26 December 2013

Naming and the Noosphere

A year ago I noted that World Futures - the journal that's haunted (sorry, lame joke) by exponents of astral travel, reincarnation, remote healing, dowsing and other claims that raise both my wizened eyebrows and blood-pressure - had changed its name.

It is a strange publication, one that through the vagaries of ranking systems has a higher status (e.g. on the former ERA ranking used by Australian universities) than the law journals of most of those universities.

Over the years it has wandered from the Journal of World Futures to World Futures: A Journal of General Evolution to - briefly - World Futures: The Journal of Global Education.

With the latest migration it is now World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research.

It remains associated with Ervin Laszlo, proponent of the Akashic Field and of claims that the dead aren't really dead, just not here in a familiar form (gone but oh so very conveniently contactable via a valve radio). It is unclear whether those undeparted - presumably we cannot call them undead - approve of the change. His belief that our brains are evolving to become 'quantum wave transceivers' (i.e. a 'shift' from being an "EM-wave and photon-wave receiver") is problematical or deliciously amusing.

The paradigm du jour appears to be the same old mix of quantum mysticism, vague moral uplift with just a dash of ecological catastrophism and references to imminent epochal change as we all self-actualise or become one with the universe, a universe in which everything has meaning and in which (if we are to believe some of the authors) both the rocks and vegetables have cosmic consciousness that spans past, present and future. (My coffee cup and vegetables refuse to communicate with me but perhaps that's because I'm stubbornly attuned to the wrong frequency.)

Laszlo - "The time has come for you and for me to evolve and find each other - in our life, in the cosmos, through the Akasha" - has founded a number of educational institutions that appear to be pitched at what one of my students rather tartly dubs the New Age market. They seem to change both their names and locations (e.g. WorldShift University becomes GlobalShift University becomes Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University becomes Giordano Bruno University, based on a "bio-epistemological non-subordinate horizontal model of education" that involves a "a cross-cultural social, interdisciplinary, and stereo-cognitive interaction-based academic platform").

All very confusing but I suppose less so if you are in touch with the infinite or the undeparted.

Laszlo is currently associated with what is variously identified as Wisdom University (formerly known as the University of Creation Spirituality) and the Wisdom School of Graduate Studies at Ubiquity University, which has chairs in Labyrinthian Studies, Transpersonal Psychology, Sacred Activism, Social Artistry, Conscious Evolution, Afterlife Studies and Energy Medicine.

Hoary old skeptic that I am, I am unlikely to rush to enrol in a university whose academics are enthusiasts for geomancy, astrology, alchemy, 'ancestral memory', dowsing, 'Egyptian bio-geometry', Rosicrucianism and the "spiritual practice of rain-water collection".

Yes, the "spiritual practice of rain-water collection", presumably more 'cosmic' and thus 'spiritual' than emptying the kitty litter or buying the groceries or smiling at a stressed undergrad at exam time or taking the kids to school or respecting the dignity of an incontinent senior while changing the sheets.

In a liberal democratic state where we are encouraged to heed the words of Freedoms Commissioner Tim Wilson there is space for people who a century ago would have kissed the hem of Edgar Cayce, Madame Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner or earlier plucked miraculous hair from the donkey ridden by Peter the Hermit and believed that St Joseph of Cupertino (aka the patron saint of the intellectually handicapped) could actually fly.

Let us however resist the temptation to start offering PhDs in "the spiritual practice" of nail clipping collection or tea-leaf interpretation or divination by snail shell and roadkill entrails.

Laszlo is also on "the Faculty" of something called the Great Mystery. The Faculty includes an Astrologer and an Alchemist and other luminaries, including one savant who supposedly knows where the Holy Grail is secreted. Oh for Ambrose Bierce or H L Mencken.

Fellow Faculty member William Tiller (co-founder of The Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine) states on the Great Mystery's site that
My working hypothesis since the early 1970's is that we are all spirits having a physical experience as we “ride the river of life” together. Our spiritual parents dressed us in these biobody suits and put us in this playpen that we call a universe; in order to grow in coherence; in order to develop our gifts of intentionality, and in order to become what we were intended to become – cocreators with our spiritual parents!
To effectively have this learning experience, we need a suitable structural interface with the spacetime world. That became a biobodysuit constructed from the substance complex of Dspace//deltron//R-space materials. That type of biobodysuit is what we put on when we are “born” into spacetime and it is what we take off when we appear to die in spacetime. In between, when we are manifesting what we call “life”, this biobodysuit contains what I label our personality self. However, I feel that the whole person is much, much more than this!
Much, much more? Too much, much too much, alas, for me.

Tiller has elsewhere announced that
I and my colleagues have discovered that it is possible to make a significant change in the properties of a material substance by consciously holding a clear intention to do so. For example, we have repeatedly been able to change the acid/alkaline balance (pH) in a vessel of water either up or down, without adding chemicals to the water, by creating an intention to do so.
Presumably if my intention is that my glass of Canberra tap water will become champagne it will indeed morph - oh bliss - into one of the finer beverages from France. On the other hand, it might be easier just to wave the credit card in the bottle shop. Alas, lots of disabled people don't seem to be having much luck with the intention that their severed limbs reappear, intact and in perfect working order. Not enough intention?