Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Engineers in the spirit world

The IEE - Institute of Electrical Engineers (soon to be the Institution of Engineering and Technology) - has a magazine that comes out monthly. It's usually pretty unexciting to people like me, though occasionally the articles are just interesting enough to warrant reading over a grabbed cup of tea and toast for breakfast.

This month, however, the letters page offered this absolute gem.
Hi, Spirits!
As a spiritualist, I was most interested in the article 'Is Anybody Out There?' (IEE Review June 2005, p28). As an engineers, I was even more interested in the description of Noctovision, the invention commenced by John Logie Baird consisting of a combination of television and infra-red for communicating between those on the physical plane and those on the spiritual plane.
I am appealing to members to volunteer to continue to find a scientific proof to life after death by further development of Noctovision by working in their spare time. Although members will no doubt pursue their own individual lines of development, I will volunteer to act as a co-ordinator, and will periodically advise the team on progress and discoveries. Interested members may write to me at the address below.
[And the guy ACTUALLY gives an address!]

Now, far be it for me to say that spiritualism and engineering cannot logically co-exist in the same brain-space (PAH! at best, it's a bit hokey), but I found this letter fairly jaw-dropping and provoking at least a couple of thoughts.

(a) There is a lot of stuff out there on Noctovision, and I would suggest that at least a goodly proportion of these existing enthusiasts for it would qualify for membership of the IEE/IET or similar. (As the proposed name change makes more clear, the IEE in recent times has been as likely, if not more so, to include software engineers who barely know one end of an electrical wiring system from the complexities of a standard plug - such as Cloud - as it includes engineers responsible for electrical systems). The overlap of interests between techno geeks and those fascinated by the paranormal cannot be ignored.

(b) As a collarary, one then wonders why the letter sender wants to target themselves to members of the venerable IEE/IET? (I've not published their name and address here in case in assuming they aren't keen to spread the net to attract other experimenters). Does he (mistakenly?) believe that somehow their professional status and membership makes any research they conduct into this field more viable than that done by Mr Hokey of Hokeyborough who has spent much of his life experimenting and observing methods for contacting the dead and proving paranormal experiences?

I'm just saying...


At 02 August, 2005 14:34, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

But what if Mr Hokey of Hokeyborough came up with a brilliant scientific discovery? Would he be ignored because of where he lived?

At 03 August, 2005 11:10, Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

okay, now you have me worried that there is such a place as Hokeyborough!

And I really hope he wouldn't be ignored because of where he lived but because the notion of Noctovision for contacting the spirit world is, frankly, boswellox.

BTW - as a note to Rob, look, see, people still loitering around the blog!

At 03 August, 2005 19:39, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Wow - in your picture you look a lot like that girl that used to hang around Buffy.

At 14 August, 2005 23:53, Blogger Rob said...

In my experience there is approximately zero correlation between one's position on the artistic - scientific/technological scale and one's position on the strictly rational/atheist - true believer axis. I once had an IT co-worker who subscribed to a radical interpretation of Islam which has probably by now brought him to the attention of Her Majesty's Government (oddly enough when we worked together it was for the Inland Revenue). Then again, my university chums included a mathematician who was a born-again Christian, one who was a Zoroastrian, and a theoretical physicist who had been inducted into a coven of witches by his babysitter.

My guess is that the letter-writer (when writing) was viewing himself primarily as a spiritualist, and targeting IEE members because they were a group he could conveniently reach. The John Logie Baird connection presumably also suggested a point of entry. I don't suppose he imagines that IEE membership confers any magical status on research. However, if you're looking for people who may have done (or might be prepared to do) research on television and infrared systems you're more likely to reel them in via the pages of the IEE journal than via Wagner News or the Runrig fanclub magazine. If his interest had been in supposed tape recordings of the dead (and there is a whole can of worms there...) my guess is that he would have been writing to audio enthusiasts' magazines. However he may have described himself, he isn't on this occasion an engineer searching for spiritualists, but a spiritualist searching for engineers.

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