Greg Bishop: March 2009
Intermediatism Is Bliss…
Fortean Intermediatism and Indeterminacy
“I can conceive of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is anything more than the proper thing to wear, for a while.”
– Charles Hoy Fort
When I first heard about the LOWFI project from Skylaire, I thought that the “I” stood for “indeterminist.” This was excellent news. FINALLY someone was going to enshrine the concept of indeterminacy in a formal organization.
When I found that the word was “intermediatist,” I must admit that I was stumped. An article by Charles Miller from Patrick Huyghe’s excellent Anomalist journal provides an answer:
…an “intermediatist” is one who accepts that the universe is in a perpetual state of metamorphosis, such that no extreme identity can stand for very long without evolving to another extreme. In the intermediate universe, there are no eternal truths; at best, what we accept as “fact” is actually an ongoing transition of fact-to-falsehood-to-fantasy-to-fact, ad infinitum. In the intermediate universe, the most iron-clad scientific facts of yesterday may (and usually do) topple into the trash-bin of scientific naiveté, while the scientific heresies of today may (and usually do) evolve into the iron-clad science facts of tomorrow. The “intermediatist” observes this peculiar evolution and comments upon it.
..and I would add, believes in the process as a guiding principle.
In this way, the Intermediatist is really not much different from the Indeterminist. Both celebrate the quicksilver nature of humankind’s understanding of the world around it, and even humanity itself. A Fortean need only go forth in search of anomalies with this attitude for the maximum richness of information and enjoyment.
An author whom I admire told me one of the most important things to remember when looking at any issue is this: “In the process of translation, information is lost and gained.” He used the literal example of translation from one language to another, although it can be used for any instance of information transfer. The original message goes through the mind of the translator, picking up meanings, subtleties and cultural references, as well as the personality of the translator, including his or her psychological makeup.
Don’t make the mistake that this is a bad thing. Our instrument for perceiving and thinking about our existence is there for a reason. The richness of information contained in any description or opinion is “biased” for a reason, and something that a computerized, “literal” translation will always miss. Thoughts are never fully communicated from one consciousness from another, at least in the way that the originator intended. From this comes variety, new meanings and diversity.
We would do well to keep this in mind when investigating (or simply thinking about) everything from Bigfoot to flying saucers. The indeterminacy of the intermediatist should be ready to accept all interpretations, especially from witnesses’ first-hand testimony. “Objectivity” may be highly overrated, especially when dealing with things for which we have no fixed/ temporary explanation as yet, and may not in our lifetimes, but so what?
INDETERMINATE. INTERMEDIATE. It’s the mantra. Repeat.
Speaking March 29: Dulce Underground Base Conference, Dulce, NM
Greg Bishop has been studying UFOs and the paranormal for most of his life. His first article on the subject was published in 1988. In his book ‘Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth’ (2005 Simon & Schuster/ Pocket Books) he wrote about a government campaign of disinformation perpetrated against an unsuspecting U.S. citizen.
The no-man’s land between the extremes of wide-eyed belief and closed-minded debunkery led to the birth of a magazine called The Excluded Middle which Greg co-founded in 1991. It was a journal of UFOs, conspiracy research, psychedelia and new science (now online at excludedmiddle.com ). “Wake Up Down There!,” a collection of articles from the magazine, was published in 2000. His third book, “Weird California,” a portrait of strange and eerie history and places in the Golden State, was released by Sterling Publishers and Barnes & Noble in March of 2006.
Greg’s current writing can be seen daily at the blogsite ufomystic, which is co-hosted by noted paranormal author Nick Redfern. Greg’s writing has appeared in the L.A. Weekly, Fortean Times, UFO Magazine, Magical Blend, The Nose, Book Happy, and in the book-length anthologies Conspiracy And Cyberculture, Zen And The Art of Close Encounters, Kooks, and You Are Being Lied To. His article “Ethnic Weapons For Ethnic Cleansing” was rated at #13 of the most underreported stories of 2001 by the media watchdog group Project Censored.
For two years (until it was shut down by the FCC) Greg hosted The Hungry Ghost, a radio show of interviews and music airing on pirate FM station KBLT in Los Angeles. His current show, Radio Misterioso, can be heard on Sundays from 8-10 PM PST at www.killradio.org. Interviews with fringe-topic researchers and weird music are the usual fare. Podcasts and downloadable programs are available at radiomisterioso.com.