Issue #42, Fall Equinox, 2001

Dear Fellow Inmates of this Asylum

This is that half-sad, but oh, so welcome time of year when the days are too suddenly shorter, but summer's withering energies have done their worst -- without downing me. And this summer, believe me, was a tyrant. In fact, like a thrashing shark on a fishing line there is still too much bite in it, despite September's arrival.

I've always had an uneasy relationship with September. It's a transitional month that is as often a boost as a downer, and it's too soon for me to know how this one will register. I'm starting early on this Equinox issue, however, because I can't let it be late -- there are things on the burner for my October that I don't want to crowd.

But also, because I want to inform you of some developments in the world that most of you may have no ready access to. Or just don't think about, because they fall outside the coverage of your particular media fix. Or shall I say, outside your personal reality, for there is a certain congruence between our media fix and our reality. I'll talk a bit, too, about that.

First, however, an update on what is happening in my own reality.

Had I known or imagined the hassles I would generate by putting Innocence Abroad into the publication stream again, I might have had second thoughts about doing it at all. One kind of foul-up after another has plagued the course of it &endash; part of summer's intensity, for sure &endash; and I am still awaiting the book's emergence, which will be painfully close to a deadline of necessity for me, for a commitment already made to be at a Seattle BookFest with it. It's playing havoc with my anxieties, and fairly well confirms my long-standing notion that I'd rather have nothing to do with the publishing industry.

But it was done, and it will eventually be out. One of the penalties, however, is a recently raised pricetag for anyone who wants a copy. Like $19.54 for the softcover, up from $16. Plus s/h. That's directly through Xlibris -- I've no idea what it will be through Amazon, and others of that ilk. Of course, you'll be contributing $5.75 to my welfare, thereby, so don't feel too bad about it.

It also fairly well assures that the original edition, for those of you who still have your copy, will have a collector's value. One of them has just recently been put on the book market by Ed Buryn of Nevada City, CA, for $50! It's the same copy that Ed paid me $12 for, seven years ago. And he doesn't even know, yet, about the second edition.

On a more important front, Joy is navigating beautifully through her course of chemotherapy, staying clear of the various shoals of side-effect distress and maintaining remarkably high levels of both energy and good spirits. I'm very proud of her, and we're both thankful for the steady ministrations provided by her kids, from one end of the country to the other. She is going to whip this boogieman, I can almost promise it.

As to all else in my world . . .

I wish everything else was doing so nicely, but to be honest, it's like living in between balanced tensions -- well, I suppose that would even characterize what I've already spoken to. Everything seems to be hanging in a kind of equipoise, while summer takes its own good time resolving them. We are at the end of summer &endash; I know this &endash; and yet it refuses to let go. But by the time this goes out to you, that will surely have happened, and I may append an end note of confirmation.

In a way, it would have made more sense to hold off on this issue, but I am anxious to write about some deeper things going on, and bring them to your attention. Things that are equally in a state of balanced tensions, and things that &endash; as I've said &endash; you may know nothing about. Whether you'll care anything about them, I cannot guess. It will have to do with how deeply you are embedded in the common reality. For many of you, I know the answer to this, but not for most others.

I've been giving a lot of thought, lately, to how personal reality is 'managed' -- what causes it to shift, why it tends to seem constant, and so forth. And I've had a few insights. For one thing, we tend to see ourselves in a stable reality because we project its changes on the world around us. The world seems different than it used to be, in one respect or another, but actually this awareness is our own reality shifting, possibly from new information arriving or altered perspectives on what had already been there, but just as likely from the fresh 'negotiation' of some earlier interactive agreement.

Personal reality is a vast array of compromises we've made and live with, so subtle that we aren't often aware of them as choices we've made. We awaken in the morning, and 'put on our reality' within the first few minutes of awareness &endash; rather like the day's clothing &endash; remembering what it was yesterday, and what we have to do about it today. And our day, indeed, is a continual fine-tuning process, guided by whatever crosses our horizon. We nurture our reality, refine and maintain it, in such a seamless engagement with the world around us, that it feels as natural as breathing. And as stable as our very sense of self.

But if we could see into its mechanism, we would see consciousness at work, negotiating and then re-negotiating throughout the course of our waking day . . . testing every fresh input against the pattern-array of past reality agreements made -- a contest in which inertia always lends weight to what is already there.

These past agreements can conveniently be regarded in three broad categories, each with its particular categorical priority. Top priority among them would be given to our primary goal-based pursuits or concerns, most often one or more of these:

1. Raising a family.

2. Ongoing interaction with already raised family and/or family of origin.

3. An interpersonal relationship of singular importance.

4. Career &endash; the committed pursuit of acquisition and achievement, mainly via employment.

5. Service/care of others as a commitment.

6. Art/creativity.

7. Study/scholarship.

8. Personal growth or transformation.

9. Physical and athletic achievement.

There are probably others, but these are the basic pursuits that occur to me, and a major focus on any one of them very much determines not only the preoccupation of time and headspace, but also reality compromises that must be made with others to maintain effective levels of interaction. A career, for instance, does not come without a correlate reality structure, and the radical non-conformist is not welcome in it, nor very often able to progress. Correspondingly, to be free of career aspirations and affiliations frees the mind, to that degree, of the career's reality demands. Similar assessments could be made for the other categories in that list.

The second priority category of reality negotiation is with the world we live in. Not the world shaped by career or family, etc., but the larger world -- and no, we do not all live in the same larger world, for it is every bit as personally diverse as the combination of our primary pursuits. Here are some of the sub-elements that contribute to it:

1. The media we choose and pay attention to.

2. The level and focus of our political concerns &endash; local, national, world.

3. Our larger affiliations &endash; social, activity-centered, spiritual, etc.

4. The pattern and scope of our internet/web interactions.

5. Our basic belief structure and its points of particular emphasis.

6. Our evolved relationship to matters of time and schedule.

7. Any physical and age-related personal limitations.

8. Our financial limitations (both actual and perceived).

Considering that personal profiles, in these matters, can vary considerably, you can begin to appreciate how differently we tend to see this supposedly common world we live in. And factoring in what was earlier noted, about the many and diverse games we play, you should easily see why your reality is a preciously personal thing -- but note: there is no assurance of it being 'right' except for yourself.

And there is one more basic category yet to consider: the local context in which each of us lives. The sub-elements here might seem, at first glance, to be parts of the world we live in, but for a major distinction. Most of those above are matters of choice or inclination, but the ones below are fringe effects of where and how we live our lives -- choices usually made for other reasons (like those above). It's not a hard and fast distinction, but these reality compromises tend to come as 'piggyback' effects of other choices that we've made . . . sometimes knowingly, and sometimes not:

1. Big city, small town, or rural environments.

2. Specific neighborhood style.

3. Kind of residence &endash; shared/private; house/apartment/duplex, etc.

4. Extent of natural surroundings.

5. Nearby amenities &endash; libraries, community centers, kind of shopping, etc.

6. Transportation options, and the attendant traffic consequences.

7. Social surroundings &endash; kind of people in immediate environment.

8. Sensate surroundings &endash; art, nature, music, etc.

9. Level of solitude we can (and want to) achieve.

A great amount of choice can be exercised, in each of these three ranges, even when well along in the toils of prior choice. But seldom is very much choice ever exercised, sad to say. Habit can be profoundly inertial, and even anesthetic to its own effects. But there is a deeper reason why people take the default route: the insistent conviction that the reality we find ourselves in is the only one there is. Or maybe, the only one there is for us. We have progressed, in our understanding of a diverse reality, to the realization that it can certainly be different for different folks . . . but precious few seem ready to believe that it can be chosen differently for ourselves, judging from the all too frequent willingness to suffer what the existing reality provides.

Well, it is not for me to judge; maybe there are reasons to accept the punishment or deprivations of an unwanted reality, I cannot know for others than myself. In some degree, I do, myself, accept reality elements I'd rather not, because there are 'boats' I'd prefer not to rock -- so I understand the line of reasoning, and will travel no further down this path of conjecture.

It isn't really what I was getting around to, anyway. I've been laying a foundation for your realization of how differently you have experienced the world, from anyone else. And how differently someone else may have experienced it, than you. And why it is both useless, and even self-defeating in the long run, to dismiss someone else's reality just because it hasn't been yours. No matter how far-fetched that other reality may seem!

If you cannot realize this, from all that I've been saying, you may as well crumple these pages up and toss them out . . . because the rest of what I have to say will be too far out for you. Believe me! It may, anyway, but I only want to talk to those with open minds, from here on. So those of you with too steep a rational resistance to the 'unreal' have been fairly warned.

My reality has been shifting

The world I pay attention to has taken some interesting turns, this year. And I have been further drawn into its web, because of the sheer persuasiveness of what seems to be going on. You'll recall that I wrote briefly, in the last issue, of a major national press conference undertaken to bring the UFO question out of the closet to which it has been consigned -- and that it landed with a quiet thud, becoming little more than a footnote in the ongoing charade that today characterizes our much-vaunted Freedom of Press.

There has been a lot of interesting discussion, among the concerned, about why that happened as it did, and the general consensus has attributed it to the government's ongoing disinformation campaign that deliberately tries to throttle any challenge to the coverup of that information. For my own part, I have always had a problem with the easy use of conspiracy theory. While I don't discount it entirely, it is too regularly put to use, a knee-jerk reaction for just about anything that can't gain sufficient exposure or credibility, and it seldom proves out. In a case like this, where the exposure was solid, for everyone to see and/or run with, conspiracy theory just gets in the way of any clear thinking about what the hamstring was really all about.

It is a reality issue, pure and simple. The broad slice of people that make up the American press and media have their own hard-headed kind of reality code, which says that UFO information is for the nuts. It was discredited years ago, in their confirmed view, and nothing now save a major government revelation (if even that) could give it any current legitimacy as a press topic. This is a see-no-evil mindset, quite as solid as that reserved for perpetual motion or the return of a Messiah.

To be sure, adventurous and resistant journalists, here and there, may have a go at it, but the mass media is just that -- a tied-down patronage system (the patrons being their advertisers and the government) that can't afford to look awkwardly soft-headed, on the larger journalistic scene. And the mindset infects every lackey down the line -- it is simply bread and butter for them. Not in any conspiracy sense, you understand, but it's just the reality they have learned to live by, in keeping with those specs I earlier laid out.

Well, that is just not good enough for me. Never much of a UFO-nut, myself, I've kept a bit of distance from that fray, reading one thing or another, from time to time, but never committing my head to a position on it. But I've done a bit more reading this summer, prompted by the clear sense of a lid being put on the press conference (if it was so or not), and I find there have been far more event witnesses and 'experiencers' than I had thought.

Beyond that, I found a divergence of opinion on it: Steven Greer, the man behind the press conference, thinks these are beneficent beings, here to help us; but Whitley Streiber, the author of Communion (among other well-received books on the subject), has written elsewhere that he's not so sure. Besides being an abductee himself, he says he's got 600,000 letters from other abductees over the past 14 years (which seems surely an exaggeration, but...), detailing their frightening experiences as abductees, and from this he concludes that they are up to no good (for us).

I'll comment further on that, before I'm done with this. I just want to say, first, that even if Streiber is exaggerating his numbers by a factor of ten, it is a far larger number of people than I had ever supposed were coming forth with stories of such involvement, and I begin to see what a huge coverup &endash; whether intended so or not &endash; this could be! In the very circumstance of how the recent press conference, well-staged and huge as it was, just seemed to drop from sight, I can see how such a coverup could realistically be happening. And again I add: whether it was deliberate or not -- it makes no difference in the end analysis. We are denied an open hearing and accounting, and that is a coverup.

As of this summer, I am a convert to the conviction that events of great but hidden magnitude are taking place, within our very midst as it were. As Whitley Streiber also says, it is clear that something is happening, though no one as yet can say just what it is. It simply doesn't wash, that so many people can be sharing the same essential delusion. And the fact that we hear virtually nothing about it, in our ordinary media exposure, is just a commentary on the media mindset -- it means nothing else at all.

There is more, however

One of my occasional contacts in the Southland, Suzanne Taylor, sent notice recently of what amounts to a major breakthrough in the long-evolving story of crop circles. It sent me running for a refreshed history of them on the web, and I went through a text and photo recap of their development since they started to appear, in the early 1970s.

I realized, as I reviewed the stream of them &endash; hundreds upon hundreds, appearing in grain fields all around the world, over a near-30-year stretch, and resisting all serious effort at explanation &endash; I realized how completely, over that time, our common reality (including my own, I have to sheepishly add) has drifted away from any contemplation of something so utterly astounding as this display of a magical and occult artistry that is happening in front of our very eyes! Its physical, objective realness mocks our insistent denial. It puts the FOOL label on everyone so secure, in their 'common sense' rationalism, as to dismiss this as a hoax. For it certainly can't be dismissed as hallucination -- it appears in the 'real world' for all to see. How could any such hoax sustain its mystery for 30 years? Not to mention its unceasing continuity of re-appearance.

Over the years, the patterns have had an inexhaustible diversity. What's more, their sophistication has steadily increased, until today's versions are brilliant instances of both design and mathematical ingenuity, so complex as to be impossible of duplication within an overnight span, as they typically occur, by any known means. But it is our lack of a technology for it that certifies their 'alien' origin. Investigation indicates that the grain stalks are bent by some force that changes their molecular structure in the narrow portion at which they are bent.

So the world has gone about its daily business &endash; you and I included &endash; as though daily business must be all there is. Don't you see how Zombie-like this makes us all? It has well been said that if a returning Jesus were to appear among us, nobody would pay him any attention.

[Or maybe, more relevant to the here and now, if a Supreme Court were to appoint an American president, nobody would really give a damn. It's the same Zombie phenomenon! -- I'm not even sure why I bother writing about it. Maybe as a way to stand ever so slightly free of it.]

But I was about to tell you of the recent development that I heard about from my southern California friend, Suzanne . . .

Just last month, certifying a power-packed August in a quite inimitable way, a grain field in England was host to a kind of 'crop circle' that had not appeared before. Two of them, in fact. The first was a rectangle with a facial image in it, and the second, in the same field about a week later, was an oblong design of a pattern that made no initial sense. But then someone saw that it bore a remarkable similarity to the radio-telescope pattern sent out into space, in 1974, from the giant Arecibo 'dish' in Puerto Rico, as an effort to make intelligent contact with any beings that may be 'out there.'

(Isn't it fascinating, how the prospect of contacting any extra-terrestrial intelligence 'out there' enlists the participation of both government and science; though they cannot seem to deal with the prospect of making any such contact right here among us!)

If you can imagine looking out your back window, to see something clearly 'out of this world,' happening right down there in your backyard, and then deciding to just ignore it and go right on with what you were doing -- you have the picture of what is going on, today, in our shared world. I ask nothing else of you, in this report, but just to know this! To realize it, as a harbinger of whatever may lie ahead, for it surely won't go away, and it cannot remain ignored indefinitely.

My own reaction has been to pick up on whatever current and recent material deals with it, and to keep a couple of reliable web sites on tap for further material as it breaks. Since the 'ante' has been upped, in this year that is generally regarded as the first of a new millennium (and has been given otherwise 'end-time' significance by seers of one sort and another), it seems reasonable to anticipate other developments up ahead. I have no good guess as to their nature, but I want to allow it as little shock potential for me, as possible. And that's exactly why I'm getting this out to all of you as quickly as I can.

Let me go on about this recent development, for there is more to say of it. Both of the images appear as they might in a digital form: composed of 'pixels' -- small clusters of grain stalks either upright or flattened. They can only be visualized from the air; but the detail of each 'pixel' &endash; whether it is 'on' or 'off' &endash; can be verified for sake of accuracy, on the ground. This has, in fact, been necessary, for there have been some apparently intentional alterations from the original Arecibo transmission that is being imitated.

This is still being studied, but some preliminary analysis suggests that this is truly an 'answering' message, and not just an echo, as it were. Without attempting more detail than it warrants, here, there are inferences that we may be dealing with silicon-based life forms, rather than carbon-based (as is all life on earth), and that it may come from elsewhere in our own solar system, rather than some 'far beyond' location -- or at least that they may have a base nearby. This is all so new, to investigators, that no theory is yet very solid. I'll include web sites at the end of this report, where you can tune in to the latest assessments and see photos, for yourselves (including a brief video of the field scene from the air).

Imagining what it could be

Let's return to the great fear that these are not hospitable or beneficent beings, that may be among us. This is an excellent moment to try and raise your sights toward a more 'Universal' view of what might be taking place. We are (quite hopefully!) not the be-all and end-all of possible human development. If we should happen to be, it might be just as well, if some superior species comes in and 'puts us out of our misery'! But I think it could turn out differently. We may be displaced, all right, but by an improved kind of human being -- or at the very least, a new species that is part human.

There is a rationale for this view: 'abductees' who have been put through hypnotic regression consistently report having undergone some kind of 'medical procedure' to extract genetic material from them. Now that we, ourselves (as a people) understand the process and potential of DNA manipulation, it is well within our conceptual range that some such 'human transformation' project may be underway, somewhere. We have no way of knowing, after all, that a similar process wasn't responsible, long, long ago, for the relatively sudden appearance of Homo Sapiens on the world scene -- a genetic blending at that time with the most advanced primates is quite within reason.

Dana Redfield, in her book of several years ago, Summoned: encounters with alien intelligence, writes of channeled instructive material suggesting as much, and adding that it has to be done, thusly, to safeguard the lives of the 'new humans' (my term, not hers) from the instinctive survival imperative of the 'old humans' to kill them in their infancy, upon discovery. This seems perfectly reasonable, to me. (The protection, not the killing.)

The prospect, in any such future scenario, is not for any deadly invasion, but for the gradual and natural displacement &endash; the phasing-out, as it were &endash; of one kind of human (us) in favor of another, over the course of several generations, possibly over a century or longer. It may, in fact, be already underway. Is that such a scary thing?

I can't say, of course, that this is anything but idle speculation -- there's no way of knowing whether it will be such an easy, bloodless scenario. What we know is far too fragmentary to be very clear on anything. But there is as little surety in making horrid scenarios as happy ones -- and far less comfort in doing so.

Here is my best-guess summary of what I think we know

1. Some 'other-worldly' intelligence has been actively at work for anywhere from 30 to 50 years, with an incredible techno-sophistication at its disposal, interfering at times in selective human lives, for purposes unknown.

2. Some creditable care has been taken to keep these abductions ultimately harmless, even blocking their distressing emotional effects from memory, very much as our own surgical practitioners employ sodium pentothal and other amnesic drugs to the same end.

3. Together with this has been an effort, on their part, to communicate and/or substantiate their presence. This is done with grace and artistry, even a degree of humor, in such a way as to assure public awareness as well as providing objective proof that remains for a sufficient length of time. It acts as a mirthful challenge to all who would deny the validity of their visitations -- in other words, they want us to know they're here, even though they do not reveal their purpose.

4. The Establishment at every level chooses to bury its head in the sand, either ignoring it or actively denying that anything at all unusual is happening.

From the standpoint of a total outsider, this is all I think we can be sure of. Maybe one more inference can be reasonably made: This seems to have all started when our ability to manipulate matter and energy at the level of the atom was achieved, and immediately put to destructive use -- thereby putting all of life at risk, and potentially at the unstable mercy of single individuals among us. Humankind has demonstrated no capability of handling this level of responsibility and power, at our present stage of evolvement. Hence, if any force or intelligence 'alien' to us had a vested interest in the future of humanity, it conceivably became unavoidably necessary, when that development took place, to intervene and interfere in earth-life. This is awfully far out, I know, but I am trying to account for something that is also awfully far out . . . yet is happening!

I put the word 'alien' in quotes, because we don't really know this to be the case. Too many questions about the nature of our underlying reality, of the human spirit and soul, remain beyond knowability, to be at all sure that this activity has originated from beyond our global sphere of life. We know only that the intrusion is evident &endash; by now, beyond any open-minded doubt &endash; and that it gives reasonable indication of being benevolent, in an over-arching perspective. We might, by now, have known more about it if our own powers-that-be had allowed and encouraged an open investigation of it.

Stonewalling the whole thing has been a tremendous dis-service, and is absolutely despicable, regardless of the motive. For myself, it is just one more brick in the wall of alienation that has recently arisen, between my country and me. Age alone makes a coward of me, unwilling (as yet) to abandon my residence and citizenship -- but the impulse is certainly present, as the country tailspins more steeply on its disastrous course, every day; and I will not, at this point, further be a hypocrite by adding silence or indifference to my cowardice.™

Websites for those who want more information -- the information from Suzanne, including links (text and photo) to more extensive crop circle background and discovery. -- the most recent site analysis of the new message image, with precise photo-comparisons to Arecibo message. -- to follow developments around the Disclosure Project; this site includes links for video version (on RealAudio) of original May 9, 2001 press conference. -- audio transcripts (by RealAudio) of witnesses from video being shown around the country now, by Steven Greer &endash; several dozen of them. -- frequently updated links to news on crop circle sites. -- for those who want to stay regularly informed of all such information on daily basis (may require joining, at no cost).

3. Send response