true by accident

``Very nice,'' I said. ``But why did you bring me up here?''
``It's time for you to see the fnords,'' he replied.
Then I woke up in bed and it was the next morning. I made breakfast in a pretty nasty mood, wondering if I'd seen the fnords, whatever the hell they were, in the hours he had blacked out, or if I would see them as soon as I went out into the street. I had some pretty gruesome ideas about them, I must admit. Creatures with three eyes and tentacles, survivors from Atlantis, who walked among us, invisible due to some form of mind shield, and did hideous work for the Illuminati. It was unnerving to contemplate, and I finally gave in to my fears and peeked out the window, thinking it might be better to see them from a distance first. Nothing. Just ordinary sleepy people, heading for their busses and subways. That calmed me a little, so I set out the toast and coffee and fetched the New York Times from the hallway. I turned the radio to WBAI and caught some good Vivaldi, sat down, grabbed a piece of toast and started skimming the first page.
Then I saw the fnords.
The feature story involved another of the endless squabbles between Russia and the U.S. in the UN General Assembly, and after each direct quote from the Russian delegate I read a quite distinct ``Fnord!'' The second lead was about a debate in congress on getting the troops out of costa Rica; every argument presented by Senator Bacon was followed by another ``Fnord!'' At the bottom of the page was a Times depth-type study of the growing pollution problem and the increasing use of gas masks among New Yorkers; the most distressing chemical facts were interpolated with more ``Fnords.''
Suddenly I saw Hagbard's eyes burning into me and heard his voice: ``Your heart will remain calm. Your adrenalin gland will remain calm. Calm, all-over calm. You will not panic. you will look at the fnord and see the it. You will not evade it or black it out. you will stay calm and face it.'' And further back, way back: my first-grade teacher writing FNORD on the blackboard, while a wheel with a spiral design turned and turned on his desk, turned and turned, and his voice droned on, IF YOU DON'T SEE THE FNORD IT CAN'T EAT YOU, DON'T SEE THE FNORD, DON'T SEE THE FNORD . . .
I looked back at the paper and still saw the fnords. This was one step beyond Pavlov, I realized. The first conditioned reflex was to experience the panic reaction (the activation syndrome, it's technically called) whenever encountering the word ``fnord.'' The second conditioned reflex was to black out what happened, including the word itself, and just to feel a general low-grade emergency without knowing why. And the third step, of course, was to attribute this anxiety to the news stories, which were bad enough in themselves anyway. Of course, the essence of control is fear. The fnords produced a whole population walking around in chronic low-grade emergency, tormented by ulcers, dizzy spells, nightmares, heart palpitations and all the other symptoms of too much adrenalin. All my left-wing arrogance and contempt for my countrymen melted, and I felt a genuine pity. No wonder the poor bastards believe anything they're told, walk through pollution and overcrowding without complaining, watch their son hauled off to endless wars and butchered, never protest, never fight back, never show much happiness or eroticism or curiosity or normal human emotion, live with perpetual tunnel vision, walk past a slum without seeing either the human misery it contains or the potential threat it poses to their security . . .
Then I got a hunch, and turned quickly to the advertisements. it was as I expected: no fnords. That was part of the gimmick, too: only in consumption, endless consumption, could they escape the amorphous threat of the invisible fnords. I kept thinking about it on my way to the office. If I pointed out a fnord to somebody who hadn't been deconditioned, as Hagbard deconditioned me, what would he or she say? They'd probably read the word before or after it. ``No this word,'' I'd say. And they would again read an adjacent word. But would their panic level rise as the threat came closer to consciousness? I preferred not to try the experiment; it might have ended with a psychotic fugue in the subject. The conditioning, after all, went back to grade school. No wonder we all hate those teachers so much: we have a dim, masked memory of what they've done to us in converting us into good and faithful servants for the Illuminati.


Free as in censorship

I am very sorry things have come thusfar.. Having done some 60 projects with the SeeBeyond and Sun toolsets during the last 10 years, I would have preferred a brighter future.
It is clear that Oracle is merely hosting OpenESB and isn't in the business of investing valuable resources into maturing a promising toolset. On the other hand, Oracle hasn't shown any malice towards OpenESB and related initiatives despite many people feeling the need to alarm us on pending shutdowns of hosting facilities, which, when checked are up and running as usual. But it also doesn't seem to add much to realizing the potential of OpenESB, Mural, IEP and related technologies like OpenPTK, Keychain, OpenDI, Sailfin, OpenMQ.
Although there appear to be quite some developers and US based companies working along with Oracle on OpenESB. So, this is a rather fuzzy kind of situation which I would love to get more input on.
Something's got to give however..
Just forking or re-hosting this under the fire of argumentation using some very eloquent rethorical soundbytes of several previously unkown community members is not only ethically challengeable but also fatal to the community at it's current stage. I realize that, if such is ones purpose, one needs to move quickly now, because the merger of Sun (and its many high potential projects) into Oracle is finalizing day by day, surprising us with announcements we are not supposed to expect from an Oracle. But we're playing with impressions here, just like answering emails with non-sequiturs will gradually over time makes one think that the one answering has been giving valuable advices, while all they really did was stand close to a question often enough. Such are the intruiging workings on e.g. the "confirmation bias", one of human's many irrational mechanisms of reasoning.
Now, why do I think it is fatal, is related to Monty's struggles at the EU in trying to obtain the name MySQL again.. the goodwill, the reputation, all the traffic and associated support and maintenance income. Let's leave it in the middle if he 'deserves' this after having received part of a $ payment (which wasn't paid in Sun stocks..), maybe it was right, maybe it was wrong, but he doesn't seem to be getting MariaDb off the ground in the similar way as with MySQL, nor is there a flight of disappointed customers moving his way. But we have seen this with other Open Source projects in the past, as well as the recent ones where finally the plug was being pulled after a major investment. If the owners of the intellectual property, the actual developers mindshare, have for the most part left the community move along and if the remainders choose to detach OpenESB from its originators.. how much of an investment is it going to take to revatilize it all. Enthusiasm is one thing, budget and scale are another.
And that leads me to think the proposed actions, despite its almost theatrical build-up during previous months, is simply hitting a law of nature.. which I would like to ask here. Are the benefits of Open Source Software dependent on the size of the community as well as the complexity of the software?
I can't escape the impression the benefits as listed on http://open-source.gbdirect.co.uk/migration/benefit.html are not realizable if the community isn't large and/or active enough. In fact, I think it's at a certain size and level of activity, the benefits implode and instead of the self-filtering assumption of "Open Source" we encounter a level of inbreeding which also involves effective lock-in for the end-customer. No vendor lock-in, but lock-in by ones solution provider.. as geo-political boundaries, the level of complexity, methodologies like SCRUM lead, along with recession induced cheap projects, effectively lead to implementations where only the original provider has any proficiency in maintaining it. Is this the goal of Open Source ? I very much doubt it so.

If I look at the number of people in the "OpenESB Users" on nabble.. there are actually some 1136 users. Of course some accounts are counted double. LinkedIn shows several groups, "JCAPS (Formerly SeeBeyond)" with 438 members, "Open ESB Community" with 573 and "Java CAPS" with 578.. So let's take the average and say there are some 681 users..
Now, only about 5% of these users were present in Brussels, and a percentage of these 5% are now positioning themselves "in the best interest of THE community" whereas the number of names indicates this only to be about 1% of the community.

The OpenESB Governance model has been set up in quite a meritocratic way, ".. projects within the OpenESB community have a very flat, lightweight governance structure. Decisions are made in public discussion on public mailing lists. There are few formal roles -- an individual's word carries weight in accordance with their contribution to the project. Decisions are preferably made by consensus, rather than voting--most decisions are of interest only to members of the community who will be affected by it. The combination of public mailing lists and consensus ensures that any person who could be affected by a decision both finds out about it, and has a voice in the discussion." - https://open-esb.dev.java.net/Governance.html
Yet if we look at the names listed and try to match with the top 20 posters according to Nabble.. as if this is a measure of proficiency of contribution, but that's another matter, we are left with 2 persons, both providing support to other mailers to the extend of their experience and capabilities. One of which clearly doesn't agree with the course of events. So, we have 0.15 % of the contributive users present at the summit, and taking the lead in speaking in name of THE community..

But if I read http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/simon-says/2010/10/rehost-and-carry-on/index.htm or http://www.forgerock.com/openesb-faq.html then we seem to be talking about the same community? I mean, this OpenESB community, not even the larger SeeBeyond-l on IT Toolbox or STC-User on Yahoogroups.
And why this course of actions? To whose benefit? The source is available.. one can automate a download every night to ensure always having the latest bits and pieces for the event that some *actually* happens. And if one looks deeper into the agreements.. the arrangements are similar to MySQL, or more adequate MySQL AB.. which was about Open Source, in some way, but also a slick company with a lean and agile business model which kept most development inhouse. Just like Sun did, and why this whole community has so much trouble in switching roles from relative passive user to active contributor. Maybe that is going to happen, maybe not, but with tearing down a struggling community I don't think anyone is done a favour, not the companies that built Binding Components, not the original developers of the core features, not the original mindshare and lessons-learned from SeeBeyond which significantly helped in shaping these products.
May it is meant well, but "Hell is paved with good intentions", and are we, the remaining 99% of THE community that blind that we do not notice ?

I would like to take a closer look at something.. Open Source is about "Free as in Freedom", it is about Liberty and not about Gratis, however the latter seems to prevail. Freedom actually has two sides, which have been proposed in the 1960's by philosopher Isaiah Berlin, positive and negative liberty. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/
Negative liberty is the absence of obstacles, barriers or constraints. One has negative liberty to the extent that actions are available to one in this negative sense. Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one's life and realize one's fundamental purposes.

I think it is pretty clear, that what we have been experiencing is a display of 'negative liberty'. And I think Open Source Software is about 'postive liberty'.
As it happens, for gathering some seed capital today I was giving a presentation on the workings of propagation of emotional credentials within social networks, how this works, grows, and proven. This involves goodwill, reputation, adherence to promises, resolution of ambiguity and most importanly trust. Trust is very eery, and important.. and as a last note I like to share the definition used; "The attitude of expecting good performance from another party, whether in terms of loyalty, goodwill, truth, or promises. The importance of trust as a kind of invisible glue that binds society together is most visible when it is lost. Trust involves an element of risk, and epistemologists can have trouble categorizing it as rational, since it works best in advance, for example to motivate performance on occasions when defection may be to the advantage of the person trusted. Economically trust is precious, enabling parties to bypass the costly precautions and safeguards needed in transactions with parties whom one does not trust. Trustworthiness is a virtue, subsuming varieties such as truthfulness and fidelity."

Although Oracle representatives haven't been as involved as I would like them to be, they have only been disappointing. But I kind of got used to that after 2005 already.. But what I am seeing with the summit.. this has me loose trust in this community, if it can be hijacked that easily.
If anything, as I responded already I would like to see Oracle explore a co-sourcing and gradual merger of OpenESB with OW2 Petals, which is likely the only road ahead for a revival. OW2 appears to be morphing in quite a haven for Open Source initiatives seeking less politics but global opportunities. Any other course of events is just about postponing the start date on maintenance contracts for unsupported and dying software solutions. I have no vested interest in any direction whatsoever. This is just my personal opion, and when decisions influence other people's life I prefer dealing with facts, not just impressions, so I invite anyone as a souvereign individual to speak up.

As the American writer Oliver Wendell Holmes accurately observed;
The hydrostatic paradox of controversy. Don't you know what that means? Well, I will tell you.
You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other.
Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way.
And the fools know it.

Take care,
Paul Peters
Fluxology SA


My Yiddishe Mama

Mothers matter! High social status and maternal support play an important role in mating success of male bonobos

ScienceDaily (2010-09-05) -- The higher up a male bonobo is placed in the social hierarchy, the greater his mating success is with female bonobos, researchers have found. But even males who are not so highly placed still have a chance of impressing females. A new study finds evidence of direct support from mothers to their sons in agonistic conflicts over access to estrous females. ... > read full article

The diamonds are fake, but the chasms are real..


Artificial Art

Made by my phone, itself... facing upwards on the kitchen table.
Suddenly heard the sound of the camera shutter.. and behold.
But is it art?


and why not..

Hi everybody,

i'm working on an idea to establish a labelling system which can easily demonstrate a seller's environmental footprint.
To make such a label obvious for the critical person to use, along with chain-accountability upto the 3rd degree in the supply chain, it will have to display an indication of improvement measures. Likewise with a farmer switching to bio-agricultural, it will take a number of different steps to get there. Such steps ought be rewarded, a system based on punishing "bad" deeds is not effective here, not something i want to advocate.

I do think the results from Copenhagen are not farfetching enough, i don't think our political systems are adequate to carry such initiatives and i don't expect politicians or political organisations to change. I don't think it is good enough.

The last 90 years have seen an increased effort in shaping us humans as consumers. Well, there are a lot of things i would rather not buy, use, eat or get treated with if i were to know where it came from. The recession of the last two years shows a large many people are ethicaly bankrupt or just overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issues we're facing. Our value systems seem unfit for the challenges ahead and the means we have at our disposal. But maybe we start off small, and use our collective power as consumers to turn the issue inside out. I am hoping to get a consumer and academic movement going.

The last two years I’ve seen the international academic world having a surprising impact on local level without any intervention of national politics, and this has been in a very realistic pragmatic way such as avoiding overfishing of certain species. Likewise, this label can have a simple start mapping interdependencies, possible alternatives, consolidate different rating systems and get something as simple as Fair Trade.

I'll give it a shot this year to get this moving, and hope enough people will join in to make this worthwhile.

Take care



add water and stir

Situations have the power to do 3 things:
  • inflame hostile imagination to perpetrate evil
  • inspire heroic action
  • render most people ‘passive bystanders’ and guilty of ‘the Evil of Inaction
7 Social Processes that grease the slippery slope of Evil
  • Mindless taking of the first step (carelessness)
  • Dehumanisation of others ("them")
  • De-individuation of self (anonymity)
  • Diffusion of personal responsibility (someone else's problem)
  • Blind obedience to authority (true believer)
  • Uncritical conformity to group norms (groupthink)
  • Passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference (apathy)
The Lucifer Effect: understanding how good people turn evil
Philip Zimbardo


So ist der Lauf der Welt

Once upon a time there lived a vain Emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people.
Word of the Emperor's refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor's vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind.
"We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."
The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel's strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor's curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels.
"Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately.
"Just tell us what you need to get started and we'll give it to you." The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well: in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense.
"Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know."
The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels.
"We're almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead.
"I can't see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I'm stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't see anything, he would be discharged from his office.
"What a marvelous fabric, he said then. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More thread was requested to finish the work.
Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit.
"Come in," the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding large roll of fabric.
"Here it is your Highness, the result of our labour," the scoundrels said. "We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is." Of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn't know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing.
The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their needles an invisible cloth.
"Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved.
"Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."
"Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.
"All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.
Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"
"What a marvellous train!"
"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.
A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.
"The Emperor is naked," he said.
"Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:
"The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!"
The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.


The Betrayal of Tradition

Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of Modernity


homo homini loopy

Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are someone elses opinions,
their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
~ Oscar Wilde

They copied all they could follow
but they couldn't copy my mind
so I left them sweating and stealing
a year and a half behind.
~ Rudyard Kipling

Jacques Vallée.. “You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future”

Information, Occasions, Spacetime
Another interesting facet of the UFO phenomenon concerns information theory. According to modern physics, and in particular to Brillouin, Bagor, and Roghstein, information and entropy are closely related. The relationship has been expressed clearly by Brillouin:
Entropy is generally regarded as expressing the state of disorder of a physical system. More precisely, one can say that entropy measures the lack of information about the true structure of the system.
No information can be obtained in the course of a physical measurement, then, without changing the amount of entropy in the universe, the state of disorder of the cosmos.
Now the physicist is faced with a new challenge: how to define disorder. And the task, as R. Schafroth has pointed out, is not easy:
Some scientists pile up papers and books on their shelves in apparent disorder, yet they know perfectly how to find the document they want. If someone restores the appearance of order, the unfortunate owner of these documents may be unable to locate anything. In this case it is obvious that the apparent disorder was in fact order, and vice versa.
Speculating on the relationship between these physical quantities, French physicist Costa de Beauregard wrote, "It must be in the nature of probability to serve as the operational link between objective and subjective, between matter and psychism." He points out that, in precybernetics physics, observation was regarded as a process without mystery, requiring no explanation, whereas free action, on the contrary, was "regarded as a physical impossibility and a psychological illusion." In modern physics these ideas have been revolutionized.
Most theories advanced to explain paranormal phenomena borrow the standard concepts of space and time dimensions from physics. These concepts seem obsolete to me. They are not appropriate for understanding telepathy, or the moving of objects at a distance, or ghosts, or UFO abductions. I have always been struck also by the fact that energy and information are one and the same thing under two different aspects. Our physics professors teach us this, yet they never draw the consequences of that teaching.
Perhaps it is proper to shake from our theoretical ankles the chains of spacetime. Space and time coordinates derive their convenience from graphic considerations. The theory of space and time is a cultural artifact. If we had invented the digital computer before inventing graph paper, we might have a very different theory of the universe today.
The remarkable story of Cardan's dialogue with the two sylphs who disagreed about the nature of the universe summarizes the problem well. One of the sylphs believed the world had been created of all eternity. The other sylph expressed a theory closer to Islamic occasionalism: the universe is a world of events. This book you are reading is only an occasion of the book I wrote. Can you be certain that it is identical to all the other copies? The pen I am using to write these words is not necessarily the same pen I was using a minute ago; it may be a new instance, a new occasion of the same pen.
Time and space may be convenient notions for plotting the progress of a locomotive, but they are completely useless for locating information. The apparent exception is the library, but anyone who has tried to find something in a modern library with its flat shelves along vertical walls will recognize the predicament in telling order from disorder in cartesian coordinates.
Modern computer scientists have long recognized that ordering by time and space is the worst possible way to store a lot of data at high speed. In a large computer-based information system, no attempt is made to place related records in sequential physical locations. It is much more convenient to sprinkle the records throughout storage as they arrive, and to construct an algorithm for retrieval based on some type of key word or on "hashing," a procedure where the record index is randomized. Probability serves as the link between something objective, the record location, and something subjective, the request for retrieval.
The synchronicity and coincidences that abound in our lives suggest that the world may be organized like a randomized data base (the multiverse) rather than a sequential library (the fourdimensional universe of conventional physics).

Creatures of the Multiverse
If there is no time dimension as we usually assume there is, the human brain may be traversing events by association. Modern computers retrieve information associatively. The user "evokes" the desired records by using key words, words of power. For example, if he requests the intersection of "microwave" and "headache," he may find twenty articles whose existence in the literature he never suspected. If we live in the associative universe of the software scientist rather than the sequential universe of the spacetime physicist, then miracles are no longer irrational events. The philosophy we could derive from this line of speculation would be closer to Islamic occasionalism than to the Cartesian or Newtonian universe. And a new theory of information would have to be built. Such a theory might have interesting things to say about communication with the denizens of other physical realities, creatures of the multiverse. It might throw new light on the experience of the UFO abductees.
Should we believe the witnesses who describe their experiences aboard UFOs? As I have pointed out throughout this book, there is no reason to doubt their personal integrity, their sincerity, and their honesty. The words of Dr. Simon about Betty and Barney Hill are still clear after twenty years: "The experience, undoubtedly, was real to them."
Does this mean we should take their recollections literally? I do not think so. These events took place in a reality we simply do not understand yet; they had an impact on a part of the human mind we have not discovered. I believe that the UFO phenomenon is one of the ways through which an alien form of intelligence of incredible complexity is communicating with us symbolically. There is no indication that it is extraterrestrial. Instead, there is mounting evidence that it has access to psychic processes we have not yet mastered or even researched. In the face of such interaction at the symbolic or mythical level, all the hypnosis sessions and the searches for implants may well be as futile as the questions of the inquisitors to the witches returning from the sabbat and the frantic search for the devil's mark on their bodies.
Until we have much more evidence about the physical nature of the UFO phenomenon, I find myself repelled by the indiscriminate probing of the witnesses' minds by amateur hypnotists who believe strongly their particular theory of extraterrestrial visitation and are eager to obtain confirmation of it at any cost.
These witnesses have had a real, traumatic experience. They are weakened by it and ready to believe any explanation provided to them by someone in authority. Under the highly suggestible state created by hypnosis we can easily convince them of any half-baked interpretation of the phenomenon. This process is unethical and certainly unscientific.
In a few cases (like the Hill episode) when hypnosis was used carefully, under medical supervision, and without leading questions, what was the outcome? We learned nothing useful about extraterrestrial life. But we learned that our current concepts of space and time were wrong; that a larger reality, other dimensions, existed; and that the time had come to challenge our current views about the universe.
Let us speculate even more boldly. The subject invites many troubling, fundamental questions. If energy and information are related, why do we only have one physics, the physics of energy? Where is the physics of information? Is the old theory of magic relevant here? Are the writings of Paracelsus, with his concept of "signatures," a neglected source of inspiration? Until these questions are explored, it may be impossible to address what French physicist Costa de Beauregard calls "the truly fundamental problem," that of the relationship between psyche and matter. Even if we consider only the operational aspects of a piece of information, if someone learns something from it, physical theory dictates that the entropy of the universe must have changed.
These are highly speculative questions. But at a time when we are beginning to suspect that ancient challenges are brought to light by high technology, creative speculation is necessary. Can a path be found toward realities that are not situated on faraway planets, but are right around us, outside our normal consciousness? Is this what happened to abductees like Helen and Kathy, or Travis Walton? Rather than a physical occurrence inside a spacecraft, did they experience a temporary translation of their consciousness into an altered reality followed by visions of archetypal creatures? Is it possible to promote coincidences and peculiar effects of apparently paranormal nature by creating physical structures shielded from everyday noise and serving as informational singularities?
If the world around us is a world of informational events, the symbolic manifestations that surround UFO reports should be viewed as an important factor. If we regard the physical world as an associative universe of informational events, consciousness is no longer simply a local function in the human brain. Instead, I propose to define consciousness as the process by which informational associations are retrieved and traversed. The illusion of time and space would be merely a side effect of consciousness as it traverses associations. In such a theory, apparently paranormal phenomena like remote viewing and precognition would be expected, even common, and UFOs would lose much of their bizarre quality. These phenomena would be natural aspects of the reality of human consciousness. I submit that reports of alien "contact" must be studied at this level, even if we are a long, long way from being able to channel our speculations into the formal equations of a new physics.
For many years, UFO phenomena have served as a support for human imagination, a framework for human tragedy, a fabric of human dreams. We react to them in our movies, our poetry, our music, our science fiction. And they react to us. They are not trying to communicate with a few individuals, with any group, with any government. Why should they? The phenomena function like an operational system of symbolic communication at a global level. There is something about the human race with which they interact, and we do not yet know what it is. They are part of the environment, part of the control system for human evolution. But their effects, instead of being just physical, are also felt in our beliefs. They influence what we call our spiritual life. They affect our politics, our history, our culture. They are a feature of our past. Undoubtedly, they are part of our future.