Saturday, April 7, 2007

Divination II:The Horse Who Knew Too Much and a Contest!

As mentioned earlier, I am going to present several differing models for explicating the mechanisms of divination. The last post might have been titled "In Praise of The Gut Instinct". Today's bit covers the Horse Who Knew Too Much, which begins right after I reveal a sex magic technique I learned from the late and sometimes lamented Dr. Emanuel Bronner, the soap maker par excellance.

Twenty years ago I worked for a large New Age magazine and seminar hosting company that is located on Santa Monica Blvd, in Santa Monica, California. If you've ever seen "Baywatch" on television, we were about 200 feet from the beach access that was featured prominently on that show.

The periodical I worked for did a brisk business in advertising goods and services for the New Age Southern California community. For over a year I was in charge of the day to day operation of the firm--i.e., I made sure that the office didn't run off a cliff when one of the bosses left unexpectedly on a 3 week vacation to purify their chakra crystals or charge their purple plates.

I was answering the phone so Gle`, our receptionist could go out and get lunch. There was a ring on the "sponsors and advertisiers only" line. At the other end was Dr. Emanuel Bronner, an Orthodox Jewish soap maker with some ... interesting ideas about the Almighty's definition of kosher. Dr. Bronner wanted to place an ad in the publication, and had called to check on some detail or other before the ad salesman went over to see him. He asked one or two questions about ad placement, image size, and other bits related to getting all (and I do mean "all") of his soap label writings into a full page advertisement. After I'd gotten the advertising book and answered his questions, he said "Young Man, are you married?" I answered in the affirmative, and this is what he said:

"This is a very old Essene sex healing technique for married couples. Buy a bottle of my liquid peppermint soap and get a red towel. Not green, not black, it has to be red and made from cotton. You are legally married, yes?

Clean out your bathroom sink. Once it is clean, fill the sink with water as hot as you can stand. When the sink is almost full, add two capfulls of my peppermint soap. Work up a very good lather, and work the soap into the red towel, squeeze out the towel in the sink. Carefully rub down your wife's entire body, starting with her back and moving down to the feet. I think that you will find this is a very powerful sexual healing technique. Good day and God Bless!"


One of the most basic problems with scientism lies with how little actual observation and experimentation takes place outside a laboratory. Studying children in a classroom setting is the best way to learn about their behaviors IN the classroom. Sadly, this same reasoning is rarely applied to animals other than humans, Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey notwithstanding.

Circa 1904 there was a horse called "Clever Hans". The owner contended that his horse was smart enough to add and communicate the result of his computations to all present with the stomping of his hooves. Furthermore, when tested apart from the owner, the horse still knew the correct answer. It was later learned that the horse didn't get the right answer unless someone else in the stable with the horse knew the answer, demonstrating the horse was "simply" reading their body language and responding to these previously unnoticed cues.

If you cruise over to any of the 'Net pages on Scientism you'll find considerably more detail on this that usually ends with a conclusion describing the abysmal ignorance if not outright stupidity of people who believe in ESP or similar phenomenon.

Clever Hans is a perfect example of a subtle communication system. Two animals of different species are transferring informatioin via subtleties of body language. This system requires at least two participants: The horse, and the person who knows the right answer. There's usually a third or 4th person present as well, and the information is conveyed to them by the horse.

Let's consider the case of the nuthatches. Approximately two years ago Chris Templeton of the University of Washington deciphered some of the information conveyed by chickadee calls. Last month Templeton and his former advisor Erick Green released a report detaling how nuthatches listen to chickadees and respond accordingly to that information. Amazing.

I am not an ornithologist. However, in my walks through parks and wooded areas I have never found an area that had just nuthatches and chickadees. If the nuthatch and chickadee can pass information, it is very likely that other birds can listen in as well, and probably generate sounds that convey information to others. Birds aren't the only animals in the woods, either. Quite a few critters can hear and make noise. It is almost a certainty that they generate intelligent responses to the conditions and threats originated by these birds.

If we take each audible and mobile participant in a region of a biome as a node of a communication system, we have something rather interesting going on:

As soon as the initial signal of interest is generated, the communications system that we are observing becomes "robust" and multiple signal pathways form. Increase the threat level to the first node by introducing, say, a fox into the environment, and more sensors and processing/signalling units "come online". Furthermore, this system never shuts down---there are times when little or no apparant information is passing through it, which corresponds nicely to the notion of "dark fiber" in Internet parlance.

Let's think on this a bit further. So far I've described the system in terms of auditory and visual signal inputs. What about introducing, say, the smell of a cougar wafting into an area that the human observer of the biome occupies? The system does several things:

a. More processors and sensors (animals) join the system.
b. The boundaries of system expand to a degree that is probably proportional to the threat---the system gets larger.
c. The participants ("nodes") begin passing information faster and convey a positive change in threat status.
d. If smart, the human pays attention to the signals and doesn't become a footnote to the daily news broadcast.

Mammals and other animals that might be at risk start dumping pheremones into the atmosphere. Predatory animals and prey will now reacting to this mode of communication. If this is taking place in Africa and there are elephants present, elephants will subsonically signal the threat and probably their response, and begin taking defensive actions.

(The plants are in on this information exchange too, though I cannot think of ways this would affect them in the short term. I'll leave that to one of my readers.)

You may well be wondering how this relates to divination. Here's how:

One of the most common tools used by 19th century spiritualsts and mediums was the "Talking Board". You've all seen the 1890's model of this, developed by William Fuld, known as the ouija board. Basically, there is a triangular shaped three legged little device known as a planchette (French for "little table") on the surface of the board that has generally two persons hands or fingers on the board.

In a classical mediumistic use of the talking board, at eight pm on a Wednesday evening, the members of the Circle have prayed, sung an opening hymn, attained the Silence, passed through Concentration, and are now at the stage of the Meditation with the talking board.

I have heard of many strange bits conveyed by a talking board, but I have never heard of one that worked without live bodies moving the planchette. Letters and numbers on the board are revealed by the operators. Here's where the previous post ties into this:

Generally speaking, neither Operator of the board is consciously trying to direct the production of a letter,number or other indicator. But what about all of those neurons in the organism that don't fancy themselves in charge of consciousness? The talking board is a device that allows multiple intelligences to communicate information not easily accesssable through normal consciousness. The talking board gives the participants permission to relate information, so to speak.

Let us suppose that the Circle has agreed to communicate the results of the talking board by slipping a sheet of paper under a door sill where a reporter on the other side will read this message. From this stand point, we have a black box that originates a signal. From the viewpoint of the reporter, it doesn't matter if there are two, two hundred people in the room, or just one person with a telephone taking instructions from someone else somewhere else. The message cannot be said to originate from a single person or from any other group.

Think of the information passed from the talking board as an expression of the unknowing consciousnesses of the operators. Alone, neither participant could generate information from the talking board. It is a cooperative effort that produces data sets.

In an actual setting there may be only two persons using the talking board, but there could be a large number of observers, all of whom are reading the body language of every person in that room. The operators of the talking board are getting all of this as input, along with pheremones, information from muffled coughs and a multitude of other signals.

In simple terms, this gives us a group--the spiritual Circle. The group manifests information from this assemblage through the talking board. In effect, the talking board speaks for the assemblage. It is a bare hop, skip and a jump from this to an egregore.

"Conjuring Up Phillip"

Some years ago in Canada a group of students invented an anachronistic dead King named Philip. The held seances for months, attempting to contact King Philip, with no results. Finally, they started getting table rapping and similar phenomenon. While of course outright fraud was possible, there were no indications of this. (Here's a summary of the events: )

Philip was a conscious creation of that asssemblage. In terms of esoteric theory, they:

Constructed a non-or quasi-physical organism with an intelligence and a history

And repeatedly tried to contact it, feeding it energy.

And expected results.

And got results.

Putting this fairly abstract description of divination out there without a specific is like, well, staging M******(The Scottish Play) without the cast of M*******(The Scottish Play), so next time I'll be presenting a brand new 21st century Divination Tool derived from my CR materials and approaches. And, apologies for the typos in this post, I was rushed.


Contest Question: Describe any rediscovery or discovery in the field of optics made in the Arab world c. 1200 C.E.

The Winner (The first respondent with a correct answer) will receive one of the following of their choice as a gift:

A Bach Album of my choice

A Sybil Danning movie of my choice

A photography text related to a correct answer to the question, also of my choice.

N.B.---One correct answer is...

The Arabian physicist and mathematician Ibn al-Haytham, also known as Alhazen, experimented with image formation in the tenth century AD. Crusaders would have returned with some references to his work. His main work was with the pinhole. While oftentimes ignored as crude by camera buffs, the pinhole forms images that have uniquely useful characteristics. It has infinite depth of field, transmits all wavelengths of light, and more than a few are in orbit where they are the imaging device for observing x-rays, hard uv and other wavelengths of light that can't be manipulated with glass lenses, as most glass blocks uv and can't focus x-rays.

Don't worry--there will be a new contest up in several weeks.


Tully Reill said...

Something is cloying at the back of my mind that it was the "spyglass" (early telescope), even though this was credited to Hans Lippershey in the 1600's. Don't know where I may have encountered this tidbit from, nor how factual, but that's my "final answer, Regis..."

nwlorax said...

That is indeed something at the back of your mind. Sadly, it is not the correct answer, but thanks for playing!

Tully Reill said...

Ah, they say for our state lottery "you can't win if you don't play"...

HR Mitchell said...

12th century...hmmm...there's the translation around 1150 of Ptolemy's Optics from Arabic to Latin by Eugenius of Palermo, but that's likely not what you were looking for either. I think the camera obscura is earlier than that, but I've slept once or twice since then and don't recall for sure.