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Metaphysics & Psychology

How will humanity react to alien life? Psychologists have some predictions

Germs stuck to the outside of the International Space Station are not from around here, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov said in an interview last week with Russian state-owned news service Tass. Microbes “have come from outer space and settled along the external surface,” Shkaplerov said. “They are being studied so far, and it seems that they pose no danger.” Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has not weighed in on this extraordinary claim.

The odds are not on the side of aliens. If microorganisms are tucked away within the space station hull’s crannies, as Shkaplerov says, they probably hitchhiked the 250 miles from our planet’s surface.

But imagine if scientists found alien microbes. How would humanity react to the news?

Michael Varnum, a psychologist at Arizona State University and a member of its new Interplanetary Initiative, is trying to anticipate this response. “One of the initial questions [of the initiative] that we’re curious about is how might we respond if we discover evidence of extraterrestrial life,” he said.

The moment when humans meet E.T. is a staple of fiction and speculation, as well as armchair science and conspiracy on YouTube. No one has predicted the psychological reactions to extraterrestrial microorganisms in a “systematic, careful way,” Varnum said.

Varnum teamed up with planetary scientists and conducted three experiments. The study, published online in November on a preprint server, is still under review, Varnum said. Two psychologists not involved with this research told The Washington Post that the study’s methods were robust.

The psychologist and his co-authors “make a critical distinction between reactions to the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence and finding evidence for microbial life beyond Earth,” said Douglas Vakoch, president of the nonprofit group Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, who was not part of the study. This work is unusual, he said, as studies past have focused on intelligent life.

In the first experiment in the study, Varnum and his co-authors analyzed how the media covers extraterrestrial discoveries. They looked at five events: the discovery of pulsars in 1967, which were not immediately recognized as natural; Ohio astronomer Jerry Ehman’s detection of the “Wow!” radio signal in 1977 (the signal’s source remains disputed); the 1996 announcement of fossilized microbes in a Martian meteorite; the strange behavior of Tabby’s Star reported in 2015; and 2017’s discoveries of exoplanets that exist within distant habitable zones.

The psychologists fed 15 articles — by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Post and others — through a program that analyzes written content for positive or negative words. Journalists described these events using words with “positive affect” significantly more frequently.

“The reaction seemed to be much more positive than negative,” Varnum said.

Gordon Pennycook, a Yale University psychologist who studies beliefs about religion, health and fake news, said the technique was solid but argued that the results were not particularly illuminating. “I’m not sure that the language analysis reveals anything special,” Pennycook said, because “there is some evidence people do use more positive than negative words generally.”

The researchers also paid online participants to respond to announcements about extraterrestrial microbes. The scientists asked 500 people to describe their reactions to a hypothetical discovery of alien microorganisms. Respondents also had to predict how humanity at large would react. Like the journalists, people in the study used positive words. There were no characteristics that set responses apart, not a person’s income, ethnicity, political orientation or traits such as neuroticism or agreeableness. But people felt that the rest of the country would be generally less agreeable.

That may be because “most Americans tend to think, on any desirable trait or ability, that they’re better than the average person,” Varnum said.

In a follow-up poll, the researchers presented more than 250 people with a 1996 New York Times article, stripped of its date, reporting evidence of fossilized nanobacteria in a Martian meteorite.

The meteorite was a piece of Mars that had been knocked off its home planet and landed in Antarctica. Researchers reported in the journal Science that they found complex organic molecules in the meteorite and impressions of what they thought looked like tiny cells, among other potential signs of fossilized Martian life. The claim was so explosive that President Bill Clinton issued a statement, saying, “Like all discoveries, this one will and should continue to be reviewed, examined and scrutinized.” Over years of scrutiny, the claim of fossils in the Mars meteorite was dismissed. The consensus now is that the suggested signs of life were simply natural mineral deposits. The participants in the new study weren’t told that, however.

As a control, another group of participants read a New York Times articleabout the creation of synthetic life in geneticist Craig Venter’s lab in 2010. Venter and his team created a bacterial genome from scratch and popped it into a cell membrane, essentially forming a new organism.

Participants in both groups described their reactions positively, though the “positivity bias”  — the proportion of pleasant to unpleasant words — was stronger regarding the fossils.

Given these results, Pennycook said he would be “pretty confident” that, if NASA announced the discovery of alien microbes tomorrow, Americans would react positively.

“Results of this new study mirror a survey conducted by theologian Ted Peters, who explored the impact of discovering extraterrestrial life on a person’s religious beliefs,” Vakoch said. Most people responded that their own religious beliefs could withstand the announcement — but other believers would struggle. “It looks like we don’t need to be worried about others not being able to handle an announcement of extraterrestrial life,” he said. “They’ll do just fine.”

Planetary scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton, who is the director of Arizona State University’s initiative but was not directly involved with this study, said that “getting ready for what we might find” in space is the first step. That Americans respond positively, she said, is “quite hopeful.”

Varnum cautioned that these results do not reflect how the rest of the world might respond. Vakoch echoed that sentiment. Past research on extraterrestrial civilizations suggest that Americans tended to view aliens in a more black-and-white way than residents of China, for instance, he said. “Chinese participants were able to imagine contact would lead to both risks and benefits,” whereas Americans either thought the discovery would be “all good or all bad, but not both,” he said.

It is also critical to acquaint people with ambiguity, Elkins-Tanton said. She cited the long debate around the Martian meteorite. Even in the event that a retrieval mission to Mars obtained a sample and brought it to a lab, and observers witnessed the organism reproducing, consensus would not be sudden, given the possibility of Earth contamination. Under what scenario, would the scientific community be most swiftly convinced? “Unless we go to Europa and find a giant skeleton,” Elkins-Tanton said. “Really, it’s not going to happen.”

Teeny E.T. is not such a far-out idea. For 2.9 billion years, all life on Earth was microscopic. If evolution works the same way elsewhere in the universe, the average alien will be smaller than a little green man. Much smaller.

“It’s more likely that we’re going to find microbes or viruses rather than, say, intelligent civilizations living on Venus,” Varnum said.

Vakoch was not so quick to relinquish the radio telescope to the microscope when it comes to searching for aliens.

“While it’s no doubt true that there are more planets in the galaxy with microbial life than with intelligent life, that doesn’t mean we’ll detect ‘bacteria’ beyond Earth before we pick up a radio signal,” Vakoch said. He predicted that, as long as the money doesn’t dry up, surveyors will listen to a million stars in the next decade, looking for noisy extraterrestrials.

Psychologists at Arizona State University studied how humans are likely to respond to the discovery of alien microbes

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Man is able to induce controlled hallucinations without psychotropic substances

The human brain is so cunningly designed that accidental damage or malfunctions in the neural network can generate large-scale effects that do not harm a person, but, on the contrary, deliver a lot of new sensations. 

We are talking about hallucinations, influences on the sensory system, which stem from the inside of the brain itself. Modern technologies make it possible to purposefully launch such reactions without harm to humans.

The technique of guided hallucinations is based on the Ganzfeld effect, which states that when the brain receives a powerful stimulating signal in only one area, it automatically begins to “think out” signals in other areas. 

For example, if you peer into the darkness and listen to white noise, the brain draws an imaginary picture, although the eyes do not receive a single photon of light. And if you run noise on the screen in absolute silence, the brain will complement them with sound hallucinations.

Hallucinations

One interesting experiment with guided hallucinations was conducted by TV host and inventor Derek Müller, who locked himself in an anechoic and completely darkened chamber for 45 minutes to conduct a sensory deprivation experiment. 

His brain, which at once lost 90% of the signals from the outside world, remained fully functional, and Derek did not go crazy. Moreover, in the absence of external stimuli, he began to feel the subtlest vibrations of his heart and the flow of blood through the veins. 

It was not a hallucination, it was just that the brain switched to processing the signals that remained at its disposal, amplifying them and presenting them in the form of sensations understandable to the mind.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Angels showed the End of the World to a child from Indonesia?

In early October, on many eschatological and conspiracy sites (The End Times Forecaster , 444prophecynews.com), a video was posted by a girl named Jacqueline, who lives in South Africa. The video tells that on September 16, in some altered state of consciousness, similar to a lucid dream, Jacqueline was given a warning: on October 10, 2020, there will be some kind of nightmarish geological catastrophe – either a volcanic eruption, or an earthquake. 

Jacqueline does not specify where the catastrophe will occur, but immediately after the volcanic eruption, she saw President Trump in Washington and the destruction of the Washington Monument with fiery stones falling from the sky. The full text of Jacqueline’s video was posted on the forum and can be viewed at the link, but her revelation itself is not very informative. It is only clear that on October 10 something may bang, and very strongly. Another thing is much more interesting. 

Since Jacqueline was shown truly creepy things, she, like anyone in her place, doubted that all this was true. However, she noticed that in her dream, before the horror broadcast began, she was shown a calendar on which she read the KIMIKO inscription.

“Kimiko” is a popular Japanese female name that literally means “wonderful unusual child”, so Jacqueline decided: if she got it right, then she needed to look for a girl from somewhere in Japan who would kind of hint at her deciphering what was shown in her dream. 

Kimiko was never found, but another girl named Catherine was found. She lives in Indonesia, is in 4th grade and is 9 years old. Jacqueline had her dream on September 16, and on September 18 some angels took this Catherine to heaven in a dream and showed her what would be on Earth in the very near future. 

According to Catherine, everything will begin on October 10, 2020, when some kind of catastrophe occurs – a catastrophe, most likely of a geological nature. Buildings will collapse and coastal cities will suffer from terrible tsunamis. At the same time, a terrible rain will pour, which in some regions will flood buildings up to the fourth floor. Thunder will thunder in the sky, which is 10 or even 20 times stronger than ordinary thunder, and after the thunder, hail will fall the size of a car windshield. But besides the hail, all the planes located there fall from the sky. 

However, the End of the World will not happen as life goes on and Trump wins the US election. After that, Israel will begin to restore the Temple, but they will not have time, since a war will start around. At this moment, the Earth will face unprecedented catastrophes.

A huge new planet will appear in the sky and the atmosphere will take on a reddish tint. It will get hotter. H achnut erupting volcanoes, and terrifying winds will become commonplace. And further, in the region of the Bermuda Triangle, a hole is formed in the lithosphere, and armada of some strange flying machines will appear from there. On TV they will say that these are good aliens. 

In parallel , a total vaccination will take place on Earth, after which people who have received the vaccine will be endowed with some unthinkable ability to communicate with their gadgets – phones will show them everything at the click of a finger and connect to subscribers with the power of thought. But happiness will not last long, because then the skin of the vaccinated will begin to turn green and many will be covered with ulcers. Further, these people mutate into a kind of zombie who will engage in cannibalism and those who have not taken the vaccine will become their preferred food. And for those who will not be eaten by mutants, aliens will chase in their flying cars, kidnap, throw bombs at them and burn them with rays. 

Finally, to top it all off, mutations will affect flora and fauna. So, insects will become gigantic, and algae will begin to crawl ashore and whoever gets into their nets will be devoured. Mutations will affect birds, jellyfish, and the rest of the fauna. Dinosaurs and real fire-breathing dragons will appear, which will fly everywhere and pour fire on everything. 

In general, the girl tells something that is impossible to believe – no reality can stand that. However, the probability that reality is real, according to estimates of the theory of probability, is no more than 50%. That is, we live in the Matrix with a probability of 1/2, although nothing can be proved / disproved somehow. But if we take into account various strange quantum effects and other miracles, then the probability of the Matrix is ​​already seventy percent and 30% remain for a flat / round Earth, for the rest of “natural science”. Therefore, maybe we are now on the eve of the reboot of the Matrix, during which we will begin to load characters from other entertaining games. 

It is possible, of course, that all these stories were invented by her mother, but similar stories are told by other children, and even adults, who were thrown either somewhere into the astral plane, or into the next world, or generally into the deepest warp. Different, unrelated people cannot tell the same tale. Therefore, most likely this is not a fairy tale and there is something in all this. But what – here we do not know, so we just have to wait and see. 

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Clinical death helped the inveterate egoist to change his attitude towards life. He is grateful for this experience

William F. did not live the most righteous life. His selfish, authoritarian behavior caused a lot of suffering to the people around him, especially his wife. And it is not known how his marriage would have ended if one day William had not had an accident.

On that fateful day, November 6, 2019, a man was riding a motorcycle and crashed into a truck as it changed lanes. William tried unsuccessfully to get out from under the heavy truck, as his helmet got stuck under the front axle of the car.

A policeman was the first to come to help, then an ambulance arrived. The motorcyclist was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital. The man in the helicopter told William not to sleep, but he collapsed into unconsciousness.

What William saw in oblivion made a strong impression on him and changed his future life.

xusenru / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

William’s near-death experiences

The next thing I remember happened on a large field. There was a fence about 100 meters away from me. There was a black hole in the fence on the other side of the gate.

I was drawn to the gate. The closer I got, the more love and warmth I felt, the more selfishness and bad feelings went away.

When the gate was about five steps away, and I was about to open it, someone’s hand stopped me, grabbing my forearm. Looking at this man, I noticed a few more.

– You need to stop. I watched you for a long time, son, you made a lot of mistakes. Do you know where you are? The man asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, looking around.
“You are dead,” he said.

I panicked.

“You’re scared,” he remarked.
– No.
“Then [during your life] you were always afraid of it for no reason,” he said softly. I nodded in agreement, and our dialogue continued.
– Do you feel that everything is under your control?
“I don’t know… no.
– You have never controlled anything in your life. It’s an illusion …
– Yes, you’re right, – I nodded again.
– You are given a choice that many do not have. God gives you a choice: come back and correct your mistakes, or you can go through the gate. If you enter this gate, all the regrets of life will torment your soul until you are given another chance. It will feel like eternity.

I still have regrets about my past life, ”he added after a pause. – If you come back and do not start working on yourself to become better, if you do not find happiness in the righteous way, you will always remember and crave the feeling that you are experiencing in this place now, but you will not get here again.
When you return, recover, heart and mind will be restored. You are given something great … But you understand that God already knows your choice.

Then he looked at me and asked:

– What are you going to do?
“I’ll be back,” I replied.

At that moment, the feelings that gripped me were gone, and I let go of the gate.

“See you again very soon,” he said at last.

Then I woke up and saw my mother. I told her that I was back for good and that I would not go anywhere. She had a tired face.

“You’ve been in a lot of pain,” she said.

I said that everything would be all right with me, and told that I saw Him. She clarified who exactly. I replied that I did not know for sure, but they gave me a second chance. Mom laughed and said that probably my grandfather kicked me in the ass to bring me back here.

William’s life has changed

William underwent several operations, but the doctors said that physically he would not be the same. Among other things, the man had to learn to walk again.

About a month after the accident, thoughts of the pain inflicted on his loved ones and loved ones flooded into William, so he focused on correcting the mistakes of the past and changing his future.

Five months later, William was walking without limping. Now she runs for several kilometers, and the only evidence of an accident is scars.

The biggest proof of the reality of what he saw during clinical death is a complete change in himself, says William.

haomao57 / pixabay.com / Pixabay License

“I saw mistakes, especially in my relationship with my wife, and I understand things that I didn’t understand before. It is strange to think that someone was watching my life from a distance and knew about my actions. If I had not changed, I would have yearned for death. “

“I used to have sociopathic tendencies and no empathy. I have never felt guilt or remorse. Now I am selfless and empathetic, I feel the emotions of others, and it is overwhelming. I know how people feel just by looking at them. This is a kind of intuition.

Remorse and guilt help me re-evaluate the past. I also notice that when I do something instinctively, in the old way, I realize it and I can stop. “

“People believe when I share my experience because they see a big change in me.”

Source: NDERF

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