Sandbox Playground: The Market, Saving the World, and the Question of Global Consciousness (Part 1 of 2)
Can one use the Bible Code to predict movements in the stock market? Are we living in the "end of days"? Michael Drosnin explored these questions and more in his Bible Code series of books.
Despite criticisms of Drosnin's work, I find the Bible Code series to be quite fascinating and entertaining. Though some of the series' claims have for the most part been discredited in one way or another, Michael Drosnin (along with Zecharia Sitchin) remains one of my favorite writers in the genre that some may consider pure pseudoscience. At first, the Bible Code appears credible, but through the course of Drosnin's books, he seemed to take the concept in outlandish directions.
In any event, in the book Bible Code III: Saving the World published in 2010, Drosnin discussed the global financial crisis and whether or not "economic crisis" is in the Bible Code. Such ideas hearken back to the film Pi where the protagonist sought an algorithm to make predictions in the stock market. In the aftermath of the 2008 stock market crash, Drosnin asked, "Are we heading for a yet greater crash in 2012?" In the context of another economic crisis, Drosnin cited one matrix in the code where the words "the depressions" and "economic crisis" are near "1929" and "2012" in writing, "It is the danger foretold in the Bible Code. A second Great Depression in 2012." Drosnin: "The code stated this new 'economic crisis' would not end, indeed might peak, in Obama's first term." Interestingly, Drosnin wrote that the matrix in which the aforementioned phrases appeared was where Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh's dreams: "seven years of feast and seven years of famine."
Drosnin went on to discuss connections in the Bible Code with recent phenomena such as the 2008 crash, Bernie Madoff, and General Motors. At the end of the chapter, Drosnin suggested that 2012 could be a turning point for the global economy: "2012 appeared to be less the end of the crisis than its peak... The real question seemed to be if 2012 would end the crisis -- or be the year the world economy finally fell over the cliff."
In search of "an answer short of Divine intervention", Drosnin suggested that Pres. Barack Obama could lead the US economy out of the recession. Even so, "The code only tells us the odds, not the final outcome. We will decide our own fate." Drosnin discussed that whereas the Bible Code suggested that 2012 would be a decisive year for the global economic crisis, there may be a way to avert disaster. Drosnin wrote, how "'Depression USA' was encoded with 'starting 2008,' and also with 'in 2012'." Interestingly, Drosnin closed the chapter in this way: "Can Obama really turn around the American economy, and with it the world economy, prevent a depression and a war, in just two year, in 2010? It remains a question. In fact, in Hebrew, the year 2010 is written in letters that also spell a question -- 'Will you save?'" Was Drosnin suggesting that God is a Keynesian? In light of Drosnin's claims, I'm not sure how much I would rely on the Bible Code for market prognostication. Nevertheless, given where we are now in 2012, in hindsight it's interesting taking into account Drosnin's 2010 observations.
I found it interesting that later in the book, Drosnin expanded on the extraterrestrial themes developed in Bible Code II: The Countdown. Drosnin suggested that a code key to the Bible Code is hidden in a steel obelisk, an "ark of steel", resting somewhere in the Lisan peninsula at the Dead Sea: "The code states again and again that it is buried in a peninsula that juts out into the Dead Sea from Jordan, named 'Lisan'." Drosnin wrote: "[A]s much as I tried to escape what always seemed to me too fantastic to be true, the Bible Code kept drawing me back to a 'Code Key,' the magical object necessary to unlock the code completely, see our entire future entirely... The Bible Code would not let go. It repeatedly took me back to the key, until I realized it might be the only solution."
In Bible Code III, Drosnin did not go into depth regarding the nature of such an extraterrestrial intelligence, but one has to wonder what such a being would look like: perhaps a highly-evolved physical, spacefaring extraterrestrial being or some sort of extradimensionial cybernetic-organism architect-creator? Whereas Drosnin's findings seem to coincide with the ideas of thinkers like Nick Bostrom and Erich von Daniken, I think the crux of the Bible Code would rest in finding a way by which an intelligence would create such a code. In other words, if humans are able to (in some way) craft a coherent, readable, logical text whereby therein one could find equidistant letter sequences, I think such a created text would give credence to Drosnin's claims. If crafting such a text is linguistically and mathematically impossible, it would suggest that Drosnin's findings are merely coincidental. I am neither a mathematician nor a linguist, so I am not sure whether such a created writing with ESLs is possible or practical.
Going along with Drosnin's extraterrestrial "steel obelisk" theories, Bible Code III included a subtext of the differentiation between this "eternal" God (as espoused by Eliyahu Rips) and an extraterrestrial "God" that may have created the Bible Code (as discussed by Michael Drosnin). In this way, the course of the book alluded to issues with what I call "the God dichotomy", which I consider to be one of the foremost philosophical, theological questions of this time period. In a way, the God dichotomy leads the searcher down a path toward "ignosticism" -- while humanity patiently waits for due clarification.
To say the least, Drosnin's observations regarding a "code key" and extraterrestrial influence bring to mind Bostrom's ideas. In expanding upon Bostrom's simulation argument, I wonder if humanity on Earth is playing out some sort of divinely-inspired epic. If this is all just some sort of otherworldly computer game or storyline, I've wondered what the title of all this may be. I think a good name to describe humanity's story would be "Terra-Saga" or simply, "The Saga". As if some extradimensional individual could purchase such a computer game: "Terra-Saga, a game of growth, war, peace, love, hatred, devotion, and the persistence of the human spirit. Watch your human civilization grow, expand, survive, and thrive on the planet Terra through epic battles and horrific natural disasters! Will your human civilization destroy itself or expand beyond Terra into some cosmic destiny? Will Terra's inhabitants be doomed or redeemed? Only you can decide!" Such a game would effectively be some higher intelligence's "sandbox" playground -- for a creator or a group of creators. In this way, humans would be pretty much playing out foreordained characterizations -- with everyone having a role to play in this great "adventure". Were one to attempt to escape from a foreordained characterization, he might find himself thrown into a different set of circumstances or thrown back into his proper characterization. We tend to see this in the world with culture, religion, and language; no one chooses any of these things for himself at birth, yet these facets of our being remain with us. As Ludwig Wittgenstein suggested, our language creates our worlds; as our language changes, so too our worlds change.
I once believed that the story of humanity on this planet may be like a divine epic akin to man-made epics like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and A Song of Ice and Fire. However, in light of how the planet is developing in our time period (with Orwellian and Kafkaesque themes) I now have to wonder if our planet's storyline is designed to be more of a dark comedy, a satirical/dystopian Orwellian tale, or a Kafkaesque fable -- rather than a divine epic. Given the graphic and somewhat disappointing history of mankind, I wonder how confident we can be that the story will have a happy ending.
From this perspective, humanity's remaining on Earth appears crucial for such an epic whereas were a portion of humanity to escape from Earth, the storyline of the epic as being exclusively about humanity's secluded existence on a single planet could be compromised. Even so, in terms of financial crises, global threats, and the human race, one cannot help but feel that humanity is playing out some foreordained storyline -- marching towards some macro-historical climax. Therein the question is raised: Are we in the "end of days"?
Drosnin has argued that the Bible Code verifies that we are in fact in the end of days. Given the formidable socio-economic issues facing the planet, one might argue that we might as well be in the end of days.
A recent article from Reuters discussed how one in seven people "worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime". Interestingly, "10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen in 2012." According to Keren Gottfried, the research manager of the organization that conducted the poll, "Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason, one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming." Gottfried: "Perhaps it is because of the media attention coming from one interpretation of the Mayan prophecy that states the world 'ends' in our calendar year 2012."
One in seven...that sounds like a lot of people; in theory, about a billion people worldwide. And even if there is nothing to the Mayan Dec. 21, 2012 prophecy, the prospect of a self-fulfilling prophecy would seem to portend problems for the planet. The fact that one in seven believe the end is near would appear to have implications for geopolitics and the global economy in that such thoughts are probably affecting the collective consciousness. An emerging collective consciousness that the story is coming to an end may affect any goals of the story's creators.
The consciousness of a participant in a game or story that the participant is simply playing out some foreordained storyline may have implications in terms of the participant's behavior and the story's direction -- in theory, if left to fester over time, potentially ruining the story. In this sense, the consciousness of the inhabitants has the potential to disrupt possible objectives of the creator or architect. On the other hand, the fact that we are even debating such ideas seems to suggest that inhabitants' awareness of the simulation makes no difference to the creator's aims; perhaps this is not a divine epic or computer simulation at all. Even so, one has to wonder about the implications of living in a world where a critical number of individuals either desire or are looking forward to a climactic terminus, an end to the epic. The specter of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Even in light of the fact that one in seven believes that the end of the world is coming, what does the "end of the world" actually mean? An asteroid, pandemic, or nuclear war? From a science fiction perspective, if extraterrestrials were to visit the planet making their existence known, would that signal the end of the world? Per Bostrom's argument, does an approaching end simply mean that the simulation will be shut down like a computer? What does it really mean for the world to end? No one seems to know for sure, but it would appear that such ideas are on the minds of many in light of current events and the global environment.
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