Metaphysics – Why Ken’s Wrong

Metaphysics (as Ken Wheeler understands the term) lies at the root of most of Theoria Apophasis’ other misconceptions. Find out why his metaphysical claims are so far off the mark that one could argue they’re not even wrong.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines classical metaphysics as “the ‘science’ that studied ‘being as such’ or ‘the first causes of things’ or ‘things that do not change.'” Contemporary philosopher Freya Matthews defines it like this, “ultimate questions about the nature of reality and our own place in the larger scheme of things.”

Metaphysics is a very profound subject and also very hard to define, even for scholars who work in the field. Of course, none of that deters Ken Wheeler from insisting on his own, self-taught mastery of the topic.

The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis defines metaphysics like this. “Study of first principles in and of counter space. The realm of energy and ultimate reality. Contrary to current connotations such that the “metaphysics” section of any book store is about occult nonsense, genuine metaphysics as per the Pythagoreans, Platonists and Neoplatonists is about the study and wisdom of first principles and that which lay under the blanket of phenomenon.”

Appropriated the Term Counter Space from Rudolf Steiner

Now, of course, for this definition to mean anything, there would have to be something called counter space. Ken Wheeler has appropriated this term from early 20th century esoteric philosopher Rudolf Steiner, although he rarely gives Steiner his due.

Caught up in the theosophical movement of that era, Steiner believed in a “negative space” in parallel with “ordinary space.” No evidence for counter space has ever been found and modern science dismisses the idea.

Although the host of Theoria Apophasis talks about counter space in virtually every video, he’s very evasive as to what, precisely his term means.

“Counterspace Is the Space Between Space Itself”

The closest Ken Wheeler seems to come is in this passage from his Uncovering the Missing Secrets of Magnetism. He writes, “Counterspace is literally the space between space itself, the very omnipresent membrane of the Ether which requires conjugate field forces to bring it into space or create electrical, or dielectric, or magnet phenomena, or even the creation of matter.”

From this we can gather that the Angry Photographer views counter space as in some way like an outer skin of the ether. As explained in detail under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong, the Michelson-Morley Experiment proved that the ether doesn’t exist in 1887. The YouTuber Planarwalk also debunks Ken Wheeler’s ideas about the ether here.

So if the ether doesn’t exist, neither does Ken Wheeler’s notion of its membrane of counter space. That makes his definition of metaphysics fundamentally flawed and meaningless.

Counter Space Doesn’t Exist, So His Definition Is Wrong

By “the Pythagoreans, Platonists and Neoplatonists”, he seems to mean classical Greek philosophers such as Pythagorus, Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus among others. He calls himself “a hard-core neoplatonic platonist,” without defining this redundant term.

All neoplatonists are also platonists by definition, so his only purpose in combining both terms is to sound impressive to those unacquainted with philosophy. He goes on to insist that philosophers in the Ancient World made no distinction between physics and metaphysics.

The problem with this claim is that Aristotle, a student of Plato, left us one book called Physics and one very different book called Metaphysics. The former was about phenomena we find in nature and the other was about various underlying principles about the first causes of things.

Borrows Heavily from Coomaraswamy and Guenon

As, always, Kentucky Ken is discussing subject matter he doesn’t understand. He derives his claims from his cursory grasp of a school of thought called the Traditionalists, especially Ananda Coomaraswamy, although he barely mentions their contribution. He also borrows heavily from Rene Guenon, while claiming to despise him.

In a sense, pointing out the eccentricities within the Angry Photographer’s notions about metaphysics is a distinction without a difference. It hardly matters what the Theoria Apophasis creator chooses to believe about such esoteric matters.

We’re all, including Ken Wheeler, free to believe whatever we choose about concepts that are beyond our capacity to observe or explain. Even so, I have some concerns about his agenda for defining metaphysics in his own way and, as the Angry Photographer is fond of saying, “Nobody’s entitled to their own facts.”

“Morality Is a Guide for Conventional Worldly Beings”

In Ken Wheeler’s Ontology Primer, he writes, “There is no conduct that leads to liberation, but there is that which is conducive towards liberation, but this is not action, nor conduct. Morality is a tool and guide for conventional worldly beings to check their evil desires and dark wills.

Wisdom alone is to be enjoined by those seeking transcendence, which brings proximity to the One, the Soul whose attribute is the Good. Beyond good and evil, proximity to the One via wisdom has no connection to the worldly realm where mere morality and ethics are praised by the many.”

Without giving him any credit, the Angry Photographer is borrowing the phrase Beyond Good and Evil from the philosopher Nietzsche, whom he also claims to despise. More importantly, he seems to be exempting those who achieve “proximity to the One via wisdom” from any sort of moral code of conduct.

Presumably He’s Unbound by “Mere Morality and Ethics”

Since the Angry Photographer seems to think he’s in “proximity to the One,” presumably he’s unbound by “mere morality and ethics.” As we can see throughout this website, he has taken a number of unethical actions, such as representing the work of professional photographers as his own, refusing to comply with public health measures to fight the pandemic, deliberately mistranslating ancient texts, and lying to his audience.

It’s disturbing to think that anyone might think of themselves as having “no connection to the worldly realm where mere morality and ethics are praised by the many.” Does Ken Wheeler suffer from the delusion that he has advanced “Beyond Good and Evil” and levelled up to an amoral state where the normal rules of “conventional worldly beings” no longer apply to him?

Does that explain his questionable behaviour toward others? He has said that “the one thing I care about is wisdom.” Does this imply that he doesn’t care about “mere morality”? Since he refers to his life stance as “amoral monism,” this seems like a real possibility.

Contradicts His Heroes Plato and Plotinus

Is that what he means when he says that “wisdom is its own reward”? If so, he contradicts his heroes Plato and Plotinus, who both taught that wisdom was merely a guide to virtuous action in everyday life.

Plato wrote that “knowledge without virtue ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.” Although Ken Wheeler’s videos indicate a degree of low cunning, they display neither knowledge nor wisdom.

The Angry Photographer’s role model, Plotinus, taught that “the purification of the soul must produce all the virtues; if any are lacking, then not one of them is perfect.” Although he taught that we should seek wisdom to purify the soul, Plotinus saw wisdom as a means toward the higher goal of virtue.

Virtue Includes Appropriate Behaviour in Community

Virtue includes what Plotinus called the political virtues – appropriate behaviours toward others in our community. These correspond to what Ken Wheeler calls “mere morality and ethics.”

The Angry Photographer also has another agenda behind his approach to metaphysics. He appears to be preoccupied with the concept of the human soul and what happens to it when we die.

In Plato’s dialogue, the Phaedra, Socrates explains that, for philosophers, “the whole of their study is nothing else than how to die and be dead.” There’s a reason that Ken Wheeler is a self-described platonist.

Needs to Prove We Survive Bodily Death

We also discuss this under Buddhist Souls – Why Ken’s Wrong. Here we’ll consider it from a broader perspective. It seems to be very important to Ken Wheeler to prove that our unique personalities survive bodily death and continue to exist eternally, or outside of time.

To make his case, the Theoria Apophasis creator needs to be able to demonstrate that the human soul is independent of the physical human body. To this end, he constantly resorts to an analogy based on radio broadcasts.

The Angry Photographer explains that our bodies are like a radio receiver and our souls are like the radio signal. A broadcast requires both signal and receiver and if and when the receiver breaks down, the signal carries on.

Radio Analogy Implies No Individual Soul

The difficulty with this analogy is that my neighbour also has a radio receiver. He also experiences exactly the same broadcast that I do. So this signal is not unique to me or to my receiver. The signal is much more like some sort of Ground of Being or the Tao.

If we accept the radio broadcast analogy, then our bodies are animated, not by an individual soul or personal consciousness, but by a sort of universal life force that animates all human bodies throughout the world. That force would continue after we died, but we would have no unique identity within it.

More recently, the Angry Photographer has tried to address this point by pointing out that every radio receiver has its own characteristics based on its unique circuitry. Of course, if this distinct character derives from the circuitry, it ceases to exist when the receiver stops working.

Plato Warned Against Reasoning by Analogy

Kentucky Ken’s hero Plato warned against reasoning by this kind of analogy saying, “Arguments that make their point by means of similarities are impostors, and, unless you are on your guard against them, will quite readily deceive you.”

Ken Wheeler’s radio analogy is just such an impostor. If metaphysics works according to this model, there can be no individual immortal soul, only a universal collective spirit with no unique, personal identities within it.

It’s interesting to observe the Angry Photographer’s apparent attempts to exempt himself from any moral code while seeming to rationalize his fear of death. Leo Tolstoy wrote that “a person who is afraid of death is one who has not lived his life properly and has broken the law of life.”

“A Person Afraid of Death Has Not Lived Properly”

The Theoria Apophasis creator would retort that if his concepts seem like whakadoodle, pseudo-philosophical claptrap to us, that merely proves that we’re limited by our “worldly minds.” He wants us to simply take his word for it that he has found the solution to all of the puzzles of metaphysics.

Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Ken Wheeler’s explanations are never simple, so we can draw our own conclusions from that. His metaphysical musings seem to be an application of the tactic, “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit.”

Or, in Ken Wheeler’s own words, “Fools describe, the wise explain.” His metaphysics alludes to and vaguely describes a number of intriguing but irrelevant concepts, often inaccurately.

Leaves Naive Readers Bewildered but Impressed

He fails to explain the significance of any of them to the field of metaphysics and he leaves his more naive readers bewildered but impressed. As usual, the Angry Photographer should take his own advice.

It takes a lot of hubris to take on the entire scholastic discipline of metaphysics and claim that you have all the answers. The ramblings described above are a classic example of the Dunning Kruger effect, where people who know little or nothing about a subject vastly overestimate their understanding of it.

Metaphysics is one more topic on which Ken Wheeler is absolutely incorrect. In this case, he falls so far short of the mark, that one could argue that he’s not even wrong. His fondness for the Latin motto lux et veritas couldn’t be more ironic.

Ken’s Evidence

Definitions of Nature and Its Phenomena with a Primer on Cosmology and Ontology
Buddhist Souls – Why Ken’s Wrong
Magnetism – Why Ken’s Wrong
Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong

Russians – Why Ken’s Wrong

Russians are yet another subject on which Ken Wheeler considers himself qualified to opine. Find out why his claims of expertise on this topic don’t add up and what he gets wrong about the Russian character.

Russians play an important role in Ken Wheeler’s claims of expertise. He tells his viewers that he lived in the Soviet Union for “a few years” during the height of the Cold War.

The Angry Photographer offers his purported insights into Russian language and culture on YouTube. He rates himself an “expert on Russians” due to having stayed there as an expatriate American.

The difficulty with the Angry Photographer’s claim is that he also tells us that he was born in 1972. This means that he was just sixteen years old when the Soviet Union began to collapse.

Was Sixteen Years Old When Soviet Union Began to Collapse

If the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis lived for any extended time in the old Soviet Union, it must have been as a child. Yet, he purports to have followed domestic politics, Pravda, and related Soviet propaganda during the heyday of Communist Russia.

The Angry Photographer also reports on extensive discussions he had with everyday Russians while he was there. He uses his accounts of these conversations to present himself as an expert on Russian politics and society.

The Theoria Apophasis host even claims to have met KGB agents during his time in the Soviet Union. Did he discuss intelligence operations with them before he became an adult? This seems unlikely.

KGB No Longer Exists in Modern Russia

The KGB no longer exists in modern Russia. Today, Russia has four intelligence services: the FSB, the SVR, the FSO and the GU. No credible Russia expert would use the term KGB to refer to any of these current intelligence gathering organizations.

So, as always, Ken Wheeler’s story doesn’t make sense. Ideas that don’t make sense aren’t true.

The Angry Photographer says he’s lived in both the Soviet Union and today’s Russia. It’s plausible that he lived there as a child under the Soviet regime and then returned to the Russian Federation as an adult.

Couldn’t Have Lived in the Soviet Union as a Grownup

Even so, the Angry Photographer can’t possibly have lived in the old Soviet Union as a grownup. He also couldn’t have met with active KGB agents after the Soviet Union collapsed. So, his claims simply don’t add up.

The Theoria Apophasis creator was attending college in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky between 1991 and 1993. That would have been during the tumultuous final months when the remaining handful of republics broke away from Moscow’s rule.

The timeline precludes Ken Wheeler living in “Cold War, Communist Russia for many years.” Yet, that’s what he claims to have done.

Studied College Level Russian in High School

The Angry Photographer says his teachers identified him as a language prodigy and gave him the chance to study college-level Russian as a teenager. Since he grew up in Lexington, presumably, this took place at the University of Kentucky, which is based there.

The Theoria Apophasis host says he “spent four years at the University of Kentucky” but doesn’t elaborate. The registrar’s office there confirms that he studied Russian there for just two years between 1991 and 1993 and did not graduate, so presumably he’s including his high school experience in that misleading claim.

That appears to have been followed by some overseas study. Ken Wheeler tells his viewers that he studied Russian Translation in the city of Vladimir.

Claims He Speaks “Perfect Russian” – Russians Disagree

Kentucky Ken claims to speak “perfect Russian”, and he does have some facility with the language. Even so, native Russian speakers find his Russian grammar flawed and hard to follow. They also note that his pronunciation is incorrect, giving him a thick accent.

The Angry Photographer brags about having done “dangerous work” for several “three-letter agencies” of the US government. He never elaborates, although he has mentioned the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) by name.

DOCJT is a state-level training facility for local police officers in Kentucky. It has nothing to do with Russians, the federal government, or foreign intelligence.

Criminal Justice Training Has Nothing to Do With Russians

Like many gun enthusiasts, Ken Wheeler took a brief DOCJT certification class. It entitled him to teach Kentucky’s course for those seeking a license to carry concealed weapons. That civilian credential has nothing to do with Russian translation and in any case he’s let his instructor’s permit lapse.

This doesn’t sound like dangerous US intelligence work involving Russia. The Angry Photographer also claims to have acted as a police translator for interrogations involving Russian criminal suspects.

One wonders how much demand there could be for that service in Lexington, Kentucky. In any event, it’s hard to understand how translating Russia into English constitutes “dangerous work.”

Leningrad Became St. Petersburg When Ken Wheeler Was 19

The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis claims to have also studied in Leningrad. Yet, Leningrad was renamed St. Petersburg when the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis was 19 years old.

If Ken Wheeler lived there as an adult, “hanging out with KGB agents,” why would he use its old name instead of what everyone called it at the time? Once again, his claims make no sense.

There’s no reason to doubt that the Angry Photographer’s extravagant claims might contain a grain of truth. He likely was an overseas or exchange student in Russia at some point, and perhaps more than once. Assuming that’s true, it would have been roughly three decades ago.

None of That Makes Ken Wheeler an Expert on Russians

The real issue is that none of that makes Ken Wheeler the “expert on Russians” he purports to be. He’s come to see himself as the self-appointed spokesman for the entire former Soviet Bloc.

Yet, Ken Wheeler’s claims about Russia don’t jibe with the facts. For example, he tells his viewers that Russians are “ten times more capitalistic than Americans are.”

In a Pew Research poll, support among Russians for a market economy fell from 54% to 42% between 2001 and 2011. The same poll saw support for a multi-party system fall from 61% to 50%

In more recent polling, support for the autocratic former Soviet official Vladimir Putin rose from 60% in 2020 to 67% in 2021. Ten times more capitalistic than Americans? Not by the numbers.

Insists There Is More Freedom in Russia than in Australia

The Angry Photographer also insists that there is more freedom in Russia than in Australia due to pandemic measures enacted Down Under. Freedom House ranks Australia at 97% (free) for freedom, while scoring Russia at 20% (not free).

Ken Wheeler’s nostalgic affection for the Russian people makes him an apologist for the abuses of the Russian government, such as recent computer hacking incidents.

The Angry Photographer’s self-satisfaction with his tenuous Russian ties has made him some unsavoury online friends Specifically, he’s hooked up with an odd fellow – a YouTuber with the handle Aussie Cossack.

Hooked Up With Founder of Alt-Right Paramilitary Group

This other YouTuber’s real name is Simeon Boikov. Born in Sydney, and of Russian descent, Boikov is the founder of an alt-right paramilitary group that he calls the Australian Cossacks.

Ken Wheeler’s new down-under BFF is under a Firearms Prohibition Order. Simeon Boikov is extremely well-known to police in Australia. Most recently, they arrested him for violations of Australia’s Public Health Act.

Boikov explains that he founded his Russian expatriate militia group of about 50 men because “we have a unique opportunity to support Russia from within an enemy state”. The “enemy state” to which he refers is Australia.

Tied to Racist, Anti-Immigrant, Hypernationalist Party

These pro-Russia militants maintain intimate ties to the Australia First Party (AFP). For example, Boikov uses an Australia First flag as the backdrop for his YouTube videos. The AFP is racist, anti-immigrant, hyper-nationalist, and thankfully, viewed with derision by the vast majority of Australians.

Members of the Australian Cossacks are fanatical supporters of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. They tirelessly promote his expansionist foreign policies while vehemently denouncing Putin’s more moderate political opponents like Aleksei Navalny.

Could the Angry Photographer be a Russian asset? That seems highly dubious. No competent intelligence officer would consider Ken Wheeler stable or trustworthy enough for that kind of role.

Ken Wheeler is What Lenin Called a “Useful Idiot”

More likely, the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis is what Lenin called a “useful idiot.” He believes and spreads the official Putin party line the Australian Cossacks feed him without even having to be enticed or coerced.

It’s unclear what Ken Wheeler’s motives are in claiming to be an expert on the Russians. However, it’s more than clear that his videos about Russia spread dangerous misinformation about them and their government.

Ken’s Evidence

Confidence in Democracy and Capitalism Wanes in Former Soviet Union
In Russia, nostalgia for Soviet Union and positive feelings about Stalin
Collapse of the Soviet Union
The Russians: Truth versus MSM Narrative
Pandemic – Why Ken’s Wrong

Preparedness – Why Ken’s Wrong

Preparedness for impending disasters, real or imagined, seems to be a big preoccupation for Ken Wheeler. Find out about his hoarding and bug-out behaviours and the odd attitude that seems to underlie them.

Since the end of World War II, a loosely organized coterie of people fearing an impending outbreak of civil disorder has existed in the United States and elsewhere. They’ve had various names over the years, including retreaters, survivalists and preppers.

Followers of this worldview share a few things in common. They’re overwhelmingly white, anti-establishment, politically right-wing and heavily armed. Also, their visions of disastrous unrest never materialize.

Their activities emphasize self-reliance, stockpiling supplies, owning remote wilderness retreats and learning suvival skills. Not everyone who’s interested in disaster preparedness is a violent fanatic, but observers have always noticed a strong undercurrent of firearm fervency within the movement.

“What They Want Is a License to Open Fire”

As the New York Times columnist Neil Genzlinger put it, “What these folks want most of all is not to protect their families — the standard explanation for why they’re doing what they’re doing — or even the dubious pleasure of being able to say to the rest of us, ‘See, I told you the world was going to end.’ What they want is a license to open fire.” 

For quite a while now, Ken Wheeler has been promoting ideas around firearms proficiency, self-reliance, stockpiling supplies, and gaining wilderness survival skills. He lifts his ideas from writers like Don Stephens, Howard Ruff and John Ramey, the latter of whom founded the group “The Prepared,” also know as “The Preppers.”

The Angry Photographer has also bought into the prepper approach to personal finance. He advocates amassing non-perishable food, land, gold, silver, ammunition, marketable skills and even vodka, since these will be the new currencies once the economy has gone to wrack and ruin.

Cabin in the Woods and Parcels of Unserviced Land

To that end, the Theoria Apophasis host has bought himself a cabin in the woods and acquired other parcels of unserviced land. He’s also been building small solar arrays so that he can go off the electrical grid.

Ken Wheeler’s propensity for gadget hoarding has him collecting a wide range of devices for things like food preservation, water purification, lighting fires, providing light, and his naive vision of living off the land.

Why does the Angry Photographer devote so much time and energy to these preparedness activities? He seems to experience delusions of impending disaster.

“Situational Awareness and Keeping His Head on a Swivel”

The Theoria Apophasis host insists he’s not a “Chicken Little.” Instead, he simply has a gift for “situational awareness” and “keeping his head on a swivel.” He claims to detest being labelled a “prepper,” perhaps more because of the term’s connotation than his disaster preparation activities themselves.

Ken Wheeler reports that he’s been aware of the coming catastrophe for the last twenty years. The irony that two decades have passed without any of his predictions coming true seems to be lost on him.

The Angry Photographer interprets current events through a lens of paranoia. His confirmation bias interprets events based on his apocalyptic, conspiratorial worldview of a “planned collapse” or “reset” of society without saying who’s planning it or why.

Word ‘Reset’ Is From Book COVID-19: The Great Reset

The Theoria Apophasis gets the word “reset” from the title of the book by the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab and Thierry Mallaret, COVID-19: The Great Reset. The book’s central thesis is “that core values of inclusivity, solidarity and trust are strong determining elements and important contributors to success in containing a pandemic.”

These values don’t sit well with Ken Wheeler. He views including those who are different, solidarity with strangers and trusting one another as naive and foolish principles that will only get you killed.

Schwab and Mallaret suggest that the pandemic might result in a societal reset that narrows the gap between rich and poor, substitutes solidarity for competition and values stability over growth. Such a world sounds disastrous to the Angry Photographer, and he declares he will never comply with it.

Believes He’s an Unappreciated Genius

This belief in preparedness for an imminent boogaloo also seems to stem from Ken Wheeler’s belief that he’s an unappreciated genius who’s made several revolutionary discoveries. In their diagnostic manual DSM 5, the American Psychiatric Association states that such thoughts are consistent with a condition called Grandiose Delusional Disorder.

Unfortunately for him, people around the Angry Photographer and recognized experts don’t accept his views. As a result, he receives a great deal of scorn and ridicule when he shares his odd ideas publicly.

Imagining a dystopian future seems to be a psychological defence mechanism. The vision of a society that has fallen apart in which his ingenuity and vastly superior knowledge give him the last laugh seems very gratifying and vindicating for the Theoria Apophasis host.

Conspiracist Temperament – Doesn’t Trust Authority

Another driver of Ken Wheeler’s preparedness proclivities is his conspiracist temperament. He doesn’t trust authority figures like doctors, scientists or the health officials who make rules about the pandemic.

The Angry Photographer tells his viewers that all governments are inherently evil. He avoids saying so in plain language, but he seems to believe the pandemic has been a government plot to enslave the masses, except for Ken Wheeler of course.

The Theoria Apophasis producer claims to fear the rise of a totalitarian government in the United States that will take away everyone’s liberty. He also seems to fear a foreign invasion by an evil empire and one or more natural disasters.

Doesn’t Seem Clear What Form Disaster Will Take

It doesn’t seem to be clear, even to Ken Wheeler himself, what form the looming societal collapse will take. Apparently, the powers that be are using some form of cascading infrastructure failure to hide the true goal of their cunning plan.

The Angry Photographer maintains a bug-out bag. He tells his viewers that it contains over $2,800 worth of gear whereas a typical deluxe survival kit costs less than $200.

He can barely lift it, and he says it takes four hours to pack or unpack. He brags that “I can honestly say that there’s nobody on this Earth that has a better go-bag.”

Bug-Out Bag Reflects His Penchant for Gadget Hoarding

Apart from a few sensible things, like a first aid kit and some ready to eat meals, the bug-out bag reflects the Theoria Apophasis creator’s penchant for gadget hoarding. It includes numerous unwieldy but impressive-looking hunting knives, a space blanket, a military-grade water filter, lots of camoflage, and a hand cranked flashlight.

Although he’s oddly coy about it, one gets the impression that the kit also contains multiple firearms and related ammunition, which seems to explain the wildly exorbitant budget. This outfit might make sense for army rangers parachuting behind enemy lines, but it’s not what emergency management experts mean by a go-bag.

Kentucky Ken’s inclusion of firearms tends to confirm Genzlinger’s impressions of trigger-happy survivalists. The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis displays enormous satisfaction describing himself opening fire to defend his property against the hoards responsible for society’s inevitable breakdown.

Couldn’t Carry His Massive Pack for More than 10 Metres

In the type of run-of-the-mill emergency for which a sensible household might keep a go-bag, Ken Wheeler’s massive duffle would be virtually worthless. His demonstration video shows that he couldn’t carry his enormous pack for more than 10 metres if his life depended on it.

The Angry Photographer is fond of saying that “redundancy is God and diversification is divine.” This attitude led him to hoard so many superfluous gadgets that selling only half of them paid for his remote cabin in full.

In addition to his hardware gadgets, the Theoria Apophasis host maintains a hoard of non-perishable food items. He claims to have enough food stocks in place to last him for at least eighteen months.

Claims to Have Enough Food Stocks for Eighteen Months

Ken Wheeler never misses a chance to endorse a prepper product called Mountain House Meals. He denies any affiliation with the company, so one wonders why he endorses their specific brand with such zeal.

The Angry Photographer also encourages his viewers to amass huge quantities of honey, claiming it never goes bad. The truth is that the best before date for raw honey is about two years, and it’s even less for processed honey.

His Long-Term Survival Food List & Accessory Items publication is a fountain of similar disinformation. For example, he encourages readers to hoard apple cider vinegar for its medicinal properties. It has none.

Encourages Readers to Hoard Alcohol, Especially Vodka

Also, while insisting he’s a teetotaler, the creator of Theoria Apophasis’s food list encourages readers to hoard alcohol, especially vodka. In his view, vodka will become the new currency during the coming apocalypse.

Alcohol is a luxury, not a necessity, and it’s the first thing people forego during a societal collapse. Ken Wheeler seems to have swallowed urban legends during his brief stay in 1990s Russia about the post-apocalyptic value of booze.

The Angry Photographer thinks his disaster preparedness will make him indispensable and independently wealthy the moment the SHTF (shit hits the fan). And yet, for two decades now, that moment has never come. There’s no reason to think it ever will.

Does He Believe Propaganda or Want to Attract Viewers?

It’s hard to tell whether Ken Wheeler believes all this paranoid propaganda or he shares it with viewers to draw a certain demographic to his YouTube channel. His videos on this topic are by far his most popular performances.

Either way, his approach to disaster preparedness is utter nonsense. It could even be dangerous if the wrong people took his survivalist, vigilante message to heart.

Ken’s Evidence

Doomsday Prep
Doomsday Has Its Day in the Sun
The Three Ways Doomsday Preppers Will Die
Survivalism and the Survivor Mindset
The Prepared
Long-Term Survival Food List & Accessory Items

Buddha’s Death – Why Ken’s Wrong

Buddha’s death gives Ken Wheeler the chance to concoct a conspiracy theory. Find out what he imagined out of thin air and why it’s poor history and even worse doctrine.

Ken Wheeler seems to be obsessed with the circumstances surrounding the Buddha’s passing. Since the Buddha died about 2,500 years ago, this may seem odd, but the Angry Photographer has very clear motives to raise this issue.

According to scripture, Buddha died after a forty-five-year career as an itinerant teacher at age 80. His health had been failing for some time with sudden, intense pains that nearly killed him on an earlier occasion.

Buddha visited the home of Cunda the metalworker, who served a meal of Sukaramaddava (tender pork). While eating, Buddha became gravely ill from abdominal pain and intestinal bleeding.

Buddha Became Gravely Ill from Abdominal Pain

Medical experts agree that the best explanation for Buddha’s death is mesenteric infarction. It’s common among the elderly, and quite fatal. The condition causes severe abdominal pain, and acute loss of blood through the rectum, which can be terminal.

The Buddha was gracious. He was more concerned that Cunda would blame himself than about his own condition. He gave his right hand-man Ananda a message for Cunda. “It is a gain to you, friend Cunda, a blessing that the Tathagata (Buddha) took his last alms meal from you, and then came to his end.”

Buddha passed away promptly and peacefully surrounded by his monks. As end of life stories go, this one is pretty uneventful. That is, until Ken Wheeler gets ahold of it.

Passed Away Peacefully Surrounded by His Monks

The Angry Photographer needs an explanation for why Buddhist scripture and traditional teaching don’t jibe with his idiosyncratic version of metaphysics, particularly about the soul and immortality. Of course, he could just accept that his beliefs aren’t consistent with original Buddhist doctrine.

For example, Aldous Huxley was a key voice for the perennialist philosophy from which Ken Wheeler derives his ideas. On the subject of “anatta,” the Buddhist concept of “no soul,” Huxley wrote:

“To give a plausible answer to these questions in terms of anatta is so difficult that we are forced to abandon the doctrine.” As we explain in more detail under Buddhist Souls – Why Ken’s Wrong, the Theoria Apophasis creator doesn’t understand perennialism which, in any case, is now a largely discredited philosophical view.

Ken Wheeler Claims Buddha Taught What He Tells Viewers

The contradiction irritates Ken Wheeler, so instead he claims the Buddha taught his monks precisely what the YouTuber tells his viewers. The trouble with that is that Buddha’s teachings weren’t written down until at least 500 years after his death.

When scribes finally committed the sutras to paper, they used Pali, a language many scholars believe the Buddha didn’t speak. So nobody, including the Angry Photographer, can claim to know his exact words.

The Theoria Apophasis host derives his odd claims in part from the work of discredited scholar Caroline Rhys-Davids’ grief-tainted misinterpretations of the no-soul doctrine. After the tragic deaths of both her son and her husband, Rhys-Davids fell into the spiritualist fad that was spreading across the UK, believing in things like mediums, seances, and out-of-body experiences.

Angry Photographer Invents Odd Conspiracy Theory

To justify his claims about the immortal soul, Ken Wheeler invents a conspiracy theory concerning the Buddha’s passing. According to the Angry Photographer, Cunda deliberately poisoned the Buddha as part of a murder plot among the monks. This is discussed in more detail at the blog The Outsider.

Their motive, according to the creator of Theoria Apophasis, was to take control of the early Buddhist movement. That enabled them to change Buddhist teaching from something conforming to Ken Wheeler’s peculiar views to what we recognize as Buddhism today.

The Angry Photographer pulls off this slight of hand through mistranslation. Cunda the metalworker (kammaraputta) now becomes “Cunda, son of the great Evil One.” Ken Wheeler transforms him into a kind of Judas figure by replacing a single word in the sutta.

Imagines “Pig’s Demise” – A Fantastical Poisonous Plant

The Theoria Apophasis creator does something even more fanciful in translating the word for the entree of the Buddha’s last meal. Tender pork (sukaramaddava) now becomes “pig’s demise,” a fantastical poisonous plant that Ken Wheeler imagines out of whole cloth.

Kentucky Ken justifies this bowdlerization of the text by claiming that Cunda couldn’t have served pork to the Buddha. He claims that the Buddha, his followers, and all Buddhists down through the ages were vegetarians.

This isn’t true, and it’s never been true. Most Buddhists eat meat, and most Buddhists always have eaten meat.

Wasn’t Unusual or Inappropriate to Serve the Buddha Pork

It wouldn’t have been remotely unusual or inappropriate for Cunda to serve tender pork to the Buddha at a dinner gathering. The only applicable restriction might be that Cunda wouldn’t slaughter a pig specifically in the Buddha’s honour.

Ken Wheeler, who clearly hasn’t raised any pigs, claims that pigs will eat anything, even deadly poison. Pigs are omnivores, but they’re actually quite intelligent and finicky about which specific plants they’ll consume.

Even so, according to the Angry Photographer, his imaginary plant was a toxic threat to the local hogs. His hypothetical deadly herb allegedly got its name because swineherds had to pull it up to protect their herds from certain death. He offers no evidence for any of this conjecture.

Kashyapa and the Flower Sermon

Why would Cunda feed his guiding light pig poison? The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis concocts the notion that he fell under the evil influence of a monk named Kashyapa.

Readers may not recognize the name Kashyapa, but they’ve probably heard this sutta about him. In the famous story of the “Flower Sermon,” rather than saying anything, the Buddha simply held up a beautiful flower in his hand.

Kashyapa was the first monk to “get the message” that the meaning that enables us to see our true nature can’t always be expressed in words. Because of that, Buddha informally looked to Kashyapa as his successor, although he never made it official.

Kashyapa Chaired a Meeting After Buddha’s Death

Shortly after Buddha’s death, Kashyapa chaired a meeting with Buddha’s trusty aide Ananda as secretary, to agree on what Buddhism should teach going forward. Ken Wheeler believes that Kashyapa seized this opportunity to change Buddhist teachings from ideas consistent with the thoughts of Ken Wheeler to his own nefarious agenda.

Long story short, according to the Angry Photographer, Kashyapa convinced Cunda to feed poison pig mushrooms to the Buddha. That way, Kushyapa could compose and preach a twisted doctrine of Buddhism. Mind you, they did this after waiting around for 45 years to do the Buddha in.

Now that the Buddha was 80 and having near fatal attacks of dysentery, one wonders why they’d bother. At that point they could have simply bided their time for another few months.

Why Would Buddha Bless Such Diabolical Traitors?

One also has to wonder why the Buddha gave his blessing to both Cunda and Kashyapa if they were both such diabolical traitors. It also seems strange that Buddha would be fooled into eating infamously poisonous plants.

How would someone get their hands on a noxious scourge that all the local farmers were determined to wipe out? Why would Buddha’s long-suffering assistant Ananda tolerate Kashyapa perverting teachings Ananda had studiously memorized? Why would Ananda take part in such a corrupt meeting?

The Angry Photographer appears to be confusing (deliberately perhaps) Kashyapa with Devadatta, who was another monk at the time. Devadatta was the Buddha’s cousin and thought he should take over the Buddha’s movement. Buddha rejected him harshly.

Devadatta Made Three Failed Murder Attempts on Buddha

This rival monk then made three unsuccessful attempts on the Buddha’s life. The first involved hired assassins.

The assassins refused to carry out the murder, which makes one wonder why Cunda would go through with a similar plan. Devadatta also tried to drop a boulder on the Buddha but missed and reportedly unleashed a drugged elephant on him, which caused no harm. These legends make Devadatta seem like an ancient version of Wile E. Coyote.

Devadatta believed in harsher ascetic practices, just as the Theoria Apophasis creator tries to claim Kashyapa did. Incidentally, one of Devadatta’s draconian measures was mandatory vegetarianism, which the Buddha rejected.

Good Clickbait, but Poor History and Even Worse Doctrine

Devadatta died before the Buddha. Apparently, this inconvenient fact led Ken Wheeler to feel he had to shoehorn parts of Devadatta’s tales into the Buddha’s death story through mistranslation.

Nothing in Ken Wheeler’s conspiracy theory makes any sense, and things that don’t make sense aren’t true. The Angry Photographer’s treacherous tale of intrigue may make good click bait, but it’s very poor history and even worse doctrine.

Again, one has to feel sorry for Ken Wheeler. He’s written a lengthy, verbose, and convoluted treatise on this topic. Imagine all the useful things he might have accomplished instead.

Ken’s Evidence

The Assassination of the Buddha
Mahaparibanna Sutta
How the Buddha Died
The Great Buddhist Conspiracy Theory

Buddhist Souls – Why Ken’s Wrong

Buddhist souls seem to oddly preoccupy Ken Wheeler. Find out why his views insult Buddhist doctrine and how we know the Angry Photographer’s ideas would offend the historical Buddha.

Walpola Rahula Thero, an authoritative Buddhist scholar, wrote this about Buddhist views on the human soul. “Buddhism stands unique in the history of human thought in denying the existence of such a Soul, Self or Atman. According to the teaching of the Buddha, the idea of self is an imaginary false belief which has no corresponding reality, and it produces harmful thoughts of ‘me’ and ‘mine.'”

The respected Buddhist linguist and statesman, Gunapala Piasina Malalasekera wrote that Buddhism “asserts that this belief in a permanent and a divine soul is the most dangerous and pernicious of all errors, the most deceitful of illusions.” Nanatiloka Mahathera, a German-born Buddhist monk and scholar wrote that, “The Buddha teaches that what we call ego, self, soul, personality, etc. are merely conventional terms not referring to any real independent entity.”

In his On Anatta/Anatman in Fact and Doctrine, Ken Wheeler poses the question “If the Buddha disbelieved in an atman (soul) why did he not deny the atman unambiguously? There is no such denial.”

Buddha Denied Soul’s Existence in His Second Sermon

Well, as a matter of fact, there is. It’s in the Anatta Lakkhana Sutta (SN 22:59; III 66-69), one of the earliest Buddhist scriptures we have. In fact, it’s the second sermon the Buddha ever preached, and it explains the term “anatta” (no soul) on which the Angry Photographer claims to be the world’s foremost authority.

In it, the Buddha says, ““Whatever consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all consciousness should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my soul (atta).’” (Emphasis added)

The Theoria Apophasis host dismisses this scripture, saying that it excludes what he calls the “higher consciousness” or the “higher self” as taught by Plato. However, as we see in the text, the Buddha goes out of his way to exclude any sort of subtle, external, superior or distant consciousness. He emphasizes, “all consciousness.”

Ken Wheeler Needs to Cite Buddha Saying We Have Souls

If the Theoria Apophasis host wants to make the extraordinary claim, contrary to conventional Buddhist doctrine, that Buddha explicitly taught the existence of an immortal soul, he needs to cite a passage where the historical Siddhartha Gotama says that. It’s not up to his critics to prove the opposite.

Asking others for a denial doesn’t validate Ken Wheeler’s assertion. In the context of the above citations on consciousness and personality, it’s much more valid to ask why the Buddha never affirmed an immortal soul if, as Ken Wheeler insists, its existence was one of his core beliefs.

Contrary to what Ken Wheeler tries to argue, the Buddha didn’t teach any sort of permanent consciousness or higher self. In short, according to scripture, he taught that we have no soul.

According to Scripture, Buddha Taught We Have No Soul

In the above verse, the Buddha specifically uses the Pali word atta for soul. This is the root of the Pali word anatta (no-soul) on which the Angry Photographer claims to be the world’s foremost authority.

Readers familiar with the Buddhist belief in reincarnation may be wondering how this no-soul teaching relates to the idea of rebirth in a new body after death. The Buddha noticed two schools of thought on what happens when we die back in his day.

The first view was annihilism. In this view, we simply cease to exist when we die and there is no consciousness beyond the grave.

Two Schools of Thought on What Happens When We Die

The other extreme was eternalism, the view that we have an eternal soul. Followers of this school of thought believed that the soul is endlessly reborn in a cycle of karma and reincarnation.

Buddha rejected both views in favour of what he called paticca-samuppada, which is usually translated as “dependent arising.” He taught that twelve attachments cause the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

These attachments are like links in a chain. They include ignorance, mental formations, consciousness, name and form, the senses, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, becoming, birth, and aging and death.

Buddha Taught a Middle Way on Reincarnation

As in so many things, the Buddha taught a middle way between an absolute end and an immortal soul. According to Buddha, our attachments are what reincarnates, which is why it’s essential to work toward releasing these clingings rather than wasting time and effort arguing about a hypothetical soul.

Because he viewed these arguments as pointless, the Buddha maintained what his followers called the “Noble Silence” about certain topics, particularly the immortal soul. He felt that thinking about them was a pointless distraction, and that arguing about them was counterproductive.

So, he rarely said anything about these topics one way or the other. The Culamalunkya Sutta is one of the oldest and most authentic Buddhist scriptures we have. It’s another one of those original, authentic sources on which Ken Wheeler brags about being such an expert.

“‘The Soul Is the Same as the Body’ I Have Left Undeclared”

In this sutta, the Buddha says, The soul is the same as the body’ — I have left undeclared. ‘The soul is one thing and the body another’ — I have left undeclared.

“After death a Tathagata (one who has become enlightened) exists’ — I have left undeclared. ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist’ — I have left undeclared. After death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist’ — I have left undeclared. ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’ — I have left undeclared.

“Why have I left that undeclared? Because it is unbeneficial, it does not belong to the fundamentals of the spiritual life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why I have left it undeclared.”

“Does Not Lead to Enlightenment, to Nibbana.”

These questions, including the nature of the soul and life after death, are simply not the Buddha’s priority. They’re distractions and they cause pointless arguments. Buddha wanted his followers to ignore them, and to focus on his moral code, the Eightfold Path.

Despite all of this, the Angry Photographer is very determined to convince others of his own views on an immortal soul and the afterlife. He’s especially fond of a radio analogy to explain his spiritual paradigm.

For the Theoria Apophasis host, the experience of radio consists of the broadcast, the receiver and the signal. A radio receiver alone can’t be the broadcast, because in the absence of the signal, the receiver can offer only static.

Radio Analogy, Signal Represents Our Immortal Soul

The signal, of course, represents our immortal soul, which animates our bodies (receivers). The signal continues even if the batteries in our receiver go dead or if the receiver breaks down.

So it takes both a signal and a receiver to make a broadcast. Ken Wheeler says they’re “consubstantial.” He thinks our body and our soul are consubstantial, too.

Consubstantial is a term from Christian theology. It means “of one substance,” which is precisely the opposite of what the Angry Photographer means when he misuses this word.

Consubstantiality Has Nothing to Do with Buddhism

Consubstantiality refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all being one God rather than to the bodies and souls of everyday people. More to the point, it has nothing to do with Buddha’s teachings.

Since the Angry Photographer is dead wrong about Buddhist scriptures, there’s an even more ironic logical fallacy underlying his claims. He arbitrarily decrees that all religious debates must be Sola Scriptura.

Sola Scriptura is a Latin term coined by Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation. To overcome the corruption he thought was plaguing the Roman Catholic Church at that time, he insisted that all doctrinal claims be justified based on scripture from the Bible, and not appeals to church authority.

Sola Scriptura Has Nothing to Do with Buddhism Either

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is by no means universal within Christianity. If theologians adopted this stance in the literal way the Theoria Apophasis host advocates, they would have nothing to discuss with each other.

More to the point, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura has nothing to do with Hinduism or Buddhism. No Buddhist scriptures were documented until at least 500 years after the Buddha’s death.

The Buddha himself specifically opposes Ken Wheeler’s Sola Scriptura approach in the Kalama Sutta. This is yet another one of those Pali scriptures about which Kentucky Ken claims to be such an authority.

“Do Not Go Upon What Is in a Scripture” – Buddha

Asked how to distinguish between true and false doctrines, the Buddha cautions his followers as follows. “Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture.”

The Buddha called on Buddhists to think for themselves rather than taking the Angry Photographer’s Sola Scriptura approach. He asks, “What do you think, Kalamas? Does delusion appear in a man for his benefit or harm?” His followers reply “For his harm, venerable sir.” 

We’ve seen the symptoms of grandiose delusional disorder include believing one is an unrecognized genius and/or one has made one or more important discoveries. We’ll let readers draw their own conclusions.

“Any Fool In Error Can Find a Verse of Scripture”

There’s a saying attributed to Shakespeare that goes, “Any fool in error can find a verse of scripture to back him up.” The Angry Photographer is living proof of this.

In addition to Sola Scriptura, Kentucky Ken also makes another self-serving stipulation. He insists that any debate be limited to his own narrow definition of “original Buddhism.”

In other words, he seeks to restrict any discussion of Buddhism to sayings attributed directly to the Buddha in the scriptures called the Nikayas. He has an ulterior motive for imposing this limitation as well.

Insists on “Original” to Duck Key Passages Denying Soul

This constraint enables him to duck any and all later commentary by other authors recorded in ancient Buddhist scripture. It’s a maneuver to rule out the most cited Buddhist scriptural passage denying the soul’s existence, which goes like this.

“For suffering is, but no sufferer. Not the doer, but certainly the deed is found. Peace is, but not the appeased one. The way is, but the walker is not found.”

This was written by the revered scholar Buddhaghosa, who organized and systematized the teachings found in the Buddha’s many dialogues. He’s remembered for his scrupulous research and authenticity.

Equivalent to Christian Scholar Refusing to Read Epistles

The Angry Photographer also uses his originality restriction to avoid discussing passages in the vast body of commentary in the Pali Canon called the Abhidamma. This is roughly the equivalent of a Christian scholar refusing to even read any of the epistles in the New Testament or a Muslim scholar denying any relevance to the Hadiths.

When all else fails, the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis routinely resorts to mistranslation to impose his dogma onto Buddhist and other ancient writings. One of his more egregious distortions is to mistranslate the Pali word citta – which, according to the Pali Text Society, means “heart” – as “soul.”

Citta can mean the organ in our chest. More often, as in English, it also symbolizes love, hope or compassion, as in “Don’t be so mean, have a heart,” or “Keep going, don’t lose heart.”

Citta Means “Heart” – Love, Hope or Compassion

The word citta can also refer to some aspects of our mind. Again, it works like in English when we say, “I can recite that poem off by heart,” or, “From the bottom of my heart, I believe you.”

Ken Wheeler exploits the metaphorical meanings of citta to misquote the Buddha and make his claims about the immortal soul. He manipulates texts in which the word is meant to convey love, hope or compassion to force them into meaning things they don’t.

Here’s one of countless cases in point. In one of the Buddha’s discourses the Angry Photographer likes to brag about, he says, “This is immortality, the liberated heart which does not cling.” (MN 2.265) Kentucky Ken pulls a scriptural switcheroo to render this as, “This is immortality, that being the liberated soul which does not cling (after anything).”

Incorrectly Translates “Liberated Heart” as “Liberated Soul”

Ken Wheeler incorrectly changes “liberated heart,” as in unfettered compassion, to “liberated soul.” Leaving nothing to chance, he attaches his own, invented, interpretive phrase to the end. This warped “translation” bastardizes the original meaning of the text by interpolating his false claim about the immortal soul in Buddhism.

In his more recent paper entitled A Primer on the Theurgy of Liberation as Against “Meditation” Dogma, the Theoria Apophasis host uses a different mistranslation of precisely the same passage. Here it reads, “This is immortality, that being the liberated mind/will (citta) which does not cling (after anything).”

In the same theurgy primer, the Angry Photographer cites the Pali phrase “Thitam cittam ajjhattam susanthitam suvimuttam.” Once again, he concocts his own idiosyncratic translation.

Concocts His Own Idiosyncratic Translations of Citta

In this case, he writes “With the will (citta) steadfast (upon itself) [this is] the very Soul, this is to be supremely steadfast, is to be thoroughly liberated.” The correct translation of this phrase is simply “upright heart, composed within, truly released.”

The Buddha is teaching that a righteous heart provides inner peace and freedom. So yet again, Kentucky Ken is mistranslating citta and inserting his own interpretive phrases trying to bend the text to his “will” (pun intended).

So, does the Pali word citta mean “soul,” “mind,” or “will”? These words aren’t synonyms, so it can’t mean all three things.

“A Word Means Just What I Choose It to Mean”

The answer is that in Ken Wheeler’s mind, like Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

Alice’s reply applies equally to Humpty Dumpty and Ken Wheeler when she says, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.” Neither of them pulls it off

He rarely mentions her name, but the Angry Photographer is latching onto the views of the discredited, eccentric scholar, Caroline Rhys-Davids. She earned the respect of her peers at the turn of the 20th century for her early work translating several essential Pali texts.

Latching Onto Views of Discredited, Eccentric Scholar

Tragically, Rhys-Davids’ son died in WWI and her husband, also a Buddhist scholar, passed away shortly after that in 1922. Traumatized by these losses, she fell prey to the spiritualism fad that was sweeping Britain at the time.

The celebrated scholar began taking part in seances, claimed to hear the voices of the dead, and believed her spirit could literally visit the Great Beyond by dreaming. For obvious reasons, these eccentric convictions led her to denounce the central Buddhist concept of anatta (no self/soul) in later life.

As a result, scholars view her later work as an incoherent embarrassment. Despite this, the YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis embraces her more recent misinterpretations, not for their accuracy, but for their confirmation of his own prejudices.

“No-Soul Is So Absolute There Can Be No Mistake”

We can see how far Caroline Rhys-Davids strayed from original Buddhist doctrine by going back to the following passage. Her own husband, Thomas William Rhys-Davids, wrote it forty years earlier.

“The position (of no-soul) is so absolute, so insisted on, so fundamental to the right understanding of primitive Buddhism, that it is essential that there be no mistake about it. There is no loophole, and the efforts to find one have always met with unswerving opposition, both in the pitakas (scriptures) themselves and in extracanonical texts.”

Leo Tolstoy explained, “A person who is afraid of death is one who has not lived his life properly and has broken the law of life.” Buddha taught that there were three poisons, delusion, ill-will and greed. As every post on this site shows, the Angry Photographer displays all three traits repeatedly. Buddhists would argue he has very bad karma as a result.

Revealing Comment – “Who Would Want That?”

The Theoria Apophasis host made a revealing comment in a recent video denouncing the fundamental Buddhist doctrine of anatta (no self/soul). He said, “Who would want that? It would be better to suffer a million transmigrations and a thousand mountains the size of Mount Everest.”

Whether or not the Buddha’s teachings, or any ideas, are desirable should have nothing to do with our decisions about believing them. This Freudian slip reveals that the Angry Photographer bases his worldview solely on what he wants to believe – in this case that he’s not going to die.

Ken Wheeler also espouses a worldview called perennialism. One of its key tenets is the existence of an immortal human soul.

Perennialists “Forced to Abandon Anatta Doctrine” – Huxley

Even so, leading perennialists like Aldous Huxley had to concede that Buddhism didn’t conform to their views. In his book, The Perennial Philosophy, Huxley wrote, “To give a plausible answer to these questions in terms of anatta is so difficult that we are forced to abandon the doctrine.”

Ken Wheeler could simply accept, like Huxley, that the Buddha’s ideas differ from his own. Instead, Kentucky Ken resorts to misinterpretation of Buddhist scriptures while claiming to be the world’s foremost authority on anatta.

So, the Theoria Apophasis host also doesn’t understand perennialism. Even if he did, perennialism isn’t as widely accepted by scholars as it once once.

Perennialism Not as Widely Accepted as It Once Was

Philosopher Herman T. Katz published a devastating paper in 1978 refuting the claim that all religions stem from a common root.

Katz made the case for respecting these cultural differences rather than shoehorning them into “perennial philosophy.” He explained the advantages, writing, “One is in a position to respect the richness of the experiential and conceptual data involved in this area of concern: ‘God’ can be ‘God’, ‘Brahman’ can be ‘Brahman’ and ‘Nirvana’ can be ‘Nirvana,’ without any reductionist attempt to equate ‘God’ with Brahman’, or ‘Brahman’ with ‘Nirvana.”‘

Ken Wheeler is entitled to believe anything he wants about the soul and the afterlife. He’s not entitled to put words in the Buddha’s mouth.

“Look at Each Other with Understanding” – Buddha

In the Bahuvediniya Sutta, Buddha explains to his trusted aid, Ananda. “If one does not approve another’s view, appreciating and accepting it, this kind of thing could happen and quarrels, fights, disputes and verbal fights would ensue. Therefore you should be united, open hearted, should co-operate like milk and water, and should look at each other with understanding and abide.”

Ken Wheeler has many ironic opinions. In this case, he tries to assert his dubious expertise about Buddhism by violating one of the Buddha’s most authentic and fundamental tenets. And yet, he persists.

Ken’s Evidence

On Anatta/Atman
Culamalunkya Sutta
Citta – Standard Translation from Pali Text Society Pali-English Dictionary
Unanswered Questions in Buddhism
Language, Epistemology and Mysticism

Magnetism – Why Ken’s Wrong

Magnetism is one of Ken Wheeler’s most intense obsessions. Find out why the Theoria Apophasis creator is wrong about magnetism and why experts in the field view him with derision.

Magnetism fascinates people. The attraction and repulsion we see when we play with magnets feels both magical and compelling.

Those qualities have also attracted their share of frauds like Franz Mesmer, from whose odd notions about magnetic healing we get the word “mesmerized.” Ken Wheeler seems to be trying to carry on Mesmer’s deceptive tradition.

Understanding how magnets work correctly is more difficult than people think. We couldn’t do it until scientists acquired a detailed understanding of both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

Magnets Would Be Impossible Under Classical Physics

Eventually, Hendreka van Leeuwen proved in 1921 that magnets should be impossible if we rely on the traditional laws of classical physics. Her discovery led scientists to seek answers by applying new principles derived from Special Relativity and Quantum Theory.

Modern physics has shown that the reason some substances are magnetic is a quantum principle. Electrons, like other fermion particles, maintain symmetrical wave functions, which includes their magnetic properties.

Particle physicists call these magnetic properties “spin.” Atoms have an overall spin based on the sum of the spins of all the electrons they contain.

Magnet Is an Object In Which Atoms Have Aligned Spins

A magnet is an object whose atoms all have aligned overall spins. Science calls the process by which the atoms in magnets align their spins “exchange interaction.”

This elegant, empirically proven explanation poses a threat to Ken Wheeler. He insists in the face of all facts and reason that electrons, quantum mechanics and relativity can’t exist.

In a vain attempt to prove the impossible, the Angry Photographer has cobbled together a loose amalgam of misguided and contradictory theories on how magnets work. These notions are based on outmoded, pseudoscientific beliefs.

Claims He’s the Only One Who Understands Magnetism

Kentucky Ken claims to be “the first human being on Earth to uncover magnetism. and how it works.” He seems to mean this literally, and to be completely sincere about it, calling it “one of the greatest secrets of nature.”

To begin with, the Angry Photographer’s bizarre notions about electromagnetism aren’t even original. Although he denies any connection, he has largely derived, not to say copied, his ideas from a movement called the Electric Universe.

Specifically, Ken Wheeler has scooped up his dogma from the obscure, eccentric, electrical engineer Eric Dollard. He gives Dollard only scant credit for the ideas he’s appropriated from him. Ironically, when the Angry Photographer finally got to meet his hero, Dollard rebuffed him.

Eric Dollard’s Followers Deny Gravity or Nuclear Forces

Mind you, Dollard doesn’t warrant much credit, since he claims electrons don’t exist, that a disproven substance called the ether does, and that the Maxwell Equations, which physicists and electrical engineers apply daily, are “of dubious practical value.”

Followers of this movement believe, in one form or another, that the only force of nature is electricity, or electromagnetism. They deny the existence of gravity or the nuclear forces.

While distancing himself from the movement, the idea of a single natural force is a central tenet of the Theoria Apophasis producer’s theories on magnetism.The Angry Photographer has self-published a book entitled Uncovering the Missing Secrets of Magnetism.

“Conjugate Magneto-Dielectric Geometry of the Universe”

It purports to explore “the nature of Magnetism, with regards to the true model of atomic geometry and field mechanics by means of rational physics & logic.” The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis praises his own book, declaring that it “reveals a huge secret that’s existed for thousands of years.”

The secret to which Ken Wheeler refers is his so-called “conjugate magneto-dielectric geometry of the entire Universe.” He bases his geometric model on two shapes, the torus (donut) and the hyperboloid (hourglass). His diagram may help.

The Angry Photographer claims that the two shapes are negative images of one another. They’re not. He claims that when combined, the two shapes form a sphere. They don’t. The British scientist behind the YouTube channel AB science debunks these claims in more detail here.

The Theoria Apophasis host tells us the torus is the “magnetic” part of the field while the hyperboloid represents the “dielectric.” Science tells us there’s no such thing as a dielectric field, and a magnet’s shape determines the shape of the magnetic field it causes. It’s not necessarily donut-shaped.

Michelson-Morley Experiment Disproves Ether’s Existence

Beyond all that, the central flaw underlying Ken Wheeler’s ideas about electromagnetism is that he believes in “the ether.” We explain in depth how the Michelson-Morley Experiment disproves the ether’s existence under Field Theory – Why Ken’s Wrong and the YouTuber Planarwalk also shares a more in-depth debunking of the Angry Photographer’s ethereal claims.

Having realized that electromagnetic waves don’t need a medium like the ether, scientists came to understand that electromagnetism has both wavelike and particle-like properties. which generated the revolutionary theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

These are two of the most successful theories in the history of science. Although they’re counterintuitive, they’ve been confirmed by countless experiments and they’ve predicted phenomena that their originators couldn’t have known about. Further, we now know Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are the only reasons magnetism can exist.

Fundamentally Opposes Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

Ken Wheeler desperately wants to believe in the ether. For reasons best known to himself, he fundamentally opposes both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

The Angry Photographer stubbornly refuses to accept the dual nature of electromagnetism; that it has both wavelike and particle-like attributes. He also irrationally denies the existence of photons and electrons.

The creator of Theoria Apophasis devotes an especially large amount of effort to ridiculing the concept of virtual photons. He insists that “they’re not the input or output of any experiment.”

Falsely Denies Virtual Photon Experiment Results

This is demonstrably false. In 1947, Willis Lamb and Robert Retherford conducted an experiment to measure hydrogen’s microwave spectrum.

They observed an energy discrepancy, from which they discovered virtual photons. Physicists now call this discrepancy the Lamb shift, and Lamb received the Nobel Prize for it back in 1955.

More recently, virtual photons are also the output the well-known A. A. Stahlhofen and G. Nimtz quantum tunnelling experiment. They explained how virtual photons resulted from their work in the peer-reviewed science journal Europhysics Letters in 2006.

Peculiar Aspect: Obsession with Digital Photography

The most peculiar aspect of this refusal to believe in photons or electrons is that the Angry Photographer is obsessed with digital photography gear. For example, he denies Einstein’s photoelectric effect. Yet every time he takes pictures, the sensors in his high-priced cameras convert photons into electrons.

The Theoria Apophasis host tries to impose his notions about magnetism onto a phenomenon that continues to puzzle astrophysicists. The fact that it’s not yet fully understood gives him the chance to make up explanations for it that confirm his odd ideas.

Scientists call the phenomena astrophysical jets. They’re unimaginably massive linear streams of high energy gas that flow out of stars and even galaxies.

Extragalactic Jets Confirm Einstein’s Special Relativity

Physicists call the ones galaxies emit “extragalactic jets.” They’re the largest known structures in the Universe.

Apart from their size, extragalactic jets interest scientists because they contain relativistic particles, and they seem to travel very close to the speed of light. Studying them confirms Enstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, and it may also help us to better understand the power source of the galaxies that emit them.

Ken Wheeler has pounced on this frontier of science to try to confirm his discredited ideas about magnetism. He claims to have realized the jets’ true nature through a “profound revelation” he’s had.

Falsely Claims Jets Are Spontaneous Generation of Hydrogen

The Angry Photographer arbitrarily decrees without evidence that extragalactic jets arise from the massive black holes at the centres of galaxies. He claims that the jets “must necessitatively be ab-extra spontaneous generation of the hydrogen.”

Of course, this is impossible. Readers will realize that one of the basic principles of our Universe is the conservation of energy. Although we can convert energy into matter and vice versa, there’s no way for a black hole to generate matter such as hydrogen gas spontaneously.

The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis attributes his supposed spontaneous matter generation to the fact that black holes lie at “the gyromagnetic axis of the plane of inertia of the centre of that galaxy or of the supermassive black hole.”

Neither Black Holes Nor Galaxies Are Magnetic

The problem with this “explanation” is that neither black holes nor galaxies are magnetic phenomena. As explained in more detail under Gravity -Why Ken’s Wrong, both result from gravity, a separate force from magnetism.

Although Ken Wheeler tries to take all the credit for his notions about magnetism, they’re essentially the brainchild of Eric Dollard’s misguided Electric Universe movement. He shares three objections with them.

He doesn’t want to believe in photons or electrons. He doesn’t want to believe that the speed of light is constant. Above all, he clings to the notion of the ether like an insecure child to a security blanket.

Some Other Pseudoscientific Jargon for the Ether

The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis has some other pseudoscientific jargon for the ether. He also calls it “counter space” and the “dielectric.” These are terms Ken Wheeler has lifted from Dollard, who fell into such disrepute that he found himself living out of his car.

In Ken Wheeler’s mind, everything is a disturbance (perturbation) of the ether/counter space/dielectric in various forms (modalities). Ice, water and steam are all the same thing, and so are gravity, magnetism and electricity. They’re just “incommensurate”(the same only different).

Of course, nature is under no obligation to make sense to the Angry Photographer. The best explanation we have that covers all of the evidence is that there is no ether, that both photons and electrons exist, and that the speed of light is constant in every frame of reference.

If All You Have is the Ether, Everything Looks Like a Magnet

There’s a tragic aspect to Ken Wheeler’s obsession with magnetism. His self-published book on the subject runs 622 pages. He claims it took him twenty years to write and he’s uploaded multiple editions.

Ken Wheeler is fond of saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In his case, it’s more apt to say, “If all you have is the ether, everything looks like a magnet.”

All the time, labour, and expense that the Angry Photographer has devoted to his book on magnetism have been for nothing. His entire body of work on magnetism is empirically unsound and logically invalid.

Scientists Refuse to Give His Quackery a Forum

His work hasn’t come to the attention of many scientists. Most of the few who have noticed it haven’t had the patience to debunk it, and refuse to give his quackery a forum.

There’s one notable exception. He’s the British physicist and YouTuber mentioned above, who uses the handle AB science. He specializes in magnetism.

Along with the above link, he’s created a complete series of videos in response to Ken Wheeler’s unsubstantiated claims about magnetism. He debunks all of the Theoria Apophasis originator’s odd misconceptions about electromagnetism and physics in general.

AB Science Points Out Misuse of Language

Beyond that, AB science also points to the character flaws necessary to generate the Angry Photographer’s nonsensical books and videos on the topic.

One of the most helpful contributions AB science makes is to point out Ken Wheeler’s misuse of words and language. The Angry Photographer invents meaningless jargon and misuses the few genuine scientific terms on which he relies.

Portrait of a Pitiable, Insecure Man

In the end, AB science leaves us with a portrait of a pitiable, insecure man. Ken Wheeler’s ideas are laughable, but his motivations inspire a sad kind of fellow-feeling.

We’re all vulnerable to this kind of motivated reasoning. Without the discipline of the scientific method, any of us could fall into the same trap as Ken Wheeler.

“There but for fortune go you and go I.”

Phil Ochs

Ken’s Evidence

Uncovering the Missing Secrets of Magnetism
Ken L. Wheeler
Theoria Apophasis on Magnetism
Evanescent modes are virtual photons

Photography – Why Ken’s Wrong

Photography, at least second hand photo gear, is one topic where Ken Wheeler receives some qualified respect from his YouTube peers. Find out why he’s still wrong about the art, craft and business of photography.

Ken Wheeler is best known as the Angry Photographer. So you’d think he’d be an expert, working, full-time photographer.

As with many aspects of Ken’s life, the truth about the situation is surprisingly odd. Virtually no-one has ever seen a professional quality, studio photograph taken by Ken Wheeler.

Worse, the Angry Photographer has been caught representing the work of other photographers, such as Robert Haldane, and Elena Polakova as his own on his YouTube channel. There can be no greater sin than this in the professional photography world.

There Can Be No Greater Sin in the Photography World

A few professional photographers have invited Kentucky Ken to join them on photo shoots. These have included Jason Lanier and Darren Miles.

In both cases, the Angry Photographer’s results were underwhelming. The high-end, professional gear he brought along was very impressive, but compared to his hosts, his results were not.

Ken Wheeler has an Instagram site. On it, we can see a few selfies and snapshots featuring him, his homes and his pickup truck.

A Few Selfies and Snapshots of His House and Truck

Unlike all other professional photographers, we don’t see any examples of product photography, weddings, formal portraits, fashion models, still lifes, sports, wildlife, or landscapes. Nobody has been able to locate a website or professional portfolio promoting Ken Wheeler as a professional photographer anywhere on the Internet.

The Angry Photographer has retorted that his portfolio is for paying customers only. That would be an odd approach. Most photographers use their websites to market themselves to as many potential clients as possible.

They may keep specific finished products out of the public eye to respect client privacy, but their portfolios aren’t a deep, dark secret. Many wonder if the Theoria Apophasis creator has a photographic portfolio at all.

Many Wonder if Ken Wheeler Has a Portfolio At All

To give Ken Wheeler his due, he does display substantial knowledge about vintage cameras and especially lenses. He also demonstrates his repair and maintenance skills on his YouTube channel.

The Angry Photographer claims to have studied photography at the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Daytona, Florida and seems to have worked in a camera shop. His role appears to have involved both sales and repair tasks, so he has product knowledge, especially about film-based Nikon cameras and lenses.

However, he’s applied that knowledge in an odd way. The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis is a gadget collector rather than a photographer.

Gadget Collector Rather Than a Photographer

He claims to own “hundreds of Nikon lenses.” A typical working photographer needs about half a dozen of them.

These would include a normal lens, a wide angle lens and a portrait lens. Depending on their specialty, they might also use a macro lens, a telephoto lens, and a tilt-shift lens.

As in any trade, tools may accumulate over the years. An experienced photographer might still keep a dozen or more less active lenses on a shelf somewhere.

No Photographer Needs to Own “Hundreds of Lenses”

Even so, there’s no practical justification for any photographer to own “hundreds of lenses.” The self-styled Angry Photographer compulsively hoards every lens that hits the market without ever taking a picture.

In the early part of his YouTube career, Ken Wheeler gained impressive numbers of viewers and broadly positive feedback. This was for his videos reviewing new and second-hand Nikon products, especially the lenses he collects, repairs and sometimes even sells.

He often shared tips that could save hobbyists some money if they were willing to settle for used and obsolete gear, such as lenses with no vibration reduction or autofocus. Even so, some viewers thought his advice could be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Hostile, Aggressive Personality Was Off-Putting

His hostile, aggressive personality was off-putting for many viewers, although some found it entertaining, in a freak show kind of way. Others found him excessively attached to Nikon and biased or even hostile toward other brands, particularly Canon.

Nevertheless, many professional photographers concede that Ken Wheeler has informed them of helpful features of their equipment. They admit they wouldn’t have picked up these arcane hints from anyone else.

More recently, Ken Wheeler is far less committed to Nikon. It seems he had a dispute with them over borrowing product samples to review on his channel. He’s been advocating mirrorless photography products made by Fujifilm since then.

Costly, High-End Tools Few Can Afford, Even Professionals

The Angry Photographer’s recent recommendations have been directed toward Fujifilm’s premium-priced, medium format cameras and related lenses. These are costly, high-end, professional level tools that few photographers, even at the professional level, can afford.

Ironically, the Angry Photographer is now complaining about a similar dispute with Fujifilm, which also seems to have stopped lending him gear to review. Apparently, Fujifilm doesn’t think the creator of Theoria Apophasis has enough photography content to justify having him review their products.

Since he no longer borrows Fujifilm cameras for free, and he can’t afford to buy them, he’s reduced to renting them for short terms to review them. He’s tried reviewing cameras sight unseen, but that only drew ridicule from his peers and his viewers.

Doesn’t Earn Significant Income from Photography

Oddly, Ken Wheeler has shelled out his own money on every model of Fujifilm’s elite, professional GFX cameras, each costing upwards of $10,000, when you add in the specialized new lenses they require. These additions to his camera collection are especially peculiar because, by all accounts, the Angry Photographer doesn’t earn any significant income from professional photography.

So, here’s why Ken Wheeler is wrong about photography. He’s not a professional photographer despite trying to give his viewers that impression. He doesn’t take pictures, he collects gear. Professional photographers refer to amateurs like him as having “gear acquisition syndrome.”

Although viewers found many of his early equipment recommendations helpful, they find his current videos more grudge-based than evidence-based. Also, most of the photo gear that the Angry Photographer now reviews is out of the reach of virtually all his viewers.

Doesn’t Rank Among Most-Viewed Photography YouTubers

Ken Wheeler doesn’t rank among the most-viewed photography YouTubers. The top-rated channels are all run by working, professional photographers.

These A-list commentators discuss topics like composition, light, shadow, finding subjects, storytelling, and many other creative aspects of their craft along with regular, unbiased gear reviews from all major brands. The Angry Photographer is a one-trick pony who has lost his credibility even on the product critiques that once earned him a modicum of respect.

It’s also impossible for many professional photographers to overlook Ken Wheeler’s misrepresentation of the intellectual property of others as his own – his greatest sin of all.

Ken’s Evidence

Ken Wheeler, Photography’s National Enquirer
Photography Review
The Downfall of the Angry Photographer
The Shoot Between Jason Lanier and Ken Wheeler
The Ken Wheeler Interview and Photo Walk
Official Angry Photographer