The Conversation: Making Sense of These Times
A Mighty Companions Project

"Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric..."

-Edna St. Vincent Millay-

This conversation with Walter Starck, editor of the impressive Golden Dolphin Video CD Magazine, began when he wrote to the director of the crop circle film for which I am Executive Producer. I was so impressed with how he saw the crop circles and the world that I wrote to him, and each time he responds I am moved to tears by his insight and intelligence. I commend you to these quintessential communications that are "making sense of these times."

Walter writes:

Yesterday I read about Crop Circles: Quest For Truth. As I read the piece, I began to feel something of the wonder, discovery and elation you describe in experiencing the actual phenomenon. These circles have intrigued me for some time but without direct knowledge that they do occur in the manner reported. I had reserved a degree of skepticism, wondering if the images might be a Photoshop phenomena. This could of course be easily answered by personal experience or, lacking that, a good report by a credible observer. You have provided the latter. Your description rings of truth and your excellent documentary on Waco speaks forcefully to your credibility. The current documentary will, I am sure, provide ample and verifiable evidence these things do exist.

Although the circles themselves are truly remarkable and inexplicable within the limits of our currently prevailing concept of reality, the human reaction to them is in some ways even more remarkable. While a small minority experience the wonder and elation a large majority seem to have no reaction at all. It is almost as if, though physically visible, they are somehow mentally invisible. Like cosmic rays they pass right through most minds without affect. Then there is another small minority who are aggressively opposed to any consideration of them and claim they themselves could create the circles or are even responsible for them. As far as I know though, none have ever demonstrated a capacity to produce anything like the elaborate artifacts in question.

There is nothing to indicate the circles are manmade nor even any conceivable way one might make them overnight, repeatedly, in various places all over the world, undetected and without trace. In short I don't think they are hoaxes or secret government activity. There is a certain mindset/personality commonly associated with large hierarchical organizations (particularly authoritarian ones) that sees a threat in anything they cannot understand or control. If there is also an element that challenges consensus belief and it is attracting a following the threat becomes intolerable. With crop circles there is nothing for them to attack but credibility. Their nay saying is probably as much for reinforcing their own denial as for convincing others. They simply can't tolerate the idea that something is going on that challenges their fundamental world view and which is totally outside the reach of government control. Whether they are individuals operating at their own initiative or are receiving some clandestine backing is unimportant. It is all the same mindset and aim and equally as impotent.

All they are really saying is, "I don't believe it and anyone who gives it any credibility is dangerous; not just mistaken but willfully evil." Meanwhile they are thinking, "I could easily do that if I really wanted to. Could sounds a bit weak – I'll just say I have and end any argument." If anyone won't accept that, don't argue, intimidate. The media for their part are not looking for good news or anything that can't be nicely wrapped up with a conclusion. Inexplicable happenings that make people feel good is no story. A hoax accompanied by a bit of conflict and aggression is more what they are prone to report.

All this is only a side issue. What really counts is the phenomenon itself and especially its effect on and clear linkage with our own consciousness. Three possibilities come to mind. They may derive from another consciousness interacting with us, or it might be some manifestation of a higher consciousness of which we are a part, or it could be a manifestation solely of our own. Whether it is any of these or something else altogether, it clearly has profound implications for our understanding of the real nature of our own being. This is truly exciting stuff and you are to be commended for having the courage and perception to bring it to wider awareness.

There are other phenomena with certain parallels and many, perhaps most of us have had experiences outside the realm of cause and effect rationale that push the limits of coincidence into meaninglessness. I believe your documentary is going to have important effect. I hope you will be making it available on DVD as well. If you have the time and interest to discuss any of this further I would be pleased to do so.

Suzanne responds:

Your letter was passed to me. I'm a crop circle devote and am Executive Producer of the film. I got such a hit from what you wrote – and then got on your site for more that impressed me. I hope there is something we can do together. What a great career you've had, and you are so fortunate to be working with things that are so primal and so beautiful.

You might enjoy my crop circle page. Also, since 9/11 I've been tracking events,"Making Sense of These Times," where I keep suggesting that the awareness of the crop circles could change our consciousness and get us out of the mess we're in.

In terms of possible explanations, your first one has got to be it. When you realize that there's design involved, ideas about "some manifestation of a higher consciousness of which we are a part," or that "it could be a manifestation solely of our own," don't fit the data. Somewhere, somehow, another something can act choicefully. My guess, by the way, is that we'll never shake hands – that it just wants to get our attention by delivering messages loaded with intelligence to let us know we're not alone. And that when we recognize that it's talking, it might have more to say.

Walter replies:

Many thanks for the contact. I have just been looking over your websites and am very impressed. The general tone of approach to ideas is more intelligent and open than anything I have seen elsewhere. There is much to communicate about. I have signed up to be on the mail list and will be writing more as opportunity permits.

While we don't know with certainty, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence indicates crop circles are non-human in origin, reflect conscious design and require capabilities outside anything we possess. They are obvious, inexplicable and appear to have a decided effect on any consciousness capable of engaging them. I suspect they are a combination of filter, test, announcement and invitation. First they filter out the unthinking, reflex level of consciousness which simply can't accept their implications; then they test those who can, for how much they can perceive and for how they react to it. If one can see them for what they are they would seem to clearly be an announcement of an intelligence beyond our own. Finally, they may be saying we are almost there; if we clean up our act, stop acting like juvenile brats and become worth knowing we may be invited to join the club. The reason SETI isn't finding a cacophony of intelligent transmissions and the solar system isn't overrun with vastly old and unimaginably advanced civilizations must be because vastly older and unimaginably more advanced civilizations than our own must not behave anything like we do.

Conquering, occupying, dominating, and controlling are only imperatives for the fearful. Discovering, fostering, and sharing are much more enjoyable. Consciousness is the universe's means of experiencing itself and we are only just beginning to have something to contribute.

Suzanne responds:

So glad you like what I do. I put up "Making Sense of These Times" because the perilous state we are in seems to me to take precedence over everything. Who knows but that a collection of intelligent individuals could turn the tide – as in the Margaret Mead quote about the "small group of thoughtful, committed citizens," that must be so well known because it strikes a chord of truth.

I do love the way you perceive and how you articulate your ideas. Those circles, to any rational mind that doesn't know the data, have to seem like a giant fakery. But, when you really look, you see the impossibility of their delivery by a human mechanism. Then, you get the extraordinarily strange aspect of people who are icons in the field of crop circle study all of a sudden doing turn-arounds, and announcing that the circles are fakes, but with never a shred of evidence to justify their pronouncements. There, we leave rational thought altogether, and just go into a war of "they are real" versus "they are fake." It is mind boggling.

Walter responds:

See Faces From the Ice Age – another fascinating find ignored because it didn't fit conventional belief. The reference to the Pleiades is particularly interesting.

Suzanne responds:

Wow. Do you know the book that came out in 1993, "Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race?" Hundreds of pages about things that don't fit the story as we tell it:

Did you notice the link on the Faces From the Ice Age page to Stonehenge Face Mystery? Interesting...

My supreme fascination with the circles, beyond the clues we discover to the past, is that they are happening now. Something is engaging with us, and, if we get lucky, we'll establish a communication with it!!!

Walter responds:

Have just enjoyed reading my first copy of Update.

Just wanted to draw your attention to If you don't already know about it, Narco News is a wealth of ongoing news about the duplicity, hypocrisy and corruption involved with the drug war. Amazingly, the entire U.S. government plays lip service to the whole vast fiasco. No one is willing to admit it is totally ineffectual and has in fact turned a small problem into a huge one with major detrimental consequences economically, socially and politically that go far beyond the actual effects of drug taking.

The war on drugs makes possible the black market that sustains the largest and most dangerous criminal enterprise the world has ever seen. This has resulted in corruption and violence all over the world and whenever it is repressed in one area it shifts to another spreading the problem and leaving addiction, AIDS, hepatitus, and criminality in its wake.

In the U.S. it has resulted in a Gulag system with more prisoners than any other nation, 60% of whose inmates are incarcerated for drug related offences. Each one costs more to maintain annually that it would cost to send them to a good university. Though most are there only for the crime of wanting to experience an altered state of consciousness or succumbing to the temptation of easy money, they are subjected to a system that will almost certainly engender hate for the society that subjected them to it and in doing so has forced them into long term intimate association with the worst sociopaths and criminals the society can produce. The result is a nationally established institute of advanced criminality releasing tens of thousands of graduates into society each year.

Then there is the effect on the institution of law itself. Making drugs illegal provides them the cachet of a forbidden pleasure and guarantees that many, probably most, young people will try them. Laws that are widely broken create disrespect for law. With big money involved and a large part of the populace ignoring the law, corruption of police and judiciary are inevitable. Inevitable, too, has been escalation of the war whenever its futility becomes a matter of public debate. This has led to increasing disregard of basic rights such as the prohibition of unwarranted searches, presumption of innocence, and burden of proof lying with the accuser.

Police are now more feared than respected by many young people. Worse yet, the war on drugs has spawned an aggressive style of law enforcement in which police don combat regalia and conduct Gestapo style pre-dawn raids. This has proven so popular with law enforcement agencies that, starting from narcotics units, it has spread widely to other areas of enforcement. Totally inappropriate use of this style of enforcement initiated the tragedy at Waco.

Although failure of the current approach is widely recognized, even including some high level police and judiciary, politicians are almost universally opposed to anything but more of the same. Why is this? They can't all be that imperceptive of the failure, futility and damage done. Quite obviously they also can't be so perceptive as to see what no one else can, nor are they operating from some higher moral plane. Politicians, however, do worship the power of the State that provides their own personal power and status.

Politics is the only sphere of endeavor in which advancement to high position depends very little on any merit of knowledge, skill, ethics or even leadership. Low cunning, opportunism and duplicity are quite sufficient. For those whose ego and ambition exceeds their ability, it is the only game in town. Without it they would be relegated to mediocrity. With it they are Very Important People. To such psyches anything that challenges the status quo is undesirable and any threat to the authority of government intolerable.

The war on drugs isn't about preventing the detrimental health and social effects. Alcohol, tobacco, automobiles and even obesity each do far more damage than all of the illegal drugs put together. The real problem is that people use drugs to alter the way they see the world and they are willing to defy authority to do so. To the political mind this justifies any degree of force necessary to repress it and intimidate anyone who might be tempted to try. Even without drugs, thinking different and defying authority was what Waco was all about. Simply outwaiting them was the obvious, easy and safe tactic, but making an example of them was deemed more important. It was also important to those in government as confirmation of their own power. So it is with the war on drugs. Even if totally ineffectual in its avowed aim, it still serves the purpose of maintaining the appearance of authority and control which cannot be challenged.

Suzanne responds:

What a mess we are in. Small minds with lethal weapons – it's agonizing. Like being the frog that knows the water is getting hot.

Ah Walter, if we ran the world it would be a different place. Everything you say is so eminently intelligent that I almost can't stand to read it for how blind the world is to its obvious truths. I'm very happy to post it as a primer on the impossible gestalt we are in, which the wrong-headedness of our drug policy has produced and sustains, and on the underlying policy of thought control practiced by power hungry politicians, so that, as you say, "anything that challenges the status quo is undesirable and any threat to the authority of government intolerable."

So now what? Have a look at our "Conversation About Becoming a Force" where we're looking at what could change things, and see if you have something to say.

Here are some old thoughts of mine about the war on drugs: And, I stay informed about developments being on the list for The Alchemind Society, "an international association of people working to protect the fundamental right to freedom of thought."

Walter responds:

Have looked over the references you mentioned. As you point out in TheConversation, it is ultimately all about perception. Whether it's drugs or crop circles, where closed minds see only threat, open ones see opportunity for benefit. While closed ones try desperately to prevent change, open ones see it as a way to a better world.

Have been thinking about the circles and what they may mean. Neither human nor natural causation is a sustainable hypothesis. There is simply no known means for either to be possible. On the other hand, everything points to their being the product of conscious design and being intended to communicate something to ourselves. Although they may seem enigmatic and even controversial I think we can assume their originators know what they are doing and are doing it for a purpose. That their meaning is not immediately clear and explicit is probably because they are intended to wake us up and make us think for ourselves, not simply to instruct us. At the same time they seem to be indicating, by actual demonstration, that our prevailing concept of the nature of our own consciousness is too limited and it is really much more integral with the world and less isolated than we recognize.

Understanding and development of our inner nature has not kept pace with our increasing mastery of the world around us. The result is what might be called a failure of philosophy. The old concepts and ideas which gave meaning and direction to life are no longer adequate and new ones that incorporate the new knowledge and address the new circumstances have not yet emerged. Each of us now has ready access to greater knowledge and understanding than the finest minds of past ages. At the same time knowledge is becoming ever more specialized. Expertise is on the path to knowing more and more about less and less until it knows everything about nothing. Few are attempting to gain a broad overview and with an open mind trying to arrive at new understanding.

Central to our difficulty is an unquestioning acceptance of our discrete individual existence, in the world but separate and apart from it. This is a cultural artifact of mainstream Judeo-Christian-Islamic belief. Modern physics as well as Buddhist, Taoist, Sufi, Gnostic and various other esoteric philosophies see ourselves as inseparable from a much greater whole. The more we investigate consciousness scientifically and the more one pays attention to one's own life experiences the more it appears we are an integral part of this world, not just in it but rather deeply and inextricably of it.

This recognition results in a very different perspective on life. What we do to the world we do to ourselves. Our consciousness isn't just in our head – it encompasses, influences, and is influenced by the world around us, including the other beings who also comprise it and us. What we do to them we do to ourselves. To a significant degree we create the kind of world we live in. This is true not only of the form or condition of the world, but also in the nature of our relationship to it and it to us. If we foul our nest we have to live in it. However we approach life, distrustful or welcoming, generous or selfish, kind or mean, arrogant or egalitarian, that tends to be the way we find our world to be.

Belief in a limited, discrete, isolated self is self-fulfilling. It leads to a fearful, selfish, lonely existence. Too much power in such hands can only result in destruction. Before any civilization may advance to a high level this problem must be resolved. Such resolution can only be prompted and encouraged. It can not be taught as a recipe, or bestowed, or enforced. It has to come from self-directed inner transformation on an individual level. Prompting and encouraging such realization is what I think the circles are all about and are, in fact, doing.

Within the population, the mass tends to stick with the tried and true, resist change and preserve the status quo. Only a small leading edge of the bell shaped curve is fully conscious enough to recognize and evaluate things independently. The mass consciousness has a remarkable way of clinging to old ideas long past their use-by date; then when it appears nothing will ever change, suddenly waking up and shifting to the new one.

The important thing right now is that the leading edge is aware and thinking about these things. The ideas of value will prove themselves and spread. Eventually the mass will follow. In the meantime it's better to have a few clear minds finding a new path than a multitude of confused ones running in all directions.

What you are doing with is most valuable. The reach of the Internet permits stimulation and cross fertilization of independent thinking in a manner never before possible. The indiscriminate flood of information, however, makes focal points and a degree of editorial winnowing such as you provide with your Updates especially valuable. Keep up the good work. It is appreciated.

Suzanne responds:

It is such a pleasure to get your insightful communications, full of what I hold as core truths. Maybe this is my favorite line: "Expertise is on the path to knowing more and more about less and less until it knows everything about nothing." And yes, yes, "That their meaning is not immediately clear and explicit is probably because they are intended to wake us up and make us think for ourselves not simply to instruct us." This is the answer to the skeptics who point to how easy it would be for an advanced intelligence to be clear with us, and dismiss us for childishly swallowing of what is so enigmatic. And I think you've articulated the key to the significance of the circles to us, in that they challenge our deadly "unquestioning acceptance of our discrete individual existence." If we understood what you say – "What we do to the world we do to ourselves" – everything would change.

You say, " The mass consciousness has a remarkable way of clinging to old ideas long past their use-by date; then when it appears nothing will ever change, suddenly waking up and shifting to the new one." Here's one of my favorite quotes, that speaks to this:

"The controlling processes in photosynthesis begin at the atomic level, with the nucleus of the atom and its electron ring. Each orbit around the nucleus of an atom has a variety of potential energy levels at which electrons can move and still remain in orbit. If the electrons exceed the energy limits of their orbits they are forced to leave – to move into an orbit further from the nucleus and therefore an orbit which requires more energy to complete. This movement is the famous quantum leap which we have been using for years to describe an exponential increase of energy required to move from one plane to another. Knowledge, among other things, seems to operate according to this principle – you can acquire vast amounts of knowledge and still remain on the same plane, but there comes a point where the cumulative knowledge in your head – the cumulative creative energy you're trying to deal with – requires a leap into another plane. Once you've made that first leap, you realize that, while knowledge is a cumulative process, it is not a progressive phenomenon. You do not move from plane to plane in a smooth, harmonious progression merely by storing up knowledge. You move from level to level, but always within the same orbit or plane, until you reach a point where you can no longer contain the creative energy you have been accumulating and remain within the same plane. So you make the quantum leap. And find yourself starting all over again, gathering energy on another level, always with successive levels above you, levels which are accessible only through the accumulation of vast amounts of knowledge, until once again the leap is within your ability. The life process in plants proceeds in this way, by quantum leaps of the atomic particles into a higher, more energetic plane." By the way, this is from a book about manipulating the light that marijuana plants get in indoor cultivation, so here we are, full circle, back to drugs!

Even though there's a vast accumulation of contradiction that leads to system change, why not try to contribute to that in our current reality, even to think we might provide the final thing that triggers the leap? In that spirit, I'm working up a communication to circulate. You're the first recipient. It's a work in progress – changes are welcome. What do you think?

There's a breakthrough science story waiting to be made public. It is the authentication that we are being visited by some unknown intelligence. The crop circle phenomenon, which for years has been happening in fields worldwide, has been documented and studied now to the point where there is incontrovertible proof – provided in science labs and reported in scientific journals – that non-human, highly sophisticated communications are being sent. Inside crop circles formations, made using very advanced geometry, changes in the plant material cannot be accounted for as coming from an earthly force.

The good science that has been done has not been enough to crack the shell of skepticism that surrounds the phenomenon. This is understandable in that what is happening represents the biggest breakthrough our science ever will have made, and will affect the very paradigm we define ourselves in regarding our relationship with the universe. To make the public aware of what is going on, a well-respected, widely known auspice needs to investigate and present the evidence.

This is an impassioned plea for anyone who knows individuals or organizations who can accomplish such a task to make the necessary connections."

Walter responds:

When I wrote, "The mass consciousness has a remarkable way of clinging to old ideas long past their use by date, then when it appears nothing will ever change, suddenly waking up and shifting to the new one," I started to mention the analogy with energy levels in electrons. However, something told me this would be superfluous so I didn't go into it. Your confirmation of that intuition is quite synchronistic.

Re: The War on Terrorism, this is the Drug War all over again but fraught with even more devastating potentiality. Although force may be a necessary response to certain circumstances of clear and present danger, as a sole remedy applied widespread it will undoubtedly provoke further retaliation in kind. In addition, the police state/homeland security approach can at best only be partially effective. Modern society simply has too many vulnerabilities to effectively guard them all and a multitude of potential weapons and disruptions are readily accessible to anyone with good technical knowledge and modest funding. That such activity can be conducted by an individual or small group makes prevention even more difficult. When such persons are also willing to sacrifice themselves to achieve their objective partially effective security no deterrent.

Nowhere in the war on terror does any consideration appear to being given to the only effective long term solution, addressing the root causes. This would necessarily involve dealing with both problems at their source as well as reassessing our own activities that are involved in provoking such hatred. Righteous posturing and proclaiming a crusade is juvenile and ineffective. It may feel good but it offers no solution. If such is all our leaders can think of we sorely need more intelligent leadership.

Re: A communication requesting more scientific examination of Crop Circles, this is good and well stated. Though I don't think it will find must response in the scientific community at this time, it won't hurt to try. Scientists on the whole are intellectually conservative and quite sensitive to the attitudes of their peers. Investigating something involves an implicit acknowledgment one feels it is worthy of scientific inquiry instead of summary dismissal. In matters with which fringe beliefs are associated scientists are particularly reticent to become involved lest they be seen by colleagues as being less than scientific. Though there are always a few mavericks who dare tread in such areas their findings are seldom given much credence.

Am not really being negative; it's a matter of timing and right now there just isn't enough general awareness of the circles reality to create a significant enough consensus that they are a matter deserving serious investigation. I have a feeling that William Gazecki's film may do a great deal to increase such awareness. In furtherance of this objective I have been thinking about doing a Golden Dolphin feature on them as well. Though they aren't about the oceans, the Golden Dolphin audience is largely comprised of people with a strong interest in nature and the world around us.

The approach I have in mind would be a broad overview of the subject bringing out how remarkable they are and clearly presenting why they can't just be dismissed as hoaxes. I don't know if you have had a chance to look at the Golden Dolphin CD, but on a reasonably recent computer capable of playing the video and slide show content, I'm sure you will find it provides an impressive high impact presentation. If it would be possible to get some video clips, voice interviews and still images associated with the documentary we could come up with a feature that would be outstanding. CDs are cheap to replicate and airmail to anywhere in the world so we might well find a worthwhile market in crop circle circles and it might also be a useful tool for your own promotion purposes.

Incidentally, the Friends of the Manatee Club in Florida took 1300 copies of the current issue of Golden Dolphin to send to influential people all over the U.S. All 100 U.S. Senators have been sent a copy. I supplied the disks at cost so it only cost them about $1 per disk. For promotion or non-profit purposes we could do the same with a circles issue. Anyway, give it some thought and let me know.

Suzanne responds:

Funny how in synch we are. Quite wonderful. You say the smartest things. I'm with you on all of it.

Finally got a look at your CD. What a world you are in. War on this planet that could rob us of such beauty? Are we insane? How can the power brokers be so short sighted as to not see that their survival depends on caring about the rest? As you say, "Nowhere in the war on terror does any consideration appear to being given to the only effective long term solution, addressing the root causes." This is so obvious that it's painful to be caught in a system that takes no cognizance of it.

My thoughts about the circle phenomenon involve how much weighty evidence has been accumulated, and that all it will take is for someone who commands attention to take a look. It even could be a celebrity. Once a door opens, I think the realization will come rather naturally. So I'd just be looking for one person, really. I've always got the circles on my mind as some way out, and after last summer's developments it became even more absurd that they were being ignored. Of course, it's not too long before the films should stir up interest and the timing would be better.

I wonder what would be entailed in a crop circle CD. How would what you would include relate to the film? Would you see actually using parts of the film? Or is it a from-scratch effort? There are videos in existence put out by the croppie researchers that could be used – like flights over the circles and footage inside them, and a whole section on geometry that can be gotten from videos. Talk to me some more. The film people are immersed now in getting ready for a hopeful August 2 opening, and can't split their time, but you have me if we can scope something out.

Walter responds:

Am pleased you have been able to view Golden Dolphin. As the oldest and richest communities of life coral reefs have a lot to teach us, the Coincidence or Causation story in issue 6 will be of particular interest.

What I have in mind with a Golden Dolphin piece on crop circles would be an overview of the subject summarizing the nature and extent of the phenomena, the differing reactions to it, why human origination is not credible, and why regardless of origin something truly remarkable is going on and is deserving of serious attention.

It wouldn't be lengthy. What I want to do is simply present the key verifiable facts and a clear concise consideration of their implications. This could be presented in the context of a review of your Quest for Truth film, if you feel that might be desirable, or it could be on its own. Ideally I would hope to accompany it with a slideshow of 25-50 images. Some video clips might also be included, depending on what is available. The aim would be a straightforward presentation cutting through the noise and confusion to the irrefutable fact that something remarkable, inexplicable, widespread. large scale, and conspicuous is taking place repeatedly.

I have been thinking about the circles themselves and have noted several things of interest:

Incomplete forms never seem to occur and there also never appear to be any distortions or other obvious errors. Also no design ever seems to be repeated. For the larger more complex figures achieving this with teams of plankers working fast and in the dark , night after night, year after year, becomes an explanation only desperation for denial could lead one to accept. Suzanne, can you confirm the lack of errors, incomplete or repeated designs or am I wrong in this?

I have also noted that many of the designs involve tri-radial symmetry. This is unusual. In nature and in human designs bi lateral and 4,5 and 8 radii are much more common than 3. This contributes to an unfamiliar quality of the designs.

In addition to the menorah design that has been recognized I came across another that was not named but is an exact depiction of the Builders of the Adytum diagram for spiritual development. Quite a few of the non-geometric designs are also quite reminiscent of traditional Australian Aboriginal designs.

The more geometric designs seem to be based on fractal forms. If decoded and further iterated they may contain much more information than we see at first glance. Certainly the increasing complexity of the designs over time, while employing the same basic elements, seems to hint of this.

The new book, A New Kind of Science, by Stephan Wolfram, reveals that infinite complexity can be encompassed in very simple programs that may be expressed as graphical designs. He also presents good argument for universal computational equivalence meaning that even some apparently very simple systems have the same ultimate computational ability as the most complex ones. This means that it is entirely possible, even probable, that a very simple program could encompass all of the complexity we see in the entire universe. It also means that intelligence may not be restricted to brains but may be inherent in all sorts of systems and indeed the universe itself. A New Kind of Science is a monumental work and will undoubtedly engender a lot of controversy and denial but Wolfram is an exceptional mind and his evidence and arguments cannot be lightly dismissed. Although written in everyday language, the book is one that cannot simply be read, it really requires study. But if one has the inclination, it is a seminal work, well worth the effort. It's available from Amazon.

Suzanne responds:

It was nice to see your sensibilities applied to the beautiful world you hang out in in "Coincidence or Causation." You probably know Rupert Sheldrake's morphic resonance work, but in case not here are two classic stories of his about animal behavior:, on homing pigeons


I've been reading about Wolfram's book. Exciting. I gather his work is at the heart of complexity, which fits the way things seem to me.

About your error question, there have been a few designs in the last few years with notable errors – they are a subject of lots of speculation. Yet another intriguing aspect to the phenomenon. Look at West Stowell and Silbury Hill:

There are no repeats, but there are themes that show up each season, and there will be a few that season that are variations on it. – bottom three pix all are solar systems. Look at the top 5 pix here: Especially note the first two, which would fit together – one would fill the empty center of the other.

You can't do anything with the film production people till August. If you want to do things that aren't film related, we could work together now. All the images are on the Net in terms of a slide show – that's easy. And writing is easy. And there are videos that could be excerpted – although none of them will be of the quality of the film. Of course, you need rights from everyone, but they all would be happy to do business. There's unedited film that was shot for the movie that's my footage, and another person's (who can edit), that could be used, too – interesting things we shot as 2nd and 3rd cameras. Maybe working in tandem with the film would be better, though...??????

Here's an overview of the phenomenon I just wrote for our film Website – the assignment was 1000 words and make it simple.


There's a breakthrough science story waiting to be made public. It's about a readily perceivable Intelligence that has been visiting the Earth for perhaps thousands of years, using crop fields to make artworks. There have been some 2,000 occurrences worldwide in the last dozen years, since they have been under close scrutiny. That was when the Intelligence went from making simple circles to delivering complex geometric patterns and symbols. The Crop Circle phenomenon has been documented and studied now to the point where there is proof – provided in science labs and reported in scientific journals – that sophisticated communications are being sent by a non-human source.

The good science that has been done has not been enough, however, to crack the shell of skepticism that surrounds the phenomenon. That no doubt is because the truth would represent the biggest leap our science ever will have made, which will affect the fundamental idea we have about our relationship with the universe. The last development that was as big was when human beings split off from the apes.

The formations are full of information. Many patterns depict symbols from mathematics, the sciences, and different spiritual traditions. They are made in mathematical ratios conforming to our musical scale. And whatever designs them knows geometry better than we do – we learn from what the circle makers deliver.

Another noteworthy aspect of the phenomenon is the lay of the crop, which sometimes looks as if thousands of carpet weavers had arranged all the stalks. Sometimes they are absolutely parallel, flowing like rivers to accommodate swirling patterns, and ingeniously weaving in and out of standing shapes. Other times, a few stalk are wrapped together and bundles are laid side by side. There must be a department in charge of centers, which come in many styles, from tents to nests to splays and more. And sometimes the whole lay is like a false floor, revealing another lay underneath – in fact, occasionally there are even third and fourth layers. Lately, there have been 3D effects that can seen from the air when the sunlight casts shadows, and there's also an intricate basket weave style that has been used in a few formations.

Another thing that adds to the mystery is the failure of different kinds of mechanical and magnetic equipment inside the formations – from cell phones to compasses, things don't work inside them and do work just outside them. Cameras, which sometimes catch strange light effects not seen by the eye, actually have been broken by the force – stymieing camera repair people with never before seen damage. And video cameras occasionally catch streaking balls of light above the formations, while there have been eye witness accounts of all sorts of other lights, reminiscent of UFO reports, where formations are then found.

A whole other aspect is that the Intelligence reads minds. There are stories of meditations on shapes, where designs that correspond then appear. And it seems to have a winking sense of humor – a TV crew will mount a several week watch in a likely field and the day they leave a formation will appear. Or, while they have cameras trained on the field a cloud will descend, and when it lifts there will be a formation.

And then we have the lab work on the plants themselves, which show changes to the cellular structure, and verify the impossible bends in stiff stalks that in fact turn back up and continue to grow if they are bent over early in their growing cycle. This lab work has been written up and published in scientific journals. Here is science itself, which we use to define reality, pointing to something inexplicable going on!

As the world is plagued by terrorists, the crop circle community is plagued by hoaxers, who insist they make formations they don't make and give the public ammunition for skepticism and denial. It is absurd to think that these incredibly complex patterns, that surveyors say would take days just to lay out, are accomplished with flawless precision with boards and ropes in the 4 hours of English darkness during summer nights. Sometimes they happen in the rain, yet not a mud print is to be found. Or they are in a field with no tractor lines, so there would be no access without cutting paths through the crop, yet no paths exist. Another confirmation of genuineness is how cookie-cutter precise the patterns are from the air, compensating for the hilly terrain where they frequently are located.

Toward the end of last summer, in England, several startling things happened. One was the arrival of the biggest formation ever. It was the size of two football fields, and its spectacular size and beautiful fractal design attracted the world press. Another, right after that, was an answer to a radio telescope message we had sent into space, which Carl Sagan had a hand in designing. The crop circle community – a group of dedicated researchers from all over the world, who spend the summer in Southern England (where most of the formations, 75-300 a year, appear) – all thought that newspaper headlines would be "CONTACT." The pattern in the field told us about the sender in a correspondence to the information we sent about ourselves. SETI, our government's Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, said if it was another intelligence it would have communicated by radio waves, and that was that. The government policy is reported to be that if they can't control something, they deny it exists, supposedly averting panic that way.

In terms of what would happen if we knew there was contact, here's what Paul Horowitz, SETI Project Director, had to say:

"We consider ourselves morally, or culturally, or intellectually unique. But if we were to find a signal from another star system, another thinking being, we would know that none of that is true. A connection with another intelligence would be the first bridging across four billion years of independent life in evolution...It will be without doubt the greatest discovery in the history of humankind."

Our film will show that that discovery has been made. It defies the imagination to foresee what will happen as this new awareness spreads in humanity, but this phenomenon is so beautiful and so benign that it feels to promise only good. A great power has come to us, and it behooves us to join forces.

Walter responds:

I agree, for people to be doing all this there would have to be lots of practice, varying levels of competence and frequent mistakes, none of which are evident. All of the demonstrations and experiments by humans I have seen depicted are relatively small simple designs and give the impression of being somewhat messy. In other words, about what one would expect and nowhere near approximating the scale, complexity and precision of what is appearing without attribution.

Even disregarding the limitations of human capability required, the hoax explanation only replaces the mystery of how with the mystery of why. People all over the world expending great effort, night after night for years on end, thousands of times in ever increasing complexity, perpetrating the same prank utterly lacks credibility as an explanation. There would have to be some much more compelling motivation behind it and I am unaware of even a hint of such existing. Utter secrecy involving numbers of people all over the world for years on end exists only in fantasy. In the real world people talk and inevitably there are disagreements, disillusionment and dropouts. Secrets are hard to keep when only a few people with close ties are involved. Over time and among larger numbers they are impossible.

I also had a further look at the Sheldrake site on about how dogs know when their owners are coming home. His work appears well designed, executed and presented. An open minded consideration can not avoid the conclusion that a strong case for something inexplicable is presented. Interestingly his critics repeat the experiments with similar results, then ignore the bulk of the results and taking a very limited aspect that might be explicable in conventional terms claim to have disproved Sheldrake's work. The desperation and willful self-delusion involved in maintaining a shallow and rather boring view of the wonder and mystery of life is indeed a phenomenon. What is it that makes so many so reluctant to openly consider wonder? Why is not knowing so fearful?

Have seen Steve Alexander's web site before and have just explored it further. The quantity, quality and diversity of his images are all excellent and I agree that a single source is preferable. Please do ask him if we can work together. If he is interested, you can perhaps introduce me and I can then go into the details directly with him. I will of course copy you in my correspondence with him so you will stay fully informed and can add any input you wish.

Suzanne writes:

I posted our correspondence to the list of crop circle researchers that I run. Here's what I heard back. Colin is the original crop circle celebrity, and the name withheld is a popular spiritual teacher.

Dear Suzanne,

Thank you very much for forwarding this. I agree very strongly with the central view expressed here that the human consciousness is either not alone in this process or is directly involved in ways we see only hints of currently. We see the tip of the iceberg but very exciting prospects are emerging. A great piece.

Best wishes,

Dear Suzanne,

Walter Starck's thoughts are same as my own for many years now. And my channeled information about how crop circles are indicating more than we've ever known about the function of consciousness itself is compatible with his various speculations. (I don't talk much about what I do regarding crop circles - keep low profile, etc.)

Love and Light,
Name withheld

Walter responds:

Have been thinking about the latest corporate misbehavior (WorldCom). Economic bubbles accompanied by corporate corruption are a seemingly never ending feature of our culture. As each wave begins to peak, past experience and common sense are abandoned for the belief that "this time it's different". Then comes the crash and revelations of corruption followed by reforms and a period of righteousness. Gradually the event becomes history and is seen as no longer relevant to current life thus setting the stage for a new cycle. Now, as always, new laws and regulations combined with more stringent enforcement are seen as the solution. This, however, deals only with symptoms and does nothing to address the underlying cause.

So long as our concept of self ends at our skin, we accord money, power and fame the peak of social status, and pander to immediate gratification with little regard for longer term goals or consequences. We will be fated to repeat our errors until catastrophe intervenes. True wealth is having all we need, not everything we may wish for. True power lies not in the ability to dominate or enforce one's will but rather in the ability to deal with one's world so as to live harmoniously with it and contribute to making it a better place. Fame is only a price, not a value. Gratification without effort is like food without hunger, not very tasteful nor very good for you either.

All this ultimately depends upon our view of life, the world, our relation to it and the clarity of our realization of the ethics that stem from such beliefs. In the past, the consequences of our misperceptions were limited to more or less local effects. Technology, globalization and population growth are however approaching a point where our errors are increasingly likely to result in global catastrophe. It is a characteristic of complex dynamic systems to oscillate around certain means with a capacity to resist a degree of forcing or perturbation by diffusing such affects through the system. With continued forcing, however, a limit is reached where the pattern of self organization collapses into chaos for a time before reorganizing into a new (typically quite different) pattern of dynamic stability. The global economy, climate and biosphere are such systems and we are increasingly forcing them. Any of these systems going chaotic would be catastrophic for humanity. Such an outcome seems inevitable if we continue on our present course.

In addition to a fundamental revision of our world view, ceasing – perhaps even reversing – population growth is going to be required. With an increasing standard of living, the current population is probably already too large to support on a sustained basis. Reduction fortunately would not require draconian methods. Already internal reproduction rates in most developed countries are below replacement rate. Growth is originating almost entirely from underdeveloped nations and among the poorest sectors of developed ones. Fostering improvement of living standards in such countries and groups needs to be recognized as a priority for everyone, if for nothing more than self interest. With few exceptions, economists, business people and politicians universally subscribe to the belief that never ending economic and population growth are desirable for prosperity. This belief bears no relation to what is actually happening in the real world.

The United Nations Human Development Report ranks 162 countries in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income. The top ten are:

1 Norway 5-14*
2 Australia 20-2.5
3 Canada 31-3
4 Sweden 9-20
5 Belgium 10-337
6 United States 288-30
7 Iceland 0.3-2.6
8 Netherlands 16-390
9 Japan 127-321
10 Finland 5-15

*The numbers following the country name are population in millions and population density per Km² ( from World Gazetteer). The US ranks high in per capita income, second only to Luxembourg. But it is only 12th in educational enrolment and 24th in life expectancy.

The Finfacts Survey by William M. Mercer† is also revealing. This survey ranks overall quality of life for major cities around the world. It is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of life criteria for each city including political, social, economic, and environmental factors; personal safety and health; education; transport; and other public services. It is conducted to assist multinational companies in assessing international hardship allowances for their expatriate workers. Here are the top ten:

1. Zurich, Switzerland
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Vancouver Canada
4. Sydney Australia
5. Geneva Switzerland
6. Frankfurt, Germany
7. Auckland, New Zealand
8. Copenhagen. Denmark
9. Helsinki, Finland
10. Bern, Switzerland

(The first U.S. city to enter the list is San Francisco at 18th place.)

†Mercer is one of the world's largest human resource consultancies, with some 12,500 employees in 37 countries world-wide.

It is clear that neither economic prosperity nor quality of life have anything to do with population size or density. If anything, the correlation is negative and if one were to include psycho-spiritual parameters in the evaluation, it would undoubtedly be highly so.

Suzanne responds:

As you look at the devolving mess we are in, the "answer" always is the same. It's what you say: "Fostering improvement of living standards in such countries and groups needs to be recognized as a priority for everyone, if for nothing more than self interest." That fundamental truth has never been clearer, and still it is absent from the dialogue at the top. One way to see this inability to see outside the box of right and wrong, where all we do is smite enemies, is as a function of our genetic predisposition to preoccupation with short term thinking – see the "Conversation on Becoming a Force."

"That fits with the Darwinian matrix, where we develop as a function of short term survival needs. Guided only by biology, we dwell in what's immediate – evolution is from constant victories of genes that survive. There's no seven generations here. The idea that we must shift to what makes for the well-being of the species is something you must come to understand – and we alone, of all animals, have the brainpower for that light to dawn. If is doesn't, we are focused on number one, and are fundamentally greedy and grasping. In this century, that can lead to the extinction of humanity, so it's imperative that we use those brains of ours to evoke that shift. Cooperation is what the species needs, and that's learned behavior. And, now is the hour when we have to learn it big time."

The model I always think of says what you're saying about system change – that the nature of evolutionary reality is to throw up contradictory things that don't fit the prevailing worldview. The force of the entrenched system contains contradictions to itself, until those contradictions grow to such a degree that the system no longer can continue in its pattern, and that's when everything reconfigures in a quantum leap to a new order where everything fits again – only to have new contradictions emerge. Overlaying what you're saying, it's the time of the greatest contradictions that's chaotic. All the different developmental models seems to echo this essence, from how electrons behave in photosynthesis, that we've talked about; to the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis in social theory; to Nobel prize winner Ilya Prigogene, with his theory of dissipative structures, where an overload of perturbation leads to quantum leaps that reorder the pattern of chemical solutions. This understanding of how reality works always has seemed to me to be useful in helping to tune into what's operating, to give the best chance to promote changes.

Underneath everything is the imperative to make that quantum leap, which now would involve going from separation and self-absorption, where our "concept of self ends at our skin," to seeing ourselves in a world where we seek "to live harmoniously with it and contribute to making it a better place."

Thanks for this conversation. It's a great pleasure. I think you are so clear that you should publish your writings – maybe a pamphlet on new common sense.

Walter responds:

Your appreciation of these ideas is most gratifying, but unfortunately all too rare. While people will readily engage in controversy around established polarities, they are remarkably reluctant to seriously consider anything that questions the basic assumptions of their culture. One of the most important lessons of history, however, is that most people most of the time are wrong. That is, much of what is considered unquestionable truth at any given time is later looked upon as ignorant nonsense. Although it is extremely unlikely this process has now ended and what we believe to be true will stand forevermore we still persist in vehemently arguing alternatives but refusing to evaluate the validity of the basic assumptions from which they proceed.

Regardless of all reason and evidence to the contrary, we have an amazing reluctance to change our minds about our beliefs. As Niels Bohr said, "Old ideas don't die, only their proponents do." Even when ideas have demonstrably failed we tend to persist with them rather than reconsider their basic validity. Look at the war on drugs. Despite utter failure, we can't even try anything genuinely different. Now we are setting out to apply the same approach to terrorism.

A radically different approach usually raises implicit questions about current assumptions and is always met with hypothetical objections that amount to "it might not work so we shouldn't consider it." This is an especially curious logic when the current approach is itself demonstrably not working. Why can't we just try something and stop it if it doesn't work? Instead, we seem to think we have to first commit to a belief in something and then persist regardless of results. If we had half the faith in life itself as we do in our own ideas about it, our lot would be a much better one.

To me one of the most significant aspects of crop circles is that they can't be hidden, refuse to go away, and present a clear challenge to our basic beliefs about both ourselves and the world in which we live. If they could succeed in forcing us to re-examine our assumptions, open up and start to think outside our current little box of possibilities, it might be just the shift in consciousness we need to deal with a future that will increasingly present challenges that our old ideas are hopelessly inappropriate to effectively address.

On the matter of perhaps publishing some of this, I am open to such a possibility, but to reach any worthwhile audience it would have to find effective distribution. This in turn would require enough promotion to become noticeable above the noise level of the info-blizzard. You seem to have created a significant focal point of open minded, intelligent discourse on such matters. Do you have anything in mind? Perhaps we might just continue along the current line with the thought of editing and assembling the exchange into something along the lines of "Conversations with the Antipodes."

Suzanne responds:

Each time you communicate, I think that if everyone read your email the whole world would change – that what you write could serve as a rallying call to get the power of the new collective in play. Yes, let's think about that.

As we look at the pattern of transformation, seeing how we stay in disfunctional ideations well into the times when life-giving contradictions are so clearly in evidence, the great hope of our endeavor would be that we are at the time when the quantum shift could occur. It is unpredictable as to what finally causes a system to take that leap into a reconfiguration, and God knows we need it badly enough now to be worth an effort to try to serve that possibility.

In my particular bailiwick, looking at what I happen to know that could contribute in a significant way to the change we need to make, this is a stunning paragraph of yours:

"To me one of the most significant aspects of crop circles is that they can't be hidden, refuse to go away and present a clear challenge to our basic beliefs about both ourselves and the world in which we live. If they could succeed in forcing us to re-examine our assumptions, open up and start to think outside our current little box of possibilities it might be just the shift in consciousness we need to deal with a future that will increasingly present challenges our old ideas are hopelessly inappropriate to effectively address."

Have we got the whole world in our arms, cradled between the Americas and the Antipodes? Maybe that's the nature of our packaging...???

Walter responds:

Whether in art, science, mathematics, engineering or writing, the essence of elegance is simplicity. Discovering simplicity, however, is decidedly not simple. It involves trying to sort out the essence of things from irrelevancies and unnecessary complications, then finding how best to express that essence in the most clear and economical manner. If one looks to the actual effect of crop circles as opposed to the controversy, denial and attempts to explain or interpret them, it becomes clear that regardless of whatever else they may or may not be intended to do, they are forcing us to re-examine some of our most basic assumptions. With every attempt to dismiss them they seem to return in form and circumstance even a bit harder to deny.

Despite our recurrent stupidities, atrocities and wars, the long term trend of history is to a saner, kinder more peaceful world. I think we have the capacity to transcend our past nature, but it will entail a change in consciousness – the prerequisite to which must be a willingness to open consideration of new ideas and abandonment of old ones where they no longer suit. By challenging some of our most basic beliefs and refusing to be dismissed crop circles could well provide the necessary prompting toward the opening up and considering of new possibilities we must undertake to avoid disaster. I believe your upcoming film will play a most important role in this process, as it will bring the reality of the phenomena from the fringes to much broader awareness.

At about three or four this morning, I awoke with the thought in mind about "forcing us to re-examine our assumptions, open up and start to think outside our current little box of possibilities." I note that coincidentally, your reply quoting this was sent at 4am our time.

Walter writes:

The following is a comment of mine on a current scientific controversy over a recently published study entitled "Television viewing and aggressive behavior during adolescence and adulthood" . Dr. Johnson is the senior author of the study. Needless to say this study, showing strong positive correlation between TV violence and violent behavior, is being attacked rather than heeded by the media industry.

Thought it might be of interest to The Conversation.

Dear Dr. Johnson,

There is a most curious anomaly in the argument of apologists for TV violence that seems to be consistently overlooked. The industry is based on the premise that TV is highly effective in altering viewer behavior to take up what is offered in advertisement. Few, if any, would deny that it is also a major influence in society, having an important effect on opinion and behavior with respect to politics, sports, fashion, music, environmental issues, the economy and sundry other aspects of our culture. Despite all this, violence as entertainment is used as a predominant theme in TV drama. Beyond being provided undue prominence it is sanitized, glorified, and justified through dramatic imagery, spectacular effects, heroism, and depiction as righteous retribution. The horrific realities of real world violence both immediately and in ongoing consequences for all concerned is never portrayed.

To then maintain that indiscriminately broadcasting an endless stream of such content to tens of millions of people every day never induces anyone to act violently defies even rudimentary common sense.

Suzanne replies:

How cogent you are. I just saw "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" on TV, and was struck – and repulsed – by how attractive those outlaws were. They were heroic types who were ruthless killers. I didn't see the remake not too long ago of "Ocean's 11," but when it came out I was asking how it could be that we were being entertained by gorgeous crooks. In fact, as I asked around my question kind of went nowhere. Nobody seemed to think there was anything particularly untoward about that. Yesterday, there was a cutaway from a regular broadcast of some local show for "Breaking News," which was a stand-off going on in the Bay area between police and a gunman holding a hostage on a freeway – the Bay area is hundreds of miles from us, so nobody who was watching the show needed to know about the freeway closure. Violence is our regular diet – a vestige of watching people thrown to the lions, and the like – which has got to be doing us no good.

Walter responds:

A couple of messages posted elsewhere that may be of interest to The Conversation:

The following is a copy of a response from myself to a reply from the senior author of the TV violence study:

I hope I didn't sound as if I was assuming you to be one of the apologists. I appreciate that your study shows a clear correlation between watching TV violence and violent behavior. Instead of trying to dismiss your findings the entertainment industry should be taking heed. That they can seriously propose that although their ad space is worth billions for its influence on viewers their content has no effect at all simply amazes me. Then when presented with objective evidence to the contrary they try to dismiss it.

Ultimately of course the industry does what it does because it is profitable. What is truly amazing is that viewers have an apparently insatiable appetite for the same boring, mindless, non-believable swill. If you could figure out that attraction we might be getting close to the real core of the problem.

...and this is a comment on a thread in an advanced diving technology discussion list I subscribe to. One response in particular was of real concern. It was posted by an individual who is an FBI agent in Miami but the mindset revealed would have been quite comfortable in the KGB under Stalin:

Most of us seeing images of Islamic mobs burning effigies think, "What idiots!". Seeing Americans doing much the same with an effigy of Bin Laden on the 4th of July is disturbing. The righteous wrath directed at Esbjörn Nordesjö for noting (but not judging) the similarity is even more worrying. Although violent retaliation and increased security may be a necessary response to immediate threat, as a sole solution they are doomed to failure. Against people who are willing, even anxious, to sacrifice themselves for their beliefs retaliation is as much a provocation as it is a deterrent. Modern society has too many vulnerabilities and technology provides too many means of mayhem and disruption for increased security to be more than moderately effective.

Venting our righteous wrath and indignation may feel good but it doesn't do much to solve the problem. Any real solution is going to have to involve dealing with problems endemic to the Islamic world as well as the nature of our involvement with it. It is also going to have to address our own problems, not the least of which is a hopeless addiction to their oil. Regardless of how justified it may be, simply insisting we are right and everyone else is wrong is only going to provoke more of the same. This view is purely pragmatism not political correctness. Esbjörn has only provided a glimpse of how others may see us. What others think about us has led to the current situation. Shooting the messenger is stupid. We need to learn what we can from the message.

Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." In the world we are creating this advice increasingly applies to all humanity. If we can't find a means to co-operate we shall assuredly bring disaster upon all of us.

Suzanne replies:

Thanks so much for passing along these remarks. Just common sense. Why isn't it the prevailing intelligence? But seeing as it's not, I think our important question is what are we going to do about it. The fire of the world is far too hot. Something awful could go wrong. It is THE work to make everyone wise to common sense.

Walter, I so encourage you in getting yourself heard. You have the clearest articulation. It would be a gift if it was given. Being your audience is a treat for me.

How did "boring, mindless, non-believable swill" get in when violence was the topic? That's was a place where I didn't follow the flow.

This is great:

"That they can seriously propose that although their ad space is worth billions for its influence on viewers their content has no effect at all simply amazes me."

And the common sense starts here: "Although violent retaliation and increased security may be a necessary response to immediate threat, as a sole solution they are doomed to failure." When that sinks in, we can get serious about what else to do.

Walter responds:

The "boring, mindless, non-believable swill" refers to the actual content of most violent media fare. If you haven't done so, take a look at a few of the Willis, Stallone, Schwarznegger, et al., genre of action films or any of the endless stream of police dramas with murder as their overwhelmingly predominant theme. If you manage to sit through more than a couple, you will begin to think my characterization is somewhat charitable. The popularity of such material is in many ways more worrying than the fact that it is on offer.

Walter writes:

If the US Gov. would support more people like this instead of trying to find a most favorable warlord or dictator we might begin to have a genuinely positive influence in the Islamic world. See:

Suzanne responds:

Beautiful – and courageous. Women for sure would create a different world. Have you seen the pieces I put under WomenSpeak on my Five Star Pieces page?

Walter writes:

Another thought for The Conversation:

America seems more and more headed in a worrying direction. A questionable presidential election, terrorism, and economic problems exacerbated by large scale high level corporate dishonesty have the nation in a bad mood. Since 911 any criticism of government risks accusation of being unpatriotic and questioning anything regarding the "War on Terrorism" seems tainted by shades of treason.

A recent survey indicates a majority of Americans are now willing to curtail some of their rights in the interest of security. While this might seem on the surface a patriotic sacrifice, it is in effect quite the opposite. The sanctity of the individual, the right to live one's own life as one wishes and to be able to freely express oneself, is the bedrock of freedom. Government answerable to the governed is basic to democracy. Giving up our rights amounts to selling out what America stands for in return for a promise of security. Asking such a price or considering acceptance of it is the true disloyalty.

To surrender America's most valuable possession so readily would be to hand terrorism a cheap and easy victory. Worse yet, even the payoff is bogus. Curtailing of rights can do little to prevent determined terrorism. Terrorism in more prevalent in police states than it is in free societies and giving up rights is a decided step in that direction. Without strong rights it is all too easy to suppress any dissenting opinion as a threat to security.

As terrible as were the events of 911 we need to put them in perspective. The number of people killed by terrorism is a small fraction of those killed every year by cigarettes or firearms or automobiles. If we want to give up something for the common good there is a whole list of things that would have far greater effect than curtailing rights to fight terrorism.

When politicians and government officials seek to dispense with basic rights and question the loyalty of any who disagree, it is time to carefully consider where is the greatest danger and who is really betraying our ideals.

Suzanne responds:

You're an articulate spokesperson for the progressive alternative. I and many others in America and world-wide are your allies.

I was heartened by Howard Zinn's piece, A Break-in For Peace, about the Camden 28 that I posted. It really affected me. Now I have an image of our success, where "thousands and thousands and thousands of small acts" can tip the scale. At the same time, things are too critical not to try to speed up the activity of the resistance. How could we take command?

About surrendering rights, I think Americans are deeply trusting in the America of our ideals. It seems like an overstatement for progressives to warn that we could go the way of Hitler Germany, for instance. This violations going on, however, are so alien to those fundamental ideals that they contribute to the resistance to this regime, which is alive and getting stronger all the time.

Another thing to be aware of is that there is a cosmic drama being played out – of rectitude finding its way. The excesses of self-encapsulated people serve to make us mad enough to break free of our entrapment in this way of thinking. There is higher ground, and many have broken through to it. Finding those others in fact helps me live in a world that is stifling to me.

Have I mentioned "The Universe Is A Green Dragon?" A must read. [I read the entire book and posted the audio on my "Making Sense of These Times" Webradio site.] You remind me of author Brian Swimme. Maybe I can start to weave some people together.

Here's a little vintage Brian in his intro to a great tape series he calls "Canticle to the Cosmos":

"At key times in history, consciousness advances in spurts. In Athens, the foundations for western civilization were laid. At the School at Chartes Cathedral, the vision of the Middle Ages was given form. In the Florentine Academy, Renaissance humanism was brought forth. We are in the midst of such a spurt. Human creativity today gives birth to a new vision of reality, a new cosmology, one that will guide us out of the terrors of the late twentieth century. The creation of a new planetary mythology is an organic process requiring the intelligent participation of millions of minds...If we were attempting to create a new cosmology a hundred thousand years ago, we would meet in a cave, at night, and tell our stories in the flickering lights of the fire. In just such a setting, the most advanced hominid forms gave birth to the first true humans. I think there is something to be said for this tradition. My suggestion is that you gather as a group and reflect together, in the night. If these flickering images and words evoke some of the deeply rooted creativity that is necessary for our advance, this series would have served its purpose."

It would be so fine to sit around the campfire and spin a new yarn. Brian also says, "In our time, with the invention of electronic information technologies, groups everywhere can participate directly in the evocation of this new form of consciousness." Maybe there is a way.

For more of this conversation, click here...

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric...

-Edna St. Vincent Millay-

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