Understanding Volume 1 Number 3
For March, 1956
EDITOR …… DANIEL W. FRY
circulating manage ……….. evelyn nicolais
corresponding secretary …. rhoda mills
Art work by ………… ralph huffman
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The dominant nations of the world of today are engaged in the greatest race for armaments which this earth has ever seen. Every efficient means of destruction is being harnessed and developed to its highest possible degree of perfection.
Almost everyone in the United States deplores the possibility of war and hopes sincerely that it will never occur, yet millions of persons in this country are devoting their entire energies to the production of the means to wage it effectively and devastatingly.
We are doing this, we say, only in self defense. Our official attitude toward the government of the Soviet Union is that the latter came into being through force; it exists and expands by force; it understands and respects only force, therefore the only way in which we can hope to protect ourselves from ‘the danger (to our way of life) which it represents, is by the use or the threat of force. Unfortunately, under the present conditions, this is probably true, but it is a sad commentary upon the state of development of our social and spiritual science, when we are forced to admit that we have no adequate means by which we can cope with brute force except to meet it with brute force.
In our frantic search for more and more powerful weapons, we have almost entirely overlooked the most potent of all and the only one which we can use to its fullest extent without destroying ourselves in the process.
Some of the historians who have chronicled the lives and careers of great conquerors, have marveled at the fact that none of them ever succeeded in their attempt to subjugate the entire human race. In many cases, as the great warrior went from victory to victory, from conquest to conquest, it had seemed inevitable that he should ultimately succeed in subduing all opposition. Then, at the very pinnacle of success, at the moment when it appeared that no power on earth could stand against him, a pattern of perversity would begin to manifest itself. For the first time in his life, the great strategist would begin to make errors in his military planning and gross errors of judgment. Men who had been loyal to him for years would begin to draw away, and in some cases to betray him. His career, from that moment, would become a succession of failures leading to ultimate death and degradation.
This is a typical pattern of the career of all those who have attempted to dominate the peoples of the earth by force, yet the would-be conqueror of today always prefers to ignore the plain lessons of the past. Perhaps he does not realize that this pattern is the result of immutable law. When any man begins a program of unlimited conquest, he begins to invoke against himself
the most powerful weapon in the world, the force of human will.
If we examine the life pattern of the would-be world conquerors, we usually find that his career was begun upon the pretext of righting a great wrong, of correcting some injustice in human relationship. For a time he has the approval of the majority of that part of the world which is aware of his action. The use of force inevitably results in the production of enemies, but for a time his very success will swing the balance of opinion in his favor. As time goes on however, the conflict grows constantly greater, while the pretext shrinks into insignificance. Eventually, the true purpose of the conqueror becomes obvious to his friends as it is to his enemies, and an ever increasing force of human opinion will be directed against the success of his efforts. Anyone who may doubt the efficacy of the force has only to read history to be convinced.
During all of the great wars of history, the dissemination of propaganda, for the purpose of breeding hate, has been a recognized part of the military strategy, but this has been done principally for the purpose of increasing the physical effort of the individual rather than through any recognition of the power of thought itself.
Unfortunately there is undeniable evidence that those leaders who control the policies of the Soviet Union have, from the beginning, had a much clearer realization of this power of opinion than have the leaders of the free nations.
In its drive for world domination, the Soviet government has always devoted a very large proportion of its total effort to the moulding of public opinion, particularly the opinion of those nations which had not yet become involved in the struggle. They have been willing to go to any length, short of abandoning their ultimate objective, to maintain among the total population of the earth, a balance of approval, or at least of acquiescence in their policies. They have, to date, almost succeeded in maintaining this balance, in spite of the fact that their avowed objective is world domination; in spite of the fact that all of the nations which have come under this domination have immediately lost all political self-determination and individual liberties; in spite of the fact that there is no evidence that any of these nations have profited in any way by this domination, and in spite of the fact that most of the arguments and promises through which the approval or acquiescence has been obtained have been proven false.
Consider how much more powerful a weapon this force of world opinion,
this power of collective will could be in the hands of the free nations, who have upon their side the overwhelming preponderance of truth and justice. Yet how slowly are they awaking to the realization that the ultimate weapon is the collective force of human will, and that when wielded by true understanding, it becomes the world’s only irresistible force.
The word Karma, as used in the philosophy of India and many other parts of the world, is defined as being the manifestation of the workings of the laws of cause and effect. Particularly as they are related to the life pat tern of the individual. Karma, as an entity, has three basic components, Destiny, Fate, and Free Will. The last named is usually given too little attention in articles written upon the subject of Karma, with the result that a certain degree of misunderstanding has developed concerning the nature of the two remaining components.
Many persons find it difficult to distinguish between Destiny and Fate. I have even known some who believed that the two were identical. This might be a comforting belief to those who wish to escape all responsibility for their own actions, since, if Destiny and Fate were identical, then there could be no such thing as Free Will, and no one could be held responsible for any of his actions. The truth of the matter is that Free Will is a powerful factor which stands between Destiny and Fate constantly shaping and modifying the latter.
We can illustrate this by a simple example, in which two men find themselves alone in the middle of the desert at midday. Their camels and all their supplies have been stolen, and they are afoot in the burning sand. One man reasons thus: “Whatever the causes which brought me to this place and condition, whether faults of my own or of others, I am here, and I cannot alter that fact. It is Destiny. I cannot prevent the sun from shining nor can I by any effort of will cool the sands. It is Destiny, I must accept my Fate.” He remains in the sun, and soon dies of heat and thirst.
The other man says to himself: “It is true that I cannot help being here, nor can I prevent the sun from shining or the sand from being hot, these are Destiny; but I perceive, in the distance, what appears to be a grove of palm
trees. If I can reach them they may afford me some protection from the results of these conditions which I cannot change.” With a determined effort, he struggles forward through the burning sand until he reaches the oasis, where he finds both shade and water. He survives until he is rescued by a passing caravan.
The Destiny of these two men was identical. Their Fate was very different. The force that made the difference was the Free Will and determination of the individual. Thus it is demonstrated that, while no man can alter Destiny, every man is, to a large degree, the master of his Fate.
We see that Lin Yutang has predicted that there will be two more world wars during the next fifty years. It’s reassuring to know that there will be another fifty years.
H. C. Urey, the nuclear wiz, says he thinks life is possible on other planets. We think that with a little more understanding, it might become possible on this one.
(THE POET’S FORUM)
This page will henceforth be devoted to the publication of the offerings of any of our contributors who may feel the urge to express themselves in verse.
The following lines were penned by your editor, after an unsuccessful attempt to digest an unusually abstruse batch of modern verse, and should not be construed as a reflection upon all of our modern poetry, much of which is as valuable as anything which has been written in the past.
Muddled thoughts, disjointed phrases,
Bringing vague fleeting visions,
Which the reeling mind struggles vainly,
To bring into focus.
Shards of reason, mental discords,
Bearing profound messages,
In a garbled tongue which defies
Brain in neutral, pen idling along,
Some modern poets
Turn out trash like this which the critics laud,
Not daring to admit,
They cannot understand it.
‘Understanding’ has just received a very interesting and informative letter from Mr. Wilbert B. Smith, erstwhile head of ‘Project Magnet,’ the official Canadian Flying Saucer study, and who is still eagerly, if unofficially observing the space craft picture as it continues to unfold. He included in his letter, the following statement which he has prepared for publication in ‘Understanding.’
THE CANADIAN FLYING SAUCER STUDY
Project Magnet was authorized in December, 1950, following a request made to the Canadian Department of Transport by W. B. Smith, for permission to make use of the department’s laboratory and field facilities in a study of unidentified flying objects and physical principles which might appear to be involved.
The program consisted of two parts. The first part was the collecting of as much high quality data as possible, analysing it, and where possible drawing conclusions from it. The second part consisted of a systematic questioning of all our basic concepts in the hopes of turning up a discrepancy which might prove to be the key to a new technology.
Unfortunately, the program was plagued by well meaning but misguided journalists who were looking for spectacular copy, or copy which could be turned to political account, to such an extent that both those who were working on the project and the Department of Transport found themselves in an embarrassed position. Consequently, when the Project Magnet Report was made and permission sought to extend the scope of the investigation through Federal financial support, the decision was finally made in 1954 that this would not be advisable in the face of the publicity from which the whole project had suffered.
Project Magnet was officially dropped by the Department of Transport in October, 1954, although the Department indicated its willingness to permit the continued use of laboratory facilities, provided this could be done at no cost to the public treasury. The project has been continuing under these conditions, and to this extent may be said to have gone underground. The government of Canada is not a participant in the project and not in any way responsible for its conclusions.
The conclusions reached by Project Magnet and contained in the official report were based on a rigid statistical analysis of sighting reports and were
as follows: There is a 91% probability that at least some of the sightings are of real objects of unknown origin. There is about 60% probability that these objects are alien vehicles. (Alien meaning not of earthly fabrication).
The conclusions based on studies of the basic physical concepts were as follows: Many of our fundamental concepts are inherently ambiguous and quite a different philosophy can be built up on the alternatives. Several of these alternatives lead to much simpler arithmetic and presentations which do not have to resort to patchwork corrections to make them all embracing. Furthermore, some of our ideas with respect to fields and their behavior are wrong.
Recent Project Magnet activities have dealt with following up any and all leads. Many of these leads were dead ends, but a few were quite significant and well worth the overall effort. At the present time a definite pattern is emerging, and the groundwork is being laid for a new technology which may literally lead us to the stars.
W. B. SMITH
(Because of the large number of requests, and in spite of a few misgivings, the editor has decided to publish in each issue of Understanding a portion of his forthcoming book, ‘Steps to the Stars.’
The misgivings are due to the fact that the book is essentially a text book, and in spite of the author’s effort to make it as understandable as is humanly possible, some portions of the book may require a greater effort, than many of our readers may care to make. It is our hope, however, that within a few months, we will have enough subscribers to enable us to enlarge the magazine, so that the ‘Steps to the Stars’ will not be taking any space away from other essential aspects of understanding.)
Most of those persons who have, in one way or another, established a contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, or to put it in the usual way, with beings from other worlds, have, as a result of this contact, received, among other things, certain somewhat advanced concepts of the physical science. Too often, however, the recipient of these advanced concepts is almost or totally unfamiliar with our present position and beliefs in the scientific field. The result is that when he attempts to make public these advanced thoughts, they are usually rejected by our scientists on the ground that there is no apparent connection between them and our present concepts.
In the physical science of today, the algebraic formula or equation is the dominant factor. Our greatest scientists are the first to admit that we have but little actual understanding of the ultimate laws or facts of the Universe. We do have a great mass of mathematical formulae, by the use of which we can, with a fair degree of accuracy, predict the results of certain physical conditions. In recent years, however, there have been comparatively few attempts to reduce these formulae to simple concepts which can readily be grasped by the mind. There has been a growing tendency among our scientists to adopt the attitude that: “if we know what happens, and how it happens, then there is no need for us to concern ourselves with why it happens.” In other words, we have a great deal of knowledge but very little understanding.
This book is being written with the hope that it may bring a little of the light of simple understanding to bear upon a few of our more puzzling mathematical `laws,’ and to demonstrate that a pathway can be laid from our present,
rather confused position, to the firmer ground of the new age of science.
For thousands of years man has dreamed of the day when, at last, he will break the bonds of his terrestrial prison and soar freely out into space, to explore at will, the utmost reaches of a boundless universe. The time has come when man is about to realize this ambition of the ages. Men now living will stand upon the surface of Mars and Venus, and a few will observe at close range the fourteen major planets which orbit about those next nearest luminaries known to us as Alpha and Proxima Centauri.
Man’s attempt to escape from the irksome confines of his tiny planet has always been hampered by his lack of understanding of four of the basic factors of the universe: gravity, space, time and energy. It has always seemed that there was too much of gravity and space, and not enough of energy or time. About the year nineteen hundred and five, however, it was brought to man’s attention that these factors were not the absolute and independent entities that he had always considered them, but that they were variable factors, the value of each of which depended upon the value o£ the others. Thus the first faint light of understanding began to struggle through the dense screen of absolute determinism which had been erected about the physical or material science.
Unfortunately, our men of science, instead of pursuing this bright gleam of truth, attempted, from force of habit, to shape it into the common pattern of knowledge, by reducing it to a mathematical formula which could be used without the necessity of understanding it. We are nearing the limit of the progress which can be made through blind knowledge. If we are to reach the stars we must forget for a time many of the things which we think we know, and strive to learn instead what we can understand.
Those who open this book with the hope of finding herein a blueprint for the construction of a space ship may be disappointed, for no such blueprint will be found within these pages. While I am convinced that such a craft will be built within the next ten years, I have no desire to accept the responsibility which will devolve upon the individual who first builds one. It is interesting, however, and perhaps helpful to consider and discuss the basic physical concepts necessary for the construction and operation of a true space vehicle.
It might be wise, first to devote a little time to the consideration of what we will call the ‘nonlinearity of physical law.
A few years ago, our physical laws were considered to be linear. That is: we had, by trial and error, by observation and test, developed a set of laws which apparently held true for all of the small segment of nature, which we were able to observe at the time. We assumed, therefore, that these laws would hold true in any segment of nature, no matter how far removed from our point of observation. When, however, the study of physics moved into the microcosm, that is, when we began to examine the interior of the atom, we found there a set of laws which did not agree with those to which we had been accustomed. They too appeared to be linear, but operated at an angle to our established laws. The same disturbing situation was discovered in the macrocosm. When our astronomers developed the giant telescope capable of peering many millions of light years into space, they found there, still another set of laws operating apparently at an angle to both of the others. For a time, we attempted to accustom ourselves to the existence of three sets of physical laws, each set linear within its own range of observation, but each set operating angularly with respect to the others. Then, with the development of the principals of relativity, we began to realize, or at least we should have realized that these different sets of linear laws were not actually linear, nor were they different sets of laws, but that they were simply three segments of the one great curve of natural law. As long as we were dealing with quantities which could be observed with the unaided eye or with simple instruments, we were unable to detect the curvature, because the segment which we were observing constituted such a tiny portion of the curve that its deviation from linearity was too slight to be detected. For most practical purposes connected with the ordinary mechanics of our daily lives, these laws are still considered to be linear. Calculations are simpler when they are so considered, and the resulting error is negligible. For the same reason, a surveyor who is surveying a small residence lot does not find it necessary to take into consideration the curvature of the earth, because the error resulting from this neglect is not detectable even by the most sensitive of his instruments. If, however, the surveyor is to make accurate measurements of large areas such as a State or a Continent, it does become imperative to consider the curvature
of the earth’s surface, and to do this, of course, it is necessary to have a reasonably accurate knowledge of the radius of that curvature.
The necessity of an accurate determination of the radius of curvature of the natural laws was first realized perhaps, by the late Dr. Einstein, who devoted a large part of his life’s work to this problem. The results which he obtained have filled a number of text books, and have been of inestimable value in the progress of the physical science. They proved to be the key which opened the door to the utilization of nuclear energy, and as soon as a successful effort is made to reduce these mathematical formulae to simple concepts easily grasped by the mind, these concepts, together with the additional truths which will then become self evident, will open the door to space travel with a surety and ease which we would now find hardly possible even to imagine.
The difficulty with our present mathematical approach to the problems of relativity lies not in any error of the mathematics themselves, but in the fact that the methods and terms used in the attempt to explain them, often lead to incorrect thinking and assumptions.
For example: the best known formula perhaps, which has emerged from the study of relativity, is the expression E=MC2, which simply states that the quantity of energy (in ergs) which is inherent in any mass, is equal to the number of grams of that mass, multiplied by the square of the quantity C. The quantity C is considered to be a constant, in fact the only constant which has survived in a relativistic world.
In almost every text book on physics in the world today the statement is made that the quantity C represents the velocity of light (in centimeters per second), yet every student in the world who has studied the subject, knows that the velocity of light is not a constant. That its velocity, in fact, varies slightly with each different medium through which it is propagated. Any student who has ever passed a beam of sunlight through a prism to produce a spectrum of color, has demonstrated that not only does the velocity of light vary in different media, but that the change in velocity varies somewhat with the frequency of the light when propagated in material media. This of course is the principal upon which all of our spectroscopes are designed, although most text books state merely that the light is refracted or `bent’ in passing from one medium to another. There are many who will dispute the statement that the change in velocity varies with the frequency, but when sufficiently
precise tests are made, entirely within a single medium, the results indicate convincingly that this is true.
At this point most students will remark that the quantity C refers to the velocity of light in a perfect vacuum, but where in the universe can we find a perfect vacuum in which to test this assertion? Astronomers and physicists have estimated that even in the remotest depths of intergalactic space there will probably be found, from three to seven nuclear or atomic particles per cubic centimeter. A beam of light traveling at approximately 3×1010 centimeters per second would still encounter a rather large number of such particles during each second of its journey. While it is true that the proportionate decrease in velocity which would be produced by this minute concentration of matter is so small that it might be negligible for all practical purposes of measurement, nevertheless it demonstrates the fact that we have chosen as our sole remaining ‘constant,’ a quantity which actually can never be a perfect constant anywhere in the known universe.
Fortunately there is a value to which the quantity C can be assigned which is a constant. Moreover the assignment of the quantity C to this factor makes possible a much better understanding of the natural laws involved in the propagation of energy.
The quantity C is actually the kinetic energy equivalent of the mass energy of matter. In other words, if we were to take a gram (or any other quantity of matter: Newtonian mass) and convert that matter gradually into energy according to the formula E=MC2, and if the resultant energy, as it appeared, were constantly applied to the remaining matter in such a way as to accelerate it uniformly in a given direction, when all of the matter had been so converted we would find that we had zero newtonian mass, infinite inertial mass, and a resultant velocity equal to the quantity C, or approximately 3×1010 centimeters per second, (with respect to the given reference or starting point). The maximum velocity attained would always be the same regardless of the quantity of matter with which we started. This is a fact which can easily be verified by anyone who is mathematically inclined, and who is familiar with the laws of acceleration. The energy required to accelerate each gram of mass to the velocity C through energy conversion is exactly equal to the total energy inherent in any matter having that mass.
This fact forms the true basis of the statement in our present day physics that the velocity C is a maximum or limiting velocity, since it represents the
greatest kinetic energy differential which can exist between two given reference points. Since a good understanding of this concept is of great importance, it will be referred to again, and discussed more fully in the chapters on energy and matter.
We must always remember that our ordinary physical laws, as they are usually expressed, do not hold true when carried to an extent which permits the error to be measured, because they do not follow a straight line reaching to infinity, but a curve of finite radii. In a timeless universe, this curve would be represented by a circle, but since the laws operate through time as well as space, the curve is more readily understood if depicted as a ‘sine wave.’ In this case the base line of the wave represents zero, and the portions above and below the line represent the positive and negative aspects of the law.
Thus we see that there are points and conditions in which the natural laws reach zero value with respect to a given reference point, and that beyond these points the laws become negative, reversing their effect with respect to the observer.
The constant repetition of the terms ‘reference point’ or ‘observer’ is necessary to emphasize the frequently unrecognized fact that none of the basic factors of nature have any reality or significance except when considered from a specified position or condition.
(To be continued)
(The chapter entitled `Gravity’ will appear in the April issue)
(Reprint from the editorial page of the Washington Post and Times Herald
of January 15, 1956)
It will take more explanation than anyone in the Administration has yet offered to reassure world opinion about the new series of American nuclear weapons tests to be held this spring. The announcement that a major purpose of the tests will be to obtain information for defense against nuclear attack introduces a new and significant factor. But if the tests are intended primarily to yield scientific data for defensive measures or devices, it is difficult to understand why they could not be held under international auspices.
The disclosure of the new test plans came on the heels of Secretary Dulles rejection of a moratorium on thermonuclear weapons experiments. Fears about the cumulative effects of radioactivity from such tests have by no means been dispelled. The Indians and others have long proposed a ban on new tests, and recently the Russian leaders voiced willingness to enter into an agreement on this point. The effect of the blunt American refusal, along with the announcement of new test plans, is to make it look as if the United States is flouting a move toward peace.
Certainly this is not the Administration’s intention. The rationale behind much of the emphasis on nuclear weapons is that prowess in this field is a potent factor in deterring war. Apart from the defensive considerations mentioned in the announcement, there have been contentions that additional tests are necessary to enable this country to keep abreast in weapons development. Undoubtedly these figured in the rejection of the test ban. There is also the possibility that Britain would reject such a ban until she has tested her own hydrogen weapons. Beyond this, there is the widely voiced suspicion that the Russian offer to ban further tests is phony.
These are unquestionably important considerations. But are they compelling enough to rule out all thought of a ban on tests of large weapons, or at least an effort to internationalize further tests? Scientists are divided over whether more thermonuclear tests actually are necessary for developmental purposes. Some are convinced that we have all the essential information we require about large weapons; and Rep. W. Sterling Cole, former chairman of
the joint Committee on Atomic Energy, has spoken in favor of a test ban. When both Russia and the United States already have weapons sufficient to destroy each other, it is questionable how much net advantage is gained by additional tests. If the British are unwilling to enter into a test ban; this is something they ought to say for themselves. A more sensible policy of sharing information undoubtedly would obviate many of their objections.
The question of Soviet sincerity is more complex. Here, however, would not the shrewd thing be to let them prove their intentions to the world? There is every reason to think that the monitoring system which has enabled the United States to detect Soviet nuclear tests would be able to detect a violation of any agreement. This would speak more eloquently and convincingly than any number of unilateral American suspicions or protests; and since a test ban alone would not mean disarmament, there would be no weakening of American defense.
World fears about American nuclear tests have been adroitly whetted by Communist propaganda, despite Russia’s braggadocio about her own tests. Irrational or not, these fears are a fact, and the United States will be bucking them. Possibly there are reasons not now apparent why it would be feasible to make some effort to ban new tests or to hold necessary tests under international auspices. But if there are such reasons, the Administration has been unusually quiet about them. America’s position in the eyes of other people is very much at stake in the new tests. Certainly a sympathetic recognition of the world interest, through a more complete explanation, is the very least that is required by what the Declaration of Independence called a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.
George Van Tassel has informed us that the building fund for the College of Universal Wisdom has been subscribed and that construction will begin at once. It should be well under way when the Third Annual Spacecraft Convention opens at Giant Rock on April 28.
George has also been presented with a ten inch reflecting telescope complete with turret and photographic equipment. The telescope will be mounted at Giant Rock and will be an added attraction to this year’s convention. Giant Rock is an ideal site for the telescope since it is a spot where the `seeing’ is good almost every night.
The members of Understanding might be interested in knowing that the organization is purchasing a house trailer to be stationed permanently at Giant Rock. It will be headquarters for the organization at the Spacecraft Convention in April and later will be available for the use of members and friends who wish to stay overnight at the Rock. We will be happy to hear from anyone wishing to have a share in this project and from those who would like to make reservations for the use of the trailer. There will be no charge for the use of the trailer but please get your reservation in early.
Beginning next month, we plan to print a series of articles on Spacecraft in Oriental History and Literature. It is not widely known that there has been much information concerning spacecraft and space travel in the ancient Oriental literature. This series will be written by Winona Cromwell who is well versed not only in the field of Eastern Literature and History, but in Oriental Philosophy as well.
AS AN APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING
ARMY oF LIGHT, by florence Donovan, R.N……………. $1.50
freedom for all, by Neville…………. 2.50
great saucer conspiracy, by maj. donal keyhoe……… 3.50
human destiny, by lecomte dunoy………. 3.75
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power of positive thinking, by n.v. peale … 2.95
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understanding god, by vivian williams ……. 1.00
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universe and dr. einstein, by lincoln barnet………. 2.75
white sands incident, by daniel fry…… 1.50
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you are unlimited, by rhoda lachar …. 3.00
the search for bridey murphy, by morey bernstein…………. 3.75
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