As the Prof has rescheduled the Summer Solstice till this Sunday (a Druid of his calibre can do that sort of thing you know), I’ve basically had a week of Solstice starting with midsummer Highland Games and Ceilidh in the hills above Loch Ness, putting the final touches to the sculpture of Flora, and preparing to hail the new official midsummer formally in a certain private circle of standing stones.
My part in the highland games came down to participation in three demented events that probably originated from military activities designed to break up medieval infantry formations, shot, hammer, and caber. The shot consisted of a stone larger than my head, the hammer of an eight inch iron ball on a hawser. I think that on one of my throws I managed not to come last despite throwing myself twice to the ground as well during the attempts. I had taken the liberty of a trying a couple of practise tosses with a couple of the cabers on the rack, and it seemed do-able. However when we got to the event the MC swept the cabers off the rack, ‘just the ladies ones and the practise ones’ he said, and it turned out that the real deal consisted of the rack itself, an intimidating twelve foot long, hundred pound plus spar. Nobody actually managed to toss it right over and nobody died. ‘The caber wins again’ pronounced the MC. Legend has it that someone in the village once accomplished it. They breed ‘em madly tough in the highlands, competition standard caber apparently involves 19 foot 175 pound cabers and men the size of bears.
As well as the delights of a family reunion I also enjoyed the sight of a rare Pine Marten foraging just outside the window of the croft, and the museum of Pictish art, weird stuff carved on stone that we still cannot decipher as their hieroglyphics or heraldry or religion.
Then back to my garage to complete Cloris-Flora the Greek-Roman Goddess of Gardens. In the absence of a block of white marble and the time and skill to work it, I started with a shop mannequin, concreted her onto a slab of bathstone, and then built up her headdress and accessories and surface detail with Jemsonite, a weatherproof sort of plaster like material, and then finished her with white masonry paint.
Meanwhile on Arcanorium College efforts to penetrate the Neconomicon Mythos of the Elder Gods by a team of intrepid psychonauts proceeds apace, we seem to have revitalised the old magical arte of Ars Notoria in this quest.
Along with a number of other survivors of the magical revival, I have for the last few decades wondered what became of Charlie Brewster, Frater Choronzon 333.
He cut an extraordinary figure amongst the London Illuminati of the seventies and eighties.
I met him after he got out of jail over a misunderstanding about a credit card. Whilst in jail he took a course in electrical wiring and somehow blagged his way into working as a wireman for Reuters. He moved into a squat near to mine in Deptford sometime after we met at Stoke Newington Sorcerers, (an experimental magic group based in Giles’s flat that included Gerald Suster). I distinctly remember he scrounged a door from a local derelict cinema for his squat which bore the legend ‘Projection Room’, nice.
Ah what we got up to in those days, whole spit roast goat party on the adjoining wasteground, pitched street battles with the gypsies and the national front, crazy metaphysical speleological expeditions to invoke Gwyn ap Nudd in the depths of welsh caves, some inadvisable experiments with deadly nightshade. All the usual follies of youth.
Then I set off for India and Australia for a couple of years, came back to Yorkshire for a couple more years, went to India for another year and finally wound up in Bristol and started my business.
In the meantime Charlie had a spectacular trajectory. From a Reuters wireman he blagged his way upwards till he apparently became one of their top technicians, by, he claimed, going to work in a very posh suit and carrying a combination lock pigskin briefcase (containing his soldering iron). He ended up buying a mansion, performance cars and motorcycles (his huge frame cutting a dash in what looked like a Dune stillsuit). At the height of the curve he funded extravagant OTO events, had a craftsman start building him a pearwood Enochian chess set, drank vintage Laphroaig single malt from pint mugs with his joints, had a bizarre scheme going dealing futures on the Chicago stock exchange (inadvisably), and his own electronics company. Plus he acquired an enormous Tibetan Thunderbolt-Axe for magical purposes.
He created some interesting magical writings; see below.
Finally it all crashed bigtime, he went down owing some very impressive sums, and he retreated to obscurity in Wales and cut himself off from everyone he had known in London, including me. (Under pressure from his longsuffering wife I suspect). I had only a couple of brief notes from him thereafter mentioning some maths teaching and heart problems.
Then today I found this obituary today whilst googling for an image of him.
I count knowing Charlie Brewster as one of the great blasts of my early life.
DEATH OF CHARLIE BREWSTER
...on 13th December 2013. Charlie was one of Ken's most important friends. They first met at Reuters in 1978, a firm that grossly underused their talents, which in Charlie's case, were very great indeed. Ken would say that Charlie could do the sort of Higher Maths in his head that would take Ken a week with a pencil. More than that, Charlie & Jane were tremendously helpful to Ken when he lost his 1st wife Jane in an accident. We attended his funeral in Wales on January 6th. Our best wishes to Jane & his children, Emily, Victoria & Demian, not forgetting step-children Bethan & Dominic plus spouses & grandchildren.
So now, with the UK general election settled, the battle over the UK’s membership of the EU begins in earnest.
In 1973 the British people elected to join a Common Market. It seemed like a good idea at the time to dismantle trade barriers between the participating European countries. Some did warn us that it could eventually lead to some sort of federalisation of Europe and that some of the people behind it actually had full federalisation, or worse, on their agenda.
Now, four decades later, the British people find themselves increasingly subject to the diktats, laws, regulatory culture, and membership of a European Union that they never voted to join but which their politicians gradually signed them up to.
It has become increasingly apparent that the European Union heads towards government by Synarchy rather than by Democracy. We face ‘Ever Closer Union’ with a political entity over which we have virtually no democratic control.
Professional Politicians and Big Business much prefer Synarchy to Democracy.
Synarchy means government by a self-perpetuating clique of ‘Those Who Think They Know Best’ and who do not wish to subject themselves to democratic accountability. Rather they prefer to perpetuate their cabal by a system of appointing only those who agree with them.
The EU does in theory have an elected parliament but only a sham parliament; it raises no taxes, it originates no legislation, and it has no budget to spend except on its own extravagant expenses. It merely exists to rubber stamp the legislation created by the unelected European Commission and its vast unelected supporting Bureaucracy.
This Synarchic system suits professional career politicians and big business very well. Professional politicians can look forward to retirement appointments on the bloated gravy train of the EU if they lose elections. Many of the political class now choose to build their entire careers there, subject only to internal scrutiny and to zero public accountability. Big business loves the EU because the EU relies on big business to set so much of the regulatory agenda to its own advantage against smaller business competitors and external trade.
Synarchy depends on a self-perpetuating unelected clique and its clients; it maintains its position by assuming control of as many aspects of the populace’s lives as it possibly can by an ever multiplying set of rules and regulations. By passing laws and regulations about every imaginable activity it effectively gives itself the Arbitrary Power to criminalise any form of behaviour or dissent or opposition it takes exception to. In the EU most of this legislation gets passed under the ominous banner of ‘Public Safety’ or under the faux banner of ‘Internationalism’.
The strength and creativity of Europe has always lain in its diversity. The various European nations have experimented with just about every imaginable political, social, ethical and religious system over the centuries. Some became more scientifically and industrially oriented than others. They fought frequently and learned from each other’s advances and mistakes.
The EU Synarchists now seek to homogenise and rule the entire continent with a single vast set of rules and regulations about every aspect of people’s working lives, interpersonal relationships, the provision and consumption of goods and services, and acceptable beliefs and thoughts (secular political correctness trumps all tolerated faiths and political opinions.)
The hegemonistic homogenising ‘One Size Must Fit All’ philosophy of the EU Synarchists can only lead to a loss of diversity, experimentation, creativity, and competitiveness in the European nations that submit to it.
The argument that EU membership will prevent war does not hold water. Democracies have rarely if ever declared war on each other, and nowadays the economic costs of war between European nations far exceed any possible benefits, and will likely remain so.
The economic benefits of EU membership remain highly debatable. The free movement of capital and labour within the EU has done more for free-market capitalism than social democracy. The richer areas have sucked in the investment and labour to the impoverishment of the poorer areas that merely receive subsidised and frequently useless infrastructure projects. Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Greece have had their economies wrecked by the EU, whilst Germany has massively profited from a currency union which makes its exports ridiculously cheap. Poland has lost a million of its youngest and most motivated people.
The argument that Europe needs to act as a single bloc when confronting the major powers of America, China, and Russia does not hold water either. None of those countries have territorial ambitions in Europe. Europe has abandoned colonialism, military intervention in the third world becomes increasingly pointless, and nuclear deterrence thankfully keeps the peace. The Germans really should invest in some instead of relying on ours. When it comes to economic confrontation, America, China, and Russia would find it far easier to apply pressure to a single homogenous block rather than trying to apply it piecemeal to dozens of self-governing nations.
David Cameron has stated that he will attempt to renegotiate the whole relationship between the UK and the EU and then present the terms of a new relationship to the British people in a simple in or out referendum.
The red line for renegotiation should have equal simplicity.
‘The UK reserves the right to ignore any EU legislation that it considers inappropriate for itself.’
If that proves unacceptable then we should vote to leave, and hopefully in a manner calculated to weaken or collapse the whole rotten structure.
Any nation that waives the right to issue its own law or currency or to issue or refuse work or residency permits to visitors, no longer has meaningful sovereignty over itself, or a meaningful democracy either.
The issue of free movement of population for economic reasons obstructs the entry of Turkey into the EU. If we went back to a simple Common Market this problem would dissappear. Turkey could trade more freely with Europe and this would strengthen Nato's flank and Turkey itself as a bulwark against the problems of the middle east.
As a wizard I revel in creative juxtapositions, contrasts, differences, and varied excellences. I want different countries with widely differing customs to take my holidays in.
I don’t want Greece forced into the same culture as Germany. I prefer to enjoy both places separately, and don’t wish Britain to homogenise with either.
The EU project leads only to enforced uniformity and mediocrity beneath a mountain of rules and regulations. A ‘European Identity’ does not exist because nobody outside the Synarchist wing of the political class really wants one.
After the exuberance of the last few posts, some rather negative stuff: -
Conspiracy Theory has become something of the half-thinking person’s alternative religion these days. The set of beliefs has gradually achieved some sort of canonical form these days, expect the inclusion of Zionism, Nazism, the Rothschilds, the JSK assassination, the CIA and MK Ultra, then add Area 51, Flying Saucers, Climate Change and Vaccination denial, weird interpretations of 9/11, and the British Royal Family to taste.
Conspiracy theories tend to appeal to the extreme right and the extreme left and to the paranoid and the self-important. Some people also delight in thinking they know something that others don’t, although the internet now contains so much of this stuff in the public domain that anyone can fill their heads with it without actually encountering anything to question or falsify any of it. You can google yourself into complete and comprehensive ‘self-consistent’ sets of mutually supportive delusions by a simple process of selective attention.
Some people seem to prefer the idea that the chaos of the world lies under the control of something, even if malignant. What about the filthy rich nuclear armed nazi reptile pervert house of Windsor/Rothschild ruling the world from a bunker beneath Stonehenge? Obvious innit!
In practise Conspiracies have a fractal form. Conspiracies operate between nations and within nations, within workplaces and social groups and within families. We also have conspiracies inside our own heads, with some of our thoughts and fears and desires at odds with others.
Conspiracies exist all right, but Snafu’s, screw-ups, misunderstandings, mistakes, fortuitous accidents, and stupidity generally set the fairly random and unpredictable course of human life and history.
Conspiracy Theory always retrodicts; it has no predictive power. It should not form any part of so called ‘esoteric knowledge’ at all.
Thus I find Ray Sherwin’s latest book ‘VITRIOL’ a dismal disappointment. He goes whole hog on uncritical Conspiracy Theory, and it becomes a tiresome and predictable read in which the author commits literary and intellectual suicide at length. Then he further sours the mix with rants against former friends with whom he developed business disputes, and with scientifically illiterate neurotic rants about health issues. He once wrote a couple of reasonable books on magic, this latest offering will probably depress the market for them.
The Spanish translator of the E-Epoch just pointed out that we had mistakenly attributed the authorship of ‘The Imitation of Christ’ not to Ignatius Loyola but rather to Thessalonius Loyola. (Ray’s old magical moniker). Maybe that or the Fuerteventura sun and isolation have gone to his head.
And now for another negative: Necromancy.
The damned arte has reared its rotting head again, so herewith a counterblast from the annals of Esoteric Quality Control, new on this site.
With some exhuberance I post a picture of my victorious MP. Unlike a lot of them she once had a real job, as you can see from her magnificent lifeguard's shoulders.
I felt no need to actually vote for her or to sit up for the foregone conclusion of a result. The Sun and the bookies as usual called it right. The bookies had them neck and neck towards the finish, but bear in mind they offer odds based partly on their appraisal of the chances but partly on the money that actually gets placed, so you have to allow for the sort of people who actually go to the bookies, sample bias as we mathematicians call it.
So we have a sensible result for the UK, despite the simmering tartan romanticism north of the border, and we have avoided the dread Lab/SNP coalition of entropy.
I voted Green as promised in my electoral Pact with my eldest, a magical gesture for the future.
And now for a little light physics: -
March 15, 2014
Fifteen Old, Massive Galaxies Found in the Early Universe --"They Shouldn't Even Exist"
RELEASE DATE: SEP 27, 2014
A young galaxy in the local universe?
The nearby dwarf galaxy DDO 68 – only 39 million light-years away – looks young. But its nearness to us in space suggests it’s not as young as it looks.
Hypersphere Cosmology confidently predicts that astronomers will eventually discover galaxies of all ages at all distances, bright new ones are just easier to find at extreme distances. The Universe recycles everything.
Confessions of a Right Wing Hippy.
Daughter, didn’t you recently tell me you had concluded that the dread Loch Ness Monster was actually a STURGEON? I quipped.
Dad, have you always been a Right Wing Hippy? Retorted my eldest, who has recently become a Doctor of Biological Sciences.
These quips arose during intense negotiations for an Emergency Electoral Pact between us in advance of this week’s UK general election.
In the end we both solemnly swore to vote Green on wizard’s honour and scientist’s honour. So that’s one less vote for the Conservatives in a constituency where it won’t make any difference, one less vote for the SNP where it won’t make any difference either, but two votes to add to the Green national total as a magical act of protest and long term enchantment for the future.
(Mind you, the Green’s policy of unrestricted population movement within Europe still seems profoundly ecologically unsound to me, but I guess they just put that in as a sop to the youth vote.) Nevertheless trying to conserve the environment satisfies my conservative instincts.
I think my moment of conversion to right wing hippiedom came on witnessing the ‘New-Age Convoy’ at Stonehenge. Children with matted hair and brown stumps for teeth, un-roadworthy vehicles full agricultural diesel stolen from farmers, surly feral men armed with machetes, scabby looking women selling themselves in benders, heroin on open sale, green hedgerows ripped down in failed attempts to light fires, human and dog excrement everywhere. Hawkwind still played well however. Peace and Love requires organisation and self-discipline you know man.
The overall level of human happiness seems more or less independent of ‘progress’ for the simple reason that anything ‘new’ or ‘progressive’ usually has as many downsides as upsides to it, most of them unforeseen. I find novelty profoundly interesting but not an unqualified good in itself. Science tends to improve over time, but architecture tends to get worse for example.
Politically I prefer a system that errs on the side of Liberty rather than Equality. (Fraternity has little effect beyond the 150 or so people that anyone can properly know). When it comes to Equality; equality of opportunity trumps enforced equality of outcome (socialism). I broadly support the Darwinian aims of STUB, stop the underclass breeding, or at least stop subsidising the feckless to do so. Yet I endeavour to practise benign capitalism as the most agreeable option available to me in current circumstances.
Like my daughter, most people seem to regard me as a mass of confusing contradictions. I would describe them as fertile juxtapositions. My appearance does not match my professional status and my opinions as a whole do not fall into any conventional category. I have left wing opinions about some matters, right wing opinions about others, conservative attitudes to some phenomena, liberal attitudes to others, and I currently hold some positions which have such a minority following that they don’t even have a category yet.
Whilst I have intense religious feelings I don’t believe in anything much except science, and a fair bit of that seems wrong; I suppose I merely respect the efficacy of scientific method in principle, although it often fails. Most ‘facts’ have fairly short half-lives. Official cosmology currently looks like a mistaken mess and as Richard Feynman said, ‘nobody understands quantum physics’ yet.
I respect the efficacy of magical method as well, despite its even higher failure rate. I value enchantment over divination on the basis of reasonably coherent quantum-theoretical reasons and personal experience. I dismiss the existence of ‘spirits’ as conventionally defined, and consider drugs and necromancy of limited or negligible value in magic.
In short, I Reject Herd Mentality.
Opinions shouldn’t come in exclusive boxed sets. (Prejudice by any other name.)
I value the antinomian perspective; we never really understand an idea until we also understand the conditions under which it ceases to apply.
Beltane passed with a splendid evening at Grove with a number of celebrity guests. The assembled magical firepower easily held off the rain for the evenings Beltane fire.
The pond at Chateaux Chaos now teems with tens of thousands of toadpoles, gazing into it reminds me of those schoolboy experiments examining semen under a microscope.
To mark the season I've started on a full size classical goddess statue of Flora/Chloris for the gardens. See above a practise version of a head. For this I've used Jemsonite, a water based ceramic-acrylic material over a polystyrene hat display stand and some cloth flowers. I have acquired a lifesize fibreglass shop mannequin which I shall attempt to cover with Jemsonite to give a white marble effect. The Jemsonite mixes to a paste more suitable for architectural moulding than handworking, and it sets like stone in about 5 minutes, so you have to get it on very quickly, then you can set about it with serious abrasives to give a stone finish suitable for outdoor use.
The Hypersphere Cosmology paper now has publication in the viXra Online Scientific Journal, the home of papers too far out to pass the censors on arXiv.
Toadmass has passed at Chateaux Chaos with seemingly fewer visitors this year, they have left their strings of spawn adorning the weeds. However we have had a better year for Newts, most evenings we see half a dozen or so paddling amongst the reeds conducting their elaborate courtships, they tend to stay longer in the water than the grumpy toads who cannot wait to crawl back to dank solitude beneath their stones.
Above see a Puck/Pan figure fashioned to add a bit of classical grandeur to a garden, I do so abhor those mass produced garish garden gnomes, even the humorously rude ones. I made him starting with plasterer’s steel mesh which I overlaid with ‘Turdcrete’ an experimental clay-like mixture of finely sieved fibrous sheep’s wool and bracken compost, Portland cement, and black cement pigment, (handle with surgical gloves), he’s verdigrissed to a faux-bronze finish with matte pale green patio paint. Et in Arcadia Ego. ' A brief paean follows: -
The Great God Pan is Dead, Yet Again and Again and Again
The human godbeast comes and it goes, Et in Arcadia Ego
Pangenitor, Panphage, All Begetter, All Destroyer
The omnipresent reality of sex and death.
Rejected by the otherworldly philosophers
Lost by the citified Neoplatonist abstractors
Yet still sacred to the Pagans – the country folk.
The Hidden God, the Soul of the Wildwood
Faunus, Sylvanus, The Horned God, The Christian’s Devil
Herne, Cernunnos, Pan, Panic! – Witches!
Mahomet – Baphomet, God of Mistaken Identity
But full marks for Androgynous Deity.
Pan- the great All of life
Pan – Panpsychism, the magic forests live,
The world and the stars have life of a kind, but slower….
In the Romantic’s dreams of Arcadian idyll,
And to Neopagans’ delight
The Great God Pan Lives Yet!
- Always in our Genes and our Loins and our Hearts
Mind in body, body in mind, body and mind entwined.
As partly beasts, and partly gods we live.
Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
UK General Election 2015
We approach a General Election and most parties promise various paths to ‘Economic Growth’ and ‘Progress’, but do we actually want these things, and if so, in what form?
It seems that as ‘living standards’ rise, people often just become more dissatisfied.
Hitch hiking provides a very telling barometer of the social quality of life. In the seventies and early eighties huge numbers of people hitch hiked all over the country. I did London to Yorkshire, London to Lancashire, and London to Bristol countless times and on my holidays, London to the isle of Arran and London to the Orkneys, plus some wanderings in Wales and Ireland. Most motorway slip roads had queues of people with rucksacks and their destinations scribbled on bits of cardboard and most got away within half an hour with service personnel in uniform, and lorry drivers carrying their plates, taking precedence.
Nowadays you hardly see anyone hitch hiking, except perhaps in the Scandinavian countries and rural Scotland. People have become wary and fearful of each other. Sociologists have concluded that the more ‘mixed’ a society becomes, the less people trust each other. The urban English mainly live behind locked doors these days.
Immigration has much to answer for in this respect, it has led to a breakdown in the feeling that anyone you meet will likely turn out as more or less ‘one of us’ - with shared values. Hence it becomes apparent why you can still hitch hike in relatively culturally coherent societies like Scandinavia or rural Scotland. The success of the SNP in Scotland owes much to a desire to preserve a cultural identity in the face of the disintegrating ‘English’ identity.
A ‘Political Correctness’ which has virtually criminalised the criticism of any form of foreign behaviour or belief in the UK has only added to the fear. Few dare to speak out against cultural practices far beyond the norms of liberal society, or against religions with a basically fascist ideology.
Some economists opine that immigration boosts the economy. In the short term it does by increasing GDP, as we operate under the principle that all must eat and consume, but it depresses wages to the glee of the captains of industry, it swells the ranks of the indigenous unemployed underclass to the glee of the socialists, and it inflates the price of housing to the glee of property owners. However at some point it will have to stop; and the sooner the better. This small island cannot accommodate more without further degradation of the environment and further loss of social coherence which erode the quality of life. At least a billion assorted economic migrants and refugees from around the world would try to come here if they could.
Japan takes very few immigrants, its population ages and declines in numbers, and its economy remains fairly static, property prices have become sensible again, and as a result the average Japanese gets better off, and more cheerful now that they don’t work so hard.
In the UK we remain dementedly committed to economic growth despite that getting more stuff and money provides only a very temporary feeling of wellbeing and the loss of the more important life objectives. The sucking of foreign labour and capital into the system has created a situation where house price inflation now dominates the economy to the extent that a property price correction would cause the whole economy to collapse. Property insecurity has become a major factor in so many people’s lives; they now have to spend a huge proportion of their working lives merely securing a property that will effectively act as a tax on the young. Any party which dares not risk profoundly altering the structure of the UK economy will have to maintain a housing shortage either by immigration, a low building rate, or even demolition as a last resort.
London has become an alienating and depressing place except for the very rich. It has sucked in so much foreign labour and foreign capital that its traditional working class and its creative young bohemians have mostly fled elsewhere. Those big old north London houses where I used to visit student flats, squats, and witches’ basement covens back in the seventies, have now become sold to the banking and political classes for ten million quid each. Anyone earning less than 50K in London these days usually has to endure several hours a day of ghastly commuting to do so.
So, as I prefer the past to the present and to most likely futures, will I vote UKIP?
Probably not. Whilst I have immense sympathy for the cause of extricating this country from the ghastly mess of the profoundly undemocratic EU Synarchy and regaining the power to make our own laws, I don’t want to compromise the Conservatives chances of winning in my marginal constituency where UKIP have no chance. Plus UKIP’s environmental policies look cretinously uninformed. Okay so renewables may prove expensive and unsightly (although I quite like windmills), but the alternative of continuing to burn fossil fuel will prove catastrophic within the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t describe UKIP as particularly racist; I worked for them locally for a few years in the early days; I’d call them Culturalists. They would like to preserve or salvage a lot of the good stuff about the UK because it’s a lot better than many other cultures. I know because I’ve travelled widely.
The economic consequences of leaving the EU seem positive rather than negative, it will save £10 billion in contributions, burn kilo-parsecs of red tape, and trading will continue as normal, as indeed it does with Norway and Switzerland, two European countries that very wisely stayed out of the EU.
The EU benefits nobody except big-business against the interests of small and medium businesses, and the political class against the interests of the people.
I shall vote Conservative and hope for a Con-UKIP coalition that may yet grant us a referendum on the EU, and prevent further immigration.
I will do this not out of love for the Conservatives but out of dread of the alternative, the nightmare scenario of a Labour-SNP coalition which will try to boom and bust the economy again, even before the repair work undertaken by the Conservatives has finished.
The treacherous twerp who heads up the labour party sold out his own brother to gain personal power. It would come as no surprise to see him sell out the Scottish labour party to the SNP to gain more, and to sell out the whole UK to the EU to get himself into the EU commission later in his career.
As for the Illiberal Dimocrats, well I expect the party of busybodies which merely gathers the ‘Neither of the above’ vote, to sink without trace now that we face some real choices.
In the UK nearly everyone votes negatively, to keep out the party they dislike most, and turnout at elections remains low. Few people actively like any of the parties, political party membership stands at an all-time historical low, we have no room for charismatic leaders or demagogues here, and a more or less free press continually takes the mickey out of them all. Our police do not routinely carry guns.
I regard all of these things as signs of a fairly healthy democracy.
Spring Equinox passes with a nicely coincidental solar eclipse. A quantum polarscope made from fixing the lenses from those freebie specs you get given at 3D movies to either end of a cardboard tube provided an excellent view of the solar crescent without retinal burns. It also shows amazing things if you put certain crystals or crumpled cellophane inside it.
The local birds fell oddly silent and stopped flying as the eclipse went to maximal occlusion and it became a bit gloomy, even the normally raucus rookery in the great old yew tree opposite fell reverentially silent.
Then to the huge stone circles at Avebury, just got to the pub before the cloak and runestaff brigade arrived, nice to have shamanic drumming with lunch.
Then to Grove where the most dour and saturnine Capricorn present naturally became the King of Winter and had a ritual bardic duel with the King of Summer, (portrayed by someone of a rather sunnier disposition), of course I had to lose because of the season, but,……………. I’ll be back,………. Mwahahahaha.
Nevertheless the turning of the season seems welcome; Frogmass and Toadmass begin as guests arrive in the lake at Chateaux Chaos and the Mandrakes (autumnalis variety) screech out for their annual re-potting.
Yet not all seems well in Bristol, to celebrate its new status as Green Capital of Europe, Bristol City Council has started filling in the disused pedestrian underpasses at Old Market Roundabout with SIX AND A HALF THOUSAND TONS OF CONCRETE. When I asked the workmen why they weren’t simply sealing it up they said ‘Dunno mate, crazy innit.’
Numerous tributes appeared on Arcanorium College to Sir Terry Pratchett, we shall miss him sorely. His fantasy fiction lays peppered with his deep humanism and has much of contemporary social relevance in it. Some have compared him to Geoffry Chaucer. He wrote with an insiders knowledge of contemporary magical ideas, (unlike the humorless elitist view that JK Rowlings presents), magic and gods and demons exist in direct proportion to our belief in them he opined....alledgedly there was once a coven to which he belonged in Milton Keynes back in the day....
So a fond farewell to a magnificent British eccentric and a really delightful bloke.
Post-Expansionist Cosmology attracts increasing attention, despite the consultancy role played by Yog-Sothoth of the Elder Gods in this, requests come in now for clarifications and reviews of overlapping alternative cosmology papers from various academics around the globe. The Chinese seem particularly avid downloaders of the Hypersphere Cosmology paper.
Post-Neoplatonist Magical Theory continues to supplant the antique metaphysics of the previous aeon, get a copy of The Epoch whilst the first edition remains in print.
Post-Unitary Temporal Theory remains a work in progress, maybe this summer down in quiet Wales…..
The Large Hadron Collider should fire up again this year. So far six billion euros of investment have produced a graph with a miniscule bump in it, which after some rather questionable statistical interpretation supposedly proves the existence of the Higgs mechanism which contradicts the otherwise apparently perfectly sound theory of general relativity. Maybe they will get some more little bumps but I predict they won't get any supersymmetry 'sparticles'.
Anyway, here’s hoping for sun and surf at the Gower for Eostre,….and no more winter for a while.
The Hypersphere Cosmology paper on this site http://www.specularium.org/hypersphere-cosmology has now received Three Hundred Thousand hits (none of them fatal). So it has taken more hits than some pictures of Kim Kardashian’s bottom!!!
Humanity’s relentless quest for truth and beauty continues unabated………
Much of the Hypersphere interest has come from the major university cities of America and of China. In the absence of the invited falsification of this hypothesis (I’ve emailed it to a lot of the big guns in the field), I’m sticking with the idea that the universe has not and does not expand. The hypothesis may still need a few tweaks but it seems far less wrong than the current official phlogiston riddled and creaky model.
The good old British NHS has just sent me an Occult Blood test kit for poo. Presumably if I pass this I’ll get whisked off to some secure bunker to assist in the magical defence of the realm. But seriously, everyone over sixty apparently gets one of these grim reminders of possible mortality from bowel cancer as a late sixtieth birthday present, a pity that mine has to arrive in the middle of ghastly February. Nevertheless having long ago decided to take denatured (white) grain and meat mummified with nitrates and nitrites off the menu, (corned beef, ham and spam, salami, and most regrettably bacon), the risk remains low. Whoever decided to mummify meat with the main ingredient of gunpowder needs their head tested. If even fungi and bacteria decline to eat it, so should we. The preserved meat industry has long become dependent on it, but if they tried to introduce it now they wouldn’t get away with it. Most of the scientists who have researched it refuse to eat it.
Sulis Mk2 appears above. Improvements to technique in the course of making statues of Lugh and Cuda led to a decision to redo Her. The Goddess of the hot springs now has a waterfall inspired hairstyle; araldite makes a superb conditioner for flyaway steel hair. Body in black milliput over steel and copper, verdigrised for a bronze effect. She stands before two ritual water containers, one for healing waters and one to receive curses inscribed on lead strips, in Her role as the righter of wrongs. Sulis Mk1 will go to a good home, that of a fellow Grove member who has her own lake.
La Gomera, perhaps the least visited of the Canary Islands, failed to provide the desired wintersun break due to fairly persistent cloud cover for the last week, I’m glad I took a warm jacket. Nevertheless the island does provide plenty of spectacular scenery, some serious walking opportunities around its precipitous valleys, soaring volcanic peaks and high altitude cloud-forests, and a warm-ish habitat for various species of German. About half of them seemed to consist of middle aged temporary visitors intent on rigorous exercise programs and the other half consisted of hippies living there long term. In the absence of any other sort of night life, the hippies entertained the visitors with music and fire juggling around the waterfront cafes in the evenings. We passed a German Enlightenment centre up one of the valleys but it all looked a bit too rigorous for my taste and casual visits were strictly Verboten in case it disturbed their precious vibes.
Whilst away I gave Smolin and Unger’s new book ‘The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy’, a thorough study. Unger kicks off the first half of the book with a long, heavy, rather joyless and difficult to read philosophical diatribe on why we should regard time as real, the universe as singular, the laws of the universe as evolving, and mathematics as merely a tool rather than as some sort of absolute superior Platonic reality.
After that, Smolin’s part of the book came as a welcome relief. He makes much the same arguments but supports them with plenty of scientific examples and some witty bits; I particularly enjoyed the idea of the road back to reality (a dig at Penrose methinks). Plainly both cosmology and quantum physics have got themselves into a bit of a mess because the ‘mathematical objects’ they now employ (general relativity and string theory) have vastly more possible solutions than the universe appears to exhibit, and even the solutions that do appear partly applicable to the observed universe seem shot through with inexplicable arbitrary constants or they imply absurd initial conditions. In short, the idea of a Grand Unified Theory of Everything, as dreamed of by physicists of the Penrose-Hawking era, seems a very long way off now. Hooray then, lots more to do.
Concerning how to do it, both authors advocate a return to the principles of Natural Philosophy which underlie the best science, don’t accept anything until you have decent empirical and observational evidence, one might even quip Nullus in Mathematica, don’t accept purely mathematical constructions and extrapolations alone, they may embody false assumptions.
Smolin dismissed the singularities implied by the big bang theory as absurd, although he still seems to adhere to the expanding universe idea. Interestingly he makes a case for the evolution of the laws of nature, they may change with time, however he carefully doesn’t mention Morphic Fields, even though he has very similar ideas.
Dave Lee writes his long awaited and very thorough Review of Epoch
And now for some philosophical musings.
The Philosophical Implications of Hypersphere Cosmology.
Philosophers have long wondered whether the Universe has finite or potentially infinite or actually infinite extension in space and in time.
In the case of finite extension, the question has naturally arisen of what lies beyond it, or what, if anything, ‘contains’ the Universe.
Philosophers have generally regarded space as a Privative Concept rather than a positive concept, and considered space to consist of the absence of things, a nothingness which can accommodate the presence of various phenomena and objects.
Thus a spatially finite universe could, for some philosophers, simply exist within an unlimited space of pure nothingness, but unlimited nothingness means very little except perhaps for the potential for events to happen there.
A Universe consisting of an infinite amount of phenomena and objects spread over an equally infinite amount of space seems a tricky concept. We can say it, but we cannot really visualise it, and many would argue that the concept of infinity can have no physical correlate and that the concept only arises when we take the mistaken course of dividing by zero, or by assuming infinite divisibility, or of assuming that some other quantity has an infinite value. Yet if any quantity has an infinite value then all quantities must have an infinite value. A truly infinite universe would presumably contain an infinite number of stars, an infinite number of earth like planets and an infinite number of creatures including an infinite number of creatures exactly the same as each individual one of us, and an ‘equally’ infinite number of near copies.
Philosophers have also long wondered whether the universe has a finite or a potentially infinite or an actually infinite extension in time, and some have wondered if time itself might have some vast eternal circularity to it, or even to have a purely illusory nature.
Time can to some extent have the appearance of a Privative Concept like empty space, an absence or nothingness which awaits events to fill it up.
The nature of time becomes mysterious in proportion to the amount of thinking devoted to it, yet for any observer, events do seem to have a sequence, some things happen before and some things happen after, that much seems unarguable, and from it we abstract the idea that some form of cause and effect, with the cause preceding the effect, often applies. Even if some observers disagree with others about the order, and some effects appear random, or occasionally retroactive, or magical and occult, the universe broadly seems to go through sequences of events in time, everything obviously doesn’t happen simultaneously.
We can only measure time by movement and change. Potentially infinite time or actually infinite time only has any meaning if some sort of movement or change exists to delineate it.
If absolutely everything in the entire universe stopped moving, right down to the subatomic level, and then started moving again, ‘the amount of time for which it stopped moving’ would remain undetectable and without any effect whatsoever, it would have no reality.
Despite that most of our measures of time have an element of circularity about them; the cycles of night and day, the days of the year, the seemingly endless human cycles of birth and death, the movements of clocks and ultimately the vibrations of atoms in our most reliable timekeeping devices; we also have linear views of time in which many things have a beginning and an end. Even a clock does not exhibit perpetual eternal recurrence; it requires assembly and it will eventually break.
Most monotheist and some pagan religions view the world in terms of a linear timeframe with deities initiating beginning, a middle, and some sort of apocalyptic and/or transcendental ending, and of course most of them regard the universe as limited in space, often vastly more limited than even the simplest astronomical observations now suggest.
The Privative views of space and time do not now seem sustainable since the advent of General Relativity.
Newton considered that space provided some sort of fixed absolute immutable void in which objects could exist and that time provided some sort of constant immutable flow in which objects could change. However, most crucially, the objects within space and time could did not affect the space and time.
‘Absolute space, in its own nature, without regard to anything external, remains always similar and immovable.’
‘Absolute, true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature flows equably without regard to anything external,’
Einstein’s General Relativity however shows us that the presence of any object; mass or energy, does profoundly affect the properties of space and time. We can no longer consider space and time as voids which can contain events. Space and time have a structure which depends on the presence of mass and energy.
Einstein realised that: - ‘Matter (and energy) tells spacetime how to curve, and curved spacetime tells matter (and energy) how to move.’
Thus gravity does not exist as a ‘force’. Mass and energy give rise to curved spacetime, (that we commonly recognise as gravity) and conversely, spacetime curvature gives rise to mass and energy. None of these phenomena exists independently of the others.
Truly empty space does not exist, it always has some kind of curvature or gravity in it, and the rate at which time ‘flows’ depends on the curvature also.
Einstein’s General Relativity modifies the Newtonian model of gravity under conditions of strong gravity; the Newtonian model remains valid as an approximation where the gravity remains fairly weak. Hypersphere theory modifies General Relativity for the conditions of very strong gravity where the spacetime curvature distorts Euclidian spacetime so much that it adopts a hyperspherical configuration which rotates. This occurs on the scale of the universe itself, almost certainly inside black holes, and rather surprisingly perhaps, in fundamental particles. Hypersphere theory also suggests that the geometry of time matches that of space, and that time has three dimensions rather than one.
For any three dimensional body of roughly uniform density the spacetime curvature increases not by its length but by the cube of its length. Thus the universe cannot consist of a more or less large scale uniform density body of infinite extent, for if it did then the spacetime curvature within it would become infinite as well, time would stop and light could not travel.
In Hypersphere Cosmology the universe has a ‘Finite and Constant’ but ‘Unbounded’ extent in both space and time.
The surface of the Earth has finite and constant but unbounded extent, you can travel as far around it as you like without encountering a boundary or an edge to fall off. Every point on the Earth’s surface also has an antipode point, the point on the other side of the world which represents the furthest away from your starting point that you can get.
Now the entire universe has a similar sort of spatial geometry but in three rather than two dimensions. You could, with a good enough spaceship and plenty of time, travel about 13 billion light years in any direction and eventually reach the furthest point away from your starting point that you could ever reach because the vast gravity of the universe causes it to curve back in on itself at that scale. If you attempted to carry on traveling you would eventually end up back where you started. However as nothing can travel faster than light this return journey would take at least 26 billion years, by which time your starting point would have few recognisable features left. Your home planet and star would probably have ceased to exist and your galaxy would have probably moved a fair distance and changed shape.
The ‘temporal geometry’ of the hyperspherical universe works in a similar way, the vast gravity of the entire universe curves time back in on itself, thus no event will appear to have occurred further away in time than about 13 billion years because the light from it will have become redshifted out of existence. However if you could somehow wait for 13 billion years you would not see the same events unfolding again, in the same way that travelling for 13 billion light years would not bring you back to anything like the ‘same’ place. Nevertheless in theory something like an ingot of tungsten drifting in deep intergalactic space could in principle persist for much longer than 13 billion years so long as a star in a passing galaxy did not suck it in, or cosmic radiation did not gradually erode it.
Hyperspheres rather than singularities will form within black holes, but no matter how much mass they absorb they will not change the overall size of the universe. Even if all matter in the universe falls into hyperspheres and the hyperspheres coalesce into each other that merely leaves the universe as a single hypersphere at the same size.
Hyperspheres with three spatial dimensions necessarily exist embedded within a spatial manifold of four dimensions, much as the curved two dimensional surface of the Earth exists only in the context of three dimensional space. We can of course dig holes some way into the planet, get some short way up into the sky or with enormous effort get a short distance into space. Unfortunately the fourth spatial dimension of a hyperspherical universe does not appear to offer any extra-dimensional travel freedom because the three dimensional space fills it up entirely, it has the same scale.
Philosophically, a universe finite and constant but unbounded in space and time leads to a rather different view of humanities place in it, to the views arising from either an infinite universe or from a universe with a beginning and an end.
A universe with a beginning and an end fits the Judaeo-Christian monotheist model and also some pagan models like the Norse one which ends with a cataclysmic Ragnarok. The final conditions implied by these philosophies suggest either historical or personal lifetime progress towards some kind of transcendence, or stoical endurance till final oblivion.
Some oriental philosophies like Buddhism and Hinduism seem to mainly take an eternalist view of the universe, cycles of creation and destruction, birth, death, and reincarnation go on endlessly with no apparently beginning or ending in sight. Such philosophies can often seem to promote a certain resignation to fate.
A hyperspherical universe, finite but unbounded in space and time, perhaps suggests other philosophical views. Finiteness has become impressed upon us by the pictures of our planet from space and the growing recognition that it cannot supply us with unlimited or infinite resources, we can go around its unbounded surface as far as we like, but we cannot go any further; we will probably have to put up with this for the lifetime of our species, for space travel will forever remain unrealistic unless fundamental physics contains some astonishing possibilities of which we currently have few inklings. Just possibly we may succeed in scaling up quantum effects to allow ‘ships’ (which will look nothing like rockets) to ‘teleport’ us across space to other star systems but this merely enlarges our non-infinite playing field.
In either case the lifetime of our species will depend directly how unboundedly we exploit our finite resources.
The questions of ‘where’ did the universe come from, or ‘when’ did it begin, now seem like the wrong questions. We have no reason to consider nothingness as somehow more fundamental than something-ness, particularly as we cannot actually observe any nothingness, and we have strong theoretical grounds for dismissing it as unnatural. Nature may abhor a vacuum but it doesn’t permit actual voids, even a vacuum contains structured spacetime. Nothingness ‘exists’ only as an abstraction, like the equally false concept of infinity.
As the universe exists as a ‘natural’ phenomenon then it doesn’t require deities to initiate it, to maintain it, or to eventually destroy it. Nevertheless they do have a more modest reality.
They didn’t make us, we make them.
Humans make gods and goddesses as tools and ‘machines’ to help them. Deities exist as Meme-Machines that have many societal, cultural, and personal functions. They can coerce or inspire not just individuals but entire societies to do or to not do a vast range of things.
Memes, like Genes, evolve by a process of mutation and selection, and basically we apply both the mutations and the selection pressure. Deities that have become ineffectual or whose characteristics have become a survival liability tend to die off, whilst new ones become created from the mutated wreckage of the old, although the devotees of a new or improved deity usually prefer not to acknowledge this.
Our imaginary friends have enormous real effects, so we need to design them carefully.
Newton’s god, so far as we can tell, seems to have had the characteristics of some kind of rational ‘Architect of the Universe’; Newton certainly rejected the messy doctrines of the trinity and the divinity of Christ.
Newton’s vision pretty much encapsulates The Enlightenment’s religious position.
Einstein did not believe in a personal god, but rather he adopted a Pantheistic view of an ordered cosmos, divine in itself. He could never quite accept that the universe behaved with a degree of randomness as the quantum physics which he also initiated, seemed to so strongly imply.
Einstein’s vision pretty well encapsulates the New-Age Humanist’s religious position.
Hypersphere Cosmology, well it suggests that the universe does not require a designer and that its quantum behaviour suggests that it does act with a fair degree of randomness, but in a way that makes it more rather than less divine in itself. A totally causal deterministic universe would have only us, or perhaps not even us, to make it unpredictable. Plus we can make gods and goddesses to our hearts delight and terror.
Chaoism? A work in progress…….