Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

December 30, 2011

Interplanetary Religion

Some people question Why It Is So Tempting to Make Fun of Mormons. I guess part of the answer is sacred underwear, but that’s kind of an intimate mystery I am just not willing to delve into.

I think that part of the temptation to make fun of Mormons, is that some of their story about our world sounds like science fiction. Their sacred texts write of time and space beyond the bounds of planet Earth, and unknown civilizations rising and falling. The Book of Mormon was published in 1830, almost 250 years after a Catholic monk (Giordano Bruno) suggested that other Earthlike worlds must orbit other stars besides the Sun. You could thus expect Book of Mormon to be aware of broader horizons than were known from Genesis or your average primitive mythology (which likely viewed this world as a snowglobe, with orbiting Sun and Moon.)

Check out this piece of anti-Mormon propaganda… as far as I can tell it is factual, but just horribly biased to show Mormonism’s weird face:

Banned Mormon Cartoon

Racism and polygamy in the founding texts are nothing weird. It must be the other planets with the other Gods that so alienate the narrator.

Weirder yet, consider Scientology. I had trouble believing this was real…

An Illustrated History of Scientology

In fact, Scientology tried to keep the story confidential for quite a while, claiming that it was a trade secret, and that anyone who was heard the tale with inadequate preparation would contract pneumonia and die (if this happens to you, my bad). The story was repeatedly leaked, and there is even a recording of L. Ron Hubbard telling it. There are some odd details in there… why use H-bombs and  volcanoes? Why are they using the bombs and airplanes of the 1960’s? Aside from that, the tale involves Earth in an ancient and interstellar situation, which for some reason is more unbelievable than invisible spirits and miracles.

It seems likely to me, that if humankind keeps developing in a technical direction, we may eventually master the physics and technology to travel faster than the speed of light. That means that there should be alien civilizations, thousands or millions of years older than us, who mastered interstellar flight long ago. Well, a dauntless lady named Uriel once claimed to know all about it, and got busy preparing for the inevitable contact.

Uriel on The Landing

So which is more crazy — a cosmic tale of billions of years and hundreds of worlds, or a tale in which the cosmic All-Father is mostly concerned about, for example, the triumphs and defeats of one nation of Chosen People? Or perhaps the All-Father is into pushing for every last Earthling to pledge allegience to a particular long-dead Jew whose life was in no way documented while He lived. Why stop at Earthlings? — the Galactic Christians stand ready to convert the Galaxy, as soon as technical improvements make such a mission possible. I guess they’re broadening their horizons and at least acknowledging that intelligent life must exist on other planets!

It’s fun to have a laugh at the interplanetary religions — I’m not trying to be mean, it’s just that the things people do are funny. The laughter reflects on the laugher, and not just the subject matter. I think that religions of outer space make us a little uncomfortable, because they remind us that we could be clinging on to really narrow, perhaps arbitrary beliefs, in the face of a Universe teeming with unknowns.

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December 25, 2011

Happy Yule!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paragardener @ 6:03 am

‘Tis the season for goofy lights, snowy imagery, and taking bits of evergreen plants inside. I went out and ate and sang songs with my family tonight, more of same tomorrow. But late tonight Tamara and I dedicated this pagan shrine by hanging little Disney ornaments all over it:

Xmas Tree!

Xmas Tree!

Loki the cat ponders trouble

The LED lights we used seem like a good innovation, although the strands are more expensive, they should use less power, last longer and have less propensity for fire. Other than that, what can I say? It’s a Christmas, er, Yule tree. It’s mostly for fun, so enjoy, have a great New Year, don’t crash or get pulled over.

Merry Yuletide to all and to all a good night!

December 18, 2011

Flogging FDA

Filed under: gardening, Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , — paragardener @ 6:29 pm

Almost a year in, how has the Food Safety Modernization Act been affecting your food? Well, it didn’t prevent an outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe, which killed thirty people, the worst listeria outbreak of decades. When FDA inspectors arrived at the Jensen Farms facility that was sending out contaminated melons, they found water pooled on the floor, dirt on the machinery and a truck parked outside with cow manure all over the tires — conditions that were substandard under the old laws, too.

Small farmers were supposed to be exempted from newly excruciating Good Agricultural Practices requirements imposed by the Act. However, the exemption was written so narrowly that experts at the Michigan State Extension Service say it “creates confusion and false hope among small growers that expect to sell their crop without requiring attending or implementing a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program in their farms.”

A farm-to-fork dinner for a Community Supported Agriculture project straddling Utah and Nevada was raided and all of the food destroyed, largely because the food was approved in Utah but was to be eaten in Nevada. We’re talking about local farmers using organic technique and working with a certified chef, here. Who does the local health department think they saved? However, it doesn’t look like the Food Safety Modernization act was invoked. It wasn’t needed, since (I’m not making this up), sliced vegetables may be seized as biohazard material.

Neither was the FSMA needed to enable FDA raids on the Rawesome raw milk collective (crime: live food), or Maxam Nutraceuticals (crime: posted customer testimonials to their website). The Food Safety Modernization Act may not be relevant because the food and medical regulatory system has been tooled to go after small guys since an early time, when agents closed down all of Dr. Hoxsey’s cancer treatment clinics and smashed all of Dr. Reich’s orgone accumulator boxes. The worst scenarios of FSMA-empowered FDA agents raiding kitchen gardens have not come to pass, but look forward to government authorities continually leaning on the alternatives to Hot Pockets and McDonald’s. It’s what they do.

December 15, 2011

Did the World End 6,000 Years Ago?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — paragardener @ 5:25 pm

Imagine a horrific water shortage throws the world into famine and tumult. Fathers are leaving their families to go and find food, and often as not they don’t come back. Orphaned children band together to prowl the streets and steal supplies.

After a while, only the strong are surviving. Organized raiders led by brutal warlords come to dominate the blasted landscape. These men fetishize power and violence, keep other people as slaves, and assemble harems to please their carnal whims.

Once the water situation is a little less grim, the new society organizes itself around the warlords in their fortified camps. No longer do warlords have to end all of their commands with “OR DIE!”, because everyone just knows it is right to obey their leader. Everyone has a place in the chain of command / obedience, from ruler down to slave.

Women have their right to contraception stripped, since the warlords want more numerous children to aggrandize their little empires. Needless to say, homosexuals meet a swift and final punishment, since they fall so far outside of the Big Man – Harem – Breed More Soldiers model. Some men might be castrated and kept in subservient positions, though.

As a final insult, the warlords put all of the teachers to death and replace them with priests, who seem to coach obedience within the armed-camp society more than they actually teach anything. Their lessons are about following orders, reveling in inequality, hating the sinful ways of people in the other camps, and constantly examining one’s self for disloyalty.

Did this scenario actually play out in the distant past?

A number of sources tell this story, or pieces of it. To begin with the familiar:

The Bible

In Genesis, we hear of an earlier, more peacable society consisting only of Adam and Eve. They were hanging out naked in a lush, garden-like environment in the Before; in the After, they’re clothed, guilt-wracked and have to work hard to eat. The Knowledge of Good and Evil might well be the Knowledge of Fitting In to Armed Camp Society — in that place you’d want to hide your sexuality to avoid being raped or jealously murdered. Eve is punished with difficult childbearing (all of the midwives were killed?) and told that her husband will henceforth rule over her, which is clearly warlordism and not a natural way for partners to get along.

Incidently, Eden is located in Mesopotamia, by extremely vague Biblical directions. That area definitely experienced a drying trend over recent millenia, going from “The Fertile Crescent” to sandy desert. We know for sure that the people of the region adapted by farming grain (imagine the work, with stone and wooden tools!) and moving into walled cities. The Old Testament in general is an excellent source book regarding civilized society at this time…

Excerpts from Numbers 31…

Moses to Isrealite commanders: “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

…The LORD said to Moses, “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. Divide the spoils equally between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community. From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the LORD one out of every five hundred, whether people, cattle, donkeys or sheep. Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the LORD’s part. From the Israelites’ half, select one out of every fifty, whether people, cattle, donkeys, sheep or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the LORD’s tabernacle.” So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.

The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.

The half share of those who fought in the battle was:

337,500 sheep, of which the tribute for the LORD was 675;

36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the LORD was 72;

30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the LORD was 61;

16,000 people, of whom the tribute for the LORD was 32.

Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the LORD’s part, as the LORD commanded Moses.

The half belonging to the Israelites, which Moses set apart from that of the fighting men— the community’s half—was 337,500 sheep, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys and 16,000 people. From the Israelites’ half, Moses selected one out of every fifty people and animals, as the LORD commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, who were responsible for the care of the LORD’s tabernacle.

There is this genuine strain of questing for justice in the O.T. — notice how they divided the sex slaves so fairly amongst themselves! Another point on the Bible — the warlord chieftain of the moment has been replaced by the LORD, a king of kings, seeing all and ruling from behind the curtains like the Big Brother of 1984. This document is supposedly a good foundation for morality, and in fact I often think of some fable or poetry or parable out of the Bible; still, can you see how it documents a horrible time? Cretins then refer to the Bible to justify the horrors they’re perpetrating today.

DeMeo’s Analysis of Anthropological Data

James DeMeo, a supporter of Willhelm Reich’s theory of sex repression and mystical, put together a vast amount of existing cross-cultural data on warfare, marriage, child-rearing and such to establish the origins and spread of warlordism. He found that warlordism, which he calls patrism, originated in a broad swath of drying land including not only Mesopotamia, but also the Sahara and extending in the other direction through Central Asia (for short, Saharasia). The alternative to patrism, matrism, is humanity’s default in this model, and it once covered the entire globe. Patrists have prevailed because of their excellence in violence, and spread over the world.

DeMeo believes that patrism continues generationally through painful or pleasure-censoring child-rearing practices, such as genital-mutilating rituals or demands that children be quiet, uncurious and obedient. These practices result in adults who are more aggressive, sadistic and authority-worshiping than natural people — and better warriors with shield and spear in hand. Thus, the original trauma of famine and warlordism has been replicated and spread by conquest and sadistic cultural practices: an enforced catastrophe.

If you doubt the existence of less-violent, matrist cultures, look up “Trobriand Islanders.”

Eisler’s Chalice and Blade

Another source of information on the rise of “patrism” is the 1987 book “The Chalice and the Blade” by Riane Eisler. She describes a Neolithic agrarian way of life that revered fertility goddesses, featured male and female priests and treated males and females equally in their tombs. This widespread culture was conquered or displaced by Indo-Europeans (aka Aryans), who rode horses into battle and stressed masculinity and death in their religion. I have yet to read it except in this tiny summary, but I understand that this book really opened people’s eyes to the idea that more peacable cultures can be viable, and that women’s historically lowly position is due to historical circumstance, and not inborn human nature. I bet that Eisler uses the term “patriarchy” and not “patrism,” but her story is pretty compatible with DeMeo’s and the Biblical evidence.

Sick, Sad World

Sometimes I think to myself, “is the world really sick, or do I just look at it too darkly, or are my expectations just too high?” Now I have some evidence that the world is really sick: people are living in a cycle of catastrophic famine behavior, the cause of which was in the ancient past. We’re perpetuating it on ourselves through a culture of repression and violence. It cheers me to know that the horrible water-shortage scenario I imagined really happened (more or less), ’cause it means there is a reason for people to act so damned mean. The imagined possibility of changing the situation becomes a real-life chance.

The story explains much about us, like where this gay-hating strain came from or how slavery was ever okay. It explains why the Battle of Good and Evil (Us vs. Them) is the plot or subtext of every Hollywood movie, and why going about naked is shameful and criminal. I’m sure you can find the celebration of warlord values all over the culture for yourself, so no more of that.

The flip side is that promoting matrist culture and resisting patrism constitutes a cure. If we treat children better, develop some wherwithall to take care of our own families and communities (outside of capitalist exploitation), and learn how to better resist violent authorities, well, those seem like the things that would damage the warlord culture and allow people to flourish in the world we were meant for.

December 10, 2011

Who the Hell was Wilhelm Reich?

Filed under: science — Tags: , , , , — paragardener @ 3:46 pm

Whilst surfing the ‘Net for herbalist purposes the other day, I happened upon the name “Wilhelm Reich.” “Who is that?,” I thought, and then answered myself, “Crackpot scientist. Weird cultlike followers.”

My sketchy memory didn’t seem very fair, so I decided to Wikipedia the guy. It turns out that he started out as a psychiatrist, working within Germany’s Communist Party to support sexual freedom in the hopefully soon-arriving Communist utopia. He believed that sexual repression underlay problems like neurosis and sadism, and that freedom in matters like birth control and divorce could reduce the need for psychotherapy. His freedom-loving ways soon pissed off Communists and Nazis alike. Comintern and the Nazi party banned his books, burned them, and put out warrants for his death. Reich had to flee, first to Oslo, and years later to America.

While in Sweden, Wilhelm had moved his theory of sexual repression into a physical framework. He studied a mysterious substance or energy called “orgone,” which is the stuff of life and orgasm. It’s blue, it makes the sky blue, and it holds the galaxy together. If your personal orgone is blocked, it makes you cranky and physically weak. Reich constructed boxes of metal and wood layers which attracted and concentrated orgone, and patients sat inside to get revitalized. This must be the part that had me thinking “crackpot”… the orgone accumulator smells like a big steaming pile of horseshit, if you ask me.

So once in America, Reich published several journals regarding orgone, and operated a laboratory on his estate, “Orgonon,” in Maine, where he and his students could run experiments about orgone. Everyone enjoyed total freedom, and eventually the scientific method repeatedly demonstrated the falsehood of orgone, which is why you don’t hear about it anymore. Oh, if only.

In fact, the news media jumped into the game and infused a lot of politics and sex phobia into the discussion on Reich and his work. At first, a few (pro-Communist?) writers slammed Reich, especially in New Republic  magazine. According to Reich’s followers, these writers didn’t like his critique of Communist totalitarianism, and they found it easy to slide into mockery of the unlikely orgone accumulator, now dubbed the “sex box.” The story of Reich’s anarchical sex cult up on the Orgonon compound was too good not to repeat, so uncritical newswriters passed the tale around until it might as well have been true.

The medical establishment eagerly jumped on board, as they were in the process of purging all “natural” healing methods from practice in favor of an all-powerful MD-Big Pharma axis. In their eyes, the sex box was not merely funny or ineffective, but it was an attempt to defraud  patients. Mind you, the orgone accumulator was at the center of all Reich’s research from this period. Studying the box’s effects intently would seem to run counter to the idea of fraudulently fobbing it off on idiots, but perhaps research conducted outside of the academic Establishment simply doesn’t count.

FDA Inspector Charles A. Wood was soon on the case, snooping about Orgonon with Reich’s permission. Early in the investigation, he told one of Reich’s employees that (I paraphrase) “The accumulator is a fake and Reich is fooling the public with it. He will soon go to jail.” No complaints from patients could be produced, but plenty of experts could  be found to dismiss the accumulator on the basis of its weirdness. For instance, the son of FDA physicist Kurt Lion remembers his father being asked to prove that the box was just a box and that Dr. Reich was a fraud — not  to evaluate the box and find out whether or not it might really do anything, or to review Dr. Reich’s work.

The FDA asked a court for an injunction to shut down Reich’s trade in orgone accumulators. The judge ignored Reich’s response to the FDA (a Motion to Dismiss), and awarded the FDA their injunction by technical default. The full scope of the injunction was utterly villainous, and included the following:

Case #1056, March 19, 1954, US District Court,
Portland, Maine, Judge John D. Clifford, Jr.

“BANNED, until expunged of all references
to the orgone energy:

The Discovery of the Orgone
Vol.I, The Function of the Orgasm
Vol.II, The Cancer Biopathy
The Sexual Revolution
Ether, God and Devil
Cosmic Superimposition
Listen, Little Man
The Mass Psychology of Fascism
Character Analysis
The Murder of Christ
People in Trouble

BANNED and ORDERED DESTROYED:

The Orgone Energy Accumulator: Its Scientific and Medical Use
The Oranur Experiment
The Orgone Energy Bulletin
The Orgone Energy Emergency Bulletin
International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research
Internationale Zeitschrift fur Orgonomie
Annals of the Orgone Institute”

Reich must have done something right, to get Communists and  Nazis and  the good ole US of A all  excited enough to burn his books! Instead of scientifically picking apart the suspected quackery, FDA went into full-on, cartoonish witch-hunter mode and tried to literally burn out the heresy, sending books and journals to incinerators in Maine and New York. The de facto  function of the FDA seems to be shutting down all alternatives to mainstream, Establishment-operated food and medical options. They always seem to have the authority and resources to crack down on experimenters and raw milk collectives, but they can’t do anything to remedy the chemical soup that lately passes for food.

Eventually, FDA men destroyed the orgone accumulators at Orgonon by hacking them apart with axes. Wilhelm Reich was sent to prison after an assistant broke the judge’s injunction and smuggled some orgone accumulators across state lines. Reich died two weeks before becoming eligible for parole.

In the age of cheap books and photocopying, not all of Reich’s work could be destroyed. Reich’s students and Reich study groups continued to develop his ideas, and he had a following through networks of psychotherapists and psychiatrists. As well, Reich sealed some of his papers and ordered them to remain sealed until 50 years after his death, to protect them from the modern inquisition (thus, they only became available in 2007). Nowadays, with the Internets, elites have pretty sloppy control over the flow of information, and heretical ideas like orgone can really take on new life. It’s a crisis (for some), that ideas can be built on by anyone and published to the ‘Net, cutting out the publishing house or peer reviewers or government committee that ought to be predetermining the truth for everybody.

Some of the Reich wackiness has actually been replicated and peer-reviewed. James DeMeo replicated Reich’s technology for cloudbusting,  drawing down rain with the power of orgone, as a graduate thesis at the University of Kansas in 1977. Researchers Stefan Müschenich and Rainer Gebauer at the University of Marburg demonstrated some of the effects of the orgone accumulator in 1987, and Günter Hebenstreit at the University of Vienna replicated their findings in 1995. Very strange!

It strikes me that the accumulator could work through other means than actually accumulating orgone. For one, an orgone accumulator will function like a Farraday cage, shielding the inside from electrical field and some types of electromagnetic radiation (a car is a type of Farraday cage; the body will carry a lightning charge around the very outside of the vehicle, leaving the passengers safe inside). We live in an “enriched” electromagnetic environment lately, with cell phone signals and wireless networks constantly permeating us and probably contributing to cancer. Perhaps it’s a good idea to go hide in a Farraday cage for a half an hour a day, and let your body recover. Also, many people are under so much stress, maybe they just need to get away and sit quietly in a box!

I thought about putting in some links to the contemporary orgone science scene, but really you’ll do fine searching for “Wilhelm Reich.” Normally, I would not waste my time studying something that’s already tripped my bullshit detector, but I’m really impressed by the threat Reich apparently posed to the Powers That Be — Nazi, Communist, or All-American — so I think I’ll revisit this from time to time. There seems to be a little evidence for orgone, so it’s probably not an untestable dead-end idea like Intelligent Design (a good idea isn’t one that’s true, it’s one that leads to good questions). Anyway, this guy’s ideas just deserve a second chance after how people treated him!

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