Friday, January 10, 2014

John Keel and Consciousness As A State of Matter

( Expanded and Revised)

From and Beyond John Keel

..The UFOs do not seem to exist as tangible manufactured objects. They do not conform to the accepted natural laws of our environment. . .The UFO manifestations seem to be, by and large, merely minor variations of the age-old demonological phenomenon."   -John Keel

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think”    ― Gregory Bateson

In the last post "Imaging Being who We Are" I took on the subject of the observer's traits of "false" personality in the context to be expanded here, which is to say that the quantum discoveries of observer effect are due to the role of imaging one's self and the allusions also falsely made that we are objectively conscious, which then folds onto anomalous experiential realities as reported. 

Rodney Collin who was one of PD Ouspensky's principal students once remarked that the familiar was so absurd that it constituted in of itself, a conclusive argument that miracles do exist. The fact that the layers of realities that science is probing are stranger than we formerly imagined makes the postulates that the anomalous can be taken with face values is patently a relic of 19th Century thinking, as well as the tradition derived from Newton that we live in a mechanical universe.

The passage we all share is certainly one of intoxication that originates in the senses themselves so much so, that one of the principle researchers into theoretical physics ( Brian Joesphson) suggests that the observer effect is a matter of being skewed by the biochemistry of sensory systems. In other words, our own biology has a role in perception as related to the outcomes we anticipate as observers in a manner that we are directly unaware of in a sort of crib blindness. And yet in a society based upon scientific materialism, the rationality of logic fails to note the malleability of this situation.

What Andre Breton noted remains...

 "We are still living under the rule of logic, that, of course, is what I am driving at. But in our day, logical procedures are only applicable in solving problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism still in fashion only allows us to consider facts directly related to our own experience. The aims of logic, in contrast, escape us. Pointless to add that our very experience finds itself limited."

Not surprisingly, given the mechanical nature of most analytic studies of anomalous experiential reality, the observer and the observed are separated in the sense that the observed is assumed to be divorced from the one who experiences the observation and what is observed has, in effect, a life of it's own. Nature does not operate in this fashion and to think that human observations fall outside of nature is patently ridiculous.
One of the more influential figures in the development of cybernetics, Gregory Bateson had a great deal to say about this and n considering that nothing in the paranormal field as reported falls outside of nature ( albeit a unknown relationship) what Bateson had to say is pertinent to the unknown nature of the anomalous.
The ecology of the mind within the ecology of nature.

Beyond the quantum role of biochemistry and the related electromagnetic field of the physical brain we can easily determine that what we anticipate by can be profoundly influenced by altering it's field by the ingestion of psycho-active drugs such as LSD..perception can be skewed and as a result so can personal anticipation of experiential reality in terms of what is possible and what is not. 
All of this in both a paranormal or anomalous context driven by consensus as well as what we could call a steady state of consciousness or normal waking consciousness fall under the term psychic phenomenon.  

"I abandoned the extraterrestrial hypothesis in 1967 when my own field investigations disclosed an astonishing overlap between psychic phenomena and UFOs... The objects and apparitions do not necessarily originate on another planet and may not even exist as permanent constructions of matter. It is more likely that we see what we want to see and interpret such visions according to our contemporary beliefs." -John Keel

There is a very thin red line between rationality and imagination when logic fails to create a plausible scenario for the inexplicable. In terms of the failure of a multitude of theories to attach themselves to a coherent narrative of explanation to paraphrase a famous quote, if nothing is true then all things become possible.

 I think it is very plausible that what these accounts amount to is that we imagine we are conscious as all we know is self referential. It is not so much a matter of a parallel universe as it might be our own is somehow turned back upon itself to expose a sort of charade we engage in unwittingly. The illusions of control and manipulation on our part are so pervasive that perhaps they are prone to distortions inasmuch as the puppeteer may also well be a puppet. 

One could say that other possibilities of realities beyond the self referential are not only plausible but are a necessity. 

In this in all the accounts of experiential anomalies I have read it is not the unfamiliar that ranks highest in the hierarchy of strangeness but rather the familiar is transformed while retaining it's characteristic identifiers.
Consequently the familiar in relation to imaging and anomalous images as experiences are entangled in a sort of game of basic principles whose boundaries are not grounded elsewhere but in the familiar themselves.
Of course this was the nexus of surrealism in all of it's forms which suggested the same implications as I am writing about.

 In relation to the concepts of "false personality" as related earlier are the recent investigations into the state of observers that set the stage ( perhaps) for these strange experiences, especially in the U.K under the auspices of the SPR. One could say the road begins where the script becomes unreadable, paradoxical, turned inward upon itself, this is the nexus of deconstruction where no map has or perhaps ever will be created. This is the death of Self before death..death before dying...even the most ardent existentialist would find this discomforting to the point of being unimaginable. But this is where we go to find answers, to achieve an impossible sobriety in the face of intoxication.

Depression, stress, a string of bad luck..The various realities of entangled states was first picked up from a investigation and a subsequent book entitled "Telephone Calls From The Dead"( published in the UK)  which I reviewed here some time ago. Here is one such investigative channel that is currently being an example of this specific probing into the observer's state

One possibility is either a organic or inorganic ( psychological) form of disassociation as follows:

In psychology, the term dissociation describes a wide array of experiences from mild detachment
 from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality – rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis. This is the "kicker" .Dissociation experiences are further characterized by the varied maladaptive mental constructions of an individual's natural imaginative capacity.

He pushed the glass before me.."Perhaps death is not reunification, or may be when all the utility of pragmatism withers away in a sort of palsy..and one is led back upon oneself, one can only imagine what he knows but in a new frame of reference, a parable of appetites gained through living that take on a life of their own or so it seems. Turned back upon themselves..what do they say, man is not one, he is many.."

" What are you getting at?" 
"Instead of clarity we fall deeper into what pragmatism and sign posts have vouchsafed us against..the imagination of what may be since there is no defining characteristics of what this so called death."

"Do you think we may experience this before the separation of the body?"
"Perhaps perhaps not..that is a matter for our mathematics or sentence structure could prepare us if this is a matter of fact we may be hoisted in this by our petards  where our tool making of the mind turns against us..we are no longer writing the script...the script is writing us,,,"

Long ago, John Keel noted the following in his book entitled "Operation Trojan Horse"

"Recently the U.S. Government Printing Office issued a publication compiled by the Library of Congress for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research: UFOs and Related Subjects: An Annotated Bibliography. In preparing this work, the senior bibliographer, Miss Lynn E. Catoe, actually read thousands of UFO articles, books, and publications. In her preface to this 400-page book she states:

A large part of the available UFO literature is closely linked with mysticism and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing, and invisible entities, as well as phenomena like poltergeist manifestations and possession. … Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demoniac possession and psychic phenomena which has long been known to theologians and parapsychologists."
pp. 44, 45.

In physics, a state of matter is one of the distinct forms that different phases of matter take on. Four states of matter are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. One could classify anomalous experiential realities much in the same manner in the context of what could best be described by the reductionist term of consensus reality.....perhaps as a solid One could say these states have a commonality in Tibetan cosmology in relation to consciousness ( which I suspect is imaginary) to what are termed Bardos. 

The Tibetan word bardo means literally "intermediate state" - also translated as "transitional state" or "in-between state" or "liminal state". In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva. It is a concept which arose soon after the Buddha's passing, with a number of earlier Buddhist groups accepting the existence of such an intermediate state, while other schools rejected it.
Used loosely, the term "bardo" refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. One wonders if disassociation provides the same opportunity.Or, then again the electromagnetic field of the physical brain along with it's biochemical basis may be prone to external fields that alter perception, as much as as the ingestion of mind altering chemicals.

These vivid dreams found in the Bardos usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's animal  instincts that parlay the metaphorical into a context wherein the familiar becomes strange......the familiar as terrifying which corresponds to the waking state and its reactions to various innovations of the familiar turned back upon itself.The differential between illusion and delusion hides within the familiar if it is so that we experience the physicality of the natural world in a state of dreaming...

 Consciousness As A State of Matter

On the topic of John Keel and his influence on your author, this timely piece by Nick Redfern sums up his ( Keel's) dissenting viewpoint regarding the nature of unknown atmospheric anomalies very accurately and succinctly as psychic phenomenon.

If consciousness is a state of matter...then it may parallel having more than one state than the ones we are intimately embedded within.

Historically, the distinction is made based on observable and qualitative differences in the properties of these varieties of states .Matter in the solid or stored state maintains a fixed volume and shape, with component particles (atoms, molecules or ions) close together and fixed into place. Matter in the liquid state maintains a fixed volume, but has a variable shape that adapts to fit its container.Hence the metaphysical definition of truth being comparable to a liquid that in of itself has several states of mutability.  Its particles are still close together but move freely. 
Matter in the gaseous state has both variable volume and shape, adapting both to fit its container. Its particles are neither close together nor fixed in place. Is consciousness, in of itself, as a yet to be recognized form of matter conform to all of these states while transcending each? Then there is the matter of the observed and particularly the observer.

What I am making an approach toward is my original methodology of exploring the anomalous. You have in physics, the relationship between the observer and the observed and about five years ago I said that this relationship is changing and the progress of science in consciousness studies as well as in quantum physics has verified the approach as a matter of pragmatism You can more easily explore the observer than you can what is observed. Not to diminish the complexities involved and the many many traps this methodology entails..
The non local attributes of remote viewing, the physicality of the mind \ brain, the strange storage of past events that permeate the locations of former human habitation...all of these come to mind is consciousness were a form of matter that had the various attributes of all the aforementioned states that mirrors what I called a "third state of realities ( always in the plural) wherein what is observed follows this same path of crossing various classifications of various observable states. I doubt that this is all a series of coincidences lined up as if they were waiting for a starting gun.

""In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
-EA Poe

As I have demonstrated ( perhaps) I am moving further afield than my contemporaries and much of this can be attributed to the work of John Keel having an enormous influence on the context of these matters. While others argue over the material basis of anomalous experiential realities I am fairly convinced that the foundation philosophies of making round pegs into square holes by projected intent on the part of observers is a critical assumption that the observer freely chooses what is theorized whereas it it is a matter of suggesting to the already dreaming awareness that suggests to itself continually, reinforced by self referential material that they themselves have been pinned by from without.

Mountain climbing on a moonless night in the midst of a bustling street. Verifying one step is on solid ground before moving the a dream as so much of a balm that.inconsequential noises startle us..we must move on where the wind will erase our tracks..the cinema of the mind and we as protagonists in someone else's imagination hang by our fingernails to the hope of a cracking warm fire and more tales to throw into the flames... making a soot across the mounting drifts that surround us. As Poe would say, a dream within a dream.

Fade to white...


  1. Interesting stuff. Sort of like a Flying Tulpa?

  2. Tulpa brings to mind "thought forms" which would correspond to the subject at hand as well as to the observer skewing what is observed in a general way of speaking, which had not directly occurred to me as I wrote this.

  3. I was on the bridge at Point Pleasant. It is hard sometimes to know if the genetic anomalies of those involved are strange attractors before or after, no one tracks that stuff. You know, they say they have encouraged photons to form molecules that exist, in time. Maybe tachyons and neutrinos obey the same geometry, just not as linear, that arrow of time requires a lot of intervention, MIB, and such. What is human can mean a transtional structure, not a metaphor when the hills hold all kinds of answers, gravitational mystery spots and seasons would correlate, just not in any lasting euclidian sense.

    1. Neal
      I agree inasmuch as I suspect that energy and information are a singularity and like Vallee I suspect there is more than one state to this that is akin to a spectrum rather than clear demarcations between states at a certain level. The intervention you mentioned reminds me of my own suspicions that this operates as a genome structure. Nothing is discarded and it ( levels of organised energy structures) can lie dormant and what is past can be present if called upon unwittingly, seen through the lens of the observer attenuating the information into unique variations.
      Your comment brings to mind all sorts of associations related to it, whether they are germane or

  4. Your article is an admirable tribute to John Keel and his theories as to what really lies beyond man’s mysterious interaction with otherworldly entities. Though today it’s clothed in the garb of UFO, it’s just a new display of the same characteristics manifested from earliest recorded times.

    I have been studying, researching and analyzing all aspects of the paranormal for about 50 years. Like you, I too have found the key to figuring the bigger reality out is by doing what Keel and a handful of other seekers do ~ go beyond and inside the sometimes grandiose, often absurd manifestations themselves. It’s not the mysterious craft or the electro-magnetic manifestations that need to be investigated and endlessly researched, but that intelligence which is behind these events and orchestrates for an as-yet inconceivable purpose. The manifestations are nothing but smoke screens, intended to confuse, manipulate, distort, or perhaps even control, our perceptions of ourselves as sentinent beings, or at least our perception of reality and our supposed place in its physical framework.

    But of course UFO’s, alien encounters, demonic possession and MIB’s are but one aspect of a bigger paranormal landscape which ranges from ghosts, cryptids, Bigfoot and lake monsters to psychic phenomena, clairvoyance and telekinesis, to MIB’s, divine healings, “religious” miracles and reincarnation, to distortions of space-time and falls of both live fish, bloody animal parts and inanimate objects falling to earth from the sky. And that’s just a small sample of all the things which we humanity has experienced and for which we do not have any rational explanation.

    These widely and wildly diverse manifestations prove with certainty the reality of our five senses and the foundation of modern science is just an infinitesimal part of a far bigger reality. This “bigger reality” is literally limitless in scope, dimension or diversity. The greatest minds of our times have so far not even been able to formulate a good guess as to exactly what that bigger reality includes and how we as humans fit into it.

    But, thanks to John Keel and thoughtful researches like yourself, at least now we’re beginning to get past gawking at the funny lights dancing around in the sky and starting to ask ourselves who or what is behind these phenomena? What is their ultimate purpose in their interactions with us? Are we really, as Fort suggested, nothing but “property?” Or worse, perhaps just food and a little light, pre-meal entertainment?

    Greatly enjoyed your article, sir. Very thought-provoking and challenging.

  5. Steve
    You made an important discernment that is to avoid separating one type of experiential phenomenon by categorizing them at their face value ( what they appear to be) so as to critically assume the roots cause(s) are equally separate from one another. Keeping an open mind and digger deeper than appearances alone inasmuch it seems most manipulate themselves by way of this while placing the blame on a nebulous "trickster" element as though there were anything to be pragmatically gained by this purposelessness of deception on their part. I enjoyed your comments and it is heartening to know I am not the only individual who has come to this contingent conclusion. On Keel, he had a very dry sense of wry humor shared by Fort and it surprises me many take both their comments overly seriously in some circumstances

  6. As you know I had my own UFO encounter years ago. I didn’t write a book and go on the “tour” and I didn’t run off to start my own religion. I don’t profess to know what it was exactly that I saw but I did get a nice close look at it and it was at the very least thought provoking. I would say that aspect of the encounter is the best take away one could have.

  7. Michael

    My one reaction to anomalous experiential realities is to use them as a platform or nexus to explore without having an answer in hand and in turn share those provocations with others as I do think that none of us can come to any theology or positivist statements such as conspiracies, hard shell craft, overly imaginative reactions etc. I once said and I still remain convinced that none of us know what we are referring to or discussing in any direct manner. Yet many, many others would tell us otherwise. Even the most outlandish theory is a mirror image of prosaic rationalism turned back upon itself. I think some go out of their way to insist that all this is measurable when its incommensurable...which seems to have gotten lost in faux debates among those who insist they have answer A or B. The rancor and clashing egos that characterize the flavor of the scene led Paul Kimball to pronounce it a case of sociology. I would go further and suggest all this produces a lot of heat and no light.
    Yet behind all the verbiage something strange is persistent..unknown and our own situation reflects perennial questions. All of the "answers" also reflect the context in which they derive. I honestly doubt that I will ever know any answers but I do think the search for them or "it" is worthwhile.

  8. When the world was filled with spirits, gods and daemons it is easy for me to see how what it was I saw could be identified as belonging in one of those categories. In the same way that technology is a dominant force in our lives today it is equally easy to see how a machine-like definition could apply. I always enjoyed Mac Tonnies efforts in challenging our concepts regarding UFOs and extraterrestrials in unique and often humorous ways. I miss his insights and contributions to the conversation.

  9. I could not agree with you more. With his passing the air went out of the sort of probing (self and otherwise) that he he exemplified with his gift and wide ranging curiosity.
    What remains seems to be dying off due to the dehydration of melding that native curiosity to imagination and asking..what if?..It had gotten to a point on certain other blogs, where I was told I was abstruse, off topic when I would not buy what was being sold. One blogger told me that he received complaints that nobody understood what I was conveying and I responded to this sleight of hand by simply telling the truth, that this was not my issue. And so now this is a sort of desert having dried up due to those who are found of over arching statements, and edicts regarding the
    territorial prerogatives they defend...which makes Mac's passing all the more profound to yours truly. A remarkable example of a humanist with the interests of a renaissance individual.
    In short, an artist.

  10. Bruce - please keep blogging; voices like yours, tempered by a experiential metaphysic or an 'inner empiricism' which in your case I guess to be largely Gurdjieffian, are sorely needed in the field of that Hegelian hydra of Forteana. Like Fort, the Hindu pantheon of your linguistic manipulations can be exhausting but I think I understand the rationale. But these short concrete pieces are your best work. I'm spreading the word: