I don't know exactly how it happened, but I started remembering another poll about Americans' "religious" beliefs (the quotes are necessary because it's not clear whether UFOs are sent by God or the Devil). Anyway, I went googling for it -- and found it easily. The poll was run in 2005 and again in 2007 by Harris Interactive. Here's a truncated snapshot...
Don’t Believe In
Darwin’s theory of evolution
As you can see from the Big Board here, Miracles and Angels were the big gainers last year, significantly outperforming the S&P 500 Index (not to mention Natural Selection®).
So today I decided to see if Gallup had done a similar poll about what Americans believe. But something went wrong with my search, I guess, because I serendipitously -- if not, indeed, synchronicitously -- stumbled onto something even more amazing. Imagine my astonishment in discovering that Deepak Chopra is a "Senior Scientist" for Gallup, Inc. His bio page there says...
Dr. Chopra is the world's leading living authority on "connectedness" and is leading Gallup's research and discovery on how one-to-one relationships affect peace throughout the world.
World peace! Fuck, huh? But now notice that when people put scare quotes around a word or phrase -- like mine around "Senior Scientist" -- it usually means the writer intends you to take it less seriously, or in a different way than it's usually meant. So what, precisely, does Dr. Chopra mean by "connectedness"?
You might think, "Sure, this is a wonderful work of art, but is this all there is?" Then, all at once, the room becomes illuminated from above.
You look around and see that you are in an art museum, with hundreds of paintings on the walls around you, each more beautiful than the last. As these possibilities stand revealed to you, you realize you have a lifetime of art to study and love. You are no longer constrained to view just one painting lit by the weak glow of your flashlight.
Um, well, yeah, I think I get it. But now here's the bit I actually wanted to share with y'all. It just needed some setup.
This is the promise of synchrodestiny. It turns on the lights. It gives us the ability to make real decisions instead of blind guesses as we move forward in our lives. It allows us to see meaning in the world, to understand the...
connectedness or synchronicity
...of all things, to choose the kind of life we want to live, and to fulfill our spiritual journey.
Given that Deepak Chopra is a "Senior Scientist" there, what I want to know is: were Obama's poll numbers the result of hard work by the campaign, or more a Law-of-Attraction-Cosmic-Collective-Unconscience-Spontaneous-Fulfillment-of-Desire sorta thing? Maybe it really is "a lattice of coincidence," as Miller says: Bermuda triangles, UFOs, how the Mayans invented television.
Whatever the fuck all this may mean, Deepak Chopra is evidently "the world's leading living authority" on it.
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Now I also want to show you this detail, because -- and maybe it's just me, but -- at first I thought those were like maybe fairy wings. No? Well OK, maybe not. But the image is suggestive of something woo-woo, or as I like to think of it: para-abnormal.
Our intrepid Mind Traveller leaves behind the mundane, indeed passé, realm of the Big City, passes through the Sublunary Sphere of Nature -- represented here by the World Tree -- and enters the Higher Spiritual Realms of Quantum Theory. Sans, of course, all that icky and over-conceptual mathematics.
"To those of us not up to speed on the finer points of theoretical physics," wonders the author of the EnlightenNext article, Your 3-D Universe Is So Passé (Tom Huston, that's him at the left), "what could it mean for there to be ten or more dimensions?" After a tip of the hat to Buckaroo Banzai, Huston offers a brief overview of Bryanton's truly Buckaroonian theorizing, and wraps it up by saying...
by the time we arrive at the tenth dimension, which comes across as a kind of Teilhardian Omega Point encompassing absolutely every possible timeline of every possible universe, "there’s no place left to go."
In other words (let me see if I've got this right), wherever you go, there you are! But, forgive me, I cannot pass over that reference to Blowhard de Chardin without (re-)quoting Nobelist Peter Medawar's 1961 review of his book -- which I anyway feel is powerfully germane here.
[The Phenomenon of Man] is a book widely held to be of the utmost profundity and significance; it created something like a sensation upon its publication in France, and some reviewers hereabouts called it the Book of the Year -- one, the Book of the Century. Yet the greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself.
These ideas are proving to have interesting resonances and connections for a great many people from around the world, and I believe this innovative blending of ideas from quantum physics and Everett's multiverse with ideas from philosophy and ancient wisdom will some day be confirmed to be part of the essential truths of how our universe is defined: from the timelessness of the underlying quantum fabric where all universes and all timelines for those universes exist simultaneously.
In addition to that, there are any number of references to "quantum" this-and-that on the site and its associated discussion boards.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I don't know the first thing about multidimensional multiverses, quantum entanglement, dead-or-alive boxed cats, Bell's Theorem, string theory, or any of that stuff. Except, of course, for the plethora of references I find in New Age hogwash such as...
Wannabe Scientist's View ...Bryanton has never touched a scientific article, let alone stood near the mathematics required to grasp them. All his "knowledge" comes from science fiction (which he uses as genuine "references" for his wild ideas), popular science books (Greene, Kaku and Randall) and Scientific American.... his ideas on ten dimensions and the alleged connection to string theory and the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics couldn't be stated more explicitly and couldn't be more wrong.... The first chapter is exactly what is shown on his website and the rest is just a filler in which he tries to explain the ideas of quantum observation and its relation to philosophy, poorly. There is absolutely no (scientific) connection to string theory whatsoever, except that the number 10 and the word dimensions are in the same sentence.
This is not about dimensions at all ...One conclusion is that the success of this book is due to the fact that some people simply cannot tell the difference between, say Hawking's popularization of black holes and Bryanton's statements like this one: "for us, a point in the seven-dimensional space is Infinity". Both sound vaguely poetical, but underneath, one is sense, while the other is nonsense.
Tenth Dimension Hoax This is not a serious treatment of string theory, but a fabricated theory with little to no scientific background. The author's approach is entertaining, but totally off-base and a disservice to the true string theory field of study. This book is a borderline hoax and I feel dumber for having actually read it.
Don't be fooled This book is totally bogus pseudo-science. The author (not a scientist, but a music producer) attempts to explain higher dimensions, as if they were analogous to the lower ones, as "points" and "lines," which is completely incorrect. If you have an interest in quantum mechanics and string theory, stick with books written by physicists, such as Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe."
At the end of Medawar's above-quoted review, he makes reference to "the gullibility which makes it possible for people to be taken in by such a bag of tricks as this. If it were an innocent, passive gullibility it would be excusable; but all too clearly, alas, it is an active willingness to be deceived."
Except for: EnlightenNext nee "What Is Enlightenment?" is the brainchild of Andrew Cohen, who describes himself as "a spiritual teacher and acclaimed author widely recognized as a defining voice in the emerging field of evolutionary spirituality." Even his own mother thinks he's a narcissistic little shit.
On the site's front page, Ken Wilber -- "world's leading integral philosopher" -- is quoted as saying, by way of an endorsement, "So, the Big Question is: How do we transform ourselves to change the world?"
Yeah, I guess that's the Big Question, Kenny.
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Saturday, November 01, 2008