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Field, The – Review

by: Lynne McTaggart

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright: 2002

Cover: Space Telegraph Science Institute

Type: Hardcover

reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 3/20/2004

Summary: The first 100 pages are mind-altering. A must read.

One of the worst stunts you can pull in a book review is to say that one part of a book is superlative and the other part lousy. Even worst than that is to recommend buying the book. Lynne McTaggart’s THE FIELD fits this situation to a “t”. (If you want only the facts on the Zero-Point Field, you should go to the internet and read Bernhard Haisch’s article in From Science & Spirit Magazine, or an equally excellent article by Dr. H. E. Puthoff, “Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations: A New Rosetta Stone of Physics?” Both gentlemen are sources in McTaggart’s book).

The first 100 of the 271 pages in this book are a work of pure craftsmanship, showing a command of subject that truly makes it entertaining and informative. The secret to reading those first 100 pages is to not let your perspective get collared by what the author is pushing in the remaining 171 pages. Think physics.

Starting with former Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, McTaggart opens up the world of perception-what we see or think we see and the effects of environment upon that perception. It is a not so subtle introduction to quantum physics in which the issue of being an observer and measuring what is observed disintegrates into an incredible world of fuzzy probabilities. It is impossible to observe and objectively quantify at the same time. Astronaut Mitchell, for example, underwent a transformation from solitary scientific observer into the realm of fuzziness during his trip to the moon in 1971. McTaggart describes it as a feeling of connectedness, “as if all the planets and all the people of all time were attached by some invisible web”. It is one way to introduce the concept of the Zero Point Field.

In brief, the Zero Point Field is thought to be “the energy present in the emptiest state of space at the lowest possible energy, out of which no more energy could be removed”. It is Einstein’s energy equals mass times the speed of light (E = mc[2]) where mass is the same as energy. Zero point energy is forever present even in a void. Everything we perceive as matter, even what we perceive as thought, is merely the coalescence of Zero point energy into a larger domain of harmonious energy resulting in mass. It is a nice, neat theory that could explain the workings of electro-magnetic energy, the weak and strong forces of particles and the jewel of physics, gravity.

The exciting thing about the Zero Point Field is not the answers its provides, but the questions it allows to be raised. McTaggart presents those questions through snippets of research being conducted by a number scientists. She eventually jumps onto this track of how complex biological systems might be relying upon the Zero Point Field as the basis for communicating the processes of life. In looking at the work of French scientist Jacques Benveniste and his “memory of water”, she examines the possible scientific basis of homeopathy and homeopathic medicine. It is an excellent presentation, though Benveniste’s research is eventually shot down by his peers. This, by the way, is the high point of McTaggart’s presentation of possible consequences emanating from the Zero Point Field-that matter, water in this instance, can retain”“memory” of manipulation of Zero point energy. (These non-scientific inferences concerning the Zero Point Field, or Higgs field vacuum expectation value, or Higgs field as it is known in some circles, makes two assumptions: first, that the field exists, and second that it acts upon all particles, though not equally).

Imagine for a moment that the universe, at the very beginning of time, is one expansive flat energy plane. We currently have no way of defining this energy because we have never seen or measured the particle from which it is made. We do however have a way of measuring its effects. According to the inferences, the formation of a hydrogen element is the result of energy manipulation in the Zero Point Field. What causes the manipulation? It is an unknown. One of the characteristics of the Zero Point Field is that all parts of it (a hydrogen atom created in one place) is linked to every other part. Does the manipulation of one part of the Zero Point Field to create a hydrogen atom have a corresponding effect in some other pat of the Zero Point Field? Is the totality of the field decreased by the creation of that one hydrogen atom?

McTaggart presents a very strong case that our consciousness is a product of the Zero Point Field. How do thoughts instantaneously fly through our heads? The mechanics of chemical exchanges in the brain does not explain it. There is a something that ties the physical universe together. It is highly speculative to suggest that there is also something that ties human thought–all 6 billion plus pulsating heads–together as well. Speculative though it is, it does make logical and “gut” sense.

The author goes into great detail to explain “mind” experiments with random number generators, and random event generators in an attempt to justify the statement that “pure energy as it exists at the quantum level does not have time or space, but exists as a vast continuum of fluctuating charge”. Interesting stuff. From this it is a quick hop and jump to assume that the mind can influence the physical world. Okay. But unfortunately, knowing that 72 per cent of Princeton graduation days within a thirty-year period were sunny while the surrounding towns had only 67 percent of sunny days adds absolutely nothing to the assumption. Practically the last third of McTaggart’s book is filled with these “statistical” vignettes describing the effects of mind over matter. News flash: using statistics to describe any characteristic of thought is like using a sludge hammer to describe the function of a safety pin. Think about it.

Despite the shortcomings in the final section of The Field, it is a book definitely worth reading. The author makes the rather radical leap from physics to new age science with a fairly big safety net. The safety net being the ignorance of science in the realm of human thought.




Hunt For Bin Laden, The – Review

by: Moore, Robin

Publisher: Presidio Press Book (Random House)

Copyright: 2003

Cover: Northern Alliance Advisor Group

Type: Softcover

reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 3/16/2004

Summary: Not must reading, but informative.

There are three ponderables to be taken from this book: First, efficiency is a product of skill and command, not size. Second, a bureaucracy will grow laterally once it has ascended to its highest level of possible competency. Third, America Special Forces are the best of any military organization at waging war when left to their own devices. The subject of this book of course are the American Special Forces.

Robin Moore takes us onto the Afghanistan battlefield less than two months after the September 11, 2001 attack on America. What follows is a different kind of war story. It is the story of TASK FORCE DAGGER, the 5th Special Forces task force headquartered at K2 air base in Uzbekistand, commanded by Colonel John Mulholland.

As heroic as the war in the shadows were, the Special Forces’ efforts in Afghanistan were executed with such precision and common sense, one is apt to miss the point that it could have been otherwise. Robin Moore sprinkles his narrative with flashes of the alternatives, but he does not dwell on them. That’s a good thing. Despite the riveting war narrative, it is the seemingly parenthetical commentary that grabs your attention. One can not help but to recall the adage that victory has a million masters, defeat is an orphan.

It would have been relatively easy for the United States to repeat the fiasco of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in the early 1980s. The fact that America implemented the lessons of twentieth century warfare and put a small, mobile offensive force on the ground can ultimately be attributed to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Of course, his rational could have also been that there were no significant targets in Afghanistan warranting a large ground force. In Moore’s book, it is the foresight (or dismssiveness) of Rumsfeld that allowed the Special Forces to prosecute the war. Adding to Moore’s assessment is the March 2004 invasion of Iraq with a relatively small force. In one case, the results were successful, in the other, not so successful.

As numerous authors have pointed out, any adversary against the United States would be a fool to go army to army against the technology of America’s armed forces. In anticipating this attitude on the part of the enemy, Rumsfeld has forced the military to adapt to the weakness of its potential foes. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is that Rumsfeld’s new way of waging war assures military victory but leaves political victory floating in a sea of intangibles like determination and will.

Task Force Dagger was able to respond quickly and effectively to support the Special Forces teams dropped into the environs of Afghanistan. The Taliband and al-Qaida hangers-on (i.e., parasites) were dislodged and the way was paved for a new political order. However, the fighting continues even today. One of the consequences of the Rumsfeld’s new military strategy for both victor and vanquished is that the machinery of war can be easily dismantled, but the political machinery that support a war machine can linger into a slow death. Rumsfeld’s new strategy creates a political order vacuum, but it does not put in place a new order. For a nation pursuing democratic principles, such as America, the results can be disappointing to say the least. Think revolutionary France and the rise of Napoleon.

Moore relates two rather disturbing non-combat incidents that makes the reader set up and take notice. The first involves the surrender of the city of Kunduz in November 2001 in northern Afghanistan. Surrounded for forces fo the Northern Alliance and the Green Berets TEXAS 11 team, the Afghan Taliban and foreign al-Qaida troops contemplated surrender. During the protracted negotiations, two planes laded at the airfield controlled by the Taliban. General Daoud, leader of the Northern Alliance forces, stated that the planes were sent by the Pakistani ISI intelligence service to recuse top Pakistani intelligence aides and top al-Qaida officials caught in the siege. The author raises the prospect that if al-Qaida and ISI personnel had been allowed to escape, “valuable intelligence had been lost”. But Moore leaves the mysterious flight to safety in the realm of a pay-off to the Pakistanis by the United States for Pakistani cooperation in the war. That’s a weird thing.

Another tidbit of adrenal stimulation in this book, above and beyond the tale of war, are some comments Moore makes about the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He reports that the New York Police Department sent its own “undercover counterterrorists” into Afghanistan and Pakistan because NYPD could not get relevant information out of the FBI. They still weren’t sharing. And the FBI, “after years of disgrace and embarrassment. . .convinced Congress to expand its coutnerterroism workforce fourfold to four thousand personnel. It was typical FBI wisdom . .and it was typical American response-when faced with incompetence and bureaucracy, spend another billion dollars, and hire some more bureaucrats to fix the problem.” This is all rather misleading. Actually, the FBI’s counterterroism workforce was working rather well by most accounts. The problem was FBI leadership in Washington. A different story.

THE HUNT FOR BIN LADEN is not must reading, but it is an enjoyable and highly informative read.



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