click here to go to my style blog - sometimes people end up here by accident. if so, i hope it's a pleasant detour......steph

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Spiritual Perspective on Paratopian Unhappiness

no reason - i just love this picture of my grandpa

on edit: How mortifiying! i neglected to credit "Brownie" for pointing me to Mr. Ratcliff's blogpost in the first place. Many thanks, Brownie - i would not have known about Mr. Ratcliff's post without you!

I am inspired to write a few thoughts after reading John Ratcliff's recent post regarding the goings-ons at the Paratopia podcast and forum. To begin, i like all the people involved. All of the main characters are very talented, creative, articulate, funny.....and i just tend to like people anyway. Mr. Ratcliff has written a comprehensive and sensible post pointing out some glaring inconsistencies in the recent actions of the two Paratopia hosts, Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzmann. Mr. Ratcliff reasons from the scientific worldview and perspective. I agree with the great bulk of what he points out, with a quibble here and there. I completed college-level courses in scientific theory, history, and practice at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkely, so i have some basis by which to judge his arguments in his post.

But i do not spend much time in the scientific paradigm. At the age of 22 i had a near death experience during a medical procedure, and since that time i have had numerous medium to high strange experiences (spontaneous as well as meditation induced). I have also pursued study of the paranormal and esoteric through books and participation in groups, even living in a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre for a year or two. I have some thoughts about the recent hullabaloo from the spiritual/esoteric perspective.

Firstly, the Shroudman's revelation about the nature of the universe is not new. Connecting it to fractals may or may not be a new metaphor for this concept (it's not my place to make the argument), but the idea is not. I was shown a very similar concept of worlds within worlds during my NDE in the mid-1980's.  The tiniest of particles of a cosmos spontaneously forming into cosmoii of their own is how it is described in Dion Fortune's book The Cosmic Doctrine, a work written via inspiration in 1949. (As an aside, neither i nor Ms. Firth have ever claimed that this information pertains to the physical nature of the universe which is amenable to scientific study.)

This is simply one example of the ignorance of the basic reading material available on these topics which runs through the show. I remember listening to the show on the Rendlesham incident, where Mr. Vaeni and Mr. Ritzmann were shocked, shocked, to find evidence that maybe there was a little bit of hoaxing or funny business involved. Jenny Randles, a researcher with journalistic training and credentials who was on the scene within a week (if i recall correctly), has published extensively on this incident. I first heard of Rendlesham in her book UFO Conspiracy, published in 1987. Let's just say i was not surprised to hear of funny business on Paratopia's podcast. A little poking around on Wikipedia, of all places, would have reaped major benefits as a prep for that podcast.

Mr. Ritzmann also often wonders whether other people would see the same things he sees (referring to his numerous high strange incidents). To begin with, other people have been with him during these incidents and purport to have seen what he has, which seems to settle the matter. Additionally, i bring up the work of Paul Devereux and Jenny Randles on earthlights and Mind Monsters, respectively. Ms. Randles has done excellent work finding cases where, for example, three friends are walking in a deserted area at night and suddenly two see a classic Big Hairy Monster and run away screaming. The third friend is left staring perplexedly at a strange, red glowing orb.......Mr. Ritzmann is also interesting that he always claims to be stone cold sober during these strange events, contrary to the huge bulk of percipients who notice mild to drastic changes in consciousness associated with these events (Ms. Randle's Oz Factor).  If he truly is the rare and luckly individual who can keep his head during these events, it makes his continued inability to collect or doggedly pursue any type of physical evidence all the more perplexing.Keeping surveillance cameras running and recording 24/7 is not the complicated, expensive process it was even 10 years ago.

I'll leave that for now, anyone with a library card or internet access can research for themselves (the library card will be more helpful). More disturbing to me, since i do feel that Mr. Vaeni, Mr. Ritzmann, and Mr. Ratcliff are all sincere searchers for the truth about our world, is the rampant violation of the most basic of spiritual principles. This principle is The Golden Rule - in a word, kindness.  This seems obvious enough, though in practice it often is the most difficult principle to live up to. It seems straightforward, 'It's nice to be nice' and so on. But the esoteric truth is that you do more damage to yourself by treating other people harshly than you do to the other person. There is no excuse for yelling at people or putting them down in a public forum where they have no way to respond. It doesn't make it okay because they take a different viewpoint on certain matters in a discussion.

Speaking to the point of people who claim spiritual knowledge, all traditions are explicit. The level of realization is reflected in how that individual treats other people. If they do not consistently put other people's interests before their own over a number of years they are not the teacher for you or anyone else. Many like to bring up the idea of Crazy Wisdom teachers as an excuse or exception - i would only follow one of this method if you truly know that their teaching is worth paying insanity or death as your price.

Additionally, many traditions emphasize that focusing too much on various psychic manifestations is a distraction from the quest for enlightenment. In recent decades, P.M.H. Atwater has done much study of people who experience mystical breakthroughs as part of near death experiences. Interestingly, she finds that it takes decades for an individual to integrate the experience enough to become at all effective at conveying the truths they saw to others, or to help other people with spiritual growth. There are no shortcuts.

Again, this knowledge is quite widespread and easily available. The hard part is putting it into practice in real life. My hope is that my post will provide some reassurance to people who have been caught in the grinder of these events, and that it will provoke some to think for themselves about how we want to go forward as a community trying to grapple with these events and their meaning. No one has all the answers. It is impossible to judge the truthfulness of another's testimony. It is quite likely that bickering, nastiness and infighting provide the energy for our friend Coyote to live and dance another day.....

...whilst we continue in confusion.


  1. Hi Steph! What you brought up here is particularly important:
    -"Mr. Ritzmann is also interesting that he always claims to be stone cold sober during these strange events, contrary to the huge bulk of percipients who notice mild to drastic changes in consciousness associated with these events (Ms. Randle's Oz Factor). If he truly is the rare and luckly individual who can keep his head during these events, it makes his continued inability to collect or doggedly pursue any type of physical evidence all the more perplexing.Keeping surveillance cameras running and recording 24/7 is not the complicated, expensive process it was even 10 years ago."-

    Though I think Ritzmann lied (about the Shroudman, not necessarily his abduction experiences) for discussion's sake I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he's telling the truth as he knows it. If so there should be no problem for him (since he claims to not have been in an altered state of mind) to scream out to his family, grab a potential weapon to use in self-defense, call 911 ect. But to simply sit and take down dictation from an intruder in your home who doesn't even seem human and is circling you would be highly unlikely to endure. A human's natural, clear-headed reaction (not under the altered state which usually accompanies a paranormal or close encounter event) would be resistance and protection of oneself and family.

    And, Ritzmann's a techie of sorts who could rig up a surveilance system in his home. He's claimed to experience many paranormal intrusions in his life often centering in his home with other witnesses. It would be logical and wise to attempt to capture this on video or camera so people outside of the family could observe it (scientists such as his colleague Dr. Tyler Kokjohn and the other Project CORE directors).

    This is all particularly important because of Ritzmann & Vaeni repeatedly bringing up the need for a protocal of collecting scientific evidence for the paranormal and ufological. But, it appears they prefer to only apply this to certain facets of the 'alien' abduction enigma which they fixate on - mostly female abductee claims of mystery pregnancies and fetus removals. And their obsessive anti-hypnosis crusade.

    Also a good point about their bad forum behavior as hosts against anyone who might question or disagree with them. To attack, swear at and in the recent cases of John Ratcliff and 'eric12' to then ban, reflects on the immaturity and hypocrisy of Ritzmann and Vaeni. Yes it's their forum and they can do what they want but Ritzmann and Vaeni made a big deal on one of their podcasts a few months ago about striving to interact better online because of the tussles they'd personally experienced and witnessed. Again, when it comes to these two men it's do as I say, not as I do.

    ~ Susan

  2. Thank you Susan!! That first point is the one that just keeps nagging at me more and more as time goes on, it just doesn't add up. People who haven't studied the paranormal in depth or who are non-experiencers i am sure think that "i was paralyzed, i was so terrified i couldn't think, i don't know why that never even occurred to me, i can't understand why i didn't......." is the weakest and most b.s.-ridden excuse given by experiencers for why they acted in a particular way during their experience.

    But that terrifically altered state of consciousness is one of the strongest signs of a real high strange event. It is as different from normal waking consciousness as NWC is from the dream state or being blind drunk. Or, possibly, giving a speech on a topic you know inside and out to 1,000 people - you are so nervous (altered) that everything you know, all of your normal poise, goes out the window. To repeat, you can't remember anything you know in your normal, other, state of consciousness - sound familiar?

    That Jeff Ritzmann claims he's never in an altered state just doesn't fit with all the other testimony. Maybe he is mistaken. If not and he is that one in a million experiencer who keeps his head -

    Well, we just got a smart phone. I haven't even gone thru all the apps and functions yet. The other nite i made a snack for the cat and Mr. TinyJunco thought it was too soupy. i said, cat likes to lap that up! Well, the cat went off to do cat things...later cat returned and started lapping happily away. I picked up the phone and within 20-30 seconds was successfully taking video of this - first time i had even attempted this with this phone.*

    It really brought home to me how very very strange it is that Mr. Ritzmann just didn't whip out his own phone, big techie that he is, and start recording - a much better way of preserving the info than writing.

    "...mostly female abductee claims of mystery pregnancies and fetus removals. And their obsessive anti-hypnosis crusade." ouch. point well aimed.

    "Again, when it comes to these two men it's do as I say, not as I do." Exactly. I feel that most people would give them a lot more leeway if they were not obsessively & nastily picking apart so many other people, public and not, on their very public forii. The sad thing is that they are causing unnecessary hurt to many people (a lot of whom have valid things to say), they are stirring the manure instead of helping clear the air, and whatever helpful info they do put out gets lost in the process.

    Thank you Susan for reading and contributing - and making my own arguments better than i do! :) as i said on Mr. Ratcliff's blog, when science-minded people as well as spiritual/esoteric-minded people BOTH are saying you have a problem.....well, ya know.

    Happy New Year! Greetings to Mr. Eddie!! steph

    *yes, i did later show this video to Mr. TJ in order to settle this hugely important and raging controversy.

    1. Steph, I somehow conflated your name/the dashing eccentric with one of my cousin's email addresses as I was attempting to use some new-fangled address keeper which is suppose to be more intuitive to the user (yea, an old crone like me should not have even tried! ). Thus my contacting you publically - you can of course delete this is you'd like and get back to me at my email addy. Or you can let it stand, either way I don't mind.

      I think we two notorious women (haha) have been referred to, in the negative (is there any other way?) by Jeremy Vaeni on his blog. If it's us he's referring to, we're accused of following him (and Jeff Ritzmann) all around the net trashing them.

      I didn't catch that he may have meant us, at first, because we were never banned or "kicked off" his and Jeff Ritzmann's Paratopia message board. But, as I pondered it, it occured to me that truth doesn't necessarily have much bearing on Vaeni, so he might very well be referring to us and still have some cud in him to chew over.

      Odd thing is I can't remember the last time you or me mentioned either one of these men or their Paratopia forum or podcast or facebook page. I do check into the Paratopia facebook page about once a week and that's that (which is how I found his jayvay blog link), but of course am not a member/poster - having removed myself several months ago after Vaeni's personal written attacks on me and his podcast attacks on me - over the silliness of Krishnamurti and Hypnosis. *sigh*

      EXCERPT from VAENI's BLOG: "When I think of the females in ufology I’ve ever had a problem with, the nature of the issues are as individual as the people. That isn’t to say wounded ego doesn’t play a role for them–certainly in the case of the 2 who follow Jeff and me around the net to trash us wherever they can simply because we kicked them off the old message board when they couldn’t handle being shown where they were factually wrong on certain topics–that type of thing is all about “nobody tells me no” or “nobody tells me I’m stupid… You think you’re better than me? I’ll show you.”
      >We all have our issues. I’m not immune either. But that type of thinking ain’t one of ‘em. "