Tag Archives: Richard Dawkins

At Hallowe’en: the hunt is on again for Dark Matter…

It’s Scorpio’s season, and most appropriately a global hunt for the universe’s missing matter is once again underway; this autumn everyone is invited to join in. On and around Halloween 2019, events around the world will celebrate the hunt for the universe’s unseen dark matter

But where to start? Perhaps with Dark Matter, for those of you for whom the term is as yet unfamiliar. Here is one definition:

Dark matter is a huge part of the Universe that scientists’ calculations tell us exists, but that has never been observed. Yet, together with dark energy, scientists believe it makes up 95 percent of the total universe. What we can see, and the matter that scientists can account for is just five percent of the Universe, the rest is a mystery. (i)

Please pay great attention to that last sentence. Science can offer an explanation for just 5% of the Universe…the rest ie 23% dark matter and 72% dark energy, is a mystery. This being the case by modern science’s own admission, I have been at a loss for decades to understand why by and large most scientists operate on the reductionist principle – loudly and vehemently declaimed by the likes of the UK’s Professors Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox – that if it can’t be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched or proved through the application of the procedures of contemporary science then it simply does not exist.

Non-existence, reductionist science style

Here are just a few examples of the ‘it’ that does not exist or is of no credible value:

** all types of paranormal experience eg precognitive dreams, telepathy, premonitions, mediumship, seeing ghosts, mystical experience – well documented by a vast range of people and cultures throughout the world for millennia

** the myths of all cultures throughout the ages – (the modern definition of a myth is ‘an untrue story’ ) – which through their symbolic stories have offered guidance to humans re how best to navigate the complexities inherent in every facet of life

** all religions, which no-one would deny have considerable flaws and deficiencies but which have at least tried to address the unquantifiable facets of human experience and offer us teachings through which we might ‘do as you would be done by’

** the great symbolic arts, for example astrology, the i chingpalmistry, and the tarot, which have evolved over lengthy time periods for the guidance of us fallible humans as we try to make our way – all of which especially astrology have largely been dismissed as rubbish by scientists who have never taken the trouble to study in any depth that which they are only too happy to condemn.

It should be obvious to any reasonably sentient, rational person that a stance of ignorant dismissal of whole bodies of knowledge which have been embedded in human culture from the outset does not and should not command any respect whatsoever. I can imagine what Prof Dawkins would say, were anyone to dismiss the whole of physics from a standpoint of wilful ignorance…

Ooops! Must not fall into ranting…I can feel one coming on…so…

Where do I stand on the science v religion/symbolism issue?

I am in total awe of the magnificent achievements of science since the rise of the Age of  Reason around the middle of the 17th Century, and have been an avid reader of popular science books since my teens in a long attempt to understand the complexities thereof, especially those of quantum physics which have gradually revealed to us a Universe at an energetic level which is paradoxical, deeply strange, and only partly predictable.

I have also read widely and thought deeply – as well as practising – within those dimensions of life I have just listed which modern science largely dismisses as invalid and not worth taking seriously.

However, a view and a model are slowly emerging, despite considerable resistance from the diehard defenders of reductionism, which can demonstrate convincingly that the lenses of eg astrology and quantum physics are focusing on the same all encompassing energy field which generates our tiny existence on planet Earth.

Astrology maps this energy field in space/time through the movements of the planets in our solar system, a rational measuring process which is also conducted by mariners and astronomers. However, it goes much further than those disciplines, by ascribing symbolic meaning to those planetary movements based on observations over millennia of the correspondences between life on Earth and the movements of the planets in their orbits.

My personal view is that both the scientific and the symbolic arts have their complementary roles to play in exploring and explicating the fundamental mystery of why we are here, and what we should do about it.  We need all the help we can get, after all, and should be pooling our collective human knowledge for the benefit of us all. As the atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer so wisely put it :

These two ways of thinking, the ways of time and history and the way of eternity and timelessness, are both part of man’s efforts to comprehend the world in which he lives. Neither is comprehended in the other or reducible to it. They are, as we have learned to say in physics, complementary views, each supplementing the other, neither telling the whole story. (ii)

Dark Matter meets Hallowe’en in the 95% field

Hubble throws light on dark matter

Hubble throws light on dark matter

Given the kind of prejudices I have been describing from a profoundly dominant and influential group of people, ie the scientific community, at first I was pretty annoyed to see that the 31st October, ie Hallowe’en, had been designated as Dark Matter Day, especially as its first event last year had been billed in some quarters as First Ever Dark Matter Day in Hallowe’en TakeoverThe inference in this headline is pretty clear: the choice of day represents an attempt by the scientific community yet again to attack and dismiss what they see as mere superstition which has no place in the contemporary world.

However, on reflection, I realised that the scientific community could have unwittingly created a bridge between the two worlds of the non-rational and the rational by holding Dark Matter Day on Hallowe’en.

When I first came across the compelling notion of the division of the Universe’s energy, as far as science can ascertain, into 5% matter and the rest dark matter and dark energy, my immediate thought was this: ‘Wow, so we only have direct access to a thin slice of  Reality…then what goes on in the 95% we know is there but can’t as yet access via the methodologies of reductionist science?’

On further reflection,  maybe the 5% could represent our conscious, practical  relationship with the familiar world. Dark energy might be what Jung called the collective unconscious, home to those archetypal patterns shaping our myths, religious beliefs and cultural values as well as what we broadly call the realm of the paranormal. And – dark matter could represent individuals’ personal unconscious, the liminal territory which acts as a filter through which images of all kinds from the collective unconscious make their way to the light of day, ie to the 5% that science can explain.

Thus the 95% dark matter/dark energy ‘field’ could be the non-rational dimension which is rich in creative energy of all kinds, energy giving rise (in partnership of course with the rational dimension of life represented by the 5%) to eg great art and music, and also to those unquantifiable but essential attributes which represent the best of humanity eg love, compassion, humour and kindness.

But, as we all know only too well from our collective and individual lives, there is a very dark shadow side to this non-rational dimension, one of whose manifestations is fear of the unknown, especially death.This has given rise rise historically to all kinds of superstitious beliefs and practices designed to ward off evil spirits and placate threatening supernatural beings – territory which is commemorated and engaged with each year in the shape of Hallowe’en.

We need constructive outlets for those dark fears and impulses, and Hallowe’en provides just that. I find it most interesting that, far from our reductionist-dominated culture stamping out all forms of irrationality, cultural practices such as Hallowe’en have become more mainstream in recent years.

Thinking about this calls to mind a brilliant  – and brave – book written by the well-known UK journalist Bryan Appleyard, who risked all kinds of opprobrium by exhaustively researching and writing about Aliens and the UFO phenomenon, setting the whole thing in a long historical context. His eventual conclusion, simply put, was this: if aliens didn’t exist (and he remains personally agnostic on the topic despite extensive research) the human mind, needing irrationality to maintain some sort of balance, is such that it would need to invent them…

So, scientists, you have I think made the right decision in aligning your Dark Matter Day with Hallowe’en – although probably not for the reasons you had in mind!

And– First Ever Dark Matter Day in Hallowe’en Takeover – it could ONLY happen in Scorpio’s season…

Endnotes:

(i) from the Web on 1st November 2017 in an article entitled First Ever Dark Matter Day in Hallowe’en Takeover, which also has some interesting follow-on links if you wish to research this fascinating area further.

(ii) Stuart Holroyd ‘The Arkana Dictionary of New Perspectives’ published by Arkana (Penguin Books Ltd) 1989, p154, quoting from Lawrence LeShan’s book ‘The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist’

 

1600 words © Anne Whitaker 2019

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see About Page 

Let’s talk some sense about Mayan Calendar Prophecies….

This post from last Spring 2012 seems much more relevant  NOW as Winter Solstice 2012 hysteria begins to build….what do you folks out there think of it all?

“…. Have you heard about millenarianism? It is at the root of the current hype about what dire events are supposed to happen at this year’s Winter Solstice, according to the latest versions of Mayan calendar prophecy.

To quote respected historian and astrologer, Dr. Nicholas Campion, from “The Great Year (1994, 331):

“….Millenarianism has been a political force in Europe for almost two thousand years….Its flames have been fanned by social and economic dislocation, but its militant power has always derived from an ideology that preaches that destruction is necessary before the world can be reborn….”

There have been bouts of millenarianism for a very long time, despite which we are still here. The most recent one occurred at the Millenium –

Anyone remember The Millenium Bug which was going to reap dire havoc worldwide? I seem to recall a Hong Kong taxi driver’s meter going a bit wonky after midnight, but that was about it.

And here we are, as the world goes through one of its periodic bouts of more turmoil than usual, at it again.

Mayan Calendar

Mayan Calendar

crystalinks.com

It is only March and I am already getting rather fed up of being asked whether I think the world is going to come to an end at the Winter Solstice. My answer is usually that I doubt that very much. But then no-one knows anything for sure, not even Richard Dawkins……

This morning, having a trawl around the Net, I found this very sensible, very erudite, very detailed and very LONG article by astrological historian and Mesoamerican Astrology researcher Bruce Schofield, PhD.

His trenchant comment is that 21st December 2012 ” is most likely going to just be another Friday full of last minute Christmas shopping….”

To read the full article and become fully informed for your future discussions with your local Prophets of Doom, click below:

“Fear-Driven Doomsday Rant Has Badly Misinformed the Public”.

(many thanks to Mary Plumb and this week’s Mountain Astrology Blog for including a link to this article) ….” ( March 13 2012 ) 

UPDATE 13.12.2012:  Mary Plumb has her own thoughtful reflections on the Mayan Calendar issue in this week’s Mountain Astrology Blog

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400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Jupiter/Uranus in Pisces do religion: Countdown to 19 September

You don’t have to be a very sage astrologer to work out that one of the likely backdrops to this upcoming 19th September 2010 Jupiter/Uranus conjunction at 29 degrees Pisces (the second of three during 2010/11) is going to be that perennial sustainer, challenger, inspirer, executor and persecutor of the human race – religion.

And sure enough, it is shaping up in bold primary colours already.

A major row has been rumbling in the USA since the end of August 2010 over the proposed location of  a Muslim religious centre close to the site of Ground Zero.Check out:

Last week the UK’s most prominent and respected scientist Stephen Hawking grandly announced that God was not necessary in coming up with an explanation for the origins of the Universe. This could be found in the laws of physics. The book “Grand Design”, set for release on September 9, has him saying: “because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing….”

New Hubble Image: Carina Nebula

New Hubble Image: Carina Nebula

In recent days, it has become world-wide news that the pastor of a small church in Florida, Terry Jones, is planning a less than conciliatory act of remembrance of the 9/11 atrocity by burning 200 copies of the Koran on the 11 September. This plan has been roundly condemned from USA Secretary of  State Hilary Clinton downwards. See http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/09/08/florida.quran.reaction/#fbid=lNzACjrNQ7c&wom=false

(NOTE: it just caught my eye in Google’s news headlines as I was signing off after publishing this post and doing some emails, that the pastor in question has called off his protest. How interesting that this should occur on the very day that Jupiter slips from combative, fiery Aries into the soothing waters of Pisces….)

And here in the UK, that anti-messiah and self-appointed High Priest of Atheism, the scientist and polemical writer Richard Dawkins, had planned to arrest the Pope when he visits the UK during 16-19 September, just at the exact point of the second Jupiter/Uranus conjunction.

“Campaigners supported by Prof Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist, had hoped to have Benedict XVI held over his supposed cover-up of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

But leaders of the Protest the Pope coalition now admit that the Pontiff cannot be arrested as Britain acknowledges him as a head of state, granting him sovereign immunity from criminal prosecution.” Read more

The fingerprints of the Jupiter/Uranus combination in Pisces are all over these events. First of all, Jupiter and Uranus are planets associated with the ‘masculine’ dimension of life regardless of a person’s sex: outgoing and action-oriented.

Then, if we think of the mythology of Jupiter and Uranus, we have the arrogant and combative Olympian god Jupiter, who was always right, enjoyed laying down the law, (fundamentalism anyone?) and who threw thunderbolts from Mount Olympus at unfortunate humanity cowering down below. His ally Prometheus (I follow the Richard Tarnas view that Uranus in action most resembles the Greek god Prometheus) was an innovator who taught humankind the great arts of astrology, science and music.

He also decided that the gods’ fire was just what the human race needed to make them all-wise and powerful (without actually consulting any of them to see if they wanted this equivocal gift!) and proceeded to steal that precious substance, hidden in a fennel-stalk. Unfortunately he got caught and spent eternity chained to a rock having his liver pecked out by an eagle.

As I point out in my book “Jupiter Meets Uranus” ( AFA 2009) the Jupiter/Uranus combination can represent the very best in human aspiration, exploration, inventiveness and the sheer exuberance of being alive. However, arrogant conviction of their own rightness when working together can make this combination inflammatory, hubristic and downright destructive. We should therefore see both the positive and negative sides of this unique conjunction during the Jupiter/Uranus year of 2010/11.

The Jupiter/Uranus combination works out of the ‘left field’ more than any other combination of planetary energies. Its cycle is 14 years long.

In 1969 Man stepped on the Moon for the first time under an exact Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Libra. In 1983 with the conjunction in Sagittarius, the world’s first artificially made chromosome was created at Harvard University. In February 1997 with the conjunction in Aquarius, Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned animal, was announced to the world.

2010/11 is gradually revealing unique developments too for good and ill: the Large Hadron Collider’s vast experiment and what it may reveal. Craig Venter’s company’s creating of  the first artificial living cell – using highly sophisticated computer technology. The worst man-made oil spill in history. Scientists making hubristic statements about spiritual matters which go inappropriately beyond their reductionist terms of reference. Religious (and anti-religious) fanatics behaving in ways that no-one could have guessed or believed…..

Bring it on, Jupiter/Uranus!

We are waiting with bated breath for more left-field events: with a mixture of  fascination, awe, humour (sometimes if you don’t laugh you just end up crying….) dismay and disbelief. Well, given that Pisces is involved, the word ‘belief” has to feature somewhere….

 

"Jupiter meets Uranus" by Anne Whitaker (2009)

"Jupiter meets Uranus" by Anne Whitaker (2009)

To find up-to-the minute information on ‘Jupiter Meets Uranus’ : New Reviews, Pre-Publication Reviews, Promotional Interviews, etc

AND

many articles on the upcoming Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions of 2010/11

AND

a unique, unfolding research study of the lives of 12 subjects whose ages range from late 20s to early 80s “Tales from the Wild Ride”,

go to

http://jupitermeetsuranus.wordpress.com/

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850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2010
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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