Manuel Lamiroy

The contact phenomenon does not fit well within the current paradigm. It presents us with plenty of anomalies that challenge our current scientific understanding of reality. In the past, we have dedicated articles here on JAR Magazine to temporal anomalies, to astral encounters, to the PSI factor, etc., and how all of these anomalies contribute to a need for redefining reality. A bigger picture is needed if we want to begin to understand what is going on. The question then is what that bigger picture looks like. What does it include? For myself, e.g., it includes the consciousness connection, and all that that implies, like subtle realms, with subtle matter and subtle energy. I have come across plenty of cases where contactees mention reincarnation, on Earth and on other worlds. Some claim they even know their contacts from previous lifetimes. So, we asked our panel to share their views on this bigger picture.

Milky Way

In part 1,

  • Bill Konkolesky points out why this bigger picture is needed. He confirms how little we know about these visitors, and how even the most basic questions remain unanswered.
  • Giorgio Piacenza’s bigger picture involves consciousness and the metaphysical on top of the physical. He rightfully reminds us that understanding the bigger picture requires a change in thinking. It must transcend materialism and include aspects that are psychic, paranormal and spiritual.
  • Thomas Minderlé does an excellent job in summarizing five key aspects that comprise a bigger-picture-understanding. of the alien presence. They are quantum, paraphysical, psychic, hyper-historical, and spiritual aspects. This is a must-read article.

In part two, we explore some consciousness aspects of the bigger picture: The Bigger Picture Part 2.

  • Denise Stoner looks at how things like past lives and reincarnation, out of body and near death experiences relate to the contact phenomenon.
  • Rebecca Hardcastle Wright looks at four strands, braided together in this bigger picture. They are material science, transhumanism, exoconscious humans, and cosmic shifts.


Bill Konkolesky

In conversations of the contact experience, the question of the “bigger picture” sometimes arises. What does it all mean?  When starting from the basics with the small questions and trying to build a foundation to answer the bigger question, the challenge to this becomes apparent…we really know nothing about even the small things.  Where can we go from here?

Let’s begin with ten questions we don’t know: What are they?  Where are they from?  What is their culture?  How old is their civilization?  How many unique civilizations are there?  What proper nouns do they use for their own individuals, species, and places of origin?  How does their system of travel work?  How long have they been here?  How do they feel about us?  Why haven’t they openly revealed themselves to us?

The biggest hurdle to answering everything is indeed that we know nothing.  Some experiencers occasionally share earnest recollections that seem to point to a specific answer here or there, but these are often individual accounts that rarely correlate with others’ accounts.  The best we can do looks something like this: little gray beings sometimes show up in aerial vehicles and interact with people. The cast of “alien” characters can be expanded to reptilian, mantis, or Nordic etc. looking individuals, certainly, but you get the picture.

Unfortunately, having facts rather than mysteries would clearly provide solace to many experiencers and knowing the big picture is a noble end-game.  It’s 75 years into the modern UFO era, though, and we’re still not making real progress.

While more patience is clearly needed working through the basics, I offer this personal anecdote from my past weekend that rings true to me about the bigger picture…

I attended the 2022 MUFON International UFO Symposium in Denver, CO.  This high-profile annual event offers a long list of presenters with their UFO evidence and theories, and is attended by hundreds of participants with their own UFO evidence and theories. It always provides much to contemplate among open-minded peers, setting the table with more pieces of the puzzle to ponder. I enjoy going…and, as with all UFO and paranormal conferences I’ve attended over the last 25 years, I never feel closer to an ultimate answer to anything.

After the conference, I rented a Jeep Wrangler and took an excursion out West to Sego Canyon and Moab. Being from the flat state of Michigan, driving through the Rocky Mountains was exhilarating. Being from the Great Lakes State, the dry and mysterious landscape of Utah was intoxicating. Being from the suburbs of Detroit, the stars in the night sky were overwhelming.

Arriving home, I felt perhaps closer to a better understanding of what’s going in the universe, not because of the excellent conference, but the excursion afterward that deeply nourished my natural human yearning for exploration and knowledge.

So, I offer this for consideration as one worthwhile way of looking at things…

Are the beings visiting our world also not touched by wonder? Are they not like us in that they are endlessly curious about what’s out there in the universe? Do they not wish to connect with other life on meaningful levels?  Are we not essentially the same at this deepest level?  Is this not enough?

Aren’t the answers to the basic questions just minor details of the bigger picture?


Giorgio Piacenza: Humanity’s Greatest Challenge

I believe that the bigger picture is one in which the unity of consciousness and being generates and connects the diversity of a meaningful existence across multiple physical and non-physical levels of reality. But to truly understand this and live it in a practical manner would require experiencing it under a post conventional, perhaps post-homo sapiens capacity of awareness in which meaningful connections overcome our species’ current extreme focus on exterior needs as well as our short term, egoic survival tendencies geared to experience reality as dangerously atomized. It would involve an unprecedented evolutionary psychological (and likely biological) shift to be able to relate more as equals or as sovereign beings with the more advanced non-human, UAP intelligences (the ‘others’) that operate on Earth and that can (at least momentarily) transcend much of the space, time, gravity, entropy, solidity, and inertia limitations against which we still (in spite of modern technology) struggle.

In other words, it would entail evolving past an instinctive, pre-verbally, inborn, felt sense of disconnection that applies to our social hierarchical organizations normally manifesting under mutually excluding cultures under limited ideas colored by fear, power and suspicion and which (still in the 21st Century) produces competing or stressfully collaborating local, national, and international ethnocentric and tribal-like, semi coherent identity assemblages.

Then again, in term of the "community" of UFO researchers which, in general, is divided into preferential and epistemological incompatible camps, a post-conventional ‘miracle’ would have to occur to understand the Bigger Picture comprehensively. Some researchers are more metaphysically, experientially, and intuitively inclined and others are more scientific, and materialist. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and must learn to talk to each other to distill each other’s’ truths and combine them while willingly abandoning mistaken notions.

The Bigger Picture would involve recognizing the creative power of our conscious minds, a lost or forgotten cosmic history not only as physical entities but as incarnating souls. It would involve the insemination and modification of human life by a variety of benign, neutral and negative beings now operating from underground and undersea bases all over the planet.  Adapting to the Bigger Picture would be an unprecedented long-term and - simultaneously urgent - project. All major doctrines guiding human behavior would have to be modified if created with a simplistic binary mindset.

Understanding the Bigger Picture and how UFOs behave will probably require shifting from a science and sense of reality based upon observing and understanding stable objective patterns to understanding the natural modification these patterns at least in part by making use of the mind. Our psychologies will be challenged, stretched, and stressed.

As part of the Bigger Picture, close encounter or contact phenomena appears to be both extraterrestrial/nuts & bolts physical and also psychic, paranormal and spiritual, that it can make use of physical and non-physically aspects.  As Jacques Vallee seems to say, does it include a volitional, intersubjective control interface cybernetic mechanism trying to update us to a greater reality?  My suspicion is that the less similar to our material reality it is, the more it becomes co- creative and that our mental filters modify it. In other words, the more ontologically distant, the more it would become multi-faceted and ‘protean’, assuming the form of our interpretations possibly to avoid being hurt by our reciprocal, co-creative feedback on them.

Many would have to understand that our religions teach truths combined with falsehoods; that materialism is successful but, simultaneously, a superficial doctrine based on reifying the discovery of patterns related to normally stable exterior objects even if, in fact, they derive from a deeper ground of being and that a meaningful ‘multidimensional’ science (with consciousness and being as its basis) can – under certain conditions – modify those physically stable patterns. Moreover, in spite of their contributions, many in the New Age and contactee/experiencer communities would also have to question simplistic (often escapist) beliefs and attitudes in order to remain more practically involved with the planet by becoming much more conversant with the great social, economic, political, scientific challenges of our times. The core belief systems of everyone (including non-intellectuals and those living simple and survival-based, normal lives) will be challenged.

To challenge our physicalist and naively realist natures we would have to explore otherworldly regions and become conversant with its denizens through a variety of transdimensional contact modalities. We would also probably have to allow our species to be genetically modified or activated by some non-human species producing hybrids or learn to modify and activate our genes ourselves through spiritual practice as taught to some Latin American contact experiences.

We would have to grow into the realization that a serious international, culturally-questioning conversation would have to ensue. A growing number of nations coordinating with the United Nations would probably have to agree on educational methods that speed up our relatedness to nature, including a multi ontological reality, non-human intelligences, and a vaster set of organizing patterns. New laws regarding the rights of UAP intelligences (that may have been here on the planet longer than us) will have to be enacted inasmuch as they are universally acknowledged successful detections and attempts at conscious contact with them increase. Their underground bases will have to be respected even if located in national territories and we may have to learn to successfully apply more comprehensive principles of ethics and engagement with them and an even vaster varied, ‘cosmic community'.
Yes, in one way or another, the ET or advanced non-human presence should soon become well-accepted and (with great turmoil) humanity's ‘childhood’ may come to an end. We will have to overcome our innate sense of separation and our dichotomous thinking if we are to become a creatively conscious, responsible, unified, and sovereign species, well integrated to the planet. After major turmoil, there may be a creative, renewed erotic impulse, an impetus to create a new society. An international consensus would have to arise, in order to abandon nationalism, closed minded religionism, materialism, selfishness, and ethnocentrism by means of a personal growth-promoting education. In order to survive, we may fall into worse nationalist dictatorships or turn our democracies into more functional humanitarian pluralisms that will eventually come together uniting humankind while promoting personal growth and preserving individual freedoms. However, unfortunately, in either case, before people become socially responsible and, since potentially harmful and disruptive technologies (such as quantum computing, gene editing, 3D printing, cybernetic technologies, home-made weaponry), can become readily available, the entire population of the world may have to be surveilled.

The Big Picture would entail recognizing that advanced  non-human intelligences have been in the planet for a long time, probably before our us; that Earth may be their planet as much as ours (or more so); that we are an experiment and they may have altered our genes several times in the past with deleterious but also potentially extraordinary effects; that they are varied, some mare allied to each other, and different groups have benign, neutral and negative intentions towards us; that there is nothing we can do to stop them from abducting us or bring us into contact situations for a variety of reasons; that we must come to terms to them moving all over the world.

Adapting to the Big Picture would entail that we may need to self-modify our genetic structure through conscious, spiritual (or perhaps artificial means) or to allow ‘them’ to do so, perhaps hybridizing with us. All of it in order to be able to a vaster multidimensional reality that requires overcoming our physicalist- realist experiential focus. Definitely, coming to terms with something like this would entail the greatest evolutionary adaptive feat, something unrealistic from our current cynical perspective.  

A part of the Big Picture would be the growing realization that we need to change our ways of thinking collectively once the ‘others’ are officially confirmed and once the need for new principles of existence and life related to this confirmation begins to be universally intuited.  A part of the Big Picture would be that without learning to relate to beings that belong to a greater order; without being able to see ourselves from their perspective, we may not be able to understand ourselves differently. In fact, we may not be able to understand ourselves beyond our physicalist and dichotomous fixations and, therefore, more likely than not, we will quickly become unviable and/or destroy ourselves and life on the planet because we would be unable to integrate in an ecological and humanely sound way to the great systemic complexity and new technologies that we are creating. We may not be able to survive unless we scrap democracies, liberal principles such as pluralism and regress to a more xenophobic primitive state accepting being ruled by regional and worldwide technocratic dictatorships.

The continuity of humanity would require adapting to the fact that we may not necessarily be the top, most powerful, and intelligent species on Earth and (against what political scientist Alexander Wendt seems to be thinking today as I heard in the 2022 Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies Conference in Huntsville, Alabama) we may do this by recognizing that our anthropocentrism is not as fundamental as the fact that we share with the ‘others’ consciousness and the capacity to reason. Moreover, my observation would be compatible with his previous work on the possibility of discovering that we may have a more flexible and creative “quantum mind” that can be applied to social solutions and adaptation.


Also, I think that to adapt to the reality and social inclusion of more evolved intelligent beings that - more likely than not - will remain on the planet we would have to change our relationship with animals that are less intelligent than us but also sentient, emotional and capable of pleasure, pain and suffering. How else can we expect more evolved beings to treat us with respect if we don’t do the same with lesser evolved delicate and sentient beings? If we want to be treated as sovereign beings rather than as selfish, immature brats that do not know better we will have to change our ways and stop fighting and threatening each other and all other life on Earth. We need to become more conscious and include as part of us more of life.

Is adaptation possible at all?  I think that most of the messages received by classical contactees and by many abductees (experiencers in general) are that - somehow - we can make it, that WE CAN GROW UP and meet the challenge and that it is necessary to do so. Then again, the level of contact incurred with homo sapiens by non-homo sapiens ETI seems to be (besides following different agendas) carefully restricted or rigorously controlled, perhaps in order not to disturb us too much too soon. This implies that "they" in general might be restricting a danger for society and that Alexander Wendt is at least partially correct in his assessment that breaking apart the mold of anthropocentrism may be too dangerously disruptive. Or perhaps since we can essentially adapt, it would be a matter of doing it in the right moment.  Then again, could it be that, perhaps, "they" still don't want to end (or ruin) their experiment (us) because we haven’t yet produced the expected results?  

Some experiencers talk about “ascension” into less dense physical realities and/or to the 4th or the 5th "dimensions" but these messages are usually accompanied by less realistic assessments of socio-political reality. Things such as a major “shift” in consciousness have been spoken about since the 1950s but nothing dramatic has happened, as far as we can tell. Other experiencers (like Ricardo Gonzalez) speak of the need for a gradual maturation process of hundreds of years in order to fully join a cosmic community and, still, others (like the native American prophet Rolling Thunder) speak about of swift and shocking Earth changes that will force us to change.  Some say that there already is an ongoing natural genetic activation due to new incoming energies from the cosmos and others refer to a more mundane genetic intervention so that, perhaps, hybrids with more emotional balance than us will inherit the Earth if we cannot make it by cultural evolution and by natural means.  Can all of these controversial issues barely heard in conventional society be carefully sorted out and included in a worldwide conversation? Maybe officially acknowledging an advanced, non-human presence among us will loosen restraints on the minds.

Perhaps the “white hats” controlling information release on the side of informing the public (as much as is safely possible from a national security standpoint) know that they have to do it for humanity to reassess itself as a more mature entity and – by doing so –shift paradigms, reorganize, survive, and once again thrive. But how many more challenges relate to seriously recognizing the Big Picture? How many more challenges can humanity resist without some fanatical leader blowing us up?

In an era in which many conservatives are challenging pluralism and are moved by reinforcing conspiracy narratives and notions like the “Great Replacement Theory” (as demonstrated by Professor Robert A. Pape in his Foreign Policy article “The Jan. 6 Insurrectionists Aren’t Who You Think They Are”, will they be able to accept the existence, activities, and increasing influence on their worldviews of powerful non-human actors? And how would other conservatives moving back into premodern ethnocentric biases in Europe, India, the Middle East respond? The challenges are enormous.

Acknowledging the reality that technologically advanced UAP intelligences are well-established and active on the planet while using non-polluting technology would also strengthen the quest to change our economic systems currently exploiting fossil fuel energy in a careless, unsustainable manner that increases a soon-to-be disastrous global warming every day. In relation to this situation, part of the Big Picture is the general consensus among serious UFO researchers that retro engineering of recovered non-human craft has been undertaken and that some degree of success has been achieved. Thus, any progress made in retro engineering UFO technology, possibly including anti-gravity, zero-point energy extraction, and spacetime-modifying technologies would have to be recognized. If so (besides possible disruptions in the balance of power), how could any successful ways of extracting energy from the vacuum of space be practically implemented to replace the use of fossil fuels to avoid further degradation of the atmosphere? After clearly acknowledged confirmation of an advanced, non-human, presence, the Pentagon would also have to come to terms with the U.S. citizenship about any illegal abuses incurred against them in order to maintain the cover-up, at least since the UFO crash near Roswell, NM.

Humanity has embarked on a disclosure process leading to a momentous collective realization. The related fantastic, sci-fi-like issues that now seem absurd and impossible to orthodox, ‘serious’ thinkers and people in general should undoubtedly become credible once we are all given enough time to recognize the challenge of the evidence and settle in the fact that powerful, advanced non-human beings transcending our fundamental limitations operate on the planet right now with physical consequences using a greater understanding of the cosmic which crosses the boundaries between what was unreachable and now is possible. This entails an imperative need to adapt to a magnificent Bigger Picture that we are beginning to fathom, a challenge towards which - I bet – we will be able to rise. 


Thomas Minderlé

Over the past century, Ufology has increasingly abandoned the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) in favor of more sophisticated views pioneered by the likes of Charles Fort, John Keel, and Jacques Vallée. 

Fort concluded Earth is a farm and we are someone else’s property. Keel believed the UFO phenomenon is a psychic phenomenon reflecting back our own projected beliefs. And Vallée suggested aliens weren’t space visitors, but multidimensional intelligences beyond space-time putting on a false front. 

When we objectively dive into these possibilities, we are forced to acknowledge that the Phenomenon is so complex and multifarious that only a Bigger Picture approach has any hope of understanding it.  

Toward this end, I have identified at least five aspects that comprise a Bigger Picture understanding of the alien presence. They are quantum, paraphysical, psychic, hyper-historical, and spiritual aspects.

The Quantum Aspect

First, the quantum aspect. Quantum mechanics allows for “spooky” phenomena at the atomic scale, such as: 1) particles passing through solid barriers, 2) past, present, and future interacting with each other backwards and forwards through time, 3) the existence of multiple probable futures and probable pasts, and 4) the observer’s own consciousness playing a role in which probability ends up manifesting.

Compare this with aliens: 1) passing through solid walls and levitating abductees out closed windows, 2) stating (and acting as if) they’re time travelers from the future attempting to reconfigure their own past, 3) seemingly coming from different probable futures, and thus engaging in a time war, and 4) engaging in information warfare, telepathic persuasion, and mind control to manipulate our freewill toward manifesting their intended probable future. Macroscopic quantum phenomena comprise a large part of the Phenomenon.

The Paraphysical Aspect

Second, the paraphysical aspect. Aliens demonstrate variable physicality between the more material and more “phased out” state of existence. This allows them to “phase” into our current space and time, “phase” through solid objects, become invisible, or retreat to “pocket dimensions” that are nowhere in our own universe. 

And when here, they can bend space and distort time. For example, the amount of space inside their ships has been observed by many experiencers to be greater than is apparent from the outside. Similarly, linear time can be frozen during the onset of an abduction, or slowed down inside ships and bases so that many hours pass there while only a few pass back in the abductee’s home. 

So, they’re able to manipulate the very fabric of spacetime, and that implies being able to leave spacetime entirely. By entering into hyperspace and becoming freed from the fetters of linear time and 3D space, they can access superluminal travel, time travel, and perhaps travel between alternate timelines. None of this is impossible according to Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. It can be done by artificially controlling quantum phase and the gravitational potential. 

The Psychic Aspect

Third, the psychic aspect. To their own detriment, nuts-n-bolts Ufologists shy away from studying parapsychology and the occult. Parapsychology has shown what mere humans can do in terms of telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perception, remote viewing, and remote influencing.

It’s therefore no surprise that aliens demonstrate such skills too, just to a much higher degree. Experiencers report aliens can communicate vast information at high speeds mind to mind, or mentally transmit speech without moving their mouths. They can telepathically read — and influence — our thoughts and feelings, and they can do so remotely, or nearby and invisibly. 

They can also psychically view probable futures and manipulate the current situation with that privileged knowledge. We need to remember this post-Disclosure should they ever open negotiations with human diplomats, as these negotiations would likely be shams due to the unfathomable psychic advantage and control aliens would wield over their human counterparts.

Another component to the psychic aspect is how our consciousness interacts with reality. A principle of the Hermetic tradition states that thoughts are things, and things are thoughts. Consciousness is primary and matter secondary. Mind can influence matter and influence probability. 

John Keel discovered this in his own way when paranormal and alien phenomena kept mirroring back his own beliefs. Vallée and others have likewise noted a shapeshifting trickster-like quality to much of the Phenomenon. 

Whether it’s entities riffing off our beliefs, or reality literally warping at the quantum level, it’s important to recognize that the Phenomenon may be responsive to the contents of our consciousness. 

In extreme cases, this can produce a runaway feedback loop where obsession and intense fear (or love) of aliens increases their tangibility and frequency of contact in one’s life, which leads to even deeper mental and emotional preoccupation, which further increases their presence. The final result can be so horrifying, or so ludicrous, that I am skeptical real aliens have the time or creativity to be performing such antics. 

It’s possible, therefore, that beyond a certain point, what’s being manifested in such cases is no longer a genuinely autonomous alien group, but some kind of tulpa or spurious “quantum state” that has no independent existence of its own. 

In the infamous Philip Experiment of 1972, a series of séances was conducted in which the “dead spirit” to be invoked was a completely fictional character. To the surprise of the experimenters, such an entity did come through complete with a rich personal history, and the entity even exhibited telekinetic effects. But since no such historical person ever existed, this “Philip” was either an artificial creation of the participants’ psyches, or some impostor entity who adapted itself to their expectations.

If this is happening in the UFO and abduction field, such cases would greatly contaminate the UFO and abduction literature with self-generated phenomena that are mockeries of the real thing. That could explain the more zany alien encounters of the 50s and 60s before cultural consensus funneled people’s beliefs into the stereotypical gray, Nordic, reptilian, and mantis tropes.

The Hyper-historical Aspect

Fourth, the hyper-historical aspect. This concerns not so much the history of UFO sightings and abductions, which is well studied, but rather the history of the alien civilizations themselves, their past alliances and wars, what probable futures or timelines they’re associated with, and what has brought them to this point. Without knowing any of this, we are partially blind to their true motives. 

The hyper-historical aspect also includes our own personal history, one extending back even into our past lives and what interactions we had with aliens back then that may be carrying over into our current lives. 

A recurring theme in the abduction literature is “soul contracts,” whereby whether in this life, in the afterlife before being born, or in a past life, an abductee or contactee made an agreement with an alien faction for some mutual benefit or as a volunteer for a greater good. 

Related is the idea that an abductee or contactee is actually an alien soul in a human body, one getting watched and contacted by their own kin. If true, that would make more sense than it being a mere random human who has so curiously a close relationship with an alien group. The risk in that case would be that if they only had a vague impression of having a soul contract with aliens, they could be easily fooled by an enemy alien faction into believing those are the actual kin, and thus give consent to the wrong side for further abductions and thus sabotage.

Without the context of such hyper-history, we are cast into the middle of a movie knowing nothing about what came before that point. Then it’s easy to throw our hands up and label UFOs and aliens as mere incomprehensible “phenomena.”

But despite all the false narratives that delusional people have invented and aliens themselves have disseminated about their nature, origins, and motives, it would be foolish to dismiss all narratives and say no narrative exists, that the alien presence is solely the work of some nebulous interdimensional trickster intelligence. There may indeed be a real hyper-history behind the alien presence on our planet and in our lives individually, and we should seek to understand it.

The Spiritual Aspect

And fifth, the spiritual aspect. It’s tempting to think that aliens are so incomprehensibly advanced and strange that they transcend all human spirituality, ethics, morality, and politics, that these fields have no bearing on aliens, or that attempting to do so is mere anthropomorphism.

Well, what’s actually strange is how the most commonly encountered alien types have two eyes, two nostrils, a mouth and appendages like humans do. They can breathe our air, and we can breathe theirs. Grays have reportedly been hybridized with humans, showing genetic compatibility. Nordic types could even pass for human. They’ve been seen to get frustrated, if not angry at times, despite their normally stoic demeanor. There is too much about them that’s too human to warrant abandoning the application of our spirituality and ethics in judging them. 

As such, we can recognize the existence of good and evil among aliens, according to the fruits of their efforts and the nature of the conscious energy we can intuitively detect behind their eyes. The malice is palpable in some and their actions prove it. Others are skilled enough to project artificial positive energy as a persuasion tactic disguising their true intentions, but like with a con artist flashing a smile, a good clairvoyant can see through it. And the rare remainder reportedly exude a genuine spiritual warmth backed by profound words and actions demonstrating a highly spiritual system of ethics.

The grand implication is that the spiritual battle between darkness and light, good and evil, is present not only within ourselves, not only in society, nor just in the occult domain like between angel-like and demon-like entities — but also in the alien domain. Their version of good and evil may not be as simplistic as our humanistic conception, let alone what religion thinks of it, but some form of that duality seems to exist among the sundry alien presences. We should keep this in mind.

In conclusion, we need at minimum these five key aspects (quantum, paraphysical, psychic, hyper-historical, and spiritual) to understand the Bigger Picture and recognize that the Phenomenon is more than just some nebulous chaotic mystery, and definitely more than the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis suggests. There is order behind the chaos, and it is up to us to find it.

This article is also available as a video:

Continued in The Bigger Picture Part 2