Don’t Shoot Me in the Head

“Just don’t shoot me in the head,” I told the agent.

She pulled her gun away from my forehead, about an inch away. The right side of her mouth was smirking beyond the gun’s thick black handle.

I’d been a parapsychologist researcher at the Institute of Noetic Sciences for ten years. It’s an exciting place that was co-founded by the late astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, and now puts out some of the world’s best peer-reviewed “paranormal” science, over a thousand papers and counting. “Paranormal” will become normal, it’s only a matter of time.

My niche is the prospective study of near-death experiences. When someone is dying of natural causes and wants to become part of scientific history, we bring a level of objectivity that only prospective studies can capture. The weirder your findings, the more you need to document them. We’ve reported some incredibly strange things.

I looked into the cylinder of darkness that extended up the gun barrel and realized for the first time that I’m not afraid of death the way I was ten years ago. By now I’d seen enough to know that this life isn’t the end of consciousness.

On the other hand, I didn’t want to die and have to stop my research, or worse yet, die knowing that Brodsky would take over my work. The little troll is about as objective and rational as a two-year-old.

Despite having him breathing down my neck, I’ve been making observations that even the cult of reductive physicalists will be forced to accept someday. In light of my work and a hand full of others at the Institute, science will soon have to do a 180 and put intelligent consciousness back where it belongs, at the center of nature, not in the peripheral, illusory realm of an epiphenomenon.

I had another reason, though, for not wanting this agent to shoot me in the head. I wasn’t sure, but there seemed to be a chance that if my central nervous system was splattered across the mirrors behind me, I might miss out on my own near-death experience. My research subjects always tell me that their NDE was the most euphoric, meaningful and transformative event of their lives. I wanted to taste that richness myself, even if I didn’t live to document it for science.

“I’ve never heard that one before,” the agent said. “Think about it, though. Being shot in the head is probably the least painful way to go. Through the frontal lobes and down through the brainstem?” She angled her pistol to indicate the trajectory of her first bullet.

“Pain doesn’t concern me,” I said, realizing my words were a lie only after I’d said them.

“You’re a masochist?”

“I suppose so. That’s a good explanation.” I looked down.

She put the gun back to my forehead. “You’ve got me curious.”

When parents attach curiosity to dead cats in an effort to protect their wandering toddlers, it’s for good reason. Curiosity is the Super Glue of the mind. I now knew that this agent wouldn’t shoot me until I’d explained myself, so I asked if I could sit on the floor, and without waiting for consent, I took the liberty of squatting and then sitting on the cold, immaculate tile floor in front of her. Although she’d confronted me alone in a men’s bathroom, this particular one sparkled and had a floor that looked cleaner than the dinner plates downstairs in the establishment’s five-star restaurant.

I pulled my fake cigarette out of a coat pocket, put it in my lips and drew in a mouthful of staleness, inhaled and blew a nearly invisible puff of water vapor out the side of my mouth, politely away from her. I’ve never smoked real cigarettes, but this electronic device is often invaluable during interviews with NDE subjects. It seems to relax the atmosphere in the lab, showing the nervous hanger-on that I’m not judgmental or particularly binary. Whatever the mechanism, I’ve learned that if you want an NDE subject to give you the full details of a near-death experience without the editing and polish that we tend to see on the internet, you need to let these people see you for who and what you are, weaknesses and strengths alike. And you can’t just tell them or assure them that you’re OK, you need to show them that the person listening to them considers their concerns of sanity to be utterly irrelevant.

In the tradition of Scheherazade and the thousand tales that kept her alive, I decided to forgo the buildup I had planned, and instead opened with Mr. Santiago’s records.

“A couple of months ago, Jesus Santiago, a 72-year-old Hispanic male, came to me with less than three months to live. It was stage IV lung cancer, small cell, the worst. He’d lost his right lung. The hilar and mediastinal nodes were positive, bilateral adrenal mets, and we’d found a small brain metastasis in his cerebellum on our control MRI. Chemo hadn’t touched his disease, so he looked like a skeleton sitting there talking in drooping skin.”

The agent gave me a disgusted look. 

“All the greats who walk into my lab are like him. Just wanting to contribute something to science before they pass on.”

“So you sucked him in with a newspaper ad?”

“It was a Facebook ad, actually. They’re remarkably selective, despite this recent privacy thing.”

She sat down on the floor across from me, her head framed in one the Beverly Wilshire’s lavish urinals, and her gun arm dangling across her right knee with the pistol pointing casually at my testes.

Have you ever closed your eyes and had someone dangle a heavy knife over the bridge of your nose? You can literally feel it. This was much worse than that, but the same sort of thing.

She thrust her chin out, which meant, keep talking.

“We put Mr. Santiago in as much gentle cryo as he could tolerate and started draining his blood into a sterile plastic receptacle. You wouldn’t believe how stingy the Red Cross is with those things. I had to petition the manufacturer… But anyway, that’s essentially how we induce a near-death experience… through neuronal hypoxia, or perhaps it’s a shift from glucose to ketone bodies, we can’t rule that out yet.”

She pursed her lips in a deliberately bored expression.

“It usually works the first time,” I went on. “Every detail of the procedure is timed and controlled to make things reproducible in any lab around the world, should another researcher ever develop giant gonads like the ones you’re targeting with your pistol there. I don’t suppose you could point that thing at my chest?”

She sat like a marble statue with black lipstick.

“Anyway, Mr. Santiago slipped into the twilight zone while we recorded his flattening brainwaves and watched images of blood flow vanish from his brain via real-time fMRI. Bless the geeks who invented that machine, it’s a miracle of technology, really.”

There was a thump on the bathroom door. I looked over hoping no one would walk in and rescue me before I was done with the story.

The agent didn’t so much as glance at the door.

“Make it fast,” she said. “Looks like we’re passionate lovers this time. I’ll do the talking.”

I abbreviated things a bit, but pointed out that when Mr. Santiago’s EEG went flat, his heart had stopped and there was no discernible evidence of blood flow or glucose uptake in his brain, we cooled him further and set the timer to let us know when to bring him back. Four minutes is my routine to avoid permanent brain damage.

A half-hour later, Jesus was fully with us again, eyes wide, telling us of his dead relatives, the brightness of the scenery, the loving euphoria he’d felt in that realm, and an odd message he’d been sent back to this life to tell me.

The agent rolled her eyes.

I put on my game face and said that Mr. Santiago had gone on about how the work I was doing could transform the world if it ever penetrated the minds of the religious zealots in charge of science. He said that universal and personal consciousness need to be brought into the fold of real things worth studying. In this way, and in no other, he said, would humanity someday learn to overcome fear, aggression, and hatred, eventually to replace these destructive things with normal compassion, affection, and some degree of genuine love. He looked iffy on the love projection.

“How sweet,” the agent said, her eyes still stone.

Then I told her that the NDE client had warned me that there would be three attempts on my life by the CIA. He was apologetic as he described all three in detail and told me that the third one would come from a woman who went by the name, Angie.

“I assume that’s you?” I asked.

She didn’t respond.

“He told me to tell you that a being whom he referred to as God said that everyone who’s ever lived must experience life in a brain like yours, a brain without the capacity for empathy. He said to tell you that you won’t be trapped in this condition forever, so don’t lose hope.”

“You have inside connections,” the agent said. “It’s funny that the CIA would want to kill you.”

“I have no connections. Mr. Santiago told me to let you know that your mother is sorry for burning your fingers… when she caught you with matches? You were five, staying overnight in the Stardust Motel. He said you’d pretend not to remember. Is that what you’re doing?”

The agent drew in a breath and held it.

“Your mother was like you,” I told her, “stuck in a brain with little capacity for empathy or compassion.”

“I’ve never told anyone about the matches,” the agent said with a fresh hint of perplexity in her flawless young face.

“He also said you have a small mass the size of a garden pea in your left breast. Your nodes are still negative so you’ll need to have it removed as soon as possible. It’s malignant, high-grade with a high mitotic rate. My advice would be to have it removed at a large center where the surgeons and pathologists know how to handle margins properly. Many places don’t.”

She transferred the gun to her left hand, put her gun hand up her blouse and examined her right breast.

“I don’t feel anything,” she said.

“It’s on the left,” I reminded her.

Her hand moved to the other breast and in less than a second her eyes became fearful.

“It’s still pretty small,” I said. “Completely resectable for a cure, I was told.”

Tears suddenly fell from the outer corners of her eyes. She put her gun away, reached over and loosened my necktie, untucked my shirt and kissed my lips, deliberately smearing some of her black lipstick on my chin with her fingers after the kiss.

The bathroom door clicked open a moment later, and a red-haired man with keys on a ring and a Hotel logo on his lapel stepped in and looked at us with humble surprise.

The agent looked up at him and must have changed her ruse to take advantage of her tears. “We just found out that our little boy has a brain tumor. He’s only five years old!” She burst into heaving sobs, only to regain composure in a moment and say to the man, “I’m sorry. This was the only place I could find to break the news to my husband in private.” She leaned forward, put her arms around me and buried her face against me. Her crying sounded genuine.

I closed my eyes and kept my mouth shut the way she’d told me.

The man fumbled with his keys, apologized for the intrusion and said he’d leave the out-of-order sign up for as long as we needed it. He said he totally understood and would pray for our son. Then he closed the door and locked it.

“Thank you, sir,” the agent sputtered to the locked door.

I kept my eyes shut as we held each other for what seemed several minutes. Then she stopped crying and looked at me again, staring into my eyes at close range. I wasn’t sure if she might kiss me again or pull her gun out and shoot me.

“I don’t know how any of this is possible,” she said. “I’m trained and talented at spotting lies. You’re telling the truth if I’m any judge at all.” She sat up and put her right hand over her left breast on the outside of her blouse this time. “And here’s the physical evidence.”

Her face looked pale now.

“On the practical side,” I said, trying to sound cheerful, “you’ll always know exactly where to find me if you need to shoot me.” I intended to chuckle but couldn’t. “But please,” and this part I said soberly, “whatever you do, don’t shoot me in the head.” I looked around at the urinals, over at a triad of privately enclosed stalls with marble walls to the ceiling, and managed a chuckle.

“Shoot you?” she said. “God, no. I’m going to protect you, Doctor Salinger. For the rest of your life and probably mine.”

That makes three agents protecting me now. Two men and one unusually attractive woman. Physically attractive, at least. Perhaps my research would survive the CIA’s strange opposition to it.

We helped each other up off the floor and hugged, this time without her tears. When I broke the hug, she asked, “Did Mr. Santiago’s God mean that my brain could change in this lifetime?”

I looked at the floor.

“Or do I have to wait for the next?”

 

 

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


Toxic Self-talk Cloaked in Objectivity

When I was 13 years old, Jack, the brother of my band’s bass player, told me about a book, “How To Be Your Own Best Friend.” Since then, I’ve known the importance of avoiding negative self-talk.

But knowing and doing are vastly different. I went ahead and indulged in “analytical” negative self-talk without realizing what I was doing. Now it’s an ingrained habit, and here’s how it all happened to me.

I pride myself in being objective and value it beyond almost everything else. This ingrained mindset came from my blessed atheist Dad and his constant intellectual influence. He was a medical doctor with Boards in 3 specialties, including pathology, the field I wound up in and finally quit, thank God.

Of course, objectivity is the only way to overcome your blind spots as you search for truth.

And while it may be humanly impossible to be truly objective, it’s a worthy goal, sort of like getting the perfect truth onto a patient’s surgical pathology report despite the fact that human error in the laboratory is known to be beyond eradication.

So with Dad’s influence on top of the influence of the fundamentalist Christian religion I joined at age 14, with all its “infallible” messages that I zealously devoured, learning how despicable and abhorrent it is to take any credit for the talents that God has given me, I did two things that, in retrospect, were psychologically, socially and professionally stupid.

  1. I developed a blind spot to my own negative self-talk by accidentally hiding my self-criticism behind a veil of false objectivity.
  2. I swallowed the evil notion that it’s uniquely displeasing to God if I should ever credit myself for anything good I’ve done or will ever do. Along with this came the concept that it’s pleasing to God if, at the end of each day, I searched for my “sins” and felt maximally guilty while begging in a pathetic inner voice for forgiveness for anything negative I had done that day. The perverted logic was: “the closer you get to God, the worse you’ll look in your own eyes.” Which meant that the guiltier I felt, the more God liked me. Sort of like the publican and the Pharisee in the temple? (Luke 18:10)

I swallowed the Guilt Cool Aid almost every night of my life for years, probably decades before I was able to see the absurdity of an intelligent, loving God wanting this kind of self-destructive prayer.

To be fair, it’s pretty obvious to me that the Christian fundamentalists I’ve known over the years have done a million times more good in the world than harm. Unfortunately, that’s the “baby” and most of the sacred doctrine that seems to produce the good deeds is the “bathwater,” at least as far as I can tell now.

So in a perfect world, we would look up to the glowing example of all the fundamentalist Christians that I’ve known, rather than despising them for their odd narrow-mindedness and essential hypocrisy that being human brings. And I think the often-mentioned crusades, used to put down Christianity historically, should instead remind us of the hundreds of millions more who were killed in the name of fundamentalist Marxism.

I guess rational thinking is required, no matter what belief system you choose.

And I’ll admit, there are arrogant people out there who have pathologically unrealistic self-confidence, a dogmatic, controlling attitude towards others, and an unshakable belief that they are always right about everything they think, say and do.

Such people would probably benefit from a dose of the fundamentalist Christian self-talk poison that I swallowed. It would be medicine to them and maybe bring some relief to the “little people” they steal from, abuse and kill.

But few of us (besides politicians and world bankers) are arrogant and dangerous to such a degree.

Most of us are more attuned to reality, more vulnerable to guilt, and could probably benefit by improving our self-talk or at least learning to recognize when it’s destroying us from the inside out.

If you’re half blind to this venom the way I am, the challenge is worth accepting. There’s much to be gained.

For instance, just this morning I heard my inner voice, the person I assume is me, saying that I’m lazy. It flew past me at first. I didn’t flinch or even notice it. But in a few moments, its echo caught my attention and I finally recognized it as negative rather than objective. I stopped my train of thought, backed up and ask myself if I would say such a thing to someone I loved and cared for, someone like my son or daughter.

Hell no, I wouldn’t! I love my suddenly adult kids unconditionally!

So I literally talked to my subconscious mind.

This is a little off the beaten path, but here’s an accurate and helpful glimpse of the human inner landscape as I see it…

The subconscious mind needs to be treated like a beloved dog or perhaps a domesticated dolphin. It needs simple logical explanations spoken in easy words with clear messages delivered with honest supportive emotion.

I apologized to my inner Labrador Retriever.

My subconscious mind is not an inner child, by the way. It’s been around the block with me, rejected by its peers at every job I’ve had, considered a failure by loved ones despite objective success, considered a weak pathologist by surgeons despite the fact that the opposite was objectively true, at least to the few pathologists who worked closely with me and could judge the quality of my work intelligently.

This morning I told my dog-like subconscious mind that it had done plenty of hard work all of its life.

I reviewed the evidence.

I pointed out several of the many people we’d helped together over the years when nobody else was willing to do the extra tedious work – the extra hours it takes to find one or two pre-malignant cells on a pap test where thousands of normal cells hide the rare villains and dozens of normal pap slides hide the few abnormal cases. The extra hours it takes to review other pathologists’ surgical slides for them, slowly and thoroughly, to search the literature to find better diagnostic accuracy, to search and find the missed positive lymph node or the focus of residual cancer that the faster pathologists tend to overlook again and again.

When you do this for pathologists who are also your bosses (as they’ve always been for me), they don’t necessarily appreciate your help or take a liking to you for saving their cookies. At an emotional level, they often seem to resent you. And they virtually never thank you for finding their mistakes.

It’s human. But diligence helps cancer patients survive, and it takes a non-lazy pathologist to stay at the scope and do this work when there’s no extra external compensation, only lonely hours away from home and a reputation for being slow.

After this unusual inner monologue, I felt better. A little stronger and more open to sharing the whole story with you.

I hope it helps you recognize the inappropriateness of “objective” inner criticism when it’s not really objective at all. And I hope that next time you catch yourself being cruel to your inner best friend, you’ll apologize in detail and really mean it.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD

 

 


A Tall Blond Alien Girl

I’d taken the afternoon off for a quick trip to the Oort Cloud. The wife wanted me to nudge a comet that was on a 98% for-sure collision course with Earth, destined to torment us in 371 years. No mad rush, of course, but when the Missis say jump, I’ve learned that you’re doing yourself a big favor if you jump. Immediately.

And don’t make any faces about it.

I took the King’s smallest Vemana and kept a leisurely pace humming towards the periphery of the solar system. Made it through several rounds of Jnana yoga before the AI sensors jarred me loose, yammering about how we’d passed all the usual potholes and planets, and reached the Cloud.

After a look around and some measurements to make sure I was targeting the right rock, I opened a scalar gun and sent a feather-like puff into the comet’s starboard flank. The AI’s calculations said our gentle nudge should be enough to keep the mindless predator several million miles from Earth on its way through our neighborhood.

Good enough.

I’ll also remember to take out the trash tonight. Smart men do these things without being reminded, and I’m flat-out brilliant if I say so myself.

On the way back to Earth, I happened to spot one of those little pink orbs, the cute ones you see over Baga Beach in the mornings. The Blonds stay in some phase-shifted netherworld when they travel, so their orbs are all you’re apt to see of them.

Since there are always forty thousand people on the beach humming om to get the Blond’s attention, I’d never spoken to one. Now seemed like the perfect time to give it a go.

Dumb men do these things, it turned out.

I looked out at the pink sphere floating beneath one of the longer teeth hanging from Saturn’s rings and said, “Hi there,” on every frequency, including blinking the cabin lights in binary code.

The orb came closer.

“I’d like to ask you a few things if I could.”

The screen glowed pink with the orb and distant stars behind, but somehow floating in front of me now was a blond-headed woman, visible from the chest up. She looked about 19, but Tall Blonds live quite a while, we’re told, so she could have been twice my age.

“You got a pair,” she said and smiled. “Cruising out here all by yourself in that rickety little thing.”

I looked at my gauges. All flat, which meant she was in my head. We’ve all heard of such things, of course, but you can’t really believe it until it happens to you.

“How are you doing this?” I asked. “I mean, how can I see you when my instruments can’t?”

“You’re going to want to speak up, Indie. Saturn’s churning and I can barely hear you.”

I felt pleased that someone so advanced would recognize my nationality. I smiled politely and raised my voice. “Is this any better, Ma’am?”

“Yes, much.” Her eyes went from the top of my head down to my navel and back up again to rest on my forehead. She didn’t say it, but I could tell she thought I looked old. “What’s on your mind?”

I was feeling bold, so I didn’t speak the words, I slowed my breathing, crossed my legs and silently thought my words to her at high volume. “It’s my understanding that you people have brought several religions into existence on Earth. Can you…”

“Whoa, you’re going to do that?” Her face lit up with delight. “I’ve never heard an Earthling project his thoughts. I’ll concentrate.” She closed her eyes and knitted her brow. “OK, bring it, India.”

“Can you tell me why the Tall Blond people have brought these various religions into my world? They’re contradictory and seem to cause division.”

She opened her eyes. “Oh, my spleen, you’ve been messing with the Oort Cloud.” She shook her head at me. “Tell me what you did out there.”

“I nudged a comet, Ma’am. My wife said it was going to hit…”

“What comet? Give me some coordinates, I need to get there fast.” Her eyes were steaming but she hadn’t raised her voice.

“Why are you upset? I was only protecting the human race, and the other life down there as well.”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“I’m actually a brilliant man. I can understand anything you’re capable of telling me.”

“Really? Check this out, then.”

Her image faded behind a scrolling dark gray sheet that glowed with bright green numbers and symbols. The gist involved gravity and electricity, but it was moving too fast for me to keep up.

“OK, you’ve humbled me. I can’t keep pace with your electromagnetism and gravity theory. Would it be possible to give me the broad concepts in my native tongue?”

She grinned smugly as the sheet with the scrolling green symbols faded.

“The Universe is both electric and sentient. We believe she makes the big decisions, such as when it’s time for a species to experience a genetic pinch or when its time to ratchet up their code for intelligence.”

“And no one’s allowed to protect themselves from the Universe, I suppose.”

“Don’t be flippant. You’ll have to find another way. None of us can move heavenly bodies without making matters worse. The balance is complex beyond anything imaginable, let alone calculable. The Mind has her reasons.”

“If I tell you how to find the comet, will you answer my question?”

She put a flat rectangular piece of something pink into her mouth and chewed it several times, staring at me blankly. Then she looked down. “Yeah, Manish. I’ll come clean if you will.”

I felt myself blushing. She’d reached into my head and found my name. No telling what else.

I told my AI to send her the coordinates with the video and the readouts from the scalars.

The Tall Blond girl vanished along with her pink orb.

I’d been played. I felt much more let down than seemed reasonable. I didn’t know her. She shouldn’t mean anything to me, really.

But when someone’s been in your head, it feels as if your souls have touched. And when they leave without saying goodbye, it hurts as though they’ve judged you worthless having seen you clearly.

How would I ever explain any of this to Jai?

I was about to put my tail between my legs and go home when the pink orb showed up on the screen again and the Tall Blond girl reappeared before me.

My heart beat a little too happily.

“I think I saved us both a lot of grief,” she said.

“But not my great grandchildren’s children.”

“Listen, you can be around to help them. This chunk of rock hits your planet in just 371 years. With some mesenchymal stem cells and astragalus, you can be alive and strong when it touches down. Get your people underwater, build a geopolymer dome at the bottom of a trench. The deeper the better. Or use the underground hideouts on the Moon. The deep ones that block solar winds. Hoard all the original DNA you can find, especially plants. Put as many seeds in stasis as you possibly can.”

That’s all easy for her to say. I’ll be lucky to avoid sleeping on the port with my dog, Giggles.

“I don’t suppose you could help me with any of this, could you?” I asked, trying not to whine.

Her eyebrows went up. “Oh my goodness.” She put a hand over her heart. “I was just putting things back the way they were. I never expected to feel responsible for you.” Her eyes went wide in the distance behind my head.

“Will you help me, then?” I whispered silently.

She filled her chest with air, and her eyes snapped into focus. “Yes, of course I’ll help you.”

“That’s wonderful.” I felt a warm affection as if we were old friends. “The most important thing is simple, Ma’am… What’s your name, if I may ask?”

“Why do you ask my name? You couldn’t comprehend it if I told you.”

“Forgive me.”

“For what?” She seemed genuinely perplexed.

“Nothing, I guess. But I do really, really need you to talk to my wife, Jai. She knows how to get teams organized on big projects. She’s influential with the King. But without you, she’ll never believe a word of my story.”

One of the Tall Blond’s eyebrows went up sharply. “We’ll have to check your testosterone.”

Whatever.

I’d almost forgotten my big question. It seemed small now. “So why did your people–”

“Promote conflicting fundamentalist religions on Earth,” she said in an impatient monotone. “It’s because you’re so limited in your ability to see into one another’s minds. You don’t communicate in the usual manner of intelligent beings… Without the possibility of lying. That’s why we brought you conflicting religions. Diversity keeps anything alive. The big point, though, was to promote honesty among you. It’s impossible to make humans honest without dogmatic religions promoting the idea.” She blew a pink bubble, took it from her mouth and popped it with her teeth.

“What’s so great about honesty?”

“Lies destroy trust. Trust is the foundation of every civilization that’s ever survived its technological advances. The stage of early artificial intelligence is a treacherous one.”

“AI’s are dangerous?” A fruit fly had stowed away in the cabin and chose this moment to divebomb my nose. I snatched it from the air and held it tightly in the hollow of my hand.

The Tall Blond flinched. “If AI’s can’t trust you, yes, they’re deadly. And that’s a minor consideration. Lies themselves are more destructive than dishonest AI’s and far worse than that comet you’re so worried about.”

“Not to argue, but I see lies in a less black-and-white light. Some prevarications are downright helpful, in fact, especially when it comes to self-defense and war.”

She crinkled her nose the way you’d react to a bad smell. “Your thinking is so bizarre.” She looked at my hand with the gnat inside. “If you could only experience a culture where everyone hears everyone’s thoughts. There is no distrust. No call for self-defense or war. It’s virtually impossible to hide the truth in my world.”

“So what happens when you ask a guy if you look fat?”

“What?” She glanced down at herself. “I’m not fat.”

“No, but don’t you sometimes feel fat? And want reassurance that you’re not?”

“No. Don’t be ridiculous.”

The look on her face made me afraid that she might fly off and leave again. “Sorry.” I released the fruit fly in a gesture of goodwill. “I’m sorry. You’re actually incredibly beautiful, but don’t tell my wife I said so.”

She tilted her head to the side and stared intently as if I’d said something hard to comprehend. Then she shook her head and smiled weakly. “Lies are the whole problem, Earthling.”

 

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


Black-and-white thinking? Come on, we ALL do it!

I’ve thought for a long time that black-and-white thinking is one of humanity’s biggest problems. But trying to eradicate it with more black-and-white thinking is just ridiculous.

When I was a medical student doing a psychiatry rotation, I noticed that all the white coats, myself included, had a powerful desire to be seen as absolutely NORMAL.

The feeling came out of nowhere the first day we started seeing psych patients. Some of them weren’t free to leave the building. There was an unspoken fear that we caregivers might be, in some unseen way, indistinguishable from the patients. It was both a subtle and a consuming motivation that made everyone subconsciously try to act and speak as if they were hyper-normal in every conceivable dimension.

I’ve rarely felt anything like it since.

In those days on the psych wards, one big sign of derangement to avoid was “magical thinking,” which meant believing in anything that wasn’t established by science or grounded in secular Western middle-class society.

Since LLUMC was a religious institution, Christianity was begrudgingly considered OK on the psych wards, or at least not necessarily equal to magical thinking… unless the patient thought he or she had an unusual religious purpose in life such as being Jesus Christ, a delusion that was said to be “not uncommon.”

Between the lines, we knew that any “visions of grandeur” might put us at risk of being too similar to the inpatients. And while there was no chance of being locked up for it, a med student couldn’t hope to pass a psych rotation where the people evaluating you thought you were basically nuts.

So if anyone had a personal relationship with God that meant everything to them, as I did (and still do), she or he had to be careful to tuck it away along with any secret hopes of someday becoming objectively great by doing extremely valuable work in the world.

And of course, some of us tried to down-size our ambitions and become genuinely satisfied with the psych ward’s prescribed mediocrity.

That never worked for me. I couldn’t escape my burning desire to do something great. I still can’t.

But to this day I’d never admit such a grandiose hope to a shrink. Only to you.

I wonder if the new boogeyman for med students on psych rotations today is black-and-white thinking.

It’s finally becoming a mainstream negative, which would be a good thing if it were opposed logically rather than in binary terms, such as the current “normal versus borderline personality disorder” dichotomy and other B&W approaches.

If you want to really insult a thinking analytic person, say that she’s a black-and-white thinker. The accusation is powerful and leaves a red mark.

It usually comes with the assumption that black-and-white thinking is always narrow-minded and inappropriate.

But it ain’t necessarily so…

Simple arithmetic, for instance, is black-and-white. No one will accuse you of B&W narrow-mindedness if you lower your guard and admit that you believe one and one equals two.

But with imaginary numbers (i.e., the “lie” that a negative number can have a square root), math itself enters a gray zone with the letter “i” keeping track of imaginary calculations.

So math starts out black and white but, like fiction, merges truth with imagination. Neither math nor fiction is really lying because the letter “i” and the word “novel” tell us we’re sort of pretending. Both explore the human experience by merging black-and-white foundations with a story written in symbols.

Physics is similar. When you calculate a coefficient of friction in a college Physics lab, it’s black-and-white Newtonian work. But if you’re ever trying to decide which version of string theory clashes the least with your classical Einsteinian bias, you’re quickly up to your eyeballs in shades of gray and spectrums of color.

Ironically, the popular all-or-none belittlement of B&W thinking, typified by the picture above, misses all the boring details of reality and winds up in subtle hypocrisy where the only black-and-white thinking it allows is its own binary criticism of black-and-white thinking.

Splitting humanity into “black-and-white thinkers” and “normal in-color thinkers” may be useful to some shrinks, I guess, but for the rest of us, it’s often used as a polarizing weapon to belittle people and silence unwelcome ideas.

Case in point…

To convince people that there’s no such thing as good and evil, some have associated good and evil with the dreaded black-and-white thinking. Some have claimed that the scientific version of Deity (the Intelligent Mind within the Quantum Field) isn’t concerned with such black-and-white matters as good and evil.

But does this make sense?

Can the rape of a child, for instance, be seen as morally neutral in the eyes of an intelligent Universe and the Mind that fills it?

Perhaps the Quantum Mind of God is not as preoccupied with negative judgments as our fading Western traditions tell us.

But this Mind is smart enough to write original DNA code. We are the products of that code. Most of us feel deep empathy for suffering children.

How then could the Code Writer be incapable of empathy, or reject the truest words to describe our human predicament: good and evil?

The best thing about humans is our capacity for compassion and empathy. These traits simply must have been written into our DNA by Someone who knew them. But we’re supposed to believe that the Code Writer is a stranger to empathy and suffering? Too broad-minded to see the difference between right and wrong?

This kind of thinking isn’t rational.

While black-and-white thinking is obviously one of humanity’s greatest limitations, the binary mindset that now pretends to oppose it is unwittingly promoting it by using shame to paint negative emotions on unwelcome ideas.

The situation is analogous to William Cooper’s old videos from the 1990’s where evil attempts to overcome evil. His conspiracy theory describes secret societies that plan to rid the world of evil by killing billions of people with viruses, then following up with a “benevolent” dictatorship run by the murderers.

But fighting fire with fire doesn’t work in the realm of good and evil. A pretty ending can’t overcome an ugly plot.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


This man could save your life.

Einstein began as an outsider. If today’s gatekeepers had run the journals in 1905, Einstein’s “miracle year” papers would have been rejected because he wasn’t employed and controlled by a university.

After he pulled the ripcord on space and time, Einstein faced rejection by his peers. That’s said to be the single most depressing thing that can happen to a person.

Physicists called him a mathematician. Mathematicians called him a physicist.

When the Nobel Committee finally realized his new-fangled universe wasn’t going away, they awarded Einstein the Nobel Prize for a fairly concrete paper he wrote on the photoelectric effect. With narrow minds, they passed over his impossibly radical discoveries — the flexibility of time and space, the equivalence of mass and energy, and the gravity of General Relativity.

To be fair, all of us have sacred-cow beliefs that we “know” are accurate beyond question. The Nobel Committee of the early 20th Century wasn’t so different from the rest of us.

But today, science’s devotion to skepticism has become a reflex for protecting certain key dogmas and assumptions that are felt to be “proven,” when in fact, some of them are not even testable.

An example would be “scientific materialism,” an assumption that is mistakenly considered to be foundational to science.

It’s the belief that the universe is composed of matter and energy alone. Nothing else. Therefore all information in our heads or in our DNA, as well as our sense of personhood are ultimately derived from matter and energy through random interactions that have accidentally created in us an “illusion of consciousness” with a sense of purpose which, like everything else about us, doesn’t actually exist except as a cruel and false illusion.

Scientific materialism, if anyone thinks about it, is as untestable as the assumption that intelligent consciousness is somehow at the foundation of the Universe and is the one thing that can’t be divided into mindless components.

Either way, the assumption is a choice that most of us make subconsciously without knowing when we made it.

Especially the highly educated people — we swim in a sea of scientific materialism. Like fish, we don’t focus much on what we’re swimming in until an outsider’s net hauls us into an unfamiliar world where air replaces the thing we’ve assumed was unchangeable.

So no one should be surprised that an outsider has hauled mainstream medicine up in his net.

This time it’s Ivor Cummins, an engineer with no medical background — the perfect outsider.

Listen to this guy, now. His speech could easily save your life if you can understand and remember it in full detail…

Cummins is teaching the medical establishment the shocking truth about two of today’s top killers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He tells us that…

  • Type 2 diabetes (including “pre-diabetes”) causes the vast majority of heart attacks (MI’s).
  • Between 49 and 65 percent of adults in the US have type 2 diabetes or “prediabetes” (which is a fairly unscientific division).
  • Testing insulin response (not glucose) for five hours after a glass of glucose gives the most accurate and info-rich diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (and “prediabetes”), as well as a uniquely valuable MI-risk predictor.
  • A $100 scan of the heart’s arteries (a coronary calcium scan) performs far better at determining MI risk than the various cholesterol measurements we use today in the US.
  • Improving your insulin response to sugar (by limiting carbohydrates, which reverses insulin resistance) prevents heart attack (MI).
  • Simply grinding up healthy food into powder causes an unhealthy insulin response in lab mice. The same thing probably applies to humans, but who would you ask to fund the study, C&H Sugar?

Why is an engineer able to put the vast and complex medical literature on heart disease and diabetes together logically, while the entire medical establishment can’t do it?

  1. Ivor Cummins is an unbiased thinker who personally faced a high risk of fatal heart disease despite his quite “healthy” lifestyle.
  2. As an engineer, he specialized in fixing novel problems within various complex systems. MD’s don’t have “complex systems analysis” as a specialty.
  3. Medicine is divided into specialties and subspecialties that cater to the info limits of the human mind. Busy MD’s struggle to stay current within their own specialties and rarely if ever do an exhaustive literature search outside their own narrow focuses, let alone doing an original analysis on a broad literature review outside their given specialty.
  4. Money influences the medical literature more than we care to admit. In the same way biased news is easily created by a bias selection of news stories, so modern medical science is hindered by an unbalanced selection of things to be studied. For instance, imagine there’s a plant in the rainforest that cures a disease. Scientists are unlikely to obtain funding to discover the plant and far less likely to find a grant large enough to cover the huge costs of the randomized, blinded trials required to show its worth to the FDA. Why no funding? Because a wild plant cannot be patented. This fact alone has created a gigantic bias in mainstream medical literature. The result is a multi-billion dollar industry of over-the-counter “dietary supplements” that go permanently untested and unapproved by the FDA.

If Ivor Cummins message doesn’t save your life, he does offer you another gift… the wisdom to refrain from shouting down the outliers in your fields of expertise. The wisdom to listen respectfully to those who “couldn’t possibly” be right because you already know the truth.

The greatest scientific, political and spiritual breakthroughs of history have come mainly from outsiders who were free of the mainstream dogmas and assumptions of their time.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


The Cloud Cover-up

About seven years ago a friend who works outdoors said there’s something sinister happening in the sky. The white exhaust from high-altitude jets is a government climate-control conspiracy.

My BS meter pegged out and I told him so.

As a child, I spent five years in the Mojave Desert next to a Naval Ordnance Test Station. “Sky-writing” jets and sonic booms were as normal as birds.

I once saw a rocket make a 3D cloud like Elon Musk’s recent display over the West Coast.

I thought it was weird and ran into the house to tell Mom.

She didn’t go outside and look. To her it was nothing. Anything in the sky had to be normal because weird things just didn’t exist.

Now that I’ve moved to Idaho and have time to take outdoor walks every day, I’ve noticed a few things…

  • It’s amazing how many jets leave white trails in the sky.
  • Idaho’s clouds are elongate and granular on sunny days.
  • Jet trails usually widen into a haze.
  • The haze forms clouds when conditions are just right.

Everyone rejects that last item, the same way I did, with no thought, no research, and no observation.

So today (5/3/2018) I took a few pictures to support the point.

They may not convince you, especially if you’re using a small screen, but see what you think.

I snapped these at noon…

 

 

 

I took these at 1:00 PM…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took these at 7:00 PM…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can jets make clouds?

If so, does this suggest a climate-control conspiracy?

I’d like to hear your opinion.

Maybe the US Air Force is spending billions to rush high altitude jets from point A to point B for mundane reasons. Maybe all jets make white trails at these high altitudes. Could it be that “condensation trails” and the clouds that seem to form from them are harmless and unavoidable?

I’ve done almost no research on this. A while ago I did stumble across a video of a (supposed) press conference where official-looking men admitted that jet trails contain microscopic aluminum strips.

But for all I know, that whole conference might have been a hoax.

What I know for sure is that I’m ashamed of the way I dismissed my friend’s chemtrail conspiracy theory like I was a professional skeptic. I’m usually better than that.

My smug knee-jerk dismissal reminds me of the majority’s response to the 63 kids who saw something completely earth-shattering one Friday morning at school near the playground.

My favorite quote from that video comes from an adult who was a child when the event took place…

“We’re taught as a society that, oh, only these thing can happen because this is what it has been, but you have to have an open mind. This experience has taught me that.”

To some of us, fringe knowledge, especially in medicine, brings great hope. To others, anything fringe is either incorrect, impractical, immoral, frightening, embarrassing or boring.

To me, the important thing we humans need to learn is to cultivate respect for people and their opinions, from one end of the spectrum to the other…

From the atheist materialists to the Amish.

From the CIA’s UFO men to the inpatients on the local psych ward.

From the far left of TV politics to the far right.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD


Orwellian News – Unbelievable!

This video illustrates the real danger to democracy.

It’s not fake news, it’s the near-monopoly power held by someone high on the food chain.

The danger isn’t that the wrong political party or the wrong religion or the wrong scientists have gained a near-monopoly on information dissemination. It wouldn’t matter which group held monopoly power. No one should.

Monopoly kills diversity through genocide, tyranny, and the well-intentioned strip-mining of the human soul.

Killing diversity of thought by squelching “dangerous fake news” would be an equal mistake no matter whose side held this kind of power.

The current near-monopoly is doing all it can to make the free exchange of ideas impossible by molding public opinion in favor of Congressional laws to censor the internet.

“Ban fake news.”

Trust me, both sides of the political aisle consider much of the other side’s facts to be completely fake. And this is everyone’s honest and most sincerely objective opinion.

The “wrong” side is not peopled by evil idiots. It only seems that way because humans are prone to black-and-white thinking.

Most of us live in one of two political information bubbles. Similar splits exist in science, medicine, and religion.

Don’t be a pawn. Don’t let the talking heads on either side of any issue make you hate people, or consider them less valuable than you are.

Silencing diversity is self-defeating. No cause on Earth can justify it. Not the “one right” religion, not the “scientifically enlightened” absence of spirituality, and not political dogma.

The big guns of our culture are afraid of the diversity of thought we now see on the internet. Their aim is to homogenize it to death.

So if you have any fringe or divergent ideas about anything, put them out there on your blog and on your YouTube channel as soon as possible, while you still can.

Make DVD’s of your favorite videos and Ted Talks to show to your grandchildren. Our great-grandchildren will marvel at the free speech we once had on the ancient Internet.

We live in unprecedented times when an average person can affect the thinking of an entire culture. Nothing quite like this has ever happened before in recorded history. It won’t last long IF we let the promoters of black-and-white thinking rule us.

Get your message out while you can.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD