Revilo P. Oliver
The Gawking Scientists in the Sticks
The Pip-Squeak Effect
Through the Looking Glas
Ain’t Science Wonderful?
Superstition Springs Eternal
Is There Any Hope?
The Anatomy of Revolution
A Question of Taxonomy
The Fly in the Ointment
Early in 1983, fifty-five years after it was perpetrated, Margaret Mead’s great anthropological hoax was at last definitively exposed by the publication of Professor Derek Freeman’s Margaret Mead and Samoa. See Ray Hill’s review of that book in the May issue of The Liberty Bell and the subjoined editorial note, which pointed out that the Mead woman’s hoax should never have fooled anyone who had a modicum of common sense and used it. Her touted “discovery,” which provided a theoretical basis for most of the systematic sabotage of children’s minds and characters in the public schools, was intrinsically incredible.
Articles about the great fraud appeared in other “right-wing” periodicals. It was concisely treated in the latest issue of the British Heritage & Destiny. In the June issue of National Vanguard, Ted O’Keefe, utilizing the work of Professor George W. Stocking, Jr., demonstrated the function of Mrs. Mead in the intrigues by which Jews infiltrated and subverted the science of anthropology and converted it into an arm of the Judaeo-Communist revolution, by which the American people are now held captive.
None of these articles, however, mentioned the most horrible fact of all.
Remember, please, that there are only two alternatives, and it does not really matter which you choose. Either (a) the Mead woman was a conscious fraud, a brazen liar, a willing tool in the hands of the implacable enemies of our race and civilization; or (b) she was stupid, utterly incompetent to conduct any investigation or do any work more demanding than washing dishes in the kitchen she abandoned to become a Ph.D., a frustrated female driven by certain sexual obsessions she wanted to impose on her sane and normal contemporaries. And the fictions that she called “research” were of precisely the kind that Hume, two centuries ago, used as an example of tales that are in themselves proof that they are told by a liar.
Now perpend the painful fact that Margaret Mead received the highest honors that the American Association for the Advancement of Science could bestow. She was elected President of that august body in 1975, and became Chairman of the Board thereafter. She was also Curator of the American Museum of Natural History from 1926 until she died in 1978. It took three inches of small type in American Men of Science to list the colleges and universities that showered honorary doctorates (including Litterarum Humaniorum Doctor!) on the great Professor Mead or competed for her prestigious presence to enhance their reputations as citadels of pure science. But all the toadying by college presidents on the make is a mere trifle in comparison with the action of the oldest, largest, and most highly respected body of scientists in the United States.1
That highly competent physicists, chemists, astronomers, and biologists should have bestowed their highest honors on the perpetrator of fraud that contravened common sense is simply appalling, no matter what scabrous Yiddish intrigues were used to promote her candidacy. And it is terrifying when we remember that our chances to survive depend entirely on the power and integrity of scientific research.
Our entire future depends on the tiny minority of men who represent not only our race’s highest intellectual accomplishment but also our highest morality (for, to the Aryan mind, nothing can be more sacred than ascertained facts and no ethical obligation can be more imperative than recognition of truth). So we must most anxiously ask ourselves what can have made our best minds so gullible or feckless.
Our problem, of course, has nothing to do with the infinite credulity and irredeemable ignorance of the masses. Even in our race (which alone concerns us) scores of suckers are born every minute and will continue to be born in every minute of the foreseeable future. In the great majority, such powers of ratiocination as they may possess will always be submerged by an overwhelming yen to believe the unbelievable. One could list a thousand proofs of that dolorous fact.
Miraculous photo taken Feb. 10, 1973, on the Shrine Grounds. On the extreme left of picture in a Rosary bead pattern can be seen a capital “G” in writing, which stands for God. The coming Warning and the Chastisement of the ball of fire will come directly from God. Notice the letters forming “BY SKY” at the base of the statue on the left. The Warning as explained to Veronica will begin as an explosion in the sky. On the right side of the picture numerous hourglasses are visible, which symbolizes that time is running out, that God will soon pour the cup (chalice) of His fierce wrath upon humanity. All lines with beads represent the many Rosaries being said.
Here is God’s signature, together with the explanation of the miracle, reproduced exactly from the original advertisement.
In Stockton, California, some prankster made an image of the fabulous Virgin seem to move of its own accord, and he squirted a few drops of oil on the plaster face to represent tears. The miracle started an epidemic of brain-fever in the congregation, but the trick was too crude for even the professional holy men, much as they would have liked a plausible manifestation of their elusive deity, and they denounced it as a hoax. To the delirious half-wits, that merely proved that their priests had become “possessed of the devil. ”Full-page advertisements in various newspapers (and a half-page in the most widely circulated ‘right-wing’ weekly) recently informed us that the “American Lourdes” is in operation and that its cash-registers are clicking merrily. The proof of its miraculous power was a photograph taken at night and showing a statue of the Virgin Mary before which God evidently dashed by, gesticulating with a pen-sized flashlight that recorded a wildly irregular streak on the film. At one point, the often retroflected and contorted line vaguely resembles the letter G in handwriting; this, we are told, God intended as his signature! That proves that he has learned some English – at least the generic name for supernatural beings in that language.
It was mere chance that the examples that came first to my mind pertain to a cult that is no worse than a hundred others. The Jewish con man whose doings in India were mentioned in The Liberty Bell in March 1981 has now moved his holy whore house to Oregon and has teams of rich imbeciles jumping up and down and yelling “Hoo, hoo, hoo!” so that they can copulate hard enough to “find God by experiencing ‘cosmic orgasm.’ ”
We laugh at such nitwits, until we remember that they and millions like them can and do vote. Then cold shivers run up and down our spines.
If a nation overburdened with such masses of human détritus survives, that will be a miracle greater than any imagined by our dervishes, and the only hope of it lies in rigorously scientific thinking by the few men who have the intellect to sustain our civilization. Hence the urgency of our inquiry.
It is true that quite a few men who attained competence, and some who attained distinction, in some one of the sciences have evinced remarkable gullibility, but that was almost always a susceptibility to some superstition about the supernatural that promised survival after death. That was a potent incentive. All mammals instinctively fear death, and our species of mammals, having the power to perceive how inexorable are the forces of nature, fears it most of all.
On pain of death, let no man name death to me:
It is a word infinitely terrible.
Christianity for so many centuries promised immortality to our people that the hope of perdurance after death is the dulcet illusion that it is most difficult, most painful to surrender. And as Nietzsche saw, it is the noblest and most active minds that are least content to become nothingness:
Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit,
Will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit.
And he himself was consoled and even exalted by his revival and elaboration of Aristotle’s theory that in a closed universe the nexus of cause and effect must, in infinite time, produce a cyclical and endless recurrence (Ewige Wiederkehr) of all physical phenomena (including himself).
We feel a certain compassion, even sympathy, for the able men who, though otherwise rational, had a weakness that made them sitting ducks for the sleight-of-hand and sleight-of-tongue of even third-rate conjurors. Everyone knows the pathetic story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an ophthalmologist who wrote two excellent historical novels and created the perennially fascinating Sherlock Holmes, and who eventually became so silly that a pair of adolescent girls in a mischievous mood doubtless astonished themselves by convincing him that they consorted with fairies and gnomes. Sir Oliver Lodge, justly honored for his work on electrons and the nature of light and electro-mechanical waves, had retained from his boyhood an incurable itch to meet ghosts and be assured he could still become one. Sir William Crookes, who discovered thallium, invented the Crookes tube, identified the cathode rays it made visible, and did some of the basic work on radioactivity, seems to have been a sucker for “psychic research,” although we have recently been offered an explanation more creditable to Sir William’s intelligence, though not to his morality as a man of science (the morality that really counts): the beauteous young spook-raiser, Florence Cook, whom he so lavishly preconized, was in fact the aging man’s mistress and her non-psychic charms may have induced him to bolster her psychic glamor by lending prestige to the whole spiritualistic business, even when practiced by less amiable and pulchritudinous “mediums.” (That also helped to keep wifey unsuspicious while she stayed home with her numerous brood. Victorian gentlemen of modest means often were sorely tried when “society’s propriety became a damned satiety.”) Whatever the truth about Sir William’s worldly and other-worldly infatuations, there were many less famous examples of yearning for endless life, for which see the new book by Ruth Brandon, The Spiritualists, the Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century (London, 1983).2
If, as I prefer to do, we give Sir William the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was the dupe, rather than the accomplice, of his luscious young lady, we can sympathize with all the Victorian men of science who were fooled by clever conjurors and (especially) conjuresses. Sir Oliver Lodge’s beaming satisfaction, when he learned that his dead son was supplied with the best cigars in the spirit world and had regrown the tooth he lost here below, arouses only pity. We smile tolerantly at the gallant Sir William Crooke’s naive pleasure when his dear mistress (who must have been above the besetting vice of female jealousy – and there’s a real miracle for you!) summoned from the realm of spirits sweet young ghosts who materialized themselves long enough to be enfolded in Sir William’s eager arms and to kiss his whiskered lips.
In the Eighteenth Century, educated men had to discard the Biblical myths, but they replaced the three-headed Jesus with a more acceptable and admirable god, the one mentioned in our Declaration of Independence, the Stoics’ animus mundi, who was imminent in nature and discoverable by reason and observation of such things as the mathematical precision of planetary and stellar movements and the supposed generic difference between his choice creation, human beings, and other mammals. Men could still revere a personal god and hope that He would not suffer a human mind to perish as perish the midges that swarm for an hour above a stagnant pool. In the Nineteenth Century, however, the increase of scientific knowledge sent the Deists’ succedaneous Creator away to join Zeus, Marduk, Osiris, Yahweh and all the motley multitude of divinities that men have created and discarded throughout history. That left a deep and agonizing void in the human spirit as men found themselves alone on a speck of planetary dust in an infinite and infinitely terrible universe – alone for their too few days under the sun and ineluctably doomed to vanish as vanishes the shadow of a cloud on the moor, as vanishes the sound of a wave that breaks on the shore. It is no wonder that in the first shock of that ultimate bereavement even men of scientific attainments could desire passionately to resuscitate the corpse of Nature’s God.
They could, furthermore, assure themselves that they were not irrational, they were not credulous rustics who believe the tales told by old wives and clergymen. They relied, as all rational men must do, on the evidence of their own experience. Had they not witnessed with their own eyes ectoplasm, the very stuff of spirits, become phosporescently luminous as it issued from the mouth of an unconscious ‘medium’? Had they not themselves beheld pretty spooks make themselves visible and even palpable for fleeting moments in the darkness of a séance? Had they not heard spirits rap on tables and ring bells that were beyond the reach of human hands? Had they not ascertained by experiment that invisible phantoms could read messages secretly written on cards and sealed in envelopes that remained unopened? Had they not seen the authentic signatures of Napoleon and von Moltke and Edgar Allen Poe that those disembodied gentlemen obligingly inscribed on the inner surfaces of slates that were securely glued together so that no mortal could conceivably have touched those surfaces – slates, moreover, that were always under the vigilant eye of the scientific investigator? Had they not seen a ten-year-old girl, highly charged with psychic powers, read and spell correctly words arbitrarily selected on a page of a book they held in their own hands on the opposite side of a large room? Had they not heard musical ghosts play lively tunes on an accordion that had been wired shut before it was enclosed in a locked box? Who could doubt such empirical proofs of immortality? Must not the most hard-headed sceptic be convinced? So, Glory be! When we “pass on,” we can spend eternity unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos and chatting with the great men who have “gone before” – and perhaps (who knows?) we can enjoy forever the comforts of choice Havana perfectos and complaisant damsels.
But that was a hundred years ago, and by this time we should have ceased to mourn our lost illusions. The masses, no doubt, will always want and perhaps need a Big Daddy up in the stratosphere who will keep his paternal eye on them and encourage them to hope that he may do something for them someday, if they catch his fancy. But strong minds should have learned something in a century. All the Victorian scientists who so zealously conducted “psychical research” were hoaxed by clever conjurors and conjuresses.3 The methods of some of the spook-raisers were so crude they succeeded only because their dupes had so strong a conscious or subconscious yen to believe. A few seem to have invented tricks that had not yet been used by professional magicians on the stage.4 The most expert among them were not able to produce “psychic phenomena” that could not be duplicated and improved by a professional, such as Houdini, or even an amateur magician, such as Joseph Rinn. The great ‘spiritualist’ swindle, which began when the little Fox girls, resenting an enforced stay in bed, scared the daylights out of their silly mama, was thoroughly exposed and collapsed like a punctured balloon. And the end of that epidemic of delusions should have taught thinking men a conclusive lesson.
Every story about praeternatural beings and supernatural events, whether written by an exuberantly imaginative Hindu (e.g., Gunādhya) or a Jewish forger or a competent literary artist, such as Bulwer-Lytton or Montague James or Edgar Allen Poe or J. R. R. Tolkien, is fiction. Every person who claims to have himself witnessed or experienced “psychic phenomena” is either a liar or the dupe of rogues (including priests) or the victim of his own hallucinations, induced by drugs or auto-hypnosis or mental disorders. Every observed miracle that is said to prove the existence of praeternatural forces or beings is prestigious, a trick, an illusion produced by sleight-of-hand or sleight-of-tongue or some hidden mechanical or electrical device. There never has been, and never will be, a violation of the known and immutable laws of nature. That may make tender minds, long addicted to their spiritual dope, howl with pain or rage, but that is what the uniform experience of mankind has shown throughout recorded history, and it is time that minds strong enough to confront reality accept the facts and close the books on miraculous claptrap and psychic hokum.
There should be no need to digress at this point, but it may be well to avert possible misunderstanding by reiterating with emphasis what was said in the foregoing paragraph. If we, as rational men, try to understand the real world and to act in it in some way for our own benefit, we must take account only of facts that have been empirically verified and necessary deductions therefrom, excluding everything that is supernatural (now often called ‘paranormal,’ by a meeching synonym) or hypothetical.
It goes without saying that there are many facts that have not yet been ascertained, but we can act only on the basis of what we know now. There are epistemological speculations which cannot be disproved because their very premises make verification impossible, and which, no matter how improbable, therefore cannot be categorically rejected as hypothetical possibilities, beginning with solipsism, which is probably as good as any. They are, at best, the amusements of an idle hour. We must rely only on our common sense and logic, for if they be illusory, our species is only a biological error that nature will soon correct. Admittedly, our senses do not perceive all of reality, for there are phenomena that are imperceptible to our organs but are perceived by other mammals. It may be that our causality does not operate in subatomic phenomena or that the almost infinitesimal constituents of matter respond to a force of which we have no conception. But all of these things, if they exist, are irrelevant to the reality with which we must deal in our world. And every effort to distract us from a coldly objective appraisal of this world must be regarded with strong suspicion as probably hostile.
If it pleases any to believe that they are reincarnations of princes/princesses who lived on Atlantis, or that Jesus loves them, or that they have souls that will continue to exist after the earth has become no longer habitable for our species, we have no wish to deny them such consolations, so long as they do not demand that we commit the folly of ignoring reality. There is now, for example, what seems to be an alarming prevalence of abortions, and the great pickpockets in the Salvation-racket have excited a din of squawking that abortion is wrong because Jesus said, “Mustn’t do or Papa spank.” That is not only silly; it is pernicious. The problem must be considered exclusively in terms of our racial and national survival, and that means (a) that we must inhibit by all possible means the breeding and multiplication of our domestic parasites and enemies, and (b) that men and women of sound racial stock and intelligence must be made to desire progeny who will not be condemned to Hell on earth that our present masters are preparing to impose on our people. Until that is done, yelling for legislation is imbecile, and when it is done (assuming that it can be), legislation about abortions will be unnecessary. No one can even estimate how many potentially valuable or even great members of our race are never conceived or are aborted because their parents are sufficiently intelligent to see the direction in which the nation is now being driven at a constantly accelerated rate, and are too humane to expose children whom they would love to the degradation and horrors that lie ahead.
So long as they do not endanger our dwindling chances of survival, one does not argue with the aficionados of transcendental mysteries and celestial patrons. Argument with emotional fixations is likely to be futile, and when it is not, it is cruel, for the withdrawal symptoms are always painful. Gentlemen will be particularly tender toward women, whose sex gives them an emotional need for a succedaneous father, and will especially honor women who have surmounted a natural weakness.5
I cannot here consider the extremely complex and obscure question whether or not George Washington and many others were right in believing that the morality indispensable in an organized society cannot be maintained without a generally accepted religion. I have touched on that point in The Uses of Religion and several earlier publications, but I do not know the answer. Still less can I surmise what religion would be feasible, assuming that one is requisite, except that it must be one consonant with our racial instincts and directly conducive to our race’s confidence in its own superiority. Those interested in the problem should consider carefully the phenomenal success of the Jews, which has largely been made possible by the cohesive force of a religion in which many of them do not believe, but which authorizes their faith in the generic superiority of their race over all others and justifies all means of attaining the dominion to which that superiority gives them an indefeasible right.
When I was in college (long ago, when it was still possible to get an education in some of them) I knew a number of men of considerable accomplishment in the genuine sciences. They would no more have wasted three minutes of their time investigating the performances of a Jew-boy6 who claimed to bend spoons by thinking about them than they would have bought a talking dog from a ventriloquist or tried to dance on the point of a pin.
A scant decade ago, a whole passel of academically-certified scientists in the Electronic and Bioengineering Laboratory of the famous Stanford Research Institute focused their massive brains on a Jew-boy who said he could bend spoons by thinking about them, and they solemnly assembled the ponderous panoply of scientific apparatus to make “searching scientific tests” of the psychic whizz-kid’s powers. And after “exhaustive investigation” in their lavishly-endowed laboratory, they, on their scientific honor, asseverated that the wonder boy could indeed bend spoons without touching them and had indeed done so again and again under the unwinking scrutiny of their lynx-eyes, reënforced by all the instruments of their laboratory. They not only guaranteed Uri Geller’s powers but evangelically proclaimed them to the whole world, which was left to infer that if the Wunderkind really turned his mind to it, he could make a pretzel out of a railroad rail with a flash from his high-voltage psyche.
The great Stanford Research Institute, having appointed itself the Voice of Science, brayed out the glad tidings to the whole world until a professional magician, James Randi, quietly made jackasses out of them by showing how Geller performed his tricks. Randi explained the technique of spoon-bending in a book published in 1976 and now in its second edition, under the title, The Truth About Uri Geller (Prometheus Books, Buffalo, New York).
Now the appalling thing about all this, it seemed to me, was not that the “scientists” at the Stanford Research Institute had been such chumps as to be deluded by clever sleight-of hand. It was that they had been such ninnies as to investigate a claim so patently absurd – a claim that could not have imposed for ah instant on anyone who has a modicum of common sense and is willing to use it.
As it is, we must be grateful for Mr. Randi’s prompt intervention. The assembled scientific brains of the Stanford Research Institute did not have time to proceed to “searching scientific tests” of the explanation of Uri Geller’s powers given by his trainer, a wizard who calls himself Andrija Puharich. According to Puharich, Geller constantly receives (on a tape recorder that erases itself) communications from master minds that live (of course) on an oversized spacecraft that is hovering in interstellar space at precisely 53,059 “light ages” from the earth. To keep Geller informed of current events, these remarkable beings utilize “the skin [!] of the envelope [!] of cosmic rays.” Now the sage Puharich does not tell us how many of our earth-bound years there are in one of his “ages.” He does not even tell us whether he means historical ages or geological ages or the kalpas of Hindu cosmology, but surely an “age” cannot be less than a century; whence it follows that, unless the skin of cosmic rays travels faster than what it encloses, the astronautical sages must have started their directional broadcasts to Geller’s brain at least 5,306,870 years before the nativity of the embryo messiah in Judaea. (Geller says he is an Israeli, so I assume he had the foresight to be born in the region most highly charged with divine mana).
But for Mr. Randi’s opportune intervention, the vast resources of modern Science might now be marshalled in the Stanford Research Institute to reënforce microtomes with which its distinguished scientists try to skin cosmic rays.
Now we must sadly reject the comforting hypothesis that the boys in the Stanford Research Institute spike their beer with peyotl or laudanum. Their asininity was merely a symptom of what has happened to the modern mind.
The Scientific American is an old and highly respected periodical. It tries to report discoveries and significant developments in all of the major sciences, and although its pages are occasionally adulterated with “sociological” buncombe, its articles deal chiefly with physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology. Its authors try to write perspicuously, but most of its articles would be quite unintelligible to persons who do not have some grounding in the exact sciences and some knowledge of the relevant mathematics. It does not provide reading matter for moppets, and has never been recommended by the gums of Scientology, Theosophy, Christian Science, Ananda Marga, the World Council of Churches, the International Council of Churches, Cosmic Awareness, Transcendental Meditation, Chant-O-Matics, the (Moon-struck) Unification Church, Hare Krishna, the Church of Wicca, the Children of God, etc., etc., ad nauseam. On the contrary, the aforesaid miracle-mongers, if they had heard of The Scientific American, had probably identified it as the work of the Devil or whatever substitute for him they severally have in their cults, and had warned their True Believers to flee its deadly contamination. It is safe to say that the subscribers to the magazine must consist, almost exclusively, of persons who have had some training in at least one of the exact sciences and must have some acquaintance with the scientific method. Bear that in mind.
Until recently, The Scientific American published each month a “department” by Dr. Martin Gardner, usually devoted to mathematical and logical puzzles and paradoxes. In June 1974, however, the ingenious mathematician tried his hand at broad humor.
With tongue securely wedged in his cheek, Dr. Gardner reported that he had interviewed a certain Dr. Matrix at the latter’s great factory and laboratory, an exact copy of the famous pyramid of Cheops, on the shore of Pyramid Lake, north of Reno, Nevada. That great numerologist [sic] had discovered that the roughly pyramidal monadnock from which the lake takes its name attracted and concentrated “psi-org” power from outer space, thus turning blue the waters of the lake. Gardner proceeded to relate the amazing accomplishments of Dr. Matrix, his daughter, and his one assistant, a one-toothed Indian from the neighboring reservation. Written in the style of Baron Munchausen, the narrative rose to its climax, the exciting escape of Dr. Matrix and his daughter from Federal agents: they simply turned on the full power of their minds and instantaneously teleported themselves to Tibet, leaving the old Indian to confront the baffled revenue agents.
Immediately following publication of that issue of The Scientific American, expensive automobiles appeared on the winding, partly black-topped, and pitted roadway that runs along the shore of Pyramid Lake. Speeding and bouncing northward to Pyramid, they bore persons inspired with a desire to consult the absent Dr. Matrix in the place where he wasn’t. At their destination, the eager searchers for truth tried to find the magical pyramid or at least have a chat with a one-toothed Indian, who proved equally hard to find. More prudent intellectuals hastened to offer Dr. Gardner, by telephone or mail, handsome honoraria for lectures on the miracles wrought by “psi-org” power. It is a fair inference that most of those excited zetetics must have been readers of The Scientific American.
That is the important point, at which you may begin to meditate on the effects of scientific training in the United States today. To complete the story, I will mention its sequel, although it is only what one would expect. Dr. Gardner’s exercise in the manner of Lucian came into the hands of one of the largest publishers in New York City, who at once wrote Dr. Gardner, flourishing a cheque for $15,000 as an advance on royalties from a book on “pyramid power.” Dr. Gardner explained patiently that he had intended it all as a joke. “What of that?” the publisher replied in substance, “you write the book under a pseudonym and we take the suckers for lots of bucks, no?” Dr. Gardner refused the proffered shekels. The astounded publisher, doubtless concluding that he must be lame in the head, found brighter penmen and soon the stands in drug stores, hotels, and airports were spotted with brightly-bound bundles of drivel about “pyramid power.” And for a season thereafter, if you looked and could stand it, you could have seen persons, presumably literate, squatting in their living rooms under four expensive sticks, joined at the top to outline the shape of a pyramid; they were letting “pyramid power” from outer space flow into their minds and invigorate their whole bodies. And there they squatted until some enterprising practitioner of democracy dangled before them a fresh worm on a new hook.
To return from the commonplace to what is important, let us notice a recent book by James Randi, Flim-Flam: The Truth About Unicorns, Parapsychology, and other Delusions (New York, Lippincott, 1980). The book’s principal target is named in the title, but the “other delusions” are numerous and instructive. Among them are such lucrative diddles as Eckanbar, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, and Synanon. There are two points to be pondered.
When we hear of such outrages to common sense, we are inclined to shrug our shoulders. Scores of suckers are born every minute, and we are apt to assume that the promoters of such hoaxes could make the apology that was made to me years ago by the proprietor of an ostensibly patriotic organization: “If I didn’t get their money, someone else would.” If the suckers weren’t fleeced by Eckanbar, they would mail their cheques to the Reverend Mr. Jerry Falwell, the Reverend Mr. Oral Roberts, the Reverend Mr. Herbert Armstrong, the Reverend Mynheer Cornelius Vanderbreggen, Jr., or some other Bible-banging jabberwocky. If a maharishi didn’t have his hand in their pockets, an astrologer would. As long as there are herring in the sea, there will be sharks to eat them. But, as Mr. Randi points out, these religious cults are more than comic.
Many of these modern voodoo-cults are formed by their shamans into tight organizations that not only capture half-wits but subject them to menticidal disciplines, based on the techniques developed by Pavlov, that destroy not only such rationality as they possess but also their self-respect and human instincts, reducing them to zombies that are entirely under the control of the witch-doctors. Of the power of such cults, we recently had a, spectacular demonstration in a slum called Jonestown in Guiana, where more than nine hundred creatures, some of them White, who had migrated thither from the United States, drank themselves stiff on cyanide cocktails at the behest of their guru, a scabrous mongrel that called itself the Reverend Jim Jones. Well, what of that? Vile damnum, as Tiberius said with one of his rare smiles. Good riddance of biological garbage. Noteworthy improvement of our environment. But that is to miss the important aspect of the squalid and dirty business. However contemptible the creatures were, they were biologically human, and they had been so trained that the deepest of all mammalian instincts, the fear of death, had been effaced in them.7
Mr. Randi compares the mind-destroying cults that are now epidemic. Of the hordes of zombies controlled by the sleazy and enormously wealthy messiah from Korea, he asks, “Would they, too, drink cyanide if Moon commanded them to?” Of the victims of Synanon, “Would its members drink poison if told to do so?” Of the crazed devotion of the Scientologists to their cynical master: “Is it enough to drive the believers to suicide?” Of the Children of God, Eckankar, and Transcendental Meditation, “When is the next poison party to be held? ”
If we are less soft-hearted than Mr. Randi, we may again shrug our shoulders. Let the cyanide flow freely and joy be unconfined! Every decrease of pollution of our environment is a net gain. Even so, of course, we cannot avoid compassion for the innocent and sane individuals who would be made to suffer by that ecological improvement.8 But that is insignificant in comparison with the dire fact that, so long as they do not guzzle cyanide, the multitudinous zombies can and do vote and so directly influence our future in our great ochlocracy. And that is not all.
We are uneasily aware that the Moon’s lunatics have made him so wealthy that he is buying up slices of our country and is the only person, it seems, who has the resources to found and support a new daily newspaper, which, by the way, he cunningly made “conservative” for business reasons. But zombies may do more than subsidize our enemies. Mr. Randi’s data include proof that, for example, the Scientologists resort to the most despicable and vicious tricks to suppress exposure of the absurdity of the hoax in which they believe, and are officially instructed to commit crimes to protect the racket in which they have faith. He should have asked whether their devotion to their master is enough to drive the believers to murder.
As everyone knows, at Jonestown a Congressman, Leo J. Ryan, who had gone down to the slum to investigate, and two journalists were murdered by the Faithful to prevent them from telling what they had seen. The piety of guédés becomes murderous at a word from their papa-loi.9 And there was an impressive sequel. Shortly after the murder of her father, Congressman Ryan’s daughter, having been graduated from the University of California (Davis) with an up-to-date education, lost her mind (or what was left of it after the social scientists at the University of California and the John F. Kennedy University got through with her) to the filthiest and most reptilian guru of them all. She hied herself over the seas to India, where the venomous Savior (bhagwan) was then operating, to join the enthusiastic zombies who are routed out at six in the morning to start jumping up and down and yelling “Hoo, hoo, hoo! ” and get their “sex centers” zipping before breakfast and the day’s stint of intensive copulation. The Ryan girl was reported in the press as having assured reporters that her fellows’ devotion to their malodorous god (a reincarnation of Jesus or the Buddha or Mohammed or all three) was such that “If Bhagwan asked them to kill someone, they would do it.” She added regretfully that her own Faith might not yet be perfect: “I don’t know if my trust in him is that total. I would like it to be.” When interviewed, she was going back to India to yell “Hoo, hoo, hoo!” some more and, no doubt, perfect her piety; today, she would have only to go to Oregon to enjoy God and his manifold blessings.
The Pavlovian techniques of menticide, which is often called ‘brainwashing’ from a Chinese euphemism, are applied, with only variations in detail, by up-to-date salvation-peddlers and also by many outfits, such as Synanon, that pretend not to be religious and are therefore even more pernicious. It is the samokritica that is used to mould Communists, and is given many seemingly innocuous names by our enemies when they use it to snare victims and destroy their minds: “Affective Education,” “Awareness,” “Community Relations,” “Group Dynamics,” “Human Relations Training,” “Interpersonal Relations,” “Self-Awareness,” and “Sensitivity Training,” to mention only a few of many verbal disguises listed by Ed Dieckmann, Jr., in his fundamental work on the subject, The Secret of Jonestown.10 Of these terms, “Sensitivity Training” is most often used when it is administered by coercion to make our police officers imbecile.11
For a description and analysis of the techniques of menticide, I refer you to Mr. Dieckmann’s book. The “social scientists” who inject the poison into our society know very well what they are doing, and so fall outside the scope of this article.
What does concern us is that among the practitioners and victims of the many highly contagious delusions Mr. Randi discusses, he mentions numerous individuals who hold credentials in the exact sciences and use them to lend authority to their promotion or endorsement of intrinsically preposterous claims. There is, for example, Dr. Robert Rabinoff, evidently the son or descendant of a rabbi who resided in Russia. He holds a degree of Philosophiae Doctor in physics from some university, and, as everyone knows, if you aren’t a Ph.D. in the austere science of physics, you have no right to talk back to an expert. On the basis of his scientific training, Dr. Rabinoff avers that the hokum of Transcendental Meditation is the Voice of Science, as he can attest empirically, since his practice of the hocus-pocus has made him omniscient (yes, omniscient!) as well as saturating him with “pure bliss.” What is more, if you become expert in Transcendental Meditation (introductory course, only $3000; tuition fees for advanced courses unstated), you will not only be soaked in blissful transcendence but will be able to rev up your mind and generate so much psychic energy that you can float in the air and soar with the birds (and just think how much that will save you in air fares, to say nothing of the harassment to which passengers are subjected at airports).12
Kind readers will forgive me: I can’t avoid levity when discussing levitation. What is serious indeed is that Mr. Randi mentions quite a number of professors of exact sciences in highly reputed universities and heads of well known laboratories who, for example, went on record as vouching for spoon-bending by talented youths. We may mention particularly Dr. Charles Crussard, a scientist who must be blessed with a truly Brobdingnagian brain, for he is head and director of a vast laboratory that employs three thousand “research personnel,” doubtless one of the “ergastula of science” of which Norbert Wiener spoke when he foresaw a decline of scientific accomplishment as a consequence of governmental financing and corruption. Now sapient Dr. Crussard found a wonder-boy of his own whose high-powered psyche could bend aluminium bars under the most exacting laboratory conditions, and, to cut the sad story short, when it was found that the wonder-boy couldn’t perform while Mr. Randi was watching him, Dr. Crussard’s vast scientific knowledge knew why: Mr. Randi was high-voltage psychic, too, and had maliciously focused his mind to neutralize the spoon-bending power emanating from the other brain. Dr. Crussard, I repeat, is a man of such colossal eminence in physics and chemistry that he is lord over three thousand “research workers,” but if I ever need to find out whether an iron bar will float in water, I shall not ask Dr. Crussard’s laboratory to undertake the research that would doubtless be necessary.
Dr. Crussard is more than an oddity: he is a symptom – an alarming symptom, like a fever of 104°F. A few years ago, Ronald Duncan and Miranda Watson-Smith undertook a survey of the present state of the various sciences, which was published under the provocative title, The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance.13 It consists of fifty-one articles, each written by the most highly esteemed authority in his field that the editors could engage to set forth what he regarded as the most crucial unsolved problem in that field. Ted Bastin, from King’s College of Cambridge University, undertook an examination of the relation between quantum mechanics and the concept of time and space in physical theory, certainly a fundamental problem that is still unsolved, but since he himself had “experimented with psychokinesis” by witnessing some tricks performed by Uri Geller and a female “sensitive” who also knew how to think bends into spoons, poor Bastin was convinced that “psychokinetic effects show an effect of ‘thought forms’ directly on matter.” So the mighty mind from Cambridge, on the basis of the credulity that made him take seriously feats of sleight-of-hand by clever prestidigitators, employs his phenomenal lack of common sense to decide how the science of physics must be revised to take account of the scientific proof that “an interaction [between the human brain and physical objects] takes place in the absence of a mechanical connection.” I don’t know what Bastin is doing now, but I shall not be surprised if he is engaged in a further “restructuring” of the whole science of physics to explain the ability of a witch to raise hail storms to ruin her neighbor’s crops. Could there be any more conclusive proof of the power of mind over matter?14
In America’s Decline I quoted, from a journal that I kept in my youth, an entry made in 1934, when I tried to analyse the probable shape of the coming World War at a time when our “intellectuals” were blabbering about “world peace” and similar niaiseries. I quoted it to show that I did not then even suspect the decisive power of the alien race that had infiltrated our nations. In the same year, I devoted two lines of sarcasm to what seemed to me a particularly silly book that was, thanks to intensive publicity, starting a fad that I expected to be the usual nine days’ wonder. It wasn’t a fad; it was a craze that is still going strong, half a century later.
The evil that dupes do lives after them. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was gravely telling ghost stories to enraptured audiences in the early 1920s, one of his auditors was a man nearly thirty who had started out to purvey salvation from a pulpit, thought better of it, and taken a respectable degree in botany. He had not rid himself, however, of his thirst for eternal life and psychic mysteries.15 According to his own statement, he was inspired by the “exhilarating thoughts” of “transcendental importance” in Sir Arthur’s weird tales. A few years later, the exhilarated Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine, ensconced in Duke University, got an opportunity to make big noise about “extra-sensory perception” and set agog with “psi power” and “parapsychology” the many persons who yearned to be exhilarated by old hokum put into new words.
The botanist who turned into a parapsychologist may be acquitted of conscious fraud on the strength of the dazzling naïveté with which he described his methodology in his first book (1934). As the eminent D. H. Rawcliffe remarked in his Psychology of the Occult (1952; reprinted by Dover under the title Occult and Supernatural Phenomena, but now oddly out-of-print), “That Dr. Rhine should have published the results of such experiments in the first instance as evidence of telepathy or clairvoyance is almost incredible. Nothing can dispel the impression of carelessness thus created.” Dr. Rhine’s “discovery” was indeed wonderful, but what was wonderful about it was the sheer désinvolture of a self-styled scientist who considered success at guessing cards a little more often than chance as proof of “extra-sensory perception” and failure to guess them as often as chance as proof of “negative ESP”! For the details of the methods and the results thus obtained, I prefer you to Dr. Rawcliffe and to Dr. Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (1952; reprinted by Dover; still in print).
It was, as Mr. Rawcliffe said, “almost incredible” that Dr. Rhine should have taken seriously such patently flimsy data, but we all know that overheated brains develop psychic powers of self-deception. What stuns us is what should be unbelievable, the appalling fact that men of accomplishment in the exact sciences took those absurdities seriously and did not merely laugh at “parapsychology” as another foolish fad, comparable to flag-pole sitting and marathon dancing. Now let us understand clearly why they should have guffawed and turned their minds to something serious, such as a cross-word puzzle.
There was nothing per se preposterous in a suggestion that telepathic communication was possible. The human brain, as is well known, emits electrical waves that can be detected by an electroencephalograph, which will, for example, invariably show that the alpha-rhythm supervenes in your own brain whenever you close your eyes firmly for more than an instant. It is conceivable, therefore, that a brain that emits such waves could detect them when emitted by others. And although there never has been a verifiable instance of telepathic communication, ah extraordinary genetic combination or even mutation might conceivably produce a person with an extremely high sensitivity to such waves, comparable, perhaps, to the phenomenal development of the tactile sense in some blind women, who identify colors in some woolen fabrics by slight changes in the “feel” of the strands produced by the different dyes used.16
It is certain, moreover, that there are senses which we do not possess – except, just possibly, in some very rudimentary form of which we are not conscious. We do not even know to what stimuli the senses we do not possess respond, although there are good conjectures that the earth’s magnetic lines of force may be one of them. We simply do not know what curlews, geese, tarn, and other birds must perceive in their annual migration half-way around the globe, so that they can, for example, fly unerringly from a swamp in Africa to a tiny island in the North Sea and there find the precise spot on which they nested before. We do not know how salmon find their way through hundreds of miles of ocean and rivers and their tributaries to the exact point that is the individual’s spawning ground. Nearer to us are the baboons, who have a social organization (and possibly even a belief in the supernatural17) that deserves the attention of the few sociologists who are interested in studying society rather than in manufacturing propaganda to change it. Reliable observers report that a baboon can identify a human friend at a distance at which the human eye sees only, a black figure on the horizon. They report that if a baboon is transported in a closed vehicle over a route that is roughly triangular, from one extremity of the base up to the apex and then down to the other end of the base, he will, when released, return home by the direct route across the base, perceiving the direction of his home by some sense that responds to stimuli we cannot detect with our senses or any instruments we have devised. Now it is as unlikely that a human being should be born with the peculiar intelligence of curlews, salmon, or baboons as it is that he should be born with wings. But perhaps such a lusus naturae could be conceivable at the very limit.
It is not the extreme improbability of the phenomena that Dr. Rhine undertook to discover that merits our wonder – yes, and scorn. What is simply astounding is that men with scientific training wasted as much as ten minutes on consideration of the results obtained and reported by Dr. Rhine himself, since he appears not to have indulged in the deliberate fakery to which so many of his “scientific” endorsers and assistants (e.g., that great “authority on parapsychology,” Dr. Walter J. Levy, Jr.) resorted. We all have some conception of what is likely, and a scientist should, by definition, have a knowledge of the laws of probability of single events and the probability of series, or, in other words, distinction between physical probability and statistical probability, remembering that the latter, calculated by extending the familiar binomial formula
applies only to very large numbers.
Everyone knows that if he tosses a penny into the air, the chances are one out of two that it will come down heads. If heads turn up on three successive throws, you may be mildly surprised. If they turn up four times in succession, you may think it odd, but although your achievement is as stupendous as any of Dr. Rhine’s, you will not conclude that your mighty mind governed the fall of the penny or that some deity broke a record by intervening in the affairs of this world. Unless you have thought about it, however, you may not have it firmly in your mind that the chances that heads will again turn up on the fifth throw are precisely one out of two. And if you toss the penny twenty-five times and obtain heads each time, you will have witnessed a quite unusual event, although not one without precedent, as they will tell you at Monte Carlo, where a phenomenal sequence of red on the roulette wheel is still remembered. It will be unusual and even extraordinary, comparable to your experience of venturing into the concrete jungle of New Jerusalem-on-the-Hudson and meeting on Broadway a Texan whom you knew in college, but let not the result you obtain from the binomial formula convince you that you are endowed with a high-voltage psyche. And remember that by physical probability the chances that heads will turn up on a twenty-sixth throw are still one out of two, despite the statistical improbability of so long a series.
The basis of all scientific, and indeed of all rational, thought, is the fact – indubitable unless we are living in a cosmic madhouse run by an insane god, as Flaubert once suggested – that the forces of nature operate uniformly and without variation. Under the same circumstances, the same forces exerted on the same object always and invariably produce the same result. Now what Dr. Rhine’s experiments produced were positive or negative “runs” that yielded a piddling percentage according to the binomial formula. That was in itself sufficient to show that his conclusions were illusory and disproven by his own reports.
Experiments have shown that if you capture albatross on Midway Island, transport them in closed containers 3120 miles to Puget Sound and there release them, they will return home, across the open ocean and in spite of storms, in ten to twelve days. And, so far as we know, they will do this, not 0.9% above chance, but 100%, provided, of course, they are not the victims of birds of prey or shotguns en route. Now if there are “psychically endowed” persons who, like albatross, have faculties we do not have, they must, by the uniformity of nature, be able to make almost as good use of those faculties. What Dr. Rhine proved was that if such highly improbable persons did exist, they neglected to call on him.
As soon as this canard was given publicity by journalists eager to set agog the boobs who read their drivel, it was only natural that a horde of charlatans should turn from the stale old tricks of tipping tables and exhibiting phosphorescently painted gauze in dark rooms to a superficially novel racket and become “parapsychologists” instead of “spiritual mediums.” But what is inexplicable is that men who had evinced a knowledge of scientific methods should have so far taken leave of their common sense as to waste more than a chuckle on anything so patently absurd. But the grim and terrible fact is that they did and lent such credence to the nonsense that I know not how many laboratories were endowed and how many earnest and presumably honest wights with scientific credentials from respected universities were laboring to find scientific evidence of the unbelievable and were, of course, suckers for any moderately clever swindler who could give them the desired results.
This epidemic of scientific unreason became so contagious that it was finally necessary for Mr. Randi to send two young conjurors into the great laboratories and show the self-styled scientists that they were chumps and should be grateful to Fate that no one had offered them a chance to buy the Brooklyn Bridge for twenty-five dollars. They couldn’t have resisted that offer – not, at least, if the vendor mentioned the binomial theorem and added a bit about non-Euclidean geometry.
Mr. Randi is publishing a detailed report of these adventures of his young protégés in the great laboratories in which professed scientists anxiously search for Santa Claus. The first installment was published in the Summer 1983 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer.18
The Skeptical Inquirer, a quarterly published in Buffalo, New York, and now completing its seventh year, is a praiseworthy periodical. I have read it with interest since its first issue. I admire the men who write for it and divert time and energy from their own research to deal exhaustively with topics that can have no interest for them, other than their altruistic wish to instruct our contemporaries. But it is also a publication that makes me profoundly uneasy. I can whole-heartedly praise the exertion and devotion of the firemen in a town in which arson is rife, but I can’t help feeling at the same time that the need for them to work so hard is something to worry about.
Get a file of the Skeptical Inquirer and read through it. It will turn your mind. It will also probably make you wish that you knew of another habitable planet and how to get to it.
Some individual who has been accorded scientific standing does “research” in biographical directories and discovers that, as you and I would think quite likely, the number of successful professional athletes born under the “sign” of some one planet, as defined in the astrological hocus-pocus, is somewhat greater than the number born when some other planet is “ascendent.” And when the lucky planet happens to be Mars and the excess of births under his benign influence yields a piddling percentage by application of the hoary old binomial formula to a total number too small to admit of that application, the great “scientist” becomes as excited as an evangelist who has just composed a really hot gospel and starts shouting urbi et orbi. And rational men have to sit down and laboriously demonstrate, with scientific precision, that the piffle is piffle!
The old hoax of Velikovsky, who, in the manner of theologians, tried to accumulate enough learned footnotes and irrelevant data to confuse his readers until they were willing to believe that Yahweh played a pin-ball game with the planets to keep the sun shining on one spot in Palestine long enough for a probably mythical Jew to slaughter more Semites whose country Yahweh’s barbarous pets wanted to steal – that old hoax seemed extinct, but there were embers under the ashes, and such is the infinite credulity of the ignorant that the blaze flared up again and the pompiers of the Skeptical Inquirer rushed to extinguish it.
A passel of professed scientists – perhaps itching to see their names in newspapers, perhaps scenting fast bucks from grateful fakirs and their flocks, perhaps only high on transcendental hootch – spend years abusing everything from spectrographs to computers to prove the “authenticity” of the painted rag called the Holy Shroud, and sober men have to waste their time and effort to prove that an obvious hoax is a hoax.
Packs of laboratory technicians with a few of their supervisors court the beaming adulation of incurably sentimental women and professional rabble-rousers by setting themselves up as “creation scientists,” nitpicking about some details, which they usually misstate, in the theory of biological evolution, and inviting us to admire the cleverness of old Yahweh as he polished up a typhoid bacillus and sicked it on the improved ape that was the best handiwork of which the old bungler was capable. It would seem odd, if we didn’t look at the state of the market today, that the precious “creation scientists” are always peddling old Yahweh, when dozens of more reasonable and more moral creators are available in any manual of mythology, but they know what god will start the yokels to dancing sarabands around legislatures and gesticulating with ballots. And reasonable men must rush to another blaze of folly and pump fact and logic on it.
A True Believer, full of Christian righteousness and veracity, carves a fair imitation of human footprints in cretacious limestone to prove that careless old Yahweh manufactured anthropoid giants at the time he was making dinosaurs – nothing surely can be more godly than fraud to put that wicked old Darwin in his place – and the weary staff of the Skeptical Inquirer must send someone to photograph the footprint and show that it is a hoax.
And so it goes, on and on and on. At the very time that the “flying saucer” business is going bankrupt, a respected astronomer, enraptured by an opportunity to exhibit his unlovely mug to the millions who stare at their boob-tubes every night, sets himself up as the pontiff of U.F.O.’s and misrepresents the facts about some supposed sightings of the devilishly elusive machines.19 Hysterical housewives, who have read all about the horrible Big Foots who lurk in the wilds of Montana and British Columbia, see one in Buena Park, California, right outside their apartment buildings. The saurian, left over from the Mesozoic, continues to paddle around in Loch Ness. A wily Japanese thinks pictures onto film in cameras. The Xerox Corporation, which markets second-rate copying machines and second-rate typewriters, magnanimously furthers the enlightenment of all mankind by providing drivel about haunted houses, jaunts aboard “flying saucers,” “Bermuda Triangles,” and similar slop for the edification of children in high schools – perhaps in the hope that with minds so primed with scientific learning they’ll be ready to buy a Xerox when they get out of school. On an arid plateau in Peru some persons resident there a thousand years ago scratched huge designs on the ground, obviously for the guidance of “astronauts” in space-craft from superior civilizations only a few light-years away from us. But I can’t go on. Read through the files yourself: your stomach is probably better than mine.
It is still widely believed by the uninformed public that college professors are, ex officio, educated and rational. The Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1980, reported the results of an investigation to determine how many of these wise men believed the hokum about “Extra-Sensory Perception” to be established with a high degree of probability or absolute certainty. Here are the percentages of believers found in the several areas of study. Humanities, arts, and education, 73-79%. Social sciences, 66%. Natural sciences, 55%. Psychology, 34%. How many college professors carry garlic in their pockets as a protection against vampires has not yet been determined.
What worries me is that common sense seems to be dwindling to the point of extinction. The minds of men whom our contemporaries consider educated are regressing to the level of the most ignorant peasant on a Mediaeval manor. There is something terrifying in the spectacle of men who hold degrees in the genuine sciences and assemble vast arrays of elaborate scientific equipment to “prove” the authenticity of a “Holy Shroud,” and thus make it necessary to assemble more equipment and conduct long and painstaking research to prove what any half-way educated and rational man would have known from the very first. And the same sotie is performed whenever some prestidigitator claims that he can bend spoons by thinking about them. Is there any limit to the gullibility of “highly qualified scientists”?
I sometimes have a vision of scores of great scientists and tons of elaborate and very expensive laboratory equipment assembled about a pond into which they drop horsehairs to determine whether the percentage that turn into tadpoles is significant by the binomial formula. If hairs from Standard-breeds don’t work, get some from Appaloosas. Then try Percherons and Arabians: their hairs may make tadpoles better. And no one can say that the hairs of horses do not turn into tadpoles until you have made exhaustive scientific tests of hairs from every known breed of horses – and then someone will turn up to prove that the negative results are all wrong, because tadpoles come from the hairs of horses who eat the variety of four-leaved clover that grows in a hidden valley in Afghanistan, so the assembled scientists and their equipment will start all over.
That vision of mine may be just a nightmare, of course, but perhaps I have a dynamic psyche with powers of precognition so that it can see through a time-warp into the next decade.
We are living in a time in which a large part of the “scientific community” is willing to believe that anything is possible and then try to prove it by “exhaustive tests.”
The hard-headed scientists of my youth are gone, like the mammoth (which, oddly enough, hasn’t been seen recently in Montana or Buena Park, California). Common sense and logic have become as obsolete as halberds and bustles.
I don’t know how this happened, but I think I can identify some contributory factors.
Early in 1969, while looking over the ordure on a newsstand, I noticed a paperback, The Teachings of Don Juan: a Yaqui Way of Knowledge, by Carlos Castaneda, and I squandered $1.25 on it. It purported to record the investigations of a graduate student in anthropology in the University of California in Los Angeles, who had spent five years with the Yaqui Indians studying their culture, chiefly by drugging himself with massive doses of peyotl and absorbing true Wisdom from a squalid medicine-man named (of all things!) Don Juan. I read it through and said “hogwash.”
I could not judge the author’s descriptions of the hallucinations he claimed to have experienced. They differed greatly from the ones described to me years before by a young anthropologist who had visited an Indian tribe in Oklahoma and drugged himself on peyotl (with disastrous results to himself a few years later), but hallucinatory drugs create illusions from what is already in the mind of the individual, so anything is possible. I could not judge the accuracy of the occasional references to the customs and daily life of the Yaquis, for I had seen them neither in their native habitat in Sonora nor in the clutches formed by the ones who hopped across the border into Arizona; I only knew that they had been more Savage than the Apaches and had exhibited both cunning and obstinacy in their raids on the Mexicans, with whom they still considered themselves to be at war. And I did not think it worthwhile to look up one of the few books about them.
I did know, however, that no illiterate and filthy Indian sorcerer had read volumes of the sociological trash now fashionable, and I recognized the purpose of the fiction writer, who was vending a slightly novel form of the hokum about the “paranormal.” Writing with some of Defoe’s realism surcharged with masses of pseudo-philosophical verbiage, he portrayed the wonders of a “nonordinary reality,” accessible through peyotl and every bit as good as our dull and stupid “ordinary reality” – in fact, much better, since it is “completely beyond the scope of the concepts of Western civilization.” In the “nonordinary reality,” revealed by peyotl as elucidated by the profound mind of the sorcerer, “space does not conform to Euclidian geometry, time does not form a continuous unidirectional flow, causation does not conform to Aristotelian logic, man is not differentiated from non-man or life from death, as in our world.” This, of course, is simply a formula of insanity, but the book was written too cleverly to be the work of an insane man. It was, therefore, a hoax and just another piece of wonderful garbage for the dolts who will believe anything, provided that it is not true.
I did not take the trouble to ascertain whether the purported authors of the glowing blurbs with which the publishers had surrounded the text really existed. I tossed the book into a bin in which I collect such symptomatic rubbish, certain that the fiction would soon have a sequel on the newsstands. It did – a whole series of them. The creator of Don Juan, like the creator of Sherlock Holmes, had found an unflagging market.
It was from the second issue of the Skeptical Inquirer (then called the Zetetic) in 1977 that I learned that the hogwash had been the “research” for which the five ranking Professors of Anthropology in the University of California in Los Angeles had proudly bestowed the degree of Ph.D. on their most brilliant pupil. I found that sapient Professors of Anthropolgy in other universities had hailed the revelation, saying they “could not adequately convey the excitement” of their “thrilling experience” when they discovered that “our own world is a cultural construct,” no more valid or real than a great many others, such as the one you enter when you are three sheets to the wind on peyotl and have an Indian medicine-man talking wisdom into your ear. And one of these burbling behemoths of the intellect had even written a book with the modest title, Reading Castaneda: A Prologue to the Social Sciences. Yes, Castaneda’s fiction was to be taken as the “epistemological foundation” of all the “social sciences” – a disparate assortment of disciplines, from history and genuine psychology to slightly disguised propaganda of the Marxist cult, put together for the convenience of the managers of the various factories in the diploma business.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, reputedly great “anthropologists” had joyously believed – or at least endorsed – Margaret Mead’s balderdash. It is now accepted that, as the writer in the Zetetic said, Castaneda’s Don Juan is just an audacious hoax, of which the author had not even taken the trouble to inform himself about the actual customs and quotidian life of the Yaquis, as reported by men who had really observed those savages. And quite a few academic cheeks, if not protected by beards, are probably blushing red now. It would be nice if the gullible “anthropologists” in the University of California and half a dozen other once-respected universities had learned something from Castaneda after all – but I dare not hope.
Perhaps we can learn something, if we inquire why all those supposedly erudite men, safely lodged on university payrolls, not only walked the plank, but danced out on it to dive overboard. The obvious answer is not, I think, adequate.
One can be almost certain that all of the slap-happy professors are “cultural anthropologists,” evangelists of the gospel by which Boas and his trained housewives (with unlimited financing and the deafening applause of all our domestic enemies) subverted the science of anthropology. “Cultural anthropologists” know that all differences between individuals are caused by environment. They know that it is streng verboten to see the innate differences. They know how to turn frogs into princesses: you just put the frog in a bed with silk sheets, feed her pâté de fois gras, hire maids to comb her tresses, and equip her with a splendid wardrobe and diamond rings: presto! a beautiful princess. So it is obviously the fault of Society that princesses are in short supply.
The True Believers of the egalitarian gospel are bound by their premises, as are the apostles of the Flat Earth Research Society. I have not studied the lucubrations of the latter, but I know how they guard their Faith: if you see evidence that the earth is not flat, that proves Satan’s got you by the neck. Likewise, if you see evidence of hereditary differences between individuals and genetic differences between races, you’s a wicked “Fascist,” maybe even a diabolical “Nazi.” So shut up before you’re burned at the stake.
It is easy to conclude that persons who swallowed Margaret Mead’s camel were ready to gulp down Castaneda’s zebu. But that does not explain everything. I think that what captivated them was their discontent with Euclidean geometry and “unidirectional” time. Science has exasperatingly failed to show how Alice got behind the looking glass without breaking it, and it is consoling to know that that is because our research has been hide-bound by that nasty old “cultural construct of Western civilization.” Now in an equally real world in which Euclidean geometry has been repealed and time goes in spurts and in as many directions as the squibs from a St. Catherine’s wheel, falling off a log wouldn’t be any easier than getting through a looking glass to hob-nob with that great philologist, Humpty Dumpty, and dine with the very archetype of a “Liberal intellectual,” the White Queen, who can believe six impossible things before breakfast any day.
As the statistics about “E.S.P.” I quoted above show, the practitioners of legitimate sciences were only a little less likely to have been taken in by Castaneda’s tale. The scientific achievement of the past century seems to have resulted in an etiolation of common sense, even – or particularly – among persons with scientific training. We seem to have come to the point that the Hindus reached centuries ago and without effort, the belief that anything is possible, i.e., that the world we perceive about us is just Mahā Māyā, the Great Illusion.
Common sense deals with the world in which we must live. It does not argue with the hylologists who assure us – correctly, so far as I know – that matter does not exist, that there is only emptiness with widely scattered and almost infinitely small vacuoles of energy here and there. Common sense merely reminds the nuclear physicists that if they will bang their heads against a brick wall a dozen times, they will be convinced that matter is solid enough for all practical purposes. Common sense does not quarrel with the mathematician who proves that there may be as many dimensions as you can shake a stick at, and it does not dispute the Lorentz contractions or the sacred equations of Relativity. It merely insists that we put men on the moon without sending them through a fourth dimension, and that we did it by Newtonian (not Einstinian) physics. Gödel has conclusively proved that arithmetical relationships are not mathematically demonstrable, but common sense will go right on believing that two and two make four – not just sometimes, but all of the time – and to Hell with Gödel’s Proof! And when someone squeaks that that that attitude is “anti-intellectual,” common sense invites him to be intellectual in some other world than ours.
The trouble is that the “intellectuals” have taken over, and it is common sense that is being exiled.
Unfortunately, for our race (I am not interested in others) common sense is not enough. Despite, our race’s characteristic recognition of the supreme authority of ascertained facts, it has a psychic need to escape now and then from the trammels of reality into a world of the imagination, where we may find the beauty, the romance, and the perfection that the real world denies us. This world is so grievously defective by every aesthetic and moral standard to which we give instinctive allegiance! The “creation scientists” are routed by the need to postulate a Creator so incompetent or malicious that he made this sorry scheme of things entire. This terrible universe would be unbearable, could we not, now and then, remould it nearer to our heart’s desire. Rational men satisfy the soul’s need rationally, with debauches of poetry or fantastic fiction, front which they sober up before confronting reality again.
It may be that a recent change of fashion in fantastic fiction has had grave consequences. Until recently, men satisfied their craving for transmundane beauty and ideality with the lovely mythology of Greece and with selected and racially acceptable elements of Christianity (e.g., the Chansons de geste, Ariosto, and Tennyson in poetry, and in prose, innumerable tales of magic and theurgy). Now all of these beautiful or stirring excursions into fantasy are in themselves innocuous. No man expects to ride a hippogriff, meet a mermaid, or marry an Undine.
There are, of course, many forms of literature which merely gild some aspects of quotidian life, but it will suffice here to observe that the traditional form of fantasy is always religious and depends on belief (while one is reading) in the praeternatural and supernatural. In our literature, the religious assumptions underlying the narratives are usually of the type made familiar by Western Christianity, that is to say, the doctrines of early Christianity as modified to make them acceptable to our race. Recent writers of some excellence in this kind of writing avoid overt use of specifically Christian myths, but they retain the basic ideological structure, as may be seen, for example, from the short stories of H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard, whose tales, about Conan and Atlantis now enjoy a great vogue and are instructive in this connection, for although their principal charm lies in the human heroism that our race instinctively admires, they do not dispense with the supernatural.
Consider, for example, the great masterpiece of J. R. R. Tolkien, whose trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, is certainly one of the most widely read works of contemporary literature, and forms part of a pentalogy, completed by the Silmarillion, that is really a grandiose religion, markedly superior to all religions now practiced, and could, if it survives the new Dark Ages that may be ahead of us, become the holy book of a new Faith, more humane than any of its predecessors in mankind’s yearning for superhuman masters. It is now, of course, only a majestic fantasy, recognized as imaginative literature, the fictitious history of a world created by Tolkien. Attentive readers will not have failed to notice that the underlying structure is familiar to us: in the beginning, there was a cosmic god, who is even called Ilúvater (cf. Alfađir!), and history is really begun by the revolt of one of his own creations, Melkor, later known as Morgoth, the counterpart of Lucifer. The underlying structure is obviously that common to a fairly large number of religions, including the various kinds of Christianity, which were viable cults until their priests killed off Satan and his spiritual legions.
The supernatural world, however imagined, oddly but inevitably has natural laws of its own. From the earliest tribes that can be called human to the present, the shamans always accumulate a body of lore about supernatural forces and the ways to placate or coerce them, and in literate societies, this becomes an enormous aggregation of theological erudition that can be managed only by a form of scholarship. If ‘science’ means, as it still does in French, any body of systematized knowledge, then theology, together with such subdivisions as soterology, angelology, demonology, and necromancy, are ‘sciences.’ And this supposition naturally underlies literary fantasies. One has to draw the right pentacle (misnamed, for it is usually the Jewish Solomon’s Seal, also called the Star of David) to summon spirits from the vasty deep, and one has to know the secret names and esoteric rites that will compel archangels or the princes of Hell to do one’s bidding. There is a magic power in words: if you incautiously read aloud the words written on some musty parchment you have chanced to find, they may be an arcane incantation, and anything may happen.20 There was a time when rational men could actually believe that the visible world was full of unseen spirits of good or evil, and by “poetic suspension of doubt” we can recapture their awe while we read fantasies that enable us to escape for an hour from the horrible reality in which we must live.
If we consider the broad spectrum of Mediaeval superstitions, we can (as men of the Middle Ages could not) see a clear dichotomy between theology and its theurgic subdivisions on the one hand and, on the other, alchemy, which was a spurious precursor of chemistry, and astrology, which, at that time, was not irrational and was even as valid a scientific hypothesis then as is today the commonly accepted “Big Bang” theory of tire origin of the universe.21
The great flaw of superstition was that it never worked when you wanted something beyond the power of sleight-of-hand artists to produce. No matter how earnestly you implored Jesus to keep the Vikings from your coasts (a furore Normanorum libera nos, Domine!), they kept right on coming, and theologians had to invent an explanation for Jesus’s sloth. No matter how carefully you constructed your pentacle and used the formulae of invocation when you, like Théophile and Faust, wanted to put your soul on the market, the demons spumed the bargain you offered them and never came to shop. But the gradually accumulating body of knowledge about the real world made possible actual achievements that began to rival some of the work that the imaginary spirits failed to perform. First made apparent by ingenious mechanical contrivances, the real power gradually detached itself from the suppositious ones.22 In the Eighteenth Century, the dichotomy between what was real and what was illusory became evident to all but the most ignorant men of our race.
This was certain to affect, sooner or later, the practice of literary fantasy. To simplify matters, we may credit the innovation to Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley. She imagined and vividly portrayed a Frankenstein who created a monster, not by some potent spell or theurgic miracle, but by a magic that was explained (vaguely) as scientific, based on the elaboration of known principles of physiology and relevant subjects by scientific research. Her explanation was crude, even for 1818, but at least the imaginary marvels that the progress of scientific knowledge might make possible some day replaced the imaginary marvels of religion, which, even if they had once taken place in some remote place and time, had become impossible in the modern world. There was a loss of some aesthetic and poetic power, but Frankenstein was more convincing than the famous work of her contemporary and friend, Matthew Gregory Lewis.23
The new type of fantasy was cultivated by a few writers thereafter, most of whom are now forgotten. Jules Verne wrote tales about marvels of engineering in a style that fascinates boys. No real talent appeared until H. G. Wells, who has to his credit many pseudo-scientific fantasies written with great verisimilitude, and a brilliant parable, The Island of Dr. Moreau. In the Edwardian period he had quite a few imitators,24 but the traditional type of fantasy continued to attract the most literarily accomplished writers. When the center of gravity shifted, it happened rather suddenly.
When I was a lad of twelve or so, I subscribed to a monthly periodical, the Electric Experimenter, of which the editor, a Hugo Gernsback, soon sought to increase circulation by cramming the pages with pictures and diagrams and changing the name to Science & Invention. Gernsback published in each issue of his magazine a short story of the pseudo-scientific type; I remember a reprinting of H. G. Wells’s The Star and one or two others, a few original tales worth reading (I remember some by a man named England), and a great deal of tedious trash25 – presumably Gernsback could buy nothing better. He announced, however, an intention to found a monthly magazine that would be entirely devoted to fiction of that type. I subscribed at once, and after six or eight months my money was returned with an explanation that Gernsback had found there was so little interest in such fiction that it would not be feasible to try to promote a magazine devoted to it.
Something happened suddenly. A few years later magazines and books of “science fiction” began to multiply as rapidly as niggers on “Welfare.” By the end of the 1920s, it was crowding the traditional type of fantasy out of the market. Some revolution in readers’ interests had taken place within a very few years. One can form conjectures about the cause, but I abstain from them here. Some talented professional writers turned to the new market, and there are pseudo-scientific fantasies that are worthy of comparison with the best of the traditional type. But the new fashion was cursed from its early vogue with a blight, the itch to make subversive propaganda. Tons of paper were dirtied with silly stories about “Inter-Galaclic Federations,” the old “one world” writ large, socialistic propaganda of the kind with which H. G. Wells spoiled many of his stories, and monotonously refurbished episodes in which multigalactic “democracy” was rescued from wicked “Fascists.” Ray Bradbury and Robert A. Heinlein and a writer named Hamilton became sufficiently well established to sell some stories with reasonable political implications, but the mass of pot-boiling tripe published as “science fiction” is even worse than the mass of low-grade tales of the supernatural that were spewed out in the Nineteenth Century in cheap magazines and chapbooks (“penny dreadfuls”).26
Much of the boom in “science fiction” (I cannot bring myself to use that catachrestic term without quotation marks) was probably a belated effect of the exciting conjecture that was first fully exploited by H. G. Wells in The War of the Worlds (1898).27 Two eminent astronomers, Giovanni Schiaparelli (in 1877) and Percival Lowell (c. 1895), believed that the relatively straight lines visible on the surface of Mars through the best telescopes were in fact rectilinear; they must therefore be artificial, and were most readily explained as canals that distributed water from what seemed to be a polar ice cap. Since men were still incapable of engineering works of such magnitude, that indicated the existence of an “advanced civilization” on a relatively near planet which, like Venus, was apparently similar to the earth, so that it was a reasonable inference that there were three planets in the solar system, Venus, Earth, and Mars, that were capable of developing and supporting organic life and hence human life. It was easy to imagine that the superior minds in the “more advanced civilization” on one or both of our planetary neighbors had now reached the stage at which they could produce machines capable of traversing the comparatively short distances of interplanetary space (26,000,000 miles from Venus at an inferior conjunction, and 35,000,000 miles from Mars when it is in opposition near its perihelion). Alternatively, one could imagine an advance in terrestrial science that would permit a visit to one of our planetary neighbors.
I shall not try to guess how many ambitious authors cudgeled their brains to invent ships suited to interplanetary voyages and to adorn with new wonders the civilizations that flourished on Mars and Venus. Until recently there was nothing demonstrably impossible or even implausible in a supposition that the two planets were as infested with organic life as the earth and could have produced intelligent life superior to ours (which should not have been hard to do). Hence all the dreams and hopes of communicating with the inhabitants of other worlds, which have now become absurd, but which sentimentalists and purveyors of marvels to the proletariat are reluctant to abandon.28
After the Suicide of Europe in 1945, the dream of fraternization with Martians and Venusians became more poignant and inspired the great vogue of “flying saucers,” which were later called Unidentified Flying Objects with some loss of plausibility.29 There was an epidemic of reported sightings of such wonderful machines, many of them caused by glimpses of planets, bright stars, sounding balloons, the navigational lights of aircraft, or, just possibly, rare atmospheric phenomena not yet adequately explained,30 magnified by excited imaginations that had been stimulated by “science fiction.” And as soon as I journalists, who are in the business of sensationalism, made the mystery fashionable, the excitement was augmented, as anyone could have predicted with absolute certainty, by persons whose overheated imaginations reached the fervor of autohypnosis and by the usual proliferation of liars, usually obscure individuals eager to attract attention. The Skeptical Inquirer reports that we now have approximately two hundred men and women who swear that they were kidnapped by marvellous beings from outer space and taken for jaunts on marvellous space-machines. An analysis of their reports of their experiences would doubtless permit identification of the “science fiction” on which each individual had nurtured his or her imagination, and a psychological investigation would yield highly important scientific data, showing the relative importance of hallucination and mendacity as causes of such claims.31
Now that we know that there are no Martians or Venusians and that there can be no visitors from other orbs, persons who cannot bear the terror of finding ourselves (for all practical purposes, at least) alone, utterly alone in the cosmos, find their escape-hatch already opened for them by the professional story-tellers. Of course, the desired visitors from “advanced civilizations” reach us by passing through a “time-warp” or dropping through the points at which three-dimensional space is bent back upon itself according to the seductive analogy of a two-dimensional world imagined by expounders of Relativity and popularized by E. A. Abbott’s Flatland. There are other wonders of the “hyperspace” invented by ingenious mathematicians, but if one is really desperate, one can at least hope for results from the research that is now actually being carried on at enormous expense by persons with scientific training who yearn to hear radio signals from distant stars or galaxies. After all, one can not only read “science fiction” until one’s eyes refuse to go on, but one can pep up a flagging imagination with such absurd cinemas as Star Wars, which Hollywood grinds out as readily as it manufactures “documentaries” to support the Jews’ great Holohoax.
There is a crucial difference between the traditional type of fantasy and the new model. Readers of poetry have always known what they were reading, and no one ever supposed that the events narrated by, e.g., Dante or Ariosto, had ever occurred or could occur. And when fantastic tales in prose became common, readers capable of discrimination (which, of course, is “un-American”) were never taken in. In the Eighteenth Century, no one who read, e.g., Defoe’s Gulliver’s Travels or Walpole’s Castle of Otranto believed in the possibility of Lilliputians or of gigantic apparitions in sable armor; and today, no reader of Tolkien’s masterpiece believes that elves, wizards, “seeing stones,” and the like ever existed or could exist. Readers of such fantasies know well that they are indulging a psychic need, as inherent in us as the need for sexual satisfaction, and that they are temporarily indulging in what Walpole described as the “wisdom of exchanging what is called the realities of life for dreams.” Readers of adroitly written “science fiction,” on the other hand, seem to believe that any marvel that can be described in pseudo-scientific terms is quite possible and will probably be realized in a few years – if not sooner. And I am constantly amazed when I discover that the favorite reading of many scientists today is “science fiction” and that they seem to be almost as strongly influenced by it as the uneducated. In further witness whereof, note the frequency with which uninhibited men of standing in their own field of science communicate to the press the wildest speculations.32
To a generation raised on a diet of “science fiction,” anything is possible, if it is called scientific. No one is impressed when an amateur bends spoons without appearing to touch them as a parlor trick, but call it “psychokinesis” and the suckers will get a faith induced by their yearning to believe in “scientific” wonders.33
There was recently published a best-selling gob of hokum entitled Algeny, by one Jeremy Rifkin, whose typewriter had hysterics over the very moderate success of laboratory experiments in recombining nucleotides in strands of deoxyribonucleic acid to reproduce some cellular organisms, and foresaw the imminent ‘cloning’ of human beings, manufactured with the uniformity and rapidity of castings turned out by a high-speed stamping machine. Such encroachment on the perquisites of a god (presumably the Yahweh with whom Rifkin may have an hereditary relationship) excited apocalyptic horrors in readers (including some men of standing in a science) who apprehended either divine tantrums, such as are described in the Bible, or the social peril of a society that could dispense with misfits and degenerates. Actually, of course, the ‘cloning’ of human beings is about as likely as the coming of visitors who have dropped in through a hole in time or space. The New Scientist (16 June 1983) had an editorial explanation of the credulity that is so profitable to Rifkin and his publishers: “The public that eats up Algeny has been raised on science fiction.” True, but the editors could have said more than that. I remember having seen, some years ago, two wonder-stories in which human beings were ‘cloned’ and manufactured on a production line by the ingenious members of an “advanced civilization” that blooms somewhere far out in outer space, but, unfortunately, I did not think it worthwhile to make a note of the authorship and publication of such dizzy fantasies.34 But I’ll bet that Rifkin read those tales or imitations of them.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. “New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.” It is human nature that is meant in the familiar Horatian tag, naturam expelles furca, tamen usque recurret. The illiterate Mediaeval peasant believed that “with God, all things are possible.” His semi-literate modern successor believes that with Science, all things are possible.
“Knowledge is power,” the power that our race desires above all thihgs, the power that not only enables us to subjugate other peoples to our will and partially control our environment, but also fulfills the most profound spiritual need of our Faustian civilization. But what kind of knowledge gives power?
The very title of Lynn Thorndike’s fundamental work, A History of Magic and Experimental Science (3 vols., New York, 1923-1934), reminds us that it was only very late in our history that there was a clear dichotomy between unverifiable tales and theories on the one hand, and on the other, empirically ascertained and universally verifiable facts and rigorously logical deductions made from them. But the distinction was vaguely felt early in our culture. Daedalus is a mythical character, of course, but it was not by invoking gods or unseen powers, but by his skill as an engineer that he made Talus, that wonderful automaton, which guarded the coasts of Crete35; made wings with which he and his son could fly; and even made statues of gods that seemed to move of their own accord and thus mightily impressed the customers of the holy men who kept the temples.36 The myth, which implies a contrast between human ingenuity and supernatural powers, could be taken to presage the well-known innovation of Greek philosophy, the emancipation of the human mind from slavery to superstition.
I believe that the point I am trying to make here is more clearly illustrated by the literature of India, where, in a teeming jungle of endless stories about gods, myriads of other supernatural beings, and theurgic magic, we find the tradition of the Vidyādharas, which probably goes back to the interval between the waning of the old Vedic religion and the outbreak of a second religiosity. In the basic conception, vidyādharas are men who have acquired scientific and technological knowledge, not superhuman beings or sorcerers, and even in such works as the Kathāsaritsāgara in which the basic conception has been almost effaced, it is not incongruous that the parents of a boy hope that he may become a vidyādhara. To qualify as one, you must first have the surgical skill necessary to deliver a child by Caesarian section without harm to the mother. And you may look forward to becoming so technically proficient that you can build a puspaka, an aërial car that will take you anywhere in the world in a few minutes.37
This is a myth, of course, but obviously based on some actual skills that were essentially scientific, such as surgery. There are two things that are significant in the development of the myth.
(1) Although we begin with the conception of men who have by their technical knowledge acquired a certain power over nature, the religiosity that took complete possession of the Indian mind soon credited the technicians with supernatural powers and made them almost indistinguishable from the several races of demons and other supernatural beings who possess miraculous powers. Superstition absorbed science.
(2) Since their technical abilities gave them a power that made them superior to other men, the Vidyādharas, although honored by kings and beneficent to countries that honor them, are a distinct class and therefore many of them seceded from the societies of the multitudes and used their power to found a kingdom of their own, in the Himalayas or over the sea on the island on which they built the Golden City. This further suggests the attitude that the West has generally taken toward its scientists, and the parallel extends even to stories which suppose a secession of the scientists to a realm they have created for themselves by their technology, as, for example, in H. G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come or (mutatis mutandis) Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
Science has been almost hypostatized in the public’s attitude toward the results of scientific inquiry, and could be written with a capital letter. The average victim of the public schools today is apt to think that the word designates some kind of single entity instead of a wide gamut that runs from ascertained facts to tenuous speculations.
When we say that “science has proved…” we should mean only that systematic observation by a large number of competent observers, supplemented by empirical verification wherever possible, has made it certain that… Certainty is, of course, subject to the epistemological problem, for which Hume has given us the only possible answer, and the belief that logic – Aristotelian logic – yields valid conclusions. (If it does not, then our species is a biological error that will soon be corrected, and the best thing to do is to stop thinking.)
We can say that science has proved, for example, that the earth is a spheroid that revolves about the sun, etc., that there are slight but ascertained differences in the force of gravity at various points on the earth’s surface, and that cyanide of potassium will end all your worries. This is something quite different from a theory that is generally accepted, but has not been empirically verified, and there is, of course, a vast difference between theories.
Strictly speaking, biological evolution must still be described as a theory, because, for obvious reasons, it is impossible both to reproduce the evolution of a species in a laboratory and to observe it as it occurs. It has, however, been possible to reproduce some of the processes postulated in the theory, notably, the production of biological mutations by radiation and certain chemicals. Some details of the evolutionary process remain obscure; some unessential elements have had to be modified by, e.g., the need to calibrate determinations of date made from the isotope of carbon; and there was a minor deflection of theory caused by an extremely clever hoax, the “Piltdown man,” of which, however, the net result was beneficial.38 The theory is supported by a vast amount of evidence that seems susceptible of no other explanation, ranging from fossils and related geological determinations to extant species that are before everyone’s eyes. We are all familiar, for example, with dogs, coyotes, and wolves, which are so related anatomically that they must belong to a single genus and have evolved from a common ancestor, and yet, although capable of interbreeding, have great innate differences, even within subspecies. (All “Liberal intellectuals” know that there are no such differences, and that it is only vile prejudice and the ultimate sin of discrimination that denies Pekinese employment to herd sheep and prevents ladies from holding Great Danes on their laps, but have you ever tried to adopt a wolf, an admirable animal in his way, as a household pet?)
Although it must be classified as a theory, biological evolution has an extremely high degree of probability, since it is the only way to account reasonably for the development of organic life, all alternative hypotheses that have been thus far suggested having been disproven, since they could not be reconciled with the vast mass of indisputable data. For all their quibbling and distortion of evidence, the “creation scientists” can support their predilection only by postulating not only the existence of a god (for which there is no valid evidence) but of a god who is both omnipotent and malevolent, engaged in the sorry business of deluding us. There have been efforts to produce some sort of compromise, sometimes by persons who seem to hold impressive credentials as technicians of a high order.
Maurice Chatelain says that he designed and supervised the extremely complicated means whereby the various “Apollo” craft that were sent to the moon were controlled and communication was maintained with the ones that were manned.39 He also says that some of the men who made the round trip to the moon saw “flying saucers” that were keeping them under observation or felt the impact of thought waves from the wonderful “extraterrestrials.”40 That is far from certain, but let us not quarrel with a man’s first chapter. Mr. Chatelain and his faithful computer had a high old time as they analysed the mensuration of early civilizations that have left monuments and decipherable records, and used the mathematical factors he thus obtained to interpret a vast welter of archaeological evidence, ranging from the certain to the enigmatic and including a few hoaxes. A candid reader of the first part of his book will wonder whether the fatras of purported evidence produced by Mr. Chatelain and his hard-working computer may not contain data of value in elucidating the highly obscure problem of the early movements of the several races of mankind over this planet, although, of course, he will refuse to be bewildered into the conclusion that “astronauts from outer space first landed about 65,000 years ago to foster a new race of earthlings” by producing us hybrids; they inseminated Neanderthal females and thus engendered the Cro-Magnons and hence our race.
Now no one could be more pleased than I by the racial implication of the conclusion for which Mr. Chatelain, according to his publisher, has provided “undeniable proof.” In the language of co-eds, I should love to believe it, and I should be glad to assume that it was only by oversight that the “NASA scientist,” so thoroughly versed in all the problems of travelling in space, forgot the question of how my uranobatic ancestors, whencesoever they came, were able to travel faster than light or find a convenient time-warp through which to drop in our vicinity. But the great scientist’s cloak does not cover his cloven hoof. He tells us that his astronauts came “from another world, just as the Bible tells us,” but he does not give us a specific reference to that wonderful story-book and I am willing to bet that if you read through it, you won’t find a word about the astronauts, unless they were the “sons of God” who seduced maidens and engendered giants (Nĕphîlîm)41 – and, dear me! I must cover up that blot on my family’s escutcheon. And this isn’t even the worst of it, for we are invited to believe that the “extraterrestrials” are still with us, since they must have been slipping secrets to that old hokum-peddler, Edgar Cayce.
I have wasted your time and mine on the great scientist from the Space Agency because his is the best modification of the theory of biological evolution that I have seen – although I should add that I have little leisure for reading low-grade fiction and may have missed some corkers. I shall not detain you long with the inevitable improvement offered by Marc Dem.42 The chief astronaut was, of course, our old friend, Yahweh, who was a “master of space travel, a military expert, and… an excellent geneticist.” Magnanimously wishing to help Aryans and other low hominids, he produced a masterpiece, a male Jew, but although male Jews should have found Aryan bitches as attractive then as now, Yahweh saw that wouldn’t do, and he did a spot of surgery and manufactured a Jewess so his Master Race could breed pure. It is true that some of us lower animals are so wicked as to be disobedient to our divinely appointed supervisors, even though Yahweh in 1917 sent a satellite to Fatima, a little village in Portugal, to warn us. (He couldn’t find London, Paris, or Berlin – or perhaps he just missed his aim.) Well, we’ll get it in the neck for our perversity, and it seems that Jesus is on his way right now in a “flying saucer,” estimated time of arrival unstated.
Concluding our survey of “creation science,” which we mentioned only to delimit the theory of biological evolution and emphasize its high probability, we find an instructive contrast in the theory of quarks, which are all the rage nowadays and even come in “colors” and “flavors.” You have doubtless encountered, in up-to-date writers, references to quarks as though they are as certain as the appearance of the sun over the horizon tomorrow morning. Any hylologist, if he has a sense of humor, will adapt the well-known jingle and tell you, “I’ve never seen a quark; I never hope to see one.” Quarks are as imaginary as fairies, but with the difference that they were imagined by some rational man who felt that he would start screaming when the next discovery of a subatomic particle was announced. (The total was well over a hundred when I last noticed, and it was sure to increase the next time someone got busy with a cloud chamber and sorted through ten or twenty thousand photographs to find one that showed a streak that mathematically shouldn’t have been there.) It was obvious that something was wrong, and that hylologists were in the position of the man who anchored his yacht in a tidal estuary, saw the moon set through the porthole of his cabin, and awoke in the morning to see through the porthole the, sun rising in the west. Quarks were imagined as a hypothetical possibility to simplify an absurd complexity, but it is discouraging to see that the theorists are finding mathematical reasons for multiplying them, so that they now come in assorted “colors” and “flavors” (mere nonce-words to designate differences between them). I can’t tell you whether quarks exist or not, but I have an uninformed suspicion that they will soon have to be simplified theoretically to something more fundamental and bipolar. At all events, it is well to remember that quarks are merely speculative, but will at least warn you to keep your fingers crossed when you try to follow debates about the ultimate structure of the atom as imagined by various theorists. You can’t blame the physicists: they are, I am sure, doing their best – but remember that whether quarks are or aren’t will not in the least affect the bang of a hydrogen bomb when it is detonated or the advisability of being elsewhere (if you can).
In every field of legitimate scientific investigation, there are ascertained facts, which are indubitable (unless we want to suppose that instead of being sane we are really drunk and attending a Hallowe’en party in a madhouse). And there is a wide spectrum of accepted theories, which range from fairly close approximations of certainty to speculations that are no more substantial than cobwebs, however fashionable they may be for the nonce. Each, unfortunately, must be judged on its own merits, and certainly not in terms of what may be said about it in the weekly bundles of tripe that housewives innocently buy in the proletarian emporia that have replaced grocery stores.
The hypostatized Science does not exist: there is no such entity. There is only the scientific method, which is uniform, whatever its application. It is applied, with greater or less rigor and success, in many legitimate sciences, which are fields of inquiry into the natural laws that govern the real world, and between which there is a certain interrelation and often interdependence. We may properly hope and even expect that continued application of the scientific method will further augment our knowledge of the real world and increase our control over the forces of nature and perhaps yield spectacular demonstration of that control, such as atomic power, by which the public, not improperly, judges the efficacy of research. But there are many things which are clearly impossible. No application of the scientific method will ever raise the dead, reverse the direction of time, or make politicians honest.
At the present time, the likelihood of major advances in scientific knowledge is steadily diminishing. The causes of that decline are many, chiefly political and social in their origin, and so complex that any examination of them would take us far beyond the limits of this essay, but a little reflection will identify at least some of them. It is one of history’s ironies that diminution of what we may expect in the future accompanies an increasing tendency to expect the impossible – to assimilate the scientific method to witchcraft, a magical means of transforming reality.
I find a poignant pathos in several communications from young men that I have seen in various “right wing” journals. Inspired by a legitimate pride in the scientific accomplishments of our race’s Faustian civilization, and by our subjugation and colonization of all continents before our race succumbed to a cunningly induced narcosis – at least we may hope it’s narcosis and not death-throes – they enthusiastically propose an Aryan colonization of other planets, of which they have read in “science fiction,” so that we may abandon this too polluted spheroid to our enemies!
It is easy to account for the sudden vogue of “science fiction” in the later 1920s. As we have already remarked, it was a novel form of fantasy, refreshing to palates weary of the traditional forms, which had been cultivated almost to exhaustion. But it was really fostered for political purposes. It was an ideal vehicle for revolutionary propaganda, which could be subtly and almost covertly injected into the reader’s mind by tales in which Marx’s earthly paradise was described as scientifically inevitable.
That sugar-coated propaganda dated from Victorian times. An American writer, Edward Bellamy, after producing a series of quite pedestrian novels that reworked worn-out plots with little success, hit the publishing jackpot with two rather silly books, Looking Backward (1888), and Equality (1897).43 The most effective propagandist, intellectually far superior to the mediocre Bellamy, was H. G. Wells, who always had the good sense to eschew Bellamy’s grinning optimism. His Time Machine contains elements of political satire but is essentially a brilliant tale of pseudo-scientific adventure. His Story of Days to Come and When the Sleeper Wakes, both dating from 1899 and still in print as “prophetic science fiction novels,” are extremely adroit. Their glowing pictures of the socialistic world of the future that Science has made inevitable do not entirely omit its horrors, but leave the average reader with the feeling that there must be some way to eat the cake and have it, too.
The propaganda that became so large a part of the “science fiction” during the past half-century was cruder and on a much lower literary level, but nevertheless effective, and there can be no doubt but that the great vogue of this kind of fantasy was partly fostered for revolutionary purposes. That, however, is only marginal to our present subject.
There was a concurrent and drastic revolution in scientific thinking. I have no thought of attempting anything so absurd as to try to adjudicate the strictly scientific questions involved, and I must not be understood as pronouncing on the accuracy of any of the scientific theories I shall mention. My purpose is only to call attention to their drastic and ominous consequences.
It is fair to say that in 1920 the world-view of scientific thought was in complete harmony with common sense and that by 1930 that harmony had been disastrously destroyed. In 1920, one thought of the entire physical world, from the infinite to the infinitesimal, as obeying a uniform law of causality and differing only in the scale on which the various phenomena took place. The early model of Bohr’s atom could still be understood as a miniature world subject to the Newtonian laws.44 The Lorentz contractions (“transformations”) were known, of course, but as mathematical paradoxes, and the theories Einstein derived from them were, still highly dubious speculations.
The first spark of revolution came from the solar eclipse on 29 May 1919, which yielded observations that seemed to provide for the first time confirmation of Einstein’s General Theory. Relativity smouldered for a time and then burst into a conflagration. Astronomers and physicists alike underwent an almost spiritual conversion and accepted as real Lorentz’s fantastic world in which time and space are no longer separate and absolute in themselves but have become merely reciprocally interdependent appearances that are relative to the mind of the observer. Strictly speaking, there is only one absolute, light, and it really does not move through a given space in a given time, but is what measures space and time and makes them merely aspects (“dimensions”) of the same thing. Physics, in other words, became a kind of mathematical metaphysics.
I cannot tell you whether Relativity is right or wrong, and I shall draw no inferences from the fact that it has become in scientific thought a dogma to which many men are as passionately attached as Christians once clung to the doctrine of transsubstantiation. It is still a theory, a speculative theory, deduced from premises that are still uncertain, many of them beyond the scope of experimental verification. The most cogent bits of observed evidence that support it, the precession of the orbit of Mercury and the deflection of light from distant stars about the sun, are both susceptible of other explanations. The theory is not compatible with quantum mechanics, so that one or the other (or both!) must be wrong, although it is now as much of a faux pas to mention that as it would have been to discuss sexual intercourse in a Victorian drawing room. Evidence that the velocity of light, Einstein’s famous C, is not an absolute seems to be accumulating, and is becoming more difficult to explain away.45 If the sun is not the uniform sphere supposed in the Einstinian calculations, its internal structure could adequately explain the precession of the orbit of Mercury, and evidence to that effect was presented last year by Dr. Henry A. Hill, but he had to go to Dublin to have an opportunity to present that evidence, which, it is alarming to note, excited indignation.46
Unfortunately, I cannot assure you on my own responsibility that Relativity is a fraud, although that is precisely the conclusion that is reached by distinguished and very courageous scientists, Dr. Dean Turner, Dr. E. E. Butterfield, Dr. Herbert Dingle, the late Dr. Herbert Ives, and other contributors to The Einstein Myth and the Ives Papers (New York, Devin-Adair, 1981). But I can assure you, without hesitation, that something is infernally rotten – and in a place much nearer than Denmark – when scientists resort to the vapid argument that those who blaspheme against their Savior are, if Russian, nasty Communists, and, if Americans, vile “anti-Semites,” using a nonsense term that can be employed only by the completely thoughtless or the utterly cynical.47 Whatever the truth of Relativity, it has obviously become a religion,48 and that alone suffices to make one take pleasure in Dr. Turner’s succinct characterization of godly Einstein as “the high priest of Recondite Moronity. ”
However that may be, it was Einstein’s Relativity that dynamited the dam and soon the sciences were awash in a flood of mathematical metaphysics. When I first heard of Einstein’s theories, I was assured that there were in the whole wide world only twelve other men (the proper number of apostles for a Savior, of course) who had big enough brains to understand it, but in a few years everyone who was Somebody in the sciences was understanding it, and there was a jungle growth of theories equally metaphysical about almost everything that was very large or very small. We soon came to the Principle of Indeterminacy, not as a limitation inherent in the means of observation (as seems to have been originally intended) but as a physical reality in a kind of infinitesimal fairy land in which there was no longer a necessary connection between cause and effect.
It would be both tedious and profitless to enumerate the progeny of Relativity, but I cannot refrain from just mentioning the “Big Bang,” which is all the rage these days. Since, by the Doppler Effect, light from distant stars and galaxies is uniformly shifted toward the red, and therefore shows a corresponding velocity of recession, strictly proportional to the distance of the object, so that the farther the object is from us, the faster it is moving away from us, and since Einstein said that nothing can change the speed of light, it is believed that the entire cosmos is exploding, like the blast from a stick of dynamite that has been detonated. It follows that all the matter in the universe, including the most remote galaxies now known and the even more remote ones that will soon be discovered, was originally concentrated in just one ball of infinitely dense matter, and that we can thus calculate back to the date on which that ball exploded (and, logically, time began!). Now although it is known that interstellar space is not a vacuum, but is filled with extremely tenuous gas, refraction, such as is seen in any sunset, is thought to be excluded, and, what is strange, although the force of gravity in a “black hole” is said to be so great as to prevent the escape of light from it, it is assumed that the gravity of celestial bodies, which could have a cumulative effect proportional to the distance traversed, could not retard a ray of light (decrease its frequency) to produce the shift toward the red.
Now I don’t really care, but I just know that tomorrow or the next day some holy man will yell “hosanna!” and proudly announce that the Truth of the Bible has at last been vindicated, because Science has conclusively proved that, ten or twenty billion years ago, the three-in-one Jesus laid an egg, and that when the divine egg, charged, of course, with concentrated mana, was hatched by the Holy Ghost (rūăh, just as it says in Genesis 1), it blew up into the tōhū wā bōhū. (just as it says ibidem) out of which came the universe and all its marvels – and where would you be without it? So give to Jesus until it hurts and mail your cheque today.
As I have said several times already, it is not our concern to determine the truth or falsity of Relativity. Let it be superlatively true, it is still of (relatively!) little importance, except to metaphysicians, and we can only wonder why it seems to obtrude itself into every scientific discourse as persistently as King Charles’s head got into Mr. Dick’s memorial. It is, in its way, similar to the older demonstration of the fourth dimension, which has long been a mathematical truism. By just moving a tennis ball into the fourth dimension, you can turn it inside out without breaking its surface, and, by the same procedure, you can move a cube of sugar at right angles to all of its faces. True, no doubt – who can deny it? – but until some mathematician thus turns a tennis ball or moves a cube, there is no occasion for excitement.49
If the universe is indeed exploding as claimed, there is no cause for alarm: it will last our time – I mean the time of our species. If it be true that Mercury undergoes the Lorentz contraction as it moves toward perihelion, Newtonian physics are all you need to hit it right on the nose with a rocket, if you so desire. And if it be true that subatomic particles move without cause in a way that somehow depends on the observer, you need not lie awake o’ nights trying to figure out what the mirror in your bathroom looks like when it isn’t reflecting you.50 You have other things to worry about.
In short, if Relativity is true, it is comparable to the fact, doubtless mentioned by one of your teachers in school, that every time you go upstairs in your house, you alter the orbit of Jupiter. We can adapt the legal aphorism and say, De minimis non curat homo. Relativity, be it ever so true, is of infinitesimal relevance to the sciences on which our lives depend. But it has spawned a metaphysics that has so bewildered men of some scientific reputation that they find in quantum mechanics a proof of the hokum about “extra-sensory perception”!
It will be understood that I do not in the slightest deprecate research into the nature of “black holes” and quasars; I do object to the expenditure of billions of dollars in an effort to overhear chit-chat that supermen in some neighboring galaxy might have beamed at the earth a few million years ago. I applaud hunting the quark (who is proving more various and elusive than the snark), but I want “science fiction” kept out of the laboratory.
I will own frankly that I am profoundly disturbed by the drastic change in the climate of scientific work that I have witnessed in my own lifetime. When I was a youngster in college and had first to read Einstein closely, I was not able to cope with his mathematics, but I thought, perhaps wrongly, that Relativity was subversive of the work that Bohr had thus far done, and, in an essay I wrote at that time, I predicted, with juvenile rashness, that a general acceptance of Relativity would destroy our faith in the scientific method. Einstein, it was true, had expressed a hope that Newtonian physics, that is to say, a conception of physical reality as determined by a strict causality, could be restored, but it seemed to me that the whole tendency of scientific thought that was based on Relativity was tending, especially in subatomic physics, to abandon the very concept of causality and to have begun a regression of which the ultimate terminus was the lawless and animistic nature perceived by the dim consciousness of Australian aborigines. I assumed that a repudiation of causality would spread, like an infection, from one scientific discipline to another. I still hope I was wrong.
In the Golden Age, the gods still frequented the earth, but as mankind degenerated, they left in disgust. The last to leave was the fair daughter of Zeus, Astraea, the Virgin, who lingered longest, hoping that men would not entirely repudiate the concept of Justice, which she represented; but at last she, too, departed, and now we can only glimpse her on starlit nights, far, far away in the heavens, where she dwells in the Zodiac, with the diamond fire of Spica gleaming on her virginal breast. I do not want to see common sense follow her into exile.
In the Eighteenth Century, as Voltaire tells us, two extraterrestrials, Micromégas, a native of Sirius, and his friend, a Saturnian academician, stopped by the earth and discovered, somewhat to their astonishment, that there was life on it. Their scientific curiosity then led them to try to ascertain whether any form of life on the tiny planet was intelligent, but they could find only slight and ambiguous evidence of that.51
More than two decades ago, reviewing some bundle of piffle about “flying saucers,” I suggested that speculation about the inhabitants of Venus or Mars would be premature so long as we did not have more cogent evidence that intelligent life had developed on our own planet.
The crucial question has at last been asked, and I have taken the title of this essay from a new book by Jack Catran, Is There Intelligent Life on Earth?52 It is refreshingly forthright, lucidly written – and ominous.
The subtitle is, “We are ALONE in the universe.” I expected the book to begin with a demonstration that, as was succinctly stated by Sir John Eccles, “the chances of rational beings existing elsewhere in the universe are so remote as to be out of the question.” Mr. Catran takes that more or less for granted, although he mentions a few of the pertinent data when he reviews, with restrained satire, some of the wilder “science fiction” that has been solemnly proposed as legitimate scientific theory. He ridicules the unceasing babble about possible communication with beings from a more advanced civilization on some other planet, supermen who coyly play hide-and-seek about the earth on “flying saucers” or visited it as “astronauts” in the past or aimed radio waves at us from somewhere in this or other galaxies for our edification.
Such exciting drivel is naturally purveyed by scribblers like Von Däniken and journalists, whose business it is to keep the boobs in a dither, but Mr. Catran shares my alarm that it is also peddled by men who are professors in highly reputed universities and are accredited in legitimate sciences.
It is small consolation that many of the performing scientists probably do not mean what they say. Mr. Catran suggests that the initials of the much-touted and extremely expensive project called Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence would more properly stand for “Search for Extended Tax-free Income.” I cannot forget the scientist who complacently said that such things as “creation science” merely prove the value of scientific training: it produces clever fellows with lucrative talents, and “You can hire a scientist to prove anything.” And it was another scientist who explained to me years ago the principles of his research: “Where the bucks are, there go I.” He could have made the parody a little closer (“Where the politician sucks, there suck I”), but you can see his point. One can suggest, however, other motives for some of the performers: an irrestible yen to exhibit one’s visage on the boob-tube; a high-minded urge, common in all religions, to perpetrate forgeries and hoaxes to influence the populace to behave as one wishes; and, as a distinguished student of such phenomena reminds me, just the fact that scientists are human and therefore members of species that commonly permit their glands to overrule their reason. And one must not forget the ambience of a society in which natural ignorance is augmented by the ignorance inculcated in the public schools, and anything goes and the wilder the caper, the more it will be applauded. But Mr. Catran is probably right in tracing most of the pseudo-scientific jigging to an appetite for fast bucks.53
One can endorse, almost without qualification, all that Mr. Catran has to say about the physical sciences – he is justly sceptical about the “Big Bang,” for example – and one can only praise his repeated emphasis on the basic fact that, for all practical purposes, we are alone in the entire universe and that all the palaver about civilizations elsewhere is equivalent to spook-raising and probably just as fraudulent.
If you have ever wandered through the more lonely regions of the south-west, you have probably followed an old Indian trail or one left by prospectors until you came suddenly to a point when the trail ended in a drop into an arroyo or recently formed gulch or subsidence of a limestone cavern. When you read this book, you will also come to a sudden drop and step into it, if you aren’t watching. Mr. Catran starts talking about an intelligent society on this planet, and he has been reading “science fiction” – lots of it. And not the best, either.
There are some stories he could have read with profit. He could have read Olaf Stapledon’s Sirius. The hero, who is appropriately named for the dog star, is a dog who, as is possible when Science can do anything, is born with potentiality of a man’s intelligence and is given an education to develop it. But he discovers that his mind cannot alter his innate limitations. He can read, but he cannot write: his paws will not grip a pen or fit the keys of a typewriter. He can speak and reason, but he cannot disregard the instincts that are inherent in a canine body. The end, of course, is tragic. The story, which could also be taken as an allegory, might have reminded Mr. Catran that all organisms have limitations inherent in their biological structure. It is true that he does mention a “genetic inheritance” twice, but only to forget about it immediately.
It soon becomes apparent that Mr. Catran was nurtured on Technocracy, of which the adepts, it seems, are still plodding along, as persistent as other creationists. A few years before the United States was mobilized for the Crusade to Save the Soviet, I heard two lectures by, and even conversed briefly with, Howard Scott, who was then seeking recruits for his grey-shirted army of engineers, who were going to help him do what Jesus, Marx, and other Jewish revolutionaries promised to do, create a New World. It was the same old panacea with a new label on the bottle. Scott talked about the wonders of technology, and his sales-pitch inflated the egos of engineers so ignorant of human nature that they could believe that nations can be built in the same way as suspension bridges. Plenty of horse-power and kilowatts will work miracles.
And now, almost half a century later, that age-old boob bait, slightly disguised with new verbiage, acted on Mr. Catran like a dose of lysergic acid diethylamide. I should have felt much better, if he had started waving his arms, not in the wild oratory of an evangelist, but in an effort to fly up and roost on the boughs of a convenient tree, as some who have ingested the hallucinatory drug try to do.
The man who writes so judiciously about the physical sciences and what is impossible in the real world as we know it, suddenly turns in an epoptic rapture and assures us over and over that “with science everything is possible.” The man whom I admired for his rational ridicule of talk about “astronauts” begins to foam at the mouth and promise that “Space travel will come, we will know the surfaces of other planets and eventually other solar systems and galaxies.” And with a messianic glare in his eyes he even proclaims that “man can become a god through manipulation of the controls.” Oh, yes. Eritis sicut dii – that was the bait with which the world’s first con man hooked the first sucker, according to the well-known myth in Genesis, 3.5.
I will tell you frankly that I read on through this book with despair in my heart. I was going to end this article right here with an observation that Jack Catran had answered his own question with an emphatic negative. But it may be worthwhile to review briefly his hallucinations.
Fashions constantly change, of course, and con men are always coming new words, but if you look to the essentials, you will see that with Jack Catran we have gone back to Edward Bellamy, and that means, the revelations of Messiah Marx, whence a clear spoor leads back to primitive Christianity. And with Marx, we have left even “science fiction” behind and entered the magical world of religion.
As everyone who has read the Marxists critically has not failed to see, and as Mr. Bannerman most recently reminded us in the July issue of The Liberty Bell, the gospel of St. Marx is just the old Judaeo-Christian mythology with the supernatural sanctions left out, thus making the cult the most implausible and unreasonable of all the Christian heresies. It is true that there is reciprocal hostility between Marxists and the other Christian cults, but that is merely normal. Christian sects began persecuting each other even before one of them attained political power in the decaying Roman Empire, and everyone remembers the fearful Wars of Religion that convulsed and almost ruined Europe. The Gospel of Love invariably incites the most savage and blood-thirsty hatreds.
Marxist cults are both a culmination of the evolution of Christianity and a most impressive instance of the historical and social phenomenon that is best called the cultural residue.54 Throughout all history, customs survive the conditions that occasioned them, and all religions inculcate beliefs that come to be taken for granted and so survive the doctrines from which they were originally derived.
We cannot here discuss the long and ironical evolution of Christianity after the Jews inflicted it on the already mongrelized Roman Empire.55 As everyone knows, out of the welter of competing sects and the various adaptations of their propaganda to make it less offensive to the Aryan mind, there emerged a generally accepted dogma that Jesus, who was supposedly a third of his father and had more or less taken over from the old man, had ordained such things as “brotherhood” and “equality” and “human rights.” Now so long as one believed in the existence and super-natural power of Jesus and in the veracity of the theologians who claimed to know what he had commanded, one had to accept those strange and unnatural notions as divinely sanctioned and therefore to be enforced, even in open violation of the facts of human nature.
In the Eighteenth Century, men who found the wild tales in the Bible simply unbelievable had to reject the childish myths, but they turned back to the purer source from which the Christians had taken the odd notion of “all mankind,” the Stoicism of the Graeco-Roman world, and became deists, believing in Nature’s God, who was so often mentioned at the time of the American Revolution. This god, whose existence and wishes his votaries deduced from what they knew of the physical world and of the beliefs that the Christians had taken from the Stoics, was believed to have ordained the social dogmas that Christianity had already imposed on Europe, “human rights,” “brotherhood,” etc.
Marx concocted his heresy in a time in which greatly increased knowledge of nature had, as we remarked earlier, sent Nature’s God into the limbo of dead gods. He therefore dispensed with supernatural sanctions altogether, but retained the old dogmas about “human rights” and “equality” and the rest of the social doctrine that Jesus had supposedly commanded men to follow.
Marx was driven, of course, by the lust for destruction that his race has shown throughout its history, but he could count on the law of the cultural residue to prevent most of his contemporaries from seeing that the doctrine that was generally accepted as desirable and right became absurd as soon as one dispensed with a divinity who commanded what was contrary to nature. Without a god to enforce them, “human rights” are merely meaningless noises produced by vocal cords. There are no “rights” in nature, where the only law is the survival of the fittest, i.e., force, the power of muscle or mind. An unarmed man alone in a jungle has no “right” not to be eaten by lions. An American colonist had no “right” not to be tortured to death for the amusement of the Indians who had captured him. There can be no “rights” without the power to enforce them. Only an organized society can create rights, which it bestows by general consensus on its members to regulate their conduct and prevent an anarchical dissolution of the society. A society can bestow rights only on its citizens, to the exclusion of aliens and of other mammals, although it may wish to treat them kindly.
Organized societies may, of course, think it expedient to adopt norms of conduct between themselves, and where the nations are of the same race and have the same instinctive standards, such agreements may bestow rights that can be enforced so long as the concord is maintained. Thus, for example, a German in France may have rights, so long as the two nations are not at war. And among Aryans before their civilization was rotted by alien races (who were naturally intent on their own advantage), there was even a consensus that was supposed to bestow certain shadowy rights in wars between Aryan nations, since the racial instinct forbade certain atrocities. For example, many German soldiers who surrendered to American, Canadian, or British forces during the Jewish War Against the West thought they had a right not to be tortured and murdered; they were mistaken, for the Jews’ stooges had repudiated the standards that had been accepted by civilized nations, and so the Germans, as they soon discovered, had no rights.
The set of illusions, of which “human rights” is a key example, are the real essence of the religion, and it is not at all remarkable that, as we have so often seen in our contemporaries, individuals flop back and forth between the more orthodox Christian sects and Marxism, often executing several such floppings in the course of their lives. Basically, they remain Christians, as did the Lutherans, who repudiated the Papacy, and the Calvinists, who repudiated Luther, too, and all the many other warring sects. The important difference is that so many “Liberals” and the like do not see that the Marxists, having eliminated their god, also eliminated all basis for the social superstitions he supposedly ordained, so that their talk about “all humanity” and “equality” has become mere childish drivel about Santa Claus, his reindeer, and the toys he will bestow when he arrives.
Mr. Catran is just an up-to-date version of Swedenborg, another engineer who thought he had revelations. All that he has really done is put Science in place of Jesus as a miracle-worker, with a great loss in credibility. He will probably have a fit when he discovers that he has really remained a Christian in his heart and his fantasies.
New Worlds have always been the shining bait dangled before simpletons by revolutionaries, who can never deliver what they promise. The famous Jesus is reported in the various gospels to have made all sorts of glowing promises, but Christianity nevertheless was a successful revolution against the Roman Empire and triumphed over the blackened ruins of civlization. The gospel of Marx is a revolution against the civilization that our race precariously erected on the ruins of the old, and it has already been so successful that only rare individuals today can see how revolutionary it was, for the populace has been made to take its most deadly myths for granted as “social truth.” So does Mr. Catran, who is preaching his own translation of Marx. He eschews such dated terms as ‘intelligentsia’ and ‘dictatorship of the proletariat. ’
Mr. Catran’s revolution is to be carried out by “the scientists,” but he does not explain how those gifted beings are going to pull it off. He could have imagined a secession of the modern Vidyādharas to a realm of their own in the Himalayas or elsewhere, as was done by H. G. Wells, Ayn Rand, and others, but he does not. Perhaps he was restrained by some recollection of the scientists whom he had just castigated for their credulity, venality, and irresponsibility. But the “scientists” are going to do it just the same, because it is inevitable. It is inevitable because Mr. Catran foresees, as does everyone who thinks about it for three minutes, the collapse of what he calls the “money system.” He does not see that there is almost no real money in it, only stacks of the intrinsically worthless paper that is being printed in ever increasing quantities by the great counterfeiting ring in Washington, D.C., but he does see that there is an inevitable end to the technique of avoiding hangovers by drinking some more alcohol.
I need scarcely remark that the core of Mr. Catran’s magic is the old Christian hokum about making everybody equal.56 He is going to do it, however, because human beings are merely “complex machines” – so we are back with La Mettrie in 1748, polished up a little by Skinner’s now fading doctrine of Behaviorism. The glorious world of tomorrow will begin when all infants are kidnapped from their mothers and raised in collective pens by “behavioral scientists,” who will apply the Pavlovian “principles of behavior modification,” producing, of course, although Mr. Catran doesn’t see it or doesn’t quite dare to say so, animals that will respond automatically and mindlessly to whatever stimulus their masters give them.
One wonders whether the “social animals and energy-consuming machines” that the aforesaid “behavioral scientists” are going to manufacture will really appreciate a paradise in which “every person will receive the same income in goods and services” and “all people will possess unlimited credit.” In fact, only a passing and almost furtive mention of an unexplained “population control” differentiates Mr. Catran’s ideal from the glorious future that is envisioned as inevitable by Seidenberg, a paradise in which billions and billions of biped cockroaches will crawl mindlessly over a manure heap eight thousand miles in diameter.57
It is quite true that the techniques of “behavior modification” do work. They are obviously very effective in “sensitivity training” and all the other work of scientific Draculas that is described in the book by Mr. Dieckmann to which I referred above. And some of its principles are applied much more surreptitiously in the public schools and in the other psychological weapons that are being used in an all-out offensive against our already stultified race.
There is one question, which I am sure Jack Catran would deride as a vestige of an outmoded past. Let us assume that the “behavioral scientists” do succeed in converting the abducted infants into perfectly conditioned and adjusted “energy-consuming machines,” but let us consider for a moment the infants whom the mad scientists carry off to their behavioral pens. It is true that when the children grow up, they will never know they could have become something else. But what if they could have known? Are we not back to the old ethical problem that Glanville formulated in his Lux Orientalis (1682)? Of certain beings supposedly created by his god, he justly observed that “Certainly, could they have been put to their choice whether they would have come into being on such terms, they would rather have been nothing for ever.” Might not – would not that also be true of the scientists’ creations?
Is it likely that the “energy-consuming” machines of our future will revel in the awareness that they all have the same income? They will have work (i.e., a purposeful occupation) only three or four hours a week – and even those hours may be dull, because computers will do all their thinking for them. After they are thirty-five, they won’t have even those three or four hours a week to give them a respite from ennui. And, except for the bit of work when they are young, the hapless wretches of our future will have to amuse themselves the rest of the time. How will they – how can they do it? They will have all sorts of gadgets, including – believe it or not – an “extrapolatory computer” which will tell them precisely what is going to happen in the future. But what will they have to live for? They will presumably copulate ad libitum, but – unless Science does something about it – the hours that can be spent in that exhilarating exercise are sadly limited. Mr. Catran assures us that the “energy-consuming machines” will rejoice in “a world more poetic [sic], more beautiful [!], than there are words in our present language to describe.” But he is understandably vague. Thanks to electronic marvels, each can converse with any other of the billions of “energy-consuming machines” on the planet, but we are not told what they will have to talk about.58 They will have forests in which they can walk and “enjoy nature,” and they can read literature, including poetry, and listen to great music. But will they have left any capacity to enjoy such things?59
Mr. Catran tells us several times that you can make an automobile into a machine that will fly, but it will no longer be an automobile. Well, you can make an infant into an “energy-consuming machine,” but it will no longer be a human being.
Have we not already gone quite far in the dehumanization of our race? Are we not already within a measurable distance of the Behaviorists’ paradise? I could not but wonder when I read the book by Mr. Dieckmann I cited above, and came to the account of what was done to the victims of a cosmetic-peddling swindle invented by the late William Penn Patrick. The future “executives,” whom Patrick was to make millionaires when they peddled his rouge and lipstick, were assembled for a “leadership training” course, which they must have undergone voluntarily, since it was held in the Hyatt House in Palo Alto, a fairly luxurious motor inn, which cannot have been as secure as the dungeons of the Inquisition. “Leadership training” turned out to be just an intensive form of “sensitivity training,” administered by the Leadership Dynamics Institute, there represented by its president, a “behavioral scientist” appropriately named Ben Gay. Now I shall not give the details of the “sensitivity training” the embryo “leaders” received: an account of it would be both harrowing and disgusting, and, besides, I don’t want to give anyone an excuse for saying that The Liberty Bell is an obscene and pornographic publication. I could not help but note, however, that of the forty-four victims, more than half were classified as male. I do not question the anatomical classification, but I am quite sure that if there had been men in the group, Mr. Ben Gay would early have been removed in a basket.
That is not all. During the training, William Penn Patrick appeared in person and watched it with evident satisfaction. I shall not repeat my observation about the basket, but I was especially interested because years ago I had a slight acquaintance with that wonder-boy of finance, the far-seeing conservative statesman, and “future president of the United States.” I was supposed to be flattered, but I judged Mr. Patrick (who was well-mannered and Aryan, so far as I could tell) to be a ruthlessly ambitious, thoroughly unscrupulous, and utterly untrustworthy man – but still a man. But now I see that I was mistaken. According to Mr. Dieckmann’s book, Patrick watched with pleasure the “leadership training” of the males and females whom he had swindled. He wasn’t even human.
There is something terrifying about the inhuman submissiveness of Patrick’s victims. Mr. Dieckmann suggests one explanation: they had paid a thousand dollars for the course and Patrick had taken most or all of the rest of their money for the boxes and boxes of cosmetics stacked up in their basements, which they were going to sell for immense profits when they learned how to be “leaders.” And Americans in general are so greedy that a prospect of quick and easy profits acts on them as a keg of fire-water acts on an Indian.60 But that will not do. Thousands and thousands of Americans not in a financial bind have undergone and are undergoing some form of “group dynamics” and no casualties among the “behavioral scientists” have been reported.61 I think we must turn to Mr. Dieckmann’s second explanation, the “life adjustment” or “social adjustment” that has been the chief work of the public schools since they were taken over by the gang of revolutionists headed by John Dewey, who produced volumes of turgid and ungrammatical double-talk to cover a scheme to destroy self-respect and rationality in children who are imprisoned by their parents and state laws in our enormously expensive boob-hatcheries. And, incidentally, the young victims will be prepared to huzza for Jack Catran, for they have already been shown the chief glories of his paradise on earth.
The reader will have noticed what was illogical and literally untrue in the foregoing section, and will have made allowance for the vagaries of our language, but the point deserves comment.
On the basis of the report in Mr. Dieckmann’s book, I made a statement that Mr. Patrick was not human. Now, although I said so, I could not have meant that he did not belong to the species that biologists sarcastically call Homo sapiens, and, so far as I know, he may have belonged to the subspecies that Vacher de Lapouge called Homo Europaeus and Günther and Coon prefer to call Nordicus. What was worse, I implied that he was a beast, and that was wholesale slander of all other mammals.
As a matter of fact, we belong to the only species of animal that takes pleasure in witnessing and inflicting pain and in making its victims suffer. The tiger – a magnificent animal, as the learned Savitri Devi remarks in her Impeachment of Man – kills only when he is hungry, and indeed kills in the most efficient way within his power, never making his victims suffer unnecessarily. You may remember from Robert Ardrey’s Social Contract the piteous cries of the wart-hog that had been run down by a pack of lycaones, commonly called African hunting dogs, but Ardrey also points out that the killers had no means of killing more expeditiously, no way of making their prey suffer less. Cats, it is true, play with mice, and we suppose that the mouse suffers fear, as we would, but the cat is merely exercising herself, and certainly does not consider the mouse’s putative emotions. The genus Homo includes all the animals that derive a psychic satisfaction from the agonies of others, whether of their own or other genera.
That distinctively human trait may be only natural. In every region in which wild life has not yet been exterminated, you would hear rifles cracking every day in the year, if some efforts to protect free animals were not being made. Other mammals kill because they must, to eat or to avoid being eaten; men kill because they enjoy it. In one of his well-known essays, Mark Twain commented on a British Earl, who had gone hunting on our western plains and had happily slaughtered a whole herd of bison. He contrasted the earl’s conduct with the habits of a python, and concluded that the earl must have descended from the python – descended a long way.
Mark Twain’s indignation is understandable, but we should note that the British huntsman, however regrettable his venatic enthusiasm, killed the buffalo cleanly with accurately-aimed bullets, and did not merely wound them in order to gloat over their death agonies.
What I meant when I said Patrick was not human was only that he evidently did not have the sentiments that are more or less instinctive in our race and are regarded as foolish or incomprehensible by others. We all know that it is only natural for innately savage races, especially Congoids and the American Indians, to take a great (and, for them, hilarious) delight in both torturing their captives and watching them suffer – not only White men, for whom they have a racial hatred, but even their own kind – and the females seem even more vicious than the males. What does astonish us at first is that the Mongolians, who have created a civilization of their own, seem quite without compassion for human beings as such; the Chinese invented the most atrocious form of execution, ling ch’ih, the “lingering death,” often called the “death of a thousand slices,” inflicted with such skill that the victim is kept conscious for hours as he is slowly dissected before a fascinated audience; and we are repelled by the common practice (witnessed, for example, and well described by Frank Harris in his Undreamed-of Shores) of punishing a clerk who has embezzled a few cents by crushing his foot in the court room and letting him crawl away until he dies of gangrene. The cruelty of Semites is proverbial and among their innovations we especially reinember the practice of burying a man to his neck in the ground and smearing his face with honey to attract hungry ants. The cruelty of Jews seems somewhat different as it is exemplified by their gloating over the atrocities their ferocious god supposedly inflicted on the Egyptians, or by their ingenuity in torturing the hated Aryans to death during the great Jewish Conspiracy of A.D. 117, for those examples seem to show an affirmation of their vast racial superiority over lower animals, rather than mere enjoyment of a spectacle of agony for its own sake – although their ingenuity in crucifying their own dissidents makes one wonder.
Our own race’s record is not exemplary. One may think, of course, of the dungeons of the Inquisition and the practice of burning witches (such as Jeanne d’Arc) alive, but there we have the influence of Christianity at work, and even so, the Puritans of New England, although God-fearing, mercifully hanged their witches. Such things as breaking on the wheel and drawing-and-quartering (before death) for particularly heinous crimes are hard to forgive, but, generally speaking, the normal modes of execution are hanging and beheading, which produce death speedily and with a minimum of suffering, and it is noteworthy that even the blood-thirsty egalitarians of the French Revolution used the guillotine and made it famous. Recently, we have decided that cyanide gas is even less painful and have adopted it, although the administration of it requires a rather complicated procedure, of which the Jews did not trouble to inform themselves when they decided to substitute cyanide gas for mass electrocutions in their fiction about a “Holocaust” of God’s Own People.
Although Aryans have been capable of monstrous excesses, especially when excited by religion or personal grief, our peculiar racial instinct is normally revolted by the infliction of unnecessary pain on even condemned criminals. And we view the foul physical degradation inflicted in Communist “re-education”62 and American “sensitivity training” as equally repulsive. We seem to have, as did the Greeks, a deep and innate feeling that violating the integrity of a fellow human being (of our race and usually of other races also) is hybris, an offense against nature, a wanton transgression of the limits within which men are confined by being human. Hybris is the crime of a man who has forgotten his own humanity – it is inhuman.
That essentially Aryan idea (which, of course, has nothing to do with Christianity) is the source of the meaning we often attach to ‘inhuman,’ but it reached us through the somewhat illogical Roman amplification of it, which has introduced into our vocabulary an even more confusing use of words derived from the same root. That deserves some explanation.
In the writings of Cicero, which have so profoundly moulded our own culture, humanitas, which etymologically should designate what is generally found among human beings or at least in all or almost all of the members of our race, took on the meaning of the highest culture to which a select minority of our race could attain, the quality that marks an intellectual aristocracy. Such a use of the word by Cicero and his contemporaries sprang from the idea that such a quality was potentially inherent in all Greeks and Romans, but consider, for example, Cicero’s definition of a cultured man in the Tusculanae, V.23.66: qui cum Musis, id est cum humanitate et cum doctrina, habeat aliquod commercium: ‘A man who has a certain familiarity with the Muses (all nine, from Calliope and Euterpe to Clio and Urania, from epic and lyric poetry to history and astronomy), that is to say, a man who has such familiarity with humanitas and philosophical thinking.’ A cultured man, thus defined, Cicero goes on to say, esteems Archimedes, the Syracusan mathematician, far above Dionysis I, the celebrated tyrant of Syracuse, who attained adroitly the virtually absolute power that he held prosperously until his death (and, incidentally, seems to have enjoyed the loyalty of his subjects, the disgruntled Plato notwithstanding).
We have, of course, come fantastically far from the notion of a quality that is actually possessed by human beings in general. Whatever may be their theoretical potential, in practice humanitas has been restricted to a comparatively small number of human beings who have a high degree of innate intelligence and have been able to enjoy the comparatively long and arduous education requisite to develop it. But that is still one of the meanings we commonly associate with words denoting the quality of being human.
Since the Renaissance identified Greek and Latin literature as the studia humanitatis, the ‘Humanities’ are Greek and Latin, although cheap substitutes are now on sale in every diploma-mill. ‘Humanism,’ strictly speaking, was succinctly defined by the late Ernest H. Wilkins, President of Oberlin College, as “a scholarly and initially reactive enthusiasm for classic culture, accompanied by creative writing in Latin on classic lines.” The Professor of Humanity in a Scottish university is the ranking professor of the Classics. A cultivated man, according to Cicero’s definition, his mind and perceptions enhanced by humanitas, will naturally abhor the vulgar cruelty that we improperly call ‘brutal.’ So since the studia humanitatis are also termed ‘humane learning,’ a ‘humane man’ is not one who is merely kind, but properly speaking, one whose enlightened kindness is associated with a certain culture. All of this, however, has merely added to the general confusion, and it must be more than a decade ago that I saw a learned journal defaced with an article by an ostensibly educated professor, who cited an English writer of the Seventeenth Century as having called King James I cruel, whereas all that the writer said was that King James was a poor Latinist (he had “but little humanity”).
This highly specialized use of the word has to some extent colored even our more reasonable use of ‘humane’ and ‘human’ to designate the kind of character that our race would like to see in all of its members (as it has little chance of ever doing!). In this extremely common sense of the word, ‘inhuman’ simply means ‘un-Aryan,’ i.e., not what we like to think of as characteristic of Aryans. And when we call an individual ‘inhuman’ or ‘brutal,’ what we mean in biological fact is that he is all too human. I think some perception of this enters into our feeling for the beauty of unspoiled nature and of landscapes
Where every prospect pleases
And only man is vile.
When we speak of submissiveness as ‘inhuman’ or ‘animal-like,’ we are on somewhat firmer ground. Our great cunning enables us to dominate most other mammals, and in circuses one commonly sees a tiger leap through a burning hoop at the command of a man whom the tiger could eviscerate with one sweep of his claws. By the techniques of circuration, we have domesticated species especially useful to us. The docility of cows (though not of bulls) is proverbial, and thousands of herds daily yield their milk to their human parasites. Horses may pose a special problem in mammalian psychology, for Elwyn Hartley Edwards63 believes that some quirk in the equine mind makes a horse accept man as the surrogate of the stallion who would lead and govern a small herd. Our wool is taken from sheep, who are notoriously the most stupid of all mammals and were accordingly taken as their mental models by the Christians, who want to be thoughtless sheep herded by their pastors (pastores!) or by bishops whose symbol of authority is the shepherd’s crook.
This Christian yearning reappears, I need not say, in the “Liberal”-Marxist-Technocrat dream of reducing mankind to billions of fat sheep, who will graze forever in green pastures, eating and copulating, with never a moment’s need to think or fight.
It is much too late to reform our language, but when we draw the spurious antithesis “human:bestial,” let us remember what we really mean,
It is high time we returned from our excursus to Mr. Catran and took notice of one nugget of wisdom he offers us, an injunction that we must never study history. History, you see, would tell us what human beings are by nature, and prophets of a New World must eschew that, just as an engineer, such as Mr. Catran, I suppose, would avoid learning anything about the properties of steel before he designed a dream bridge. It would be awfully inhibiting to know the limitations of the material with which one proposes to work!
I have often been impressed, however, by the unwillingness of some scientists to learn what they are talking about, once they have strayed outside their own narrow fields of specialization. One thinks of the “atomic scientists” who had their egos so vastly inflated, in a manner that reminded one of the Aesopic fable about the frog who wanted to be as big as a cow,64 when Oppenheimer decided that it would be advantageous for his race to prevent the Americans from developing a hydrogen bomb before the Soviets had one. Nor was that a new aberration. I remember how startled I was around 1947 when I read in an official publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (of which I was then a member) that some highly esteemed association of chemists had published a resolution that all atomic weapons be delivered to the Soviet Union, “which will use them to ensure world peace.” Had the chemists wanted the atomic weapons delivered to the pixies, that would not have been overtly unreasonable: no one has ever seen a pixie, so we may imagine them as benevolent as we wish. But by 1947, even ignorant individuals, who read nothing but newspapers, had enough information about the consequences of the Jewish capture of the Russian Empire thirty years before to know precisely what the consequences would be, if the Americans, who still had an opportunity to remain a first-rate military power and even to regain their independence, were made helpless as the aliens and traitors in Washington were then in the process of making them. I wondered why the chemists did not stay within their own field and recommend cyanide of potassium as an infallible means of ensuring perpetual peace for all who really want it. It was not until later that I saw why those chemists chose to ignore facts of which they must have known. They, no doubt, thought of themselves as hard-headed men of science, but they had Christian sediment in their minds.
Without knowing it, those chemists, like Mr. Catran and so many others, had got religion, probably the religion of Marx, which is sometimes called “the religion of humanity” by “Liberals” when a mention of Marx would not be tactful. And when one has got religion, common sense and facts no longer count. One reverts to the mentality of young children, who cannot distinguish between fact and fancy, and are often punished for insisting that they actually saw what they only imagined. And persons who can make the distinction often become so puffed up with righteousness that they lie to prove that what they have imagined is real. That is why it is so often difficult, and sometimes impossible, to be sure of the motives of witnesses of supernatural events.
We mentioned much earlier the pair of adolescent girls who made poor old Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believe in fairies. They are very old women now and admit, of course, that they faked the photographs of themselves consorting with fairies and gnomes, but they insist that they actually did see fairies in the garden and forged the pictures to make others believe what they just knew to be true. We cannot now tell whether they, through some quirk of female adolescence, really did have hallucinations in which they thought they played with fairies, or they are now pathetically trying to justify the adolescent espièglerie with which they light-heartedly perpetrated a hoax that made them famous and set so many theosophical minds aquiver with transcendental thoughts.
We now feel certain that when Joseph Smith forged the Book of Mormon and its pendant gospels (Book of Moses, Book of Abraham), he did so as a clever rogue who had perfected a technique for gaming power over simpletons and their purses, but we do so only because we have records of his earlier career as a confidence man. Without those records, we should have to consider the possibility that he might have imagined he was promoting a theology that would be beneficial.
We now think it likely that when the Reverend Mr. William Dennis Mahon in the 1880s became convinced that there was no historical evidence to support belief in Christianity,65 he produced his celebrated series of forgeries to prove the truth of a faith that was dear to his glands and in the belief that he was righteously lying for the Lord. But we grant him sincerity largely because he was such an awkward old duffer that he seems not to have had the cunning of a practiced rogue.
When we patiently read through the vast masses of early Christian gospels, all of them anonymous or pseudonymous or under meaningless names, we know nothing about authors whom we cannot identify and of whom there is no historical record, we can rely only on conjectures and our own imaginations as we try to sort out the hallucinés, the gullible believers of tall tales, the conscious forgers for sweet Jesus’s sake, and the professional shamans, who exploited the credulity of the masses. When we come to Fathers of the Church and other theologians whom we can more or less positively identify, we can usually believe that they were indulging in the common practice of Lying for the Lord to propagate a belief to which they were emotionally attached. When Jerome composed short stories about martyrs, he thought the fact that they were fiction was irrelevant, since they would help spread piety. Chrysostom praises the efficacy of deceit in implanting Faith and frankly says that lies are not “untruthful” when they edify suckers and strengthen the faith of True Believers. Augustine was one of the few early Fathers who said that it was wrong to lie for a pious purpose, and it was he who proudly assured his congregation that he had preached the gospel to a tribe in Africa that had only one eye, which was in the middle of their foreheads, and had told the glad tidings about Christ to another tribe that had no heads at all, having eyes in place of nipples in their chests. He must either have changed his mind about Lying for the Lord or have lied when he claimed to disapprove of holy lying. Such is the normal effect of religion on veracity. And this fact has a highly important corollary which we can only mention here. The votaries of the Marxist religion are no exception to the rule. They can and do lie cheerfully to spread their gospel. They are estopped from sporting with fairies and from interviewing ghosts, but they can forge pseudo-historical records and they can forge pseudoscientific data and do it proudly, probably telling themselves that they are resorting to fraud to promote “world peace” and “human rights” and “brotherhood,” which a conscientious god would have ordained, had he existed. In earlier pages we have commented on the absurdities that are invented or endorsed by professed scientists and in a footnote (53) we barely alluded to the horrifying prevalence of conscious fraud in what purports to be scientific research. Now we have to ask the terrible question, How much of what now passes for accepted and generally endorsed scientific theory is actually based on hoaxes contrived to propagate the Christian-Marxist doctrines that are driving our race to insanity and suicide? The possibilities are so frightening that we dare not estimate them. Before that abyss, the affrighted spirit recoils aghast.
You can guess what revelations Catran received in his bout of messianic fever, but we may as well glance at the high points. Although slightly disguised by talk about “unlimited sources of energy,” “unlimited credit for everyone,” and “extrapolatory computers,” the essence of his gospel is, as one would expect, merely the old and hackneyed “Liberal’’-Marxist myths. Mr. Catran, without a hint of a grin, tells us that “sexual discrimination” is “caused by the money system.” I feel certain that Mr. Catran himself conducted experiments that gave empirical proof of differences between men and women, differences both anatomical and psychic.66 And I am equally sure that Mr. Catran discriminates between the sexes – although he may do so with a bad conscience, if true to his principles. The “money system” is also the cause of “racial discrimination,” because all human beings are absolutely the same, except for “slight differences in pigmentation, etc.” And, as proudly as a dog that has retrieved a thrown stick, our Jack brings us the old “Liberal” chestnut about Beethoven. I know you have heard it a hundred times, but I must ask you to endure it just once more. If someone had taken the infant Ludwig, fresh from his mother’s breast, and deposited him in an African jungle, and he had been raised in the hut of niggers who, for some reason, did not eat him, would he have composed the Third Symphony? You will not argue about that, but you will want to ask another question. If someone had put a pickaninny in young Ludwig’s cradle, and if Beethoven’s parents had been so feeble-minded as to adopt it and give it Beethoven’s nurture and education, would it have written the Third Symphony? Of course, you never get a chance to finish that question. All the “intellectuals” will be screeching that it ain’t fair and besides, you’se a “Nazi,” and although everybody is equal, you are a Hell of a lot less equal than others.
What the hypothetical experiment with infant Ludwig proved, I need not say, is that we have got to have what our Jack calls an “homogenized humanity,” with all human beings of all races dumped into a vast garbage-shredder and reduced to a uniform and stinking mass of coffee-colored mongrels reeking with sub-human equality. Now if Mr. Catran imagines that God’s Master Race, which has decreed mongrelization as the best means of exterminating Aryans, will not maintain its own racial purity and rule the “homogenized” mongrels for its own profit or fun, he really is delirious. And, come to think of it, the Aryans, their minds rotted with fifteen centuries of obeying the Big Jew up in the stratosphere, are the only race that has become so witless and craven that it wants to disappear in a mass of mongrels. The niggers, who justly contemn the Aryan curs who cringe before them, have no intention of repudiating their own race. And the subtle minds of the Mongolians, who have an old and elaborate civilization of their own, are learning again to despise the barbarous White Devils, whose power they respected until they saw that our race was suffering from a progressive softening of the brain and becoming imbecile. Their power waxes as ours wanes, and they have no slightest intention of liquidating their race to please the Jews. They never believed in Yahweh.
But Mr. Catran dreams of an “homogenized humanity,” perhaps because the prospect is so dear to sick Aryans. And there, my friends, we have reached the zenith of his wisdom. It’s a shame he stopped believing in “flying saucers.”
Before we bid Mr. Catran a long good-bye, however, we should just notice the underpinnings of his Faith. What his behavioral scientists will give us, presumably before we are shoved into the homogenizing garbage-shredder, is a “fellowship with all peoples” and they will ram into children’s defenceless minds a “kinship with all humanity.” Why not a kinship with all mammals? The mongrelized Hindus, for that matter, carry this genealogical theorem to its logical conclusion, a kinship with all organic life, including, of course, their own body lice. But patriotic Marx did not go to India for his religion.
I shall only tell you that Jack Catran promises us that his behavioral scientists will inculcate (his word!) into a child “the highest form of love,” which is “love for his fellow man.” And – I shall quote verbatim – “through applied love we can become holy.” Yes, holy. Jesus Christ!
I have devoted some pages to this book, but not merely because its title asks the crucial question. It is also portentous. It contains, as I have said, much sound common sense about the present status and trends in the real sciences. But when we step on what appears to be a massive and solid rock, we suddenly find ourselves sitting in the middle of the “New Testament” with a dazed expression on our faces.
I need not have taken this book as an example. I could have written about a thousand books that have rolled from the presses this year, if I had the time to look at them. I fear, I gravely fear, that the chances of intelligent life on earth are becoming increasingly remote.
1 Corruption always breeds corruption. Margaret Mead used her prestige to install in the American Association for the Advancement of Science the new “science” of “parapsychology,” which studies such miraculous phenomena as “psychokinesis” (i.e., the art of bending spoons when no one is looking) and “extra-sensory perception” (i.e., the art of guessing cards by the techniques long used by professional gamblers or by the operation of chance that makes it possible for some men to win in a game of faro). And it was almost ten years before the honor of the Association was championed by a distinguished physicist, Professor John Wheeler of the University of Texas, who asked the Association to end its patronage of the hokum. The parlous state of scientific thought in the United States is shown by the resulting civil war within the Association – and that even Professor Wheeler felt obliged to refer to “our late and beloved Margaret Mead.” See Martin Gardner, Science, Good, Bad, and Bogus (Buffalo, New York, 1982; paperback, Avon, 1983), Chapter 17.
2 This book is the first comprehensive inquiry into the motivation of presumably honest “psychic researchers,” as disclosed by a study of their biographies. Many readers of J. W. Dunne’s An Experiment with Time (London, 1927; third edition, 1934; reprinted 1937, 1958, 1960, 1964, and doubtless subsequently) have been impressed by the author’s seeming candor and objectivity; Ruth Brandon leaves us only with the question whether Dunne perpetrated a hoax or was a victim of his own delusions. Incidentally, I trust that I need not remark that the word ‘prestige’ is appropriately derived from praestigia (‘a trick, deceit, illusion’) and, like ‘glamor,’ denotes an influence based on appearances that are deceptive, not necessarily entirely fallacious, but at least great exaggerations of the underlying reality.
3 For a good description of the technical aspects of “psychic phenomena,” see Joseph F. Rinn, Sixty Years of Psychical Research (1950, and still available from the publisher, The Truth Seeker, P.O. Box 2832, San Diego, California). Many of the hoaxes were exposed by the famous magician, Harry Houdini (Weiss), whose memory every rational man should honor. From the biography by Raymund FitzSimons, Death and the Magician (New York, 1980), you will learn that the death of Houdini was really caused by a Bible-believing nitwit who went berserk and attacked him, You will also learn that professional hokum-peddlers are such knaves that after his death they tried to impose on the credulity of his widow by forgery and jugglery, and that there are numerous crackpots who, to this day, whine that Houdini must have had “psychic powers” to, perform his magic. You will also learn that Mr. FitzSimons or his publishers had an eye so fixed on the market that instead of ridiculing the dolts, his book pretends that there is a “mystery” about Houdini’s feats: could they have been accomplished by physical means? Who can tell? The answer to that question is, Any man whose common sense hasn’t been amputated.
4 It is possible, so far as I know, that the enterprising Dr. Henry Rogers may have invented the mechanism whereby an untended typewriter may be operated electro-magnetically from a remote typewriter. Such devices are commonplace now, but they seem to have been unheard of when Dr. Rogers, a pious holy man eager to rescue mankind from the slough of materialism, exhibited in broad daylight a typewriter on which the unseen spirits of the dead, having acquired stenographic skills in the next world and having been summoned by the strains of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” or “One More River to Cross,” typed out loving messages for their dear kinfolk in this world, telling them how jolly it was to be dead and immortal. By a neat irony of life, Rogers’ stunt quickened the religious hankerings of the inventor of one of the first successful typewriters, George Yost, whom Rogers fleeced of two million dollars and whose brains Rogers so addled that when the poor old man died in penury, he still believed that Rogers had shown him the way to Heaven.
5 Physiologists assure me that the differences between the sexes are genetic and cannot be abolished by a Constitutional amendment – or even by the surgery it would logically require. For a neat illustration of a fundamental psychic difference, see note 66 below.
6 Uri Geller’s race is by no means irrelevant, although it would be hard to measure its precise influence. Christians have always stood in awe of the great race to which Yahweh, by a special contract, gave a perpetual lease on the whole world, and although they claimed that Yahweh had rescinded the contract, they never doubted but that Jews were on terms of special intimacy with either their god or their anti-god. The three Judaic religions filled the whole horizon of the Middle Ages, as is evident from the story of the “three rings,” which Boccaccio inserted in his Decameron, and from the famous and now lost work De tribus impostoribus, in which the three impostors were Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet. The whole of Mediaeval magic and sorcery was derived from the Kabbalah and its congeners, and even today you would have to use its hocus-pocus, if you wanted favors from the Princes of the Air (cf. note 20 infra). His race lent prestige to Michel de Nostre-Dame (Nostradamus), who peddled astrological and mantic quackery that still excites credulous persons, while his brother, Jean, was forging a history of Provençal poetry and spurious genealogies he could sell to French aristocrats who felt a need for more distinguished ancestors. The mystic mish-mash of the Rosicrucian hoax (cf. note 22 infra), Masonry, and the various sects of Illuminati were all based on Jewish superstitions and myths, as were less obvious derivatives, e.g., Godfrey Higgins’ Anacalypsis, that monument of disordered learning. Even deists and atheists commonly granted to Jews a spiritual superiority because they had discovered the “lofty morality” they had taken from the Babylonians and Egyptians. All our prevalent superstitions were Judaic until the orthodox religions of India became known in the Nineteenth Century and provided theosophical cults for persons who were in the market for more transcendental mysteries. All this gave to the Jews a quasi-religious prestige, which still persists, and they are often credited with access to supernatural powers by the very persons who hate them most vehemently.
It is, furthermore, a pusillanimous hypocrisy not to note the race of Jews in matters in which they participate. Einstein justly observed that “There will be anti-Semitism [what he meant by that nonsense word, of course, was antipathy toward Jews] in the sense of a psychological phenomenon as long as Jews come into contact with non-Jews.” (See Ronald Clark, The Life and Times of Albert Einstein, New York, 1971). That was in 1930, before our race was taught by the Suicide of Europe to cringe before Yahweh’s Master Race, and the tension that Einstein noted has been multiplied a thousand times by the amazing racial solidarity that Jews now ostentatiously display and the arrogance with which they demand that the lower animals profess to believe even such preposterous tales as the physically impossible Holohoax. No goy can now behave toward a Jew as he would toward a member of his own race; whether his attitude is defensive or he cringes in slavish eagerness to please or salaams and stores up in his own mind a secret but implacable resentment, the tension is there and necessarily affects all relations between the two. And it may take many forms. A foreign correspondent assures me that a competent scientist who was a sucker for “psychokinesis” was really incited by a wish to prove that even lowly Aryans could bend spoons, too.
7 This, to be sure, is an effect that has been sought by religions since the dawn of history. Five thousand years ago, a procession of soldiers and men-at-arms, chariot-drivers with their chariots, high-born ladies of the court, household servants, girl musicians with their heavy harps, and a chorus of maidens marched down a ramp into a deep pit, where they lay down and each drank from his own small cup a lethal narcotic. The harpists played and the maidens sang until they died – doubtless hymns about immortal souls and the beautiful world into which they were going gladly to rejoin Queen Shub-ab, whose body lay on the bier but whose soul had flown to the life everlasting. There is a deep pathos in that scene, which we know from the excavations of Sir Leonard Wolley at Ur. But that was in the dawn of civilization, and the self-sacrifice, however mistaken, had a dignity, even a nobility, that makes us esteem the Sumerians. They were White men and we hope they were Aryans. There was nothing of the squalor and stench of the human cesspool at Jonestown.
8 This is a facet of the subject irrelevant here. Mr. Randi alludes to incidents that must excite commiseration, and most of us, no doubt, could adduce observations of our own. A physician of my acquaintance had a sixteen-year-old son who, having had his mind addled in a public school, went off on a quest for transcendence and was eventually located by the police in a nest of drug-addicts in the basement of a Christian church on the west coast. The father was distressed, but, a rational man, he simply cut his losses, and did not cry over spilled milk or try to salvage it. Our pity must go to the mother, who was biologically incapable of such objectivity, and if we feel for her, we should ask questions about a society which sends its children to be demoralized by expert “educators” to promote “equality.” – A cultivated lady whom I met years ago lost both of her children, in their early twenties, to a cult similar to the ones James Randi describes. She was not allowed to enter the grounds of the cult, but her son, who was laboring on some building for the community, came to the fence, gaunt and stem with righteousness, and he treated her with the cruelty the Jesus of the “New Testament” is said to have shown his own mother: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” With the mother, I saw the daughter, a trained nurse who remained employed in the hospital so that she could contribute to the salvation of the world; she could listen to us without hearing what was said. I noticed the dilation of the pupils in the hard eyes and drew the obvious inference, but did not have the heart to tell the mother. What weakness in us makes us suggest hope where there is none?
9 These terms, come from the low jargon of the creatures that infest Haiti. Some of the words are corruptions of the French that was spoken before that part of Hispaniola reverted to savagery under the guidance of French Jacobins and English Missionaries. The euphemistic term for ‘zombi’ is obviously a corruption of the French guidé. The voodoo-cults are relevant to our subject. The effect of Pavlovian techniques on members of our race is to paralyze a large part of the neocortex of the brain and make the individual regress to the animal consciousness of the limbic system, with the retention of only the parts of the neocortex that are needed for speech and similar activities. The great virtue of these techniques in the eyes of “Liberals” is that they eliminate “racism” by making the victims regress to the lowest forms of human life and the animal consciousness that is needed for “one world” of mindless mongrels.
10 Torrance, California, Noontide Press, 1981. This edition was far from satisfactory to the author, and I understand that a corrected edition will be published in the near future by Liberty Bell Publications.
11 The zeal of unthinking do-gooders in promoting a social poison of which they know only the innocuous name is almost unbelievable. On 21 March 1983 the Associated Press reported a significant manifestation of contemporary American culture in New Bedford, Massachusetts. A young White woman entered a tavern to purchase a package of cigarettes. A pack of mongrels, imported from Portugal, seized her, held her down on a table, and gang raped her for two hours, while the patrons of the establishment applauded the floor show as enthusiastically as though they were in the television business. Now there were people in New Bedford, probably wicked “racists,” who disapproved of such egalitarian jollification in our great “Melting Pot,” and at least some of the mongrels were arrested. There is in New Bedford a Coalition Against Sexist Violence, and its crusading women were made indignant by the event. If you logically infer that they demanded the immediate application of pesticide to the anthropoid vermin, you are mistaken, They demanded “sensitivity training for police officers”! I know you can’t believe that, but see the Associated Press despatch by Fred Bayles in many daily newspapers for 21 March.
12 If you are interested in becoming an aërobat, you may be able to do better, if you shop around. In the 1940s there was a great organization to promote world peace and the rest of that nonsense, Mankind United, which had a membership of 176,000,000, not counting its allies, the little men with metal heads down below, who cause earthquakes, whenever they feel like shaking things up. Its president thought his name was Arthur Lowber Bell (he swore he had so many names and was simultaneously present in so many parts of the globe in which his society had business that he couldn’t be sure). Being impatient one day, he took off from a liner in mid-Atlantic and made it to his office in San Francisco in just seven minutes flat, taking his luggage with him. Note that Transcendental Meditation does not promise such high velocity aloft and makes no provision for baggage. For further wonders wrought by Mr. Bell, see the Report of the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California for 1943, pp. 353-382 and the references there given to earlier testimony by Mr. Bell. The Committee was able to locate only a few of the 176,000,000 members, but they did include college professors, and that will show you the advantages of higher education.
Levitation is, of course, an old art. Apollonius of Tyana, according to the romance by Philostratus which suggested several details of some of the Jesus-stories, travelled to India and there saw the gymnosophistae (probably Jainas) floating in the air over the mountain peaks on which they resided. They, however, must have practiced transcendental meditation more assiduously than their modern successors, for they also used their minds to provide a cloud that would float above them to shed the rain, when necessary, and prevent sunburn, which would have been painful on their naked bodies. Perhaps Robert Rabinoff, Ph. D., will extend his researches to provide these additional comforts for his pupils when they become graduates (if their money holds out).
13 Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1977. Despite the publisher’s blurb, this is not a popularization. A general knowledge of the several sciences is taken for granted, and you need a fair competence in mathematics to get through some of the articles.
14 Bastin’s article is not the only cause for alarm in this book. E. W. F. Tomlin, C.B.E., endeavors to put Teleology back into circulation in an article on “Fallacies in Evolutionary Theory.” Before “creation scientists” start rushing for this book with their tongues hanging out, they should be warned that atoms and molecules are every bit as alive and full of purpose as they – and they may not like that. Hylozoism appears in Western thought in the seventh century B.C.; a very crude kind of it, found among the lower forms of human life, is called animism.
15 According to Ruth Brandon, whose new book I cited above, Dr. Rhine was also inspired by a desire to crush the Communist conspiracy with “spiritual armament” and put God back in business on a scientific basis by proving the existence of telepathy and other forms of clairvoyance. He presumably had the Christians’ god in mind, and it is hard to see logic in his thinking. Belief in all sorts of wonderful supernatural powers need not involve belief in any god, as is obvious from the atheistic school of Hindu Yoga (Nirīśvara-Sāmkhya). And supernatural psychic powers have been vouched for as proof of the existence of all of the innumerable gods that men have created since the dawn of history. Moreover, as early as 1929 Dr. Rhine exultantly reported the discovery and scientific verification of the telepathic powers of a remarkable horse. Now the horse is an animal for which Aryans have a distinctive fondness, but which was hated by the Jewish authors of Christianity, who have always preferred asses (both quadruped and biped). It would therefore have been more reasonable for Dr. Rhine to turn his piety toward Poseidon, the Celtic Epona, or some other Aryan deity who has shown our racial appreciation of the equine species. I do not mean, of course, that Christianity is necessarily inimical to horses. I often wished that I could introduce Dr. Rhine’s mind-reading horse to an amiable grey mare of my acquaintance, who was a Doctor of Divinity and a Minister of the Gospel, licensed to perform marriages in several mid-Western states; she had, framed above her stall, a diploma from an authentic Bible College and state certificates to prove her sacred learning and powers. The two spiritual equines would have had much in common, although the sex of Dr. Rhine’s psychic horse would have precluded hope of a race of transcendental Ьberpferde on which indolent pietists could gallop to the next world.
16 I report this from Rawcliffe, op. cit., p. 391. He relies on reports of the physiological phenomenon called hyperaphia that he considers reliable. In the present state of scientific morality, we can only hope that he was not taken in by a scientifically accredited faker. I do not doubt the report, but I take this occasion of pointing out how complete is our dependence on the integrity of the men to whom we entrust scientific determinations. Our lives really depend on them, and deliberate treason on their part deserves, not a rebuke, but a firing squad. If that seems drastic to you, think it over.
17 Eugène Marais, in his popular work, published before his death, My Friends, the Baboons (London, 1939), reports an instance in which a band of baboons, who had acquired confidence in him as a friendly being of vastly superior powers, evidently hoped that he would resurrect their children, who had just died from a sudden epidemic of a highly contagious disease. So far as I know, no other observer has reported so striking an instance of religiosity in baboons, so we may doubt the accuracy of Marais’ observations in that instance, but it is not by any means implausible. One remembers Anatole France’s description of dogs as religious animals of exemplary piety.
18 The devastating exposure of the whole hocus-pocus called parapsychology has naturally caused consternation in some richly endowed circles. I am amused by an article in the New Scientist (London), 30 June 1983, that anxiously inquires under what conditions magicians should be permitted in laboratories. The author refrains from raising the more urgent question whether we should permit expensively equipped laboratories in which earnest scientists labor hard for months and years to ascertain how frogs are turned into princesses.
19 I shall return to this exciting topic later. Here it will suffice to note that so long as it seemed that our solar system contained two planets, Venus and Mars, that seemed similar to the earth, one could not exclude a priori the possibility that they were inhabited by intelligent beings whose accumulated scientific knowledge exceeded our own. Now that we have photographs taken on the surface of both planets, we know, beyond peradventure of doubt, that the earth is the only planet in our solar system on which organic life is possible, If you, dream of “advanced civilizations” on the planets which may or may not revolve about other stars in our galaxy, take pencil and paper and compute the velocity of the rocket that will reach Uranus next year and then the time that it would take a machine travelling at that velocity to cover the more than four light-years that separate us from the nearest star. Then put all the shelves of trash about space-craft from outer space in the trash basket. O, I know, you can imagine those super-beings with space-craft that will travel at the speed of light and with such praetematural patience they will sit in one for four years or more to play hide-and-seek with earthlings, but if you think of doing that, just believe in angels: they are easier to understand. Professor J. Allen Hynek and his cohorts have just one escape hatch left open to them. It is still barely possible that there have been a few authentic sightings of a secret weapon on test flights or in experiments to test its utility for psychological warfare. As everyone knows, the rocketry that has enabled us to send men to the moon and unmanned space craft to other planets was developed by German scientists before the catastrophe of 1945; there are claims, supported by purportedly authentic drawings of projected machines that strikingly resemble most of the U.F.Q.’s described in the reports of sightings, that the Germans were developing such craft. The drawings are reproduced in a speculative book by Mattem, UFO’s unbekanntes Flugobjekt? Letzte Geheimwaffe des Dritten Reiches? There is a considerably revised English version, UFO’s, Nazi Secret Weapon? Both books are published without dates by Samisdat, Toronto, Canada. The drawings are impressive, but there is no explanation of the source of the power needed for such craft, if their range was to be greater than that of the well known “hover craft” now in use over bodies of relatively quiet water. Some means of counteracting gravity would have been needed – and there’s the rub! But Professor J. Allen Hynek could find some comforting suggestions and perhaps inspiration in Mattern’s books.
20 If you want to try your hand at obtaining supernatural assistance and are tired of praying, you will find a compendious list of the more active demons, together with the proper rites and incantations for invoking them, in Arthur Edward Waite’s, Book of Ceremonial Magic (London, 1911; reprinted, New Hyde Park, New York, 1961 and perhaps subsequently). This is really the Jewish Kabbalah, simplified and systematized for the use of goyim. Although the theologians of the Protestant sects were greatly influenced by the divine secrets that God’s People disclosed in their Kabbalah, those holy men never communicated to their followers the learning that might have fostered a do-it-yourself religion.
21 I have repeatedly pointed out that, so long as the science of genetics was unavailable, thinking men were confronted by the indubitable fact that human beings seem not to “breed true,” since the offspring of a given man and woman, in circumstances which preclude a supposition of adultery, differ widely in their physical and psychic characteristics, and in no family are the children really alike, unless they are identical twins. In almost all instances, nurture, education, and environment can be excluded as causes, since all children have been equally exposed to them. The differences are therefore innate, and differences in stature, complexion, physical vigor and the like, though often striking, are less remarkable than the differences in temperament, talents, and general intelligence. When the laws of genetics were unknown and even unsuspected, the inborn psychic differences had to be explained by the operation of some external variable at the time of conception and/or birth. Observation soon excluded such simple factors as the weather, time of day, season of the year, and even the phase of the moon that governed the fertility cycles of females. There remained only four possible explanations :
(1) Creation. Some god with an artistic temperament manufactured souls in enormous quantities, but, like an artist fashioning figurines, made no two of his products exactly alike. Having accumulated a supply of his creations, he was Johnny-on-the-Spot whenever a woman conceived or whenever she gave birth, and he stuck into her womb a soul that he either took from a grabbag or perhaps selected from the stock in his, warehouse,
(2) Metempsychosis. All living bodies are animated by immaterial but imperishable entities called souls, which, when one body dies, pass in some way into another that is being born. Thus each new-born child is an incarnation of an individual soul that has a character formed by its own peculiar experiences in many former lives, which it has conveniently forgotten.
(3) Astrology. Although judicial astrology and catarchic astrology as practised by professionals – in other words, the astrology that is still peddled to suckers and dispensed by most newspapers – was seen to be fallacious long before it was thoroughly demolished by the New Academy, even the Academics had to admit that astral influences might mould or determine the innate character of an individual; see especially Cicero, De divinatione, II.43.90, for a precise definition of this limited validity of astrology. In the absence pf other explanations of innate qualities, it was the most reasonable and scientific, involving no recourse to the ingerence of supernatural beings.
(4) Some unknown cause. This, of course, was correct, for the cause was eventually ascertained by the science of genetics, but until that happened, astrology, as defined above, was precisely in the same position as the “Big Bang” theory: it was accepted because no better explanation of observed phenomena seemed available. That is a point no one should forget.
22 There were many combinations that seem bizarre to us now. The court of Frederick V, Elector Palatine (1610-1623) and “Winter King” of Bohemia (1619), was the foremost center of both mechanical ingenuity and the Rosicrucian hoax until the destruction of Heidelberg in 1623. See Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (London, 1972).
23 It is not generally known that the great scandal excited by the first edition of Ambrosio, or The Monk was triggered, not by the horror of the story or the supernatural episodes, but by Lewis’s remarks obiter on the folly of exposing children to such immoral and corrupting reading as the Bible, filled with tales of revolting crimes, fiendish massacres, and morbid sexuality, all presumably approved and abetted by the Christians’ god. If children were to read such stuff, they should at least be given an expurgated version. Those injudicious remarks naturally sent the pious into a tizzy, and the publishers hurriedly replaced the first edition with a censored version of the book, for which there was an enormous demand from readers eager to have their blood curdled.
24 For a very superficial survey with excerpts and summaries of a few stories, see Hilary and Dik Evans, Beyond the Gaslight, Science in Popular Fiction, 1895-1905 (London, 1976).
25 The promoters of “science fiction” for a long time harped on the theme that such tales were oniy anticipations of what Science would shortly make possible: Jules Verne “predicted” the submarine, etc. I am amused by a recollection that one piece of trash in the Electrical Experimenter was an “anticipation” of the cable television now being vended in many localities. In the story, an inventor established a “cable phonograph” system: the subscriber could dial a number and thus have his phonograph play any phonographic recording ever made, all of which were in the central office and any of which could be made to play by an adaptation of the mechanism of dial telephones.
26 What is far from being the worst of the chapbooks, Varney the Vampire, or The Feast of Blood (1847), was recently reprinted in two volumes by Dover (1972), with an introduction by E. F. Bleiler that gives some details of the way in which the chapbooks were produced. Chapbooks were issued weekly, each containing an installment of a story that could be prolonged as long as the market was brisk. When I was a child, I was told that this species of writing for the masses had survived the competition of the cinema; housewives purchased each week another installment of a romance that was protracted to tedious length, and when it was finally concluded, they received a set of tableware for which, of course, they had paid many times over.
27 Of course, the idea, of life on other spheres is a very old one. Democritus deduced from his atomic theory that the universe must be full of worlds like ours, similarly inhabited. I do not know when the Hindu doctrine of metempsychosis was expanded to include the detail that rishis who have become too holy for earth are reincarnated on the moon and dwell in splendid cities on the lunar plains. The idea that there may be other inhabited worlds appears now and then, often in satirical writings, in the old literatures, but was first popularized by Fontenelle in his famous Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (1686), in which he assured the scientifically minded Marquise that all planets probably supported intelligent life, and that all the stars in the sky were suns which, like ours, were surrounded by such planets. Improvements in telescopic observations soon moderated such fancies, but they were enormously stimulated by the supposed discovery of canals on Mars.
28 Cf. note 19, supra.
29 The saucer shape, most commonly attributed to the space-machines and obligingly shown in the many photographs of automobile hub-caps and similar objects thrown into the air, was one of the best arguments for the validity of the phenomena, since it obviously connected them with the sightings of clipei ardentes reported by the elder Pliny, Seneca, and other Romans as behaving in a similar manner. The clipeus/clupeus is a round shield uniformly curved toward the boss and therefore having the shape of a saucer.
30 Dr. Brian Brady of the U. S. Bureau of Mines believes that some authentic sightings of supposed U.F.O.’s were reports of light balls created by the Assuring of quartz-bearing rocks under seismic stresses, and noted their frequency over major faults in the earth’s crust. The electromagnetic charge thus induced on ionized air would be confined in what he calls “magnetic bottles,” which, I gather, are similar to the ball lightning that is not infrequently observed. The explanation is plausible, so far as I know, since small, erratically moving points of luminescence are produced by the fracturing of quartz in laboratory experiments. When Dr. Brady announced his theoretical explanation, he brought on himself furious telephone calls from indignant individuals, according to the Sunday Times (London), 29 March 1981, which quotes him as remarking, “It seems that people just don’t want you to take away the chance that there’s some Big Daddy out there in the sky.” Believers in “democracy” should take note of what everyone has known for a long, long time.
31 I wish I could hope that such research will be undertaken, for I cannot stress too strongly the almost unique opportunity for psychologists to obtain data crucial for an understanding of human society. Tales about joy rides on “flying saucers” differ significantly from comparable reports: when one considers reports of what individuals claim to have experienced in haunted houses or with Poltergeister, one has first to determine whether or not they actually saw what they claim to have seen, i.e., whether they were the victims of hoaxes by pranksters or by believers in spiritual things; and that is frequently very difficult. With the tellers of tales about joy rides on “flying saucers,” the only alternatives are hallucination and calculated mendacity, since it should be easy to identify and exclude possible instances of illusions implanted by competent hypnotists.
32 I have already suggested perusal of the files of the Skeptical Inquirer. Nothing of which I have heard surpasses the brainstorm of Dr. Mikhail Vasin and Dr. Alexander Shcherbakov, both, according to the press, “senior scientists” in the Soviet Academy of Sciences. They believe that the moon is a “spaceship,” a hollow shell covered with armor-plate twenty miles thick; the hollow interior contains the machinery of an “advanced technology,” including “special devices” that controlled the spaceship automatically and kept it in orbit about the earth after it was abandoned by the astronauts who brought it near the earth, and who both came and departed in a mysterious way, their wonders to perform. This, of course, is sheer lunacy. See the official Russian publication in English, Sputnik, July 1970. Then call for a double Scotch in a hurry.
33 “Psychokinesis” has, of course, the added lure of the occult, but the itch to believe can be very strong, even when the supernatural is specifically excluded. The history of the “automaton” manufactured by Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1770 is traced by Charles Michael Carroll in The Great Chess Automaton (New York, Dover, 1975), who shows the strength of the lust to believe that a machine could play chess: “half-a-dozen times in its career the Turk’s secret [i.e., that there was a chess-player concealed in the machine] was decisively revealed to all who could see and reason; but they refused to look or think, and went on with their desire to believe . . . De nobis fabula narrabitur.” – The adulteration of “science fiction” with transcendental vaporings is common enough; a good example is the novel by Frederick Oliver, A Dweller on Two Planets (1894; reprinted, Health Research, Mokelumne Hill, California), from which we learn that there was, on the lost continent of Atlantis, an “advanced civilization,” complete with wireless telegraphy, atomic power plants, and yachts which contained machinery to neutralize gravity and zipped through the welkin at high speeds; the Venusians are even better equipped, having television, transmuting matter by thought-controlled electricity, and enjoying a machine which will read printed books aloud, giving the proper elocutionary emphasis, for example, to each of the speeches by the various characters in Shakespeare. But all these wonders float in a gooey syrup of talk about The Way, Tibetan sages roosting on snow-capped mountains, reincarnation, karma, what Jesus said, spiritual truths and the rest of the chocolate sauce for female palates, and the novel was reprinted several times and vended as transcendental pablum. (It is said to have been a boy’s story, polished up and first published pseudonymously as a leg-pull by his father, then a practicing physician of some prominence in California.) I especially commend this book to addicts of U.F.O’s who refuse to surrender: the Venusians, being formed of a higher order of matter, are invisible to the purblind eyes of earthlings, so that explains why our photographs of the surface of Venus show nothing – and also why you cannot see the visitor from Venus who may be watching you right now. That’s your loss, because, she is (as you should guess from her nationality) a beauteous damsel, far more luscious than anything you ever saw in the pages of Penthouse and similar publications.
34 One of those fantasies struck a note of ultimate horror: the prototype that the innocent extra-terrestrials had selected for their cloning was Senator Joseph McCarthy, who, as all “Liberal intellectuals” know, was an incarnation of Satan, so evil that he thought the United States worth preserving.
35 Myths about prominent figures are elaborated and revised by so many that they become a welter of confusion, as, of course, students of Christianity well know. The creation of the wonderful automaton was more commonly ascribed to a god, Hephaestus, and the connection with Daedalus explained by supposing that Talus was not only the name of the automaton but also the name of a son whom Daedalus had in addition to Icarus. Other tales, however, attribute to Haphaestus a copying of an invention made by the mortal, Daedalus. Others credit Daedalus with such simple and primitive inventions as the saw and sails for a ship. I assume that the legend of Daedalus as a cunning mechanic was an old one, but I cannot here enter into the question of whether it was known to Homer. Cf. the following note.
36 I infer the use of the statues in religion, but that seems obvious. Our only clue to the artifice by which Daedalus was said to have given the appearance of life to the statues, so far as I know, is the passing allusion in Aristotle, De anima, 406b.18 (=1.3.9.), whence it appears that mercury was placed inside a hollow statue of wood; the weight of the fluid mercury would, of course, have made it possible to simulate movement, especially of the eyes. The original story was elaborated until Daedalus was credited with making the statues simulate life so completely that they had to be chained to prevent them from walking away! Robert S. Brumbaugh, Ancient Greek Gadgets and Machines (New York, 1966) thinks that automata as elaborate as those that were actually constructed by competent mechanics in the fourth century B.C. were meant. One could not imagine an automaton more elaborate than Talus, of course, and with all our electronics and computers, we couldn’t duplicate Talus today!
37 Such aëronautical devices are frequently mentioned in the literature, and when they are thought of as simply magical, they are commonly said to have been the work of Kuvera, the Regent of the North and dispenser of wealth. In the Rāmāyana, it is Kuvera’s half-brother, Rāvana, who abducts Sītā and carries her off in a puspaka. Now Kuvera is a god, and, odd as the genealogy may seem, Rāvana is King of the Rāksasas, an extremely powerful and malevolent race of demons. The Vidyādharas are human beings who owe their power to the knowledge they have acquired (their name is derived from the verb vid, ‘to learn (especially by experience), to know’), and that is a very important difference. – An amusing vulgarization of the whole concept of knowledge is represented by the word vidyālābha, which designates the wealth that one acquires by expert knowledge, and reminds one of the squalor of our contemporary universities, in which both the salesmen and their customers rate knowledge according to the income which it will supposedly produce.
38 For a good account of the hoax, see J. S. Weiner, The Piltdown Forgery, Oxford, 1955; reprinted, Dover, 1980. This is an emphatic lesson in the need for absolute integrity in scientific work, but the forgery, although it misled some distinguished anthropologists who trusted the learned perpetrator, did much to smooth the way for the genuine skulls that were discovered later.
39 Our Ancestors Came from Outer Space, translated by Orest Berlings; New York, Doubleday, 1977; paperback, Dell, 1979 and later.
40 The statements allegedly made over the radio by the crews of manned capsules are disputed; they are said to have been suppressed by the executive of the Space Agency, but there was no apparent motive. When the Jews failed to kill all the Americans on the Liberty, they naturally ordered the U.S. Navy to suppress news of their attack, which they thought might disturb the insouciance of their goyim, and the Navy, of course, obeyed its master’s masters. (See Jim Taylor, Pearl Harbor II, Washington, D.C., Mideast, 1980). It is hard to see why the Jews would wish to suppress news of high jinks around the moon, and it appears improbable that a lesser authority would have been obeyed. As for the psychic sensations experienced by some men on the capsules and the religiosity some are said to have developed on their return, a psychological study of the mental effects of the great loss of weight they experienced (and perhaps their close confinement most of the time) is certainly in order.
41 This is the common vocalization of the Hebrew word, NFYLYM, which appears in Genesis, 6.4. For the names of the eleven chief Egregori who conspired to seduce mortal women and commit miscegenation, see the Book of Enoch, which, although dear to many Fathers of the Church and quoted in the “New Testament,” was overlooked or excluded when that collection was made. Only fragments of the Greek and Latin versions are now extant, but a complete translation into Ethiopie was found in 1775, and an English translation of it appears in the second volume of R. H. Charles’s Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. You should remember that apocrypha are, strictly speaking, esoteric writings, and the word does not mean ‘spurious,’ except by a secondary sense given it by theologians who were embarrassed by some of the works. The Book of Enoch should not be confused with the Secrets of Enoch, a shorter work preserved in old Slavonic.
42 The Lost Tribes from Outer Space, translated by Lowell Bair; New York, Bantam, 1977 and later. If you decide to read the book, keep a fifth of Chivas Regal at hand; it will help preserve your sanity.
43 One could think of these as merely modern versions of the old tales about journeys to an earthly paradise, with the future replacing the geographically remote. One could cite, as really comparable, the Christian rifacimento of the wonder tale of the Pseudo-Callisthenes, the Alexandri Magni iter ad Paradisum (first edited in 1858), and even the common legend, dating from the end of the Seventh Century, of the three sainted monks, Theophilus, Sergius, and Hyginus, who travelled far into the mysterious East, seeking a land in which men are happy – a tale which, for all its crudity and absurdities, has a deeply human pathos, the perennial and unrealizable aspirations of our unhappy species. A simple form of the tale is to be found in the standard collections of lives of the saints; a more elaborate form may be found in the first volume of Zambrini’s Miscellanea di opuscoli inediti o rari (Torino, 1861).
44 It is no great over-simplification to say that electrons revolved about their proton as planets circle their sun. Inevitably, of course, the agile imaginations of early writers of “science fiction” immediately peopled electrons with advanced civilizations or, conversely, thought of our solar system as an atom in a super-cosmos.
45 For one ingenious theory to explain away inconvenient observations, see the Scientific American, June 1982. The grapevine reports that we shall soon be given an Einstinian explanation of the recent demonstration by Alain Aspect and his associates in Paris that photons are subject to some force that moves faster than the sacrosanct velocity of light. We can only wait and see.
46 Dr. Hill was confirming earlier work. As long ago as 1961, C. Bruns and R. H. Dicke pointed out that the structure of the sun, so far as it could be determined, might well account for the perturbation of Mercury, and, as a matter of fact, subsequent measurements of the oblateness of the solar sphere gave both the exact amount required to cause the precession of the orbit and indicated that the core of the sun rotates more rapidly than the photosphere, for which Hill presented additional evidence. But the work of Bruns and Dicke was swept under the rug, and the textbooks went on proclaiming that the precession of Mercury’s orbit had proved that Mercury contracted in size as its velocity increased as it approached perihelion and therefore proved Relativity. That kind of thinking is theological, not scientific.
47 What makes the term “anti-Semitic,” which began as a joke in France, so disgusting is its sheer absurdity, since the Semitic race seems always to have been the object of the Jews’ most intense racial hatred. According to the tales in their Holy Book, they began by exterminating (with the help, of course, of their Big Pirate in the clouds) the Semitic population of a large part of Palestine, and when they appear in history, they have obtained, by whatever means, possession of that territory, enslaved its native population, and even appropriated their language, since Hebrew seems to be a dialect of Canaanite (Old Phoenician), much as Yiddish is essentially a corruption of German. And today, financed by the cringing peasants of their American colony, they are subjugating and, when convenient, exterminating the largely Semitic peoples of Asia Minor and direct their most intense hatred at Saudi Arabia, the nation which contains the largest percentage of pure Semitic stock, and which the Americans are scheduled to deliver into their hands after enough killing and destruction to appease the Jews’ hatred momentarily. The American serfs have just despatched 11,000 troops to help Begin, and will soon send many more, although Israel is the mightiest military power in the world, if one believes the American Congressman who recently assured his supporters that they must pay Israel a tribute of seven million dollars a day because “Israel is our only protection against the Soviet.” The Jews are, in fact, the most anti-Semitic people in the world, and opposition to them can be called “anti-Semitic” only in the world of 1984, where “war is peace” and “all are equal except that some are more equal than others.” Humpty Dumpty was a piker in linguistics!
48 This is obviously true, even if one explains much of the scientists’ piety by invoking the “principle of inverse irreversibility” sardonically formulated by Ralph Estling in the New Scientist (30 September 1982), according to which a little evidence against an accepted scientific theory “will cause agonies of doubt,” but irrefutable proof of its untenability “will cause the scientist to cling to it with the tenacity and singlemindedness of a barnacle.”
49 As one would expect, a Russian fakir, P. D. Ouspensky, produced a book, Tertium Organum, modestly designed to supplant the famous work by Lord Bacon; when translated into English in the 1920s, it sold like popcorn at a circus, since it proved that you must have a soul (sizzling with Love, of course) in the very place into which you insert a tennis ball when you turn it inside out without breaking its surface. Such profundity leaves intellectuals agape. When I reviewed Ouspensky’s last book, The Fourth Way (New York, 1957), I remarked that while it was permissible to doubt that “everything that dies feeds the moon” and that “the air we breathe is hydrogen 192,” the book contained one irrefragable statement: “people are becoming less and less sane.” Ouspensky proved that to the hilt.
50 Some delightful verses on this problem by J. A. Lindon are printed in a footnote by Gardner, op. cit., p. 186.
51 They are convinced, however, when one of the animalcules on this tiny planet is able to measure by triangulation the height of the Saturnian, whose stature is, of course, proportional to the size of his planet. The Saturnian was more than twice as tall as Jesus, who was measured in the same way by the Reverend Mr. Oral Roberts.
52 Lidiraven Books, P. O. Box 5567, Sherman Oaks, California; $12.95 postpaid.
53 The author could have gone on to consider what is even more alarming, the ever increasing incidence of downright fraud in “research” that is accepted as eternal truth by honest but gullible scientists throughout the world. One naturally expects corruption and crime in anything that emerges from the Dismal Swamp that is commonly called Washington, D.C. One thinks, for example, of the two great scientists who, as part of the Food and Drug Administration’s assault on the most eminent member of the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, forged a spectroscopic analysis that was advertised to the public in Life (4 Oct. 1963), then one of the most widely circulated magazines in the nation. When an independent laboratory made its own spectroscopic analysis and exposed the hoax, the Administration’s natural response was to send out agents to threaten with reprisals corporations that used the services of the independent laboratoty. All of that is not really a contrast to the same Food and Drug Administration’s savage reprisals in July 1976 against the director of one of its own branches, who, although employed by the Federal government, doubtless through some blunder, was an honest man. Dr. Anthony Morris was given three days to get out of the building and all his records and even his laboratory were as thoroughly destroyed as could have been done by a horde of Huns. His great offense was to disclose to the public data that ruined the great scheme to inoculate everyone against the largely fictitious “swine flu,” which could have had – and may well have been planned to have – a result that would have duplicated the famous epidemic of a deadly influenza in 1918, with large numbers of Americans dying everywhere and bureaucrats and “experts” in all their glory rushing all over the landscape, making big noises, and sucking ever more blood from an affrighted populace.
The most heinous of all forms of crime is becoming increasingly common in the guise of “scientific research.” In a recent book, Betrayers of the Truth (New York, 1983), William J. Broad and Nicholas Wade list a few examples of forged data in very important areas of scientific investigation that happened to be detected, and they estimate that for every exposed fraud a hundred thousand more may “lie concealed in the marshy wastes of scientific literature.” That, no doubt, is gross hyperbole, but if the total is only 1% of that figure, a thousand sets of forged data now generally accepted as valid in matters of any importance should be enough to send cold shivers down your spine. The authors give fairly numerous examples, but they almost constantly keep their eyes pudically averted from Margaret Mead’s “anthropology,” the prevalent “sociology,” and their adjuncts, fields in which the fabrication of spurious evidence has long been a way of life, An anonymous writer in Instauration offered an explanation of the authors’ conspicuous discretion: “both work for the New York Times, which happens to be the granddaddy hoaxer of them all in the nature/nurture pseudo-debate.” It would be easy to compile a more inclusive and damning book, which could properly be entitled, “Treason to Western Civilization,’’ But that is another subject, far beyond the scope of the present article.
54 I have discussed the law of cultural residues briefly in America’s Decline, pp. 360 f., and elsewhere. The perdurance of what Bacon, with a somewhat unfortunate choice of terms, called the idola theatri among a peasantry is notorious and often mentioned by “intellectuals,” who have overlooked the larger beam in their own eyes. The cheat is often concealed by the coining of nonce words and the perversion of the old, of which we see flagrant examples in the press every day. The word ‘Christian’ is a notoriously lubricious word. Theologians like to twist it to include only themselves as real ‘Christians,’ stigmatizing others as ‘Gnostics,’ ‘Arians,’ ‘Manichees,’ ‘Shakers,’ ‘Mormons,’ etc. because they differ on some point of doctrine that is regarded as crucial. Many clergymen today peddle Marx’s hokum, which they call the “social gospel,” and claim to be Christians although they admit they cannot believe the mythology; the Communists peddle the same garbage under other names and profess to be anti-Christian. Both are clearly derived from the proletarian agitation carried on by the earliest Christian sects, and so the term ‘Christian’ should be impartially applied to both or to neither.
55 What makes the evolution so ironic and even paradoxial is the fact that, according to the tales in the “Old Testament,” which Christians claim to believe, their god (Yahweh, Jesus & Co., Inc.), for the greater part of time, decreed “human rights” only for his pet bandits and regarded all other races as having no more rights than swine; he notoriously afflicted the Egyptians with every torment he could think of to entertain his ferocious pets before they ran away with the gullible Egyptians’ portable property, and he helped his chosen marauders slaughter the Semites and other cattle in Palestine and steal a country for themselves. It is true that Christians believe their god reformed and became less savage after the Jews crucified a third of his divine corporation, and he then ordained “human rights” for the former biped cattle, except pagans and heretics. He did not really extend “human rights” to all loquacious species of anthropoids until he had to compete with the revived Stoicism of the deists, whose Nature’s God had decreed it for reasons best known to himself. The Jews, who have refused to take stock in christs who went bankrupt and were killed, have held fast to their “Old Testament’s” conception of Yahweh as a Celestial Jew who naturally regards all races but his own as cattle, to be domesticated or butchered. They are more logical as well as historically correct. What Aryans need, if they are unwilling to be cattle, is a god of their own, and it is a great pity that since belief in supernatural beings has become impossible for educated men, that recourse is closed to our race.
56 The Christian ideal is most clearly stated by Jesus in the gospel that I cited in a review, reprinted in America’s Decline, pp. 360 f., q.v.
57 I paid my respects to Mr. Seidenberg in 1963; see America’s Decline, pp. 236-246. An American who claims to have investigated in Doylestown, where Seidenberg was said to reside, tells me that ’’Seidenberg” is the pseudonym of a Jew who is one of the most prominent of our present rulers and is believed to have the job of manipulating the presidents in the Punch-and-Judy shows in the White House, but my informant claims to rely on sources he may not disclose.
58 I am reminded of a blob of “science fiction” that I read years ago but thought not worth recording in my notes. In our blissfully workless future, the world will swarm with millions of Socrateses (yes, I know the correct plural is ‘Socratae,’ but forgive my pun). And all of them, clad in snow-white and freshly laundered himatia (just like Socrates), will walk in fair meadows, day after day, incessantly gabbling about the “good life” – which, presumably, is what they already have. I predict that before lunch time on the second or third day some of them will start punching others on the nose, just to have something interesting to do.
59 Review in your mind, if you please, all the great poetry you have enjoyed – even all the poetry you have ever read. Can you call to mind a single example that does not depend on one or another of the supposed imperfections of human life that will have been eliminated and be unknown to the hapless “energy-consuming machines” of Jack’s dire future? They will be like blind men in the Sistine Chapel and not even know they are blind. Dr. Samuel Johnson justly observed that men in a state of equality could know only animal pleasures. Even Catran cannot entirely suppress an awareness that his “energy-consuming machines” will not be able to perceive any of the things that make life worth while for us, and in an epoptic frenzy he predicts at one point that human beings will be replaced by “cyborgs,” which he defines as “cybernated organisms.” They will be no more capable of happiness, and probably no more capable of thought, than the adding machine on your desk. Well, if the future the great Technocrat predicts is inevitable, we can at least hope that the sun will soon become a nova.
60 This is an important factor in American life today. A judicious friend of mine attended a day-long meeting of several dozen young men and women who were being recruited for another scheme of “get-rich-quick” salesmanship. There was nothing of the almost incredible physical and psychic degradation imposed on Patrick’s victims, but a team of expert con men harangued the victims for hours with preposterous promises of quick profits and further contributed to their mental exhaustion by behavior suited to a madhouse, yelling like wild Indians, jumping up on chairs, and exhibiting such gross vulgarity that any normal man, not detained by curiosity about the techniques, would have walked out in ten minutes. The prospective purchasers of “franchises,” having been thus thoroughly bewildered and confused, tired and hungry after six hours, were finally served an abundant and excellent dinner, after which the boss financial evangelist told them again of the wonderful profits they were going to make and advised them about the best models of the Cadillacs they might as well order in the morning. My friend reports that the whole roomful of prospects went insane, writing out cheques on paper napkins and jumping on their chairs to yell in chorus, “Get the cheque! Get the cheque!” Needless to say, they were all petitioners in bankruptcy a few weeks or months later. The explosion of madness was so impressive that my friend wondered whether some drug had been placed in the food or, possibly, some gas introduced through the ventilating system. I wish I could think so, but I fear that the explanation is that all of the young persons had been made permanently feeble-minded in high schools.
61 No encouraging casualties, I mean. There are rare exceptions to the submissiveness, of course. I know of a young policeman who was ordered to undergo the usual course in “sensitivity training,” which sounded innocuous to him. When he found out what it was, he gave the behavioral scientist a right to the jaw and stepped over him to walk out and resign from the police force. Unfortunately, a prompt administration of cold water prevented that light of Behavioral Science from being opportunely extinguished.
62 Described, with the omission of certain sexual details, by D. Bacu in The Anti-Humans (1971, available from Liberty Bell Publications).
63 In The Encyclopaedia of the Horse (London, Octopus Books, 1977; frequently reprinted).
64 The well-known form of the fable first occurs in Phaedrus (h24), who, incidentally, has another (IV. 15-16) that is the most reasonable of all creation stories. Prometheus fashioned men and women out of clay, as sculptors make their models, but he did much of his work by night, after returning from a drinking party, on Olympus, and his unsteady eyes and wavering hands made all the blunders that are reproduced in human anatomy.
65 He admits as much in the introduction to his sheaf of forgeries in the edition of 1887 and doubtless other editions of that oft-reprinted hoax: “I have as much reason for believing the genuineness of the contents of this book [i.e., his crude forgeries] as I have to believe the genuineness of the Scriptures, looking at the question from a human standpoint.”
66 There is one fundamental difference, relevant to our subject here, which will, I think, be obvious to anyone who has observed the society about him, although no psychologist, so far as I know, has ventured on a study that would be so unfashionable at present. There is a great difference in the incidence of religiosity in men and women and a correspondingly great difference in the sexes’ attitudes toward their deity, when both recognize the same one. In The Uses of Religion, pp. 34 f., I mentioned the opinion of a venerable bishop whose observations had convinced him that “in every congregation there are always two religions, since the two sexes have in their inner consciousness conceptions of their deity so different as to be reciprocally unintelligible or, at least, unacceptable.” Furthermore, I am sure everyone has observed that almost invariably in our society males who show a strong emotional attachment to a god have grown up under predominantly feminine influence, whereas women who have emancipated themselves from superstition have been strongly influenced by a man to whom they were emotionally attached, usually a father, but often a lover or husband. And when a husband and wife are both strongly religious, there is a very marked difference in their credulity. Of this a perfect illustration is provided by Elizabeth (Barrett) and Robert Browning. Both attended a séance with a rather clever confidence man named Home, who exhibited to them his ‘spiritualistic’ tricks accompanied by his best patter about immortal souls, divine purposes, and the rest of the then fashionable hokum. The lady, although a poetess of some distinction and a highly intelligent woman, was completely taken in, revered the ghost-raising wizard, and looked forward to the glorious time when she could start hovering invisibly and impalpably in drawingrooms, rap tables on her own, and send silly messages to her survivors. Robert Browning, although himself given to sprees on metaphysics and warmly religious speculations, saw that the charlatan was merely performing parlor tricks in the dark with rather crude apparatus. Browning registered his opinion of Home in his well-known poem, “Mr. Sludge, the Medium.” This difference of opinion lasted throughout the rest of the Brownings’ life together, tempered by a forbearance enforced by their devotion to each other, and since both were essentially religious persons, they provide a neat example of the innate difference between the feminine and the masculine mind.
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, August-September 1983