The above photo, of the star cluster Pleiades, is the work of my old childhood friend (and first love, and second husband (for two years in our 30s), and forever tribal member) Dick High. Since retiring from his career as a newspaper publisher, Dick has become consumed by his new passion, amateur astronomy. What started out as a small telescope in his back yard has morphed into twice monthly car-camping expeditions into the Anza-Borrego Desert or up Mount Palomar.
Twice each month, with the help of a back brace, he loads up his gigantic telescope and mount (about 200 pounds total) in a car bought specifically for its carrying capacity, and heads east from the California coast. He stays up for two nights (and sleeps fitfully during the day between). The telescope takes about 2.5 hours to set up, and another 1.5 hours to dismantle and stow for the day. Since, he’s there for two nights, and has to do each set-up and dismantle twice, he spends a total of 8 hours just on those tasks.
For this photo, Dick comments, via email: “Its amazing blue color comes
from the light of the bright stars hitting cold background gas clouds. Cold
clouds reflect blue light, while hot clouds emit red light. In order to get this image, I combined 112 separate photos [taken in November and December 2010] in order to get the faint background while not being overwhelmed by the super bright stars.
Dick is learning how to go deeper and deeper into the universe with his camera, to clearly capture the faintest of galaxies; and the deeper he goes, the longer the camera has remain trained on a single point. The man is dedicated, his passion driven by awe. As he remarks, “Their splendor blasts past the mind to touch the soul.”
Last summer, in honor of our 50th high school anniversary, Dick and I spent some quality time together. Traveling up and down Idaho highways, we dug deep into conversation.
So it was then, that given Dick’s interest in “the above,” it came as a complete surprise to me that he doesn’t “believe” in UFOs or ETs. I thought for sure that we would have a great conversation about that too. I’ve seen UFOs in the desert between Fairfield and Gooding, Idaho. Dick’s brother Dave has seen UFOs in the desert between Jackpot, Nevada and Twin Falls. And back in high school, their father, a well-known and deeply respected state senator, told us that he had seen UFOs on several occasions. He also told us about “Project Bluebook.”
Now why haven’t little blue men appeared to Dick while he camps, alone, in the desert? That area of the country is supposedly rife with UFO sightings, and in fact, I’ve seen them there, too. Much to my surprise, actually.
The occasion was the International UFO Congress, Laughlin, NV, in February, 2009. Having not attended such an enormous and multifaceted conference before, I was seriously overwhelmed, and found myself starting to close down. I noticed that I was especially polarizing against a man who had offered to take groups of people out onto the desert each evening with night vision goggles. He claimed that there were lots of UFOs out there, every single night! I thought he was crazy. That’s impossible! That can’t be true!
As is my tendency when confronted with something that I think impossible, I decided to test the boundaries of my own epistemological framework.
I signed up.
So there I was, standing in the dark, spooky desert near the road with about twenty other people sharing a dozen night vision glasses. And, almost immediately, there they were! We all saw them through the goggles and tracked them with tiny hand-held lasers. The UFOs appeared as tiny, far, far-up lights traversing the sky, at about the same speed, it seemed to me, as a satellite, but stopping, starting, darting, quickly changing direction . . . definitely not satellites; not planes either, since they didn’t blink.
So why did we see them, and not Dick? Could it be the goggles? (Looking at the same point in the sky without goggles, the lights were just barely perceptible, easily missed; without thinking they were there, who would look for such faint traces?) I urged Dick to get night-vision goggles, and in fact, have been on the look-out for a used pair myself ever since. I’d love to test the skies around here in southcentral Indiana some clear, dark night. In fact, I know just the fire tower to climb in a nearby state park.
Or maybe it’s that these strange lights follow the leader wherever he goes with his night-vision goggles! (I mean, anything‘s possible.) Or maybe it was just that location, near Laughlin, which is, no doubt, pretty close to at least one secret above ground or underground U.S. air base. (UFOs are known to frequent military bases especially ones with nuclear missiles. See testimony from over 400 retired military: www.disclosureproject.org.) Or maybe the UFOs were actually advanced U.S. military test planes, back-engineered from crashed UFOs.
In any case, whatever it was that we all saw, Dick does not see them, and Dick does not “believe.” Maybe he can’t see UFOs because he doesn’t think they are there. Maybe his internal epistemological framework forbids their entrance into his awareness.
When I asked him why, incredulous, that he wouldn’t even consider that ETs might be visiting us from other places, he said that the distances were so vast that he just didn’t see how they could travel so far. It would take too long.
At the time, I just shook my head, and muttered, “But if you think about dimensions, different dimensions . . .” and left it at that.
Now here’s what I’d like to say to Dick. It’s still not all that articulate, and I hope any physicist would forgive me, but here’s what my intuition tells me. Here’s why I don’t have a problem with things taking a long time to get here. Why? Because Earth’s time/space matrix might not apply anywhere else.
Matter, Energy and Dimensions
If, with Einstein, we assume that matter is convertible into energy (as we proved with the atomic bomb), and if we assume that energy vibrates at different frequencies, that the range of frequencies is infinite, and that each frequency (or cluster of frequencies) can be experienced as a stable plane or dimension, then, in this dense third-dimensional frequency in which we humans operate here on earth, we can acknowledge both the possibility of an infinite number of other dimensions and of beings who live in them, despite the fact that our five-sense bodies cannot normally perceive or interact with them.
All of us have had experiences that we cannot explain rationally. Even one UFO sighting, or one occasion when a mortal illness mysteriously disappeared, or one miracle when physical laws must have been bent else we would have been killed, clues us in to mysteries which seem to evade the foundations of science, and yet, we will swear upon them, they were real.
To think in terms of an infinity of dimensions, then the laws of this third dimensional reality may not apply when we ask ourselves how long does it take to get from Earth to other planets, or even other galaxies or universes. What we think of as “Time” is itself a condition of Earth-based consciousness, and this space/time matrix something that we need only pop through to enter the incomprehensible.
In this spirit, on this exopermaculture site, we ask again that we serve to build a bridge between above and below.
Above to below: Let us become consciously aware of the larger etheric nutrient soup in which Earth floats and how inquiries into the various dimensions of and entities from celestial worlds behind and within might enhance our Earth-based permacultural practice.
Below to above: In alignment with what, for some, are the first two permaculture principles, let us “observe and interact” with the usually unnoticed “edge” of our own psychological and epistemological horizons so that we may see through them.
Ultimately, by dissolving this little noticed, but closely guarded psychological and epistemological edge between Earth and space, we invite cross-fertilization between our familiar world and worlds — dimensions — that lie both beyond and within. What some have called “zone zero zero” in permaculture lives, both within ourselves and in the universe, as the clear, unbounded, infinite space of consciousness, what physicists might call the quantum zero-point field of endless potential.
Next up: Zone Zero Zero