Friday, October 28, 2016

Crop circles, pyramids, the Ark and the Bible

There is a phenomenon going on on earth that only very few people recognize, and that by itself it highly remarkable. 

Most of us have heard of crop circles, which are intricate works of art that are formed in grain fields, usually by bending areas of grain into patterns, and usually anonymous.

Enthusiasts ascribe these wonderful formations to the handiwork of extraterrestrials, and some go as far as to forward elaborate schemes involving mother-ships, distant galaxies and interstellar councils, or else the moaning and groaning of mother earth, glowing ley lines and vibrating energies that combined produce instances of higher math (with which the observer has to resonate in order ascend into the fifth dimension, and so on).

Take me to your dealer

Mainstream commentators, however, are sure that all of them are man-made. Some feel confident that all these formations can be reproduced by regular humans with regular human skills, while others derive their confidence from reduction and elimination, being equally sure that any movement towards the alternative would constitute the narrow end of the wedge that will separate humanity from its most practical beliefs, which in turn would lead to collective psychosis, anarchy and ultimately collapse and annihilation.

Some farmers are eager to know the perpetrators so that they can sue them for the damage, while others note with hardly suppressed glee that the affected grain was not at all destroyed but remained alive and in a far better condition than the grain that wasn't touched (longer stems, fuller heads; all that).

More to the point, however

But crop circles is not the phenomenon I want to talk about. Imagine that it was you who one day woke up with the idea of placing the whopping double triskelion in a field near Milk Hill in England.

This perfectly executed Catherine Wheel consists of 409 circles of varying sizes, laid out in a pattern that is 240 meters across (yes, that's people in the central circle below).

The whopping Milk Hill Catherine Wheel

How do you get from waking up that one morning to sitting atop Milk Hill at sunrise on 14 August 2001, undiscovered and gloating over you creation?

You would first have to be rather fanatic, that goes without saying. Then you would have to have considerable mathematical skills in addition to knowing that the Celts had a thing for triskelions, and then, for some reason, come up with the desire to make it even more difficult for everybody and create a double one.

You would have to engineer a way to print your design onto the grain, and that would take a trick or two. The greater form would have to be created at once because stamping out the circles consecutively would certainly result in misalignment. The smaller ones might be added later, but still, not a single error is permitted. I've been an engineer for three decades, and I would have to think very long and very hard for a way to pull this off. It takes a rare set of highly developed skills, and I humbly submit that I can't even think of a way to replicate this, let alone come up with it in the first place.

The colossal Oregon Sri Yantra geoglyph and the Nazca Monkey are anonymous. So is the portrait of John Williams that appeared in August 2014, just off the Old Town side of the Branko Bridge in Belgrade, Serbia.

You would probably realize right soon that you would not be able to design the whole process by yourself, let alone execute it. So you would have to recruit others, and that would take yet another trick or two.

Covert operations are nothing new in our world, but to set one up out of the blue without the benefit of an existing organization (such as the military or some secret club that is really secret) or without a formidable incentive (believable threats or lots of money) is nearly undoable. Trying to get your band together would inevitably lead to someone spilling the beans either before or after the operation.

And there's the rub, there is the phenomenon I wanted to talk about. If you were the one who designed the Milk Hill Catherine Wheel, produced it overnight AND kept everything secret, even after all the media coverage, please contact the Abarim Publications Recruitment Center because we would like to hire you.

Mum's the word

Certain companies actually have realized the commercial appeal of crop formations and their monetary injection has produced certain formations that are obviously not extraterrestrial in origin, but why are there groups of people (or aliens) who go to great lengths to anonymously produce great work of art, which won't last beyond the day of the harvest? Or, to expand the scope of the question: what explains the phenomenon of anonymous art in which the anonymity of the artist(s) is part of the final work?

Artists sign their work to be recognized and to be reckoned (and paid) for the entire body of their work. And in case the artist is working on a medium that isn't his or hers (say, graffiti artists who spray paint trains or buildings), they will often sign their work anyway with a signature that is recognizable by the scene but not by the cops. If an artist knows he's doing a one time thing, he might use anonymity as a means to publicity.

Georgia Guide Stones -- anonymous
Take the Georgia Guide Stones for instance, which, had they been commissioned by Ed Koch and erected on Time Square, would have been surely recognized for the pseudo-portentous crap they are. But now that the makers and funders are incisively anonymous, the media was and still is all over them and a disproportional percentage of people have heard of them. 

But most of the crop circles are made by people who don't claim them as their productions, and history has shown that their mere appearance serve the sole purpose of fueling the greater discussion on who were are, where we're going and whether we are alone in the universe.

Sure, some of us find that whole discussion a waste of time, but would those people engineer elaborate pranks just to watch hapless others go alien-crazy over that? There's no good reason to exclude this from the whole pallet of reasons of why people make crop circles, but I'd like to propose that the creating of crop circles ties not into humanity's inherent desire to deceive, but rather in our inherent desire to make wise.

Whichever ancient wisdom tradition we look at, they all consist of several separate exercises or disciplines. Most traditions value scientific examinations of the observable world and subsequent data retention and transmission, but most also value prayer or meditation and periods of rest. The Semitic wisdom traditions additionally utilized a technique that probably also had an entertainment value, namely the posing of riddles, and a Hebrew riddle was not a silly question the audience had to guess the answer of but a problem of which the answer had to be worked out by means of logic and reason (Judges 14, 1 Kings 10:1). The Hebrew word for riddle is hida, which is possibly related to the verb hadad, which means to be sharp, keen or swift. 

The various religions of our earth have managed to whittle the ancient wisdom traditions down to a skeleton, like a rock band that slipped further and further away from its original purpose and kept losing its founding members to the wish to go solo. Science has always been a major part of theology, but when religion began to dictate what's true or not, science broke away and pursued its whopping solo-career. Mystery, on the other hand, broke away from religion but never made it much further than silly game shows and TV quizzes. Some writers speak of a "God-shaped hole" in people who don't believe, but I'm sure it's not that simple. I'm guessing that mankind has a natural need for mystery; to be in awe of the unimaginable or to be flabbergasted by the inexplicable.

I bet that religion's failure to provide mankind with proper mystery is the reason that groups of people go out into fields and painstakingly create phenomenally mysterious images without damaging a farmer's crop.

The ear-deafening silence

Everybody knows that the Ark of the Covenant has gone missing some time after king Solomon placed it in the Temple, and over the years a generous plethora of theories have been proposed to explain its disappearance. But what theorists rarely recognize is the distinctive silence of the Hebrew scriptures concerning the fate of the Ark. This silence is so loud even, that observant readers of the Bible recognize it as an actual character of the story.

In other words: the very fact that no Hebrew author (save for perhaps the author of 2 Maccabees) spends a single word discussing the fate of the Ark, which was the reason why the Temple was built and the very item that kept Israel together, very strongly suggests that the disappearance of the Ark was part of its proper function. Nothing unexpected happened to the Ark, and it's not "lost" at all. 

And what about the great pyramids of Giza? Their origin and ultimate purpose is much debated, but why does no ancient Egyptian text talk about the actual building of them or purpose they might have? The Egyptians were great masons, but why is there not a single carving anywhere on these mysterious monuments that would make them a little less mysterious? The only answer, again, is that their mystery is part of their function. Whatever they might have been for in the ancient past, their function now is that we ponder them and subsequently doubt whatever theory is presently peddled as truth. It's almost as if these monuments are monuments to the gift of doubt, because doubt leads to renewal and renewal leads to truth. 

In recent years, a slowly growing body of scholars is advocating the idea that the Bible isn't what we always thought it was. It doesn't work they way we figured, nor does it tell the story we shoehorned into it. The familiar titles of the Books of the Bible aren't part of them and were mostly added later, and only recently have scholars mustered up the courage to admit that we have no idea who wrote the Bible, or even when or where. This leads to the unavoidable conclusion that the Bible came to pass via a hugely complex process that probably involved hundreds (thousands?) of poets, scientists, scribes, compilers, editors, redactors and proof readers. This is highly remarkable by itself, but what is even more so is that this process is nowhere referred to in the Bible, and its complexity has only in recent times been recognized.

So who wrote the Bible, built the pyramids, hid the Ark and created the crop circles? Well, here at Abarim Publications we believe that humans did all of it, but we also believe that these humans were either specifically or else generally inspired by greater forces than the usual selfish claim to fame.

And whether these greater forces are mother-ships, fifth dimensions or the angels of the Most High God, well as the prophet formerly known as Isaiah says: "Come now, and let us reason together" (Isaiah 1:18).

Come now, and let us reason together" -- Isaiah 1:18

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why the sons of Abraham are not religious

In English, the words "father" and "son" primarily denote two people who are biologically related, and when we use these words in a figurative sense we ask our audience to apply the familiar bond between a father and his son to two not related people (or items) of which we would like the audience to understand that these are closely familiar or similar.

In Hebrew this works precisely the other way around.

In Hebrew the idea of "father and child" comes from something even more fundamental

The primary idea behind the words for father ('ab) and son (ben) is: the performing of the commands, skills or defining character of one person (the 'ab, or father) by other persons (the benim, or sons).

Sometimes this 'ab is indeed one living person (Isaiah 22:21, 2 Kings 2:12) but quite often the 'ab is the instigator of a guild (hence the "father of all who play flute"; Genesis 4:21) or even the guild itself (hence "son of the prophets"; 2 Kings 9:1). The word ben, in turn, probably comes from the verb bana, meaning to build (such as a "house").

In other words: when in Hebrew we call a flute-player a "son of Jubal" we're not deploying a metaphor but the primary meaning of the word "son". Specifically talking about physical descent requires additional contexts.

So shall your descendants be (Genesis 15:5)
Both Paul and Jesus paid quite some attention to explaining that being a son of Abraham has nothing to do with physical descent and everything with one particular state of mind. It's said that Jesus fulfilled the covenant which God began in Abraham, and Abraham's defining characteristic is that he believed the Lord and was subsequently reckoned righteous (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6).

The key-verb is 'aman, which does not convey a pliant compliance or a gullible acceptance, but primarily means to confirm or uphold, even to demonstrate and thereby prove (hence the familiar word Amen). Abraham's believing YHWH has nothing to do with Abraham being religious, or nationalistic, or adhering to a particular school of thought, or being somehow in the know, or obedient to some formal code of conduct. It means precisely the opposite; it means that he was free of all that.

On the "mountain" of human mentality Abraham represents that level of complexity at which a person no longer identifies with one particular box but with the whole of creation and everybody in it.

It begins where someone takes leave from any category (Abraham) and results in complete freedom (Jesus Christ). Despite the noisy claims of many, both Abraham and Jesus Christ have per definition nothing to do with any formal religion. Formal religions are political creatures; they serve to identify and separate groups of tax payers and have nothing to do with serving the Creator. The Creator is served by freedom; His only law is natural law, His only temple is creation.

Sons of the free market

Whoever perpetuates the will of the Lord of Life is a son of Abraham. Hence not just Abraham's physical sons were circumcised, but also all the hundreds of men who were part of his operation; men who were either bought or born of bought people (Genesis 17:10-14, compare with 14:14). Abraham basically gave them their freedom.

When folks returned from the Babylonian exile, heavily funded and protected by the Persian king in order to rebuild the temple of YHWH (Ezra 7:11-26), it became for once in history attractive for everybody to claim Jewish descent.

Subsequently it became important for the Jews to exclude people who had no proof that they indeed belonged to Israel and could well be freeloaders looking for a handout (Ezra 2:59-62).

These rejected folks peopled Samaria and the folks who had proof of their Israelite roots peopled Jerusalem.

By the time of Jesus, the phrase "son of Abraham" had acquired a meaning it never had before, namely that of physical descent or religious-political affiliation; a label of segregation rather than a blessing for all the families of the earth. Jesus offered these "believers" the freedom of Abraham, and they responded by stating that they had never been enslaved (John 8:33). This probably caused a roar of laughter from both local bystanders and the Roman legionaries who kept an eye on them.

Jesus said that if they were indeed the sons of Abraham, they would do the deeds of Abraham (John 8:39), and not perpetuate a blatant and ridiculous lie. They subsequently responded by calling Him a Samaritan (8:48).

More significantly, however, is that the "believers" declared Abraham dead and buried (John 8:53-54) while Jesus declared him alive and well (Matthew 22:32, Luke 20:38).

The camel is the 'unit' of international trade,
and in the Bible mostly associated with Abraham
Most commentators will piously explain this by stating that Abraham is alive in heaven (Luke 16:22) but that may only satisfy the most theoretically inclined readers.

Seekers of earthly reality might surmise that the name Abraham didn't stop to cover something real and earthly with the death of the historical figure called Abram, just like the name Israel didn't begin to denote something dead when Jacob died.

On the "mountain" of human cultural evolution, the tower of Babel denotes the complexity level of national hoarding and Abraham denotes the level of international trade -- also read our article on the word gamal, meaning either camel or 'unit of investment'.

Although the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), the free, voluntary and unthwarted exchange of any kind of wealth gives life to human culture, quite like electrons give life to matter. This free currency of ideas again follows the second law of thermodynamics; a divine law that feels like freedom simply because it's a law we're designed to operate on.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Why Nobel Prize winners are so often Jewish

So why is such a disproportionally large portion of Nobel Prize laureates Jewish?

Jews comprise 0.2% of the world's population and 2% of the American population. Yet 22% of Nobel Prize recipients world-wide have been Jews and 36% of all US recipients were Jews. Women score even better: 33% and 50% of women recipients, worldwide and American respectively, were Jews.

Jews are not inherently more intelligent than non-Jews (and intelligence is only a factor of success in science) and conspiracy theories aside, there shouldn't be any reason why Jews do better science. Or should there...?

An often neglected requirement of good stewardship is an understanding of what's going on. In my nearly three decades as a professional engineer, I've seen great numbers of well-willing morons destroy things simply because their actions were sanctioned by a complete lack of applicable knowledge.

Here at Abarim Publications we understand that good stewardship of the earth goes hand in hand with a proper scientific knowledge of Creation. Even theology should be permeated by the principles of natural law, since no less than the very character and attributes of the Creator are manifested in nature (Romans 1:20).

Paul speaks twice of the renewing of one's mind (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23) and although that's often explained to mean that a renewed mind is a pious and unquestioning mind, but there's no real reason to conclude that a new mind isn't one that resonates with the rings of creation. Here at Abarim Publications we're pretty sure that where an old mind is riddled with superstitious nonsense, a renewed mind is a scientific mind.

At the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus addressed His disciples and "opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45). Since creation and revelation are God's two witnesses, the two should (1) work the same way, and (2) explain each other, and that's where the Nobel Prizes come in.

People who have been exposed since early childhood to the fabric and workings of Biblical Scriptures have in effect been exposed to the very workings of creation. They have more familiarity with it and thus a slight advantage over people who find themselves looking at wholly new things.

Just like a child that grows up in a household of violin players might some day have a demonstrable advantage in piano class, so does a Jewish kid who's been steeped in Hebrew Scriptures have an measurable advantage in the scientific arena over people who grew up watching Barney the Dinosaur and MacGyver.

In case you haven't seen Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, you really should. And if you thought that Close Encounters was about people having telepathic hunches about spaceships, you really should watch it again. Steven Spielberg is one of those Jewish story tellers and particularly his earlier work is deeply steeped in natural and Torahic principles.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Exodus 19:16-17)

The Hebrew word for light is 'or and the word for lamp is nahar. Those two words don't look much alike transliterated into Latin script but in Hebrew they are so similar that one could pass for a conjugated form of the other so that the word for lamp literally means 'lighting' in the sense of 'illuminating'.

Calling a lamp an illuminator isn't such a big deal, but the deal gets a whole lot bigger when we look at the regular Hebrew word for river: nahar, which is identical to the word for lamp. This noun comes from the identical verb nahar, which means to flow. The regular Hebrew word for Nile is ye'or, which also comes from the word for light, 'or, and means something like 'it shall illuminate'.

Guess who
Imagine being six years old, and hearing the old stories. Wouldn't you wonder why rivers would be known by a word that also means lamp or illuminator? Why is the word that describes the flowing of water the same as the word that describes what light does?

Most ancient cultures sprung up around rivers, so the link between a river and a tribe's central fire may seem obvious apart from the paradox of calling water after a word for fire (in the old world, all light came either from flames or celestial bodies). But still, on the mental desktop of a Hebrew six year old, the icon for river was the same as the icon for lamp, whether intentional or not.

Light, we know now, travels at a speed of 300,000 kilometer per second, which is geek-speak for saying that light is either there or it isn't and you don't see it coming or going. It's too fast; you can't see it move. Light does not visibly travel, and the fact that it travels should not have been known to the ancients. It's therefor a mystery why the Hebrews would associate light with water, but this association is both anti-intuitive and spot on.

What nobody in the ancient world was supposed to know is that light propagates, that it is substantial and obeys the laws of gravity, precisely like water. As Max Planck spectacularly discovered in the early 1900's, light, like water, is not as continuous as it seems but consists of droplets called photons. But light, like water, also comes in waves.

There is absolutely no intuitive connection between matter and light, but everybody now knows that matter is polarized light. Yet the Hebrews calmly maintained that dry land arises from water (Genesis 1:9). The fundamental natural force of electromagnetism is carried by photons, and this same force is what keeps atoms together. That means that light indeed comes before all things, and indeed holds all things together (Colossians 1:17).

Imagine being a six year old, reviewing all these things. And then ending up working in some dusty patent office, wondering why your life is slipping away like sand through stretched fingers. And then you wonder if there isn't more to reality than meets the eye. And then you remember that in Hebrew the word for eye, 'ayin, is the same as the word for fountain.

Wouldn't that make you glad that you never heard of MacGyver?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...