Everything I know about ESP – Russell Targ

‘You don’t have to eat porridge at your guru’s feet or pay anyone thousands of dollars. Remote Viewing is a natural ability like vision or hearing. If you work with a friend you can quickly become psychic…’ confides Russell Targ (straight-up physicist, psychic and the go-to-guy for US intelligence agencies for two decades) in this brilliant and witty talk where he concludes, ‘Remote Viewing is not about finding stuff but finding yourself…if you look into the mirror in the morning and think who you see in that mirror is who you really are, you are in for a lot of suffering. Who you really are, is non-local awareness independent of space and time and if you can quiet your mind and move your awareness besides the conditioned awareness of what it says on your business card, into naked awareness, you can start to experience the universe as it is.’

P.S. I got to know about Russell and his work from ‘The Mind Race’. Russell, an avid biker is legally blind, was senior scientist at Lockheed. This TED talk was cancelled.

Rather a Fool Who Predicts Wrong Than a Wise Man Who Predicts None?

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

― Alice in Wonderland

Peter Diamandis (author of BOLD) recently blogged a weltanschauung on tech predictions for the next 20 years. He does makes a point in a similar post few years back that it is not so much as the predictions themselves but what they represent, that intrigues him, namely an exponential growth curve said technology follows based on the apodictic principle that the computing power enabling them doubles every two years insomuch it goes from being deceptive through disruptive to finally, democratizing the service (think of the many bundled apps on your smartphone that had a physical equivalent a decade ago). This is what technopreneurs quote as the ‘6Ds of exponential technology’.

It is no secret humans are wired to think linearly so this sort of growth curve is often difficult to grok (reason why the first phase is deceptive). It is naturally, harder to believe that way before your horse and buggy days, human consciousness may have actually peaked even well before the Golden Age of Egypt as evidenced by archeoastronomy in cue with the ancients and latter day saints and seers who averred that human consciousness mutates in cycles (imagine a trade-off between a straight line and hyperbola), with tendency to rise and fall over a period of 24,000 years often cited as The Great Year.

That said, how about a wager on scientific discoveries/advances for the next 20 years? My top 10!

2019In the beginning, black holes seeded the baby universe: This upends the current belief that black holes are simply the aftermath of large stars (or, that it appeared a lot later in the timeline of our universe after the same stars had formed and collapsed) proving black holes existed before the first stars were born; similar to swirling black coffee becoming visible after milk is added as physicist Nassim Haramein describes it but also accounts for much of the newly found primordial dark matter.

2021 – Wormholes: ER = EPR is now taught in high-school where entangled black holes are akin to a network of wormholes explaining the ‘fundamental interconnectedness of all things’ as popularized by Dick Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and what any fan of Douglas Adams would have told you!

2023 – Okay, there isn’t a 9th planet. It is in all probability, another star (possibly a brown dwarf) and Sol/Sun seemingly has a binary twin: After chasing tails and trails for nearly a decade, leading astronomers finally confirmed what was suspected all along – binary systems are common and our star is no exception. ‘Dogon’ it!

2025 Cure for cancer is found: Yes, a cure for cancer is out (for real), not just consistent in human trials but also affordable. This isn’t exactly a surprise as several breakthroughs (here, here and here) were already news and really took a little longer to process and perfect before it was available to all.

2027 – Cure for HIV found: Always a foregone conclusion once cell manipulation coupled with gene editing got cookie-cutter easy…

2029 – Contact: Physicist Michio Kaku wasn’t kidding when he said, we will find ET in this century. If anything, he overestimated. After much hand-wringing, SETI in a public statement acknowledged the ‘signal’ smacks of extra-terrestrial intelligence. Funny enough, all it elicited was a smirk from the CE9 leader (Close Encounters of the Ninth Kind) who was present in the audience and asked to comment.

2031- Modest Continuous Big Bang: Now, eastern eschatology has always maintained that creation is cyclic. Ever since it was mathematically surmised, black holes allow information transfer to white holes, it was only a matter of time (pun intended) that westerners were able to verify the universe is expanding only to contract back into a singularity. Credit to Itzhak Bentov who first coined this term.

2033 – Meditation: Monk Dalai Lama had said ‘If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation’ so he’d be thrilled to bits to learn, not only its now taught in most primary schools with correctional facilities busy following suit.

2035 – Global Warming Reversed: This project was long overdue and debates were more political than scientific, until common sense prevailed when a hebetudinous leadership realized there is no arguing with melting glaciers and started au grand sérieux after Paris Accord 2015 before it hit tipping point.

2037 – Time Travel Prototype: Dr. Jack Sarfatti, was the real life inspiration behind the Doc in ‘Back to the Future’ and avid proponent of how a future invisible universe reaches back in time to create the visible universe we see with telescopes what Russian Physicist Igor Novikov described as a self-consistent time loop of retrocausality. After Vatican conceded to make Chronovisor public, it was a race against time for physicists to overhaul the device and send out particles back and forward in time!

In closing, I envisage the far-out future where we pop in and out of hyper space at will without some device (hint: Peter’s 5th/6th D) in a vein similar to how ascended masters can blue shift the ether.

He (a monk) recounted: “It emanated from one corner of the room, a deep blue light; then the whole room became filled with light. The blue light in the corner started revolving. A face appeared; then the whole bust, and finally the entire form. The face was so serene, so sweet! I thought, ‘Who could it be? Buddha? Shiva?’ No, this divine personage did not have the long pierced ears of Buddha, nor his short curly hair. Neither did he have the necklace of snakes and the long matted hair of Shiva. The face was beautiful and serene like theirs, but the hair was pulled straight back. He spoke to me and gave me a mantra…”

Zeitgeist!

I was skimming an ezine where this editor was remarking at how futuristic gizmos and gadgetry of the original Star Trek (1966-1969) is taken for granted today from wireless communication to smart computers but what is still to come of age is that sense of racial harmony and well meaning spirit of exploration (and I’ll add, emphatic leadership) that so memorialized the series.

If scientific progress outgrows the emotional maturity of a race on one hand and on the other, mental evolution comes full cycle while science plays catch up, what you may ask, is the stumbling block in each case and why is it so important that both go hand-in-glove?

The most obvious answer is religious dogma. Now, religion can offer a moral compass to what is right and wrong but history is witness that opposing science or waging wars in the name of religion suggest scriptures or transcribed words of a founder (regardless of how sincere he or she was) are wide open to literal misinterpretation, especially when passages are likely to be lost in translation or re-interpretation by a less realized soul can leave one happily confused at best or fearful at worst! Is it wise to accept every single belief (and label anyone who question as heretics) when it only encourages grasping and narrow faith rather than generosity and kindness? Unfortunately, the tainted buck does not stop with religion and sorry to say, in this day and age with all the surplus cognitive feedback, atavistic dogma still seeps through country, culture, color among a ‘gentrified populace’.

This leads to cases of ‘ethical mirage’ – men and women with authority or power in every walk of life who by their experience, worldly or supernatural, viewed with awe or god like deference and therefore considered infallible and beyond reproach even when they go against the grain of plain decency, basic humanity or understanding. Is it not the job of true leaders to create more leaders who can think independently and act for themselves or to create a circle of die-hard followers? Loyalty is a blessing when it flings open your perception and a burden when it confines it! This is where a scientific attitude works as it helps you stay curious, explore alternate arguments and moreover, maintain objectivity specially when your own ‘unconscious bias’, even if you mean well, can polarize thinking.

Finally, hard-boiled skepticism. Recently, I shared a report analyzing socioeconomic trends of the last 100 years that surmised despite what some may opine, the world is actually changing for the better and surprised when a history professor of some repute decided to troll and slam-dunk the research, first in passive aggressive tones only to go verklempt when I offered to lighten up. Notwithstanding the fact he really needed to pull his chair into the sun, it taught me that some people don’t even want to look at data that conflicts with core beliefs and no matter what you tell them, they will conveniently flip it around and toss it right back at you. Although a healthy amount of skepticism is necessary to think through a balanced argument, being negative is not how we make progress. True, we all have cognitive biases that can make us think in a local and linear way but if we get past that, we may notice an opportunity where others see a problem. This isn’t all pollyannish thinking as a dyed-in-the-wool realist might like to say, cause nothing worthwhile can ever be achieved if every little objection must first be overcome!

Bill Gates famously said, most people overestimate what they can do in one year but underestimate what they can do in ten years. Given the pace of exponential technology, it is a foregone conclusion that many of our jobs will be automated more or less in the near future or done by robots who can do it faster, cheaper and work longer and even if you think, that’s unlikely to happen to you in this lifetime given your particular skills, mind you it wasn’t raining when Noah built his Ark, so why not just start by cracking open your most limiting belief this year or challenge yourself to be more kind by the end of week? You could be somebody’s hero, you know and I promise, your future self will thank you…

The Prophecy of Goldilocks

“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of ’em has ever tried to contact us.” –   Bill Watterson, creator of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’

Aliens. ET. Species. Predator. UFO. Area 51. Vampires. Whoa! That one nearly crashed the party but if you are laboring under the misapprehension, green men abducting white men or giant bugs laying cities to waste is creative taradiddle, you may wish to reassess.

Goldilocks, as you know, is about a little girl who lost in a forest wanders into a house of three bears while they are away and starts trying out what she fancies is right for her but almost caught when the bears return. This is where fact meets fiction as Goldilocks Zone in astrobiology is the right spot for a planet, not too hot or cold from a parent star, therefore habitable with a possibility of intelligent life and chances for potential contact.

Today no scientist worth his salt questions the existence of other civilizations. Drake’s equation surmising the probability of extraterrestrial life is simply too high to ignore so the only thing, scientists may disagree upon is their actual number. What, everyone does agree on is they are not too sure what to do, if one of them does bother to respond to us.

David Brin in ‘The Great Silence’, warns us, Active SETI or aggressive efforts to signal to anyone out there, is asking for trouble as maybe the reason, civilizations similar to us (in shared sense of bonhomie) have chosen to stay quiet is because they have wised up to a fact, that we have not…that there seems to be hostile life in the cold depths of space that unknowingly or not has zero tolerance or compatibility with any other forms of life.

Astronomer Robert Jastrow, musing on consequences of possible contact with alien life, asserts he sees no reason for optimism. Astronomer Ronald Bracewell further warns that other species will place a premium on caution and weaponry; an alien ship headed our way is likely to be armed. Astronomer Eric Chaisson argues that physical contact could lead to a neo-Darwinian dominance of our race by theirs. Astronomer Zdenek Kopal was specific: ‘Should we ever hear the space-phone ringing, for God’s sake let us not answer but make ourselves as inconspicuous as possible to avoid attracting attention!’

Other scientists have also warned of potential dangers. Biologist Michael Archer states any creature we contact would have had to claw its way up the evolutionary ladder and will be every bit as nasty as we are. It is more likely than not to be extremely adaptable, incredibly aggressive; a super predator! Physicist George Baldwin predicts any effort to communicate with extraterrestrials is fraught with grave danger as they may not hesitate to show contempt for humans. Astronomer Bob Rood likens the civilization that blurts out its existence on interstellar beacons at first chance, to an early hominid descending from trees, calling ‘here, kitty’ to a saber-toothed tiger.

Consider the wary views of SETIs’ own astronomers. Seth Shostak wrote that we can no better guess the motivations of alien intelligence than goldfish can guess ours. Jill Tarter asked rhetorically: who knows what values might drive an alien culture? Aliens may not have the same motives that we do. Douglas Vakoch wrote that we should not assume that the ethics of extraterrestrials will be like our own…

That said, are we not being too paranoid, for if you look at other creatures on the planet, we actually witness the opposite? The lion and gazelle, predator and prey, shift naturally from stress of the chase back into a peaceful state. There is no carryover of resentment, embarrassment or concern for future. Everything is allowed to pass. Why is a dolphin so content in the sea? The deer at home in the forest or an eagle, the master of skies? Why is tranquility a rule than exception in nature?

The answer is one of the great wonders of life and strategic to the laws of nature: Most creatures are all made for what happens to them so civilizations that ‘make it’ realize a state of peaceful coexistence is key to lasting life. There is seemingly more harmony in heavens than in our relationships and it explains why we can’t help but assume they are going to be just as bad!

Let’s explore a perspective unchallenged by anyone, living or dead. I refer to the oldest scriptures, as a point to resolve this paradox. Still, if it challenges your most cherished assumptions, indulge me in ‘good faith’.

All creation, states the Bhagvad Gita, is a mixture of three basic abilities. The lowest is the darkening ability followed by the stimulating ability and finally, spiritually uplifting ability insomuch that creation everywhere manifests one ability or another. Enlightened sages across ages have hinted that entire galaxies manifest primarily one or another of this ability. There are galaxies, for example where the lowest ability rules. Inhabitants of planets of those galaxies are the most part brutish and incapable of aspiring to spiritual heights. Fierce animals roam there with cannibalism abound with inhabitants in constant war and conflict. Lust, animal pleasure is considered all life can offer.

Then there are galaxies where the next ability is pronounced, planets where self-aware beings live and whose primary concern is one of aggrandizement and self-importance. Milky Way is such a galaxy. Finally, galaxies that veritably resemble ‘Gardens of Eden’ where the populace can telepathically communicate with transdimensional beings and harmony and beauty abound everywhere. Earth, as it is on the outskirts of Milky Way, receives less ‘spiritual power’ than at center (yet man seems to be moving to a plane of higher understanding and sensitivity though mental evolution is more cyclic than linear than hitherto believed) that brave, new age physicists like Nassim Haramein explain as a continuous expulsion of exotic energy from black holes at galactic cores that ripples out and washes over planetary bodies with a magnitude in inverse proportion from distance to the center so we receive either more or less, based on our sun’s own relative motion!

From a technological standpoint, it is thought we are, at present, a 0.7 Type civilization, where Type 1 can harness the entire resources of the planet, Type 2, of the solar system and Type 3, of a galaxy. Type 4, can make baby universes and Type 5 – your guess is as good as mine – although technological progress is not necessarily a sign of an advanced race who may have overcome material goals and embarked on a subtler, spiritual quest.

This brings us back to the whole debate on ‘official contact’ despite enough reports that this happens informally all the time (well, you weren’t exactly hoping aliens to land on the White House lawn, waving limbs at shutterbugs, were you?) Skeptics will say, given our laughable prowess we are sitting ducks for a cunning predator but no cultural revolution ever took place by hiding inside the cupboard either. Surely, we did not step out of the primordial soup as there was nothing to eat us alive but to greet our own destiny. Ask, is it the strongest of species that survive or the more intelligent or the one most responsive to change? If we don’t reach out to the stars in fear of being found out, are we not already dead men waving from ports of a sunken ship when danger comes to greet us? Besides, how can we even hope to contact a benevolent race if we are scared to ask? History proves that mankind was born to survive and thrive, be it the timely demise of the dinos or evolutionary kick in our pants. Sure there may be setbacks but with time, we would be greater than we ever imagined possible and ‘when the risk it takes to remain tight in a bud is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom’, we shall break the bonds of earth and touch the sky and go out into the night at the speed of light.

Per aspera ad astra

Positive Talk – If a story moves you, act on it!

Today information is available at the speed of thought so we can’t help but instantly like or share and move on! In this engaging talk, writer and human rights activist, Sisonke Msimang tells us the value of a story is not in what it says but in what it does…

Here’s an excerpt or simply watch it below (12-13 min).

‘So firstly, the world would be a better place, I think, if audiences were more curious and more skeptical and asked more questions about the social context that created those stories that they love so much. Secondly, the world would be a better place if audiences recognized that storytelling is intellectual work. And I think it would be important for audiences to demand more buttons on their favorite websites, buttons for example that say, “If you liked this story, click here to support a cause your storyteller believes in.” Or “click here to contribute to your storyteller’s next big idea.” Often, we are committed to the platforms, but not necessarily to the storytellers themselves. And then lastly, I think that audiences can make the world a better place by switching off their phones, by stepping away from their screens and stepping out into the real world beyond what feels safe.’

@mediapositivity

Homeless No More

A 44-year old homeless man in Thailand with hardly a penny in his pocket, quietly returns a cash and card stuffed designer wallet to 30-year old business man, who overwhelmed by his honesty offers him a job and house. Cheers to both men! You can read that story here

In a similar vein, this project for fundraising is aimed at helping the homeless, thanks to the creative efforts of photographer, Horia Manolache…who is clicking the homeless not just as they are, but as they may well be in an alternate reality where they are successful and happy. He has helped many in this process with proceeds of his photo book given to changing how the homeless are seen. You can support his project here….

@mediapositivity

Positive People – John Bird, Founder of ‘The Big Issue’

The Big Issue is the world’s most widely circulated magazine that was birthed in UK. Inspired by Street News, a magazine sold by the homeless in US, it offers homeless people in UK, long time unemployed people, people marginalized by society and just about anyone whose life is blighted by poverty, an opportunity to move away from the streets by earning a legit income by selling this magazine and working themselves out of homelessness.

It kvells in the fact, it’s ‘a handup, not a handout’. Vendors BUY copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.

Started in 1991, the magazine 25 years later is synonymous with challenging, independent journalism and popular for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 100,000 copies a week.

The Big Issue Vendors are allocated a pitch or location, normally around a tube or train station and first issued with a number of free copies of the magazine. Last year alone more than £5 million was put into the pockets of the vendors, releasing them from dependence on handouts and providing a decent alternative to begging.

And the buck doesn’t stop there. The Big Issue Foundation, charity arm of The Big Issue supports vendors in gaining control of their lives by tackling the many issues that lead to homelessness and offers a smorgasbord of services.

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Created as a business solution to a social problem, The Big Issue has inspired other street papers in more than 120 countries, leading a global self-help revolution. There are 9 Big Issue projects by the same name today in Australia, France, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malawi, South Africa, Taiwan, Zambia.

Meet the man who started it all, John Bird who himself homeless at age of 5, was last year made a life peer at the House of Lords, appointed Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his ‘services to homeless people’ and awarded the Beacon Fellowship Prize for his tireless energy and originality in raising awareness of homelessness and supporting homeless communities worldwide.

In his editorial, John pulls no punches when he says, “I’m trying to invent a philosophy of dismantling poverty, rather than keeping the poor comfortable” and exhorts any buyer to always TAKE the copy of the magazine since “it is a bloody good read and our sellers are working and need your custom”. Ne’er truer said!

@mediapositivity

bd

Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.

I am AI

If you are sanguine about the opportunities and challenges of AI (artificial intelligence) in an evolving market (or, already sick to the back teeth on how ubiquitous AI is in today’s workplace) this statistic of Harvard Business Review can make you pause awhile and wonder what the world is coming to…

“Executives and experts from IT and communications sectors are bullish about the potential of artificial intelligence, on a survey by The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society45% of respondents said the first AI machine would sit on a corporate board of directors by 2025. 75% predicted that 30% of corporate audits would be performed by an AI by that time. And 78% said that driverless cars would represent at least 10% of the vehicles on U.S. roads.”

Source: Technology tipping points and Societal impact.

In this report, Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a prolific author says; “Now comes the second machine age. Computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power – the ability to use our brains to understand and shape our environments – what the steam engine and its descendants did for muscle power.”

It adds, “These changes will impact people around the world. Inventions previously seen only in science fiction, such as artificial intelligence, connected devices and 3D printing, will enable us to connect and invent in ways we never have before. Businesses will automate complicated tasks, reduce production costs and reach new markets. Continued growth in internet access will further accelerate change. In Sub-Saharan Africa and other underdeveloped regions, connectivity has the potential to redefine global trade, lift people out of poverty and topple political regimes. And for many of us, seemingly simple software innovations will transform our daily routines. These changes are not without their challenges; as technology improves the lives of many, we hope to help prepare people to understand and address concerns on privacy, security and job disruption…

Feel free to grab this intriguing report as it sums up deep shifts happening around us and the timelines for it. That said, the next question is, where does all that leave you and me and in turn, reason for this humble post.

As a manager, if most of your day goes in administrative work, say monitoring or reporting and as a worker, you’re building/sorting/fixing/teaching or ‘strutting your stuff’, depending on your level of support, AI can automate it at best or at worst, soon master basic to intermediate levels and work longer hours and cheaper…so, unless you’re way up the ladder, work advance support or regarded an expert, you may be happy to hear, what is likely to see you through the next decade or two, is a little more creativity, empathy and judgment skill!

If that sounds too easy to be true (make no mistake, it may not be that easy) listen to Tim Leberecht, author of ‘The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself’ who here asks that in this day and age of artificial intelligence, big data and digitization of everything, are we losing sight of the importance of the emotional and social aspects of our work?

 

 

In closing and in tune to this sentiment, ‘we measure our lives in coffee spoons’, it may come to pass that in the near-to-far future, when AI takes over the technical aspects of life, we might see ourselves as a version of AI or Altruistic Intelligence, responsible for taking us to guiding stars and distant shores…

 

@mediapositivity

bd

Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.

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