Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Dram of Dromedary

Natural Selection and Time

Natural Selection and Time

One of my goals for the summer 2002 was to explore the realm of two geological mysteries- Physical Time and Controversial Evolution, using Geopoetry. Currently, Stephen Gould (now deceased) has moved the debate into the realm of Taxonomy, while the physicists debate whether Time is a physical entity.

The first controversy was created when the famous “monkey trial” caused a standoff between the religious assertives and science, creating a polarization of attitudes. Just the word Evolution now strikes fear and loathing among the right wing. The word should be dropped from geological nomenclature about progression of life as seen in the fossil record, because of the emotional aura surrounding its usage. Gould would have us use the better term- Natural Selection- to get on a better footing. It seems that was what was used originally by Darwin. There have been some poor examples associated with evolution anyway- the most famous of which was the portrayal of the horse as a prime example of evolution, portrayed by Eohippus of the Eocene and its change through all of the Cenozoic to yield the current equus caballo (el horse). After holding this up as the best case for Evolution, it was found that the principal difference among the various fossils of equus was that of size (and man can create any size dog that a prospective purchaser desires, within a few generations of canines- so this is not the best that can be said about natural selection, which in this case is artificial selection). The most penetrating revelation that I have seen on TV is that for the AIDS virus treatment. A cocktail of chemicals has been used, first to kill most of the virus with an initial chemical. Then, when the survivors (who have been "naturally selected" by virtue of their better genes), which are now resistant to the first chemical, begin to proliferate, a second chemical is introduced which now defeats them- allowing a new batch of "naturally selected survivors" to gradually emerge. They overpower any others, and so on. This whole endeavor illustrates how fast Natural Selection operates, and it should not be dubbed Evolution. Evidently, organic life adjusts almost immediately (geologically speaking) to any change in the environment. If the environment changes in spurts, the fossils will show this feature (as in "meteoritic bombardments"). If the climate becomes colder slowly, as in the case of the Tierra del Fuego natives, the inhabitants can develop a natural anti-freeze- which allows them to live frugally in the frigid climate, using no clothes.

The second mystery is that of time. It seems that science has always given four terms as being the basis for Freshman Physics: m,l,t, and c- mass, length, time and electrical charge. All of these can be measured independently except time, and time always seemed obvious. After all, one can view a year by the sun, a month by the moon, and a second by the spacing of nuclear emissions or other things. But all of these are inferred by rates- the rate of the earth going around the sun, the moon going around the earth, or by radioactive decay. Time can not be directly measured, and now it is suspected of being relative anyway. A new idea has surfaced that perceives of action as being a series of frames in your mind- that is what you remember, if you have ever had an emotional trauma. That frame sticks with you until death (fortunately, I have no first hand experience with this). But this has an appeal to older scientists, and may be a useful way of looking at organic changes. Gould submitted that organic life had bursts of change, brought about by major changes in the environment surrounding the organism. Some hack observed that this was evolution by “jerks”, to which Gould promptly replied that the critic would evidently prefer Evolution by “creeps”.

Hence I submit my original fledgling, as an almost final version of Natural Selection through Time.


Throughout the realms of conjectured Time

There occurs a thought which will not rhyme-

That Beings made with clay-like slime

Don’t fit the current paradigm.

We hunt in vain to find our mate

Who's made from aluminum-silicate;

And not just that, we take the bait

That like the horse- we evol(ate).

The horse we found upon inspection

Not only increased its great erection;

But with its greater noise subjection

Became a cause-celebre correction.

There was no gradual evolution,

Rather increased air pollution-

Due to human elocution,

With greater Geological Dilution.

Now, feats of punctuated change

Descend upon us like the mange.

With radioactivity- Oh so strange-

The genes, like mind, may soon derange.

When we make a mass defection

Back to Natural Selection,

We will make a gross detection

Of ol’ Nature’s predilection.

Within a life-ly population

There is considerable variation;

Then environment's deviation

Brings a new consideration.

The species which can soon adapt

Will with similars soon be wrapped,

In a survival mode- all mapped

For future viewing (others trapped).

Behind this existence there's no plan-

But there is a mode for Man;

Hedge your strategy, if you can

With Statistics (Nothing ban!).

Give most weight to Nature's view-

That in man's traditional stew,

Arbitrary is not really New

(Just a way to fleece the few).

Watch Her actions of the day,

Which are subtle, but in play;

While in the fossil record lay

The successful ones (for Man's display).

Now we view the past through time,

From the rocks, and frames they mime;

How an instant- so sublime-

Is preserved for future rhyme.

Simple time is in Man's head-

Storing there the vital thread,

Bathed in prisms, Gold and Red,

That ne'er wash out till he is dead.

Only He can keep the frames

That will harbor crests and flames,

In our lives- the dreams, the aims-

While whispering in our ear the Fames

Which while soon forgotten stayed,

In our minds' eye forever played-

As Aces in existence staid-

Those Frames of Life which we have made.

Harold L. Overton

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Druze, Druids, and Dreams

Those who Dance with the Earth

Thirty four years past, when I had just started my conversations with the Mother Earth, I worked about the Kizilirmak (Red River, as in Kizilay- Red Crescent- and Irmak, as in Ferat Irmak- Euphrates River). I had just stumbled upon an ancient roasting kiln in a cliff-like bank above a stream, for production of quick lime, which had been un-earthed (so to speak) by a small stream draining this part of Anatolia, Turkey. The whole entity showed how a cycle of deposition and later erosion could SAVE an event, which had been entirely devised by man and later regurgitated by water. This happened in country which was dominated by the Hittites, and showed something about the affairs of a culture headed to the iron age (starting ca. 1000 b.c).

I became interested in the Hittite culture (1700- 700 b.c), and found that some American had published a pamphlet about the locations of Petroglyphs and carvings in the limestones and other soft rocks of central Turkey (Discovering Anatolia). Turks in general could not get interested in this sort of thing- thinking it a curious western practice, of value only to those interested in the Dead past- remarking “That’s just like Americans, to come over here and organize our touring locations for us.”

But that and a book entitled “The Loom of History” made me feel the spirit of the land- which has stimulated so many warriors and evangelists. I visited all of the nearby locations, finding lanterns and other surreptitious tools left by the fascinated. I began to connect with the Ancients.


I met a traveler from an antique land,

Who said: Two vast and trunk-less legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Shelley (1792- 1822)

Very little of man’s important (at the time) works stand even this test, but this does not impede him. He devises even more intricate activities- which might dwell in the hearts or genes of his progeny.

Working further about the Kizilirmak, I discovered another more modern artifact, in this general location- one devised by modern Druze (adherents of a 1000 a.d. cult, or so it is said by nearby residents). There was a patch of beaten earth, surrounding a circle of stones, which was thought by the intelligentsia to witness ancient orgiastic rites (even ogres have rights, it seems). I left the offerings, which remained, to the Gods- hoping that my cycle of thought and activity would remain unimpeded.

All of this came to my mind, when I stumbled upon another Crop Circle in the vicinity of the Virgin River, Utah- could such a practice survive in this heartland of conservatism? Here was a 10- 20 meter beaten down area, suggestive of more modern Druze- this time, carefully, without a clue as to the origin. All cultural remains had been dutifully removed (reminding one of Jim Jones adherents), and only the lonely flattened grass was a testament to the activity practiced here.

I felt compelled to pen a somewhat sacrilegious text:


Once when I was young and lusty, not as now with thoughts so musty,

Did I long and yearn to see beyond the veil.

I could sense the mystics saintly, in my mind’s eye e’er so faintly-

And the Spirits of the past did long prevail.

Will those thoughts forever grieve me,

Will they never, ever leave me,

Can you just, in time, believe me?

Say the Muses “Ever fail!”

Then I took to mountains, sensing Rocks and Petroglyphs- not mincing

Words which soon would ferret out the grievous tale.

How the Hittites in their rockwork, in their tasseled shoes like clockwork,

Wove the story and the tapestry, oh so pale.

And the ancient Jews before them- is it possible to ignore them?

Time and time I always swore them;

Say the Ancients “Stay the sail!”

Now I hear the music ghostly, it is in my psyche mostly,

And it penetrates so deeply in my armor mail;

Yet I quickly never lose it, with senility I peruse it,

And now lately I accuse it- of the loss of will and Spirit O so frail.

Did Sumerians, yes, so burly and the men who came most early

Feel the urgings and the mergings of the inner sounds that wail?

Quipped the cynics “Stop the tale!”

Lately I have turned to thoughts of Turkey- where the peaks and crests so murky,

Hide the musings of the past within their vale.

How the dağlar and their sounding, speak a plaintive language- founding

For the rhythms and the songs of humans’ trail.

Now I long to ever hear them, take their vibes and never fear them-

All those sounds will e’er endear them.

Speak the köyli “Hear the wail!”

Tell me now, Oh, all you mortals, ye who pass through all these portals,

Don’t you hear all of those whisperings and the sighing through the gale?

If you never, never feel them, then with Life you’ll never deal them

All the hands they should have gotten throughout the Pale.

Listen, listen- hear the longing; hear the earth’s mysterious songing-

Hear the creaking and the gonging.

Say the Muses “Never Fail!”

(dağ(lar) is mountain(s), and köy(li) is peasant(s))

Harold L. Overton

Another time, much later than Turkey, I observed the Un-right-ous in their quest for the Spirit-of-the-Times, near the town of Taos, New Mexico. It seems that some super-sensitive auditory nerve had sensed a sound, not of local manufacture. Others swore that they in turn could hear this other-worldly sound, and gradually these became the “Taos sounds”. The oscillations seemed to be attracted mainly to cultures about the town, and only the esoteric could hear them. Other phenomena, such as rectangular cuttings in unguarded cattle, and black helicopters which spirited them away for short intervals (to return in time for the local reporters to view the evidence) began to get unusual attention. Special acoustic detectors were ferreted from the Los Alamos National Lab, to analyze these vibrations, and scientists had to say that “The Sounds are not acoustic”, but not to deny that they were existent in the grey matter of the natives.

In Sedona, near my last residence, the quartz crystal seemed to monopolize the conversations, and middle-aged females moved in to locate the source of the re-energizing effect that the Vortices (which were somehow connected with all this) would yield. A Vortex was a location on the earth’s surface, which exhibited rejuvenation powers, due to its being above some focused energy source. I began to be fascinated by this assertion (but not so far as to succumb).

I visited one local “Female Vortex”, which was located in a box canyon named Red Cliff Ranch- to determine the significance of this magnetic power (flame to a moth). Some flutist had preceded me, and I was admonished by the constabulary to remain quiet and subtle upon my approach. I could hear faintly the vibrant nasal tones of the flute in the mists, and I heeded the volunteer, to find the inspiration which the music would convey. A half kilometer further I could see the thing renamed Vortex, as a crotch-shaped canyon in the rocks in which the flutist sat. It was not only dark and forbidding, but the chords disgorging might have cone from some ancient privy- of all my senses, only my olfactory glands were un-stimulated.

I found that there was a local cult, which hoped to enlarge on the thin thread to reality which this practice entertained. I joined -furtively- a group labeled “Gardens for Humanity”, thinking that some natural reality was embedded in this philosophy, and that I would augment my simple Natural observations.

Sadly, the news of my demise from objective reality was greatly exaggerated, and I found that Gardens was formulated to mean an artificial re-arrangement of Reality- an extension of the Vortex idea- and had been moved into a more convenient location and had been re-named the Labyrinth.

The labyrinth as constructed in England is a type of maze, where one can become lost in artificial paths in arrangements of vegetation. But not in this Modern substitute- here one is lost instead in a mental construction, of pseudo intuitive-emotional derivation. This is in the nature of an epiphany, which some lost soul has conjured from the depths of his psyche.

I witnessed the culmination of this labyrinth ceremony, where a religious Guru “blessed” the laying of a center stone in the spiraled-in middle of the stones used to create this wonder. Fortunately, I chose to be the last in line for this blessing, since I could see that the whole procession would have to “reverse out” after the Omm and chant of the spiraling mass of bodies had terminated. No one noticed me until the center rock had been “witched”. The Guru made a special blessing for the great block of sandstone, and the deed was done (the Omm became Mmo, on the way out)

I had previously attempted to add my materialistic two cents to all of this, by volunteering to proffer a two ton block of colorful Metamorphic rock, as an offering to the Spirit of the Muse of the Labyrinth (for a “permanent” center stone). When this verbal charity was submitted, there was an audible Hiss from the deep throat of the Guru, and it was at that point that I realized my “daze was numbered”.

Harold L. Overton