Science Needs to Rediscover Itself

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It has been a very long time since I’ve found the inspiration to write. It happens, especially when the mind is running many threads of thought, trying to resolve problems. Contemplation is a necessary mechanism for humans, as we do not process information in a linear fashion. Our minds explore countless connections between synapses until a suitable conclusion is revealed. We are not computers, because computers are imperfect — they are created with incomplete information about the nature of existence. Even the most advanced AI algorithms, at the most fundamental level, look for patterns that we, the programmers, have defined with an incomplete understanding of the universe. This is to say that we cannot program an AI to perceive things we cannot inherently conceive. Sure, it can certainly discern new permutations based on relationships we’ve already defined. It can compute these new permutations with seemingly amazing speed, yet when the conclusion is presented by the AI, invariably we can say “Oh, I should have seen that relationship.”

The universe is all about relationships. Every particle and every wave, are inexorably linked to a single event we are unable to grasp — the beginning of space-time. Whatever your belief system, they are all predicated on some point in the distance “past” where everything began — following the prevalent belief that there must have been some sort of beginning. Physics predicts the life and death of particles, stars and the universe itself, but without understanding the effect of beginning, we can’t begin to understand the initial cause.

Einstein’s greatest strength was that he conceived his initial theories unbounded by the constraints of the scientific community. He was a patent clerk in Switzerland with a great deal of time to contemplate a multitude of new ideas, without being discouraged by the “theory-du-jour”. He pondered seemingly unrelated problems to form a deeper understanding of the relationships inherent within the universe itself. Einstein gave humanity invaluable insights into the universe, but his greatest gift, which we tend to ignore, was a new way of thinking about the universe — everything is related in some form or fashion.

The human mind is the greatest computational machine we currently have at our disposal. We try to improve on it by creating faster, more powerful machines, but these can never replace the structure of the human mind. AI is a tool, just like a hammer, and it can never replace the human mind. Humans can leap to unrelated conclusions as we are, for the most part, unbounded in thought. A child is able to dream beyond the confines of “commonsense”. It is only until we’ve constrained their thoughts that they continue down a path of belief molded by the collective. I am referring to imagination, and not conforming to morality — morality is just a system of rules for coexistence and should not be a contemplative constraint. Assuming that we can coexist, the human mind should be free to explore unorthodox connections.

In my opinion, this is the biggest conundrum the scientific community as a whole is facing. We’ve done a very good job of specializing in one particular school of thought and exploration. Physics, Chemistry, Cosmology, Engineering, Psychology, Biology and on and on. There is nothing at all wrong with this, but how often do we cross-pollinate these disciplines? At the root, many of the disciplines share a common language in mathematics, logic and philosophy, but how often does a cosmologist look to biology for potential connections? I do not believe that the universe can be understood by only investigating one discipline. Every aspect of existence must be related if existence issued forth from a single point in time and space — the beginning.

If we go back to the early days of science, to the time of Aristotle, it was more common to study a multitude of disciplines to explore the whole. They understood that you cannot understand the purpose of a part without understanding the total object. You can’t understand the purpose of the elephant’s trunk, without understanding it’s context to the whole elephant. When most people are doing a jigsaw puzzle, they group the pieces, then begin to build the picture. Each piece has its place in the whole, but to know if you assembled the pieces correctly you look at the complete picture. This is where science has often failed. It may seem as if the speed of light is irrelevant to psychology, but do you truly know that it is so? Does the speed of light somehow affect our ability to perceive reality via consciousness? Does quantum entanglement hold the answer to why or how we have memories? Does memory have anything to do with Gravity? Why does an atomic structure resemble a solar system?

It seems to me that rather than encouraging specialization, we need to redesign our education system for the sciences to focus on the whole, while exploring the pieces. Each new discovery should be weighed against the whole of human understanding to see if there are potential connections, or solutions, not previously understood. A true “theory of everything” should truly describe everything. It should explain how the universe exists as well as why it exists.

We need a new kind of science.

The Nietzsche Files I: Beyond Good and Evil

BeyondGoodAndEvilGreetings Dreamers!

I do apologize for the long silence in my writings, and for the lack of finishing up my latest work, “Beyond Good and Evil”.  However, as promised, I have finished the final two chapters, and the entire story, unabridged and uncensored, is available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99.

Amazon Link

I’ve opted to put this on Kindle to recoup some of the costs associated with running this website, and to expand my readership with all the new programs Amazon is offering.

For those just joining us, here is a brief synopsis of the story:

“From the darkness of the Richmond city streets a figure emerges to fight the battle beyond good and evil.  Irritated by the iniquity of the Richmond Police Department, a vigilante by the name of Nietzsche takes matters in his own hands to solve crimes that remained unsolved for years.

A murdered family draw him from the shadows, their true killer never detected or found, leaving two hapless puppets to answer for a crime most heinous.  Beyond human comprehension, a dark being  wanders the streets of  Richmond perpetrating crimes upon those who present a threat to its unknown goals.

Embark on an adventure of mystery, paranormal and murder to catch the eater of sins.  Leave your emotion behind, look through the eyes of a sociopath, and solve the crime before darkness is unleashed.”

Anxiety Disorder

anxietycartoonnourlforweb450pxHello All,

I promise that I am working on the next installment of my story, The Nietzsche Files.  But, I wanted to share that I have been going through a weaning period off my medication.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It is a very real problem and many people in the world suffer from some variety of anxiety. And to be honest, this is one of the major reasons I’ve never done a public appearance to promote my books.  Whenever focus is on me in a large group, I shut down.  I also prefer to text with people rather than talk on the phone.  It takes me a long time to get up the courage to actually meet someone face to face, or talk to them on the phone.  Once I feel comfortable, then I can talk your ear off.

Unfortunately, the medication I take has a high addiction rate, even though I’m not taking a high dosage — Klonopin.   This particular benzodiazepine — street name “benzos” — has nasty side-effects.  This is also becoming a serious problem for people who take it as recreational drug.  It is quickly becoming a new form of heroin.   And, like heroin, it takes its toll on the body and some damage can become permanent.

When I started to notice side effects, I went to my doctor and we both decided that it was time to wean myself off of them  — more drugs was not an option for me.  You can’t just quit them cold turkey because there can be dire effects — seizures, sickness, severe depression and suicidal thoughts.  Luckily, the only effects I am suffering from are hand tremors, anxiety episodes and lack of energy.  I will be off the pills in 75 days.

So this has caused me to be erratic with my social media and interactions with people.   Some days I just lay on the couch and stare at nothing.  But as the days go by I’ve learned other coping mechanisms — breathing, meditation, cutting out things that incite anxiety.  I am finally getting to a place where I can deal with it.

But this post is not about my personal struggle, I say it as a warning to anyone else who falls into the clutches of this drug, or any of its many siblings.  While it allows one to function, it eventually will require more of your soul to continue to “help you cope”.  Unfortunately, there are people who have disorders far worse than me.  I know too many people who have been subjected to terrible things.  I know too many people with PTSD and they’ve either chosen to medicate with alcohol or with drugs such as the one I am leaving behind.  Some are so medicated, they can’t function daily.  I know people, despite the drugs, that still can’t overcome their anxiety.

Another aspect to consider is that we are constantly bombarded with commercials for drugs.  We are being taught that better living can only be achieved through chemistry.  We are even being told that its okay to medicate our children, rather than face the problems head on.  Now this is not to say that all drugs are bad, some are absolutely necessary.  People do have maladies that require medication so that they can survive.  However, in my humble opinion, when it comes to maladies of the brain, we really need to be careful jumping right to drugs.  As I’m finding, the anxiety I was experiencing just required me to be more mindful of my surroundings and knowing myself.  I can overcome it, and I know that those who are suffering as I am, can also overcome.  It takes an understanding from the people around you, believing in yourself, and just taking every day as it comes.

My advice, and it is only from my own personal experience, is this; Identify what causes your anxiety and is it really worth worrying about?  Once you identify what causes your anxiety, you just have to work on dealing with it in a productive way.  That may require counseling or a support network.  There are ways to deal with anxiety without having to resort to pills.  The first step is simply learning to breathe and remind yourself that its okay.  The second step is to focus on the good and not the bad.  One way I did this is I don’t watch anything other than the weather.  I have found that the nightly news is geared to negativity.  We are subjected to story after story of horrible things in the world.  I’m here to tell you that the world is not nearly as terrible as it is depicted every night.  The final step is to recognize that none of us are perfect — you can’t be, what would be the fun in that?  People stress about keeping up with everyone else.  Be you.  And if people don’t like you for who you are, then they are not worth another thought.

Yes, I had anxiety putting this out there, but I have many friends on social media and on twitter, and I don’t want anyone to think I am ignoring them, or have forgotten about them.

I hope those of you going through the same issues as I am are able to find peace.  I just wanted to share this with you so you know you’re not alone.

Thank you as always for listening to me ramble.

Michael

Clarity

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Its only been a few weeks since I re-discovered my love for the water.  I should have understood this fact from the beginning as I’ve lived near the water at the highest points in my life.  However, life often blinds us to the simple things that enrich our lives.

I have spent so much time on my friend’s boat this summer, that I can feel the gentle rocking of the river even when I am lying still on my couch.  It’s an exhilarating experience when you first step onto the boat, feeling how small you are compared to the might of the James river.  You can feel the boat responding subtly to your movement as you shift from port to starboard.    And the smell of the water overwhelms your mind with a melange of fragrances, carried on gentle breezes in heat and in cold.

I do love the excitement of fishing, especially for catfish.  It has nothing at all to do with the need to forage for food.  It is much more than that.  When you are pulling in the fish, you have to be the fish for that span of time between hooking and landing.  For that short time, you have to be one with the fish, understanding how you would try to escape what you feel to be an inevitable end your existence.  You can sense the primal fear that is coursing through its veins as you try to coax it to the surface.  But, the fish is not wise enough to know who I am, or understand that I simply wish to catch it and release it back — and create an adventure for another day.

Friday, I was fishing and I landed a four pound catfish — miniscule compared the river monsters that lurk in the depths of the channel I fish.  That fish found me with the vigor or any human — rolling over, thrashing, trying to wrap my line around a pier.  It breached the surface three times in my twenty-minute struggle — that deep blue and white indicative of the species — teasing me with each laborious moment.  And, when I finally landed it, we saw eye to eye.  The fish acquiesced to the fact that I had bested it.  However, what was absent in its vacant black eyes was the understanding that I merely meant for us to compete.  I wasn’t interested in keeping it — though I do love the taste of catfish —  I can’t bear to take life.  It does not seem fair for me to decide such things — as with many aspects of my life.  I cannot be the judge or executioner because I do not have all the data that explains the full breadth of my action.

Fish are a lot like people.  They live, they breed, they feed and the die.  It is the fundamental aspect of being an organic creature in our wonderful but strange world.  What I like about the catfish is that they are extremely intelligent, and engaging them in a fight is truly satisfying, like playing chess with an unknown opponent.  But make no mistake on the level if their intelligence.  They will outwit you in a heart beat if you are not careful.

We often catch people in our lines.  You toss out your line into the water or into the world, and you do no know what will come up.  That’s the beauty of our world in all aspects.  I have often found that we are constantly casting our lines out into the world — to find friends, lovers or like-minded individuals. It is all done blindly because we cannot know what our line will catch.  It may be what we are looking for, but it may be something completely different.  What’s more, is it may be something more amazing than what we had originally intended to catch or do battle with.

I throw my line out with no expectations of what I will or will not catch.  I’ve learned that the moment I try to target something specific, it seldom yields the I wanted.  Now, I’ve learned that the universe will give you what you need, when you need it.  It is the learning to listen that becomes the challenge.

I spent my weekend with amazing people, living in each individual moment, trying to improve who I am.  Everyone in your life — the ones that contribute something positive (not necessarily intellectually) — brings something useful and enriching to your existence.  You many not immediately understand the connection, or even the purpose, but if you look at the serendipity of those you have met, you will find that you are being guided.  This is not so say its someone controlling you.  This is to say that your impact on the universe is recognized, and you just have to learn to listen to those prompts.

After 43 years, I am only beginning to understand the music of our universe.  But, I will say that I have learned when to listen and when not to listen, because there is a fair amount of noise.

I wrote this post from a partially selfish perspective.  I wanted to record this weekend, for future reference, but I also wanted to impart to you — my friends — that life can truly be magnificent.   We simply need to see it for what it is — moment to moment.

Lost Haven

losthavenfeaturedGreetings, Dreamers!

Summer has come and as a result I’ve been busy.  But fear not, I have been working on new material, including Book II, The Unkindness.

Today’s post is to remind everyone that there is an interim novella available on Kindle called Lost Haven.  This story happens a few weeks after the Halloween events in Waking Dream: Devlin.  The purpose of this novella was to give my readers a better understanding of my concept of Weirdness.  There are several different forms displayed in this novella, hopefully enough to spur your own creative juices so you can help me build the world.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I created the Waking Dream universe so that others could add to it, long after I am gone — such as Lovecraft fans continue to create new stories around the Cthulhu mythos.

Lost Haven is a fast paced story about a mysterious group of individuals called The Order of Seers.  It features several new characters as well as a couple of characters from the first book.

I had to throw my hat into the Zombie genre, just a tad, and give my take on the phenomenon.  While the story is primarily dark fantasy, it does have horror elements.  I try not to limit the story, because life nor the universe is limited.  Anything can happen in the Waking Dream.

You can buy Lost Haven for a mere .99 cents on Amazon!  It is certainly worth it for anyone who wants to explore the Waking Dream even further.

Soon, I will be releasing another novella, right before Book II.  “Shadows on the Soul” completes my trilogy of terror and my homage to H.P. Lovecraft, which started with “The House of the Dead Timbers” and “The Case Study”.  “Shadows on the Soul” will be available by the end of summer.  Even though they are horror tales, they all related, in some way, to the Waking Dream.  Can you find the connections?

I thank you all again for your wonderful support of my writing.  I hope you enjoy it.

Corridor 03 Experiment

corridor3Greetings, Dreamers!

Over the past year I have been asked on several occasions by people if they could contribute fan fiction to my sites for the Waking Dream.  This was my intention from the beginning.

I have 4 main blogs, two of which are set up for fan or flash fictionThe Way of the Weird (http://wayoftheweird.com) is a site that features information about the Waking Dream as researched by the character Justin, who suffers from multiple personality disorder.  Though I have been recently remiss in contributing to the site, I intend on beginning this weekend with new content.  Stories for the Way of the Weird are histories, folklore and current events in the Waking Dream Universe.

The second fiction blog I am just beginning which is Corridor 03 (http://corridor3.com).  This is a mock psychiatric unit where the fiction will center around case studies and personal journals of patients, doctors and staff in the unit.  Corridor 03 is a part of the psychiatric facility from Waking Dream: Devlin (Book 1).  I am interested in anyone who would like to contribute as a patient, doctor or staff.  The site will continue to grow, adding to Waking Dream Mythos, or as I call it, The Loethian Mythos.

Over the next month I will be putting up a series of posts explaining the Loethian Mythos which will serve as the framework for others to contribute.  One can learn a great deal by all the content on Way of the Weird, as well as reading the books I’ve published to date.

If you are interested in writing for Way of the Weird, please send an email to weird@wakingdreamonline.com.  If you are interested in writing for Corridor 03, please use the contact form on the Administration page.

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Lift Me Back Up To The Sun

sun-e1267491079993Greetings, Dreamers!

There is code embedded in our genes. Much of this is governed by mathematical constants, ratios and equations.  Why?

We do not know.

The beauty of our sun is irrefutable–a star adrift amongst a multitude of other kindred stars, a family so impossibly large one cannot be special.  The family is called the Main Sequence.  And we have found, spiraling around these other kindred stars, there are alien planets, strange and beautiful in their own right.  One can look at any planet, either within or beyond our Solar Family, and find beauty in it, something wonderful.

One of my favorite books, and one of the first I ever read, is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury — the Martian genocide.  The allegory was immediately apparent to me, but, as I grow older, I find new rabbit holes to explore philosophically each time I read it.  I have always been fascinated with ancient cultures, even fictitious ones.  The strange, yet alluring, appeal to the Martian culture, for me, was its foundation in humility.  History does not make a philosophy real — meaningful thoughts create the future of any philosophy.  All we need do is not repeat the mistakes of the past, and history becomes irrelevant.  The Martians as Bradbury created them were beautiful and admirable.

With spring here, we are often reminded of the beauty that exists in and beyond our world — despite the chaos and discontent depicted on the nightly news.  Winter brings isolation, hibernation and introspection as we huddle beneath quilts, blankets and layers of clothes.  Spring unleashes our creativity, with the palette of color splashed over our gardens, forests and parks.  We take up our shovels and rakes to restore our yards to what we had before the cruel winter stripped it all away, leaving its mark as if to remind us that it will come again.

Now, you are probably wondering why I am mentioning all this. Why mention the Martians, beauty and our sun?  The answer is as simple as the answer to the purpose of life.  Life’s only purpose is the pure enjoyment of being.

There is a great deal of turmoil in our world, and it does not seem that there is an end in sight.  It is not isolated to one region, people or country.  It is a systemic problem that we continue to ignore.  The Martian Chronicles is a quintessential lesson on how we as humans trod clumsily through our existence, scarcely aware of the problems we cause because we have not reached a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe or ourselves.

Life is a waking dream — we can mold it, enjoy it, and improve it– but first we must recognize we have the power within us.  The purpose of my series The Waking Dream, is not only to entertain my readers, but also to plant that seed of suspended disbelief.  Once we start to collectively understand that things can be better, we will crave for them to be better.  This requires that we all get involved.  And this has been my steadfast message.

For me, the Waking Dream is to create a culture much like the Bradbury’s Martians.  A life full of philosophical discussion, creating beautiful things, and embracing the harmony that comes from a collective understanding, and engineering, of our reality.  The easiest way to begin is to look skyward to the real master of our world, the Sun.  Without its nurturing warmth, and tumultuous demeanor,  our lives would be very different.  But despite the dangers associated with being dependent on the sun, and its cyclical temper tantrums, it is nonetheless beautiful.

Our world is beautiful, yet, we were discontent to stay in the safety of its caves and caverns, so we have built temporary empires which will be long forgotten when we are no more.  The sun and Earth will exist beyond our brief moment in history — billions of years beyond our comprehension.  Each moment, each breath, each thought should be cherished.  We learn from mistakes and move forward, ever pushed by the arrow of time.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned the code embedded in our genes that define our existence.  This is only the operating system.  We are all programmers with a keen, yet often overlooked, ability to write new code, new apps.  These apps are not limited to our smart devices — “smart” being a grossly overstated term.  We can reorder things by reprogramming the world around us — we do it all the time.  Every time you move something from one side of the room to the other, you are reprogramming your environment, but this is only the most fundamental ability we have — overcoming gravity.

If we embrace the possibility that the universe is ours to mold, then we can explore new avenues of consciousness.  We all have special abilities which we tend to ignore or keep to ourselves, for fear of being labeled negatively.  We have a nasty habit of admonishing those who are different from the rest of the herd.  This is an instinct we must learn to overcome.  Are the things that interest you really things you enjoy, or do you do them because everyone else is?  This is a flaw in our societal structure.  We are individuals first, and community second.  At the end of it all, you will leave this planet by yourself — how do you want to be remembered?

I’ve talked on many occasions about our inherent abilities, things we don’t talk about with a sense of earnestness — telepathy, empathy, telekinesis,  communing with the dead.  But why are these concepts so difficult for us to grasp as possible.  Nothing is impossible, and we know this due to our exploration of the quantum world.  However, some things are highly improbable.  For instance, a single electron has the probability of being anywhere in the universe at a given moment — the probability never makes it to zero.  They pop in and out of existence in ways we cannot understand.  There are strange attractions between certain particles that allow them to communicate with one another instantaneously over limitless space, defying what we know about the speed of light.  We have only just begun Kindergarten in the school of the universe.

The code in our genes is what allows us to operate on auto-pilot — breathing, protecting, foraging.  It also tends to hinder us as we rely on our instincts as well as our social engineering to define us.  Whenever I feel as if I am straying from the path I’ve set before myself, I look to the sun and ponder its existence.  From a distance it is a perfect orb of glowing life, but up close it is a tempest of plasma and fire.  The same can be said of our world.  From a distance it is a shining jewel in the crown of the sun, but as we look beneath the clouds, we are a hurricane raging across the planet, unable to find peace in our existence.  We are ever rushing forward to meet the future without taking time to enjoy the now.

We must look to the future, so that we can clear a path through existence.  But we must ensure that we don’t forget to enjoy our being.  The easiest way for one to do that is to step away from the computer, go outside and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin, smell the fragrance of life being renewed, and look within ourselves and ask, “Am I happy?”  This question is the most difficult to explore.

Today the sun is shining, and it is a pleasant day.  Despite being at work, I steal moments to stand outside and look to the sky.  Summer is coming, the flowers are in bloom, and before we know it, we will be back in hibernation.  But in the time we are active, we should explore new ways, within ourselves, to change the world around us.  Things are not horrible, but they are not what we should want.  We should collectively create a dream in which we all are happy, and each of us must strive to make it happen.

You are more than you think you are.  We are all stars, we are all god, we are all beautiful.  Be different, be yourself, be wonderful and the universe will reveal itself to you.

 

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Books to Dream By

used-booksGreetings, Dreamers!

I have not forgotten about the rest of the story I started, however, lately I have been working on several different projects that have been coordinating.  But, things are moving along nicely.

Before I get into today’s post I did want to mention that there are several things coming out over the next few months that may be of interest to you:

1) The Little Book of Dreams: This is the bible or Necronomicon for the Waking Dream.  It is a major expansion on material that I have already published on The Way of the Weird. I feel its time that you should know more about the Waking Dream.

2) Getting to Devlin:  This is a Waking Dream Young Adult novel, with events leading up to the first novel, Waking Dream: Devlin.  This is a collaborative work.

3) Super Secret Project:  I am collaborating with others on a series and though it is not a Waking Dream novel, it will have elements of the Waking Dream woven within.  I will have more information on this in the coming months.  I am very excited about the project.

4) Waking Dream: The Unkindness:  I have been working diligently on this book, however,  I feel I want to take my time  until others are more familiar with the series.  Fear not, it is coming, and you won’t see it coming.

5) Shadow of the Soul: This is another Lovecraftian piece I am working on for exclusive publication on Kindle and it will be finished by mid summer.

I thank you all for your continued support!  Now, my top 13 books to dream by.  These books were major inspiration to my writing, and I feel everyone interested in my work would find these books equally inspiring:

  1. Illusions by Richard Bach
  2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  3. The Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein
  4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  5. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
  6. Experiences by Arnold Toynbee
  7. Dune by Frank Herbert
  8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  9. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  10. The Stand by Stephen King
  11. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  12. The Seekers by Daniel Boorstin
  13. Watership Down by Richard Adams

I mention these particular books because they were instrumental in helping me formulate my ideas about life, spirituality and the universe.  All of these I have read numerous times, and each time, I find something new and noteworthy as a read.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Happy Exploring!

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Resurrect Dead

ChesapeakeHouseMDGreetings, Dreamers!

I wanted to talk about something that has become a bit of an obsession.  I am one of those people who, if presented with a mystery, won’t stop until I’ve figured it out.  So I’ve been researching a 30-year-old mystery that I myself witnessed back when I lived in the Philadelphia area — The Toynbee Tiles.

There have been many that have come before me about this particular mystery.  Everyone has their own opinions, and it is time that I share some of my thoughts on the subject.  There is a wonderful documentary called “Resurrect Dead – The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles” that was done a few years back.  Using that documentary and my own independent research and thought exercises I think I have a pretty good idea about what is going on here.  But first let me explain the mystery:

In the early 1980’s, tiles, like the one depicted above, started popping up all over Philadelphia.  The tiles are embedded into the pavement through an ingenious method of using tar paper, asphalt glue, and linoleum.  The persons placing these tiles, or Tilers, cut the messages meticulously out of linoleum, then they deploy them through various means.  Tiles have been found in many cities all over the country and even in Argentina and Chile.  The message is always the same:

TOYNBEE IDEA
IN KUBRICK’S 2001
RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER

Now let us dissect this message one line at a time as if it were a Nostradamus quatrain:

TOYNBEE IDEA

Arnold Toynbee was a British Historian & Philosopher.  His autobiographical work, “Experiences” delves into his beliefs on god, religion and the universe.  It seems that Toynbee’s idea comes from a series of passages in his discussion on the spirit:

Human nature presents human minds with a puzzle which they have not yet solved and may never succeed in solving, for all that we can tell. The dichotomy of a human being into ‘soul’ and ‘body’ is not a datum of experience. No one has ever been, or ever met, a living human soul without a body… Someone who accepts—as I myself do, taking it on trust—the present-day scientific account of the Universe may find it impossible to believe that a living creature, once dead, can come to life again; but, if he did entertain this belief, he would be thinking more ‘scientifically’ if he thought in the Christian terms of a psychosomatic resurrection than if he thought in the shamanistic terms of a disembodied spirit.

Toynbee eludes to the fact that resurrection is possible, but did he really mean dead people or something else? This message is augmented by the story The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury, the premise also being based on another Toynbee idea that we must always rush to meet the future in order to survive, which means, we must believe in a better world and create a better world.  Life, after all, is a Waking Dream, as I’ve said on many occasions.

IN KUBRICK’S 2001

In Stanley Kubrick‘s magnum opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the story ultimately revolves around the cyclical nature of life and the cosmos.  This movie still has profound effects on people seeing if for the first time.  Even though it was done over 40 years ago, the message, the effects and the plot could easily be mistaken for a newer movie.  It has truly endured the test of time.  I believe that the Tilers had all seen this movie, and began to formulate their own beliefs on how we as a civilization can be resurrected.  The movie is based on a short stories by Arthur C Clarke called “The Sentinel” and “Jupiter V”.

RESURRECT DEAD

This particular passage is not as obvious as one would think, but on the surface it is believed that the Tilers were trying to explain that all the dead on the planet could be resurrected…

ON PLANET JUPITER

This is also not as clear as it may seem.  This could be seen as a direct reference to the movie 2001, which revolves around a mission to Jupiter.  However, people as ingenious as the Tilers would know from the book adaptation of the movie, which came out right after the movie, has the mission going to Saturn and not to Jupiter.  Kubrick’s special effects department could not model a believable Saturn with its rings, so they chose to model Jupiter instead.  However, in “Jupiter V” there is another clue because the space craft in that story, The Arnold Toynbee, does go to a moon around Jupiter.  Why would Clarke name the ship the Arnold Toynbee unless he, too, believed in his ideas?

THE TILERS AND THEIR MOTIVE

Each tile has a smaller side text attached and eludes to a grand conspiracy between the media, our government and the U.S.S.R.  Immediately one would think that they are merely a group of conspiracy theorists, yet, that is not the main purpose of the message.  The quatrain is the main message, the sub text is warning others to be wary of the media, and make more tiles.  Over the years it is clear that other Tilers have joined the movement because the styles have changed, and we have exceeded the life span of the one person, I believe, was responsible for beginning the movement, but we’ll talk about that shortly.

No one person has claimed responsibility for the tiles, however there was a group called the Minority Association which had connections to the message and philosophy of the tiles.  There are three suspects uncovered who would have the intellect, means and motive for trying to spread this message:

1) James Morasco – A carpenter from Philadelphia who had a beef with the local media mogul John Knight, and had a fatal disease.

2) Severino Verna – A blue-collar worker from Philadelphia whose family owns a funeral home.  He was also known to be extremely intelligent and kept dead pigeons so that he might be able to bring them back to life one day.

3) Railroad Joe – A rail worker who worked lines that ran near areas where tiles were found.

But the fact of the matter is that their identity was never meant to be discovered, and most likely never will.  The message is not about a person, it is about the message itself.  This group of Tilers, the Minority Association, saw something that today we still do not see.  And this is the core of my conclusion.

MY CONCLUSIONS

I believe that the person who began the tiling and came up with the original idea was James Morasco.  He mentions in a tile that he had a fatal disease.   We know that James Morasco had his voice box removed, mostly likely due to cancer.  He was faced with his own mortality, yet, I believe it was more than his own mortality he was concerned with.  The media do control the message, and did even more so back in the days of the Cold War.  But I believe that his original hypothesis was that we are killing our civilization.  This is another Toynbee idea. “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”  If we are killing our planet, we are committing suicide.

Jupiter has many moons, and I believe that the Tilers believe that we need to colonize those moons to save our own world from extinction.  I interpret “Resurrect Dead” as resurrecting our dying civilizations, but learning from what we did wrong.  I know there are many people who want to turn a blind eye to the fact that our climate is changing.  I am a data geek, and though I don’t have all the data NOAA and other organizations have, I can see for myself that the climate has changed in my short 44 years on this planet.  I am addicted to the weather, and process roadway weather in my data experiments.  Things are not as they should be.

This is further exacerbated by the Solar Maximum, which happens every twelve years.  This is a time when our sun is most active and produces massive solar flares and coronal mass ejections.  This is to say that the sun has an eruption, like a million nuclear weapons going off all at once, then it shoots the debris in the direction of the blast.  This is what causes the Aurora at the poles.  And in the beauty of the Auroras is hidden a destructive force — Electro Magnetic Pulses.  While this is not directly harmful to humans, a large enough CME could wipe out ALL of our electronics.  A single burp from the sun could send us back into the dark ages.  Billions of people would die over the course of days.

I am not predicting the end of the world, because it is inevitable.  in 4 billion years our planet will be consumed when the sun expands to a Red Giant.  Our planet will be nothing more than a cinder floating around a dying sun. This is the cycle of our universe.  But, this effect would Jupiter a perfect candidate to retreat to.  There are so many moons, and there is water on some of them as recent probes have discovered, and scientists discovered in the 1970’s before the Voyager probes.

We are on a collision course with disaster if we continue to treat our planet this way.  Our Tilers know this, and they know that the media controls the message.  Any information that could trigger mass hysteria is suppressed.  One man’s plight has turned into a message that should not be ignored, nor be taken as the ravings of a madman.

And finally, we consider the film 2001, which is about a the stages of our evolution, and ultimate redemption.  It reminds us that we should not rely on technology for everything, embodied by HAL.  It reminds us that violence is never the answer.  It reminds us that all things in the universe is a cycle and we must forage ahead seeking new ways to ensure that we, our civilization, does not commit suicide for being short-sighted.  Kubrick believed this.  Clarke believed this. And Arnold Toynbee believed this.  If you look at the chronological events that happened in the year 2001, you can see that this movie is semi-prophetic, but that is something you need to research.

What does it all mean?  It means that if we must plan to colonize other worlds to ensure that our species survives.  We must learn that the wars we have fought have been needless.  We fight over dirt.  We fight over religion.  We fight over material things.  It is all summed up in Toynbee’s title, life is all about “experiences” and learning from our history.  We have learned from our history in all the wrong ways.  We have learned how to be more efficient at dealing death.  We have learned how to rape our planet to the point of extinction.  But we have not learned that we cannot stay on this planet forever.

I have said a great deal of things.  I respect Toynbee, Kubrick, Clarke and the Tilers.  They are trying to tell you something, but we are not listening.  My friends, the universe is a waking dream.  Each of us has the ability to force the powers that be to fix the problems.    Force them to see that our planet, our civilization is dying.  Awaken your weirdness and change the world.

So I will leave you tonight with a message from the Tilers, hidden in the subtext. “You must make + glue the tiles!  You!!!”

Toynbee tile photographed a block or so from t...
Toynbee tile photographed a block or so from the White House by User:Erifnam in 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toynbee Tile, 13th & Chestnut Sts., Philadelph...

 

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Blog Tour: Great Minds

sleep-tight_826049Greetings, Dreamers!

Mark Meier, a fellow writer, asked me to join a blog tour last week.  I am very grateful to be recognized by my colleagues and be asked to join in the fun!

Before I answer the questions for the tour, I’d like to introduce another blogger/writer with amazing insight and ability, Victoria Craven.  Victoria runs the blog, The Autodidact in the Attic, which focuses on the macabre, horror and a wide variety of intellectual stimulus.  Here is her bio:

V.L. Craven lives with her husband and pets. She writes fiction—both short and long—and reviews of books, films & art, as well as essays, articles and interviews with all sorts of interesting people.

She’s always appreciated the darker side of life, which is the focus of her blog The Autodidact in the Attic, (see also its Facebook page). TAitA has reviews of books, films, art, apps and games (and interviews with creators of those things) that will appeal to people with an interest in the macabre or gothic.

Other Ways to Interact with Her:
On Twitter: @vlcraven
On Tumblr: vlcraven.tumblr.com
On Goodreads: V. L. Craven

She will be posting her answers to the blog tour questions next Monday, so do yourself a favor and check out her amazing site.

Now on to my answers:

1) What am I working on?

I am always working on a variety of projects simultaneously,  that’s just how my brain works.  Right now,  I am doing a serial short story on this blog, writing Book II in the Waking Dream Series — The Unkindness — and I am involved in a collaborative series with two other authors (details to come later this year).  My Waking Dream Series is the primary focus and I am always doing research as the it covers alternate history, philosophy, and science.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write novels and short stories.  My short stories tend to be very dark.  My favorite short stories are the ones I write in Lovecraftian style.  I am no Lovecraft, mind you, however I have enormous respect for his creations and imagination.

The Waking Dream series is really a mixture of many genres, so it is very hard to put it in any one box — I am not a fan of being pigeonholed.  The Waking Dream Series is an attempt to blur the lines between fantasy and reality.  Much of the subject matter is based on years of research.  I have always been fascinated with the paranormal and the supernatural — specifically the potential of the human mind.  The Waking Dream is my attempt to present a plausible framework for readers to suspend their disbelief and explore their own lives.  Life is a dream, if you really think about it.  We always have control over how our lives go, no matter the situation.  And once you believe that, you can do anything.

The Waking Dream series has elements of horror, paranormal, supernatural, romance, dystopia, apocalyptic events and fantasy.  It is very dark.  One of my fans put it, “It’s the Matrix meets The Stand”.  The first book is my Fellowship of the Ring. It is the twilight before the sun sets on our world. The subsequent books will descend further into the darkness of reality and the human mind.

One final note, there are many things hidden within the stories and novels, tying them together as well as giving avid readers something to discover within the text.  Everything in the Waking Dream Series is carefully calculated.  What have you found hidden within the story?

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love to create worlds.  The Waking Dream is, as I mentioned, an attempt to impart all I’ve learned about the human condition and get the reader to explore and create their own dream.  The world seems to be at an impasse, and we are not moving forward as we should from a philosophical sense.  While the Waking Dream is fiction, there are elements of truth in ever sentence I write — the things I believe to be true.

I write the Lovecraftian stories because I want his legacy to continue, as well as many other authors.  Being able to create a story that emulates the master gives me a sense of humility.  Many writers have walked in his footsteps, but his personal commitment to his craft is something to be admired, respected and remembered for all time.

4) How does my writing process work?

I don’t have a specific process for writing.  When I feel like writing, I write.  And because I have a wide variety of projects I am working on at any given time, I choose the project to work on that most suits my particular mood.  I believe that an author needs to be prolific to be successful.  Very few authors become successful with one book, or even their first book.  The more work you have out, you have a better chance of being discovered by new readers.  It is a snowball effect.

One thing I do tend to stick to in any project is that I usually begin with an illustration.  Next to writing, illustrating is one of my favorite hobbies.  I have over 50 illustrations for the Waking Dream,  as well as maps.  I want the Waking Dream to be similar to the Cthulhu Mythos so that other authors can contribute their own stories to the ever-growing Waking Dream Universe.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little excursion into my writing career.  Perhaps you’ll be interested in reading my work, which is listed on the right side bar.  Please be sure to check out Victoria Craven’s answers next Monday on her blog.

Happy Monday!

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