“We are not alone. We are the result of a thousand influences, a thousand conditionings, psychological inheritances, propaganda, culture. We are not alone, and therefore we are secondhand human beings. When one is alone, totally alone, neither belonging to any family, though one may have a family, nor belonging to any nation, to any culture, to any particular commitment, there is the sense of being an outsider, outsider to every form of thought, action, family, nation. And it is only the one who is completely alone who is innocent. It is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
On this date in 2008, the Large Hadron Collider was powered up at CERN. To commemorate the occasion, I attempted to look up a few of the more persistent and/or weird conspiracy theories concerning what is described as “the biggest science experiment in history.”
Probably one of the most popular is that the LHC “created time-travel” and/or “ripped a hole into the time/space continuum.” In one story, on November 1, 2009 a “time wave” accidentally set off by LHC veered all the way to Bolivia, “scooped up” an Iberworld Airbus A330-300, and instantly transported it to the skies of Spain over 5,500 miles away. If you think this sounds not just a little bit like the Philadelphia Experiment, you’re not alone.
Did this event, initially reported by “Freedom Fighter Times” and then gleefully relayed by the UK tabloid Express, really happen? Well, a day after the supposed event CERN did temporarily shut down the LHC because apparently a bird dropped a piece of bread—a baguette, if you will—into the outdoor machinery. And a diversion of Iberworld Airbus A330-300 from Bolivia to Spain was reported.
But can you really say the LHC was responsible? Or were these just random events connected by pins and bits of yarn by the shaky hands of some sweaty paranoid theorist seeking to smear CERN?
On Quora, a cranky actual Airbus A330-300 pilot—who, let’s face it, probably got this question a lot, especially at boring parties—gave a lengthy rebuttal to the LHC Bolivia teleportation theory:
“The teleportation story comes from a conspiracy-theory website that seems to mix an extremely loose interpretation of news articles with some pseudoscience (“time waves”), a bit of ancient magic (the Sun Gate in Bolivia is a portal, because 1,500 years ago that civilization knew best), and some cherry picking (CERN had to stop the Large Hadron Collider around the same time). Obviously, fact checking isn’t on their agenda either.”
He then concluded:
“In any case, whatever the truth behind it, why would you want to pick an outlandish magical pseudo-scientific explanation over a real-world one?”
Now, there’s another theory about how the LHC created the Mandela Effect and that’s why it’s not called Jiffy peanut butter anymore, but let’s table that for another time when I really have the leisure and space to really dip my toes into it.
I had the notion yesterday to describe what I do here as “shamanic blogging”—probably a phrase coined before, but it works for me & what I’m trying to do here.
“Today every American, child or adult, encounters a vastly larger number of names, faces, and voices than at any earlier period or in any other country. Newspapers, magazines, second-class mail, books, radio, television, telephone, phonograph records—these and other vehicles confront us with thousands of names, people, or fragments of people. In our always more overpopulated consciousness, the hero every year becomes less significant. Not only does the newspaper or magazine reader or television watcher see the face and hear the voice of his President and the President’s wife and family; he also sees the faces and hears the voices of his cabinet members, undersecretaries, Senators, Congressmen, and of their wives and children as well. Improvements in public education, with the always increasing emphasis on recent events, dilute the consciousness. The titanic figure is now only one of thousands. This is ever more true as we secure a smaller proportion of our information from books. The hero, like the spontaneous event, gets lost in the congested traffic of pseudo-events.”
–Daniel J. Boorstin, “The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America”
“Hal was built to suffer. He is a medical training robot, the sort of invention that emerges when one of the most stressful jobs on Earth tumbles into the uncanny valley. No longer must nurses train on lifeless mannequins. Hal can shed tears, bleed, and urinate. If you shine a light in his eyes, his pupils shrink. You can wirelessly control him to go into anaphylactic shock or cardiac arrest. You can hook him up to real hospital machines, and even jolt him with a defibrillator. Hal—which is just now coming onto the market—is so realistic, and these scenarios so emotionally charged, that the instructors who run him in medical simulations have to be careful not to push things too far and upset trainees.”
It’s always fascinating to me how modern technology gives the “wink-wink” to dystopian fiction by linking their creations and products to ultimately sinister characters and concepts. Reference the all-in-one meal-in-a-bottle Soylent, the original Apple “1984” commercial, and now naming possibly one of the most advanced robots created for mass usage after the lunatic AI from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Bonus: You can also see this kid being like a Chucky-type menace once the self-awareness kicks in.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, you are too damn close!