I've been a little distracted lately and haven't been focused on blogging. But for what it's worth, here are some random tidbits of wisdom, or if not wisdom, at least thought-provoking stupidity.
First, this science article claims new support for the theory of a holographic universe. Note that the universe as a holographic projection is entirely consistent with an idea often explored on this blog – that the space-time cosmos is projected out of pure information. A holographic plate, after all, is nothing but a record of wave interference patterns, which constitute information. It is possible to convert any interference pattern into a series of ones and zeros, or (conversely) to convert a series of ones and zeroes into an interference pattern. In fact, it is possible to create a holographic plate without any physical template at all, simply by plugging in the right numbers to create the appropriate interference patterns. This is called computer-generated holography.
I don't think anyone believes that the space-time universe is produced as a hologram of some other physical universe that serves as a template, as would be the case in conventional holography. If the universe is, in some sense, a vast animated hologram, then its point of origin is presumably a set of raw information (and algorithms) that underlies physical phenomena. This is the essence of the virtual-reality universe hypothesis.
Second, Victor Moura points me to a new study of mediumship that appears to show distinctive brainwave patterns for mediums when they practice their art. However, the number of mediums studied was small – six people, only four of whom could be evaluated (and, even then, just three of the four scored above chance in their readings).
I'd still like to see what would happen if a medium with a good track record were to consent to be hypnotized before a reading. I suspect that accuracy would improve considerably, though of course I could be wrong. Hypnotic states seem to be strongly correlated with increased psi abilities, possibly including mediumistic skills. Trance mediums seem to possess the ability to hypnotize themselves, but since there aren't many trance mediums operating today, hypnotism performed by a hypnotherapist might be a viable alternative.
Third, the more I look at life on earth, the more I'm convinced that – for whatever reason – it's supposed to be nasty, brutish, and short … or at least rough sledding for most of us. I don't understand why, but the challenges and difficulties of life seem to be a feature, not a bug. Maybe it's all about learning separation, as Art likes to say, or maybe it has to do with free will, or maybe the earth is a dumping ground for immature and destructive spirits, or maybe there's some other explanation. I have no idea. But the sheer amount of craziness, evil, violence, suffering, and pain in the world goes far beyond an incidental glitch in the system. If we believe that earthly life has a larger purpose, then that larger purpose must encompass the negative things as well as the positive.
For that reason, I wouldn't be too quick to judge people who might be viewed negatively in "spiritual" terms – people who are drawn to lives of violence, such as professional soldiers. It's commonplace for those who regard themselves as spiritually enlightened to look down on the warrior class and to mouth platitudes like "war is bad for children and other living things." But war and many other kinds of strife and conflict seem to be built into the nature of reality as we experience it on this plane. Constant clashes between neighbors and nations appear to be an inherent part of earthly existence, which means that people with the personality of a fighter are very much at home in this world, and often very much needed.
We might extend this point of view to people who are militant in intellectual areas, such as militant debunkers of the paranormal. As much as we may dislike or disagree with their point of view, they are undoubtedly serving a vital purpose in the larger scheme of things.
In fact, we might go so far as to say that everybody is serving his or her purpose – that everyone is on the right path, whether or not it looks that way from our perspective.
FYI, here's a link to a blog post by Stafford Betty on John Adams' dying words - a subject that was discussed here recently in a comments thread.
And here's a link to a book released last year, The Last Frontier, by Julia Assante. It covers the evidence for postmortem survival and discusses ways of accessing your own mediumistic talents. I've read only part of it so far, but it seems like a very good overview, well researched and clearly written. It's available in print and ebook editions.