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Biomedical Engineering

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Selected By Extraterrestrials: My Life In The Top Secret World Of UFOs, Think-tanks And Nordic Secre !!BETTER!!

The attack on nature is violent because defeat is all too easy to envision. This, I think, is another indication that the battle is raging simultaneously in outer and inner worlds. The external decay of a culture at war with nature mirrors an insecurity of the soul, a doubt about the legitimacy, even reality, of society itself.Tarkovsky's films are superb illustrations of the resulting uneasiness and fear: the research station suspended over an inexplicable, distant planet, which turns out to be a single organism, benevolently but blindly driving the scientists insane one by one by confronting them with living replicas of their unconscious guilt ("Solaris"). The man trying to free himself from the rustling, ominous leaves of his childhood home, and from his mother - who converses with the shower (it's alive!) and fears that she has threatened the entire rational social order by dropping an unspeakable printing error into a book she is editing ("The Mirror"). The zona - a bit of civilization overgrown by wilderness, where human habitation is impossible because all cultural pretense breaks down - houses, tanks,machineguns and lorries are disabled for unknown reasons, as are all but the purest humans - because here they face their innermost, secret desire.

Selected By Extraterrestrials: My Life In The Top Secret World Of UFOs, Think-tanks And Nordic Secre

Vitya was not merely showing off. By taking me into his world, I sensed that he somehow gained perspective on it, saw it through my eyes. He did not often discuss my opinions, indeed, he must have thought me inexperienced and naive. He seemed to take note of my reactions and file them away in his orderly mind for future reference. He had a scientific leaning, and maybe it was just another kind of research for him. If so, it was "research" of a highly personal kind. Later in our acquaintance, he several times took me on extensive "tours of the city", picking his way along secret byways, talking to people, explaining to me, in his soft, rapid voice, how everything functioned, what it meant. Once he concluded with a sigh: "So you see what peculiarities we have here..."67

From this day, the police also seem to have lost interest in him. Years later, a (hopefully) last episode rounded off this period of his life. I met him next day, in an unusually elated mood. He had been to the police to get some document. By this time he had acquired an image and self-assurance, which made such an expedition a routine matter. In a neutral, grey suit and tie, with a neat briefcase in his hand, a faint odor of eau-de-cologne hanging round him and a slight paunch at his belt, he looked very much like the efficient biznismen he in fact was. The secretary politely directed him to the chief of police. The room was empty. He returned to the front office, but the secretary was gone. He made a quick decision, retraced his steps. In the Chief's room he found an unlocked cabinet, located his own file, removed all incriminating papers, and left. To his chagrin there was nothing about Tamara's spy-report - he surmised that it must be in a central archive - hopefully well out of harm's way.

Seryozha had aged since 1978. He had not bought new drums, but once in a while he took stand-in jobs with local dance bands. Perhaps due to drink, he had developed a paunch and a strong nervous trembling in his hands, which might hinder him in simple household tasks. He had settled with Olya and swore he would never leave her, but had a not-so-secret affair with 24-year-old Lyuba, the wife of his friend and neighbor Fedya. When he complained about life I found it hard to distinguish between the problems he attributed to society and the worsening economic crisis, and those of a personal nature. "Things have gotten so hard," he told me seriously. "Life is so empty. If it hadn't been for my records, I don't know if I'd stand it. When I listen to them, I forget everything around me."

The absolutist charges symbols with the secret knowledge that opens Gates and gains you access to his Island of meaning. The animist charges symbols by personal responsibility, the integrity and strength needed to face an unpredictable world and master it. It is when the two roles are balanced that meaning emerges ex nihilo, and Limbo is focused into a new Idea.

He made an overwhelming impression on me. Light, self-ironic humor. Disarming friendliness and joy in life. The wrath of a Biblical Patriarch. I have never felt so strongly the light of real holiness from any person. But behind this Iseemed to sense a vast, sleeping power and watchfulness - something hardly ever used, which would spring tolife at any moment he chose. He gave the impression that he could choose to be whatever he wanted - that he was the master of his feelings, not their slave. This in itself was frightening. No lawcan bind such a man, I thought to myself, only his will. And how do you know where his will may lead him? It made him seem secretive, impersonal, an unknown quality. This was an absolutist of another caliber altogether.

If Dao had understood the "code", no problem would have arisen. The "objective truth" is unproblematic if you have "faith" - if you share the "secret knowledge" of the collectivity to which the "truth" applies. Dilemmas arise when authority is interpreted as power, the overarching rule of a hierarchy integrating "multiple worlds". This of course is the role authority is forced to play in any modern, heterogeneous society. But on a more fundamental level, the problem is independent of modernity. As long as authority is conceived of as an outside force, it must always integrate multiple worlds. It is by its very nature conceived of as coming from "somewhere else", from "outside". Thus, hierarchy is inherent in the Russian authority concept - although its basic rationale is to deny hierarchy. Of course, the modern situation aggravates this paradox considerably. But modernity did not create it. The weakness of authority and its dependence on charismatic faith are part of tradition. But this has a further implication. If the dilemmas of modern society are presaged in tradition, tradition may contain clues to how the modern contradictions may be resolved - how the Quest for meaning may succeed today. This is indicated by the story of another of Natasha's acquaintances:

The other part of the book takes place at the giant research station on top of the Cliffs. The function of this center - the Administration - is ostensibly to study and/or exploit the Forest, but in reality little is done, although there are plans to destroy the Forest altogether. The Station is an outpost of a highly technological civilization - the Materik124 -, which we hear about but never see. It seems distant, unreal. The setting is very Soviet - muddy roads with big puddles, corrupt and decadent bureaucrats, queues, people shirking their jobs, slogans. Here the Forest is a source of fear and fascination. Myth and rumor cluster round it - of mermaids and leaping trees - and although officially all this is denied, the great hero of propaganda posters is shown in mortal combat with a leaping tree. According to tradition he was killed by it, and himself became a tree, but the modern, progressive interpretation asserts that the tree became a man. Here is another outsider, Perec, a romantic linguist from the Materik. He came here because he always had dreamt about the Forest and wanted to learn to know it. But no one really knows anything. Perec is not let into the woods, he can't get a propusk. At last he wearies of the meaningless life around him, where all people do is work in an incomprehensible, Kafkaesque apparatus of power, play chess, flirt with the girls and get drunk - on kefir. He tries to get a propusk to go home, but is once again thwarted by bureaucracy. Then, suddenly, he is sent to the Forest - but when he sees it, he realizes that it is tooforeign; he can never even understand whether it is good or evil. So he returns. He is seduced by a beautiful woman, and through her becomes involved in political intrigue. Pursued by unknown enemies, he is chased into the chair of the Director himself. He becomes the Director, and with power in his hands tries to halt the secret plans for destroying the Forest. But soon he understands that there is nothing the Director can do. The Administration has its own logic and inertia. It cannot be changed, and in trying to do so he makes a mass murderer of himself.

It is therefore quite unusual when noted authorities of the Western tradition classify the instrumental, "telescopic" knowledge as the most real and important kind. We seek to know more things without knowing the meaning of each of them. We "simplify", by learning how to do things faster, with less effort, so we can increase the number of things we do and experience (thus complicating our life considerably), instead of doing fewer things, each more thoroughly and with deeper experience. So we learn about more things than we are able to appreciate truly. But once we learn how, we cannot escape our knowledge. We cannot return to innocence or restore millions of light years of burning galaxies and freezing gas to the primal image of star gods peering down on us from the fixed firmament. We have looked behind the scenes, and the performance will never again be the same for us. We have disclosed too many secrets. We are left with a discrepancy between our ability to know and our ability to comprehend.

My informants confirmed this version as well. A Christian woman discussing the relative merits of Orthodoxy andProtestantism pointed out that in Orthodoxy there was almost too much distance from the individual to God. The Eucharist was hidden, secret, the central mystery was the Resurrection. In contrast, the Protestant God was close and personal, as was the primary Protestant celebration of Christmas. In Orthodoxy, she continued, this otherworldliness might lead to a personal feeling of enclosure (zamknutost"), a sense of being exiled in the world and divorced from it. In contrast, Protestantism engaged with the world. As in Likhachev's statement, enclosure is here equated with oppression - stemming from the perceived "externality" of authority and its "distance" from its object.


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