Thursday, August 11, 2016


climb serpentine
"The PHI waves were so palpable they seemed almost to be visible."
        The moment we reached the Serpentine Hot Springs area, PHI readings shot off the scale. We turned off our snow-machines for a moment, and just listened, despite the breeze, despite our puffy headgear.

       "Ten to the negative fifth past one!"

       "Off the scale, at least for Alaska. I've only seen PHI like that in the Southwest deserts."

       "Surreal... what could be causing it?"

       "Well, that's what we've come to find out, isn't it?"

       We ripped our machines back to life and continued through the waning March light towards the National Park Service Bunkhouse just ahead, where we planned to stay for two nights while we did research in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. One-hundred twenty miles we had snow-machined to get there from Nome, often bumping over bare ground, the whole way with a daunting North wind pummeling our faces, a wind that had shut us down at one point in a total whiteout and sent us scurrying into an unlocked miner's shack to unpanic. 

        But any frostnip or ass-poundings we might receive that day would soon by repaired, we knew, with a long soak in mineral-rich waters at the end of the day, waters ionized by the very electo-gravimetric anomalies and frequency modulations we had come to study. *
The pluton underlying Serpentine hugely contributes to the elevated PHI levels of the region
        A significant domain contributing to Serpentine's elevated PHI levels is its history. Consciousness, according to Giulio Tononi's Integrated Information Theory (IIT), is whatever level of recursive informational complexity remains after a "thing" is subtracted from the "thing itself." **  One reason Serpentine Hot Springs registers as more than just plutonic rocks and geothermally heated groundwater is the fact that humans have been visiting this site for over a millennium. Eskimo stories, rites, rituals, and experiences relating to the place of Serpentine Hot Springs are embedded in the fabric of space/time, creating coded transforms of information that contribute to a morphogenetic field which resonates in sync with the actual place. 
        The informational complexity of these human experiences adds ever so slightly to Serpentine's degree of consciousness, to an almost negligible degree, true, but one which a PHI-Sensitive Device (PSD, or "Phi-Si'" as we like to call it in the field, pronounced like "Sci-Fi" but reversed) should be able to register. ***
offwidth in crampons
Author wedged into a squeeze chimney. Sketchy doing heel-toe jams in crampons.
      So, as I swung the door to the Bunkhouse open, not knowing who our roommates for the weekend would be, I was not surprised to find several Inupiaq-speaking friends from Nome inside. Several were more than just acquaintances— they were individuals configured into the same Karass Potential Field (KPF) as I, sucked into the same causality-attractor on the day as David and I by the wampeter known as Serpentine Hot Springs. (I hesitate to refer to Serpentine as an "entity"-- much as we long for the landscape to be alive, the PHI we surveyed that weekend was just not sufficient for that kind of categorical leap.)  
       Syncronistic encounters such as meeting our friends at the Bunkhouse, on the other hand, are a predictable outcome in a micro-region charged with elevated levels of non-entropic Mental Process. If we could match the space-time of the syncronicity with a generalized PHI bulge in our data, the encounter at the Bunkhouse might offer support to our theories of rock sentience. However, we would need harder data than this if anyone were ever going to take us seriously.
climbing serpentine
Climbing around on one of Serpentine's tors in cold, snowy conditions
     The next morning, after a great night in the tub listening to Jim's wild-west tales of U.S.A. / U.S.S.R. border shenanigans across the Bering Strait in the 1970s, David and I got ready for the most important segment of our weekend scientific survey: a visit to Serpentine's granite tors. 
        Various reports had trickled in to me of Serpentine's granite, of rock so grainy it disintegrates into ball bearings at the slightest touch. If climbers in the past had made any effort to summit Serpentine's overhanging tors, on average about sixty feet high, those climbers had kept it a secret. 
        Not only had I come to climb around for fun, but to employ the stone of the granite tors in our survey of Serpentine's consciousness via the Chi Amplification Method (CAM): our PHI-Sensitive Devices would be used to harness the electromagnetic properties of the tors, which are essentially giant quartz crystals poking out of the tundra like so many Stonehenges, to detect elevated PHI levels that we suspect flow in the immediate region of the tors. The only equipment needed would be my two Black Diamond Cobras, crampons, and helmet, which I strapped onto my machine, and roared out of camp, racking the silence of the valley with the hideous whine of our machines.
Ian climbs Serpentine
Author kitted out with sampling rig: climbing gear, neural network, electromagnetic antenna

        Stampeding murmurations of caribou parted before our machines as we bumped across the divots left in the snow by their many hooves.  I drove out to the nearest tor, dismounted, and madly began to fondle the surface grains of granite.

       "This rock doesn't seem so bad."

      Gloves off, I crimped down on a micro-flake, set a plastic boot on an edge, and cranked a move.

       "Mark it down for the record— climbing is possible on Serpentine's rock."

       Though the temperature was below zero, the day was sunny with only a light breeze. Such an unusually fine day, it raised the spectre of Anthrogenic High Pressure Syndrome (AHPS), good weather caused by human thought, a controversial idea still only the province of Wooists and concert-goers, but shown to have an increased probability in regions of elevated PHI.  
        The tors appeared from a distance to be coated with a white frosting which I had forlornly hoped to find was a thick, well-bonded rime ice, but which turned out to be dry, cold, powder snow, useless for swinging picks into, and difficult to troll through. I would end up summiting no tors that day. 
       This did not prevent David and I, however, from completing our scientific mission: to measure the degree to which Mental Process infuses the Serpentine Hot Springs area; to calculate its degree of consciousness using Tononi's algorithms; and form hypotheses as to the causes for the elevated sentience of the micro-region.
PHI climbing
Tors at Iyat (Serpentine Hot Springs)
       We vectored our machines over to an attractive clump of granite tors protruding from what appeared to be the highest hill in the area. Here we set up our field laboratory, happy to shut down the yawping, smoke-belching iron dogs for a while. David erected his mobile neural-network antenna and wandered off to a silent corner to calibrate. I donned my helmet, crampons, and Cobras, turned on my PHI-sensitive device, calibrated, and started bouldering.
Mobile climbing laboratory at Serpentine Hot Spring granite tors
        The place was unreal. The tors were etched against the filtered arctic light as if photoshopped by a hypnagogic action. The PHI-waves were so palpable they seemed almost to be visible. Like a heat mirage that makes the road ahead go blurry, so my mind was affected by the sentience of the place. 
        As I harmonized my Phi-Si to the rock's frequency through the communicative act of climbing on it, the device began to crackle to life with that familiar buzz, not unlike static electricity, but occurring independently of the five human senses, and a quick glance at my readings showed a degree of consciousness emanating from the rock that, if not anywhere near a level that could truly be called "sentient", was at least orders of magnitude higher than the sheer fact of the matter-field making up the rock.
       But then, suddenly, I had more pressing concerns than science. So intent was I on gathering electromagnetic data, that I had not noticed myself climbing out over a 30 ft. drop. Crampon front points screeched over rounded rugosities in the porphyritic granite. For my hands there was nothing, so I mantled down around knee level onto a scoop in the granite, tools dangling, threadbare mitten palms trying to dig into the rock grains through the thin film of ice crystals.
       My Phi-Si still crackling wildly, I extended my left leg over a horizontal sill and began to worm my weight onto the leg.  I hated hearing the gore-tex fabric of my million dollar shell pants grating against the quartz and feldspar crystals in the rock. 
        Suddenly the remaining front points on my right crampon disengaged with a horrible "SCREECH!" My weight came onto the floppily cammed left leg. Was I coming off?
David synced to the weird vibe that pervades this area
       Adrenalin pumped from my endocrine causing my neural-network antenna to cascade and flare. At the same moment, the cusp of my own Personal Death Attractor (PDA) shifted, slightly, imperceptibly, but measurably closer to my present point in the space/time continuum, where my body clung desperately to loose little sand piles of snow perched on rounded ledges. 
        I felt my PSD crackling with indicators of Mental Process, like a cell phone vibrating in the middle of a sketchy climbing move, but I dared not pay any attention to the device. Every facet of my being was focussed on the weight shift onto my left leg.     
       Also simultaneous with my risky activity occurred  a Continuum Shift (CS). Every individual act I had ever perpetrated in my entire lifetime elongated an infinitesimal distance within space/time as my Death Attractor hove closer to my consciousness proximity. The boundary layer of my Infinite Possibility Matrix (IPM) shifted frames, not far enough for me to be truly worried-- I was confident I could climb my way out of the situation without dying-- but far enough, I hoped, that I could parse evidence of the shift from the data once I took it home to Nome for analysis. 
David Panepinto
David taking readings on his PSD
         I bouldered for hours, staying close to the ground because of the slippery sketch-factor. Unprotected chimneys and offwidths will be the key to summiting the granite tors at Serpentine, though with the PHI-readings we registered that weekend, climbers would do well to avoid probability shifts that might result from too aggressive a Summit Orientation Ego Indicator (SOEI). 
      David wandered the corridors between the tors, collecting photographic data, though pictures, like words, are of limited value in conveying the feel of the place. Like the place is watching you. Like the place is all inside your head, which it certainly is, by definition, because the Serpentine you experience is only a version of the Serpentine itself streamed to you by your brain.****
Ian McRae
Selfie of author. Note the damage to the protective plating on my PHI-Sensitive Device.
        In the midst of bouldering, I suddenly realized my data was invalid. There was no need, even, to take it back to Nome for analysis. The Chi Amplification Method (CAM) I had devised relies on the essential prerequisite that the climber become ONE WITH THE ROCK. This is what makes the calculations possible. If climber (x) is one with the rock (y), then both climber and rock can be assigned a value of 1, making possible a simple mathematical equality, x=y. Consciousness levels are measured by whatever factors sway this equation into an inequality, but it is essential the climber eliminate all emanations from his or her own ego, and quiet the superfluous electromagnetic chatter that fills the cerebrum. The experiment is sound, but the tolerances and error margins associated with it are quite minuscule.
       My brain was too scattered. My mind was way too busy with silly thoughts, useless concerns, comparisons, rankings, cravings, anxiety, and also a creeping torpor that has come upon me in middle age. Usually, the act of climbing is sufficient to calm these flurries of extraneous thought, but not always. Most of the data my PHI-Sensitive Device carried turned out to be only a reflection of my own neurotic tendencies shining against the Plato's Cave wall of my narcissistic consciousness. For the CAT technique to work, the climbers mind must be totally empty during the interval the body is making moves over the stone. 
       Later, when I ran filters on the climbing data to extract the Mean Fun Index (MFI), it was found, surprisingly, despite the cold and tricky climbing conditions, to be of a very high magnitude of order. 
boulder Serpentine
Attempting to enact the CAM method
          The GLUE of the hot tub began to tug at us forcibly like a tide. Resistance was futile. We suspended our rock investigations, and departed the cold, breezy hilltops for the hot mineral waters in the enclosed tub at the Bunkhouse. 
       Water does not afford as effective an electromagnetic charge for our PHI-Sensitive devices as does rock. The entropy of molecules in a liquid precludes the temporal stability needed to access the phase variances for consciousness detection. Plus, the hot water seems, in general, to exert a dampening effect on our devices, so we did not so much view the opportunity to soak as research, but as a chance to relax. But as we pulled into camp and switched off snow-machines, another piece of data was about to fall into our laps.
       Our theory predicts an increased probability of spirit animal interface in a wilderness region with elevated PHI (genetic similarity is a medium of resonance), but it was still with shock and awe I looked into one of the sleds outside the Bunkhouse and saw three wolves laid out by a hunter from Shishmareff. Our PHI-Sensitive Devices would surely have registered a PHI spike at this space/time transect, but by the time I encountered the wolves, our devices were soaked, and possibly giving off false readings.
north side Kigluaiks
David testing for LPR from the north side of the Kigluaik Mountains on the return ride
        In the morning, after another night in the 102° F waters, in which discussed acupuncture points of the Seward Peninsula and their true Inupiaq names with our knowledgeable friends, we saddled up sleds and prepared for the 7-hour ride home to Nome. 
        The objective functioning of our PHI-Sensitive Devices seemed to be affected by the soaking they had received the day before. The whole ride that day they gave readings as if PHI levels were remaining abnormally high, a measurement we thoroughly suspected as corrupt, though there was no denying the dreamlike feeling that made the surroundings whizzing by at 70 mile per hour speeds look more beautiful than anything I had ever seen. 
         Through white shrouds of 3-dimensional gauze we flew down a perfect trail made flat by a dusting of new snow. Across the rolling hills of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, back over the Kougarak Bridge, the Kuzitrin Bridge (really the Cushman Street Bridge from Fairanks) where the view opened up and the north side of the Kigluaiks was revealed in high-resolution image. Long-wave PHI Resonance (LPR) from this highly sentient range of mountains would have registered on our Phi-Si's had they been working properly. I gave up on executive function, and just let the GLUE of TOWN slowly draw our machines in like doomed satellites in decaying orbit.
          What puzzled me was that PHI readings remained elevated for days, even once we were back in Nome, as if the phase variation of Serpentine Hot Springs had followed us home and clung to our perception like a drug trip that won't wear off. Regular objects, paper clips, the Post Office, the neighbor's dog, took on a sensory luminescence that lingered for days, long after our trip to the sacred wilderness area was over. It was paradoxical enough to fool me into thinking that the elevated PHI-levels we saw there were just figments of my own mind, a common mistake made by old-school Mind researchers. I am confident that once I get better data and the math nailed down, I will be able to account for the lingering effect of the Hot Springs. 
      After a few days dealing with humans and foibles and jobs within the GLUE of TOWN, the post-Serpentine luminescence wore off completely. Our PHI-Sensitive Devices once again showed a base reading of 1.0. Life had lost the post-Serpentine glow.

"PHI readings remained elevated for days, even once
we were back in Nome"


* This article is only a blogpost of a trip. Hard data analysis will follow when the project is completed.

 **Disclaimer: Other than having read links on the internet, I have no real idea of what I'm talking about here. I need to order some of Giulio's books and read them, also, take a refresher course in Calculus.

***When I use the word "thing", I am referring to any number of dynamic processes for which we may draw a definable boundary. Most likely, there is no such thing as a "thing" for the reason that what we call a "thing" always turns out to be an emergent feature of some dynamic process. 

**** It is extremely important to connote here that the word "brain" implies not only the brain itself, but a triad of brain, nervous system, and Human Electromagnetic Energy Field (HEEF) generated by the human body. The HEEF is an often overlooked sensory organ critical to the energy transformations studied on this trip. Any further questions may be directed to the What Is Mind? thread on Supertopo; somewhere in all the links and pontification, the answer can be found.