January 25th, 2012

Different Keys for Different Doors

I have seen spirits. Maybe it's "an Indian thing." I know they exist, in what we commonly know as reality. It does take some mental shifts to get there, things that sometimes people might consider altered reality. Yet the actions of the spirits had results in the empirical world. I am an animist, I believe the world is alive, not just the animals and plants, but the air the clouds, the rocks, the seen and (usually) unseen. I was initiated into the old Latin rite Roman Catholic Church, and I believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. I am an artist, so I believe in anything, everything, and nothing. I am comfortable with Forteana which documents the weird world we live in (se Mothman and leylines and Skinwalker Ranch), and I believe magic exists as do nature spirits and haunted places. Because I have experienced it at various and unplanned points in my life. Not all the time, just enough to make you question it all.

At the same time, I teach an intro to archaeology class through an online university. I have the education and experiences as an archaeologist, and have worked as a professional archaeologist. When I do science, I put on my hardboiled science filter, the empiricist one that dismisses all that paranormal kook stuff. And the Atlantis stuff, and aliens from the stars stuff etc. Fringe archaeology just just doesn't wash, I'm sorry to say, none of that Atlantis or ancient aliens stuff. The material evidence runs counter, it does not support the claims, not even close.

But remember: Hancock's "teachers" and Jensen's "dreams" and Black Elk's visions... those are not material. You cannot submit an immaterial thing, like spirits or dreams, to scientific analysis, because it is the wrong tool. However, when one has a material thing to analyze and the analysis does not give you the answer you prefer, well, there it is. You have to work it out for yourself.

Certainly, people have the right to believe as they wish, to have the worldview they desire. I recently had to wade through a good and honorable fundamentalist Christian student's earnest discussion about God making the world already old, because after all, God could make Adam a grown man, so why not be able to make an old world, complete with fraudulent dinosaur bones? Where can one start? I don't want to critique or hurt people's beliefs, and I just am too old too be interested in rants or arguments, when I know it will not end up well for anyone. Just believe what you believe, read the material, think about it, and go from there. Make up your own mind...please.

In my archeology class, I have atheists, fundamentalist Christians, ex-Christians, conspiracists, fringe archaeology fans, scientists, average Joes, ...and people who would rather be shopping and who think getting an A.A. degree is going to land them a job right after they graduate with a 100,000 dollar salary. Where does one start? I just put the material out there, and it is up to people to use their own choice (of course the reality is there isn't much real free choice since our culture immerses us in Matrix-like thaumaturgy all the time). I tell them, believe nothing. Use your own mind...if you still can.

As for myself, I have a pocketful of worldviews, like keys on a janitor's keychain. Each opens a different door. The wrong key doesn't open a door for which it is not suited, no matter how we try to force it.


"Tenuousness," by Andrew Bird.

Tenuous at best was all he had to say
When pressed about the rest of it, the world that is
From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans
Greek Cypriots and and harbor sorts who hang around in ports a lot

Here's where things start getting weird
While chinless men will scratch their beards
And to their minds a sharpened axe
Is brushed upon the Uralic syntaxes

Love of hate acts as an axis
Love of hate acts as an axis
First it wanes and then it waxes
So procreate and pay your taxes

Tenuousness, less seven comes to three
Them, you, us plus eleven
Thank the heavens for their elasticity
And as for those who live and die for astronomy

When coprophagia was writ
Know when to stand or when to sit
Can't stand to stand, can't stand to sit
And who would want to know this?
Click, click, click

Who wants to look upon this?
Who wants to look upon this pray tell?
Who wants to look upon this?
Who wants to look upon this pray tell, pray tell?

Tenuousness, less seven comes to three
Them, you, us plus eleven comes just shy of infinity
And as for those who live and die from numerology