Well, maybe not. The issue at hand is probability versus possibility. Possibility is the set of events encompassing all outcomes. It may be time limited or not. For example, it may be said that all things are possible. And in the strictest sense of the definition this is true. The world ending outcomes of certain experiments at the LHC at CERN are possible. However, as you may have surmised, the probability is exponentially low. It is probability which drives most of our decision making. If I exceed the speed limit here, I will probably not be caught, although there is a possibility of being ticketed.
Probability, I contend is the root of all evil.
The unlikely and improbable are worth exploring. I am a big fan of the unknown. I enjoy watching shows like Ghost Hunters and applaud the semi-scientific approach used by itinerant Rhode Island, plumbers Jason and Grant.
Like David Duchovny’s character on the X-files, Fox Mulder – I want to believe. But I am not a fan of self delusion. When a subject is moves from the realm of improbable to the realm of wholly unlikely, I tend to lose interest. A prior favorite topic of interest was crop circles. M. Night Shyamalan made these popular in his very entertaining science fiction / horror flick Signs.
After that film a lot of attention was paid to the phenomenon. There are some very serious people looking at the fringes of our knowledge and understanding. Some of these people are in the group CSICOP. Some of these people are as serious, just not too diligent.
Some circle fans have worked hard to stitch the occurrence of crop circles to aliens and UFOs. Others attribute “earth energy” and paranormal origins to these “manifestations”. For example, the images represented on the BLT (no relation to the tasty sandwich) site are the result of too much wishful thinking and some clear manipulation of images. On the other hand, several folks spend a lot of time documenting the first circle of the season.
At times their attachment is seemingly harmless, and yet their zealous adherence to non-rational explanations is curious. Although the reality of these designs is far more mundane (great revelation from the BBC Inside Out Crop Circles Revealed), the tenacity with which people cling to clearly improbable beliefs is the real subject of my curiosity. On the Circlemakers page resides a good work of the treatise on the philosophy of circles. It speaks to powerful cultural forces and how humans construct their inner worlds.
As evidence I share with you an e-mail exchange with one Dr. Johan Carl Calleman. Dr. Calleman is (was) a biologist who conducted serious research for a period of time. At some point he became fascinated with the Mayans and the writings of individuals who attributed a variety of extra-normal abilities, particularly in regard to their calendar. Dr. Calleman wrote his own book and now leads a sect(?) of believers who contend that global change will occur in 2012.
I actually like him, he has never shied away from debate, answers his own e-mail and is pleasant. However, on this topic I felt compelled to challenge him. He gratuitously linked a crop circle to his interpretation of the Mayan calendar.
From: Carl Johan Calleman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 4:11 PM
Subject: Crop Circle marks the midpoint of the Fifth DAY (May 22, 2007, 5
Please feel free to post and disseminate!
Crop Circle marks the midpoint of the Fifth DAY (May 22, 2007, 5 Ahau) A
possible link between the Mayan calendar and the crop circles has for long been
a matter of discussion. Around the critical midpoint of the Galactic Underworld
(May 22, 2007, 5 Ahau in the Sacred Mayan Calendar) several hundred thousand
people have been gathering around the planet for celebrations and peace
meditations (The Breakthrough Celebration, see http://www.commonpassion.org/).
Significant ceremonies being part of this world wide movement are the
Oneness day of May 20 (3 Edznab), the Jerusalem Hug of May 21 (4 Cauac) and The
World Tree (Medicine Wheel) of May 22 (5 Ahau). All of these themes seem to have
been reflected in a crop circle that was reported in Wiltshire, early in the
season, on the exact midpoint of the Fifth DAY of the Galactic Underworld, http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2007/wexford/wexford2007.html
a day when also elders in Guatemala performed ceremonies to honor the four
directions. This is one of the most amazing associations seen to date between
the crop circle phenomenon and the Mayan calendar. It raises the question
whether this crop circle was somehow a reflection of the collective
consciousness of humanity as manifested in the themes of this breakthrough
celebration or if it comes out of a cosmic level of intelligence.
Namaste and In Lak'ech
Carl Johan Calleman
To: Carl Johan Calleman
Subject: Crop Circles
I am concerned as the
crop circle phenomenon has been largely debunked. I see no connection, other
than some intrepid individuals creating this agri-art. http://www.circlemakers.org/. You risk
continued distraction from your message by associating with known frauds.
From: Carl Johan Calleman [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 4:43 PM
To: Citizen DeuxSubject:
Re: Crop Circle marks the midpoint of the Fifth DAY (May 22, 2007, 5 Ahau)
Few experts on Crop Circlesw would agree with you. Even though a few might
have been made by humans it seems most our not.
Carl Johan 2 jun 2007 kl. 22.39 skrev:
From: Citizen Deux Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 4:59 PM
To: Carl Johan CallemanSubject:
RE: Crop Circle marks the midpoint of the Fifth DAY (May 22, 2007, 5 Ahau)
I would be interested to understand the CV of the "experts" you quote. The
crop circle phenomenon is clearly man made. The localized geography (England,
parts of the US and the Netherlands - areas with advanced systems to detect and
analyze such "events"), commercial demonstrations and lack of substantive
evidence belies any unearthly genesis.
May I suggest · The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop
Circle Making by Rob Irving and John Lundberg, edited by Mark Pilkington
(Strange Attractor 2006) ISBN
0-9548054-2-9 A solid treatise on the popular culture phenomenon of circles.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this is a pretty loose connection. The crop circle “season” begins in the Wiltshire area of England and runs through the harvest in the fall. But more interesting is the desire of Dr. Calleman, and others, to divine some greater purpose from the seemingly unpredictable existence in which we reside.
This continual pull between reason and faith lives today in the myriad of beliefs which one can find (with ease) online. These beliefs range from the CERN catastrophe about to take place, to the 2012 theorists and of course to all the political conspiracies one can name.
I remain open to the possible, but will commit my energies to the probable.