“FRINGE” AND DR. WALTER BISHOP: SCHIZOPHRENIA & ...January 28, 2014
Many of you are aware that I only within the last few months discovered the television science fiction series "Fringe," with Australian actor John Noble playing a (quite) derranged American "mad scientist" named Dr Walter Bishop, dabbling in just about every area of scientific madness one can think of, madness of such a nature that one might be tempted as I am to view the whole series as a kind of themed exploration of transhumanism. Indeed, it was my co-author of Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, Dr. Scott deHart, who found the series, and put me on to it. As the series unfolds, one learns that Dr Walter Bishop epitomizes the academic scientist with one foot (formerly) in the American "breakaway research" establishment, and the series subtly explores all types of scientist: corporate scientists, independent researchers working out of their basements or old warehouses. One of Bishop's colleagues is the equally deranged and morally ambiguous if not conflicted Dr William Bell, played by Leonard Nimoy in what surely must have been a casting coup for the producers of the series, and deliberately and subtly exploiting all the resonances of Mr. Spock, the paragon of cold rational scientific and emotionless logic that Mr. Nimoy brings with him. (Bell, incidentally, is head of a multinational corporation called Massive Dynamic, which at one point in the series, is strongly suggested to be a kind of "sovereign nation" or breakaway civilization in its own right.)
Nimoy's character, William Bell has other resonances as well, not the least of which is his last name, Bell, for as the series unfolds, a major theme becomes that of multiverse theory, the version of quantum mechanics that maintains that there are multiple parallel universes, each brought into being by the different choices we observers make along the pathway of our lives. Bell the character could thus be taken as a play on Irish physicist John Stuart Bell who played such a significant role in the elaboration of current theoretical physics with his non-locality theorem. For the series "Fringe," non-locality plays a major thematic role, as the individual characters of the series discover in some instances that they have "doubles" living their own lives in a parallel universe, with which they've had contact. The doubles are both infuriatingly similar in their personalities to the "real world" counterparts, and yet, subtly different.
The series exploits the theme dramatically by posing the question "who are we?" and "what is personhood" in the context of multiverse theory. As the series unfolds, it is revealed that some people have a psychic ability to "avoid the ineluctable laws of physics" and the enormous energies that would be required to bridge to a parallel universe, and simply use their consciousness to establish contact with other universes and indeed enter them.
For those paying attention, the series is saying that consciousness itself is the membrane or common surface between worlds, and that under certain conditions(drug use for example, shades of Timothy Leary!), it is able to enter those worlds...
Now all this raises another possibility, explored by the series, namely, that certain types of mental disorder might not be mental disorders at all, but rather, the behavior signatures of people with one foot in "our" world, and another foot in "another" equally real physical world, just around the dimensional corner, so to speak.
But wait, there's more!
If all this sounds like wild high octane speculation, the fun stuff of science fiction on television, it is... except, of course, that it isn't:
It was inevitable that sooner or later multiverse theory in physics should shake hands with multiverse behavioral disorders in psychology. As the article notes, such experiences often leave the individual experiencing them fundamentally transformed in ways that are otherwise inexplicable, such as the manifestation of such abilities that were not there before (playing a musical instrument without any prior musical experience, for example. This was explored in "Fringe" as well.)
I am far from suggesting that such "fairy tale physics" and "fairy tale psychology" should be the normal order of the day; but neither should they be summarily dismissed. Such things should be studied. Indeed, the idea of such a link between "multiple personality disorders" and multiverse theory has already been suggested in a round-about way by remote veiwing. As American physicist Hal Puthoff, who was involved in that project, observed and even wrote a paper, humans do seem to have some curious ability to access information at remote distances without any(prior) physical contact with the site or information. John Stuart Bell, had he known of it, would perhaps have loved the idea. The idea should be tested...
...or should it? If the television series is any indicator, it probably already has been... and if the series is any indicator, it can result in a form of madness.
See you on the flip side.
(My thanks to Mr. G.B. who shared the Valk article with me and with the readers here.)