Saturday, January 21, 2012

The biggest hoax since politics.....

I live on the edge of the Big Woods. Some of the longest unbroken chains of forest in the world. From my home, it would be possible walk under the trees to the Pacific North West or Mexico, or alternately across forested hills to the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.
It should be no surprise to the reader then, that when I have time, I enjoy exploring the outermost fringes of that other-world. 
The last few days have seen the local regions blanketed in a 'lake effect' snow, where warm(er) waves create a mist in the cool air which then falls as snow, adding to the normal amount. Combined with the wind, this makes for some spell-bindingly beautiful drifts, and some lonely walks with the dogs. That is to say, not many are brave or stubborn enough to venture out into the cold and into the woods; they are smart enough to stay indoors. No one can accuse me or my dogs of that! These snowy walks get me to thinking, and to remembering the wild...and the WEIRD.  They get me to thinking of how much open space, how much unexplored territory there is... of how heavily we rely on brand new technologies to manage it all.
Over the many years of my walks, hikes, and expeditions into the wilds of this country and many others I have beheld many wonderful things. Many profound man made and natural wonders.
I am thankful for that.
But I have also seen other things that defied, at least initial, explanation.
'Strange' things that do not fit the mould.  The details of these events are private, and in some cases literally 'classified' due to the nature of my work.
I will  not write of them specifically, but I note them only to expose my own bias.
I am not a 'skeptic' as in the popular 'debunker' mindset of many of my colleagues and coreligionists. My inclination is towards wonder and mystery.  I claim to hold no definitive answers, but oppose the silencing of the question.
I know that is not the popular position these days. To be fashionable I would have to demand that science has / will prove something or other and we no longer have to ask the 'strange' questions. Or, if I were on the other end of the scale, I would argue that tradition and religion can tell us about these experiences, and we no longer have to ask the 'strange' questions.
You'll note the popular trend: Don't ask too many questions.
Problem is: I like questions.
As I wandered down these ancient paths, walked by aboriginal peoples for at least two thousand years, and for centuries by the colonial peoples....I wondered: What mysteries and mysterious things still lay hidden, or are hiding in those BIG woods.
I had occasion to watch several of the US presidential primary debates recently (GOP- US Republican Party) and as I was walking and thinking, I recalled the words of Senator Santorum (I think? It may have been Gov. Perry) as he made fun of the incumbent president's (Obama) policy by saying it was 'the biggest hoax since Bigfoot'. Everyone laughed. So did I. It was a good joke.
But should we laugh it all off? I don't think so.
I realize there are  a lot of con artists and hacks out there looking to make a quick buck of a sea monster or ape-man story, and I can understand the skepticism. No doubt much of the reported incidents are absolute horse-pucks.
I also understand there are ancient records of this kind of thing that date back to periods where charges of mass media hysteria and profiteering are preposterous!
There have always been weird things going on in the woods, at sea, and on the open plains. Whether under the stars, or in daylight people have been witnessing these 'prodigies' and 'wonders' for as long as we have been recording history.
In big wide open places were there is seemingly no one or nothing about. Where mind is truly given lease over vast spaces of matter, there seems to be an even higher chance of these moments or events.
Footprints that come out of nowhere. Cries in the night. Legends of islands that seemingly disappear. Strange drawings, video, and photos. Stories of 'old men' or 'keepers' of the woods. The 'little people' and the 'gentry'. And of course the  ├╝ber-modern variant,: 'Aliens'.  Super-Science or Super Nature? Both? Neither?
There are just too many legends and myths to simply ignore the pattern, but almost nothing tangible and real to analyze.
Still, to suggest that the entire corpus of knowledge about this 'bigfoot' creature is a hoax is just too much.
It's taking it too far. It smears the whole idea there could be something like bigfoot.
As Recently as the 19th and 20th centuries, when we were equally sure we had figured everything out, we discovered the gorilla - legendary 'man of the woods' in Africa. 'Science' -well actually tenured and comfy academics, who traditionally refer to themselves as 'we' and 'science' - and all available technology has assured us it was not, and could not be there. It was. They were. Gorillas are real.
Santorum was just making a political joke.
That little joke's warm reception shows just how tame we have become.
It shows we feel good when we think we know it all, and nervous when we are left wondering and awestruck. While taking in our politics we revel in the conformity of these events where 'people like us' express their opinions, and have a good collective laugh at those 'hoaxers' and 'nuts' who saw or heard something that changed them forever.

A petroglyph of the normal naturalist natives of the Superior Basin

I know Sen. Santorum probably has no real opinion on Bigfoot. I actually kind of like the guy, and I laughed too.
But he, like so many in the limelight,  has no problem expressing someone else's opinion on whether the public should have an opinion. Apparently that official position is: It is ALL a hoax. No need to think on it.
Well, maybe in the halls of politics and in the shiny urban towers of industry there is no room left for wonder and mystery. Maybe there is a real need to get people to quit all that pesky thinking and questioning - but out here on the edge of that quiet labyrinth of VAST woods that cover this quarter of the globe called 'The Americas' - there is room for a whole universe of questions, even ones that don't make us feel comfy and safe and especially the ones that make us wonder.
Let's try to keep in mind, those of us out here on the edge - at least, that the people who are trying to censor conversations on ANYTHING wonderful are pulling off the biggest hoax since politics.

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