Where did the time go?

It is New Years Day, 2023. Where did the time go? What to do with the time left? There is no time like the New Year to ponder time.

What is time?  I posed to my oldest and dearest friend while waiting for coffee to arrive. ‘Its a noun’ he replied. Then mumbled something off the cuff about organising things with it. End of conversation. He is a retired school teacher, but clearly off his game. The coffee had not yet arrived. If he was on his game he would probably have said that, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, time is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past present and future regarded as a whole.” He would then have presented a slide show with his laser-light pointer to demonstrate his definition, thus:

The Vacheron Constantin model 57260 pocket watch, named the “Tivoli”,  was built by three watchmakers over eight years for one client and is a complex and sophisticated monitor of the procession of time.

The front of this watch is the side with the gold Roman numerals up top. There’s an astronomical calendar, which includes a display of the phases and age of the moon, a hand that tracks the movement through the Zodiac along with the equinoxes and solstices, a rotating sky chart, hands showing both hours and minutes for sidereal time for telling the difference between sidereal and solar time. Sidereal time tracks the earth in relation to the stars instead of in relation to the sun and differs from solar time by plus or minus a few minutes. You can also see what time the sun will rise and what time it will set in the watch owner’s home city as well as how long the day and night will each be on that day. There are three full calendar systems in this watch. The first is a Gregorian perpetual calendar that includes displays for the date with a retrograde hand, day of the week, month and year in the leap year cycle. There are also indicators for the number of the day of the week and number of the week in the year in accordance with the ISO 8601 standard calendar. The second calendar is a Hebrew perpetual calendar. This shows the Hebrew name of the day, Hebrew name of the month, Hebrew date, Hebrew secular calendar, Hebrew year, whether the year has 12 or 13 months, where in the 19-year lunar cycle that year is, and the date of Jewish holy day Yom Kippur, which moves around the calendar. It has a Double retrograde split-seconds chronograph and…. it also tells the time. The hours and minutes are shown with regulator-style hands, meaning the hours and minutes are on separate axes. The small gold hands show a second time zone.

This is how time is measured in a practical day-to-day way. But it does not explain the mind’s perception of time; of how, when my dear friend is supervising an examination room, time for him drags at a snail’s pace whereas time for the students, with so much to do, races like a mouse (a house mouse’s actual top speed is 13kmh while it ‘feels like’ 260kmh. another time-distorting example). This pocket-watch device is simply the measure of our observation of the motion of our planet in relation to the observable environment in which we exist, but is that all there is to time?

I needed more. If my dear friend had been a retired Physics teacher he might have said that, according to Minkowski, who was Einstein’s Professor, time is the 4th dimension of Space-Time, additional to the three spatial dimensions of length, breadth and depth. This formed a basis for Einstein’s theory of relativity. While the watch is a time-based micro management tool, Minkowski and Einstein were trying to understand macro time in a past, present and future sense. But what does this 4th dimension mean? The three dimensions of space are easy enough to understand because we can see them, but  no-one seems to quite understand how time works as a 4th dimension.

We do know that we process information about our universe in a delayed sense according to the speed of light. The furthest star in the Southern Cross group is 364 light years away. So when looking at the Southern Cross tonight the furthest star is, to our eye, as it was when Oliver Cromwell ruled England and the closest star in that constellation is 88 light years away, showing us what that star was like when Franklin D Roosevelt was President of the USA. This is simply the nature of the universe, the further something is from us, the slower the delivery of awareness of that something. Therefore the further out from earth we look the further back in time we see.

So, the mechanical devices that monitor time, as observed by the rotation of earth relative to the moon, sun and other stars, are in fact no more than human inventions by which we try to control time, without which the organisation of our civilisation would fall apart. We also have a theoretical, invisible ‘fourth dimension’ formula that Minkowski and Einstein understand, but which is incomprehensible to most humans. And we also know that light, or the speed of it, seems to have a real effect on ‘time’ in a cosmological environment. So is time the effect of the motion of our planet on our lives, a fourth dimension of nature or is it the process of the motion of light particles? Or does time, perhaps, only exist in our minds?

This brings us to observe a tiny gland buried in our brain, right between our right and left hemisphere. It is illustrated here in green. We call it the pineal gland, because it looks like a pine cone, even though it is only the size of a pea. In fact the Sumerians referred to the pine cone shaped gland in clay tablets thousands of years old, which is extraordinary medical knowledge to have had so long ago. The ‘sacred’ nature of this gland was also known thousands of years before modern science now tells us that this gland produces melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone which modulates sleep patterns in both circadian and seasonal cycles. Melatonin is a structurally simple hormone that communicates information about environmental lighting to various parts of the body. Ultimately, melatonin has the ability to control biological rhythms. The light-transducing ability of the pineal gland has led some to call the pineal the ‘third eye’. The pineal gland is also capable of making a compound called Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT is a powerful psychedelic chemical released during extraordinary states such as time of birth and the time of death. DMT is also the chemical that induces our dreams of life in a timeless state.

The pine cone symbol has appeared in religious and spiritual images for thousands of years. Depictions of Hindu deities are interwoven with both literal and symbolic representations of serpents and pinecones. The Egyptian Staff of Osiris, dating back to approximately 1224 BC, depicts two intertwining serpents rising up to meet at a pine cone. A statue of the Mexican god “Chicomecoatl” (“Seven Snakes”) depicts the deity offering forth pinecones in one hand, and an evergreen tree in the other. Those who have visited the Vatican may recall the large pine cone sculpture that is displayed and which was built by the Romans, in pagan times, as a fountain alongside the temple of Isis. The pine cone symbolism is common throughout Greek and Roman art in reference to religion and it is hypothesised that the pine cone is the “fruit from the tree of life” referred to in Genesis. With all the references to serpents, it should be noted that, even today, the serpent remain the emblem of the medical profession.

So how did I get from a multi-million dollar customised pocket watch to a pea-sized pine cone? I was wondering that myself. Are we still talking about time? Yes we are, well about time and the absence of it. I am now wondering if time is the mechanism that our brain uses to process data. Our brain needs to organise events in a sequential list just to comprehend them and manage our lives.

Those yogis who achieve a very deep meditation state through the awakening of the ‘third eye’ put themselves into a state of timelessness, as do those under the influence of the psychedelic chemical DMT. Those who have returned from a near death experience, Anita Moorjani and Dr Mary Neale being two of the more famous living examples, also experience this timeless awareness. The pineal is the first gland to be created in the body, one month after conception, and is the last functioning part of the body at death with a great psychedelic shot of DMT to take us into the next dimension of body-less timelessness.

And in that timeless sense of time we are describing what the Greeks referred to as “Kairos” as distinct from “Kronos.” Kronos is a god associated with sequential time and is represented by the scythe-yielding, cloaked and hooded old man, Father Time, leading us all to the grave. His Roman name was Saturn and the sixth planet from the sun was named for him. From ‘Kronos’ comes the word ‘chronological’. Kairos on the other hand refers to time being a “timeless moment’. In Greek mythology Kairos is a young heroic god, youngest son of Zeus and the spirit of opportunity. But it was said you needed to seize Kairos from the front as he approached because, once he has passed, not even Zeus can seize him. Often this moment of opportunity is represented in movies, when the hero is suddenly aware of the heroine for the first time, by voiceless sounds, slow motion action and surreal lighting. In the book of Ecclesiastes phrase “to every thing there is a time”, time is translated in the first Greek Bible as Kairos. In Wm Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the quote “There is a time in the affairs of men” also refers to Kairos.

If our universe is actually made of three dimensions, space, mass and time.  Space is then split into three dimensions: the  light-reflecting space, that which we can see; light-absorbing space (black holes); and the dimension of wormholes, (a space version of the laundry shute in a multi-storey home). Mass is also split into three: height, length and width. And since the universe is the ultimate example of mathematical symmetry and so we could reasonably presume that time also has three dimensions which would then bring us to the great number 9 in universal majesty. We understand lineal or solar time, it has a beginning, middle and  an end. A second possible dimension would be managed time, the process of time appearing to slow down or speed up; and then dreamtime could complete the third dimension of time. When we experience deja vu, or when we  dream of ourselves in an unfamiliar setting or get a sense of some spiritual force, maybe that is just our us connecting briefly to ourselves or others in another dimension. Is our mind in sleep-mode simply wandering through the cosmic human database that is stored in the ether? That would be a long way into the speculative theory zone for us in this lineal time dimension. But perhaps that pea-sized, pine cone shaped pineal gland just our brain-computer’s wi-fi device connecting us to the universe and transferring us between three dimensions of time? And I confess I am not even sure what I mean by all of that or where such speculation came from. Did I just dream that up?

Goodness is that the time? Doesn’t it just fly by when you are immersed in writing? I must get off to bed; my melatonin levels are signaling that I need eight hours of timeless downtime from this game of life. I need to sleep…..to sleep perchance to dream. (credit: Hamlet, an avatar of Wm. Shakespeare). 

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A mid-winter night’s tale

Image credit: unknown

Christmas morning is the most anticipated and most celebrated day in the history of the western world.

The Christian religion is based on the gospels of the New Testament of the Bible. But Christianity was alive and flourishing for 300 years before the Christian Bishops of the Catholic Church of Rome selected these four gospels and wrote the narrative upon which the modern Christians rely for their beliefs.

The star of Bethlehem is the defining cosmic symbol of the birth of Christianity. The star that prompted the three Magi to travel for several months to bear witness to the birth of the Messiah, the one who would be king of the Jews. This, of course, made the three Magi themselves also an essential part of the birth of Christianity and yet we never hear of them again in the books of the New Testament. We read in the bible that they visited the Court of King Herod on their journey and were instructed to report back to him when they had found this royal baby. We read that after the Magi witnessed the birth, they returned to Persia by a different route to avoid Herod; and we read that Herod then issued orders for all Jewish males under the age of two to be slaughtered to ensure the death of this potential threat to his line.

We also read that Mary and Joseph were warned of the threat by an angelic non-earthly being and they departed urgently with their new born for Egypt. When Herod died two years later, the family returned to Judea. But after that we read very little about Yeshua (Adapted in Greek to Ioasus and then Romanised/ Anglicised to Jesus) with the only reference during the first thirty years of his life being at age twelve when he was taken with his family to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem, as they did each year. On this occasion he astounded the Hebrew scholars with his knowledge of scripture but we have no idea how Yeshua gained the knowledge that he impressed the scholars with, or where and how he spent the subsequent eighteen years before he publicly began his ministry with his baptism at age thirty. That was quite a mature, middle aged man by the standard of the day.

At age 30, Yeshua was baptised by Yohanon (John), said to be the son of his mother’s cousin. Yohanon was a Nazirite which is a strict sect of Judaism. Nazirites were desert dwellers who believed in purification by immersion in water, who adhered to extremely strict ascetic vows and who have special powers to cast out demons. Notably, following his baptism Yeshua himself went into the desert where he was tempted by Satan with worldly goods before making his final resolve to embark on his God-inspired mission to gather “the lost sheep of Israel” and challenge the religious hierarchy of Judea who had ‘turned God’s house into a den of thieves’.

Minor errors in creating the modern Gregorian calendar have demonstrated that the birth of Jesus would not have been at the beginning of 1ad as we assume. King Herod the great, who is also central to the nativity story, is recorded to have died in 4bc. The belief is that under the Gregorian calendar Yeshua would have been born around 6bc. So what, then, was the wandering star that caused the Magi to set off on their search? Computers today enable us to back-trace the location of planets and even comets two thousand years ago. An obvious first point to check is whether the star of Bethlehem was Halley’s comet on its regular circuit. But that passed through earth’s sky in 12bc, at least 5-6 years before the birth. Apart from which, in ancient times, comets were considered forerunners of catastrophe, not the joyful birth of a king.

Of interest, the original Aramaic text of the Magi’s explanation is that they had seen Yeshua’ star “in heliacal rising.” This means a star that appears immediately prior to sunrise. The most significant planetary observation is the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn which make an exceptionally bright light, although from two planets aligned rather than being one star. This alignment randomly appears in different constellations each time but when it occurs in the constellation of Pisces it is recognised as the Star of David, symbol of Judaism.

It was Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy, who had studied the writings of a medieval Jewish scholar, Rabbi Abarbonel, and discovered the significance to the Jewish people of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which together shine like a superstar, in the constellation of Pisces. This alignment was regarded as the ‘Star of David’. Kepler also calculated that during 6bc this alignment of Jupiter and Saturn made the rare appearance in Pisces and was in fact a triple conjunction, occurring three times in the period. This has been confirmed by modern computer-generated calculations as occurring in 6bc on May 22, October 8 and December 2, with the heliacal rising in the dawn sky. This is a very plausible source of the legend that the birth of a king who would restore the line of David would be signaled by this ‘Star of David’ appearing. In Greek lore Saturn (Cronus) is the heavenly father of Jupiter (Zeus).

So the Magi were literally looking for the Jewish baby boy born under the Star of David, who was born to be king. This would certainly spark the interest of Magi who were astronomers, given such a rare conjunction and even more so spark the alarm of the current King of Judea, Herod. Triple conjunctions are rare and a triple conjunction in Pisces, the Star of David, is even more rare. It should also be noted that this time was also when the vernal equinox was moving from the age of Aries into the age of Pisces, the fish. This is notable with the significance of the symbol of the fish in Christianity. The last 2,000 years which began with the Magi observing a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces has certainly been the age of Christianity. The next triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was in 967 ce when it had just moved out of the Pisces constellation.

So what then became of the three Magi? The Magi were the astronomer-priests presumed to have travelled from Persia and, if so would have been adherents of the religion founded by a Persian astrologer/ philosopher named Zarathustra.  It would seem most unlikely that three foreigners who followed the religion of Zarathustra, an opposing religion to Judaism, would be summoned by the Jewish God, Yahweh to witness the birth of Yeshua for no other reason than to bring gifts and then depart. Yet the authorised New Testament of the Bible speaks no more of them, in fact there is only one reference to them which is in the Book of Mathew. There is a reference in an extract from a medieval saints calendar printed in Cologne which read, “Having undergone many trials and fatigues for the Gospel, the three Magi met at Sewa (Sebaste in Armenia) in A.D. 54 to celebrate the feast of Christmas. Thereupon, after the celebration of Mass, they died: St. Melchior on Jan. 1, aged 116; St. Balthasar on Jan. 6, aged 112; and St. Caspar on Jan. 11, aged 109.” The Roman Martyrology also lists these dates as the Magi’s respective feast days. These are extraordinarily long lives for people of that age, giving rise to the question of what the title of Magi really means. In further research it would seem that the Magi had knowledge beyond that of ordinary folk. Knowledge of mathematics and sciences; of medicines and healing; astronomy and astrology; of metallurgy and alchemy; of feats that defy human understanding. To ordinary humans they had the mystical powers of what we call magic.

Did the Magi play a role in Yeshua’s education after his birth and the family’s return from Egypt? Did he live with them in Persia to prepare for his mission? And did they see his mission as purely spiritual to ‘fulfill the law of the prophets” or as the cosmically anointed inheritor of the kingship of David to restore the sovereignty of Israel as a defence against Rome? Rome was the primary enemy of the Persian Empire and Judea was located on their western border, separating the two empires. It was in fact earlier ruled by Persia before Alexander the Great conquered them. So it was certainly in the Persians’ political and military interest to have an allied, independent Judea between them and Rome. Whatever you think of this theory, clearly King Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the time, and the Jewish puppet priests, would take such a possibility very seriously.

It raises the question about just how much influence the Persian Magi had on the politics of Judea and whether they were continually working towards the eventual 66AD great uprising of religious zealots in Galilee and Judea when the Romans were finally driven out of the region. If so, it was a short-lived victory as Rome returned with a vengeance in 70AD and the Jews were driven from the land which was then given to the Philistines (Palestinians).

The history of the celebration of the actual Christmas Day traces back to the ending of the Roman persecution of the Christians. As a Messiah/ liberator Yeshua was recognised by the Romans and the Jewish High Priests as being intent on liberating the Jews from the rule of Rome and from the High Priests themselves, who were the puppets of Rome. This was a crime of sedition for which punishment was death by crucifixion. After his crucifixion, recovery and ascension into the heavens, his reputation lived on through his apostles and disciples, and in fact Christianity grew beyond Galilee and Judea and right throughout the Roman Empire which was causing the state of Rome some irritation. Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70CE scattering the surviving Jews and forbidding their Judaic religion. But this Christian sect of Judaism just kept growing, no small feat given the persistent efforts of the Roman Empire to crush it. However at around 313AD the Roman Emperor Constantine decided that he would make peace with the Christians. The official Roman Catholic version is that in 312 CE Constantine saw a cross in the sky the night before the battle of the Milvian Bridge against rival Emperor Maxentius (aka his brother) over supremacy in the combined East/West Roman Empire. Constantine decided that the vision of the cross in the sky was a sign of favour from Jesus (his wife was a devout Christian) and so he decided that if he won the battle then he would stop persecuting Christians as his part of the pact. No one recorded whether Maxentius on the other side of the bridge had seen the same cross, but in the end, he finished up drowned in the Tiber and Constantine ruled the world. The Cross in the sky was presumably the constellation Crux.

In effect, Constantine made the Christian bishops an offer they could not refuse. His patronage. That meant legitimacy and an end to persecution as well as an authority over the peasants in their parish that was backed up by the soldiers of Rome. This also meant an income from those peasants that could only increase as the emperor’s endorsement expanded their customer base. The bishops would become franchise holders of this empire-wide religious organisation. The head office would be established in Rome and the Bishop of Rome would be the capo di tutti. And so, it was agreed. The Christian church expanded with the support of Rome and the bishops made sure all those under their pastoral care were loyal to Rome.

The common people obviously bought into this concept, literally bought in, believing that it was a choice of paying a tithe to the parish priest or facing eternity in the fires of hell (and/or feeling the swords of the soldiers of Rome). These were a simple people facing simple choices and so the Church flourished. The Sicilian Mafia used a similar system to extract donations from the local business men with the slight adaptation of insuring their business premises against the fires of earth. Then in 325AD Constantine convened the first formal convention of all the bishops of this Christian Church of Rome at a place called Nicaea, which was in modern Turkey, just 70 kilometres from where he would build his great city of Constantinople just a few years later. Everyone loves a convention, especially in Turkey. Nicaea was no humble collection of cave dwellings in the wilderness from which the original Christianity had emerged; this was an historic and prosperous city right on the shores of the beautiful Lake Ascania. This convention was called to establish the doctrine of Christianity to which all Christians would be bound under pain of consignment to hellfire for all eternity. It was like a forerunner of our modern day COP climate change conferences with eternal hellfires on earth rather than in the underworld . One of the items on the agenda was to give Jesus the Nazarene a birthday to celebrate. His followers over the past three centuries clearly had not settled on a birthday celebration, so Constantine thought that needed sorting out. Jesus the Son of God had to have a birthday celebration which would be a nice little earner for the bishops.

But whether by coincidence or by edict, the day chosen for Jesus’ birthday was an existing Roman festival of Natalis Solis Invicti. This celebration recognised that the dates of 21st/22nd December are the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest night of the winter. On this winter solstice the sun drops to its lowest point in the sky, descending onto the Crux constellation now known as the Southern Cross which, due to the precession of the equinoxes, was visible low in northern skies BCE. There it appeared to ‘hang in suspended animation’ for three days before starting to rise again. So the 25th of December was the existing Roman festival of the rebirth of Mithra the Sun God.

Mithraism was the dominant pagan religious cult in the Roman military at that time. According to the Roman historian Plutarch, Mithraism became part of Roman religious belief during the military campaign of Pompey around 70BC. Worship of the deity Mithra goes back 3500 years in the Indian Verdic religion and spread up through Persia following the conquests of Alexander the Great, eventually becoming the primary god in Asia Minor. Mithra was referred to as the Sun-God. His legend also reportedly includes having been born in a cave to a virgin goddess named Anahita. As the Sun-God, Mithra was said to have had twelve satellites (read: apostles) and was believed by the Indians to be the mediator between God and Man. From this some scholars conclude that Constantine simply overlaid his Mithraic beliefs onto the Christian religion that he had usurped.

So, Jesus’ birthday was then agreed at the Council of Nicaea to be December 25th even though it would seem unlikely that shepherds would be tending their flock at night in the hills of Galilee during the snowy depths of mid-winter. It was a political decision by the ruling military power of most of the world at the time and the effective ruler of Christianity, but it has been retained by Christianity long after the fall of the Roman Empire. It could be said that the Roman Empire lives on under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church and the leadership of the Pope. Was this the greatest corporate takeover of all time? Bethlehem’s Family Bakery baking bagels for 300 years was taken over by Romano’s Pizzeria Global franchise enquiries welcome.

In summary, a relatively small, impoverished, and persecuted cult of thousands was taken over by Rome Inc. and today has a global client base of around two billion people paying off an advance mortgage on an after-life plot in heaven. It is now a modern, complex corporation worth untold billions of tax-exempt dollars and, in the afterlife, is beyond the reach of any Consumer Protection legislation.

The celebration of Christmas is the official recognition of the legend that just over 2,000 years ago, three magi (star watchers) travelled from somewhere in Persia to Galilee because they had noticed a very bright body in the night sky and, from their ancient knowledge, they concluded that this ‘star’ meant the coming of the anointed one, the Messiah. They followed this star until it shone a beam down to a stable in Bethlehem where they witnessed the birth of Yeshua. Now if anyone today told of a mysterious bright light in the sky leading three stargazers to a remote village in the desert to witness the birth of a child of a woman who had been approached by unearthly beings and artificially impregnated, they would be looked at with serious scepticism, at the very kindest. And when witnesses described that on same baby’s final day on earth he was lifted from the Mount of Olives and last seen entering a ‘cloud’ hovering above them, they would be ridiculed as alien conspiracy theorists. If those disciples added in that before this departure he had appeared to have died on a Crux, only to rise again into life three days later, then the men in white coats would definitely be getting a call. But, thanks to the endorsement of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and the ongoing endorsement of all subsequent Bishops of Rome, this story has been given the credibility to be accepted as the basis of the very conservative religion of Christianity. The basis for the conclusion that Yeshua was indeed a son of God.

Today the religious narrative of a bright light over Bethlehem, heralding angels, and an all-knowing son of God travelling in a flying cloud, have now all been corrupted into the commercial myth of a Santa Claus from the North Pole, who knows if you have been good or bad, who has elves helping him prepare rewards for the good, and who flies around the world on a warp-speed sky-craft to pass judgement on all the little girls and boys.

For the first 1600 years, Christmas was solely a religious event, a Mass involving devout worship, wholesome family gathering and alms to collect on behalf of the poor. Any money to be made was in tithes to the local parish priest for a special Christmas performance, which passed up the line until the head man in Rome eventually wet his beak. The priest might hope for a little bonus from his clients, but the despised merchant class was largely left out of the action.

Then, thanks to Coca Cola and the D’Arcy advertising agency, Saint Nicholas, a revered Christian patron saint of children and one of the original bishops at Nicaea, was rebranded as fat, jolly Santa Claus and the commercial Christmas era arrived in full force. In 1843 Charles Dickens had tried to start instilling a bit of guilt and goodwill in the hearts of the rich at Christmas time. But it was in 1931 that Coke that gave really gave Christmas the nostalgic magic of fantasy that overtook the religious festival and exposed the commercial potential of using Santa to endorse their products; and the rest of the commercial world quickly climbed aboard the sleigh.

Selling the idealism of a benevolent father figure living with his elves in the North Pole now runs parallel to the 4th century celebration of the arrival into Eastern European villages of the benevolent St Nicholas bearing gifts of sweet treats made by his helpers from Myra in faraway Turkey. St Nicholas himself paralleled the all loving Jesus living in heaven with his angels. Just as Constantine had blended an established pagan celebration with the birth of Jesus, so too Coca Cola blended the established Saint Nicholas celebration with a commercial Santa Claus celebration. It did not take long before the target market was extended to all people that we ‘love and care for’, and our extended families which are progressively becoming more complex, are socially coerced into getting together for this day.

That of course just exponentially increases the number of gifts that must be purchased. It became a gift-giving event that threatened social shame upon those miserly scrooges who did not support it. Brilliant! Was this one of the most effective marketing campaigns of all time? How many businesses today owe their existence and profits to that morphing of Santa Nicholas into Santa Claus? Including family lawyers with post-Christmas now becoming one of their busiest times of the year as the victims of this season of peace and goodwill turn up at their offices in January as predictably as whitebait in October.

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Green Peace in our time

Climate peace in our time: Paris 2015

The very first Globalist Climate Change Summit (Conference of Parties COP 01) was held in Berlin in 1995 and was a relativity modest and sombre affair consisting of 800 delegates, 1000 observer organisations and 2000 media. This was just to start the bureaucratic ball rolling and by 1997 in Kyoto there were an impressive 10,000 delegates but from then delegates collapsed to half that number over the next few years and so a special push to really lift the event focused on the 21st COP, Paris 2015. And they did it as a record breaking 28,000 bureaucratic delegates and media representatives descended on the city of love just before Christmas with their employers’ credit cards loaded and unlocked. And this summit to beat all summits culminated in the celebration dinner at which the Grand Poohbah of climate high priests could announce that sacrifices have been made and the gods of the climate have been appeased, for now.

The latest updated version of these ‘save the planet’ summits (COP26) has just finished in Glasgow, so they can tidy up a few details left as ‘matters pending’ from the last conference, COP25 in Madrid. Before Madrid it was Poland, of all places, that had won the bid to host the global bureaucratic Christmas party, COP24. Never mind the carbon footprint of the eighteen thousand people who travelled from all over the globe to have a ‘conversation about climate change’. Never mind the irony that it was being held in the heartland of Europe’s largest coal-producing region. The important question is ‘was it a bigger and better Christmas party than Francois Hollande’s in Paris?’ And the victory of the Polish-hosted battle in the war against climate change was declared by Michal Kurtyka in his embarassingly-staged jump for joy.

By contrast the Madrid conference in December 2019 was a bit of a disaster from the climate alarmists’ viewpoint despite the attendance of Saint Greta arriving on her magic yacht. The Christmas party had originally been intended for Brazil but was changed to Chile due to the unfriendly change in the political situation in Brazil. It was then changed again from Chile to Madrid, again because of ‘political’ issues. However the average Jose Spaniard on the street was not buying it and major protests really spoiled the party atmosphere of COP25. Discouraged and unable to reach any consensus they pushed pledges into the next conference as ‘matters carried forward’.

So, Glasgow 2021 was under enormous pressure to deliver a new “greenpeace in our time” resolution. They had to re-kick the party and ensure that an even better signed charter would be presented as our upgraded covenant with the climate gods to be stored in an ark and carried to the next pre-Christmas conference. This despite the position that on the street there are two camps of thought: those who believe climate change is a process of nature, and the hand wringers who say it is far too little, far too late, we are all going to fry.

But within the bureaucracy who attend such summits, the irony and hypocrisy is astounding. As an embarrassing start to Glasgow, the luxury Jaguar electric cars supplied to ferry the high priests around Glasgow were powered by oil-fired generators as there were insufficient electric charging points in Glasgow. On the airfields around Glasgow there were 140 private jets parked up that had been used to fly VIP delegates from around the world, the least energy-efficient means possible of attending. A minor detail let’s party on! And so at a conference denouncing the methane that is produced by raising cattle, delegates were filmed dining out at the Knightsbridge Steakhouse that serves beef steaks cooked in gold foil and costing between 850 and 1450 pounds sterling. No scientists presented a paper calculating the carbon footprint of that meal.

But like Madrid, Glasgow again ended in failure as it attempted to increase the targets that, in Paris, had been calculated by the leading members of our scientific community as the targets that would save the planet. Alok Sharma, the President at the Glasgow conference was not dancing on the table. This summit, living up to it’s city’s reputation, was as dour and sombre and affair as the very first conference in Berlin.

I am not a ‘climate change denier’. Indeed I would be alarmed if the climate did not change because that would indicate natural cycles had ceased which would certainly be the end of times. Why would scientists ever think that climate change, the warming and cooling of the planet and the raising and lowering of C02 levels, is anything other than the normal natural process that has continued throughout the eons. 

Our ancestor, homo erectus, evolved about two million years ago and survived until just 120,000 years ago so they lived through several cycles where both temperature and C02 levels have been at least as high as they are today. Even our sapiens species at only 200,000 years young lived through the cycle 120,000 years ago when C02 was as high as today and temperature was even higher, without a factory or car on the planet. So, let’s not be bullied into accepting a doomsday panic and giving the ‘end of the world is nigh’ high priests a blank chequebook to fund global pre Christmas conferences for their ‘conversations’. Let us only consider what impact the current climate observations and speculations might practically have on the lifestyle of our ice age species. The climate summits are no more nor less than arrogant humans believing we are rulers of nature. That humans caused the climate to change with our burning of fossil fuels and that we can again change the climate back again by our use of electric and solar powered batteries. Such simplistic, arrogant folly. How the Gods laughed.

When I say temperature change, what do you think that means? The scientists work, of course, off average mean temperatures when they get into this global warming issue. You might be surprised to know (I was) that the global mean temperature today is about 14-15 degrees Celsius. That, for reference, is also the average mean temperature of Milan, Italy.  When they talk about the global warming over the past 30-40 years, they are talking about a rise of 1 degree Celsius. Back in the Miocene epoch at the last major global warming spike, the global mean temperature was another 4-5 degrees Celsius higher than today, or an average of around 20 degrees C (or the current mean temperature of Brisbane Australia, but much cooler than Montego Bay, Jamaica which now averages 27 C).

And there is the misleading result of talking about ‘averages.’ A region that has a summer average of 40 degrees followed by an autumn average of 15 degrees, a winter average of minus 10 degrees and Spring of 15 degrees then has an annual average of 15 degrees. If this average mean temperature was maintained the climate alarmist would consider that a victory for climate management, but in fact it would still be a climate of three months of blistering heatwaves and three months of sub-zero conditions which is a dreadful climate for those living there. And while our climate scientists at Paris and Poland went on about the C02 emissions creating a greenhouse warming across the whole planet, the reality is quite different. We do have regions experiencing exceptionally hot summers at the same time some are experiencing record breaking cold temperatures in winter across Europe, Asia and the USA. What we are experiencing is not a gradual warming from a high level of C02 gas in the atmosphere as though we are living in a glasshouse, but in fact the weather is becoming more extreme at both ends of the temperature gauge. And those extremes are not explained by a greenhouse effect.

It just puts a little perspective into the debate and perspective is what the current climate handwringers seem to be ignoring. Man has been through these climate changes before. Life goes on in those climates. Yes we would probably want to improve our air conditioning systems and some of us may end up with a beachfront property where once we had a main road between us and the sea, but we can adapt although sea rise currently is at its most stable since the natural emergence from the ice age and the melting of the icecaps over the past 10,000 years.

Having emerged from the forests 200,000 years ago, we have built our great cities and civilisations because of the ‘sapiens’ gene. We have done so through notable periods of climate change with ice caps expanding and retracting, sea levels rising and falling. We have had the imagination to adapt to our ever-changing conditions and challenges to improve our experience of life on earth.

We now need to focus our energies on more intelligent and imaginative use of resources, recycling, and re-engineering to meet the climate challenges that nature and our own activities present us today. Yes we need less air-polluting sources of power than fossil fuels and less ground-polluting sources than nuclear power or battery-stored energy. Yes we need to regenerate forests and natural habitats. Yes we need to prepare for higher seas and more extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. So let’s get on with it and stop wasting time with King Canute conferences that just clog up the process with hand-wringing, progress-stalling bureaucracy, forever adjusting the narrative and setting new targets to ensure that the conversation never ends. And stop blaming humans as though we created carbon dioxide. For whatever caused the high levels of C02 in the atmosphere in the eons before 1800 ad, we are reasonably sure it wasn’t humans and engines.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that right after Christmas 2018 an urgent meeting of geophysicists gathered to update the World Magnetic Model. As you no doubt know, the magnetic North Pole is not located at the same place as the geographic North Pole, or true north, so navigation systems need to know exactly how far apart the two points are. As it turns out, the magnetic North Pole had moved further away from where we thought it was and that is no small matter for navigators and so the urgent meeting was called in January 2019 to correct our calculation model. They expected to get five years life from the 2015 magnetic model, but it was realised that the geomagnetic north pole location was experiencing an unpredicted erratic change and the revised model was launched under urgency in 2019.

The unpredictable wandering of the North Pole has occupied the imaginations of scientists and explorers ever since it was first accurately located in 1831 by James Clark Ross in the Canadian Arctic. But in the mid-1990s it’s speed accelerated from around 15 kilometres per year to around 55 kilometres per year. By 2001, it was in the Arctic Ocean. It is currently on track for Siberia. Likewise in our part of the planet the magnetic south pole has now moved off the coast of Antarctica and is now even outside the Antarctic circle.

The iron core in the centre of the earth generates our planet’s magnetic field; if the inner earth motion changes, it affects the direction of the magnetic field. In 2016, Satellites tracked an acceleration of the magnetic field beneath South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists are trying to understand just what is going on deep inside our planet and what affect various scenarios might have on earth’s magnetic field. It may be a result of geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, or it might be a result of hydromagnetic waves deep within earth’s core. But what scientists can tell us, from study of magnetic minerals in the ice core, is that it is all quite natural. Over the eons the poles have completely reversed on average every 2-300,000 years; the last reversal was nearly 800,000 years ago so they are saying we are actually well overdue for another switch. They also calculate that the process of reversal took over 20,000 years to complete so we do get time to change the order of the N-E-W-S letters on our compasses.

The earth’s magnetic field is one of the two powerful forces in our atmosphere, the other being gravity. In theory gravity is over 100 times stronger than magnetism but, for my money, if you pick a nail up from the floor using a magnet and it stays stuck to the magnet you would have to think that magnetism has won that arm wrestle. That’s all by the by; the main job of the magnetic field is to shield our planet from excessive galactic cosmic rays. So, the real question is, could a shifting magnetic field have an effect on climate and weather patterns? Heatwaves, winds, storms, deluges, tidal surges, arctic ice-shelf calving; that sort of thing? It’s worth thinking about. Certainly, there are some Danish scientists giving it very serious thought. Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, professor in the Division of Solar System Physics at the Danish National Space Institute in Copenhagen, has been researching the link between galactic cosmic rays and earth warming for decades. In 1997 his study was published with the conclusion that: During the last solar cycle, Earth’s cloud cover underwent a modulation more closely in phase with the galactic cosmic ray flux than with other solar activity parameters. Further it is found that Earth’s temperature follows more closely variations in galactic cosmic ray flux and solar cycle length, than other solar activity parameters. The main conclusion is that the average state of the heliosphere affects Earth’s climate. More recently this claim has been supported by two Danish geophysicists, Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager using data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman to compare our magnetic field with that of 5,000 years ago. The results of the study have been peer reviewed and published in the U.S. scientific journal ‘Geology’.

Anyway, the increasingly unpredictable shift of the North Pole is a geological fact that nobody can deny and so there will have to be far more regular meetings of the people who are required to keep our navigational systems in working order. They will, of course, have to meet pre-Christmas just so Santa can set the auto pilot control and get home to the North Pole quickly after a busy night. As it happens the ‘human-caused’ climate change zealots also favour pre-Christmas conferences, so maybe the geomagnetic mob can make a big annual conference-style event of this and the two groups can join forces. The additional numbers might increase the incentives that big cities are prepared to offer to get an economic injection of 30,000 people, all on expense accounts and looking for a $1,500 gold-foiled steak, turning up a few weeks before Christmas.

Maybe they will argue over bragging rights as to whether man’s industrialisation or earth’s magnetic field is having the greatest impact on the climate or maybe they will collaborate and decide that man is somehow affecting the earth’s inner iron core by mining coal and drilling for oil. Who knows? Not me, I am not a scientist I am just a Joe Blogger, and I am hoping Santa will bring me both an Akubra hat and a pair of Redband gumboots. Adapting to the natural ebb and flow of the climate environment has been the sapiens mantra for 200,000 years and so I will be tending my carrots and lettuces while the Court of Canute is ordaining Greta Thunberg, their reincarnated Joan of Arc, to lead us against the forces of nature.

The Climate change industry, on the face of it, is a scientific movement that is ostensibly quoting science as the reason for the hysteria. But in truth it is not a battle of the scientific theories, it is a new religious war. Christianity is the religion of the 2000-year cycle of Pisces. Christianity is the religion of the Europeans who conquered the world and brought industrialisation to the world beyond Europe. But the age of Pisces is over. The Age of Aquarius has arrived. And with it a new religion and a new maiden saint to lead this religion.

This religious revival for the new Age ostensibly worships Gaia, the mother earth god, rich with the traditional religious zealot placards of ‘the end is nigh’ and the incessant mantra chanting, but with a modern age twist. This new worshipper of Gaia takes its pick from the inventions of the Pisces generation: jet travel, luxury hotels, computers, smart phones, modern clothing, but chooses to dispense with the established source of that wealth, fossil fuels. That is their sole point of distinction for their religion of Aquarius. The impending environmental and social catastrophe, resulting from the mass extraction of the rare earth minerals required to partially replace fossil fuels as an energy source, is tomorrow’s problem and this generation does not do tomorrows. The surfboard of common sense has never withstood the surging wave of religious fervor and is not doing any better today.

I recall having watched Greta Thunberg, millennial poster child for the climate alarmists, speaking at the United Nations Climate Action summit in 2019. What venom was in that face and in the words she spoke? And she set the stage by so publicly promoting that she sailed to this UN Conference on a multi-million-dollar yacht so that she did not make a carbon contribution to the climate before returning to the Climate summit in Spain the same way to be received like a victorious Joan of Arc. Oh, how the UN delegates cheered, the irony lost on the adoring audience that they, in contrast, had all flown first class from around the globe to listen to her live, in person. And many of them possibly also numbered among the 22,000, the equivalent of 60 jumbo jets, who had travelled to the Poland climate alarmist conference the previous year and also among the 28,000 who had travelled to the earlier Paris alarmist conference. But they applauded the example that this child showed us by travelling on a yacht that not even the reasonably wealthy boomer, whose ‘capitalist excesses’ she despises, could ever hope to afford.

The most despicable tactic of the climate alarmists is their recruiting of schoolchildren such as Greta as their foot soldiers by instilling absolute terror in their young minds of the horrific apocalyptic death of all humans from the climate. It has become a religious revival movement determined to replace Christianity as manifested in the white European male. Greta has been anointed as their virgin child goddess. As a quick fact check, the climate has always been a cause of death in the world, particularly as it swings towards the extremes of heat or cold on its natural cycle. But climate as a cause of death has never been as low as it is today after a century of advanced technology, climate protection and humanitarian aid. In the 1920-30 decade, climate related deaths were recorded as 4- 500,000. By 1980 they were down to 50,000.

I have also noticed that these protestors have used as a strategy the apportioning of blame for the polluted state of our planet solely on the selfish excesses of the oldest generation still alive. ‘Ok boomers’, is now a common catch-cry which they see as a condescending patting of grandad on his deluded head. I don’t want to take the bait, wade in and fuel the animosity, but we do need to do a bit of a fact check on the charges made by these alarmists against us as ‘boomers’. It seems such a silly attack because generations are not fixed date separations. The generational transfer is quite fluid and while there will be evolving cultural footprints, exactly when they started and when they ended is very difficult to define. But let us look at a few key trends over the relevant decades:

Coal burning, one of the big human contributors to C02 in the atmosphere, accelerated most dramatically in the decade 2000 to 2010, and primarily in China. This was entirely a result of China becoming an economic ‘powerhouse’, building massive coal-powered factories to feed the millennial driven breed of “hyperstores”. The boomers were the ’boutique’ generation and the millennials have become the ‘hyperstore’ generation. Boomers considered a phone to be a purchase for life and they repaired appliances when they failed; in the millennial era we discard quickly and buy new, mostly with a made in China tag attached. And the flow on effect are the landfills and oceans clogged with discarded plastic and packaging waste.

Jet air travel is a massive contributor to C02 but, before the Covid-19 pandemic forced it, there was no sign of the millennial generation trimming down on demand for air travel. Scheduled services had in fact accelerated 80% in just 8 years from 2004 to 2012. The Travel industry had their business antennae set for the millennial market. A report by industry giant by Travelport said young people ages 18 to 34 were most likely to spend more money on vacations than other age groups. An Expedia poll showed also millennials travelled the most; 35 days each year to be precise.

But it is not just the airline industry that the millennials consume with voracious appetites. By 2010 the average boomer was 50-60 years old and their contribution to mobile phone use was relatively modest. Apple i-phone sales in 2010 were less than 40 million, but by 2017 it was well over 200 million. The massive growth in smart-phone consumption is fueled by the millennials and their social media addiction. Every smartphone is a handful of rare earth elements (as are the mechanisms of wind power generators and electric motors, but that’s another story for another time). Rare earth elements are separated from the rest of the earth by a highly toxic chemical process. The millennials consider mobile phones to be disposable items to be discarded and replaced every time someone tweaks a camera setting in a new model. One very visible and tangible consequence of this vast consumption of mobile devices as well as other high tech devices and green energy systems is, in a word, Baotou. That is a city in Mongolia that has grown to a population from under 100,000 when the boomers were born, to 2.5 million today; that population boom is based on the mining and processing of rare earth elements to satisfy the digital and green energy demands of the millennial consumers. Batou is now a seething toxic lake that is seeping into the subsoils and water table throughout northern Asia.

Batou, image credit Liam Young/ Unknown Fields

Baotou is one of the major sources today of these rare earth minerals and Batou by 2013 supplied 70% of the world’s use of these REE. But as demand has grown massively since then, other countries are getting in on the market. India, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Russia, and Brazil are all now mining rare earth elements. What started hidden away in ‘out of sight out of mind’ Mongolia and Northern China is now coming to a country near you, and all to satisfy the insatiable demand of the millennials to discard a 12-month-old phone for the latest model and to ‘go green’.

The millennials are also the generation that has brought in the Uber Eats mentality because they do not think they should have to cook their own meals. Paying for cars to drive around and around the block, pouring emissions into the atmosphere so that a car is always on hand to pick them up a plant-based burger when they feel the whim.

The alarmist millennials are spreading anxiety around the world like a virus all because the ‘average’ temperature has warmed by 0.8 degrees C since 1880 and the seas are rising at 1 – 2 mm pa. The reality is that the planet has been warming annually, and sea levels rising, consistently since the last ice age ended. In fact, scientific ice core analysis shows that Antarctica warmed about 20 degrees in the years from 20,000 to 10,000 years ago (while the rest of the planet warmed only 4 degrees over that period), the ice age was coming to its natural end. That was a process of nature and processes of nature extend over tens of thousands of years, not over decades. Of course, no alarmist is still reading because the official stance of millennial-controlled media is now to refuse to debate the issue. That decision exposes them as propagandists rather than journalists.

If you want to know how to handle global anxiety, you could do worse than talk to a boomer. We boomers grew up knowing that two men who represented two superpowers that lived in constant paranoid fear of each other, each carried a suitcase around with him everywhere he went in which was a button that could launch enough nuclear rockets to destroy the planet several times over in a matter of hours. When I was twelve we had the Cuba standoff crisis between these two nations that had us all just waiting for the minute that life-ending nuclear war started. Technology development in the previous generation had introduced nuclear power. Nuclear power was seen as a clean and highly effective alternative to fossil-burning coal power. As indeed it is, in theory. The phallic atomic bomb came as a very unwelcome side product driven by the ambitions of Hitler, just as Viagra was initially developed as a medicinal treatment for high blood pressure.

So, in our youth we protested to our elders, as youth will always do. We were the “Make love not war” generation and when we achieved our own democratic influence on the world, we did something about the situation, and we made the changes. This boomer generation built social bridges and healed the deep rifts of generations past. Racially bigoted laws in the USA were overturned as were laws against same-sex relationships. Racial slurs were replaced in common speech with respectful racial distinctions; ‘queers’ of previous generations became gays. Tolerance was the byword of boomers.

But too many of the current protest generation just want to fly around the globe from one conference junket to the next, ‘having conversations’ to relitigate the actions of the boomer and earlier generations rather than actually contributing to life in a positive way. And they skulk in the background, grooming their “Gen. Z’ children, like Greta, to demand that their grandparents start doling out their life savings, as they believe is their entitlement. If these millennial alarmists just keep playing the blame game as their only contribution to humanity and if life on earth does get less pleasant in coming decades, it won’t be the boomers that Gen. 20/20 will be pointing the finger of shame at, it will be the self-indulgence of the millennial generation and the lazy, impotence of their alarmist sub-category.

On reflection, I believe the first generation of humans to be born into the social media environment are a very troubled generation, psychologically. Society was simply not prepared for that degree of personal intrusion which has resulted in a highly anxious and paranoid generation. The boomers faced similar cataclysmic threats but, in general terms, were emotionally more capable of living with the threat of nuclear holocaust and getting on with life. We just had to have faith in the survival instinct of humanity.

But yet even today when ecological fear permeates the environment and creates a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ generation, there is a beacon of hope; and hope brings faith. We have a young man who is as fearless and creative as Greta Thunberg is frightened and helpless. His name is Boyan Slat. As a teenager, this young Dutch engineering student witnessed the state of the sea while diving in Greece and decided to do something about it. Today, still in his twenties, he is CEO of an organisation called Ocean Clean-up that has attracted over $30 million in funding from Silicon Valley and European corporations to develop the technology to both extract plastic from the ocean and to intercept plastic waste at their river sources. The challenges were huge but after six years of research, development and trialing, in late 2019 when Greta was sailing on her luxury yacht to New York and back to Madrid to talk, Boyan was also on the ocean, but he was collecting plastic waste from it. One thousand riverways have been identified as contributing 80% of the ocean junk clutter. In 2021 Coca Cola have become a global partner to help rollout the ‘interceptor’ programme to catch the rubbish before it reaches the oceans. Their next stage is the development of products made from this recycled plastic. His is a story we all should follow closely. He is the Steve Jobs of this young generation, with the intelligence and attitude to create real life solutions to, and opportunities from, our economic and environmental challenges.  What a pity Greta Thunberg did not talk about Boyan Slat when she got the chance at the UN. Greta Thunberg’s speechwriters, who made such a big point about her sailing to that conference across the ocean as her ‘save the planet’ contribution, did not once promote Boyan Slat’s impressive entrepreneurial work to clean up the ocean that she had just sailed on. On the contrary she proclaimed, on behalf of the millennial generation, that solutions were nowhere in sight.

Boyan Slat is the beacon offering the alternative path. He offers faith in the survival instinct and creativity of home sapiens to do what homo sapiens have done for 200,000 years. Use our imagination to solve the problem we face, clean up the oceans, clean up the rivers.

Credit: The Ocean Cleanup

Boyan, from an old boomer, ‘I love you, man.’

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