SETI-L: Lucretius & Apparent Psionic ET Machines
Mon, 20 Sep 1999 22:43:39 -0800

Hello Robert,

Ok, you answered the first two questions handily and elegantly,
what about the psionic aspect? Just because this is an
apparently modern observed phenomenon in suspected ET
machine visitations, does not preclude it from being an ancient
(Earth metric) observation as well.

Were there indications that support 'out-side', i.e.,
non-Terrestrial observational influence?

Best Wishes,

Walt Williams, 99.09.20


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From: "Clements, Robert" <>
To: "''" <>,
Subject: RE: SETI-L: Lucretius & Psionic ET Machines
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 11:48:16 +1000

Scientifically, probably not (although this rather depends on how
Popperian your definition of science); but in every other Turing
test: almost certainly yes.

Although the absence of source materials make overspeculation
tempting (one of our best sources on these thinkers is Sextus
Empiricus; who postdates them by 500yrs; & who's whole agenda is
to prove that they're a pack of dingdongs anyway...), the
preSocratic tradition in thought certainly _seems_ to have mixed
observation, analogy & reasoning in a particularly appealing
manner. It's obviously appealing - & probably not completely
inaccurate - to call it protoscientific; but i'd rather that it
was treasured for is own sake rather than simply for its apparent
echos of a very different future.

One of the most best egs i can think of to explain the process is
Thales's famous demonstration of his hypothesis (as we would put
it) that all matter is - in some way - living.

Thales's base assumption was that the presence of life was
demonstrated by movement (a popular Greek thought; & by no means
implausible in itself; but -as we now know - hardly a complete
analysis of the situation); & he based his demonstration on the a
counterargument was that nothing is more dead than a rock (also a
perfectly reasonable basis for discussion); but common
observation showed that magnetised loadstone (undoubtably a rock;
& therefore apparently dead) could cause iron filings (equally
Norweigen Blue in Thales's argument) to move... therefore one or
both of these sublimely dead materials must be - @ least in some
minute sense - living.

However wrong Thales's actual conclusions were, this is - @ least
- a quasiscientific intellectual process; & Thales demonstration
that the universe is full of life (not the SETI sense, in this
context) is the first umambiguous eg of this process we know of.
While the demonstration is regrettably one of the few fragments
of Thales's thought which can unambigiously attribute to the
great Miletian, the modernism of his reasoning makes this
demonstration one of the most stunning achievements in the
history of thought....

The process which developed atomism seems to have been similar; &
may have started with observations that processes existed which
had effects which could not be measured by the naked eye
(Lucretius mentions a number of these in his poem). Russell
points out - with sublime paradox - that the atomists seem to
have use simple, realistic observations to rationally deduce the
presence of the nonexistent (or void; as in the famous atomistic
division of the universe into atoms & void); although they
certainly got a big assist (as US-American sportscasters would
say) from more mystical thinkers like Parmenides.

(It's said, by the way, that a thinker named Mochus the
Phoenician - who lived in the time before the Trojan War... ie,
only Zarquon knows when - predated the Greek atomists in his
thinking. I'd love to know how Mochus ended up where he did; &
whether his atoms were mystical or derived from atomist-style
observatory thought)

One assumes that the dualism implicit in the image of a universe
constructed from atoms & void inspired the image of a multitude
of worlds (ie, _The Girl in the Golden Atom_ turned inside out
two millenium before); & - given that rationality didn't
contradict the hypothesis (remember: the whole point behind
atomist reasoning was that processes could exist which couldn't
be seen; so the fact that you couldn't see these worlds was
logically irrelevent); & because analysing the processes which
would be required to create such worlds weren't currently on the
natural philosphy agenda - it seems to have been as easy for the
atomists to visualise a multitude of worlds as it was for others
to have trouble visualising the barbarians across the

(Democritus's pondering of an atom the size of the universe
obviously derives from his attempts to explain physical
properties from the size, shape & arrangement of his stoms &
void. If atoms could be round or angular, why they couldn't they
be the size of the universe?)

It therefore follows that - as Lucretius's speculation derives so
strongly from preSocratic intellectual tradition (with another
interesting source Xenophanes... the supposedly minor thinker who
got nice Greeks seriously POed by suggesting that if horses had
gods, they would look like horses; & for an encore also deduced
from the presence of fossil fishes in the side of mountain that
the mountain was once under water... a by no means inconsiderable
intellectual achievement for this time) - there's (regrettably)
no need to assume that he was buzzed as a child by Zaphod

(A final interesting aside: according to Plutarch, one of the
preevolutionary tinkers, Anaximander, argued - apparently from
the fact that the human infant is so completely helpless - the
first humans must'ave been incubated by - or perhaps actually
were - some kind of fish; & grew up in this fashion: "till they
were able to help themselves, they then came forth on the dry
ground"... technically, the wrong answer in just about every way;
but the reasoning - if quoted correctly (& this caveat must be
stressed whenever one talks about preSocratic thought) - seems
startlingly right)

All the best,
Robert Clements <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 11:25 am
> To:
> Subject: SETI-L: Lucretius & Psionic ET Machines
> Robert,
> That was a mouthful and interesting as well. But the burning
> question in my mind, did he understand the idea? Or was he just
> speculating with a genetically aberrant
> (e.g., super-intelligent) mind for the times? Or maybe he too
> observed an ET machine operating in the atmosphere of ancient
> Earth? Of course this raises many questions, one of which seems
> to be answered by the apparent phenomenal observations of many
> witnesses who make claims which seems to suggest that a
> bi-directional link existed between the observer and the
> observed phenomenon-machine at time of observation. Perhaps that
> could explain the his apparent aberational thinking?
> Best Wishes,
> Walt Williams, 99.09.20
> =======================================
>>>>deletia<<<< a comprimise for DW

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