Wednesday, June 28, 2017

David Schindele "It Never Happened"

Retired Air Force officer David Schindele has recently published a book, "It Never Happened."  Mr. Schindele was a Minuteman launch officer assigned to Minot AFB, ND back in the late 1960s. [1965-1968]

Based on the available information, Schindele was on alert at a site near Mohall, ND when a "flying object" took down all ten of his Minuteman I missiles.  I'm assuming that all ten sorties dropped into LF No-Go mode.  This may have happened in December 1966 based on a local Minot newspaper story or later in 1967.

After the encounter, Air Force officials allegedly told Schindele that the incident "Never Happened" and that he was to speak of this no further.  According to Schindele, he did just that, keeping his silence for well over 50 years.

Is this the same incident that the late David Schuur reported while on alert at a Minot site back in the late 1960s?  I wrote a blog post back in 2010 looking into Schuur's story.

Project Blue Book does appear to list an investigation corresponding to a March 5, 1967 incident in and around Minot AFB, but received reports of a UFO sighting near Mohall, ND and Velva, ND from local policemen on March 2, 1967.  The object in question appeared to be moving east to west. 

I'll attempt to purchase Mr. Schindele's book and review its contents with a follow-on write up on this blog.

Note:  Mr. Schindele's book is listed on Amazon here.

Observing the "Hard Problem" of Consciousness in a Clinical Setting

Most have heard of the concept of the "hard problem" of consciousness.  David Chalmers describes it as the understanding of qualia.   What is the description of the color of red, or describe the scent of a rose.  Such is the difficult concept of defining consciousness which is still allusive to this day.

A recent read of Robert Burton's article in Nautilus, "When Neurology Becomes Theology," reminded me that I've been exposed to the "hard problem" numerous times in the clinical setting.

A patient presents with a paranoid ideation that her ex-boyfriend is a member of a Mexican drug cartel and she sees black helicopters surveying her outside her hospital window.  Numerous times I would be called into her room to verify that there were helicopters hovering near her window [our unit is on the 7th floor].  I saw no such flying objects and truthfully conveyed my observation.

A patient presented with a fix delusion that she was pregnant.  She was in her mid 80s, but vehemently believed that it was so, even acknowledging that it was physically impossible.  She was the recipient of a "miracle."

A male patient believed that his family was planning to storm the hospital unit and kill him for his money.  Subsequent review of the family dynamics showed this not to be true, yet the paranoid delusion persisted with the patient asking me to call the police, or to move him to a different room so as not to be found by family member.

A female patient believed that the "Holy Spirit" had demanded that she refuse all nutrition and that anything the color of purple be removed from her room.  Diagnosed with a late onset of schizophrenia with delusions of religiosity.

An elderly woman refused to see or talk to her son because she believed that he was an imposter.  He looked and acted like her son but her perceptions were that it was really someone else...classic Capgra's delusions.

The list of psychotic features have been numerous based on my 20 years of psychiatric observations.  Despite the obvious debilitating psychotic issues, they were all independently different.  Psychosis is a personalized manifestation.  None are alike, as each patient perceives the psychotic component via their construct of "self" awareness in different individualistic ways.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Paradigm Shift for this Blog?

If you noticed, I'm gradually shifting the blog postings away from the UFO topic.  UFOs tend to bore me at this point.  Its a waste of time both personally and intellectual-wise.  That's not to mean that I view the endeavors of others as a waste of time...that's their choice, but for me it's a distraction.

The UFO enigma, from a psychological point of view, provides no compelling answers for human development, the ecosystem, economical theories, and political governmental policies.

I'm an observer of the human mind and it's idiosyncrasies.  We as humans are a fascinating lot, both when healthy and when in the clutches of diseases and syndromes.  That's my job, my profession, to observe behaviors and to render help to the best of my ability.

The brain is a most fascinating organ.  It functions like a computer syphoning data from our eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds providing a complex map of how we view our external environment.  Yet, unlike a computer, the brain's "operating system" is vague and open to many interpretations...what is the basis for consciousness?

As complex as the brain, it's not a stand alone organ.  The moment the heart stops beating and circulation is interrupted we lose consciousness.  Restore circulation within a specific period of time, consciousness is restored.  I'm simplifying it, because there are numerous issues that could occur with brain functionality, but never the less, consciousness can be restored.

Metabolic imbalances and pathogens effect the functions of the brain resulting in altered states of consciousness in the form of deliriums.  But altered states does not wipe out entirely one's consciousness.  It continues to exist and functions even in a disadvantaged state.

The human body is a system that functions on a wellness continuum that seeks to maintain equilibrium via homeostasis.  This is where all of the physiological systems function in harmony and balance.

The human body is a compensatory system that automatically [involuntary response] compensates for any changes affecting homeostasis.  During a cardiac event [heart attack] where blood supply to the heart muscles is disrupted, peripheral blood vessels instantly constrict in the attempt to divert blood flow back to the heart.

The kidneys filtrates and monitors the quantity of red blood cells releasing a hormone that stimulates our bone marrow to produce more red blood cells if needed.  All of this happening without you ever knowing it.

The list goes on as far as a compensatory system, but the overall crux is that all of these involuntary actions lead to one important thing...protecting the functionality of the brain.  The body will sacrifice every other organ system with the final goal of protecting the brain.

I don't need to marvel at an enigma that has no material or philosophical meaning, when we as humans and all other living species are a marvel in their own right. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

The "Poor Man's" Multiverse

A thought exercise of sorts that I had concocted a few years ago while traveling to work.  Frankly, I've thought of this frequently.  Feel free to laugh, but I think there may be something to this at least in the form of an analogy.

When driving to work, my place of work being 35 miles away from my home, I'm traveling on I-15 South towards San Diego.  Usually it's approximately 2:20 PM so traffic is somewhat heavy but flowing without issue.

I'll use last Sunday as an example for this thought exercise.  Traveling south on the freeway, I'm surrounded by numerous vehicles as I-15 is 5 to 6 lanes in width.  I estimated that there were 20 to 30 cars ahead of me and the same in back of me.

We are traveling at different speeds [in this case velocity as there is a direction of travel].  I'm traveling at 65 mph.  Other vehicles are traveling at various speeds, that is they are either passing me, or I'm passing them, but we are traveling in the same direction south.

The occupants are oblivious to my personal presence.  Maybe a brief recognition of my vehicle, but nothing more.  I've no idea what is being said in the other vehicles or what is being listened to on the radios.  Basically I've no idea what they are thinking and neither can they say the same of me.

We are all in our own little world...our own universe with no interaction with the other.  We are separately engrossed in our own thoughts.  Any interaction from one would be from a random event...causing a potential catastrophic event in the form of an accident.

Is there a deterministic feature to this model? Yes, as we would all have a starting point and an end point, but those points can not be determined other than my own.  I must make an assumption concerning the other drivers.

Is there a free will component?  Yes, as we have the opportunity to freely change lanes and consciously attempt to drive in a safe manner as we are aware of the consequences of our actions.

Note to readers, my use of the term "free will" is a personal preference as modern day philosophy and psychology discourage the term, but circumvent this by substituting "choice" as way of defining the decisions we make when faced with numerous options or actions.

So there we have it.  My personal model of a crude version of the multiverse.  Numerous little universes existing side-by-side.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Consciousness and UFOs

Can consciousness explain UFOs?

This is a curios question, but worthy of pondering.  Both subjects are difficult to qualify as consciousness is a poorly understood reality while UFOs may be an abstract product of the other.  To look at this further, one has to separate the two with the hopes of defining each subject.

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.

The above via Wikipedia is a decent definition, but based on years of observation and interaction with individuals suffering from neurological insults, I believe that "quality" of awareness can be omitted.  So consciousness is the state of awareness that is not dependent on quality as this is purely a subjective term that an outside observer would attach independent of the observed individual.

Someone suffering from the total degradation of cognition still presents as conscious and he/she attempts to interact or interpret the environment [milieu].  Interesting observations have shown to me that these individuals are quiet aware of who they are...the have a sense of self-awareness.  They know their names; they respond to their names.  They may not know where they are, the current date, age, or the names of spouses/children, but they know that they exist.

I believe that it's possible to say that consciousness exists somewhat independent of cognition.  But if we throw in all of the cognitive functions, such as, memory, learning, judgement, spatial, and executive functioning, we are presented with an operative functioning neuro-system.  But, these functionalities appear to be somewhat loosely independent of consciousness. 

An unidentified flying object, or UFO, is in its strictest definition any apparent object in the sky that is not identifiable as a known object or phenomenon. However the term is widely used in popular culture to refer more specifically to supposed observations of craft of extraterrestrial origin. Most UFOs are later identified as conventional objects or phenomena.

Again from Wikipedia, we have a decent definition of the term "UFO."  The first part of the definition is spot on: "...object in the sky that is not identifiable as a known object or phenomenon..."  But the crux of the UFO cultural understanding is the last part, "...popular culture to refer more specifically to supposed observations of craft of extraterrestrial origin..."  This last part tends to be the universal definition.

You may recall that some years back I had spotted an object moving at high speed through my telescope and wrote a post about it.  To me, it was obviously a satellite of some kind, but I had one person commenting that I may have indeed seen an object of the ET variety...I did not.

But nonetheless, one's consciousness would be aware of the UFO as an external object.  The ability to comprehend the UFO would therefore fall under the realm of cognitive functioning, ie, memory, learning, judgement, etc.  As I had postulated in a previous post using a behavioral component with possible conditioning, then the individual is left to whatever interpretation fits his/her mental framework.

One's consciousness is aware of the UFO, but the actual interpretation of the object is an abstract construct of cognition.  The object may well exist in reality, but one must remember that reality is how things truly exist, not as they appear, nor how they are imagined.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Existing in Different Realities

Reality is an interesting concept.  Basically its the mental question that we ask on a second by second basis: "What is real?"

Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, not as it appears or as it is imagined.  Are UFOs a reality?  That depends on how you view reality which in turn goes to state of mind.  And most importantly, that reality may be intractably imbedded in relativism.  I'll touch on the concept of relativism in a later post, but it is the biggest obstacle we face when discussing the UFO subject both from a skeptical and believer point of view.

Can we exist in different competing realities?  The obvious answer is yes.  I use a personal example of living in two different versions of reality...and both were real, existing side by side, but one totally hidden from the other, yet meeting the textbook definition of reality.

Most know by now that back in the early 1980s I was a missile officer for the old Strategic Air Command...I was on a Minuteman II launch crew pulling nuclear alerts at Malmstrom AFB, MT.  Rather than live on base, my wife and I lived in the local community of Great Falls proper.

We initially lived in an apartment then saved up to buy a small home.  Along the way my daughter was born.  During this time I was subjected to the realities that come with living in a local economy.  I had rent/mortgage to pay along with the usual utility bills.  Gas was $1.15 per gallon and I bitched and moaned about that.  Social outlets were movies, occasional eating out at local restaurants, and road trips around that beautiful state called Montana.  This was the normal reality that most Americans were living in.

Contrast that to going out on nuclear alerts.  Getting up at 5 or 6 am depending if I had packed my crew bag the night before.  Pre-departure briefing at 7 am.  Because I was in the 490th SMS, I could anticipate a 2 to 3 hour drive to the site.  Once the alert commenced time changed as I was no longer clocking time in Pacific Standard local, but now under Zulu [GMT].  There was no visual references for day or night.  It was noisy as cold air was being blown into the equipment racks to keep them from overheating.

There would be a constant flow of message traffic [we were in a higher state of DEFCON] via the Primary Alerting System.  A warble tone...deedle, deedle, deedle ..."Sky Bird, Sky Bird, the is the SAC Airborne Command Post with a test of the primary alerting system...acknowledge."  This would go on with SAC HQ, 15th Air Force HQ and 8th Air Force HQ...all day and that does not include the myriad of Emergency Alert Messages that hit the command net.  I was surrounded by motor generator noise, radio traffic, communication racks discharging messages, buzzers and ringing bells.  Throw in the constant SAC exercises for good measure to complete the picture.

The above two mentioned realities co-existed side by side, yet one was totally hidden from the other.  So yes it is possible for two different realities to exist as both reflected things as they actually existed despite appearances and one's imagination.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Are UFOs a Product of a Quantum Mental State?

That's the question posed by Rich Reynolds.  Can the UFO phenomena be understood from a quantum mechanics standpoint based on human observation?

"The quantum bromide that quantum particles in a superposition state, do or do not exist until they are measured (observed), allegorized in the Schrödinger “thought experiment” of the cat in a box, applies to UFOs.

"That is, UFOs do not exist until they are observed, but does that observation create the UFO sighting or does the UFO event exist before it is observed?"

"And how does consciousness enter into the equation? Is there a psychological component integral to UFOs, or even a neurological component?"

Rich presents some interesting thoughts, but in the above we are dealing with a micro sub particle concept and attempting to marry it to macro physiological system called the brain.

One question to ask is why do some segments of society see UFOs and the other doesn't?  In this post I refer to UFO as something airborne that cannot be identified as terrestrial by nature.

The structures of the brain can be reduced down to the billions of neurons and the numerous neurotransmitters all the way down to the sub particle realm where quantum mechanics would be in play.

But quantum physics provides no answer for defining the mind and thoughts.  We can identify and understand the various areas of cognition, but the concept of actual consciousness is still allusive.

Thus a humanistic neurological quantum state is not the answer to human observation of UFOs since this has no impact on consciousness.  But cognitive states may provide some clues.

Behaviorism provides some insight in the UFO phenomena.  Behaviorism revolves around cognitive functioning that develops through learned experience, memory, reasoning and a myriad of other areas of executive functioning. 

Behaviorism also includes the effects of conditioning. I proffer that conditioning is a prime factor that contributes towards the "observer's" perception. Conditioning occurs through various mechanisms, such as, being exposed from an early age to UFO books, TV programs, and movies.

It is through conditioning that provides a possible answers to the question regarding the observer's relationship to UFOs.  It is a cognitive perception exercise that has no metaphoric quantum observational meaning.