Is There Intelligent Life on Earth? (part 4)
by Revilo P. Oliver
THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN is an old and highly respected periodical. It tries to report discoveries and significant developments in all of the major sciences, and although its pages are occasionally adulterated with “sociological” buncombe, its articles deal chiefly with physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology. Its authors try to write perspicuously, but most of its articles would be quite unintelligible to persons who do not have some grounding in the exact sciences and some knowledge of the relevant mathematics. It does not provide reading matter for moppets, and has never been recommended by the gurus of Scientology, Theosophy, Christian Science, Ananda Marga, the World Council of Churches, the International Council of Churches, Cosmic Awareness, Transcendental Meditation, Chant-O-Matics, the (Moon-struck) Unification Church, Hare Krishna, the Church of Wicca, the Children of God, etc., etc., ad nauseam. On the contrary, the aforesaid miracle-mongers, if they had heard of The Scientific American, had probably identified it as the work of the Devil or whatever substitute for him they severally have in their cults, and had warned their True Believers to flee its deadly contamination. It is safe to say that the subscribers to the magazine must consist, almost exclusively, of persons who have had some training in at least one of the exact sciences and must have some acquaintance with the scientific method. Bear that in mind.
Until recently, The Scientific American published each month a “department” by Dr. Martin Gardner, usually devoted to mathematical and logical puzzles and paradoxes. In June 1974, however, the ingenious mathematician tried his hand at broad humor.
With tongue securely wedged in his cheek, Dr. Gardner reported that he had interviewed a certain Dr. Matrix at the latter’s great factory and laboratory, an exact copy of the famous pyramid of Cheops, on the shore of Pyramid Lake, north of Reno, Nevada. That great numerologist [sic] had discovered that the roughly pyramidal monadnock from which the lake takes its name attracted and concentrated “psi-org” power from outer space, thus turning blue the waters of the lake. Gardner proceeded to relate the amazing accomplishments of Dr. Matrix, his daughter, and his one assistant, a one-toothed Indian from the neighboring reservation. Written in the style of Baron Munchausen, the narrative rose to its climax, the exciting escape of Dr. Matrix and his daughter from Federal agents: they simply turned on the full power of their minds and instantaneously teleported themselves to Tibet, leaving the old Indian to confront the baffled revenue agents.
Immediately following publication of that issue of The Scientific American, expensive automobiles appeared on the winding, partly black-topped, and pitted roadway that runs along the shore of Pyramid Lake. Speeding and bouncing northward to Pyramid, they bore persons inspired with a desire to consult the absent Dr. Matrix in the place where he wasn’t. At their destination, the eager searchers for truth tried to find the magical pyramid or at least have a chat with a one-toothed Indian, who proved equally hard to find. More prudent intellectuals hastened to offer Dr. Gardner, by telephone or mail, handsome honoraria for lectures on the miracles wrought by “psi-org” power. It is a fair inference that most of those excited zetetics must have been readers of The Scientific American.
That is the important point, at which you may begin to meditate on the effects of scientific training in the United States today. To complete the story, I will mention its sequel, although it is only what one would expect. Dr. Gardner’s exercise in the manner of Lucian came into the hands of one of the largest publishers in New York City, who at once wrote Dr. Gardner, flourishing a cheque for $15,000 as an advance on royalties from a book on “pyramid power.” Dr. Gardner explained patiently that he had intended it all as a joke. “What of that?” the publisher replied in substance, “you write the book under a pseudonym and we take the suckers for lots of bucks, no?” Dr. Gardner refused the proffered shekels. The astounded publisher, doubtless concluding that he must be lame in the head, found brighter penmen and soon the stands in drug stores, hotels, and airports were spotted with brightly-bound bundles of drivel about “pyramid power.” And for a season thereafter, if you looked and could stand it, you could have seen persons, presumably literate, squatting in their living rooms under four expensive sticks, joined at the top to outline the shape of a pyramid; they were letting “pyramid power” from outer space flow into their minds and invigorate their whole bodies. And there they squatted until some enterprising practitioner of democracy dangled before them a fresh worm on a new hook.
To return from the commonplace to what is important, let us notice a recent book by James Randi, Flim-Flam: The Truth About Unicorns, Parapsychology, and other Delusions (New York, Lippincott, 1980). The book’s principal target is named in the title, but the “other delusions” are numerous and instructive. Among them are such lucrative diddles as Eckankar, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, and Synanon. There are two points to be pondered.
When we hear of such outrages to common sense, we are inclined to shrug our shoulders. Scores of suckers are born every minute, and we are apt to assume that the promoters of such hoaxes could make the apology that was made to me years ago by the proprietor of an ostensibly patriotic organization: “If I didn’t get their money, someone else would.” If the suckers weren’t fleeced by Eckankar, they would mail their cheques to the Reverend Mr. Jerry Falwell, the Reverend Mr. Oral Roberts, the Reverend Mr. Herbert Armstrong, the Reverend Mynheer Cornelius Vanderbreggen, Jr., or some other Bible-banging jabberwocky. If a maharishi didn’t have his hand in their pockets, an astrologer would. As long as there are herring in the sea, there will be sharks to eat them. But, as Mr. Randi points out, these religious cults are more than comic.Many of these modern voodoo-cults are formed by their shamans into tight organizations that not only capture half-wits but subject them to menticidal disciplines, based on the techniques developed by Pavlov, that destroy not only such rationality as they possess but also their self-respect and human instincts, reducing them to zombies that are entirely under the control of the witch-doctors. Of the power of such cults, we recently had a spectacular demonstration in a slum called Jonestown in Guiana, where more than nine hundred creatures, some of them White, who had migrated thither from the United States, drank themselves stiff on cyanide cocktails at the behest of their guru, a scabrous mongrel that called itself the Reverend Jim Jones. Well, what of that? Vile damnum, as Tiberius said with one of his rare smiles. Good riddance of biological garbage. Noteworthy improvement of our environment. But that is to miss the important aspect of the squalid and dirty business. However contemptible the creatures were, they were biologically human, and they had been so trained that the deepest of all mammalian instincts, the fear of death, had been effaced in them.7
Mr. Randi compares the mind-destroying cults that are now epidemic. Of the hordes of zombies controlled by the sleazy and enormously wealthy messiah from Korea, he asks, “Would they, too, drink cyanide if Moon commanded them to?” Of the victims of Synanon, “Would its members drink poison if told to do so?” Of the crazed devotion of the Scientologists to their cynical master: “Is it enough to drive the believers to suicide?” Of the Children of God, Eckankar, and Transcendental Meditation, “When is the next poison party to be held? ”
If we are less soft-hearted than Mr. Randi, we may again shrug our shoulders. Let the cyanide flow freely and joy be unconfined! Every decrease of pollution of our environment is a net gain. Even so, of course, we cannot avoid compassion for the innocent and sane individuals who would be made to suffer by that ecological improvement.8 But that is insignificant in comparison with the dire fact that, so long as they do not guzzle cyanide, the multitudinous zombies can and do vote and so directly influence our future in our great ochlocracy. And that is not all.
We are uneasily aware that the Moon’s lunatics have made him so wealthy that he is buying up slices of our country and is the only person, it seems, who has the resources to found and support a new daily newspaper, which, by the way, he cunningly made “conservative” for business reasons. But zombies may do more than subsidize our enemies. Mr. Randi’s data include proof that, for example, the Scientologists resort to the most despicable and vicious tricks to suppress exposure of the absurdity of the hoax in which they believe, and are officially instructed to commit crimes to protect the racket in which they have faith. He should have asked whether their devotion to their master is enough to drive the believers to murder.
As everyone knows, at Jonestown a Congressman, Leo J. Ryan, who had gone down to the slum to investigate, and two journalists were murdered by the Faithful to prevent them from telling what they had seen. The piety of guédés becomes murderous at a word from their papa-loi.9 And there was an impressive sequel. Shortly after the murder of her father, Congressman Ryan’s daughter, having been graduated from the University of California (Davis) with an up-to-date education, lost her mind (or what was left of it after the social scientists at the University of California and the John F. Kennedy University got through with her) to the filthiest and most reptilian guru of them all. She hied herself over the seas to India, where the venomous Savior (bhagwan) was then operating, to join the enthusiastic zombies who are routed out at six in the morning to start jumping up and down and yelling “Hoo, hoo, hoo! ” and get their “sex centers” zipping before breakfast and the day’s stint of intensive copulation. The Ryan girl was reported in the press as having assured reporters that her fellows’ devotion to their malodorous god (a reincarnation of Jesus or the Buddha or Mohammed or all three) was such that “If Bhagwan asked them to kill someone, they would do it.” She added regretfully that her own Faith might not yet be perfect: “I don’t know if my trust in him is that total. I would like it to be.” When interviewed, she was going back to India to yell “Hoo, hoo, hoo!” some more and, no doubt, perfect her piety; today, she would have only to go to Oregon to enjoy God and his manifold blessings.
The Pavlovian techniques of menticide, which is often called ‘brainwashing’ from a Chinese euphemism, are applied, with only variations in detail, by up-to-date salvation-peddlers and also by many outfits, such as Synanon, that pretend not to be religious and are therefore even more pernicious. It is the samokritica that is used to mould Communists, and is given many seemingly innocuous names by our enemies when they use it to snare victims and destroy their minds: “Affective Education,” “Awareness,” “Community Relations,” “Group Dynamics,” “Human Relations Training,” “Interpersonal Relations,” “Self-Awareness,” and “Sensitivity Training,” to mention only a few of many verbal disguises listed by Ed Dieckmann, Jr., in his fundamental work on the subject, The Secret of Jonestown.10 Of these terms, “Sensitivity Training” is most often used when it is administered by coercion to make our police officers imbecile.11
For a description and analysis of the techniques of menticide, I refer you to Mr. Dieckmann’s book. The “social scientists” who inject the poison into our society know very well what they are doing, and so fall outside the scope of this article.
What does concern us is that among the practitioners and victims of the many highly contagious delusions Mr. Randi discusses, he mentions numerous individuals who hold credentials in the exact sciences and use them to lend authority to their promotion or endorsement of intrinsically preposterous claims. There is, for example, Dr. Robert Rabinoff, evidently the son or descendant of a rabbi who resided in Russia. He holds a degree of Philosophiae Doctor in physics from some university, and, as everyone knows, if you aren’t a Ph.D. in the austere science of physics, you have no right to talk back to an expert. On the basis of his scientific training, Dr. Rabinoff avers that the hokum of Transcendental Meditation is the Voice of Science, as he can attest empirically, since his practice of the hocus-pocus has made him omniscient (yes, omniscient!) as well as saturating him with “pure bliss.” What is more, if you become expert in Transcendental Meditation (introductory course, only $3,000; tuition fees for advanced courses unstated), you will not only be soaked in blissful transcendence but will be able to rev up your mind and generate so much psychic energy that you can float in the air and soar with the birds (and just think how much that will save you in air fares, to say nothing of the harassment to which passengers are subjected at airports).12
Kind readers will forgive me: I can’t avoid levity when discussing levitation. What is serious indeed is that Mr. Randi mentions quite a number of professors of exact sciences in highly reputed universities and heads of well known laboratories who, for example, went on record as vouching for spoon-bending by talented youths. We may mention particularly Dr. Charles Crussard, a scientist who must be blessed with a truly Brobdingnagian brain, for he is head and director of a vast laboratory that employs three thousand “research personnel,” doubtless one of the “ergastula of science” of which Norbert Wiener spoke when he foresaw a decline of scientific accomplishment as a consequence of governmental financing and corruption. Now sapient Dr. Crussard found a wonder-boy of his own whose high-powered psyche could bend aluminium bars under the most exacting laboratory conditions, and, to cut the sad story short, when it was found that the wonder-boy couldn’t perform while Mr. Randi was watching him, Dr. Crussard’s vast scientific knowledge knew why: Mr. Randi was high-voltage psychic, too, and had maliciously focused his mind to neutralize the spoon-bending power emanating from the other brain. Dr. Crussard, I repeat, is a man of such colossal eminence in physics and chemistry that he is lord over three thousand “research workers,” but if I ever need to find out whether an iron bar will float in water, I shall not ask Dr. Crussard’s laboratory to undertake the research that would doubtless be necessary.
Dr. Crussard is more than an oddity: he is a symptom –– an alarming symptom, like a fever of 104°F. A few years ago, Ronald Duncan and Miranda Watson-Smith undertook a survey of the present state of the various sciences, which was published under the provocative title, The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance.13 It consists of fifty-one articles, each written by the most highly esteemed authority in his field that the editors could engage to set forth what he regarded as the most crucial unsolved problem in that field. Ted Bastin, from King’s College of Cambridge University, undertook an examination of the relation between quantum mechanics and the concept of time and space in physical theory, certainly a fundamental problem that is still unsolved, but since he himself had “experimented with psychokinesis” by witnessing some tricks performed by Uri Geller and a female “sensitive” who also knew how to think bends into spoons, poor Bastin was convinced that “psychokinetic effects show an effect of ‘thought forms’ directly on matter.” So the mighty mind from Cambridge, on the basis of the credulity that made him take seriously feats of sleight-of-hand by clever prestidigitators, employs his phenomenal lack of common sense to decide how the science of physics must be revised to take account of the scientific proof that “an interaction [between the human brain and physical objects] takes place in the absence of a mechanical connection.” I don’t know what Bastin is doing now, but I shall not be surprised if he is engaged in a further “restructuring” of the whole science of physics to explain the ability of a witch to raise hail storms to ruin her neighbor’s crops. Could there be any more conclusive proof of the power of mind over matter?14
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Source: Liberty Bell publications; transcribed by Racial Idealism