Time Is Science. But What’s Timing? Let Us Review ‘The Martian.’

The Martian. Ridley Scott. Good flick. Liked it. That out of the way, let’s dissect the hero’s journey of a scientist whose higher power is education, shall we?

Every good science porn is about how science is the cure-all to a world that doesn’t know fuck-all. The great Spock debate of the 1960s–Which is better for us: cold rationality or emotions?–still rages. But playtime with God is over. Sure, you still have to throw a bone to religious fundamentalists, like they do in The Martian, with scenes where the high-powered scientist characters make it clear they still leave a little light on in their hearts for The Light. But that’s to avoid picketing by fundamentalist Christian groups whose whole problem in life is not understanding fiction when they see it.

Here’s the thing, the striking thing, that struck me as I allowed myself to become emotionally invested in a movie whose outcome was obvious: timing is everything and you cannot predict it exactly. As a cure-all for a crisis situation, mathematical calculations and understanding of the mechanical universe bring you to a larger window for success. They give you greater odds of success, but it’s a probability factor nonetheless. They don’t hand you a win. They can’t, for there are always unforeseen variables, a chaos in that order.

You can plot out the time it takes to do something exactly right yet cannot plot out the timing. Why are these different things? It points to an un-mechanistic nature of the universe, which is inseparable from the mechanistic.

What is perfect timing? If you say “luck,” you’re missing the point that chance does not exist; it collapses by its everpresentness, for there is not a chance that chance can’t exist. It’s not even a paradox, it’s just an illusion. If chance is a factor in everything everywhere, then luck is destined to happen.

In no instance is anything perfectly predictable. Science itself tells us this–we live an existence of possibilities and probabilities. This is why we need emotions, because nothing is perfect, ever works perfectly, and so every now and then we have to kick a tire and yell, “Shit!” You may say that outburst is a defect, much better to remain calm as a robot in such situations, but that, too, is missing the point. The point is that “defects” are built into us because nothing in the universe can be perfect. This here reality is perfectly imperfect and so we are perfectly defective. These are expressions of the Chance Goddess permanently woven, as She is, into the Math God that tries to predict everything.

If the mechanical perfection of the mechanistic universe is an illusion because of chance and the chanciness of chance is an illusion because it is ever-present, then Hollywood sci-porn writers need not pat the religious on the head as they attempt to reeducate them. There is a reason that the hero’s journey works equally well with an atheist scientist as it does a religious seeker: because, like it or not, the forces all around us are not reducible to us. Whether you understand life through observation and repeatability or through a bible does not matter to life. God(s) can guide you or your own will and education. But in the end, at the edge of the moment where the scientist jumps from one object in space to the next to survive,  he will have to abandon the knowledge that guided him there as he enters that moment. The religious hero will have to stop praying to the god(s) as he enters the moment.

The moment is silence and you must be silence to be in silence. No chattering thought or moving lips. No emotional outbursts. Time dissolves. Synchronicities unfold. You will feel more at one with everything you formerly assumed was around you but not you.

The moment. The moment is the thing, not the journey. You are the moment.

And in the moment, timing is everything.

Also, Matt Damon was really good in this.

Dissecting The NASA Announcement of Water on Mars

ocean pond

There are implications for the existence of life on the planet today, because any liquid water raises the possibility that microbes could also be present. And for future astronauts on Mars, the identification of water supplies near the surface would make it easier for them to “live off the land”.

Water means life! Hooray! And drinking water for astronauts. Hooray!

An interesting consequence of the findings is that space agencies will now have some extra thinking to do about where they send future landers and rovers.

Right? Cuz yer gonna want to get right on in there to scoop it up!

Current internationally agreed rules state that missions should be wary of going to places on Mars where there is likely to be liquid water.

Wait, what? Why? Isn’t that the whole mission? Buzz Aldrin gotta drink!

A UK space agency expert on Mars landing sites, Dr Peter Grindrod, told BBC News: “Planetary protection states that we can’t go anywhere there is liquid water because we can’t sterilise our spacecraft well enough to guarantee we won’t contaminate these locations. So if an RSL is found within the landing zone of a probe, then you can’t land there.”

Huh.? Wha-? Okay. So what you’re saying is, we’ll never know if there’s life or send astronauts to drink the water?

Why are we looking for life in the first place if it’s illegal to be within a certain range of it? We could accidentally have stumbled into it. We could have landed on it! Our toxins could be airborne and invading underground layers of life right now!

It would be apropos here to point out the absurd irony of Western colonizers worried about contaminating life on every planet but the one they’re living on except there isn’t one. There isn’t one because the second that rule about not getting too close gets in the way of “progress”, they will change the rule. Or Americans will say “That’s a U.N. rule – we’re above all that. ‘Murica, damn it!”

For all of our “enlightened” Star Trek principles, our practices look more like… well… like the action scenes of Star Trek. The best of us is always kept in principle. In ideals. The actuality is, this Western colonizing mind divides things into properties, into yours/mine, thereby creating an enemy out of you and a desire for something I want–what’s yours. Upon this foundation it builds an economic system, which necessarily devolves into a wartime economy and, if we don’t live in smaller clans but in larger nations, eats up the planet for “resources,” i.e., other things I want.

Or I could be wrong about the wartime economy and the devouring of resources. Those might not be inevitable outcomes. They might only be natural outcomes of the system we’ve built. You know… the one trying to colonize Mars. The one we’re actually living in right now.


All quotes taken from Martian salt streaks ‘painted by liquid water’, By Jonathan Amos, BBC Science Correspondent. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34379284

Ufology: Atrophy of a Study

This morning a friend recommended I interview a certain ufologist on The Experience whose work was influential to her. I won’t name him because this isn’t about singling anyone out, it’s about the whole rotten mess.

I cannot in good conscience invite him on, for he has given a glowing blurb to David Jacobs’ new book on the back cover and anyone who supports Jacobs doesn’t care about these topics in any meaningful way. That is, anyone who supports his “work” and knows of the damning evidence that it is all nonsense. I checked out this guy’s presentation at a recent conference and I’m not certain he’s aware of Emma Woods, Brian Reed, or any of the recordings that in any legitimate field of study would have Jacobs run out of it. And so, this brings me to another glaring issue with ufology:

Can you be a good ufologist if you never reexamine your own evidence through time?

This man’s presentation is not unique but the standard in ufology in that it groups together evidence from the 1940s on up to present day. Some of the cases have been debunked; some not. Is this acceptable? Are we to pretend we’ve learned nothing since the 40s about things like photography, hypnosis, and witness testimony? Are we to never look for the solution to a case and find an Emma Woods website, discover Carol Rainey, or contemplate George Hansen?

The intriguing thing to me about this subculture study begging to be taken seriously by the main is that it is so outdated. It’s counterintuitive that the PhD putting it all on the line with career and being made a laughing stock to prove that this elusive thing is real would be satisfied with a mixture of debunked data and not debunked, but so old that we can’t do much with it except hold it up and go, “See?” It smacks of a type of laziness that you don’t know you’re practicing until someone points it out–the type that occurs when time becomes a blur because you’ve been able to cite the same several cases over and over again to applause and now ten years has gone by, twenty years, and you never noticed. You don’t realize that the photo in your hand, which still feels fresh to you, is from 25 years ago (and perhaps debunked) because you hold it up with the same energy, the same vigor you did 25 years ago. This, because you’re up against the same wall of mainstream denial from 25 years ago and garnering the same amount of applause for your bravery in putting these clues together to form the picture of this reality denied by all but the free thinkers in the room.

Except you’re trapped.

There is no free-thinking in that at all. You’re trapped in time like a ghost: all manic energy and no substance. When you let your excitement get the best of you, your passion run wild, and your sense of elitism take over, it’s easy to forget that the alien abduction case you’re hot about right now was alleged to have occurred in the 1980s and has recently been shown to probably have never happened.

So which is it we are supposed to be enamored with: your energetic display of certainty about the reality of something or the evidence for it? If it’s the evidence, you’d better be darned sure that what you present is still relevant.

And when you allow your name and quote to be used to promote another completely and legitimately  debunked researcher, it would behoove you to google search what he has been up to these past few decades just in case the person you befriended and were intrigued with in the 80s isn’t the same person you’re helping out now.