse communities I have ever encountered, with sceptics, believers and deceivers all in their droves.
Tonight, I will be discussing the misinformation provided by one of the members of the forum. Whether this deception is intentional or not I do not know, and I am not calling this person a liar, merely saying that their evidence- when checked- was falsified.
First off, a little background information without which this article would make no sense:
Kathara is a belief system based around the belief in spiritual geometry, channelling and alien abduction. It is, according to some “Theonly true path to physical ascension.” On a personal level that stinks to high heaven- for people on a forum dedicated to love and light to expect people to adhere to one dogmatic belief system is hypocritical, and merely rebalances the distribution of power in their favour.
The books also cost in excess of US$ 150, which is a lot for a system which wants to “help” people. This article isn’t here to cast doubt on Kathara though, just to offer another look at the information.
It is from this belief that the belief in “Realms” springs, and it may very well be true, so for the love of all Gods don’t judge people based upon their belief in anything, because nobody really knows.
As I’ve covered in articles in the past the universe is separated into different dimensions, realities and realms. This is important, as it is the entire basis for the belief system which some users of the Spirit Science forum are beginning to propagate, and it is a system based on fear, ego and self-importance. The theory of “Higher Selves” has been discussed on this blog before, and I’ve received no evidence of their existence, but rather have reason to believe the people purporting to be in contact with them.
There are many people on toe forum who claim to be in contact with these beings, and for the mostpart they are kind, wonderful individuals who sincerely believe in the message that they are putting out there. There is nothing which can prove or disprove the fact that they hear voices, and personally I see no reason for the vast majority of people to lie about that fact.
It’s the statements they make which I call into question.
Everyone knows what evidence is- it’s the basis for scientific method and one of the most important things in the world if one is hoping to prove something to be true. I don’t really need to explain this at all, but at the same time it is worth mentioning that evidence almost never exists in matters of faith.
There is another kind of evidence though, in logical points derived from past statements. It is not the same as conjecture, which is something far more dire, and is often used to mask the truth.
Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s get on with this:
In March of 2012 a thread was posted on the Spirit Science forum by veteran moderator and all-around good guy Chronamut. His threads are usually quickly derailed, as they rely heavily on evidence provided by his higher self “Crai”. They also are usually based in Kathara, as well as the existence of an otherworldly hierarchy who all seem to co-exist on Spirit Science; it is this which has caused him some of the most problematic and aggressive responses the forum has ever seen.
Chronamut, you see, claims to be a 12th dimensional half-Elven king from the Nibiru bloodline. Now, when you call yourself a king you elevate yourself over other people- as far as most people are concerned anyway- and that makes people angry. When you then make threads proclaiming people known to be your friends to be “lords and ladies” of various realms you place them on pedestals, elevating them too, and that makes people more mad.
Linguistically these monarchistic terms are seen as egotistical, especially when wielded by people in ‘power’ (such as it exists on a forum), and when people are seen as egotistical and act in a condescending manner… Well, you know the deal.
Personally, I understand exactly what Chronamut and his sympathisers are saying, and I want to clear that up right now for the sake of neutrality: As far as they’re concerned “Lord”, “King”, “Queen”, and all their derivatives are no more important than “peasant”. They don’t mean to come over as uppity, it’s just a choice of words which hasn’t benefited them thus far. Whether they have treated you in a caustic manner or not it is important to understand that their choice of words as far as their titles are concerned are not what you should be critiquing.
Anyway, back to that thread- this new one referred to what Chronamut referred to as a “Realm War”, and sparked fierce controversy on the forum, which has culminated in this article.
Ok, so the thread itself focused on an apparently upcoming war which would envelop all of reality and was known implicitly by people on the higher realms. The argument escalated more and more as opposition was voiced, and as always the exact same questions posited to those who believed in Kathara and spoke the views of their higher selves:
“Why should anyone believe you?”
Now, no-one was calling anyone a liar- the times stated didn’t add up (some people said the war began in 2003, some said it had yet to come and some said it was being fought using social mediums such as the Occupy movement) and a lot of it seemed very self-serving. Even so, the motives for the thread were pure, and there is no real problem with people speaking about things of this magnitude if they’re willing to behave like adults when they’re asked for proof.
Everyone acted admirably, but proof was not forthcoming. People, as always, claimed that theycould prove it, but refused to for whatever reason (I myself was accused at one point of being a ‘dark shadow’, the enemy of all light). Eventually one user- a notorious follower of the “Higher Self” principle named AlexofTerra- stepped up to the task, but said he would only speak in PM.
I’m not going to post what he told me in private, because that would be unethical, but the evidence he gave me is as follows:
- The Occupy movement is being used by members of a shadow-society “Bent on world domination” to fight a ‘shadow-war’.
- Two months into the movement several members of “Occupy L.A.” were arrested under a gang-violence initiative. This was a cover and the members were in fact members of a group named “Zhizhe” (Wise Man in Chinese).
- AlexofTerra had evidence of a bank transfer showing funding by the group Zhizhe to the group as the foundation of a resistance cell under an alias (hence the gang bust).
AlexofTerra’s evidence copied from physical sheet:
Funding for November, 1011
El Loco Lobos – 10,000 USD
Instantly my mind was boggled: Someone claiming to know things on an implicit level (with multiple personalities and higher selves embedded into their consciousness) had actual evidence of the things they were claiming. It was, of course, shortlived.
After contacting several prominent members of the Occupy movement it became clear that the banking sheet, which of course I wasn’t allowed to see, was fraudulent. The amount, name of the financier and even the transfer date were completely out of sync with what Alex had told me. No checks of arrest reports or news reports could show the arrests of the members he had talked about, and of course neither the Zhizhe site or the news reports Alex spoke of existed any more. L.A. had used the gang control act to move protesters on, but not two months in, and there were no arrests of the kind of which he spoke.
Whether this information was given to him fraudulently or whether he was simply making it up I don’t know, and he hasn’t answered me so I may never know, but it casts doubt on every piece of information these people have given us. Zhizhe doesn’t exist, the named benefactors didn’t donate that volume of money (or even exist) and no reports exist of the things he speak. What’s to say that anything these people have to say is true?
This is speculation. Conjecture. It is not definitive evidence that anyone is intentionally defrauding anyone, power grabbing or being a cult, but if one person presents forged, baseless evidence and claims it as fact then it harms everyone who believes the same things as them. It harms their entire case, and in actuality it’s that which matters. I’m not calling anyone a liar, and even AlexofTerra is above any degree of blame or defamation. He may well have been as lied to as the rest of us.
All I’m saying isask. Ask the questions people don’t want to answer- the awkward questions. Find the truth. Without the truth there is the danger of dissonance, and in dissonance there is hatred and in hatred there is war.
Oh, and always cross-reference your evidence.