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Rich was another guy who chose to End It All in an aeroplane. And this is more common than you might think.

In the last forty years about a dozen airline crashes have occurred, where the pilot was known or at least suspected to have acted deliberately. We remember the recent example where Andreas Lubitz flew a Germanwings Airbus into a mountain, taking a hundred and fifty passengers with him.

However, Rich Russell was ALONE when he made a plane-shaped hole in Ketron Island, Washington – joining about FIFTY other people in recent years, who have done likewise.

You can see the attraction; as a pilot, there are a bunch of fun things you cannot do and stay out of jail. Like Paul (or Peter – sources are obscure) Martin, who spent an afternoon buzzing the City Of London – and flying THROUGH Tower Bridge – in a Beagle, back in 1973.

And Rich enjoyed himself mightily, doing loop-the-loops in a Bombardier; a twin-prop hundred-seater.

But both of these men knew they would never have to answer for their crimes – their flights would end quickly and spectacularly.

Of course, some of these suicides have involved those who might have contributed to their desire to cash in their chips. Like the local Infernal Revenue office in Austin, Texas, where Joe Stack ended HIS flight.

It is surprising how much damage a Piper causes to even a BIG building.

And there is little the authorities can do about this phenomenon – other than SHOOT DOWN the plane, while it is flying over an unpopulated area.

An F-15 was shadowing Rich at the time his plane went down – the authorities claimed they did not do it, but still…

Right now, you can watch and hear Rich’s entry in this bizarre litany at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeYVtVg6aGs

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Penn & Teller are famous for doing tricks – then showing how they are done. They are still BANNED from the Magic Circle in London as a result.

However, during their forty-plus years at the top of the magic biz, they have not ACTUALLY given away much. NEVER The Tricks Of The Trade – merely a few of their OWN tricks which, them having just been done on TV, meant they were effectively BURNED anyway. And they were ones where the solution was as entertaining as the actual trick. So fair enough.

Anyhoo, back in 2011, Britain’s PlebVision (ITV) ran the titular series – first a pilot – then when it proved to be a hit, a series of eight. This was also a hit, so of course PlebVision CANCELLED it (they only like CRAP).

But in the fullness of time (about a year) the pilot and series came up for syndication. And in America, it was bought by The CW (nothing to do with Country & Western – it is a cable network co-owned by CBS and WB) and proved to be a winner there too.

And since there were no more, The CW commissioned a NEW series – and another – and another… …Season Five is running right now. Très gros embarras for PlebVision.

The format is pretty simple: established, professional acts (this is NOT Got Talent) perform in a big studio (in Britain, in Wembley – in America, P&T’s theatre in VEGAS) and at the end, the host (in Britain and the first season in America, Jonathan Ross – and subsequently, Alyson Hannigan) chats to the act, while P&T deliberate between themselves (you know Teller does actually talk, right?) on how the trick was done.

Then they deliver their verdict – using “code” (magicians’ terminology) or hidden notes to determine whether they are right. In the event of a dispute, from backstage, Johnny Thompson (a magician, mentor and magic GURU, who has previously been shown how the trick was done) hands down his verdict on whether P&T have nailed it.

And if P&T ARE fooled, the act gets an invite to perform on their Vegas show. So, like on Got Talent, the series is essentially a showcase.

Here in Thailand, a network ran Season One years ago, but thus far no sign of the The CW seasons. So with Summer upon us and little decent TV being available this critic has been binge-watching them on the Interweb.

And if YOU do not have The CW – he would HIGHLY recommend you do likewise.

Science needs DATA to prove something – and where reincarnation is concerned, that is in short supply.

However, there is plenty of data to prove otherwise – and it comes from DNA research.

While DNA has been known about for a hundred and fifty years, the Human Genome was only fully sequenced in 2001 (ironically).

And since then, much has been discovered about how it works (although there is still much to be done) in terms of determining our sex, sexual orientation, shape, size and colours of eyes, skin and hair.

Additionally, there are promising results concerning how it relates to inherited diseases.

But VERY recently, it has been discovered that at least five major aspects of PERSONALITY are buried in our genes.

And this is VITAL.

Because while it has long been known that our Basic Instincts (avoidance of danger, fight-or-flight, need for food, drink and sex – plus production of and care for our young – and sadly, the domination of our fellow humans and destruction of those who are different, lest they muddy our gene pool) and Inherited Wisdom (“Race Memories” – now called Genetic Memories) are hard-wired into our physical brains, it had always been assumed that our personalities were acquired through CONDITIONING.

But NO.

Which means that previous (and indeed, future) lives are now NOT required to explain how personality is clearly formed long BEFORE said conditioning can take effect.

This will also be a blow to psychiatry – a big chunk of which is dedicated to “correcting” dysfunctional behaviour thought to be caused by said conditioning.

Then again, the pseudo-science of psychiatry is USED to having all of its theories and therapies overturned every twenty years or so – if legitimate medicine behaved like that, it would have lost all credibility decades ago.

But anyhoo, this is about reincarnation – and while Science has trouble proving ANYTHING about life after death – it has no problem exploding the bogusity (it’s a word) surrounding it.

Religion, spiritualism and now – reincarnation.

I am a homophobe.

Let me qualify that. The “homo” section of the word “homosexual” is oft pronounced “hoe” – as in the gardening implement – and “mow” – as in mow the lawn. This comes about because most people assume the word is a combination of the Latin word “homo-” as in “man” – and “sexual” as in “sexual”. Thus, combined, giving us a word which means “man-sex”.

However, this is nonsense. In fact, the first part of the word comes from the GREEK word “HOMOS” – pronounced like “compost” (why all my guides to pronunciation are GARDENING terms, I have no idea – I don’t even LIKE gardening) which means “the same”. Thus homosexual ACTUALLY means sex with the SAME sex.

Therefore the made-up word “homophobe” ACTUALLY means a fear of MEN, if you’re thinking Latin – or a fear of things that are the SAME, if you’re thinking Greek. NEITHER indicates a fear of gay people.

Now, I have always preferred the company of women – they are more entertaining than men. And being an INDIVIDUALIST, with a low threshold of BOREDOM – I am APPALLED by the prospect of things being THE SAME all the time.

Which makes me a homophobe!

 

As a man looking at sixty-five (sadly, in his rear-view mirror) I have given this a LOT of thought over the past few months (check out other recent pieces in these columns) and dismissing religion and spiritualism as Man-made-up nonsense and accepting evolution as having most of the answers, have come to two main conclusions.

The first concerns our brains.

I have become convinced that while our operating system, programmes and memory (that which Science can duplicate as a computer) are firmly rooted in our Physical Brain – our Upper Brain, with its higher functions; self-awareness, consciousness, the id, the psyche (The Soul, if you like) along with our personality, emotions, intelligence, intuition, wisdom, instincts, artistic talents et al – are ELSEWHERE.

A place I call the Exo-Continuum.

Thus, when we peg out, our heart stops pumping oxygenated blood to our brain, causing our neurons to stop firing, our synapses to whither and our engrams to decay – and in This World, we are FINISHED.

However, while our MEMORIES of This Place may be no more (which is just as well – no-one wants to spend Eternity mithering about the things they should and should not have done) our Soul and Identity live on.

But the big question is – WHERE?

This resulted in my second conclusion; The Six Options.

And in formulating them, I was forced to ABANDON Science (which relies on DATA – which in the case of The Afterlife, is in direly short supply) and turn to its poor brother, LOGIC – with a dash of Human Intuition.

Option One is OBLIVION. Eternal darkness and silence. This is the one preferred by Science. but Logic poses the question that if Oblivion really IS all that follows This Life – then what the hell was all this ABOUT?

So Logic then coughed up five more options.

All of them begin with our Physical Brain dying and untethering our Upper Brain (the two clearly work in tandem while we are in This Place, despite Science being unable to find the LOCATION of our higher functions).

At which point, Option Two kicks in with LIMBO. This is where our Upper Brain just kind of floats about aimlessly for Eternity. Sad. Oh sure, our Soul and Identity survive – but to what end? I like Option Two even less than Option ONE.

But Option Three is a lot more promising; our Higher Brain connects to a Higher Level. Another Place. A Transcendental Plane. Somewhere better than This Place. I will return to this near the end of this discourse.

Next come Options Four and Five. In both of these, our Higher Brain is inserted into a new Vessel – a body.

Four has it happening on a RANDOM planet. And since there are Long TRILLIONS of them in the known universe, the chances of it being Earth are slim. Lottery-winning slim.

My Logic and Human Intuition do not like this one much, either.

Particularly as an important factor in our journey through the Continua is our Acquired Wisdom. Science claims that this is inherited through what it calls Genetic Memories (AKA “Race Memories”) but then, it could also be acquired through Previous Lives (see below). Either way, what bloody good would it be on a different planet?

Which brings us to Option Five. This is the ONLY one with EVIDENCE – but unfortunately, it is all EMPIRICAL. Here, our Vessel is a body somewhere in the future – on EARTH – being the next in a SERIES of lives.

But while the accounts of Previous Lives are manifold – most are clearly bollocks. I was a handmaiden to Cleopatra, etc. And even with more likely prospects, the problem is that none of the dream, vision and regressive hypnosis elements are PROVABLE. The subject could easily have looked them up.

Even if a story is confirmed by evidence that emerges AFTER the telling of the story, there could always be a SECOND set of evidence that came into the hands of the teller BEFORE.

The odds against a set of lost C17th parish records turning up shortly after a private journal did the same may be monumental, but in a world populated by seven milliard three people – each one having thousands of individual stories – it would only be a statistical anomaly if some of those stories did NOT wildly coincide.

Nevertheless, if just a FEW of the stories genuinely ARE the result of a memory which somehow clung on to a person’s psyche, Option Five is an ATTRACTIVE one. Cosy and familiar. So I like this too.

And Option Six is the TRUE Option – if all the preceding are WRONG. But the chances are that it would be FAR beyond anything I, you or anyone else could conceive of – given our only experiences are in THIS Life.

So let us look at the other five. As stated above, Options Three and Five are favourite. But which is the LIKELIEST?

Well, oddly enough, SCIENCE could yet provide a clue.

Even as I type this, DNA scientists are busy ploughing through gazillions of pieces of genetic instructions, trying to identify what they do. There are pieces which decide our sex and sexual identity, the colour of our hair, skin and eyes, our shape and size – even what diseases we might be susceptible to.

And current thinking is that elements of our PERSONALITY are likely to be contained in those instructions as well.

Which is CRUCIAL, since there is proof aplenty that a good part of that personality develops long BEFORE conditioning has a chance to shape us.

Nice parents who produce rotten kids – and vice-versa. Geniuses born to carrots. And high-functioning animals whose personalities become highly varied while still being suckled by their mothers.

So if at least some of our personality originates from our DNA (it would make sense – diverse skills Strengthen The Breed) then Previous Lives would not be necessary to explain the variation. Which would put a big DENT in Option Five – and leave Option THREE as the sole front runner.

Which I find oddly comforting. I confidently BELIEVE that inherited wisdom (Science’s “Race”/Genetic Memories) is real, having witnessed constant EVIDENCE of it – social progression is all around us.

Plus, Acquired Wisdom derived from a succession of lives would mean that eventually we would know it all. After which, with no actual memory of our Previous Lives, we would live much the SAME lives – over and over and OVER again – with only advancing technology to entertain us.

Imagine lives where everything was perfect; you would just sit around in circles, smiling at each other. Boring.

On the other hand, Option Three offers a HIGHER ALTERNATIVE to This Experience. Of course, what that might be – I have no idea.

But in the not-too-distant future, I dare say I will find out…

Melania returns. Trump says, “She went through a little rough patch, but she’s doing great,” patting his wife on the hand, “The people love you. Thank you, honey.”

SERIOUSLY? Replay that. And again. Two words – SUICIDE ATTEMPT.

Of course, Trump would call this fake news, but hear me out…

In April, Melania formed a warm bond with Manny Macron’s wife – a woman who clearly LOVES her husband (she HOLDS his hand).

Brigitte reported that Melania was warm too – and surprised at the FREEDOM Brigitte had, to wander around the City Of Light (Paris).

Three weeks later, Melania was hospitalised; then effectively VANISHED for a month.

“She went through a little rough patch…” – does that describe a routine minor op, plus recovery?

It is clear now that unless he is impeached, Trump’s presidency will last another three years. The question is – will MELANIA?

During the last few months I have written a NUMBER of pieces on the Afterlife – both in this column (see below) and its brothers. And this one will (HOPEFULLY) be the LAST.

In the absence of scientific and reliable empirical evidence, one can only apply LOGIC (mostly) and intuition to find an answer to What Happens Next. And mine have revealed the following…

There really are only TWO main options.

(1) When our hearts stop pumping oxygenated blood to our brains, our neurons cease firing, our synapses whither and our engrams decay. We are DEAD. Our consciousness does not survive our demise and we experience nothing but eternal OBLIVION.

However, the LOGIC of that state is flimsy. I mean, if it is the case, then what the hell was this life all ABOUT?

(2) Only our “lower” brains – containing our operating system, memory and programmes – that which can be duplicated in a computer – perish.

Our “middle” brains – intelligence, emotions, personality, empathy, ego, instincts, art, music, humour and suchlike – along with our “upper” brains – consciousness, the id, the psyche, the SOUL if you like – are OUTSIDE the Continuum and released from our lower brain, SURVIVE.

In what I call the Exocontinuum. Limbo, if you like.

But the big question is – what happens next?

For that, we need to examine SEVERAL options.

The first is that we REMAIN in the Exocontinuum – complete with all the middle and upper brain functions – our IDENTITY – intact. For ever. Uurgh.

A better option is that we find ourselves in ANOTHER continuum – where our existence is… what?

Since no-one has reliably BEEN there and returned to this continuum to report on it, your guess is as good as mine. It is probably beyond our understanding, given our limited experiences in this continuum.

Next is a return to this continuum – on a RANDOM planet.

And given the likely number of examples in the Universe, the chances of it being Earth are as likely as the chances of winning the Lottery with a single random ticket.

So given our brains would only contain the wisdom from our existence HERE, this particular reboot would leave us as fish-out-of-water. Again, uurgh.

Which brings us to THIS planet. And even MORE options.

We might return as a member of the opposite sex. Perhaps given nature is an inexact science, gay people were of the opposite sex in their last lifetime?

Probably not.

Then again, we might return as an animal.

Again, probably not.

No, the FAMILIAR is comforting – the notion that we will return as a human of the same sex to SOMEWHERE on this planet, at some time in the future, with our higher brain functions – including our wisdom (but none of the memories) from our previous lifetimes – intact.

The current population boom is not problematic – over one hundred milliard (short-scale billion) people are estimated to have lived In This Place thus far.

And since evolution takes care of this continuum, there is no reason it cannot also account for the Exocontinuum – and indeed, any other continua.

However, before we get TOO cosy, this option is the one reported by those who CLAIM to have lived before – usually after a dream, vision or session with a regressive hypnotist. Thus it has to be viewed WARILY.

The other options cannot be RULED OUT.

So live THIS life to the max. Then HOLD ON TIGHT…