Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hyperreality and Scale Model Trains

I never really talk about this subject, but I'm going to today. Modeling, as in making models, is a big part of my day-to-day life. In particular, designing things for 3D printing is a big part of my day-to-day life. To showcase what is possible with 3D printing, I built a little model train layout several years ago (it no longer exists). A photo of that layout featuring a 3D printed bridge was put in the 2019 Model Railroader Calendar. You might recognize the name of the person listed below me: musician Rod Stewart.


Most people interested in the model train hobby, including famous people, only talk about it with other people within the hobby. Because people outside the hobby mostly don't get it. But it never ceases to amaze me how many well known talented people have a private interest in trains and modeling. Besides Stewart, there are a number of other rockers who are into the hobby, like Neil Young, Roger Daltrey, Springsteen, Clapton, Phil Collins, and Ringo to name a few.

Beyond rockers. there are a lot of other well known people who are into trains and modeling (here is a partial list). But most of those people aren't serious enough that they showcase their modeling accomplishments. Like, for instance, NBA great Michael Jordan supposedly built a layout at one point after he became rich and famous, but I've never seen any photos of it. Many well known people just collect models or pay others to make model train stuff for them. For instance, Warren Buffet likes trains so much he did the ultimate thing and bought a railroad, BNSF. And although Walt Disney is long dead, he was big into model trains; Disneyland/world is essentially Walt's vision of a full scale model railroad.


Also, model trains have an important history in the computer revolution. The original "hackers" were people in the MIT "Tech Model Railroad Club." For whatever reason, trains and modeling appeal to certain types of minds, and those types of minds are mostly male minds. That's why the fictional theoretical physicist genius Sheldon Cooper on the show The Big Bang Theory was designed to have an interest in trains and model trains (although I've consistently found the grasp of the train world by the writers/actors for that show lacking and error prone).

I like creative modeling in general and not just trains. For instance, The Universe Is Virtual is a model of how the universe works. As another example, when I make paintings or drawings, those are 2D models of both physical things and ideas. And the words I weave are models too: symbols of symbols. Nonetheless, trains have long provided a rich outlet for my creativity; I've been defaulting back to model trains as a creative outlet from time to time ever since I was seven years old. To do model trains right requires developing a range of skills: design, carpentry, electronics, art, and historical knowledge. People who get the train bug by getting a simple train set as a kid often evolve and develop all those skills as they grow into adults. So, it is a hobby that often grows and evolves with people from childhood to adulthood.

Although I was born creative with a drive to model and even lived a block away from the tracks of the Seaboard Coast Line railroad until I was 6, trains as a creative outlet didn't start to develop in me until I was seven. That year I took an Amtrak trip and in turn got my first train set. As a kid, I didn't have the knowledge or skill set to make what I imagined I wanted; if I had the internet as it exists today back then, I probably would have, but I didn't. As a kid, what I really wanted to model was the train, DeLorean, and town Hill Valley from Back to the Future 3. I wanted the layout to transition from 1885 to 1985 at the bridge. As I got older, the train bug hit me every now and then. In the last decade the train bug has been more persistent, particularly since I have developed all the necessary skills of design, carpentry, electronics, art, and historical knowledge to make some grade A models.

One thing that from the beginning has always triggered the train bug in me is a Publix Supermarket commercial that played every Christmas in Florida from the late 80s to the late 90s. That commercial still works magic on me. (The song in the commercial is "Last Train Home" by Pat Metheny Group)


Trips to Disney World (or Universal Studios) have also long been a trigger for me, but Disney trips trigger more the modeling bug in general and not just trains (I'd make a good Disney Imagineer). If I cared enough or had the luck to have the money, I'd live in a house that would be straight out of Disney World (a glimpse of that home is shown in Revelations from the Holy Planet). Disney World was described by the philosopher Baudrillard as the hyperreal. I enjoy the hyperreal because it is a more heavenly simulation of the so-called actual real. For instance, real pirates are not too great but the idealized fictional motif of pirates is great. The hyperreal is like a simulation of the world free of the hidden darkness...unconscious guilt. Even the dark, scary Haunted Mansion is heavenly when you know it is unreal and just for fun. The awareness of the unreality removes the unconscious guilt.

The hyperreality of model trains is a big part of their appeal to me. And my interest in making worlds for model trains reflects my desire for heaven/the divine rather than the world/the profane...order rather than chaos. There is an episode of the show American Dad where Stan builds a model railroad and shrinks himself down so he can live in it in order to escape the chaos of the world. Although that episode exaggerates the concept, I agree that modeling does have a therapeutic influence to combat chaos.

The objective of a model railroad is multifaceted. First off, you want it to look cool. Second, you want it to be realistic; yet you really want it to be hyperreal and so better than realistic, which often entails capturing a certain time and place in an ideal form. (My interest is in Florida railroad history and that's what I model, mostly in tiny 1/160 N scale.) And third, you want the model railroad to operate. Operation gives the model a function; it's a kind of game where you perform real railroad tasks such as set cars out at certain industries and shuffle cars to be rerouted to different trains. I've personally never gotten into the operation aspect, but eventually I'll probably make something designed for operation.

Anyway, I thought it was due time I explicitly shared my lifelong interest in modeling in general and model trains in particular with everyone. My range of interests seem to never overlap with other people lol. My interests include ACIM, models/miniatures, railroad history, free market economics, investing, voluntaryism/anarchism, baroque music, punk and classic rock, art, design, illustration, 3D modeling/printing, the paranormal, engineering, digital physics, cartooning, psychology, philosophy, growing food, playing music, weather/climatology, geology, understanding how things work so I can fix them, and the list goes on. I imagine there are at least a few people with an interest in trains and ACIM, but maybe not.

If interested, explore all the links in this post including the videos below. Maybe you'll get the train bug or at least expand your knowledge. And you might want to pick up the Model Railroader 2019 Calendar; it is readily available, especially online.






The scene I made that is in the calendar photo. It is protected behind Plexiglas.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

News Summer 2018: Future Comics? Kantian Categorical Imperative

Here are some news updates for the Summer of 2018. It's been awhile since I sent out a message to my email list. I have this underutilized email list that I control and that isn't under the direct whim of tech giant algorithms. I really should utilize it more often.

I have a potential book project in draft stage. I still can't say if it will get off the ground at all. As things stand right now, I don't see anything new being completed anytime soon.

It's been almost exactly eight years since The Universe Is a Dream was first released. Unfortunately, the publishing world is just as inhospitable to comics as eight years ago. Printing comics in color and selling comics as Kindle ebooks is an exercise in gluttony for punishment (lol). Everything is optimized for regular books, not comic books. I had it in mind to release The Universe Is a Dream revamped and in color for the 10 year anniversary but the technological logistics haven't improved enough to justify doing that. Instead, things are going in the opposite direction. Print costs are going up. File size is still greatly punished by Amazon Kindle. And Amazon is becoming so saturated with books that less and less people are finding mine to buy.

Since releasing The Universe Is a Dream eight years ago, I've come to accept that I'm an artist guy who doesn't want to be a guru. But really you have to be a guru to some extent if you really want to sell books, especially in the spirituality genre. You've got to go out there and sell your ideas. And if you're unwilling to do that, there is little point in making books. Because chances are no one is really going to promote your stuff other than you. And to go out there spreading ideas is to jump into a war zone (lol).

When I talk, I talk about three main things. I call those three things my three guiding axioms. And all those things fly in the face of convention.

My Three Guiding Axioms
1) Being: Oneness (Pure Non-Duality Principle)
2) Thought: Quantum Forgiveness (Non-Guilt-Projection Principle)
3) Behavior: The Golden Rule (Non-Aggression Principle)

I can live by those axioms without directly talking about them. But those axioms are behind just about everything I ever want to talk about, since I naturally want to talk about the things I live. At least the first two axioms are mostly accepted by people who accept A Course in Miracles. But once I get to the third axiom, which is the most pertinent to day to day life in a social sense, I don't even have many ACIM people on my side. ACIM explicitly says the Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. However, people don't take the Golden Rule very seriously. Part of that lack of seriousness is probably the fact that just saying, "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you," is a bit too vague. When you start studying natural law, Kantian categorical imperative, the non-aggression principle, and even the negative formulation of the Golden Rule you start to appreciate it more.

When talking to all audiences, I have a tendency to want to start with axiom 3, the Golden Rule. Because the Golden Rule is kindergarten forgiveness. Last year I started the blog Forgiving the News to start publicly exploring the minefield of putting people's beliefs up to the test of the Golden Rule; in that sense the blog is basically designed to piss everyone off (lol). Because the problem with getting deep into the Golden Rule is that I invariably have to start telling people that their politics are complete garbage regardless of left or right persuasion (lol). People don't like that, because politics is secular religion full of contradictory garbage that falls apart when exposed to light.

Whenever I start exposing the dark side of people's behavioral beliefs by exploring axiom three, it transitions into axiom two. Axiom two means delving into unconscious guilt and the Jungian shadow. The great thing about starting with axiom three is that the people able to get through axiom three usually have some hope of facing the darkness within when projected out. And those able and willing to face the darkness within have some hope of dealing with axiom one, which is the ultimate abstraction. Oneness is an abstraction so abstract that it cannot be modeled. For that reason I find working from oneness back into the profane world less useful. The people attracted to the positive love and happiness stuff are too often unwilling to deal with the darkness.

I'm sure there is a much bigger audience ready for the hardcore ACIM-based messages I want to bring. But going the route of talking to general audiences to weed out the people who are ready for my full messages puts me on the radar of lots of adversaries. And I have a hard time believing that such a task is worth the aggravation (lol).

The way I see it, if I'm unwilling to jump into the ideological war zone to help increase the popularity of my current books, there is little point in making more books. So that is my current crossroads. I don't know what I'll do or when.

In the meantime though check this out. If you haven't heard, I was on the True Forgiveness Teachings Podcast with Jackie Lora Jones twice in the last few months. We got into some good stuff. The main theme was forgiving the First Law of Chaos: the truth is different for everyone. That's my favorite topic since it's one of the few I have lots to say about due to the world providing a constant stream of new material. And at the end I gave seven useful forgiveness tips. So give that a listen.


Part 1 4/24/18: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trueforgiveness/2018/04/24/why-some-things-seem-harder-to-forgive-than-others-wguest-alexander-marchand
Part 2 7/17/18: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trueforgiveness/2018/07/17/why-some-things-seem-harder-to-forgive-than-others-part-2-wguest-alex-marchand

Also worth noting, The Universe Is Virtual is being released in Portuguese soon. And The Universe Is a Dream continues to be available in a number of different languages.
And as always, if you've been depriving yourself of any of my books, get them while you can.
https://alexandermarchand.com/books/books/

Keep on forgiving,
Alex

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

True Forgiveness Teachings Podcast: First Law of Chaos and Entropy

I was on the True Forgiveness Teachings Podcast with Jackie Lora Jones twice in the last few months. We got into some good stuff. The main theme was forgiving the First Law of Chaos: the truth is different for everyone. Which is my favorite topic since it's one of the few I have lots to say about due to the world providing a constant stream of new material. And at the end I give seven forgiveness tips.

Part 1 4/24/18: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trueforgiveness/2018/04/24/why-some-things-seem-harder-to-forgive-than-others-wguest-alexander-marchand Part 2 7/17/18: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trueforgiveness/2018/07/17/why-some-things-seem-harder-to-forgive-than-others-part-2-wguest-alex-marchand

Friday, February 2, 2018

2018 Update

I have two potential comic book projects in draft stages. I still can't say if either of those projects will get off the ground at all. As things stand right now, I don't see anything new being completed before 2019 or maybe even 2020. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Mandela Effect, Quantum Forgiveness, and the ACIM Urtext

The Mandela Effect is an internet meme born the same year as The Universe Is a Dream (2010); the effect revolves around people reporting memories of the past that contradict the present. The name of the effect is a reference to large groups of people having a memory of Nelson Mandela dying in prison back in the 80s. He instead died in 2013. Google the Mandela Effect and you'll find all kinds of examples.

Now, to a normal person lacking whimsy and creativity, the Mandela Effect is easily dismissed as people being idiots and therefore believing false memories. However, those with whimsy and creativity consider it to be a potentially authentic phenomenon. Of the people who consider the effect authentic, most generally attribute the Mandela Effect to some variation of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, and some even evoke the CERN large hadron collider as the catalyst. I take things farther though and see the Mandela Effect as an example of quantum forgiveness in action.

Those who have read The Universe Is Virtual (get smart and do so if you haven't) and understood it, know that erasing records of the past changes the present. True forgiveness is the ultimate eraser. In the virtual model of the universe, what you forgive and don't determines what version of the universe is rendered to you when you observe it. That differs from the standard many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which is an interpretation that tries to eliminate the observer and thus mind. To get technical, many worlds "removes the observer-dependent role in the quantum measurement process by replacing wavefunction collapse with quantum decoherence." In that sense, many worlds is the wrong theory to evoke when trying to explain how the Mandela Effect may be authentic.

Unlike the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which tries to brush aside mind, the virtual interpretation that I endorse and teach is a model where there is no universe without a mind making it seemingly real. At best the universe is a probability. A probability is nothing unless it is actually rendered to a mind. Conversely, in the many worlds model, every possible universe actually exists physically, independent of mind. Mind would have to be more fundamental than matter to retain any memory that contradicts a given timeline.

Many worlds is a cool idea in the sense that it gives credence to the idea of parallel universes and thus multiple timelines. But many worlds is stuck in the materialistic view of the universe. Many worlds plays heavily into what is currently perhaps the most intellectually adventurous show on TV, the cartoon Rick and Morty. However, if I were on the Rick and Morty writing staff the show would portray an explicitly virtual universe. Watch the clips below. The first clip represents the Schrödinger's cat many worlds idea as is often referenced on the show. The second clip is from a neat episode about an entity named Unity that is one mind living through many bodies.


Whether the concept is thought of as many worlds or alternative renderings of the universe, the basic idea is the same: there are multiple timelines. Multiple timelines means multiple potential version of the same thing, such as multiple versions of you or multiple versions of A Course in Miracles. The script of the universe is written but there are variations in the script.

As many people probably already know, there is an ongoing rift in the A Course in Miracles world between the official Foundation for Inner Peace version of A Course in Miracles and earlier leaked versions...what is called the Urtext. The word urtext means an original or the earliest version of a text, to which later versions are compared.

In case you never noticed, I stay out of Course in Miracles politics lol. I keep out of the formal ACIM world. I've never gone to any conferences. And I don't blatantly take sides within the ACIM world. I just do my own art driven things and hope enough people enjoy what I do to allow me to keep doing my things. Technically, my stuff is mostly an extension of the Wapnick school of ACIM. But my own personality rubs off on how I talk about and express ACIM. That's what happens with everyone.

Ideally, we'd be living in a world where A Course in Miracles is a perfect book that was channeled perfectly by Helen Schucman without any need for edits. If we lived in that world, no earlier drafts of the course would ever have existed to be leaked. But here's the deal, you and I don't live in the world where that happened. We live in a world where there are a few slightly different versions of ACIM floating around. Not only that, we live in a world where English versions of ACIM exist that are free domain and thus without copyright. ACIM and the entire universe exists as it does for you and me right now in a certain way. And that certain way is presenting us with exactly what we need to forgive.

Perhaps there is an alternative timeline in which Helen Schucman recorded A Course in Miracles without any need for edits. Perhaps there is an alternative timeline where the Foundation for Inner Peace maintained a monopoly on ACIM, which worked fine until all the original people died and new people took over and ruined the course. Perhaps there is a version of the course that came with clear predictions of the future and those predictions came true thus converting most of the world into wanting to practice ACIM lol. I don't quite know. But the fact is that the timeline in front of your face is the one fit just for you.

(Incidentally, if you live in a timeline where stuff like psychic predictions rarely ever seem to come true, you have to consider that you've subconsciously chosen such a timeline. Why you made that choice could have many reasons, but one reason could be just so you can remain skeptical of the power of the mind.)

I'm personally cool with the relative chaos of the course at it exists in the current timeline because even though people will inevitably botch the course with their own interpretations, no botched version will be able to have a monopoly on the course. That makes the course more anti-fragile and able to exist in pure forms despite noise made by misinterpretations, misuses, and simple watering down of the message.

The world that is rendered to you is your custom classroom showing you what's in your mind. A Course in Miracles exists as it does to you because any other version would either be too clear or too unclear. That's just what you get in a world where ego is trying to go one way and spirit the other.

When presented with A Course in Miracles, people go through a process of rationalizing why they should accept it or dismiss it. And I always find it interesting to examine how people rationalize dismissing ACIM, including people who are well-known spiritual teachers and authors. For instance, the idea that the world is illusory is often too much for people and it leaves people feeling depressed. And when I personally call the universe an illusory turd lol, that is too much even for some ACIM people. Therefore, to dismiss the idea that the world is illusory, people jump through hoops trying to rationalize why the world is real and why in essence entropy is wonderful lol. On its own, the idea that the world is illusory is not of much use, but when you combine it with true forgiveness and oneness you see why the world is illusory and why that's great news as opposed to depressing news. So, dismissing ACIM requires cherry picking and misinterpretation. When people want to dismiss ACIM they see in it what they want to see. But since ACIM is such a dense book, the reality is that it lends itself to cherry picking and misinterpretation regardless of if you want to accept it or dismiss it.

I personally work off of the Foundation for Inner Peace version of A Course in Miracles. And I personally accept that ACIM as a whole is perfect in the sense of the ideas it contains. As far as the importance of individual words and edits, it doesn't mean much to me in the big picture. I'm not the kind of guy that agonizes over single words and sentences. If every single word was extremely important, the course could only exist in its native language, English. But the course has been translated into many languages; there is always some compromise in translation. Overall, I just think of the course as existing exactly how it needs to exist for those rendering any timeline in which it exists.

So, anyway, some stuff to ponder when the subject of the Mandela effect or ACIM Urtext comes up.

Also, you might want to buy some of my ACIM art, like my new Miracle Mandala, because of, you know, the Mandela Effect.

And check out my experimental spin off websites listed under News. I'm at a kind of crossroads right now figuring out what I want to do next, if anything, in terms of books. I'll likely be posting something about that eventually.

http://alexandermarchand.com/books/store/

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Course in Miracles the Coloring Book: Miracle Mandala, Quantum Forgiveness, and Oneness Meditations

A Course in Miracles the Coloring Book: Miracle Mandala, Quantum Forgiveness, and Oneness Meditations (A Pictographic Guide to Core Course Concepts)
ISBN:978-1543290349
$8.99
Where to Buy:
Amazon US
Createspace, Amazon UK and other Amazons

A Course in Miracles the Coloring Book: Meditate on the core concepts of A Course In Miracles through the relaxing, stress-relieving activity of coloring. Seeing as coloring for adults (grown-ups) has become popular, it only made sense that I of all people needed to make an A Course in Miracles themed coloring book. So, I did. This coloring book combines the activity of coloring pictographs representing core course concepts with meditations on those concepts. Although fit for all ages, this coloring book is meant for people who are already familiar with A Course in Miracles and or The Universe Is a Dream. The coloring book is composed of two main parts. The first part of the coloring book introduces and explains all the pictographic symbols used in the book. Then the second part of the coloring book presents three coloring meditation exercises: the Miracle Mandala Meditation, True (Quantum) Forgiveness Meditation, and Oneness Meditation. All three coloring meditations can be done many times since many copies are included of each coloring meditation. Obviously, it’s only available as a physical paperback book.


Also, seeing as I haven’t done much with my website since 2010 (when I originally made it), I decided to give it a makeover more fit for the current web, which, these days, involves a lot of web browsing on phones. The old version of the site still exists but I’m going to be phasing it out and directing all traffic to the new version. Along with the updated site, I started a secret web page for email subscribers upon which I’ll post some occasional underground content. http://alexandermarchand.com/books/