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Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2)











Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 30.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (25)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain:

Individual Publication Date: June 15, 2022

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 8,703

ISSN 2369-6885


Scott Durgin is a Member of the Giga Society. He discusses: Roman Catholics; non-Roman Catholic Christians; Christian theology; the most prominent family origin; “observant” as a youth; science fiction; Ray Bradbury; Arthur Clarke; Isaac Asimov; Ray Bradbury; social ineptitude; outdoor activities; music; drifting of friends every year; social deficits until high school; “IEEE, SBE, ASME, Pi-Mu-Epsilon”; General Studies in an AA program; the appeal of Engineering Physics; the single hardest puzzle; problems remain unsolved; Vitruvius, Al-Hazen, Mozart, Maxwell, Feynman and daVinci”; the mark of genius; digging graves; a bank proof operator; the shift hours as a security guard; RF engineer position; teacher of physics; a marketing and sales manager; engineering manager and business manager; an engineering consultant; Founder and President; mix of humour, polymath, and paradox; science; and the hardest high-range test.

Keywords: Giga Society, Roman Catholicism, science fiction, Scott Durgin.

Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2)

*Please see the references, footnotes, and citations, after the interview, respectively.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Why consider the Roman Catholics authoritarian Christians?

Scott Durgin[1],[2]*: First off anything I say here and below is not to be taken as absolute truth but rather what I have learned. I’ll be more expository, less terse than last time. An advanced education does not primarily bestow an expertise in a particular subject, this is not the most important thing, which is rather HOW TO LEARN. One who achieves a masters degree has mastered the art of learning. And one with a doctorate is truly a doctor of LEARNING. Their field of study may be economics, world history, fine art, geo-politics, physics, philosophy or whatever. But that is secondary to the fact that what one has truly done with an education is learn how to learn. Most people without this don’t know, typically lack critical thinking skills and rely on others for knowledge. This doesn’t have to be true though. A great starter kit is the book by Sagan: The Demon Haunted World.

Regarding the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) or the Holy See, my focus is always the small hierarchy, not the priests or laity: The Holy See has been brutally and ignorantly authoritarian for 1000 years+ and they will continue to be authoritarian, and love/prefer authoritarian governments over all others. The reason why they love authoritarian countries (true monarchies, dictatorships, etc) is because it is very easy to control laws and people in a country by simply attempting to control one man. This is why they loved Hitler, this is why they liked even Stalin (despite having few inroads), Mussolini, Franco, Perron, etc; this is why they like any authoritarian. It is not about whether that country is Catholic, Christian, Orthodox, Muslim, other non-Christian, atheist or whatever. What matters is in a democratic country with a people owned government the RCC has an extraordinarily difficult time enforcing their ideology on everybody else. The creation of the United States has slowed down the aspirations of the RCC (again, leaders only) causing them to be much more patient in their goal of global Christianity. (Took them decades to finally infiltrate SCOTUS and now they are getting aggressive). It is much easier to take one dictator out and replace him with another dictator to eventually gain control of a country. This occurred countless times throughout  Europe for 500 years until the United States finally shut that notion down (if gradually). Very simple. After Luther, England got it started though, making Queen Elizabeth a political hero while a monarch. The Jesuits loathed her with visceral hatred.

Jacobsen: Conversely, why consider non-Roman Catholic Christians anti-authoritarian?

Durgin: The original definition of protestant is a PROTEST against the pretended temporal authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Little to do with theology. So Protestant by definition is anti-authoritarian. Or used to be. One’s conscience dictates, not the church. One’s civil life is sovereign, untouchable by the church. PERIOD. Freedom is absolute, separation of Church and State is absolute, as Kennedy said. Unfortunately today in the United States very few Protestants remember this; they are just as interested now in developing an authoritarian (and religiously based) government as the Catholics used to be. They would love to send the country back 100’s of years or more into the dark ages. These dominionists are waiting for a political Jesus Savior, apparently oblivious to the fact it would be Hitler all over again, and the RCC (their theological “enemy”) would benefit most. A publicly owned government stops them though, and they cry “tyranny” when not allowed to act like tyrants themselves. Here’s the 1948 version of ridiculous RCC contempt for USA principles of liberty: “The Roman Catholic Church, convinced, through its divine prerogatives, of being the only true church, must demand the right to freedom for herself alone, because such a right can only be possessed by truth, never by error. As to other religions, the church will require that by legitimate means they shall not be allowed to propagate false doctrine. Consequently, in a state where the majority of the people are Catholic, the church will require that legal existence be denied to error, and that if religious minorities actually exist, they shall have only a de facto existence without opportunity to spread their beliefs….” -from the Civilta Cattolica.

There are many in America today (some “protestants” no less) who still harbor such thoughts, mostly religious and mostly in the Republican Party. Trump supporters want to return to 1950. But that kind of intolerance needs to be literally stamped out; with a boot. Sorry, not sorry.

Jacobsen: What parts of the Christian theology appealed to the European heritage if known?

Durgin: My father’s mother recalled she was a descendent of the Huguenots in France. My fathers great grandfather was a preacher, and 12 generations back were pilgrims. Study the Huguenots: St Bartholomew’s day 1572, Edict of Nantes and it’s revocation, etc. you’ll see why there is the appeal. They were basically the philosophical descendants of the Cathars, and other proto-protestants who sometimes worked passively, sometimes actively to expose the enemy of the human race that is the Holy See. As far as the specific theological heritage of the family I am not aware of any, despite having two or three preachers in the background. Two of my ancestors are William Brewster (who was the spiritual head of the pilgrims on the Mayflower) and also Robert Cushman who supposedly delivered the first sermon in the New World in November 1621. My immediate family however was not theological at all; we did not treat any lessons from scripture or from church to be anything other than practical and moral, otherwise loosely based on the guide that is Old Testament and New Testament scripture. Learning Greek and Hebrew eventually solidified a largely non-religious outlook for me.

Jacobsen: Is France, the U.K., or Germany, the most prominent family origin?

Durgin: Depends on how far back we go. If the 8th-10th centuries, it’s fairly evenly distributed but for the past 400 years or so the primary origin was UK. There’s a link to 12th century Fulk V of Jerusalem (from Anjou) and Henry II through the bastard sons of Richard, too.

Jacobsen: What do you mean by “observant” as a youth? What memories exemplify this self-assessment?

Durgin: Before 10 years old, I watched others interact, make mistakes and succeed. Purpose was to learn, sometimes to avoid catastrophe and also to succeed myself. One example of avoiding catastrophe was watching a boy run after a runaway bouncing soccer ball and leap over it attempting to stop it with his grounded heel; he didn’t leap far enough, landed most temporarily on the ball and nearly broke his ankle, not to mention his head; lots of pain. Watching boys fight was also instructive, disappointing and depressing. Other than that, generally speaking I was deeply observant of the physical world as well. Watching a basketball in the distance bounce, listening to the sounds occur out of sequence from what I could clearly see, fascinated me and made me realize that the speed of sound must be slow, same thing with lightning preceding thunder. I wondered about ways to see how fast light actually was but failed to get anywhere experimentally until high school; then great strides at university.

Jacobsen: Why was science fiction the main interest for you?

Durgin: Science fiction evoked imaginative thought in a practical, non magical way; caught my attention when I was young. I stopped reading fiction by 18 or 19 because so-called history/nonfiction is much more interesting if one studies deeply enough. Unimaginable things are possible with the schemes of men. What is not forbidden is mandatory.

Jacobsen: What stood out about Ray Bradbury?

Durgin: Bradbury was appealing; very colorful and descriptively imaginative, this broadened my English language knowledge: reception and perception but not yet expression. Many dreams were fantastical probably because of Ray Bradbury’s work. I began to appreciate dense storytelling which minimized number of words. Short stories; giving the same experience to the reader in much less time relative to a 500 page uber-wordy novel with way too much character development. Admirable. Only a few authors were capable though. Appreciation increased as I aged. Time is MOST precious; finding a way to expand time is worth more than tons of gold treasure.  Arthur C. Clarke was the master of masters despite being poor at descriptive storytelling involving human interrelations, especially females. Did not notice this or care about it when I was a teenager. By far his book with the most profound effect on me was Childhoods End. Over the top psychological mind bender for its time. I did not understand half of what I was reading because the concepts were above my head. But I kept reading and re-reading and I probably read that book 10 times over the subsequent 10 years and it still presented as one of the most elegantly written and compelling stories ranging over an epic timescale while bridging psychology, religion and science. I still buy copies and give them away. Asimov and Heinlein really didn’t stand out so much per se, but they each had their own skills. Because of Asimov’s skill in presenting very short essays on a wide range of different topics I graduated very quickly from fiction to his nonfiction, which was helpful to a boy who was mildly interested in electricity, chemistry, astronomy and physics. Heinlein just tried too hard. Levi and P.K.Dick were better writers. Lovecraft even better. I read a few Heinlein stories and liked them but the moreI read the more I realized his stories were puzzles; they were more interesting as a puzzle …so both authors Asimov and Heinlein provided me with small stepping stones to help me graduate from “learning to read” toward problem-solving (reading to learn): learning facts quickly and solving puzzles. As and adult, I was introduced to Borges, and everything stopped, changed; LURCHED forward. Borges combined everything interesting into 15-20 page erudite labyrinthine masterpieces. Brilliant writing. I should qualify this with the fact that mostly James Irby and Donald Yates translated him to English, so they deserve much credit here.

Jacobsen: What stood out about Arthur Clarke?

Durgin: See above, and tersely: combination of scientific accuracy with imaginative and creative storytelling.

Jacobsen: What stood out about Isaac Asimov?

Durgin: see above. His short non-fiction essays were instrumental. I now have near 1500 books and texts in my small library. Have read and studied them all, many of them multiple times; all non-fiction. More than 100 are grad level physics texts and monographs. 

Jacobsen: What stood out about Ray Bradbury?

Durgin: Writing as art, as if Van Gogh in another life.

Jacobsen: Any examples of the social ineptitude of young life? 

Durgin: Ages 10-13 no ability to express myself verbally; blank stare when asked to explain what I just read, or give a book report. Girls liked me but I couldn’t respond unless one on one. Group activities I would freeze up. I did not learn colloquial language quickly. The language I learned came from books, so was much more interesting and in-depth than the nonsense communication occurring verbally between the other children (and even adults) around me. What I mean by nonsense are the “local” languages – dialects, innuendo, misused words, sound byte speed and idiosyncrasies. Most of the time people expected rapid response (still do) and while I can do that now very well, when a child my thoughtfulness took time, so communicating verbally was slow. This stopped a lot of conversations cold because I didn’t “get things” rapidly. Nonsense insubstantial symbolism and innuendo were no use to me. Real symbolism and deep communication appealed to me, starting about 14-15 years old. This was probably the beginning of my fascination with RARETIES. I just now recall one friend and I developed a language wherein we annunciated English words backwards (early high school); of course this sounded like gibberish to everyone with an ear, but we knew what we were saying by translating in our heads every backwards word, but phonetically off. For instance the word spider was pronounced “Reedips” while the word time was “eemit” both with emphasis on first syllable. A verbal code remotely akin but opposite to the “green language” (langue-verte, language of the birds) of the French, unknown to us youngsters of course, but much less sophisticated. I also sucked at acting, debate team and other social communication ruses for the same reason. I preferred chess: one on one. The ability to manipulate and persuade others into changing their minds is typically not based on fact, reason or rationality, but instead emotion; the ability to TEMPORARILY win an argument or debate by being clever or distracting – maneuvering around the conversation – was not interesting to me, so I initially failed at it, especially verbally. Chess is apt example: one does not win by sneaking a good move your opponent doesn’t see. One instead forces your observant opponent to make his/her best move a losing one. Both should know what the best move is. That’s the kind of engagement I wanted. I was interested in permanent knowledge (which is rare). This served as pre-preparation for becoming a scientist and an engineer I suppose. Effective communication is not rapid, but takes thought, effort and time. An engineering drawing contains a library of information and a great many logical processes, manufacturing limitations that are mathematically coded, dimensionally coded, etc. are inherent, which can only be understood by those trained to read them. It would take many pages of standard verbal phrases to explain what is on ONE page of an engineering drawing. What is otherwise written down is therefore OFFICIAL, and can be read and studied over and over again so that the reader can grow in order to understand it. But a verbal conversation is often over before it’s over; a conversation can never be repeated; it’s never the same twice. Emotions change rapidly. “Dammit I had something for this!” days Archer.

Jacobsen: What kind of outdoor activities took up youngster Durgin’s time?

Durgin: Winter time skiing and sledding and trekking through the woods. Camping. Throwing inanimate objects at cars and each other. Snow soccer was also fun I remember that from 8-9-10 years old. Climbing trees and attempting to leap out, grasping the top of a limb and letting go at the right time to drop to the ground. Hardly ever worked. In summer any number of things depending on what age I was: neighborhood baseball, basketball and football I often played on a daily basis. I preferred baseball over the others because it was not timed. Beating the clock or beating your opponent because of the clock is a temporary win, not a real one; Illusory rather than substantial. One summer I experimented with rockets, another with foolishly shooting arrows straight up and then feeling angst. My father carved his own hunting bows, so I could launch arrows upward beyond eyesight. Quite possibly my favorite outdoor pastimes were cycling, hiking and digging for old bottles. I would bike 100 miles through the hilly New England countryside at 14 years old. Started racing at 16. Also hiking through thick woods randomly getting lost just for the purpose of finding my way out again. Not smart after dark. In doing so I was able to come across many old burial grounds (where antiques and housewares rather than dead bodies were buried). I would find old bottles or cans, tools, things like that, learning that old glass bottles were certain treasure. Digging deeper than others became my desired activity, this is so important in every field, really. Early American glass bottles were attractive because: all one-of-a-kind handmade; to find one still fully intact by digging 3 to 4 feet underground in a particularly remote wooded area was an amazing un-duplicatable experience. Glass is easily damaged; very rare to find a whole bottle. Early American whiskey bottles, medicine bottles and masonic flasks were my focus; rare treasures I could find, especially if looked deep. I have found throughout my life one difference between me and most others: I am the one who apparently focuses, obsesses and digs the deepest; this goes for literal digging in the ground, archaeology and other similar activities but also metaphorically digging into history and literature, psychology and religion or consciousness. Once one digs deeply enough in their own religion they see it is Myth. My current favorite text is The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple (by Eve Reymond), which brilliantly explores myth as origin. It’s very disappointing to see current archaeology lingering in a state of lasting ignorance about our history due to simply not digging deeply enough. In addition, no serious archaeologist or anthropologist appears to be willing to learn astronomy, necessary in order to understand prior cultures. Fear of Math is most irrational.

Jacobsen: What music did you like?

Durgin: Eclectic interests which only deepened with time. Orchestral rock, classical jazz; music which contained an inherent depth and uber-strength of effort was what I gravitated to, even at 13-14 years old. The best examples of this are Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Rush, also classical baroque like Mozart. Later on I gravitated toward angelic instrumental blends. Was enthralled with Enya. Then David Arkenstone; Deuter was especially contemplative and relaxing. The soundtracks to the games Riven and Exile were fantastic; thus my interests evolved to more moody, atmospheric and mind expanding pieces. These helped my brain not spend too much time in turbid maelstroms of fugue-like expeditions and vortices. Deuter’s work and Enya’s enchantments truly felt healing. One memorable record was Echoes of Egypt by David & Diane Arkenstone, which reminds me of Echoes by Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii, amazing piece.

Jacobsen: Did you become used to loss with the drifting of friends every year or few as a young person?

Durgin: Yes, didn’t consider it a loss, just kept going and kept growing. My desire for mental and philosophical growth eventually separated me from others every few years. I’ve learned not to blame others. No one else dares to go very deep, even into their own interests. I believe this to be psychological and seems to have a relationship to fear of what is deeply located in every human being’s psyche. A psychological barrier then. Conquering deep-set fear became a staple for me, but not at first. At 7 or 8 I overcame my crippling fear of the ominously dark occasionally rumbling cellar; entering a dark cold cave was next. Unimaginably horrific creatures lurked there of course. Fear of heights took a little longer; did all this alone. Fear of the unknown was a strong pull, and I learned early how to dream what I intended, so was able to experiment mentally. Terrified me at times…the mind is the worst horror.

Jacobsen: Though alone, often, due to social deficits until high school, did you feel alone? The common divider between being alone, but not necessarily a feeling of lonely comes to mind for you – just an intuition.

Durgin: Accurate….Never felt alone, probably never will unless something changes chemically. Thoreau and Frost come to mind. Pretty women became my focus later on, these treasures can be truly deep mysteries. Like the Zohar. I feel the entire universe is my playground; my field of exploration where so many things are waiting for me to explore, interact with and discover. I feel connected to the entire world (even the stars) probably because I WILL MYSELF to be connected. It worked back then, still works now. My next 500 years could be dedicated to continued exploration should I live that long. Discovery is not possible without exploration. Sideways discovery is often more satisfying. My home is located in a wooded sanctuary (forest bordering me on 3 sides) and serves as a mental sanctuary. A geometric labyrinthine necropolis is not far away. If I am eventually buried there at the southwestern apex of a 72 foot stone triangle, resting deeply below a cold running stream, I feel like I will live forever.

Jacobsen: Can you, please, unpack those for me, “IEEE, SBE, ASME, Pi-Mu-Epsilon”? Regis, I’d like to use a lifeline.

Durgin: Easy to look up, globally known. The first three are Engineering Societies: electrical, broadcast communication and mechanical respectively. Pi mu epsilon is an honors math society. All great resources. I’ve used the transactions of each in my research as an engineer, countless times.

Jacobsen: Why General Studies in an AA program?

Durgin: The degree was automatic because I had already spent four years of school at three different Universities while studying psychology and history as a matter of course (in addition to physics and engineering) so I took the associate degree first.

Jacobsen: What was the appeal of Engineering Physics for the BS? 

Durgin: Before University, I was highly interested in understanding the physical world; the laws nature followed fascinated me. In high school physics I did well without expecting to, but that’s partly because I actually spent the time attempting to learn it. I was interested. The fact that nature obeys mathematical laws is a very powerful, useful and fascinating notion. The very pinnacle of this notion is encapsulated in Noether’s theorem, which I did not fully learn or appreciate until decades after the degrees. This theorem ties together Relativity, Electrodynamics and quantum field theory by way of the principle of least action, gauge invariance and the conservation laws. Astoundingly important but a bit beyond what undergrads typically absorb. One very hard lesson I learned while earning my degree in science was that such labor and research requires multiple sources in order to understand even the most basic concepts. You cannot just study one textbook to learn electrodynamics or thermal physics. One must read and study at least five or six textbooks in every subject to get it. When I say study I mean you read every page in a textbook over and over again at different times in different weeks and in different months. And then you go through the exercises on paper with pencil; you draw pictures, you experiment with different equations and different relationships. You cross-correlate. So it actually takes years of overlapping study and practice in order to understand what it is you’re doing. Engineering Physics was an undergraduate program that was somewhat elitist and only for those apparently who can survive a very rigorous study program; nearly killed me. Engineering itself was bad enough, but to pursue a six year-double degree program in engineering and physics required an insane amount of effort and work for me; it actually took me more than seven. Like 160+ credits. But I loved physics and wanted to become an engineer so it was an ideal program. Superconductivity, magnetohydrodynamics, optical polarimetry, Dye Lasers, holography, these were all projects I dove into. Difficult paths produce the best learning experiences for me. I wanted to become an expert in physics because I considered it the master discipline. Additionally, one must know physics well in order to become an effective engineer, whether it’s bridge design, communications, transportation, materials, chemical or electrical. In Science education, there is no better match of complementary subjects than electrical engineering and physics. The best pairing for physics and engineering in general was/is electrical engineering, for the primary reason that nearly all familiar phenomena we experience as human beings are electromagnetic in origin. Waves. Understanding waves, whether transverse or longitudinal requires the mastery of differential equations and exponential functions, as well as complex functions, and in some cases four dimensional tensors. 95% of the important every-day measurable properties of materials are electrical. Because I was so interested in a high challenge and because I wanted to understand the way the world worked (first-hand for real without having to rely on others) I chose physics. I wanted to be that expert. I wanted to see Newton’s reasoning. I wanted to understand how Einstein forged together knowledge of electrodynamics and motion to arrive at Relativity and the non-absoluteness of time. And I knew that engineering would also bestow a relatively solid and stable financial footing in society: Practical. Engineers are indispensable and they are also the best fit for an advanced entrepreneurial career. As stated before, Engineering is the heart of problem solving: Scientific economic diplomacy.

Jacobsen: What has been the single hardest puzzle to solve out the puzzle of life for you?

Durgin: 1. Women. Glorious and fun, like cats. 2. Slowing time down, expanding it so five minutes seems like an hour; some progress here, surprisingly.

And….Lately two projects I’ve been working on for more than 15 years. One of them involves learning enough about the past in order to predict the future; this has by far been the most challenging because it requires an enormous amount of time, study, focus and retention, in addition to the other things I’m doing. It requires learning and re-learning and yet EVEN MORE relearning of the subject matter I have attacked throughout my life. Extraordinarily cerebral and physical challenge. And it has allowed me to indeed gain SOME MINUTE upper hand on ability to predict the activities of certain people and groups; in effect predicting the future. The period 2034-2041 will see a most distressing time for rational non-religious people in the West if I’ve come to correct conclusions. Studying the most influential organization in the past thousand or 1500 years provided a short circuit to understanding most of European history. Pattern recognition has been the skill I possessed since a young boy; have used it to my advantage whenever possible. With “learning about the past to predict the future” the pattern to recognize has been a combination of natural cycles and fabricated man-made events. The natural cycles are astronomical in nature (basic solar system orbital mechanics) and the man-made events have to do with the development of the calendar, coupled with the seeking of political power. My second project involves the ancient necropolis of geometric form in the middle of the woods mentioned above: not far from New England but I’ve been able to spend some time in it. An enormous amount of curiosity, fascination and subsequent satisfaction has resulted, such that this may have surpassed the first project in importance, not sure yet. Coincidentally it also involves simple geometric patterns and the astronomy based calendar. I’ve had to re-learn Euclid as a result. There have been other small problems in physics I have been working; involving the design of a prototype solar system sized (Interferometric) telescope which can directly view the earth’s past. Will take 500-1000 or so years to actually build. Need warp drive and a stable wormhole to eventually communicate data back. Physics allows it but the engineering challenge is overwhelming. I did mention humor didn’t I? At some point we need to send a group back tasked with building the moon and bringing into stable orbit a billion years ago; we’ll need to be Type II Civilization by then. Also unique problems in propulsion and transportation have been a focus of mine. The book Geometry and Light was a great find because I would have written it myself had I the skill and inclination. Ulf Leonhardt is genius and he certainly beat me to it. Communicating with my future self was a project involving self-Hypnosis combined with the art of practicing other unusual mental and psychological activities. Aside from that, I can now call to mind a third GIANT project I’ve been working for many years: simply understanding people, human nature. The best way is to spend time with them, travel, understand different languages, learn ANCIENT LONG DEAD languages, different modes of thinking, different modes of communication and different modes of living, etc. Carl Jung’s works and my strong intuition have been instrumental as guides, also many other authors focusing on mythology. So I have travelled over the past 10 years or so, using my profession as an RF & Microwave Engineer as leverage, solving difficult challenges in the world of electronic communication, mostly in the defense and aerospace markets all over the world; from Tel Aviv, Germany, other points in Europe and the United States and U.K.

Jacobsen: What will problems remain unsolved, as in mysteries without apparent graspable solutions?

Durgin: The power of the human brain in a word. If we master that as a grand society then many conflicts and world problems will resolve themselves, but this will take many hundreds of years. Removing and stamping out authoritarianism has been a big distraction for hundreds of years. That MUST be accomplished, coupled with freedom and a people-owned globally scoped government before we can get to exploring the universe and the brain in depth. Possibly the two greatest things to solve in the world today I think requires great and profound increases in the study of the brain, coupled with a correspondingly great and profound increase in the study of the universe beyond Earth. I am also interested in these things but I have not been able to spend as much time and effort with them as I would like. Not enough clones.

Jacobsen: So, this is a big list, “Plato, Euclid, Vitruvius, Confucius, Hypatia, Proclus, Roger Bacon, Al-Hazen, Dante, Those who composed the Zohar, those who composed the Hermetic philosophy, John Dee, Leonardo, Mozart, Newton, Maxwell, Goethe, Gödel, Einstein, Emmy Noether, Dirac, Feynman. My favorites in there are probably Vitruvius, Al-Hazen, Mozart, Maxwell, Feynman and daVinci.”  With “Vitruvius, Al-Hazen, Mozart, Maxwell, Feynman and daVinci,” why those six, individually, and then collectively? Your thought seems individual-sequential and then collective-whole.

Durgin: Yes if one studies each of those figures, a common thread binds them, if loosely; to describe that would take a few books. Brutally brief and partial summary:

Vitruvius was a polymath, he understood the importance of blending many other disciplines and realize that a physicist (by which he meant architect) must understand all those other subjects (MASTERY) in order to be successful. Al-Hazen also was a polymath: collected knowledge from all corners, some likely from the Alexandrian library not destroyed by the Catholic Church. His interests in alchemy and physics are notable. He sought to unify knowledge… to synthesize all known forms of life and knowledge into a cohesive whole. This is an underlying theme of the people I consider genius. Atrociously, I neglected to mention Carl Jung in that list. His work is monumental, no question. Roger Bacon was amazing, The Zohar will lose you, daVinci was unstoppable, Feynman could elegantly explain post grad physics to undergrads; something Einstein couldn’t. Those who spend an enormous amount of time looking and searching, then spend an equally enormous amount of time analyzing and seeking to understand what was found, and then FURTHER spend an enormous amount of effort attempting to link everything back together into the WHOLE IT WAS IN THE FIRST PLACE, these are genius. Analysis is not the end, synthesis is. Those who see and understand that the physical universe is like a wheel with many spokes and those who search for and study the HUB are the leaders we need to follow. Dividing knowledge and history and experience into segments like the spokes on a wheel is a useful exercise, but to forget the fact they are all linked together by the hub is ignorant. So the geniuses I chose throughout history seemed to me to reflect the importance of that notion. I’ve studied all available notebooks of Leonardo; he broke the mold, fantastic individual. Manly Hall divided true philosophy into a bunch of developmentally graded concepts, each more focused than the last, each with greater scope than the last: Perception, Examination, Reflection, Knowledge, Exploration, Understanding, Discovery, Wisdom. Some of the individuals above mastered all levels it seems. Note without Freedom, many of these are impossible. Freedom is thus the superior overarching theme; the highest ideal.

Jacobsen: Why is humour the mark of genius?

Durgin: Not the only mark. Understanding how to deliver humor exudes a hint of understanding the human brain better than anything or anyone else. Subtle humor exposes a deep understanding of the learning process. This is why I consider people who have the ability to do this and who are themselves uniquely intelligent, who seek knowledge and understanding, etc. to be genius. Humor is an advanced connection. 

Jacobsen: What was digging graves like for you? That’s a fascinating job.

Durgin: Solitary, somewhat interesting and on some rare occurrences, terrifying. Salem’s Lot.

Jacobsen: What the hell is a bank proof operator?

Durgin: One who processes incoming checks to a bank’s vault. Using typewriters or adding machines one must simply encode all the numbers on the check and the amount of the check. Accounting. Mostly computers do this now today.

Jacobsen: What were the shift hours as a security guard?

Durgin: Mostly daytime. I worked at a Civic Plaza/ convention center where various different conventions and forums occurred, technical, hobby, special interest, futuristic, industrial, etc.

Jacobsen: Is the RF engineer position one in which the BS degree came in handy?

Durgin: Necessary minimum. One cannot be responsible for the design of communication components in defense and aerospace industries (what the serious RF Engineer does) if one does not have a solid background in electrical engineering and physics, in addition to four or five years of practice beyond that. High power RF design engineering requires an exceptional aptitude and mathematical background in mechanical, electrical, time varying-spatial varying wave physics and thermal concepts. This over a broad range of materials science too. The design of practical RF and microwave components involves consideration and mastery of a large variety of disciplines and factors. These include electrical, architectural (like topology, materials and realizability) thermal and wave principles of resonant circuits, coupled structures and elements as well as field theory. In addition one must marshal the resources associated with manufacturing processes and engineering materials & toolsets required for fabrication and proper tolerancing…this involves machining etching, casting, forging, extrusion, welding, plastics film deposition and others. One must also fully understand cost factors Such as labor and overhead, assembly, adjustment, test, quality control etc. Effective communication is therefore critical. Engineering is problem-solving at the direct level and so an entrepreneurial spirit is necessary. If you are not using differential equations to solve these physical problems then you are not an engineer, much less an RF engineer.

Jacobsen: You would be a colourful teacher of physics. How did you approach teaching physics? Also, what levels?

Durgin: Years ago, sophomore level only. I was engaging and brought various levels of mechanical activity and fun to the classroom. I was inspired by Feynman to do this. And my own understanding of the synthesis that physics brings to understanding the world also inspired me. I wanted others to know this and learn it. Learning advanced mathematics is not that difficult because mathematics is pure logic; when applied to the physical world it provides a solid understanding of why things work the way they do, from light to magnetism to stellar formation and evolution, to biological processes and organic chemistry, to all other forms of physical interaction. The most challenging applications to learn mechanics are associated with rotary motion, the orbital motion of planets, gyroscopes, gravitational fields and forces. The Foucault pendulum is remarkably elegant. I set up small and large apparatus in the room. One of my favorites was a solar collector set up as a curved mirror, which could spontaneously burn anything placed at its focal point when the mirror collected basic sunlight. Wood plastic etc. just by pointing at the sun. Painting things black accelerated the effect. I threw things around the room, hung stuffed animals in one corner and had an air gun that fired tennis balls at them from the other corner. We dropped things from third story windows, rotated bicycle wheels and carried them around the room to experience torque, Used lasers to develop the concept of relativity, etc. I had a great experience in college at one University as well, we had a lab that produced holograms using lasers, and a machine shop where we were tasked with designing and creating industrial hand tools like C-Clamps, slotted microwave lines, etc. U Maine and Arizona State were great experiences.

Jacobsen: Where were you a marketing and sales manager?

Durgin: After the first decade I worked for two US electronic component manufacturers over 20 years time, managing product and accounts world-wide, the first company in Rhode Island with about $10M annually, the second company about $100M annually located in Florida, NY and SC. Both times serving Defense, aerospace, industrial, optical communication industries. Products were RF, microwave, millimeter wave components primarily.

Jacobsen: Were the engineering manager and business manager roles, in any way, associated with one another – other than through you working them?

Durgin: Not at first, the business manager was for my ex-wife’s private school she founded. When I was running the books for that, I was working as RF engineer designing high power TV transmitter equipment and had a third job teaching college physics.

Jacobsen: Where were you an engineering consultant? What does an engineering consultant do? (Please, for the love of anybody’s God, don’t say, “Consults on engineering.” Unless, you want eye-rolls from high-IQ society members who happen upon this interview.)

Durgin: Best is by way of a short example. Over the past 20 years I cultivated and developed hundreds of business contacts. I have also developed my own skills in design, manufacturing, test and development of electronic components and equipment for the communication industry – primarily operating at RF and microwave and millimeter wave frequencies. I now entertain projects for certain customers, and a typical transaction is a phone call or a face-to-face conversation facilitated by my travel to a company like Northrup Grumman or Lockheed or BAE or Boeing or Raytheon. I would meet three or four engineers or project engineers and managers in a room and they would ask me questions regarding a problem or challenge they have with one of their systems. Like “We have radar transmitter functioning at 14Ghz with a 1-5% bandwidth that generates harmonics whose energy is too high (thus interfering with other communication systems); can you design a 20 Watt 14 GHz low pass filter in microstrip transmission line form that suppresses the second and third harmonic below 40-50dB and keep passband insertion loss below 1dB?” I then must assess the manufacturability of such a product, but I cannot always do this without spending some time researching how large and what materials and what architecture with which to build the product. Many other issues typically come up, mostly to do with manufacturability, cost and time. The customer and I then must negotiate price, quantities over the next 2 to 3 years etc. Great variability occurs from customer to customer, from project to project and from product to product; but my job is to solve all these types of problems as a consulting engineer. Sometimes it involves bringing in other experts. Sometimes the project occurs only once: customer doesn’t call me again….sometimes they call me again six months later with a second project. If I’m lucky I get a short or long term contract and work with them every month on a number of projects. Occasionally on the first time around enough information can be gleaned from the nature of the problem that the customer completely changes their mind about the direction. Perhaps some of their engineers could actually design it and farm it out to a familiar manufacturer. It’s really no different than any other forum where a salesman or builder architect attempts to sell something to somebody who can use the product or skill. One difference is that in my world the business people I work with are not only engineers but RF engineers, likely doing design work or business for years prior. And further this exposes the fact I learned long ago that no matter how much experience a businessman might have there is no way he will never learn enough about the engineering process on the job….one must have the degree. The other side of that coin is any degreed engineer, advanced or not…..that engineer can learn business on the job just by doing business, one doesn’t need to go to college to get a business degree. Much more difficult or impossible to teach a businessman engineering skills outside of university, but very easy to teach an engineer business skills outside of college.

Jacobsen: Founder and President, what business or enterprise?

Durgin: D.E.E., My consulting business as RF/Microwave design engineer.

Jacobsen: What is this mix of humour, polymath, and paradox, for a genius? Are geniuses, in some sense, paradoxes in the form of a living Hegelian dialectic blossoming as “Synthesis”?

Durgin: Not sure I can explain that in less than a year, but it takes an extraordinary amount of effort to work on a great paradox, often leading to unexpected discoveries and illuminations. Only hard word produces valuable discovery. If one is not already a genius one certainly can become a genius just by doing this. Being a polymath really helps because working on two or three or five separate projects not directly related to one another allows the brain to rest on one project but also unconsciously work on the others. Helmholtz discussed this. Just study all of the work the physicists were doing at the end of the 19th century and see how Einstein put together a great many known conflicts and paradoxes to then work for nearly 20 years before he came up with the brilliant theory to explain it all. Electromagnetism led to Relativity. But he also worked on other things, inspecting patents for work, but publishing 4 papers in one year (1905) on different subjects. Kinetic motion of atoms, the photoelectric effect, electrodynamics and the energy content of matter. That’s genius. Electrodynamics was first synthesized by Maxwell 30 years earlier, but Einstein used those conclusions to discover that Relativity also dictated the rules of Electromagnetism. It turns out that relativity essentially dictates the rules of all physics, even physics not yet discovered. Monumental, without question. Depending on how willing the individual is to step outside of one’s philosophical and experiential comfort zone the paradox may or may not be solved but a lot of other problems never considered could be. In my view a genius must walk in the shoes of more than just a few others in order to truly understand the world and to understand oneself. One must master the current scientific state of the art. This means constantly reassessing the knowledge one has gained and constantly seeking MORE knowledge in order to reassess all that prior knowledge. This is similar to building a pyramid, it’s an extraordinary amount of work in the beginning. Once one nears the top the work becomes easier and easier…..affecting much more with less effort, except if one finds imperfections in the bottom layers (invariably one WILL and I have) one cannot simply go down there and adjust it….one must completely disassemble the pyramid and build it again. This seems disheartening at first but doing it causes one one’s knowledge too deepen very rapidly. I would consider anyone willing to do that and stay sane is at least partly genius. And I would also consider anyone who is willing to go through with all this? At some point one must learn to be acquainted with a lot of cosmic humor. Inevitability in a nutshell. Working in the woods for three days straight pulling a 2 ton rock out of a 15 foot deep hole with two chains or three wrapped around it with the other ends wrapped around two trees….and inch by inch by inch moving the stone up and having it catch on other stones every five minutes so that a crowbar is necessary to nudge it free, eventually nearing the top of the hole on that third day to then have one chain slip off and the other chain snap due to the immense force, and the boulder bounce back down into the hole. How does that feel? What is anger? No matter how careful or patient one was, one needs humor at that point. What utter moron would want to do this?

Jacobsen: What makes science “the true and final method of finding things out; finding THE truth”?

Durgin: Cannot be answered simply or quickly. Many many books and texts have already been written addressing this question, harkening all the way back to the 13th century with Roger Bacon. To say nothing of Aristotle who started it all. The essence of why science is superior is because science changes its conclusions when more data comes in and enough overwhelming evidence arrives. Science is also a collective exercise that is self checking. A scientist must disclose all one’s resources and experimental methods so that others can perform them and see if they get the same answers/conclusions. Once a great many near identical experiments have been performed by a great many people, then mistakes are eventually eliminated, variances accounted for and the experiment gives way to accepted FACT. This makes science superior to any other method of finding the truth because it’s a collective effort, carried out by individuals. Science is ruthlessly rigorous in its approach, eliminating all but one variable in order to find the foundational physical law; Mathematics its most useful tool. Religion on the other hand never changes; its truths are asserted from the beginning and then no matter what evidentiary data comes in, those “truths” are still stubbornly clung to. This is the opposite of rationality and success. Backward in a bad way. In addition any physicist or scientist defending a hypothesis must include all forms of contradictory evidence before coming to a conclusion. Nowhere in religion or in any other irrational fact-gathering exercise is contradictory evidence used as a means of finalizing the truth. This is one of the reasons why the body of knowledge based on scientific inquiry is slow to change. The full truth may never be known, but the sure way to MOST CLOSELY APPROACH IT is through the method of Science, no question. Aside from the above, the best way to communicate my ideas about the importance of the question is to simply list some interesting ~90 books from my collection, through which I have voyaged over 25 years of study, related work and contemplation. Many of these are game changers:

#548 Relativity by Einstein

#1321 Euclids Elements

#2338 Enoch 3 by Hugo oberg

#567 Genius by James Gleick (on Feynman)

#1165 The song of Roland by D. Sayers

#1211 Nicolas Flamel by Laurinda Dixon

#1704 Isaac Newton by Gleick


# 680 Electrodynamics by Melvin Schwartz

# 709 General theory of relativity by Paul Dirac

# 700 Gravitation by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler

#1113 Primer for Gauge Theory by Moriyasu

#1114 Emmy Noether’s Wonderful Theory by Dwight Neuenschwander

#1426 Mechanics by Lev Landau and Lifshitz

#1433 Variational Principles of mechanics by Cornelius Lanczos


#688 Mysterium Coniunctionis by Carl Jung

#718 Psychology and Alchemy by Jung

#113 Cosmic Code by Heinz Pagels

#801 Gödel’s Proof by Newman and Nagel

#195 Gödel, Escher, Bach by Hofstadter

#741 Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

#3 lost keys of freemasonry by manly hall

#6 morals and dogma by Albert pike


#1209 The Zohar by Daniel Matt

#1100 Sacred Vault of Enoch by John Yarker

#752 Infinite world of MC Escher by Abradale

#701 Sacred Geometry by Robert lawlor

#730 the Bahir by Aryeh Kaplan

#642 the Iliad and the odyssey of homer

#312 Dante’s divine comedy in Italian

#315 virgils Aeneid

#909 the grail legend by Emma Jung

#1127 the grail by Loomis

#1224 the holy grail by Norma Goodrich

#703 theatrum chemicum brittanicum by ashmole

#296 serpent in the sky by John west


#769 Plutarch in 5 volumes by Goodwin

#969 Themis Aurea by Michael maier

#711 Heptameron arbatel of magic by Abano

#705 Greek myths by Robert graves

#217 Demon haunted world by Carl Sagan

#402 Uriels machine by Robert lomas

#99 Holy blood holy grail by Baigent Lincoln and Leigh

#122 the abc of relativity by Bertrand Russell

#452 Wholeness and the implicate order by David Bohm

#324 Freemasonry, it’s hidden meaning by George steinmetz

#5 Secret destiny of America by manly hall

#408 Alchemy by manly hall

#294 second messiah by Knight and lomas

#512 Pythagorean sourcebook by Guthrie

#444 divine pymander by shrine of wisdom

#1083 magicians of the gods by Graham Hancock


#576 Engineering and the minds eye by Eugene Ferguson

#578 thermal physics by kittel and kroemer

#887 transmission lines by Robert chipman

#610 microwave engineering by Pozar

#866 microwave measurements by Montgomery

#607 waveguide handbook by n. Markuvitz

#865 microwave transmission circuits by Ragan

#587 microwave filters, impedance matching networks and coupling structures by matthei, young and Jones

#569 lasers by Jeff Hecht

#552 invention and evolution by French

#110 physics of immortality by Frank tipler

#190 liber 777 by Crowley


#1111 the comacines by ravenscroft

#1094 secrets of the Phoenicians by Sanford holst

#1095 Greek science by Sarton

#2617 new materials for the history of man by RG Haliburton

#2618 exposition of the mysteries by John Fellows

#2619 landmarks of freemasonry by George Oliver

#423 book of Enoch by Charles Laurence (transl)

#159 the temple and the lodge by baigent & Leigh

#100 messianic legacy by baigent & Leigh

#125 Duncan’s ritual

#2339 cleopatras needles by EHW Budge


#2137 Childhoods End by Arthur c Clarke

#788 dwellings of the philosophers by fulcanelli

#1771 parzival by wolfram von eschenbach


#672 mathematicall praeface by John Dee

#852 ninth century and grail by Walter stein

#330 holy grail by manly p hall

#285 Phoenician origin of the Scots Britain’s in Anglo-Saxons by Lawrence Waddell

#1069 solving Stonehenge by Anthony Johnson

#46 Evolution of civilizations by Caroll Quigley

#318 paradise lost by John Milton

#777 hermetica by Walter Scott

#1019 golden game by stanislas k. De rola

#422 tower of alchemy by David Goddard

#731 Sefer yetzirah by Aryeh Kaplan

#1357 geometrical foundation of natural structures by Robert Williams

#1098 Chartres cathedral by Louis charpentier


If one studies only half of these diligently and repeatedly over 5 to 10 years your mind will be transformed in unpredictable ways. I say it’s worth it, I’ve done it repeatedly with 15 times as many books over 30 years, changing my head each time. One good book read 20 times will change a man. 10 good books read 2 or 3 times is enough to question and doubt everything. 100 good books read and re-read perhaps 6, 7 or 20 times is enough to transform one’s thinking, and further brings the realization a thousand more should be read. 1000 books is enough.

Jacobsen: What has been the hardest high-range test taken by you? Why that one?

Durgin: By far the most difficult, most elegant and the most mentally rewarding was my attempt at the Isis test by Cooijmans about 15 years ago or so. This required me to research in many different directions in order to approach the solutions. Only 5 problems total (the essence of its elegance and superiority) and it took 3 months + of my time. I was eventually able to solve four out of the five problems but I submitted the test too soon: in my excitement and eagerness I had only really partially solved the other three. It wasn’t until I submitted the test, received a score of “1” and then reviewed the test again that I realized I needed to go further. Nevertheless this did not matter to me in the end because I was quite satisfied knowing I had solved all of them or nearly all of them. In real life one does not completely solve any problem the first time around. Not even close. This never happens in engineering or physics, surgery or psychology or anywhere; one must always go back to one’s work and improve upon it. Multiple times. Development by definition is never instantaneous. Perfection never attained. The Grail is never found, never intended to be found.


[1] Member, Giga Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 15, 2022:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2) [Online]. June 2022; 30(A). Available from:

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, June 15). Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2). Retrieved from

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.A, June. 2022. <>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.A.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.A (June 2022).

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 30.A. Available from: <>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 30.A.,

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 30.A (2022): June. 2022. Web. <>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Scott Durgin on Roman Catholicism, Science Fiction, Humour, and Jobs: Member, Giga Society (2) [Internet]. (2022, June 30(A). Available from:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and can disseminate for their independent purposes.

One Comment
  1. Paul Edgeworth permalink

    Childhoods End incorporates a lot of the thought of the Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. For example, see Teilhard’s The Phenomenon of Man.


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