Respectful Insolence

Readers who have followed my little Friday bit of fun every week have probably, like me, at times sat in front of their computer screens, jaw drooping, a little bit of spittle starting to drip out of the corners of their mouths, and eyes agape with wonder at just how anyone on earth could believe some of this stuff. Indeed, it is truly unbelievable to anyone with just a modicum of critical thinking skills. Sometimes, as I have, you’ve almost certainly laughed out loud at the silliness. Sometimes, as I have, you’ve probably had to stop reading because you feared that the concentrated woo in these web pages was inducing neuronal apoptosis in your brain. Sometimes, perhaps, you’ve questioned my choice of a topic for my weekly feature or my execution, if you’ll excuse the term given the potential for harm the topics dealth with can sometimes have. (I’m human; not ever week can be a glorious celebration of the best that is woo, but I do try.) After all, if we’re talking religion, then there isn’t even a pseudoscientific explanation postulated by the woo-meister du jour, just an appeal to “belief” or a holy book, which makes it a bit hard to do anything other than laugh at Biblical diets, global prayer, or demon squids. In fact, I’m sitting on a bit of absolutely primo religious medical woo that goes far beyond medicine until the moment is right and I’m in the right frame of mind to let it rip.

The bit of woo that I chose for today (actually, much more than a bit of woo) made me think of Uri Geller in that it claims to be able to amplify your psychic abilities. Oh, wait. It couldn’t do Uri any good because he doesn’t have any psychic abilities, as has been demonstrated time and time again. Still, he obviously needs all the help he can get. Just imagine what he could bend other than spoons if he tapped into the awesome woo that is that Radionics, Psionics, Orgone: Psychic Energy Amplifying Devices.

Next thing you know, ol’ Uri would be bending telephone poles with the amplified power of his mind!

So what exactly does this site offer? Glad you asked! It “only” offers just one of the most awesome sets of woo machines that I’ve ever seen! Even better, if you build one of these machines (it’s claimed), you will acquire the following abilities:

  • Drastically increase the power of any magical work
  • Perform feats that defy modern day science, like telepathy, psychic healing and mind control!
  • Make virtually any dream come true, just turn the dial and go!

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have some of those powers. Telepathy has always been an attractive idea to me. Think of the usefulness. No more mucking about with annoying verbiage or sound. I could just project my awesome intellect to the minds of those with whom I want to communicate. Read Respectful Insolence every day, I could say. Soon, I’d be bigger than P.Z. Or I could plant the idea in the mind of my boss that I’m seriously underpaid and that my lab deserves more institutional resources. I wouldn’t be greedy. A 25% a year raise for two years would do, and an extra couple of hundred thousand dollars to buy some new equipment would be all I’d need. I wouldn’t even try to ask them to make me a department chair or a dean. (I hate administrative work, anyway.) Also think of how I could improve my medical practice if I could do psychic healing. Of course, no longer having to operate would put a huge crimp in the revenue that I generate, but I could certainly make up for it in volume and the reputation I’d acquire for curing the incurable.

But I digress into the world of fantasy (much like this website).

How does this wondrous device work, though? First, you have to know a bit about Psionics:

Psionics involves the use of sacred 2-dimensional patterns, drawings, and shapes. These patterns actualy project magical forces and have been used in magical practices for thousands of years.

A good example is the Magnetron shown on the right. The magnetron pattern represents great power. It is said that standing in the center causes a person to become highly charged and energized with great psychic power. This is a typical psionic pattern used frequently in psionics.

Another example is a psionic pattern drawing which is normally used to represent a target (person, place, or thing). Its normally composed of many complex intersecting lines that are drawn while concentrating intensly on the target. This causes the final pattern to be a highly accurate mental representation of the target because you have charged it with the targets energy signature. These pattern drawing are like psionic voodoo dolls used to tune in to and project energy to a target for any purpose. Its like making a psychic telephone connection with the target and anything you send will be recieved into the targets spirit.

And what does this magical pattern look like? This:

i-11ede3d51517403d7c56d9009dac3ce9-18circlesbox2a.jpg

Kind of disappointing, isn’t it? I feel let down. At least these woo-meisters could have gotten a better artist to draw the picture, you know, one who would embellish the basic shape with all sorts of psychedelic colors and magical-appearing patterns. That’s what I’d have done if I were responsible for this website. In any case, it’s becoming clear that, whatever this woo is, supposedly it somehow combines psionics, radionics, and orgone. Truly a wonderful thing, three great woos that taste great together! But what is radionics? The purveyors of thsi wondrous “magick” are more than happy to explain:

Radionics is a method of manipulating subtle energies using specialized instruments. A radionics practitioner can work on any target such as humans, animals, plants, the soil, buildings, the environment etc… Radionics uses special machines with internal Psionic patterns and the patterns can be adjusted and tuned by an operator to perform a number of various magical tasks. Therefore Radionic machines are much more versatile than Psionic patterns because the same machine can easily be adjusted to work for hundreads of different purposes wherin a psionic drawing is typically used for a single purpose. Psionic patterns are much more accurate then a Radionics machine but are not adjustable. Therefore the two are used together for maximum effect.

That’s two woos out of three. Let’s see the third:

Orgone is life force energy. Every living thing is made of and consumes life energy. Orgone was named by Wilhelm Reich in 1946. He constructed special equipment to measure and study orgone and to observe its effects. Reich eventually developed simple devices called Orgone accumulators to focus and build up this energy for charging living things or objects with Orgone life force energy.

Orgone is also known as; chi, prana, huna, odic force, etc. The success or failure in any magical or radionic work depends greatly on the amount of life force involved in the operation. Even energized prayer depends greatly on the persons own life energy. A lack of sufficient life force strength is the most common reason for failure in any magical or radionics work.

Well, that explains everything. Don’t look at the Orgone Accumulator though. I told you notto look! To me it looks a lot like a minirefrigerator:

i-6f144d7e38cf86de3d69229c55b5c9d6-orgone.jpg

How on earth can these three powers be integrated into one seamless set of woo that can bestow upon its wielder all the great powers described in the beginning? Like all woo-meisters, this one likes analogies:

Lets say that magick is like a powerful missle. [Orac notes that psionics, radionics, and orgone apparently don't bestow spelling abilities or freedom from typos upon the user. Oh, well.]

Orgone would represent the fuel that provides it with great speed and power to reach its destination. Without this fuel it would always fall short of its target but if it contains a powerful fuel supply it can hit its target quickly with a massive punch.

Psionics is like a super precision guidance system that directs the magick missle to its exact destination and target anywhere in the universe. Without this component your magick efforts would miss the target or perhaps only strike close and not achieve 100% success.

Radionics is like a versatile and highly organized control station where you can control all the characteristics of this magick missle. You can easily change your target in midflight or alter other characteristics of it. It allows you to monitor its effectiveness and determine the exact results. It is your control panel for the entire operation and it is the most important part.
By combining Psionics, Radionics and Orgone it is possible to perform powerful magic!

Magic missiles? Now we’re talking! That was always one of my favorite spells in Dungeons & Dragons, even if it was rather wimpy at lower levels. It also turns out that this method is so far beyond “old-fashioned” magick that no one can compete:

With these amazing devices which you will soon learn how to construct, you will have an enormous advantage over any old-time practitioners of magick. You will have technology that can provide your work with a continuous supply of life force energy and the necessary equipment to focus and direct its power to any target. None of the traditional shamans or practitioners of magick can accomplish that with their limited methods! No witchcraft coven can walk in circles and chant at all times, and no follower of the Santeria or Voodoo traditions can kill chickens or goats at all times to supply continuous power to a spell.

I could see how that would be a problem for old-time practitioners. All that chanting, motioning, and killing goats, it’s just all soooooo old-fashioned, soooo old school.

So far, you’re probably thinking that all of this sounds like mystical mumbo-jumbo, and you’d be right. There’s nothing here to back it up other than the assertions of the “magician.” Fortunately, for the science-starved among us, these guys have to go out of their way to assure us that this is all based on science, maaaan:

Scientists have done thousands of tests with people trying to effect the outcome of RNG’s (Random Number Generators). Random number generators are special machines designed to produce thousands of random numbers each second. A person is told to try to influence the output of the machine so that it produces say more odd numbers than even numbers. Its basically a sophisticated coin tosser, like tossing 1,000 coins per second.

Their findings show over and over that anybody can influence the outcome of these random numbers by intense and focused concentration!

BZZZZZT!

Oh, I’m sorry, but that’s the wrong answer. Here’s a hint: Citing the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Laboratory (a favorite of Deepak Chopra, of all people) is not the way to gain any sort of scientific credibility. Fortunately, PEAR is now shut down and will no longer be able to pollute the scientific literature with its dubious research and pseudoscience. But, hey, anyone can screw up once; so I’ll give the guys a second chance:

Another example is a law in quantum mechanics called the uncertainty principle that scientists have discovered. It is a bizarre effect that states that the observation of an event by an observer is not independant of the observer. Basically this means that at the quantum level the observer has a huge influence on whatever he is observing. This effect applies to the random number generators and it can apply to people as well. For example if you direct large amounts of anger and negativity towards something then it has a tendency to turn out bad. On the other hand it is possible for someone to achieve amazing feats simply by believing in his own abilities with complete confidence. Scientists have proven that the uncertainty principle especially applies to ESP and magick. In many double blind tests of ESP subjects, it was discovered that the person administering the test had a huge impact on the outcome of the tests solely as a result of his mental beliefs about the outcome. Therefore to really do accurate testing, it would require an observer who would not pass any mental judgements about its success or failure.

Yes! Not only do we have psionics, orgone, and radionics, but we have a fatuous invocation of quantum theory. Truly, this is most excellent woo! This last point does bring up a question, though. If it really is the case that magick can be thwarted just by skepticism (sorry, I mean “anger and negativity”), then what the hell good is it? How on earth can a person using this magick accomplish all the wonderful thinks for himself that this website says that he can if the person whose mind he wants to control just has to be in a pissed off mood or–even worse–be a skeptic or unbeliever in order thwart his plans for mind control, achieving every wish he wants, and ruling the world? This power suddenly doesn’t sound all that awesome now.

Maybe I should try lucid dreaming and astral projection instead.

Comments

  1. #1 Joe
    March 14, 2008

    Since you mentioned ol’ Uri, here is a video spoof by Frye and Laurie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUxWdIQVT_c

  2. #2 Christophe Thill
    March 14, 2008

    “Another example is a law in quantum mechanics called the uncertainty principle that scientists have discovered. It is a bizarre effect that states that the observation of an event by an observer is not independant of the observer.”

    OK so far.

    “For example if you direct large amounts of anger and negativity towards something then it has a tendency to turn out bad. On the other hand it is possible for someone to achieve amazing feats simply by believing in his own abilities with complete confidence.”

    Hey, what does it have to do with the uncertainty principle??? And, for a start, what do these “somethings” and “feats” have anything to do with quantum theory, as they’re macroscopic ? Well, I mean, the “something” can be a single electron, but it would be a lott less interesting.

    Also, they don’t say everything about the orgone. According to Reich, it’s something like the substance of orgasm. By hiding the link with sex, they emasculate the concept. If I may say.

  3. #3 Christophe Thill
    March 14, 2008

    “Another example is a law in quantum mechanics called the uncertainty principle that scientists have discovered. It is a bizarre effect that states that the observation of an event by an observer is not independant of the observer.”

    OK so far.

    “For example if you direct large amounts of anger and negativity towards something then it has a tendency to turn out bad. On the other hand it is possible for someone to achieve amazing feats simply by believing in his own abilities with complete confidence.”

    Hey, what does it have to do with the uncertainty principle??? And, for a start, what do these “somethings” and “feats” have anything to do with quantum theory, as they’re macroscopic ? Well, I mean, the “something” can be a single electron, but it would be a lot less interesting.

    Hmm now that I think about it, it could be very dangerous. If by looking an atom very hard in the eyes and thinking “Die! Die! Die!” you could make it desintegrate, then it would be extremely cheap to build an atom bomb, and everybody could try their hand at nuclear terror. Scary!

    Also, they don’t say everything about the orgone. According to Reich, it’s something like the substance of orgasm. By hiding the link with sex, they emasculate the concept. If I may say.

  4. #4 viggen
    March 14, 2008

    Scientists have proven that the uncertainty principle especially applies to ESP and magick.

    Does this mean that if you become highly focused with your ESP that your magick gets really flaky and uncertain? Sounds like they need educating about Uncertainty Principle: they don’t even invoke it correctly.

  5. #5 Christophe Thill
    March 14, 2008

    “Another example is a law in quantum mechanics called the uncertainty principle that scientists have discovered. It is a bizarre effect that states that the observation of an event by an observer is not independant of the observer.”

    OK so far.

    “For example if you direct large amounts of anger and negativity towards something then it has a tendency to turn out bad. On the other hand it is possible for someone to achieve amazing feats simply by believing in his own abilities with complete confidence.”

    Hey, what does it have to do with the uncertainty principle??? And, for a start, what do these “somethings” and “feats” have anything to do with quantum theory, as they’re macroscopic ? Well, I mean, the “something” can be a single electron, but it would be a lot less interesting.

    Hmm now that I think about it, it could be very dangerous. If by looking an atom very hard in the eyes and thinking “Die! Die! Die!” you could make it desintegrate, then it would be extremely cheap to build an atom bomb, and everybody could try their hand at nuclear terror. Scary!

    Also, they don’t say everything about the orgone. According to Reich, it’s something like the substance of orgasm. By hiding the link with sex, they emasculate the concept. If I may say.

  6. #6 Interrobang
    March 14, 2008

    This seems to be particularly retro woo, harking back to the good old Spiricom days. In fact, it’s so positively Gernsbackian, it makes me a bit misty-eyed.
    Ah, the pungent sweetness of nostalgia for an age that never existed!

  7. #7 Heather
    March 14, 2008

    Now you, too can cast Magick Missle(TM), for only $29.95!
    (Warning: Repeatedly yelling “I am now casting Magick Missle” may cause people to hate you. A lot.)

    What’s a missle, anyway? Is it anything like a mussel?

  8. #8 Heather
    March 14, 2008

    Now you, too can cast Magick Missle(TM), for only $29.95!
    (Warning: Repeatedly yelling “I am now casting Magick Missle” may cause people to hate you. A lot.)

    What’s a missle, anyway? Is it anything like a mussel?

  9. #9 Lilly de Lure
    March 14, 2008

    Heather said:

    Warning: Repeatedly yelling “I am now casting Magick Missle” may cause people to hate you. A lot.

    More like cause people to fall about laughing at you. A lot. This is truly hilarious woo you’ve found for us this week Orac!

    Basically this means that at the quantum level the observer has a huge influence on whatever he is observing. This effect applies to the random number generators and it can apply to people as well. For example if you direct large amounts of anger and negativity towards something then it has a tendency to turn out bad.

    Why is it that Woos find it so entertaining to torture the Observer Effect and the Uncertainty Principle to within an inch of their lives?

  10. #10 ancientTechie
    March 14, 2008

    Unfortunately, I have no psychic or magick powers to amplify. That Orgone Accumulator is pretty stylish, though. Maybe these folks should go into the retro cooler business.

  11. #11 Amanda
    March 14, 2008

    I feel vindicated. Thanks for writing about the woo that is orgone and Dr. Wilhelm Reich. I go to theater school at NYU, one of the most highly regarded theater schools in the country and my voice and speech teacher (what it has to do with my voice I still have no idea) tried to peddle this crap off to me as fact. Even more shockingly, I was the only person in the class who spoke up, and when I did one student said to me, “Watch What the Bleep Do We Know. It’ll explain everything.” Yeah, a movie by cultists will explain *everything*…

    This is not an isolated incident. For the past 3 years I’ve been told that all this woo is real science in the name of a liberal, university education. People accept it and I find this terrifying.

    *whoosh* Rant over. Thanks!

  12. #12 Alan Kellogg
    March 14, 2008

    Folks, keep this fact in mind; any phenomenon we could use to produce useful results would be used to produce useful results. We put stuff that works to work.

  13. #13 Inquisitive Raven
    March 14, 2008

    I think you’ve go the wrong game here. Despite all the “magick missle” crap, it frankly sounds like a recruitment ad for the Sons of Ether. I decided a few years back, that in the World of Darkness, Wilhelm Reich was obviously an Etherite Prime specialist, possibly with a subspecialty in Life.

  14. #14 Mike O'Risal
    March 15, 2008

    Oh oh oh, you just have no idea, Orac. I spent years around the Woo World of Occultism and bumped into a number of hardcore radionics people in that time. By far, the wackiest of ‘em all is Charles Cosimano, AKA “Uncle Chuckie.”

    You have GOT to check out his website, and particularly his videos. Keep in mind when you do that Cosimano is a major player in the radionics world credited with having popularized the “magickal science” in recent years. Plus he can make people’s heads explode, so you’d better damned well listen!

  15. #15 khan
    March 15, 2008

    Folks, keep this fact in mind; any phenomenon we could use to produce useful results would be used to produce useful results. We put stuff that works to work.

    Exactly.

    People with such powers/abilities would tend to stand out in the crowd.

  16. #16 joseph duemer
    March 15, 2008

    There appears to be a weird psionic effect that acts on the possessive case. Or maybe it’s radionics. But something is destroying the apostrophes in these people’s writing.

  17. #17 joseph duemer
    March 15, 2008

    There appears to be a weird psionic effect that acts on the possessive case. Or maybe it’s radionics. But something is destroying the apostrophes in these people’s writing.

  18. #18 joseph duemer
    March 15, 2008

    There appears to be a weird psionic effect that acts on the possessive case. Or maybe it’s radionics. But something is destroying the apostrophes in these people’s writing.

  19. #19 Lucario
    March 29, 2008

    Psionics requires “sacred 2-dimensional patterns” in order to function? I never read that in any of my D&D manuals!

    I thought you just thought and bang, it happens – provided you have enough PP’s to use that particular psionic power, of course.

  20. #20 A Visiting EE Student
    May 4, 2008

    I happen to recognize one of the “sacred 2-dimensional patterns” — oddly enough, the “Magnetron” actually is a simplified form of one of the standard ways of representing the internal structure of a device known as a cavity magnetron ().

    Most likely, you have one of these things in your home–they are almost always the active component in a microwave oven. This is the first I’d heard of them having any such effect.

    And of course, the “magnet” from which the “magnetron” tube gets its name isn’t shown in that view (that pattern is a cross-section with the magnetic field running perpendicular to the page).

    RF and especially microwave circuits often vaguely resemble magic runes of some strange sort. I wonder how many of these types of “sacred” woo patterns, upon closer inspection, turn out to be common in either microwave or integrated circuit design.

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