An experiment in credulity
Alan bemoaned the Ufologists, psychics, crystal wielders, reiki-enhanced masseurs, and questers after the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria who have infested the Steiner schools where he has spent most of his career; I countered with gripes about Celtic New Zealand conspiracy theorists. We soon reached a comfortably smug consensus about the incorrigibility of human credulity.
My father-in-law has been collecting material on what he calls 'delusional thought disorder' for some years, and has talked about writing some sort of grand polemic against the impact of delusion on the Steiner movement. A couple of days before our adventure on the forestry roads of Mamaku Alan had, apparently in the name of research, watched a documentary, or faux-documentary, which attempted to demonstrate the truth of Erich von Daniken's claim that extra-terrestrials not only intervened in human evolution but eventually gave us all of our major religions. He'd been struck by the ability of the Danikenians to balance the weightiest of conclusions atop the most insubstantial facts.
After our return from Mamaku to the safety of Hamilton's newly-minted outer suburbs, Alan decided to conduct an experiment in credulity. He uploaded a few of the photos we'd snapped during our drive, made a slide show out of them, added some rather paranoid captions and some spooky music and posted the end result online under the title 'Mamaku Unexplored Forest Oddities Display'.
Will the Ufologists, Steiner-worshippers, pseudo-archaeologists, Danikenians, and pseudo-geologists be taken in by Alan's little slidehow? Is Mamaku about to become some sort of New Zealand equivalent of Roswell, or the Bermuda triangle, and attract flocks of paranoid pilgrims and crackpot investigators? Alan told me today me that one or two Ufologists have already picked up on his 'evidence'...
Footnote: since I've just been guilty of advertising one of the numerous pieces of silliness on youtube, let me try to atone by urging everybody to check out this marvellous clip at the same site, in which Tomas Transtromer, winner of this blog's Old Thumper Award in 2007 as well as the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature, reads and discusses a poem about Franz Schubert. Tomas' introduction to his poem reveals that it was written partly in response to the campaign against Schubert's notoriously bourgeois music in Maoist China. Richard Taylor may not be amused...
[Posted by Maps]