My keynote for the unique security conference Corn Con in Davenport Iowa on September 17 2016.


Biohacking: A Voyage on the High Seas without GPS or Sextant or Stars”

Distinguishing the transhumanist hype from the sane science is not always easy. Then add the antics of real hackers to the mix – adventuresome sometimes reckless souls who want to tease out of a complex system ways to make it do what it was never designed to do, sometimes something playful, sometimes something malevolent. Biohacking is now established as the number one go-to domain for R&D in intelligence and counter-terrorism and a source of sleepless nights for those protecting food, humans, all other animals and plants, from mischief. And yes, we are well on the way to becoming another species – if mutants among us have not already taken that step.

Philip K. Dick was called a paranoid psychotic. But now we are living inside one of his novels.  From “Scanner Darkly” to “Androids Dreaming of Electric Sheep,” the future he imagined is already past, and the present is full of “unknown unknowns.” Take a walk on the wild side with Richard Thieme in this challenging keynote and be sure to bring your towel.

Richard Thieme recently spoke at Def Con for the 21st straight year. An author and professional illuminator of dark alleys, he has been addressing edgy issues for 23 years, traveling the globe and engaging with his betters, who teach him everything he knows. Whether speaking to the NSA about the chill wind blowing from their antics or keynoting Code Blue in Tokyo with “Fiction is the Only Way to Tell the Truth,” he makes the hyper-real real with insights and speculation and suggests strategies for staying more or less sane in a crazy world. As one enlightened author put it, “The situation is hopeless, but not serious.” So buckle up and enjoy the ride.


2016 BDYHAX speaker Richard Thieme on YouTube
Watch as Richard Thieme discusses ethics in bodyhacking – and life – in “Where we’re going there aren’t any roads: Are there any ethical constraints on bodyhacking?”


Friends and colleagues:

I will speak for the 21st straight year at Def Con 24 in Las Vegas in August. My topic is below, and I want to nuance things correctly so I am inviting your input. If this is “orthogonal” to your interests, the delete key is to the right.

I will focus on the genuine trauma, cognitive dissonance, ethical crossroads and conundrums, and other challenges to security and intelligence professionals that are an inherent part of the work. Everyone faces these challenges these days, since the “national security state” permeates all of our lives, but they are obviously more sharp-edged and intense “inside.” Inside, the hyper-real IS the real.

This is serious stuff, but seldom addressed aloud. People did not talk about the consequences of concussions from football, not that long ago. The long-term consequences I am discussing are not trivial either. They need to be acknowledged and addressed.

This is a request for insights or shared experience. Do you have a comment you can share or an insight or suggestion? Email or

Many thanks.

Richard Thieme

Playing Through the Pain – The Impact of Secrets and Dark Knowledge on Security and Intelligence Professionals

Dismissing or laughing off concerns about what it does to a person to know critical secrets does not lessen the impact on life, work, and relationships of building a different map of reality than “normal people” use. One has to calibrate narratives to what another believes. One has to live defensively, warily. This causes at the least cognitive dissonance which some manage by denial. But refusing to feel the pain does not make it go away. It just intensifies the consequences when they erupt.

Philip K. Dick said, reality is that which, when you no longer believe in it, does not go away. When cognitive dissonance evolves into symptoms of traumatic stress, one ignores those symptoms at one’s peril. But the very constraints of one’s work often make it impossible to speak aloud about those symptoms, because that might threaten one’s clearances, work, and career. And whistle blower protection is often non-existent.

The real cost of security work and professional intelligence goes beyond dollars. It is measured in family life, relationships, and mental and physical well-being. The divorce rate is as high among intelligence professionals as it is among medical professionals, for good reason – how can relationships be based on openness and trust when one’s primary commitments make truth-telling and disclosure impossible?

One CIA veteran wrote: “I was for a while an observer to the Personnel Management working group in the DO. I noted they/we were obscenely proud of having the highest rates of alcoholism, adultery, divorce, and suicide in the US Government. I personally have 23 professional suicides in my mental logbook, the first was an instructor that blew his brains out with a shotgun when I was in training. The latest have tended to be senior figures who could not live with what they knew.”

Richard Thieme has for years listened to people in pain because of the compelling necessities of their work, the consequences of their actions, the misfiring of imperfect plans, and the burdens of soul-wrenching experiences. Thieme touched on some of this impact in his story, “Northward into the Night,” published in the Ranfurly Review, Big City Lit, Wanderings and Bewildering Stories before collection in “Mind Games.” The story illuminates the emotional toll of managing multiple personas and ultimately forgetting who you are in the first place.

The bottom line is, trauma and secondary trauma have identifiable symptoms and they are everywhere in the “industry.” The “hyper-real” space which the national security state creates by its very nature extends to everyone too, now, but it’s more intense for professionals. Living as “social engineers,” always trying to understand the other’s POV so one can manipulate and exploit it, erodes the core self. The existential challenge constitutes an assault on authenticity and integrity. Sometimes sanity is at stake, too, and sometimes, life itself.

We might as well begin our discussion with reality. Choosing unreality instead means we have to spend energy and time on a trek from unreality to reality simply to begin. This talk is about reality – the real facts of the matter and strategies needed for effective life-serving responses, a way to manage the paradoxical imperatives and identity-threatening pressures of our lives and work.


An Exercise in Intentionality

by rthieme on May 16, 2016

Write under each heading what spontaneously comes to mind. Don’t censor what you write. Let responses flow until there is nothing else to write. Some responses may overlap.

Return to the exercise until you know you are done (for now) and see where you want to go and what you intend to be, do, and have.

Taking responsibility for your intentions helps the arrow of your life fly toward the target. It’s the difference between riding a horse in the direction it’s going and letting the horse drag you, foot in a stirrup, head bumping down the road.

An Exercise in Personal Intentionality

Communications I need to deliver

Things started and not being worked on

Things being worked on and not completed

Things I want to have and don’t have

Things I want to do and am not doing

Things I want to be and am not being

Things I want to complete and am not completing

Things I have wanted to experience and haven’t experienced

Things I have wanted to have and don’t have

Things I want to stop and am continuing

Things I wanted to be and am not

Things I wanted to do and have not done

Things I have wanted to accumulate and haven’t

Things I wanted to start that I haven’t started

Things I have started that I have not completed

Things that I wanted to change that I am not changing

Things that recur and won’t stop

Things I can’t get started

Things about which I am dissatisfied

Things that are incomplete for me

Things I want to say that I don’t know how to say

Things I want to say that I don’t want to say

Things I want to say that I am afraid to say

Things I want to say that I am embarrassed to say

Something that I am holding on to


An Unabashed Pitch for SOURCE Boston May 16-19

by rthieme on April 29, 2016

An unabashed but unapologetic statement on what we’re planning for SOURCE Boston May 17-18 2016. – because this conference will be genuinely different than others in the past.
SOURCE Boston (and SOURCE Dublin and Seattle) are well known as leading conferences in the security world. This year, the familiar high level of technical expertise will be deepened by presentations on how to make yourself a more focused and powerful presence in your work and  life.
We do not make that assertion lightly.
We’re planning a powerful joint presentation for SOURCE Boston on May 18-19 2016. I’ll be keynoting on the theme “Playing Through the Pain: The Impacts of Forbidden Knowledge on Security and Intelligence Professionals.” Then Rob Cheyne will join me to facilitate a workshop exploring the life-serving practical applications of the keynote’s themes.
Rob and I have years of experience presenting workshops that deliver on our promise to make a real difference in how you experience life and work. Deidre Diamond of Cyber Security Network will deliver a keynote and workshop aligned with our intention on the second day.
Please join us and over thirty other presenters on business and technology for a unique experience – honestly! – in the security world. Trainings are on May 16-17 and the Conference in on May 17-18.
Contact or or neuralcowboy on twitter or skype or Richard Thieme on Facebook or or go to


A Richard Thieme Reader

An Anthology in Five Volumes

available on Amazon Kindle @ $2.99 each

A Richard Thieme Reader

Volume One

Islands in the Clickstream: A Selection

Table of Contents

Learning to Live in Cyberspace (the first column, 1996)

Ferg’s Law

Dreams Engineers Have

Games Engineers Play

Fractals, Hammers, and Other Tools

Darling … Are You Real?

Sneaking Up on Ourselves

The Air We Breathe



Beanie Babies and the Source of All Things

Whistleblowers and Team-players

The Crazy Lady on the Treadmill

The Enemy is … WHO?

Life in Space

Hacking Chinatown

Mutuality, Feedback and Accountability

The Day the Computer Prayed

An Owl in Winter: Millenium’s End

Night Light

Invitation to a Seance

A Digital Fable

Child’s Play

Beyond the Edge


A Model for Managing Multiple Selves

The Next Bend of the River

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map

Signatures of All Things

When Should You Tell the Kids

In the Crazy Place


Why We Are All Getting a Little Crazy

Between Transitions

Spacetime, Seen as a Digital Image, Already Fading

Autumn Spring

A Miracle by any Other Name

Talking to Ourselves

Coming of Age (the last column, 2004)

A Richard Thieme Reader

Volume Two

Fantastic Stories

Table of Contents

Break, Memory

Zero Day: Roswell

More Than a Dream

Gibby the Sit-down King

Silent Emergent, Doubly Dark

The Riverrun Dummy

The Last Science Fiction Story

The Indian and the Fortune Teller

Scout’s Honor

Species, Lost in Apple-eating Time

Jedediah Dodge Came By

SETI Triumphant

A Richard Thieme Reader

Volume Three

Collected Fiction

Table of Contents

Road Warrior

Incident at Wolf Cove

Northward into the Night

The Geometry of Near



The Man Who Hadn’t Disappeared

Nice Things

My Summer Vacation

Eclipse of the Moon

Flash Fiction

The Necessity for Invention’

It’s Relative

I Mean Asparagus

A Richard Thieme Reader

Volume 4

Collected Essays

Table of Contents

Remembering Who We Are

Habits of Thought

The Changing Context of Intelligence and Ethics

Entering Sacred Digital Space

I Remember Mama

I Was a Victim of the KGB

Persons of Conscience and the Law of Robotics

Stalking the UFO Meme

UFOs – An Informed Opinion

Hacker Generations

Straight Talk on Usability

Cyborg Creep

The End of Television

In Search of the Grail

The Future Shape of Religious Structures

A Richard Thieme Reader

Volume 5

Imaginary Gardens and Life of the Spirit

Table of Contents

Words Words Words


The Digital Castle

Beings of Light

Cakes and Ale

Elephant Reunion

Frog Reality


They Call Him Mister Tubby

Palmetto Bugs

Entering Sacred Digital Space

The Future Shape of Religious Structures

A Digital Fable

Computer Power and the Power of God

Religion and Technology

Early Excursions

The Episcopalians, Religion and Sexuality

Find the Answer Within

In Search of the Grail – Wired 1995

Computer Applications for Spirituality: The Transformation of Religious Experience


Quotations Over the Years from Richard Thieme

by rthieme on April 19, 2016

Selected Quotes Over the Years from Richard Thieme

Life, Today

Identity at a fundamental level is being transformed. Digital identities can be appropriated, yes, but more than that, we can invent them on the fly and determine at the moment of action or execution to which matrix we are related as a node in the network. Our identities exist as potentialities made actual by our intention at the moment of action. They are the equivalent of quantum states, fixed only when expressed.

Because “elements of the Natl Security State were committed to the production of strategic fictions, simulations, and deceptions” as Timothy Melley put it, the mind of society becomes confused about what is real and must rely on postmodern deconstruction in a futile attempt to discern what is happening in the Wilderness of Mirrors called life.

The weakest link in discussions of privacy is the definition of privacy, and the definition of privacy is not what we think.

Humans are open systems of information and energy. Current work in biotech, nanotech, genetic engineering, artificial organisms, electromagnetic fields applied to surveillance, intrusion, health and healing, and weapons to disarm, debilitate and kill, intersects with traditional “information security” models but is becoming a tail that wags the dog. IT caused identity shift by turning command-and-control “individuals” into nodes in a network. Now, what we used to call “individual selves” are dissolving into real-time physical modular networked systems that transform identity, possibilities for action, and therefore the future.

What do you want to be today? has replaced the Microsoft slogan, where do you want to go today?

Hey, wait! A fecal transplant may not be a bad idea.

Fiction is the only way to tell the truth.

Nothing is what it seems.


The convergence of enabling technologies of intrusion, interception, and

panoptic reach, combined with a sense of urgency about the counter terror

imperative and a clear mandate from our leaders to do everything possible to defeat an amorphous non-state entity defined by behaviors rather than boundaries, borders, or even a clear ideological allegiance, has created an ominous but invisible set of conditions that undermine the previous cornerstones of law, ethics, and even religious traditions.

The world is a computer animation projected through the multiple lenses of our brains, a holographic image of everything seen one slice at a time.

The digital world, with all its circus animals and mythical beasts, is simply a new way for the human brain to deceive itself into thinking it knows.

We think, therefore the cursor moves. The universe is a point-and-click multi-dimensional interface in which we are immersed, multi-dimensional point-and-click beings.

Neither hackers nor spies live inside consensus reality. They live at the terminator on the moon where everything is thrown into relief, where intentionality creates consensus. In a world of pure information, intentionality is everything.

There’s plenty of laughter among hackers, laughter at the paradox of the mind watching itself build worlds in which – in spite of seeing the marks of the tools on the raw material and the tools in our hands – we lack the freedom not to believe.

We are real birds in digital cages.

We speak of software “authors” but a group creates the software and the world owns the code.

A browser is a knowledge engine that organizes information in flux so it seems momentarily frozen. Portals are gravitational lens that boost distant clusters into the foreground.

The map of the energies of cyberspace is a map of our Mind.

Cyberspace is like a multi-dimensional cubist construction in which we become ten-dimensional portraits by Braque or Picasso, our digital selves both artifact and artist.

Information is neutral. The power of information that is linked and mined is magnified by orders of magnitude. What matters is the pattern.

Computers aren’t about technology, they’re about people. The power of the Net derives from the deepest intentions of the people who use it.

Footnotes are conspicuous by their absence on the Web. Information is self-referential. Symbols and images point to themselves like a ten-dimensional dog chasing its own tails.

Cyberspace is a symbolic representation of the human soul. Everything that shows up there is a projection of ourselves.

The content of the Net will be the content of our transformed selves rendered in symbolic form.

Computer hackers are feared because their powers have been magnified by the media. But their real knowledge is real power. Hacking skills – the creative exploration of complex systems of information – are essential in organizations that want to remain competitive.

The Net is an imaginary garden with real toads in it.

We create the Net out of nothing, then forget that we made it up so we can play in it.

A photo is no longer worth a thousand words. Or maybe it is, since digital words and images alike are subject to manipulation.

The Internet is “space” which organizes how we think, virtual bookshelves onto which we put books without even thinking about it.

Computer games are toys, but beyond the games, computers themselves are toys. When we play with them, it changes how we frame reality.

You can’t write a 32-bit application for an IBM XT. It just can’t handle the code.

Like speech, writing, and print, the computer is a tool that shapes our perceptions into forms the computer can use. If we are to bring our ideas to the computer, we must express them in language the computer understands.

The full evolution of the human/computer synthesis is likely to be a religious experience. It will happen as Hemingway said bankruptcy happens, gradually, then suddenly.

The first two weeks in a new culture are so impactful, Margaret Mead said, that you have to stay another year to learn more. Our first two weeks in the digital world are almost up.

We are tourists in our own territories, accessing life through simulations designed to be wrap-around immersive virtual worlds that feel so real we forget they’re invented.

Web sites work best that lead us by easy stages from accessible text or images into the complexity of information patterned beyond our comprehension.

The Internet does not REPLACE anything, it redefines how we use other media.

When we explore the Net, we are exploring ourselves. We learn to surf swells of meaning that surge back and forth like the sea. We learn to follow currents of information, feeling swells interact in complex ways. We become voyagers in a sea of information, we make tangled starmaps that remember for us how to find our way home.

Current technologies make speaking of interception obsolete. Our technologies constitute the physical framework, and software and informational contexts, of a pan-global society. Boundaries between elements of the network, between the networks that make up

the network, that is, are arbitrary and porous. We live in a world literally without walls. Every attribute of a process or structure that broadcasts or transmits information about itself by any physical or electromagnetic means can be detected, often at the source. Often enough, those who built the system in the first place engineer information to come to them. “Here” and “there” are distinctions without a difference.


We are like miners tunneling through an immense mountain, seeing only the earth in front of our faces. What we don’t know is so much bigger than ourselves.

When we lose ourselves in life in all its wonderfulness and flowing, we find ourselves, but when we try to hold on to what we find, we lose it again. Victory comes only in moments of surrender.

Our existence is a recursive call of the pattern of the pattern of the code.

The moment we see ourselves as we are perceived by another, we become someone else, neither who we were nor who they think we are.

Techno/spirituality” is the search for “human nature” transformed by interaction with information tehcnologies. We are like apes seeing their faces in the river for the first time – a digital river flowing through our collective mind.

Digital symbols link to other digital symbols which symbolize something beyond the power of symbols to say.

We live on the edge of a digital blade and the blade cuts both ways.

Once I had answers. Now all I have is questions.

What is the particular gift this day has given me? Who have I loved, and have I dared to love them as well as I could? Have I contributed to the well-being of another, have I enhanced their sense of dignity or expanded the possibilities of their lives? Have I flown as close to the fire at the heart of the mysteries of love and knowledge as I dare? And of everything I have received, have I given anything back?

When my life began to grow more mellow, I thought I was becoming disciplined, even virtuous. Now I know it was just lower testosterone levels.

Change causes fear, rigidity, and isolation. The antidotes are mutuality, feedback, and accountability.

The meta-rule — “do the right thing” — requires sometimes that we break the rules. Trusting people to learn from their mistakes drives rule-based people nuts.

There is only one rule: if you don’t know when to break the rules, don’t break the rules.

Believing is seeing. Believing is the precondition of a possibility.

An idea that ripens at the right time can not be stopped by all the NOs in the world.

We only feel a need to impose a rigid structure on the flow of life when we are afraid that our lives are chaotic.

The structures of energy and information in the universe are the universe.

Wisdom, like insanity, is contextual.

We’re like people wearing glasses running around frantically looking for our glasses.

Money is dye in the arteries of our souls.

Thinking about the unthinkable ripens the mind toward new possibilities.

The Internet — like the world — is best ruled by letting things take their course.

When chaos for breakfast and doubt for lunch make for indigestion at dinnertime, power looks more like wisdom than winning. The wise person steers a course by the torchlight of doubt and chaos.

Prophets are people who get wet before everybody else and start sneezing. We can quarantine them, but reality is a cold it is impossible not to catch.

The digital world is water, a rising tide, a tsunami impacting our consciousness with revolutionary force, levelling our villages, sweeping away our shrines and altars, sweeping everything, everything out to sea.

Between we humans and our souls there are no barriers but the ones we erect to protect ourselves from the terror of self-knowledge and self-transcendence. Between we human beings and those we love, there are no barriers but the ones we erect to protect ourselves from intimacy and self-surrender.

Genuine encounters with the Other breaks naturally into mystical and religious experience because our models of reality explode. We pass through a zone of annihilation in which everything we believed ourselves to be is called into question. Then we coalesce around a new center at a higher level of complexity that includes and transcends everything that came before.

There comes a point when we think at which the framework of the thinking itself begins to wrinkle and slide into the dark. We see the edge of our thinking mind, beyond which we see … something else … self-luminous “space” that constitutes the context of our thinking and our thinking selves.

When we see our thinking from a point outside our thinking, we see that ideas and beliefs are mental artifacts, as solid and as empty as all the things in the physical world – things that are patterns of energy and information that fingertips or eyes or brains are structured to perceive as if objects external to ourselves. That is, of course, an illusion.

People aren’t “resistant to change” when they try to keep patterns that feel “normal.” They’re acting out of lifelong behaviors almost as deep as life itself.

To understand the world, we must first understand ourselves. Then, like the Hubble telescope when it first went up, we can compensate for distortion.

The fancy name for diverse styles of living is “spirituality.” Our challenge is not to find the one that’s right. Our challenge is to find one that works.

Descriptions of reality are true at different degrees of precision

Memories are representations of experience that no longer exists…. so how can we know they’re “real?” Biography becomes history and history becomes myth. History is corporate myth. Biography is individual myth.

When prayer happens on the Network, luminous sacred space ignites and glows, transforming our monitors into altars and sacred groves.

The symbols with which we manipulate our constructions of reality point increasingly to other symbols. It is no longer a case of remembering that the finger pointing toward the moon is not the moon, but that the finger is pointing toward another finger that is pointing toward another finger … and we call that recursive experience … the moon.

The universe is gregarious and welcoming. We are built to live in space that is gateless, unbounded, free.

Emergent realities must wait until seers and prophets give them names before we can discuss them.

Now that we know that the uterus produces a marijuana-like compound called anadamide, we can understand why human beings hate to forsake the darkness for the bright light. Birth is a sobering experience.

Keep your seat belt buckled and your virtual lamp lit.

If we are lucky, there occurs a “moment of clarity” in which we see ourselves with our own eyes and how narrowly we have lived in contrast with how we might live if we dare to fulfill our possibilities.

Truth and lies are Siamese twins, joined at the lips.

Nothing is harder to see than what we believe so deeply we don’t know we believe it.

A landlubber will look at water and see a barrier. Islanders see an invitation, a world wanting to be explored, highway and home.

There is ultimately only ourselves to know.

Consciousness is the sea, and the sea is all around us.

Like Alice eating magic cookies, we grow smaller and larger as we nibble on the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The more we learn, the more we see how much we don’t know, how tentative our hypotheses.

How we intend to live our lives is how we wind up living them.

Faith is getting out of bed in the morning and just showing up.

Our island of awareness is bounded by a mist of forgetfulness and unknowing.

The Universe is a gesture, and our symbol-making minds interpret its shrugs or smiles through the narrow aperture of ourselves, opening like a lens to let in just a little light.

When we share a myth with others, it feels like reality. That’s why the challenge to our myths – from political myths to religious myths – feels like an assault on ourselves and we’re willing to kill those who don’t share them.

Religious extremists of all persuasions resemble one another more than they resemble the thinkers in their own traditions. They are terrified of the breakdown of the rigid structure that props up their fragile selves.

Every keystroke says who I am. The media with which we try to hide ourselves become a magnifying glass.


Something new is breaking out of the cracked egg of civilization.

Science fiction is how a left-brain technological society dreams of the future.

Thinking about the unthinkable ripens the mind toward new possibilities.

I am not a “futurist.” I describe the present to people who haven’t arrived at the present, so to them, it sounds like the future.

Intelligence officers, fighter pilots, and commercial air line pilots tell me that UFOs are real.

Powerful ideas are rare, and those who see them in the first light endure ridicule and rejection until everyone finally agrees that they always believed that all along.

Human beings are one path by which matter has become conscious. Our self-conception is a blurred snapshot of a hurried traveller; by the time we realize it is our face in the photograph, our “real” face has changed.

We may be the last human generation to be merely born.

Human beings are slow learners. Insights occur to us thousands of years before we act on them.

Where is the vision that will animate our outward expansion, our migration into the universe from the deep cave of the earth?

What we call “our species” will soon be a wistful memory in the molecular clusters of the progeny we design, an arbitrary distinction that served for a while before we morphed.

Our life stories are mythologies, stories of who we think we are, cushioned with designer memories that support our interpretations.

The ultimate intention of consciousness is to become coextensive with all the molecular structures it or we will or can create as apertures onto the outside/inside of our collective Life.


The center is constantly shifting. People who are comfortable at the center keep finding themselves on the edge and must partner with “outsiders” who can show them how to live on the edge.

The basis of capitalism is a handshake.

Competitive Business Intelligence 101 should be a required course at every business school.

Businesses have become centers of education, not because they wanted to, but because they must. McDonald’s teaches civility to clerks because traditional institutions don’t.

Traditional educational structures still get funding but we barter and trade for real educational goods in a growing black market.

Our interaction with structures of information technology transforms how we hold ourselves as possibilities for action.

When power people enter the Net for the first time, they learn they can not exercise power by dominating and controlling, but by contributing and participating. Networks and webs transform the dynamics of hierarchical structures.

Our paradigms determine the questions we can ask and therefore the answers we can hear.

In a knowledge economy, information is capital, but wisdom is gold. And gold is currently devalued.

The ideas that matter most are those we can make our own, insights the apprehension of which changes our lives.

The best ideas that like good coaches who put the reins of our lives back into our hands.

When entertainment is the fuel of a global digital economy, it is unpatriotic not to buy a ticket.

The requests that flow to digital sex workers are predictable. Like children who want to hear the same story again and again, clients want the comforting touch of a mother as much as a lover.

In a global free market economy, intelligence and counterintelligence, information and disinformation, are axiomatic to remaining viable.

The first lines of defense of consensus reality are laughter and ridicule. Only when the idea does not go away do we attack.

Early adopters and late adopters have different seats on the same bus.

We can only predict the predictable.

Out of the box thinking” is just a name for climbing out of one box into a little bit bigger box.


Space travel is utter bilge.”

The Royal Astronomer in the UK in 1956, the year before the launch of Sputnik

The first time my understanding of UFO phenomena shifted from interesting and spooky to physical and real was in 1978. I was a newly ordained Episcopal priest in my first parish, a small one in northern Utah on the edge of Hill Air Force Base. Our senior warden, or congregational lay leader, was a major, although he retired as a heavily decorated bird colonel. He was highly esteemed and honored by both those he saved in Viet Nam and the brass who gave him medals. If anyone had the “right stuff,” that cocky fighter pilot did.

We were sitting alone in the church basement talking about “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” a recent movie then, and I said, “Bob, you know, I read people like Hynek and others who have done their best (in the fifties, sixties and seventies) to find out what UFOs are about, and they claim that in the end, you guys in your fastest fighters chase these things and can’t catch them.”

I was referring to numerous accounts by multiple witnesses of physical vehicles clearly directed by intelligence that paced them, flew around them, landed near them, or played tag with them, and were clearly powered by something other than our primitive propulsion systems because they seemed to cancel out gravity or use magnetic fields to “fold” space-time and move so fast we couldn’t always catch them.

Bob shifted in his seat and the habitual cocky smile on his face became a perplexed frown. I’ll never forget what he said or how he said it.

“Well, that’s right. We chase the damned things and we can’t catch them.”

A friend who lectured on deception for one of the intelligence agencies said, “llusion, misdirection, and ridicule are the hallmarks of deception—but the greatest of these is ridicule.”

They fly, they evince technologies we don’t understand, and they have been around for years. And despite voluminous overwhelming evidence to support those assertions, to raise this subject as worthy of historical and scientific investigation is to invite ridicule, the shaking of pitying heads, derision and hostility, and embarrassed silence.

Francis Bacon said in 1620, if something deserves to exist, it deserves to be known,

Any other domain of inquiry with hundreds of well-documented events would be considered worthy of scientific and historical investigation. Well-executed policies carried out with secrecy do not constitute “a conspiracy” and those who illuminate them are not “conspiracy theorists,” a term used to denigrate investigators of unpopular subjects. Members of the military and intelligence community, from the early 1950s on, decided to learn as much as they could about UFOs – which they decided did not constitute a direct threat to national security – while at the same time playing down and dismissing reports from the public. The reports themselves were considered to be the primary threat by the CIA.

Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining that “The phenomena is something real and not visionary or fictitious.”

UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry” includes quotations from generals, senior intelligence personnel, and professionals like Hermann Oberth, the father of German rocketry, that affirm the exotic characteristics of the technology that no earthly power could then achieve. As Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell told me, “Richard, if we could do what they can do, they wouldn’t have sent me to the moon in a tin lizzie.”


Late Night Thoughts About Science” from Peter A. Sturrock is a teaser as well as a repast. It’s a repast because the short examples of a variety of scientific anomalies, as orthodoxy styles them, is in itself rich and rewarding. Examples of, for instance, remote viewing or clairvoyance or well-documented UFO phenomena are carefully chosen and challenge readers who bring arch-skeptical attitudes toward such things. Either his examples are invented or mistaken or even fraudulent, the reader might think … OR, the book clearly suggests, it is facts themselves that are are damned, as Charles Fort said, by an orthodoxy which will not or cannot entertain them as incontrovertible facts. The reader who is willing to choose the latter option is at the beginning, not the end, of an intellectual adventure.

Chapter after chapter, the facts are presented carefully, quietly, matter-of-factually, until the burden is on the reader to refute them or – one intention of this short collection, I believe – use the well-chosen suggestions for further reading to explore each subject in depth and detail on his or her own.

The seventeen chapters open with four instances of unresolved issues that would be well known to scientifically trained persons – ball lightning, the Allais effect, low energy nuclear reactions, and properties of beta decay. This frames the inquiry in a way that is well within orthodox science, since these puzzles are part of the lore of orthodoxy itself and ought to be somewhat familiar. They are bread crumbs that one follows with easy acquiescence into the darkening forest of edgier facts where night is falling.

With the chapter on precognition, the text moves into what some call “paranormal” (in order to make clear they know what is normal and what is not), and that’s when the reader either tosses the book away with a snort or says, hmmm, if this single account is true, what else might be true about this mysterious universe, final knowledge of which I certainly do not have, and how can I learn more? The “further reading” suggestions point the way. The segue from daylight science to nighttime reflections is seamless but as one reads about psychokinesis or crop circles, the night-time thoughts persist until the dawn and then they remain in the daylight.

Richard Feynman observed that a fact that is both a fact and anomalous is the most interesting fact because it suggests at the least that something has been overlooked or smoothed out on behalf of a coherent but false hypothesis. At the most, however, the anomalous fact might become the cornerstone of an entirely new way of framing what we know. Sturrock’s lifetime of work is a testimony to that open-minded approach and where it might lead. My review on Amazon of his book “A Tale of Two Sciences” goes into much more detail about Sturrock’s courage and career and the toll it takes to ask questions that respectable circle-the-wagons science prefers not to hear. He is an esteemed physicist who made major contributions to plasma physics and a thinker who has studied and asked hard serious questions of well-documented UFO phenomena, preferring to let the evidence suggests answers rather than making his prior answers distort or dismiss the evidence. If the reader’s curiosity is stimulated by this collection, there is a lot more Sturrock-work to explore.

Late Night Thoughts” is wise, thoughtful, careful, mature reflection, a good complement to his other books and evidence that at 92, Sturrock continues to find both fascination and fertile grounds for exploration in domains that others are too timid to touch.


Remembering (Again) Who We Are

by rthieme on March 4, 2016

Remembering (Again) Who We Are

by Richard Thieme (


Why do we so often forget the important things and lose ourselves in trivia? Why do we need to be reminded, again and again, what matters most?

We’re built for the mundane, I guess, but I recently had one of those reminders and I can’t put it down.

Twenty years ago I wrote in “Ferg’s Law,” an “Islands in the Clickstream” column, that “we are built to live in space that is gateless, unbounded, free.”

Ferg’s Law was simple: “when things can go right,” Ferg said, “they will, and at the best possible moment” — a good antidote to Murphy’s more pessimistic law.

Five years ago, I wrote “Remembering Who We Are” (see The Second Edition section and then find “Ferg’s Law” in the Islands in the Clickstream section). It was about a psychic event that illuminated something of the hidden universe, The friends involved in that event are involved in this one too.

That column was about getting “distress signals” from a friend, a married woman I wasn’t seeing much anymore as our lives took different paths. This time it was about both husband and wife instead of the wife alone. Out of nowhere, the names of the couple came into my awareness with intensity. They seemed to come in waves: “Bob and Alice … Bob and Alice … Bob and Alice …” (not their real names, of course). The “probes” were strongly felt, kinesthetically perhaps, then articulated as I said their names aloud. Something was seriously wrong, I felt.

Those “pings” are always an invitation to action. The need to respond is a mandate of the fact of the happening itself, not added. “Incident response” is inherent in the incoming communication.

After seeing them five years ago, we did go separate ways again and we had not talked in many months. So when I felt that distress it was an anomaly and a message, not something imagined or thought.

I have learned over the years to distinguish often between my thoughts and feelings and that “ping,” that communication, which must come into a different part of the brain than that which generates the stream of consciousness we call “our waking self.”

But I hesitated to respond, again, because it had been such a long time. After three days, however, the “pinging” had not decreased. I told my wife what was happening, wondering if I should call. She said, wouldn’t it be odd, given how long it’s been, only to call when you think you’re “getting a message?”

“I guess,” I said, choosing the more “appropriate” option. I did nothing.


The next morning I met a different friend for coffee, and after talking for an hour, he said, I saw [Bob] last night. Did you hear what happened?

I shook my head, feeling that twilight zone tingling.

My coffee pal said he had even asked permission from our mutual friend to tell me the details of his crisis. Bob said yes, he should tell me, and when I heard the details, my heart went out to him.

So this is the sequence of events: (1) I felt those pulses; (2) we had not been in touch for a long time so they came out of nowhere, so to speak, not related to external events or conscious thoughts; (3) the names of both husband and wife came in, whereas the first time it had been the wife alone; (4) I stated what I experienced when I discussed it with my wife the night before I met the man who told me what happened; (5) when I called my distressed friend, he spoke of a second crisis as well that compounded his distress.

“You nailed it,” he said, deeply touched by my genuine concern.

You can call it coincidence if you like, but I can’t. In the domain of UFOlogy, we joke that there are skeptics and witnesses. It’s the same when we discuss these kinds of things. I often know the difference between “waves of communication” pinging me and my own feelings and thoughts. The pings translate into thoughts and feelings and then spoken words; they do not occur in the same stream that my brain is generating all by itself. There is a palpable difference.

Many people have similar experiences, often when a strong emotional charge is present. The point is not that I have a special ability, but that this is the condition of humanity. Like personal power, it is axiomatic to our human condition, and the only way we can lose it is if we are convinced we don’t have it, so we don’t cooperate with it and nurture it. Then we will stop being aware of it and it will not happen. The “executive function” of intentionality still seems to drive much of what we allow ourselves to experience.

We are like cells in a single body. That body extends throughout the universe. What we think and feel and do affects the whole body. The universe has come alive, in other words, it is a form of forms for energy and matter which is shaped by ourselves in turn. The modern cult of individuality emphasizes “cellness.” These events emphasize “bodyness.”

We are bound to one another deeply and inextricably, and the matrix of our mutuality is the most expansive meaning of “love.” We may be apart but we never really leave one another. The links between us are energy and information framed by our attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. This is simply how the universe works.

We quickly arranged to have dinner with our friends and talk about everything. “Alice” – when I asked if she knew what this experience was like – said, “Yes. When it happens, we’re home.”

We’re home.

I can’t say it better than that.

So when it happens, our obligation is to respond with generosity of spirit, and concern, and love. And if we’re wrong, and are just reaching out without a beckoning, what do we lose by doing that?

The universe cannot be half meaningful and half meaningless. It is all one or the other. And when we realize it’s meaningful, we have a deeper obligation to ourselves and others to construct our lives so we are reminded to remember, again and again, that this is simply what’s so, and act on that awareness. Then reciprocity becomes a feedback loop in a continuously spiraling upward call … to live in a space that is gateless, unbounded, free.

My novel “FOAM” is brimful of instances of non-local consciousness and psychic connections. It is an imaginative way to say that we need a “physics of information” to understand how meaningful information traffics through consciousness and seems to do so on behalf of the progressive need to learn to love rightly.

The universe is more mysterious than we can imagine, and the world of the spirit permeates energy and matter and consciousness. The aggregation of collective awareness in all the habitable domains of all the galaxies and planets tie into a skein of intelligent sentience which challenges our simplistic provincial notions of who and what we are. Daring to know that is a challenge – a challenge to leave our comfortable rooms, as Rilke wrote, every corner of which we know, and venture forth into the universe.

March 4, 2016



Government and corporate structures become more opaque while intrusion and surveillance makes the notion of “privacy” 20th century old-think. The interface of humans with other information systems slights the human itself as an open system of information flow. Research in biotech/nanotech/electromagnetic fields is being integrated with security/privacy concerns.

Current research in neuroscience and the extension and augmentation of senses is proceeding in directions that might sound like science fiction. Progress is rapid but unevenly distributed: Some is directed by military, intelligence and corporate interests but beyond their aims, we can discern the future shape of human identity in nascent forms. Identity – the self we think we are – is undergoing transformation as a result. We are thin-skinned, vulnerable open systems of energy and information interacting with other systems. As IT eroded boundaries in the geopolitical world, biotech is eroding boundaries around individuals and species.

The human body/brain is being hacked to explore radical applications for helping, healing, and harming this and future generations. It is all dual use. One area of research is the recovery of memories, the deletion of emotional charges from memories, the removal of specific memories, the alteration of the content of memories, and the implantation of new memories, some from other organisms and some false. Another area seeks to “read minds” at a distance and extract information. Another explores the use of genomes to understand and replicate thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns. Another implements mind-to-mind communication, using neuroscience to understand brains best suited for remote viewing as well as implants and non-invasive technologies that control the electromagnetic energies of the brain to enable psychokinesis, clairvoyance and telepathy.

Augmentation of human abilities is being achieved by splicing information from sensors into existing neurological channels. To feel the magnetic field of the earth, see the infrared and ultraviolet parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, discern the yaw and pitch of airplanes, see and hear by going around our eyes and ears — all this means we are experience the “self” in new ways.

“We” are more than we think we are, and not what we thought we were. This presentation seeks answers to the question the caterpillar asked Alice: “Who are you?”