Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The End of Alchemy?

There used to be a time when alchemists were the right hand man of kings and emperors. The promise, whether fulfilled or not, of manufacturing
gold almost out of thin air that would aid the royal or imperial treasure chests was always appealing and was an opportunity not to be missed, even if the alchemist’s proper credentials were not always in place. If an alchemist were not invited to the royal court, he might move onwards to another king, and bestow his skills on a competing royal – a risk too dangerous for most to take.

But where is alchemy in the 21st century? The notion of a man playing with the elements in his laboratory, trying to concoct gold from “baser elements” might seem like a dinosaur from a lost era, as today, we should know – as science has shown to us – that such alchemical transformations are impossible. Right? And therefore, we no longer find alchemists taking up cabinet positions or influencing the Obamas and Putins of this world. Or if it happens, at least not in public.

What happened? My suggestion would be that alchemy became irrelevant. However, do not get me wrong, I also believe that alchemy has been proven to be true at the same time that it disappeared. It is merely the case that we might have failed to notice this.

As the science of alchemy was so nebulous for so many centuries, the term has come to mean so many things. But most will agree that alchemy is about the transformation of our reality, the elements, through certain means. This knowledge was apparently passed down through secret(ive) schools, maybe from the time of the Ancient Egyptians onwards. At the core is the belief that “prime matter”, the atoms, which are all around us, can be transformed into something far more than what the laws of physics claim or manifest. For the ancient Egyptians, it was the creator deity, Atum – hence the name atom – who had created the universe and everything in it.

The conclusion that our reality is largely a thought construct, is precisely what quantum physics in the first half of the 20th century proved. It revealed that below the layer of what we see, is a sea of quantums, which can be influenced by thought. And this conclusion is precisely the evidence alchemy sought for thousands of years. But it is also the single event that apparently made alchemy obsolete. Somehow, the importance of the interconnected of those two events seems to have gone unnoticed by all, most of all, it seems, the alchemists themselves.

But not all. Dennis Hauck is a practicing alchemist with his own laboratory. He states that he refuses to photograph or videotape or let people in the part of his laboratory where he stores his original substances (which he will transform as part of his alchemical processes), as the alchemist tradition states that if someone were to merely look at their container, those thoughts will have an outcome in the alchemical experiment to be performed. This tradition – which Hauck follows to this very day – is clearly linked with the conclusions drawn by quantum physics, which is that thought influences matter: we can influence the outcome. And that is precisely the alchemical premise adhered to by thousands of alchemists throughout the ages.

Alchemy flourished when Christianity was all about making sure that there was a priest as an intermediary between you and experiencing the divine. That man would dabble in trying to alter God’s creation was an even worse sacrilege, if not demonic. Today, though mainstream science has popularly won the war with organized religion, it nevertheless has placed the same scorn on alchemy the Pope had used. Even though quantum physics is a proper science, “Science” as such likes to put it in the corner.

And so, one might say, alchemy was proven by quantum physics, but at the same time, quantum physics has made alchemy obsolete. Maybe. A succinct overview of modern alchemy definitely suggests that the modern alchemists’ preoccupations are isolated and somewhat outdated – without a proper context. Equally, I believe that quantum physics could learn more about itself if alchemists understood the new paradigm better and tried to see what their discipline could add to this modern science. This resulting synergy would be for the mutual benefit of both. For it is clear that whereas quantum physics talks a great talk, the great… alchemical transformations that this science preaches as gospel and knows to be true, have had little to no real applications for the common people, who would be in awe if they could see some of the magic that quantum physics holds to be true. Seeing is believing.

And so, on the one hand, we have a scientific discipline that knows the truth, but seems unable to visualize it, and alchemy, deemed to be a non-science, but specifically preoccupied with manifesting quantum physics into our reality and visualizing it. Is alchemy dead? No; like the phoenix, it has transformed itself into a new science, quantum physics.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mexican 2012-Extraterrestrial Secrets, Or Not?

In recent years, I have become associated with the 2012 phenomenon, as well as the question whether our ancestors have
been visited by ancient aliens – I am one of the faces of the popular and controversial History Channel documentary, “Ancient Aliens.” I drifted into both controversies largely because there is a stand-off between scientists, who argue that both subjects are without any merit, and the general public, who want to know, and if possible, find out the truth. It is why the skeptics call me a believer, and the believers refer to me as a skeptic.

It is now widely known that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012 AD. This simple fact has led to major Hollywood blockbusters imaging that it will signal the end of the world, while dozens of mass-market books speculate as to what will happen on that day. In spite of all of these things, we know very little about 2012. The only thing we do know, gleaned from one Mayan inscription, is that the Mayans themselves spoke of a return of the gods.

Over the past few months, the 2012 debate has been livened up by a stunning allegation made by film producer Raul Julia-Levy. As reported in newspapers and other media around the world, in an upcoming documentary, Julia-Levy’s "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond" allegedly argues that the Mexican government is in the possession of secret information that shows the end of the Mayan calendar is linked with extraterrestrial beings. But does it?

What we do know, is that Julia-Levy claims that certain information has been held secret for eighty years and that his documentary is backed by the Mexican government, who is allowing him to film in many previously protected archaeological locations. One of these sites is Calakmul, where several rooms were discovered inside a pyramid. Tourism minister for the Mexican state of Campeche Luis Augusto Garcia Rosado confirmed that they were letting Julia-Levy film these sites.

Julia-Levy has also said that he had been made aware of secret Mayan information by former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who is a friend of his family. It then took him four years before he got the OK from current president Felipe Calderon to create this documentary. The English-language documentary will be directed by Juan Carlos Ruflo and began preproduction in October of 2011. The film seems to be one of the cornerstones of Mexico’s 2012 Mayan World Program, which is meant to bring tourism to the country.

Based on this information, it appears that the documentary is about archaeology. But the international media reported that the documentary is going to reveal secret information that the Mayans were in contact with extraterrestrial beings. Following these reports, it was said that Julia-Levy had been ordered (presumably by the Mexican authorities) not to talk about any of the more mystical possibilities. Indeed, it was not Julia-Levy, but the Tourism Minister Rosado who was quoted in a press release talking about contact between the Mayans and extraterrestrials. That statement has been recalled, and Rosado himself now paints this as a simpler, more archaeological-oriented documentary. When Julia-Levy was asked to comment on whether the movie would involve aliens, mystical elements or doomsday scenarios that have fueled the popular imagination, he declined to elaborate. "I can just say that the Mexican government is preparing to tell humanity and the world things that are critical for us, for the way we live, for the way we've been handling the planet."

The alien angle was aided by – if not created because –Julia-Levy is involved in a similar project, variously entitled "Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel" and "Secrets of the Mayan Time Machine." In 2010, news of this project made it to the press and at that time, it was reported that the novel was being written with the help of "secret information" never before released by the Mexican government. But Julia-Levy says that this movie, with an estimated budget of 80 million dollars, has no connection to the current documentary. That film is on hold as it was to star Wesley Snipes, who is currently serving a prison sentence for tax evasion.

Since news about Julian-Levy’s documentary has circulated, Guatemala's minister of tourism, Guillermo Novielli Quezada, has added that “Guatemala, like Mexico, [is] home to the ancient-yet-advanced Mayan civilization” and that it “has also kept certain provocative archeological discoveries classified, and now believes that it is time to bring forth this information in the new documentary." On his personal Facebook page, Julia-Levy said: “I think the world is ready for the truth, we may have a strong opposition by the Vatican, but the truth is the truth and we can't hide it any longer, I'm ready for this journey and ready to tell the world a story that will change their minds forever.”

So whether or not this story involves extraterrestrial beings, some great truth or merely first-time access to some archaeological sites, the world is watching this documentary, and will need to wait for another year, as it is scheduled to be made into a theatrical release by late 2012.