I took an Excedrin for the morning’s headache, got back in bed and did some Wim Hof Migraine Breathing. Three cheers for our pal, Mr. Hof!!! The pain vanished, and the caffeine took me back to the words of my dear mother, God rest her soul.
“We live in a sex cult.”
Yeah, right out of the blue. I must have been in college when she confided this opinion to me. It was the second and last time she ever mentioned the word “sex,” if memory serves. She was born in 1916, and her slant on the subject was alien to my generation.
Like any geek Boomer, I found myself wondering what a legitimately advanced alien might say about sex.
Soon my imagination made contact with a species so advanced she looked like an angel. I just listened…
“Because human intelligence is quite severely limited, you believe you must break down complex things into their parts to understand them. And so reductionism has become a hindrance to science, barring a deeper understanding of the complex synergies that animate relationships from the quantum level to the galactic.
“Through reduction, the narrow focus of the left hemisphere, one can grasp only the simplest phenomena. To move beyond your primitive ignorance, a species must rise above the trees and gaze down upon the synergies of the forest, resisting the left hemisphere’s angry denial of the unknown.
“To the letter, you might stop killing your trees. They would return Earth’s lost oxygen and eventually elevate human intelligence to something realistic. Cruelly has the solar influence delivered you into the last dozen millennia.
“Your Sun is a beautiful scoundrel, even so. She erupts and snatches a little more atmosphere each time. The last tantrum cut the oxygen from 45 to 20 percent, your intelligence and lifespans similarly. Old stories are myth, yes, but worthless myth to the blind alone.
“And Sir, by extrapolation, my species has been at the table for six and a half trillion Earth years. I would think you might remove the scowl from your face and listen.
“Some of us ask ourselves, what bewitches the latest humans of Earth?
“An answer lies beneath the tenth of the human senses. The sacred sense.
“One might quibble with these as primary, but the mind is synergy and cannot be accurately dissected. Here are the primary human senses, then.
Body position and continuity
Intuitive good and evil
“The weakest of these is perhaps smell. The most influential might be the tenth, orgasm.
“Throughout the universe of intelligent life-forms, orgasm envelopes the love of a lasting relationship. This is the norm most everywhere.
“Sadly, humans reduce it to the chemistry of a meaningless act, separate from love, even opposing it.
“Orgasm is the human’s only sacred sense. You have chopped it into kindling, killed its magic and rendered it hollow, common and dirty.
“If humanity would survive, you must reject the angry, narrow leadership of the left hemisphere. Leave behind your species’ obsession with reductionism.
“Attempting to dismantle synergy into some testable denominator is wholly absurd. Reserve reduction for simple binary issues. Slide it back into the small slot beneath the infinite angle of your intuitive, inductive awareness. Follow the natural leadership of the right hemisphere and learn the sacred custom of the 10th primary sense, the language and voice of enlightenment through transcendent love.”
The Wim Hof method of life improvement through hyperventilation, breath holding and cold exposure has gone mildly viral, but until I googled “Wim Hof and headaches,” I thought I would be the first to mention a headache connection.
Mr. Hof is no joke, by the way, though he comes across as happier and more enthusiastic than our jaundiced society allows. For this, some call him crazy.
But he’s not above reproach, either. Who is? He makes a few over-the-top claims. For instance, he’s made medical claims that jerk the black-and-white chains of professional skeptics whose logic casts out the baby with the ice water at the slightest provocation.
But many scientists, journal gatekeepers, and healthcare providers depend on the “incurable” adjective. And they’re human. Where would they all go if, for instance, type 2 diabetes disappeared along with a few of the most common cancer types? How can anyone expect them to be objective about feeding their children?
I’m afraid I’m not.
So let the skeptics howl while the rest of us avoid their binary thinking. We’d be nuts to write off Wim Hof for simply being as excitable and capable of exaggeration as most of the rest of us.
You probably know he’s earned many world records for things like sitting in ice water for roughly 2 hours and swimming a terrifically long distance under surface ice, once overshooting the exit hole and nearly drowning.
He recalls no fear of dying during the incident and now says he has no baseline fear of death. That’s fascinating and probably important. Who knows?
Under medical supervision, a few brave scientists injected him with toxic bacterial antigens, waited, then drew his blood for analysis. It showed a lack of the expected spike of inflammatory markers. He had no fever and felt no flu-like symptoms.
Wondering if Wim was unique in this ability to suppress inflammatory markers, they had him train a dozen new students for 2 weeks, then tested them.
The students’ bloodwork showed a low inflammatory response compared to controls, and they reported less intense flu-like symptoms.
And as if destiny wanted to remove all suspicion that Wim has “superhuman” talent, the man has an identical twin with no unusual cold tolerance.
Another group of scientists put Wim in an MRI scanner wearing a cold-immersion bodysuit. This was fascinating. They found peculiar activity in his insula and the periaqueductal gray areas of his brain. Also, he had increased glucose metabolism in his intercostal muscles.
I’d like to know if he was panting. I vaguely remember a video clip of him panting in a tub of ice, but I can’t find it now.
It’s safe to say that Wim Hof’s path to “health, strength, and happiness,” has a few credible underpinnings in physiology. And there’s also the “life-changing” effects asserted by his raving students.
Unfortunately, the body is too complex for our hyper-segregated sciences to explain the morphologic, physiologic, biochemical, epigenetic and genetic details of anything much beyond conditions like sickle-cell anemia, but an obvious feature of Wim’s achievements is human antifragility, a counterintuitive response that includes hormesis, the beneficial middle-dose of something toxic or even lethal at higher exposures.
Oh dear, I hope the medical thought police don’t revile me for suggesting there’s hope of preventing such lucrative diseases through simple hormesis.
Anyway, in the Wim Hof method, the hormesis comes from hypoxia and cold exposure, either of which might kill you at too high an exposure.
What doesn’t kill us wakes us up, it seems.
Since my first breath-holding ocean dive (with no wetsuit) at Shell Beach, California, age 12, I’ve loved holding my breath — just for the relaxation and clarity of mind it brings. As we know, the mammalian diving response kicks in, shunting blood to the brain, lungs and heart.
What a fortunate setup for anyone living on a water planet, though! Who do I thank?
Later when I took SCUBA, I learned that by hyperventilating before breath-holding, I could stay down longer because huffing and puffing expels carbon dioxide and makes the blood less acidic. This shifts the oxygen dissociation curve to the left, allowing the red blood cells to deliver more of their oxygen to the tissues, giving us the feeling that hyperventilation supersaturates the blood with oxygen. It doesn’t as far as science can so-far determine.
It’s also true that CO2 buildup in the blood provides us with the urge to breathe. That’s why blowing it off in hyperventilation lets you stay down longer before air thirst forces you up for a breath.
This scenario is dangerous, though, because hyperventilation can make you pass out and drown — as can hypoxia.
I urge you not try hyperventilation in the water. Wim Hof says to do it lying down. (Far from a pool or bathtub, I’d add.)
And here’s another caveat: too much hypoxia causes brain damage, depression and dementia. We know this from studying sleep apnea, a common ailment that’s vastly underdiagnosed and contributes to a truckload of human misery. So “moderation in all things” is the faithful heuristic. And for the careful, swimming underwater in the cold (without hyperventilation) wakes up the mind and makes you feel sharp as a tack.
Since life on Earth was intelligently designed, our bodies keep us fully conscious and awake under water because the alternative tends to be fatal. Whoever wrote this planet’s genetic codes must have designed life around water and decided that we would hold our breath and spear cold-water fish during the ice ages. This would have the side effect of providing a diet rich in marine oils to supply DHA to our brains which are predominantly lipid and heavy with DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.
Periodic ice ages awaken humanity’s epigenetic adaptations to cold, it seems, switching on genes that become dormant during warmer eras. Activating our “cold-shock” genes to produce cold-shock proteins renders us not merely cold-resistant, but antifragile to cold. We don’t merely survive the ice ages, we thrive — mentally, physically, emotionally and probably spiritually.
We’ve all seen clear evidence of this in the ancient megalithic structures on most continents — evidence the mainstream detests because it falls outside their “gradualism” dogma of all history.
Nevertheless, since the Younger-Dryas event ended the last ice age about 11,600 years ago, our species has forgotten the value of God’s latent gift of cold-adaptive epigenetics. Fortunately, Wim Hof and a few scientists are rediscovering it, uncovering what may be a human capacity for broad volitional immune regulation and substantial mood management.
Some of this magic results from the “mammalian diving response.” It’s a well-studied physiologic mechanism that shunts blood to vital organs, as I mentioned. This includes the brain’s center of higher decision making, the prefrontal cortex, which is close to a quasi-pleasure center located just below the left prefrontal region.
It would seem that Earth’s DNA Code Writer has worked to keep us alive, healthy, happy and eating cold-water fish with our broccoli sprouts.
“The God Hypothesis is now a more respected hypothesis than at any time in the last 100 years.” — Frederic Bradford Burnham, PhD.
I haven’t taken the Wim Hof course, as yet, but I’ve watched enough relevant YouTube videos to know the basics, and I’ve been doing an easy version of cold exposure and hyperventilation-with-breath-holding for five months now, several times a week. In my view, Wim Hof is onto something big with the potential to help many of us, not just my fellow headache sufferers. But let’s be careful not to over-do the hypoxia aspect.
Although I’m not quite as predisposed to euphoria now as when I was younger, I do feel exhilarated after a cold shower, and mentally sharp with temporary mood elevation after the intermittent hyperventilation and hypoxia.
By the way, if you try cold showers, consider my method. I’m careful not to let my subconscious mind learn to hate the whole experience. To me, this principle of catering to the subconscious is a key to sustaining purpose with anything that requires discomfort and ongoing effort.
Here’s how I avoid hating cold shower…
First I step back out of a hot shower, turning the knob all the way cold. Then I put one part of myself into the shower at a time. I stay in the cold spray for seven breaths, step out and warm up for a few breaths then rotate another section of me into the cold.
In the past I’ve tried cold showers by sudden immersion and wound up avoiding the whole process after a few weeks, having never consciously decided to stop. It seems that when anything is judged by the subconscious self to be too uncomfortable, we avoid it reflexively without conscious deliberation. In this way, the subconscious mind makes many decisions about survival. We see this happening with hunger avoidance, cold avoidance, pain avoidance, and the avoidance of believing things that will bring us rejection by our peers and bosses.
There’s good scientific evidence now that cold showers should improve most people’s health and well-being, but the most unexpected thing for me was the headache remedy.
I’ve had headaches all my teen and adult life, originally caused by something in fresh fruit (probably fructose) or in my 30’s by caffeine withdrawal.
Nowadays, my headaches come mainly from eating a little naturally occurring sucrose in my low-carb, circadian diet. (Sucrose or “table sugar” is half fructose, so that may be the primary cause of my headaches now.) Incidentally, the low-carb, circadian diet brings me mental clarity like nothing else ever has.
I’ve had about 12 headaches (all associated with “natural” sucrose intake) since I’ve been doing my easy version of the Wim Hof method. Each headache has vanished after hyperventilation and breath holding, usually after 4 or 5 cycles. That’s 12 our of 12!
Cold exposure doesn’t seem to affect my headaches, though at least one observant writer describe evidence that “cryotherapy” of this sort might prevent migraine headaches by reversing the low norepinephrine levels found in migraine sufferers.
Also, it may be noteworthy that at least one anecdotal report has surfaced of a headache appearing after doing the Wim Hof technique.
One size rarely fits all in biology. Perhaps it’s tangentially relevant that when I’m trying to get rid of a headache, it sometimes feels worse during the hyperventilation phase, diminishes during the breath holding, and then vanishes after several cycles.
My last headache inspired me to write this article. It woke me at 5:30 AM pounding in my skull. It felt like one of the monster headaches that lasts all day and brings nausea.
I did the usual 4 cycles of Wim Hof hyperventilation and breath holding and although the pain diminished, it quickly came back. Not willing to give up and waste the entire day in pain, I kept at it, hyperventilating more and more vigorously and holding my breath longer and longer as my heart chugged in my chest. Finally, after about 12 intense cycles, the pain vanished completely and never came back, not even a dull ache.
Dude! Thank you, Wim Hof.
I speculate that the diving reflex, while shunting blood to my central nervous system as designed, also sent blood flowing swiftly through my scalp where the nerve endings for headache are thought to reside, diluting out vicious chemicals released by mast cells. These chemicals were causing vasoconstriction and pain while signaling for inflammatory cells to rush in.
And because I treated the headache early in its course, I postulate that the inflammatory cells that would have migrated in, set up shop and made the headache a full-day affair never had time to arrive in significant numbers.
Of course, not all headaches have the same pathophysiology. What stops mine might not touch yours, and might even make yours worse. But the Wim Hof Headache Fix is worth a try if you suffer headaches. Just promise me you won’t hyperventilate near water, pass out and drown, OK?
I wish I’d had the Wim Hof Headache Fix when I was a highschool boy lying in bed on Sunday afternoon in my dorm room in throbbing pain, praying to God for relief and assuring him that I understood if this wasn’t the time for a miracle.
And I wish scientists weren’t so quick to shout down everything that moves contrary to their “knowledge.”
Science has historically made quantum leaps by seeking the unexpected, the weird and impossible. It’s tragic that many scientists today express pride in their skepticism. It would serve us all if skepticism were a source of scientific shame.
And it doesn’t matter what’s new, weird, or improperly boxed, my generation of baby-boomer scientists will attack and viciously debunk it, often without studying the work they’re struggling to bury. For example…
The “fringe” evolutionist, Elaine Morgan’s theory that humans evolved from aquatic apes is rejected by mainstream evolutionists for purely emotional reasons, as best I can tell. The phrase, “aquatic apes,” doesn’t sound right to them regardless of the evidence.
The non-materialist research scientist, James Tour, makes an absolutely stunning case for intelligent design in origins theory, only to hear the materialist establishment reject his insight and expertise because they already “know” that life’s origins are mindless and meaningless.
Governmental officials team up with fighter pilots to show evidence that UFO’s are real, someone in our skies seems to have breakthrough technology, but academics remain invested in denial of anything beyond their insular, inbred boxes of narrow expertise.
I’m hoping that something will change with the next generation of scientists and thinkers.
Maybe the next team will value objectivity over skepticism.
Science could use their help right now.
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD
Please share this post with friends who suffer from headaches or chronic dogma impairments.
“The thing that we all know most directly and most certainly – that is, the existence of ourselves – is ultimately incompatible with materialism.” – Jay Richards, PhD.
When I attended a Christian university in the 1970s (now called La Sierra University) I took an upper division genetics class from Gary Bradley, my hero to this day, who subtly taught the logic of associating a Code Writer with this planet’s unfathomably complex DNA. His scientific insight was ahead of its time and became the intellectual basis of my faith in God.
Although my unbalanced version of Christianity made me a doormat in the dog-eat-dog world of pathology, the realization that God existed and, being smart enough to write genetic code, could easily understand English and undoubtedly hear my thoughts and prayers, improved my life dramatically, giving me a sense of meaning and purpose, despite my habit of not standing up for myself.
Today, more and more brave scientists and thinkers are making the connection between Earth’s code-based life and an intelligent code writer. Random mutation and natural selection don’t stand up to mathematical scrutiny when you know something of the complexity of proteins and the DNA codes that produce them.
But breaking with tradition is dangerous. Modern scientists are like preschoolers fighting to control the rules to the latest game. And they are literally religious fundamentalists who believe that their dogma alone can save the world.
The dogma is materialism: the arrogant, arbitrary, inflexible assumption that nothing could possibly exist besides matter and energy. This is a philosophical assumption that cannot be tested. Hence we should not equate it to science or let it be preached to school children as “the foundation of the scientific method.”
It’s actually the foundation of scientific fundamentalism, a religion that has quietly slipped in and taken rigid control of the minds, careers and publications of the scientific community. Materialism has become a roadblock to the funding of any project that doesn’t knuckle under to the dogma of a random, meaningless, depressing, purely material universe.
But here’s a breathtaking video that brings hope that perhaps today’s young people will rescue science from fundamentalism…
“Oddly, the [scientific] materialist has to deny the existence of the scientist.”
So true, and so ironic.
Back in the day, Gary Bradley openly questioned Neo-Darwinism in class, emphasizing the crucial importance of protecting the genetic diversity, natural order and purity of Earth’s ecosystems from the myopic intrusions of corporate science.
At the time, I did not understand how rare this part of my education was. But now I know that at least in the last fifty years, professors and textbooks have assumed without question that science is materialistic – there can be nothing but matter and energy anywhere, ever. Therefore, the mind is an illusion. Intelligence is an accident of matter, a random epiphenomenon with no meaning or higher purpose.
During their impressionable college years when objectivity writes on a clean slate, very few modern scientists have been allowed to hear both sides of the argument between materialism and intelligent design. Nevertheless, some have heard it now and are coming around, saying that there’s evidence in favor of the concept that we are genuine beings with free will.
Here’s a video touching on some of that evidence…
“No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat“
In college, students are usually taught what to think not how to think. The struggle for most undergraduates is to memorize quickly for multiple-choice tests. We tacitly assume that everything we have crammed into our heads is true, including this western secular worldview disguised as the foundation of science.
But the mainstream answer to this question, “Does the Universe consist of only matter and energy or is there also something more, such as mind, identity, or a Supreme Being?” is not directly testable and therefore not capable of being the foundation of science. It’s a worldview, a philosophy, a spirituality or, if you ask me, a cultish religion that has morphed into today’s academic culture of scientific fundamentalism.
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD
Please share these videos with the young minds you know and love. Give them something to balance the dogmatic materialism that undermines happiness and limits science itself. Give someone a glimpse of the rational universe where depression and suicide are avoidable through the pursuit of a higher, loving purpose.
I was deeply disappointed when my 23&Me genetic analysis came back and told me I don’t have any Jewish ancestry.
The Three Stooges were the brightest part of my world when I was three years old. I was an adult when I discovered that they were all Jewish.
I’ve been an Einstein devotee since I was six and my Dad told me about the relative nature of time and velocity. I was probably in high school before I heard that Einstein was Jewish.
I’ve been a Bob Dylan / Robert Zimmerman freak with his lyrics bouncing around in my brain since I was eleven and my sister let me borrow Blond on Blond, my favorite album to this day. I was probably in 8th grade when I learned he was Jewish. Not that I had a clue what that meant.
One of the two most talented cytotechnologists I ever worked with was Jewish. The other, whom the local pathologists called “God” because of her unearthly diagnostic accuracy with fine needle aspirations, was of Middle Eastern Arab descent and therefore possibly a descendent of Abraham.
And when I was fourteen, I began reading the gospels over and over for decades becoming dominated by my admiration for a one-sided interpretation of Jesus — a Jewish man who, by tradition, was recognized and appreciated at birth by wise men from “the East” who followed his star.
What was that really all about?
The longer I live, the more I see ancient stories and “myths” supported by new evidence from mainstream materialistic science. The evidence for an advanced human civilization before the Younger Dryas event is mounting as the sheer mass, complexity and global extent of megaliths is delivered to the public on YouTube, and huge impact craters, especially the recent one in Iceland, suggest a causal connection. Meanwhile, UFO’s have been to some extent accepted as real by the mainstream media, senators and at least one billionaire.
Who were these wise men from the East who brought gifts to a Jewish baby? They don’t seem fabricated. What motivated their journey?
On top of my general appreciation for Jews, my mother, God rest her soul, told me that she thought my Dad had some Jewish blood. His mother’s last name was Talmage, an English name that was sometimes adopted by Jewish people who had migrated into England in the remote past.
It was nice thinking that I was probably at least partly Jewish. I had that deep-down sense of belonging to an important Tribe of amazing people.
You might imagine my disappointment when my genetics came back with no evidence of Jewish heritage at all. The report told me I’m over 99 percent Western European, almost all British. Plus I’m a male, for crying out loud!
How repulsive can you get genetically speaking in today’s PC world?! It’s hard to be more genetically incorrect than I am.
And I’ve got no one to blame but myself when you think about it…
I chose to be born male and white in some prior realm of existence. Can I get an Amen from a materialist? No. How about from a Christian? Doubt it.
Either through greed or masochism I decided to become a genetic member of the only Tribe that’s fair game for open stereotyping, prejudice and hatred: the “White Patriarchy.”
Silly me. What was I thinking?
But to my temporary and yet infinite relief, 23&Me also said I’ve got 0.2 percent Native American blood. Mom’s family myth was true. A man named “Monk” must have really married a woman named “Squa.” (Forgive the non-PC word, but “Squa” was my ancestor’s literal name in my Mom’s family story.)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if 0.2 percent non-white blood could rescue me from PC shaming and loathing? And make me a genuine member of a politically correct Tribe?
I’m not getting my hopes up.
Is it even right for someone like me with over 99 percent inherently “PC evil” genetics to attempt an escape from mediocrity? Wouldn’t it be better for the Universe if people with my deplorable white-male genetics would just shut up, go away and accept Karma’s payback for choosing the moral inferiority and genetic guilt of white maleness?
You see where I’m going with this madness?
My little grandkids are right. My mom was right. Hatred is always wrong because it’s always unfair to the one doing the hating, no matter how convincingly any given society or subculture singles out a genetic whipping boy as the wise target of modern (or “postmodern,” gag me!) moral outrage and hatred.
No matter what our Ivory Tower professors teach us about the lack of meaning and true morality in the Universe (based on their untestable assumption of materialism or physicalism with the nature of existence being a Darwinian fight to the death, and the joy of victim-group hatred being the fabric of all merry winners) it’s still true…
“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Mom was nobody’s fool.
Well, that’s easy for me to say, with my genetics supposedly placing me into a comfortable world of white patriarchal dominance and aggression.
But here’s the thing, I understand both sides of grudge holding and hatred. One of my siblings beat me mercilessly from age three through age twelve, then emotionally tortured me for most of my adult life. Later the same person stole my entire inheritance which I was told was worth 3 million dollars at the time. Do you think I’m idiotic enough to hate that sibling?
Well, no, I’m not now. I was for a while there, but not for long.
It only made me sicker and more depressed to be owned by humanity’s worst enemy: hatred. This emotion is a mind virus replicating on justified anger that takes over your life through rumination.
I escaped the abusive environment and let go of everything I’d lost, including most of my self-confidence. Getting free helped me forgive my sibling while separating me from continual emotional abuse.
Hating and shaming those who abuse you or your Tribe only makes you angrier and sicker inside.
“Sicker now and sicker all the way down,” as my son puts it in his song, Sicker.
You need to separate yourself from your specific abusers, resist painting whole groups of people, even white males, with the broad strokes of hatred and prejudice. Then forgiveness can come and free you inside.
The “wise men from the East” were not part of the Jewish “Tribe.” But somehow they knew that such things don’t matter. And they probably knew that disconnecting from hatred, humanity’s worst flaw, depended in some mysterious way on this newborn Jewish baby lying in the cold with his mom and all the stable animals.
“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?”
The growth spurts of science come from dissent, doubt, and radical questioning of norms. These are the sunshine and water of science.
When your interpretation of evidence brings you to disagree with something that science has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, you are following in the footsteps of the greatest scientists in history: Einstein, Copernicus, Salk, Papanicolaou… the list grows every decade.
But when we agree vehemently with a scientific dogma that we haven’t studied, or can’t understand after studying, we’re following in the footsteps of the average American fundamentalist, whether “religious” or “scientific.”
And that distinction may need to be tentatively abandoned because “scientific materialism” is an untestable assumption that rules out God, free will, higher purpose and the reality of our own minds by decree, not by experimentation.
Dogmatic assumptions may rightfully dominate fundamentalist religions, but they shouldn’t dominate science the way they do.
The thing that fundamentalists of all types have in common is a belief that they possess a source of ultimate truth, whether old writings, a person with special insight, or an array of science journals dominated by group-think specialists. The assumptions behind their doctrine must be kept static, never doubted or questioned, because the sacred assumptions are facts that anyone with an ounce of wisdom or objectivity should be able to see.
To go against the known “truth,” or even to doubt it, is considered irrational and morally wrong, especially among modern scientific fundamentalists.
Many Christian fundamentalist groups have been arguing over sacred doctrines for so many centuries, they’ve come to see the irony of Christians continuing the vicious outrage of bygone generations. Many have found compassion for their competition, arguably the central theme of the religion…
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Scientists could learn from this. They could easily study the history of their craft and discover that most of the great scientific breakthroughs have been vigorously opposed by the establishment’s devotion to “known facts” which later turned out to be fiction.
Instead, scientific fundamentalists continue to cast aspersions upon the dissenter’s educational credentials, their sanity, mental acuity, motivation, and funding. But not so much upon the details or logical weaknesses of the infidel’s ideas.
It’s too much work to read and analyze something you “know” is wrong on the gist of it. It’s easier to laugh, ridicule, and poison the well of the pseudoscientific heretic. Easier to excommunicate her from the faith.
But think about it. In order for science to leap a great distance forward all at once, it must go beyond itself, which always means going into “pseudoscience” because gentler words such as “speculative theory” don’t express the moral outrage of fundamentalist gatekeepers.
An important example is the way these emotional authorities have responded to the Philosopher of Science, Stephen Meyer, Ph.D., in his detailed analysis of DNA and molecular biology, Signature in the Cell. Meyer’s analysis shows evidence of intelligent genetic coding and intelligent design at the level of molecular biology.
Wikipedia, our new self-appointed final authority in science and everything else, glibly labels Meyer’s work “pseudoscience,” as if anyone with any sense should deny this man’s genius without reading his work.
Meanwhile, in the journal, Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, thirty-three mainstream scientists who understand the odds against Earth’s genetic complexity arising through random mutation in 4 billion years (Earth’s history) have written a review article to the effect that our DNA might have come to Earth in extraterrestrial viruses on comets which brought new DNA that created new species and simultaneously exterminated many existing ones. The authors present this to explain the “Cambrian Explosion” of genetically complex species found in the geologic column, a flaw in neo-Darwinism that they want to acknowledge and fix, head-on.
Kudos to them, they’re being honest and imaginative!
Our aim here is to facilitate further discussion in the biophysical, biomedical and evolutionary science communities to the quite different H-W “Cosmic” origins viewpoint which better handles, in our opinion, a wider range of physical, astrophysical, biological and biophysical facts often quite inexplicable, if not contradictory, under the dominant Terrestrial neo-Darwinian paradigm.
But if Stephen Meyer is right, and I think he is, the math still doesn’t allow the complex viral codes from ET sources to appear randomly within 13.8 billion years (mainstream’s cosmic history).
Having studied Meyer’s book, it seems to me that to explain the known molecular complexity of life without an infinite universe, an infinite past, or an infinite number of parallel universes popping into existence along the way, we still need an intelligent code writer and a designer of specific molecules working together in the complex, feedback-balanced biochemical pathways that our DNA encodes. Even extraterrestrial sources of DNA haven’t been around long enough to have developed the necessary complexity.
Meyer simply said that we can account for the known complexity of biology in a finite universe by allowing the existence of an intelligent code writer or writers.
He didn’t say God wrote the code. He left it wide open for others to perhaps speculate on intelligent ET’s without the time requirements of complex biochemistry and DNA, or any other source of conscious intelligence with the means and brilliance to write genetic code and design functional molecules from scratch — perhaps a sentient Universe or intelligent beings from the realm of dark matter. Who can say, from a scientific standpoint?
“Show me evidence of this spaghetti monster,” the fundamentalists will say.
DNA and molecular biology are the evidence. It’s as simple as opening one’s eyes and reading Meyer’s book.
But no, all his work is called pseudoscience because the establishment “knows” that ET’s, if they exist, couldn’t have visited Earth, the distances are too vast (unless the ET’s are viruses on comets, I guess), and God or any other superior intelligence couldn’t possibly exist, don’t be stupid.
But looking at it objectively, no one can do scientific studies to validate science’s sacred dogmas, they must be intuitively assumed using the same emotions that guide religious fundamentalists into “knowing” that they belong to the one true religion with the accurate doctrines.
When the 33 mainstreamers call upon extra-terrestrial viruses, it’s acceptable because it continues the assumption of a Cosmos run by mindless forces alone.
Cross that line or any other sacred line, and you’re an infidel whose work will not be published and whose career will be destroyed.
Judy Mikovits, Ph.D. crossed another sacred line. She is a renowned researcher with remarkable publications, who was thrown in jail for, as best I can determine, refusing to denounce her heretical data that showed evidence of ongoing retrovirus contamination of vaccines that may be causing life-threatening diseases.
Vaccines have become a sacred cow in mainstream medical circles. It’s a moral issue to the enlightened in power. You don’t question or doubt vaccines because to do so would put patients’ lives at risk. Furthermore, if a few vaccines are good, several dozen all at once can only be better. End of discussion. Oh, and don’t forget, it’s been proven beyond doubt that vaccines have no causal relationship to autism. Never mind aluminum or retroviruses. Never mind genetic SNPs and the diverse sensitivity of individuals hidden within every random population sample.
Here’s a video where Doctor Mikovits talks to the public. Warning, Will Robinson, she’s religious. That’s strike 2 in the eyes of a scientific fundamentalist.
Below is a video of Doctor Mikovits talking to fellow scientists. Anyone can tell after listening for a few minutes that she has rare intelligence and moves effortlessly at breakneck speed over complex concepts that to her seem simple.
I haven’t read her book yet, but here’s a link to what sounds like an interesting read.
You know, I sometimes wonder why fundamentalism is the default style of human thinking.
As much as I hate to admit it, fundamentalism may offer a survival advantage that I don’t understand or value as I should. Perhaps I shouldn’t paint fundamentalism in the black-and-white colors it endorses.
After all, I was a religious fundamentalist myself for most of my life and still respect many aspects of that mindset, such as honesty, living with purpose and striving to be courageous in the face of fearful opposition.
So maybe fundamentalism is like salt — necessary for survival, but fatal if the dose is too high or too low.
Or would you say it’s more like cobra venom, toxic at any dose?