‘Will’? I Am!

My Theo-ry of Everythink
In the lead-in toThe Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, you read—or better, you hear narrated, preferably in a voice with a BBC accent: And then, one Thursday, nearly 2,000 years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realised what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a hyperspace by-pass, and so the idea was lost forever. This is not her story. You grin at the last line. Indeed, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide goes on in a completely different vein. It is a tale that, once upon a time, I enjoyed. But strangely, I’ve forgotten the plot (some might say I’ve lost it) yet I’ve often returned to the notion of a Rickmansworth meme—where a meme is an idea that spreads through a culture in the same way that successful genes do in a pool. The thought that there might be one has haunted me. Something that could revolutionise the world—what would its nature be? What might it look like? And would it be worth my while looking? Let’s suppose that there could exist an idea the magnitude of which was such that, if it became general knowledge, it would literally transform the world (for unless we allow that possibility we’d never ‘pass go’). If it turns out that we’re wrong, then no damage is done. We’d only have wasted a little time and effort which, likely as not, we’d have frittered on another trivial pursuit. Therefore, we’ve nothing to lose, and, potentially, a whole galaxy to (re)gain. And so I ponder. Would the average person recognise the Rickmansworth meme if he or she stumbled upon it like a curious incident in the dark? Because you see, I worry that it might be the sort of thing that is hard to see, even held up right against your nose. Let’s imagine what its characteristics are so as to maximize our chances. Whatever it is, it must surely be logical. It must be sound, it must be coherent, and it must make sense—common sense. It must be some sort of Golden Rule gone platinum— something that . . . I don’t know . . . has the effect of making you treat every living creature with the same reverence that you accord yourself. That would go some way towards improving the human condition, wouldn’t you agree? Additionally, if something were capable of changing the world, then it stands to reason that, for it to work, it can’t be too complicated. It would have to be something that Joe Blogs could understand. Humans being but simple creatures, the meme must be simple— simplistic even?—for it to be universally understood and applied. What would be the

good of it if only an Einstein could wrap his or her brain around its dimensions? No, it’s got be the sort of thing that makes everyone clap their hands and exclaim, ‘Aha, but of course! How obvious! Why didn’t I see it before? It was in the room with me the whole time, but there was something good on TV.’ So, something obvious in hindsight. Of that I have no doubt. But, for the first person to figure it out, it could be a different kettle of fish. Breaking new ground might not be so straightforward for that trailblazer, because the meme, however simple and easy its basis, must at the same time be a whopper. Undoubtedly it’d be all-encompassing in scope—an oak in a nutshell. Landing it could take some effort. Pulling up that turnip could take some grunt. What do you say? Do you feel inclined to join me? If so, let’s saddle up and start our search. Tally ho, on with the hunt and, as a teacher was wont to speed me on my way to the school’s dental clinic, “The best of British luck!” Never mind that I don’t live in that part of the world. In the pursuit of our quarry, I’m expecting to cover quite a lot of territory. There’s the whole wide world web there for us to explore. We’re bound to trespass across all sorts of jealously-ring-fenced fields. We’re likely to step on a fair few toes and put the odd nose out of joint. Along the way, people with a vested interest in various ideologies—I allude to religion, cosmology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, sociology and so forth— are liable to be offended. That can’t be helped; you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. So, are you up for some rough-and-tumble? If I had my way—and why on earth shouldn’t I; am I not as worthy as any other person?—any world-changing idea worth its salt would lick the boxes of a long list of interconnected concerns (see Appendix 1 for my entire list). For my money, it needs to address questions such as: Is there a meaning to life? What is death? Is there such a thing as reincarnation? Is there an afterlife? Is there a God in charge, and what sort of a job does she think she’s doing? Does granny’s dear, wee, sweet pet have a soul? What is the nature of good and evil? What is the essence of time? Is the universe, like diamonds, forever? Is there a ‘right’ religion—one we’re meant to follow and never ever question? How does love fit into the box? (Were the Beatles right?) What is sex for, and is it okay? (Again, see under Beatles.) What merit, if any, lies in abstaining from alcohol, drugs, meat and tobacco? Are humans really at the top of the pole? What should I, personally, do with my life? Do I have an assigned role or am I free to please myself? Should we act ‘selfishly’ or is it better to devote ourselves to the lives of others? Is the pursuit of happiness an admirable goal? Is there such a thing as free will? Is everything predetermined, or can we change the future? Why are there wars, poverty, starvation and terrorism, and what can we do about them? Isn’t it a waste of time and effort to try to save the world? If there is a higher power, why doesn’t he, she or it appear to give a damn? Does anyone really know what it’s all about, or are we all just floundering in the dark? Is there a mountaintop guru that we can approach for help? Is it even possible to become enlightened? If so, where’s the manual? Okay, I don’t deny that this is a formidable set of questions, so is it pie in the sky for me to expect to resolve, not just one of them—enough in itself to induce a reader to keep turning (and me writing) these pages—but all. All those birds killed with a single stone! That would seem to be an unimaginably tall order. Nevertheless, I do insist that I’m after an idea-meme that is able to explain everything—completely, and to my utter satisfaction. Yes, I’m asking for the earth here, but why settle for anything less? Simply put, I want a full and frontal grand solution—logically elegant and overarching—to every

Big Question ever thought of. Goodness, wouldn’t such a thing deserve a suitably grand title? How about: The Theory of Everything? No, that’s been used by a bunch of egghead scientists . . . or at least attempted. Let me tweak that appellation a little. There, here’s what we’ll call it from now on, The Theory of Everythink. But now let’s remuster. If you would, step back a pace or two from the windmill and lower your lances. Because really, to claim that I’m after a single answer—I must confess that that isn’t quite accurate. I shouldn’t raise the reader’s expectations quite that high. What I’ll unearth isn’t Universal Acid, exactly. Rather, it is a key, tool or device with which to pry at chinks in the chastity belt of the human condition. Anticipate from me a philosopher’s stone, though without the Midas touch. It will still require from its wielder a little elbow grease and patience—wax on; wax off—but take heart. Don’t doubt that it will prove powerful enough to rip apart the old mechanism by which the world as we know it operates, permitting us to construct a new and marvellous substitute. The time and the effort spent will be well worth it. You’ll win the hand of the princess, and the crown to the kingdom too. The Theory of Everythink will hand you everything on a platter, since it will suffice to flesh out a brand-spanking ideology: Ism (‘I’ ‘is’ at this ‘M’oment). Now, that’s better than any three wishes.

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism All we are saying is give peace a chance
Help! Am I serious? Look at the trouble John got himself into when he observed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Surely this is so not the right thing to get involved with. I too used to swear that if there’s anything we didn’t need, it’s another ‘ism’. And yet, we’re at that crossroads. The girl at the start of The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Universe? She is me (you can be Arthur Dent). But hey! Stranger things have happened. You’ll recall another young woman in a café who once scribbled down ideas on its serviettes for a series of children’s books. Now look at her—richer than the Queen of England! In my own restaurant-at-the-end-of-the-universe, middle-age has brought me to what most would regard as an unusual personal perspective. Over the years I’ve developed my own take on Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, one that is, well, pretty much unique—a case of ‘and now for something completely different’ (sorry for the schoolboy humour, but that’s who I am). Just like Thaddeus Golas, Charles Eisenstein, Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and others, I feel that I owe it to the greater universe to get those thoughts out there, and I hereby devote myself to that mission. For the benefit of all, I promise to make available, and then continue to refine, retune and revise, my magnum opus. But let me pause for another breather (I’ll be doing a lot of that). At this point it’s time for me provide an inkling of where all this is headed. A kindly teaser, if you like. A brief note of explanation from your well-wishing sponsor. Given that this book is meant mainly for my own edification, is there any point in sharing it with anyone? I mean, will it be worth the trouble for you to read it? To help you make up your mind on that score, and decide whether you ought to cut your losses and run or stick with the project for a while, I’ll offer up an appetizer.

you might want to try the following on for size. there is such a beast) I plan to write it. why not impress friends and influence people by untangling a little Gordian knot. They tinkered with their wheels within wheels in a vain attempt to make their construct work. . You’d count the sleeps. it’s taken me half a lifetime to reach this point. and our wish came true. When my brother and I were kids. To make a start somewhere. We accidentally invented a time-machine. here’s my philosophy. It won’t take you that long to get through. Consider the first assertion. Ready? Okay. and the implications imbibed? I don’t believe so. If. It would seem. we couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive. It reminds one of those thingamyjigs called celestial spheres or astrolabes devised by ancient cosmologists to try to show how the sun. . it’s . People have long since taken them on board—albeit with a grain of metaphorical salt.” Ah yes. but don’t you see? In that condiment lies the rub. that I have. the personal philosophy that I’ve arrived at could be expressed in just one sentence that I may as well test out on you right now. but they’re also old hat. It did not. December dragged. How many more to go until Christmas morning? My brother and I wanted to speed the process along. then. Or. boys. I guess I’m going to have to provide a certain amount of scaffolding before I splash about with the undiluted potion. then it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m going to have to eke my thinking out over the course of more than a word. this time in a single word—one originally coined by Neale Donald Walsch. but I reckon on it lasting me a lifetime. It underpins every worldview. Time to suck in my cheeks and spit out a tintack or two. Okay. . life is a single-entity achronological simulacrum. Have they. Second. sentence. Again. I contend. Applorange. One day early in the year. Read them and weep. because this will allow us to begin our approach to the solution of all solutions. And so is everyone today. Let me pick at a couple of oft-aired but poorly understood aphorisms. that neither the sentence nor the word would leave the apprentice any the wiser. I can imagine what you’re thinking. Resounding silence . then our civilisation would crumble since all our philosophical structures depend on time. with the I. . I think a book is on the cards. They were deluded. And. in the spirit of a 100minute bible (yes. it’s trite. Not only are those ideas already in the milieu. and they were wrong. in case that is too much of an earful. you already know that I consider it my work to tease out the strands of life’s larger questions. Well.As mentioned earlier. In those days it came without the hype and commercialism. It didn’t go over? Dang! That’s what I was afraid of. I say that time ought not to be so central to our ‘thinkering’. that you require some context. stars and planets all revolved around the Earth. . cutting down to the bottom line. time and space do not exist. Virginia. I can trace my suspicions about time back to my childhood. But what if time as we know it—as we think we know it—is just so much bollocks? If time was discovered to be a fanciful artefact. I think that the underlying message has been overlooked. I’m not having much luck here. paragraph or even essay. . honestly ingested slash digested those concoctions unadulterated? Have they fully imported them into the fabric of their lives? Have their consequences been distilled. Their mechanisms revolve around it. and that a world view or life philosophy which fully accommodated the above principles would be mindblowingly different to any previous school of thinking. all of us are one. this is nothing new. Ahem. in . Wait for it . Here it comes.Q. First. “What? Is that it then? Is that all that you’ve got for me? But come on man. The notion of time is absolutely pervasive and pivotal in our species’ culture.

But that’s precisely how the Rickmansworth meme might seem: Plane Jane on the surface. Nuggets like these. The problem. if I may say. one of us told the other. let me make you a deal. my answer works better for me than yours does— well. You didn’t follow where those ideas would lead. I persisted. unwrapping our presents—what the hell did parents mean when they said it was far better to give than to receive?—I suddenly looked up. ‘The sane man is nowhere’. That’s right. Over the following pages. You let the big one get away. You had a hold of the dragon’s tail. you need to mull over. actually. No one has developed it. May I say what a pleasure it was for me to read your book? Books. You didn't build upon that theme. “Right. This text proposes to touch on a few hoary bugbears. Until on the 25th of December. On page 222. Elsewhere in the book you state that there are six billion (and counting) answers. I’ve got that. It sets out to demolish the odd scientific pillar. I read: "The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century. an account of global energy consumption. Not realising that those words were an incantation.April say. I guess it’s only natural.'" And then. you were on the verge. all-of-us-areone idea to its logical extreme. No one has followed the idea through to the inarguable conclusion. is 'We Are All One. “Do you remember saying that stuff about a wink of a blink? ” We stopped for a second. a few pages later. I have to say that I prefer your nonfiction over your fiction (I’m speaking of style here). The first was The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. we forgot them. My patience paid dividends. Puff petered out like a candle. One of those. I was expecting a conclusion. I just had to find out its secret. time had leaped several months ahead in an instant.” It would have been a way to reassure one another that the time would come. my friend. what else have you got on offer?” Not so fast boys! Slow down a mite. and so when I started to struggle with the structure of your story. I borrowed two of them from the local library. in my opinion. We had. is mine. I then read The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century. no-time. ‘Thom rocks!’ But Thom. Hey. you redeemed yourself a little. those come a distant second to the content. It’ll lead you where no man has gone before. To be fair. I propose to dredge up a series of thought experiments from my past—a blast from the . but with hidden depths. Magically. is that no one has taken the no-space. you wrote that time and space do not exist. . I’ll help you chew that cud. A case of books judged by their covers and all. age et cetera. and the motto we’ll march under is. ‘Right on!’ I thought. you didn't take it any further. but then you let it go. Just as I pressed on with your book. and that time and space do not exist—appear relatively simple-minded. I grant that those aforementioned ideas—that we’re all one. Open letter to Mr Hartmann: Dear Thom. wondrously the two of us had obliterated a huge chunk of it as if it was nothing. therefore. For me. I suggest that you keep a-reading here . But rarely do I read books purely for their literary value. But look. “In a wink of a blink it will be Xmas. . great titles! Comparing the two. Now. and I never worry about a book’s condition. of every Century. And. It’s not enough merely to glance at the above statement and declare. we did. And look.

I don’t really have a gift with words. That’s why I come across as nervous and fidgety. I’ve got to follow the advice of William Butler Yeats and. and doing something quite different: beginning an intimate conversation with one reader at a time. You know very well what is coming. This book provides a crash course in thought experimentation. and then apply it. or anyway suspect it.past—that I would encourage you to replicate (do try these at home). you are moved closer to the place where artfully strewn leaves cover a hole in the ground. Although I’m certain of where I’m coming from. . Books on deep and difficult topics can trumpet and they can whisper. they work best when they just talk. they can declaim and they can hint. ascending to the high ground of objective detachment to observe the results. I’ll write simply to self-reflect and to clarify my thinking. Mensa material that I am. Either way. in a manner as close as possible to the true voice of their author. Maybe you're happy to find yourself there. But I wish that writing weren’t my only option. Therefore. I want to write a life-changing manifesto . as Mark Kingwell suggests. “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. And I’m not sure how best to utilize my “true voice”. . each plotted with argument or example or statistic. there are not many better or more interesting than walking through a good book of argument. That’s why I fuss and fret. Not all books . articulating a few genial sentiments or unobjectionable home truths designed to lure you down the false path of a deceptive familiarity. and make yourself comfortable. By subtle steps. That’s why I hesitate. scanning memory and logic and the rest of the mental horizon for a means of escape. I wouldn’t know too much about them. . But for me. I’ve elected to use the written word as my means of communicating. and I continue to remain dissatisfied after . I faced a choice between setting a trap in the traditional philosophical manner. I don’t write as good well as Kingwell. I was too preoccupied with trying to write cleverly. As trapping games go. Aha! You now think what the author thinks. I’m fearful of the responsibility. In previous attempts at putting my thoughts onto paper. entertainingly and convincingly. and I’d be pleased if I manage that job half as well as Mark (or Thom). the trap affords complicated forms of pleasure. and of where this talk will lead. because. Mark Kingwell. I’ll try to go about this in. . on cue. into conviction. I don’t want this to impede me now. “a manner as close as possible to [my] true voice”. They begin innocuously. this being a matter of such importance. seek to ensnare the reader in the author's own convictions . I’m not a natural-born killer with a pen. I get annoyed when I read over the stilted words that I wrote only the night before.” As for “traditional philosophical manner” and “objective detachment”. . I am far from certain about how best to tackle the tale. I’ve neither the gift of the gab nor the flick of the quill. You stride ahead without fear. the author of ‘In Pursuit of Happiness: better living from Plato to Prozac’ writes: We all know that some books work like ingenious traps. Be that as it may. . but at some point—if the author is any good—you fall. I don’t have the literary expertise that I feel it deserves to turn my limited understanding— concepts that I struggle with and only intermittently grasp—into words. I’ll demonstrate how the result of those experiments bears on my thinking. the point being to derive an insight as to what the implications and corollaries of those principles might be. Maybe you're feisty and seethe from your ignoble position in the trap. I wish there was a better way for us to have a conversation.

“It was always incomprehensible to me. Rumour has it that some of his personal relationships were a mess. There are things that I’m great at—of that there is no doubt—but at the same time I’m only too aware that there are other areas in which I flounder and perform worsely than hopeless. words have the power to cast spells. And I’d nod my head dumbly if you said I was ingenuous. don’t worry. After all. or rather the ideas that they express. No. Even a little girl in a Rickmansworth café may have something startling to say. a gauche and naïve personality had been sitting at my desk. not necessarily. as a result. Though I'm in the top percent in terms of conventional intelligence. But I know myself too well to be comfortable with the tag ‘genius’. But that’s probably only wishful thinking. that wasn’t such a bad turn of phrase . Like any dunderhead. were given a fair hearing. even enthusiastic resonance in the broadest strata of the population. But their thinking does not necessarily attain a higher plane. It helps to winnow out the flotsam. A person may be obsessed by something. they can hypnotise their audience into thinking along the same lines as their author. They are more likely to find employment or succeed as politicians. Would I be correct in predicting that you’re no Einstein either? If so. the universe and everything? I don't think so. Even Einstein didn’t float around with his head in the clouds for twenty-four hours a day. And I daresay that they are often more longwinded. but in some respects he was not so hot. found such a lively. Woven into gossamer webs. I wish I could be sure that penmanship wasn’t going to be an issue.” wrote old Albert.any number of drafts.” By gum. Being prepared to lend an ear only to orators licensed to speak is a cop-out surely. It would be a very unfair and unwise power-that-be to have set up such an unbalanced playing field. But does it matter? Should one have to be a genius to understand the essence of life. As for me. . They—the people—are no more trustworthy than you or I. No. That I could be sure of encountering a receptive and forgiving audience. You could easily throw out the baby with the bathwater. As . Neither they nor their opinions carry more weight. He didn’t permanently have his head stuffed full with formulae. They are no worthier. Getting back to the topic of wordsmithing. But people being people. but the technique isn’t foolproof. we look at the track record of those we listen to. especially if that picture paints itself as the largest one extant. A murderer may say something inspirational. I’d like to think that this is because of a constant. all ideas would be given equal consideration. he couldn’t imagine how his discoveries might apply to everyday life. Seriously. impress and be more successful in daily life. because neither was he. an excuse not to have to do some thinking and investigation on your own. Because what does a facility with words actually prove? Proficient practitioners of that craft may. Much has been ascribed to the myth that is mostly nonsense. Also. It behooves a person to look at the larger picture. . Einstein had to feed the cat. “why the theory of relativity. I might have to take some of what I said about the fella back. We examine their pedigree and look for the letters behind their name. I suppose. Hitler might utter something noble. but it won’t occupy her whole day. mow the lawn and visit the bathroom. language poses another difficulty in that it’s dangerous. and that my words alone. I don’t wish to denigrate the man. I would jump to agree with anyone who said that I am ingenious. So it goes. only a day or two earlier. whose conceptions and problems were so far from practical life. an idea isn’t necessarily coloured or tainted by the mouth of the person it issues forth from. You can't have everything. truly. I’m woefully lacking in certain social graces. meteoric rise in maturity that makes it seem as if. I don’t believe that a world-shaking idea could tumble forth only from the lips of an emissary or scholar. It wouldn’t matter who held the floor. In an ideal world.

otherwise what would induce me to speak? The conventional motivation is one of leaving a legacy for my descendants—surely a kinder mob. the super A. “Write down your ideas. and have to break free. proclaim that the Holocaust never happened. tricky to deal with. I want to come up with—if I repeat it often enough it may come true—a coherent overview. so as to grab their attention? Which soft-shoe routines would they appreciate the most? How do I guard against rotten eggs and raspberries? The thought of facing an audience makes me tongue-tied and self-conscious. They may enable the men in blue coats—or white—to track me down. I want to clarify what I have in mind. That's my master plan. and an analysis of this document may well enable them to set a fitting sentence and/or prescribe the appropriate medication. i. myself. Even though people have urged me to. your feet will hardly touch the ground. I must write for my own benefit. It’s your audiences who are fickle. Thinking outside of the box is easy. in which event re-educating myself—a la Flowers for Algernon—about the person I once was is a reason to remind myself about what I achieved (or at least aspired to).Mark Kingwell said. I’d still have to address myself to someone. Or as an educator. and tough to second guess. Instead. ‘It isn’t easy being green. Another. is that sometime in the future I could run afoul of the Law and slide down some black route of criminality— or insanity—in which case these pages could serve as breadcrumbs in the dark. one that attacks and conquers every nittygritty gripe governing the ultimate existence. Or do I throw caution to the wind—and credibility—by addressing myself to friendly aliens. No way does it sound like my own. foremost and forever. Long ago I made myself a promise ago only to write when I had . or to the ‘singularity’. is that one day I may end up with Alzheimer’s.’ goes Kermit’s song. by peeling back the onion of my thinking.e. which is to clarify my musings and cobble together a super-philosophy. I want only to have to concentrate on the task at hand. or philosophy. Carted off to prison. because I need to be able to focus entirely upon the talk itself. revile and stone you. This puts additional pressure on me to perform well. who am I writing for? Who do I see as my readers? Can I trust them? What can I assume that they already know? What do I reveal to them. empathetic time-travellers from the future. A benign and friendly version of Mein Kampf.I. But when at last they find themselves suffocating. par excellence that some expect will spontaneously emerge from its world-wide-web? Stop all of this hogwash! I know well and good for whom I should write. I don’t plan to knock off a best-seller. Less likely. the identity that I must address and satisfy is yours truly. That won’t do. My throat constricts and my voice squeaks. but still a possibility. and learn firsthand about the law against sedition. No problems there—I do that all the time. they are so unique. I might need to adopt that as my theme tune too. First. Let’s say that I somehow manage to keep control over my sphincter and ignore the spectre of a critic leaning over my shoulder.” you can never be sure that the next day they won’t ridicule. Well. this happens so subtly that people often don’t think of resisting. which is by no means pecuniary. So. they resent having been in that position. This for me is more important than any revenue-earning exercise that I might fritter away my time at (trading hours for a handful of dimes). The subject matter I want to cover is so very close to my heart that I find it excruciatingly difficult to publicly expose my innermost thinking. You reckon that there’s no thought crime? Speak out against the government in politically incorrect terms. so I consider it a real risk to toss around heretical notions about the Meaning of Life.

had recently started to skyrocket. you reach a potential audience of millions. I recorded anything and everything that left an imprint on my brain. there’s never a stage or level when. A push of the button. you may as well make . and then stirred the mess around looking for meaning in the tealeaves and entrails. The best feature of blogging is what occurs last. or blogs for short. you’ve no one to sell your idea to. I got stuck in. the wandless wonder used to say. twenty and a teenager (though not when I was a child). Just a comment in passing. they write for themselves. To say what I had to say. Erase a line here. but in my personal life. Write in order to hone your inner monologue. Do it to yourself. No risk of hard labour. still a relatively young behemoth in those days. but it was still early days. I felt that I should undertake something active—but what? Casting around. and for yourself. . it seemed to me. How easy it seemed—almost magical. but you can always fantasize. I plunged in. the flick of a switch and. . purged my inner self. Wow! Blogging seemed tailor-made for what I wanted. Lifting myself by the bootstraps. and then receive back comments from the great unwashed. Oh sure—if you can. at the speed of light. thirty. You want to learn something? Then teach it! Forget about intellectual property rights. that’s a barefaced lie. insert a word there. longer in the truth than when I was forty. and to become known for saying it. lay the answer. No I confess. as long as it works for you. but not so fast. you just killed off your little darlings—no need to make a court case out of it. publication. For the very same reason that I do. not an endpoint. “Know thyself”? But he forgot to tell them what came next. because see here. Automatic formatting transmuted blather into presentable text. but there’s an expression which compares everyone to a loaf of bread: you just need to discover what temperature you bake best at. the way you wand-waved your untidy scribbles into prose. Onto the screen I heaved it. I can’t remember where I read it. A few minutes’ study of a blogging tutorial convinced me. You are never done. And I know just how to go about doing that. Without further ado. you get to sit back with a beatific smile on your face and switch off the oven. in my quest for enlightenment.” my tutor at Hogwartz used to tell us. I don’t know that I ever managed to apply it to in the classroom. enlightenment is a funny thing. It’s an ongoing process. “It doesn’t matter what system you use. so you’ve no fear of getting back a rejection slip in the mail. I’ve got to prove my standing in my own eyes before I even think of exposing myself to others’. If you make a mistake. I’ve certainly put the ‘principal’ into practice. I educated myself into a higher plane of learning. and there were only five million of them world-wide. If I was quick I’d be able to buy in cheap. It was a Teachers College that I attended. I now need to convince myself that I do.” That message struck home in the sense that it stuck with me. once you’ve attained it. Weblogs. There’s no sales team to sway. I’d set myself up as a blogger. Just copy and paste. Anyway. I rolled up my sleeves and splashed down free willynilly whatever surfaced in my consciousness. How nifty! There. Wasn’t it Socrates who told his students. And then—Hey presto!—there you are . my eye fell upon the Internet. “Have a system. What do you do once you’ve found that person? What do you do with that ‘body’ of knowledge? There came for me a time in my fifties when. meaning to make sense of it. A little effortless editing tamed the unruly mind. Furthermore.something to say. I’m convinced that this is what every self-styled self-help guru practises. What I liked about them was the idea of using them to write what was on your mind and go Joe public. A good recipe for self-knowledge is to mature according to the pace of your own inner clock.

delete. delay. On another blog I wrote furiously to self-imposed time limits to try and neutralise my rational mind with speed. which is to muse upon one random point of fancy at a time. I crashed. then it would arrive later—in due course and in good time. I didn’t worry about an overall structure to my blog. after updating the content. the idea being to allow the posts that I hadn’t recently revisited to sink down to the bottom. deliberately and meticulously. And I discontinued the first of what became an elephants’ graveyard of blogs. Then I’d dither. Systematically. eventually. All very loose without strings. there for me to test and taste anew. fragmented business. The operation became too convoluted and constipated. In a very real sense. I set out to accumulate not a stream of consciousness but a good number of thought-splashes: free-standing yet loosely connected posts. I counted on getting myself a little self-organisation simmering. and I set up a virtual question and answer forum. To stitch multiple thoughts into a coherent. pruning and paring to such a degree that I finished up with haiku. linked sequence actually goes against the grain. I’d learnt how to navigate my way around the blogosphere. I aimed to devote at least a year to the task and come up with maybe a few hundred vignettes. is a patchwork quilt. Certainly. I felt that this approach mirrored the nature of my cogitation. It got more involved. I rebooted up a dozen times. I started adding tags. I wrote a little every day and tried to ingrain the habit. I wrote in response to interesting images that I discovered. I’d work out another approach. For example. So. I’d expand upon a post afterwards. You’d swear they were for real (they’d pass the Turing Test). That’s the spoon I meant to stir the pot with. In these and other ways. rewrite. I’d done . inserting internal hyperlinks that related to other relevant posts. In some form or fashion I knew how to push my ideas out there. I left them to mature—that was my system. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum. I wanted them to be short enough to be read at a sitting. I held philosophical discussions with a chatbot which I then posted in their entirety. if not an on-line presence—as there wasn’t any evidence that anyone ever read what I wrote—then at least an online facility. Nothing was ever that formalized. You get a glow from being altruistic to your fellow man. I was oh-so-creative in dreaming up a plethora of ways to proceed. The system grew all too unwieldy. you see. I had to remember to update the date too so that it ‘rose’ to the top of the list. the best that you can hope for. to begin with at least. Later. trying not to feel inhibited or intimidated. But unfortunately my system expanded too. Because. cutting back. Sometimes. and ultimately bail out. Having daub-slapped onto the canvas my mental deliberations. a better version. I’d home in on the problem from another angle. On another I took the opposite approach and wrote slowly. no sooner did I throw up my hands at for one. when I felt that I was onto something. it wasn’t because of a dearth of ideas that I desisted. I’d attack it from another side. I’d return to tweak. It fell in on itself and crashed. One idea was to write in the guise of a famous person—I even tried to enlist the help of a renowned writer. For each post. I reasoned that if an overall gestalt was to materialize. but then the inevitable happened. But every blog would inevitably drift into white water. By now I had some skills under my belt. Thinking is for me (and for everyone?) a scattered. But I consoled myself that I’d established. there’s no difference between writing for yourself and writing for someone else—but I’m getting ahead of myself here. then I would immediately start up another—I would not give up. I analysed my dreams. hah!)—you’ve got to live—but be magnanimous about sharing your findings. The guts of the exercise is to explain the stuff you discover in your mind to your own mind.a dollar along the way (‘monetize’ your blog.

and get weaving? So far I’ve only been spouting hot air. perforce. you young whippersnapper wizards”). been-there-done-that déjà vu of another blog biting the dust. I see the future as something that’s unfolding—and that which unfolds is already. I’ve dangled the carrot. What I plan to do is to pick it over and arrange into some sort of order those musings the way that Pirsig did with his strips of paper as described in Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. even though now it is hidden from sight. then I must politely decline. What the . done that. mate. Hadn’t I better stop beating about the bush. Que sera. Why should I have to rush? Are my hours limited? Is the future uncertain? Are high matters of state at stake here? Does the possibility of any failure exist? I choose to believe not. I’d fertilized the ground. But if you want me to point my knees and pick up the pace. I will deliver. It exists. but it always led to my literary undoing. But let’s cut this story close to the bone. But there’s absolutely no sense in operating at a hair-pulling frenzy. The mail always gets through. I don’t see that a process of random spontaneous generation has an influence on the cutting face of the ever-present. then I’ll start to whittle in earnest. I hadn’t ended up with a body of work that I could wave about in my hand and claim. I’ve finished scouring all of my previous blogs (and earlier notebooks) for the material I’ve already created—waste not want not.my bit. I see no need for me to panic over deadlines. It resulted in too much fruitless struggling. Enjoy the ride. Hurrying used to be my habitual mode. Once I’ve cobbled together a working draft. “See. get cracking. That which will happen is already there. Do the rough drafts. an earnest ‘sense of mission’ quite gets in the way. my best. As I type these words. You see. shouldn’t I do an actual book? I’d do one in the traditional manner. ? Did I just have the gall to mention whittling? Egad. but I haven’t yet hooked you with anything of substance. I hadn’t produced anything tangible. And yet. I must be wasting your time. What if the Internet went belly-up as it might do one day? Where would I be then? Hadn’t I better print it out as hard copy? Or better. I didn’t feel that I’d achieved anything of substance. I could too. Sorry. this is what I’ve been working on!” What I’d done was fluff—all airy-fairy. . pull a finger out. and my duty. Been there. It hampered me from writing what I wanted to say (and prevented me from being comfortable as I said it). preformed. but I haven’t yet walked the Ministry of Silly Walks. I had a clear conscience. I’m not going to be swayed by any sense of urgency. I’d compose and edit on actual foolscap. I’d push my stuff out into the never-never regions of Cyberland whilst retaining a firm handle on where I was. There. sera. There’s no point in worrying or hurrying. I’ve started to talk the talk. For me. . At all costs I must avoid that sinking sensation of here-we-go-again. I’ll reveal where I’m up to at present. Striving will be a part of it—I see nothing wrong with that. but hadn’t harvested any crop. Just look at what Roald Dahl managed. I have the goods. I visualized my memes floating around like eternal sperm—sown oats patiently awaiting their chance to fertilise another person’s thinking. The Mountie always gets his man. that ought to satisfy my compulsive-obsessive bent. and then make alterations in red. that would constitute the proof that I’d put in the hours. Tick off with a green pen when I’d made those adjustments on line (“You’ve got to have a system. There. . pottering about in his back-garden shed with old-fashioned writing implements.

and that its application is always to our advantage. He immediately turns insane and goes on a suicidal or a homicidal rampage. unsullied. is it the way that I’m wired? If I’m honest. Clayton Riddell. I don’t buy into the assumptions that most people are happy to accept unchallenged. not only the content. nor is it the sort that affects computers. You’ve tied yourself up in a knot that gets tighter the more pressure is brought to bear. and try not to. How is he going to warn his son? He is desperate to get home before his son becomes a victim. Dumb. one that doesn’t have a biological basis. Only a dope elects to close off her mind against any future change or growth. is different to that of other people. That human beings are superior to other life forms. the predominant operating system of this culture (what Anne Wilson Schaef has termed the ‘White Male System’) in that I often jump the rails of convention—the straight and narrow wisdom. The story starts off with the appearance of a virus. a vibration is emitted that infects the listener.Continuing at my own pace. and I refuse to have anything to do with them. escapes the virus through observing someone else answer his phone. when the whole world is dying off. I hold myself at a distance. By now you may have gathered that the way in which I think. That logic is the only useful cerebral technique. burning. Cell. people are going crazy—shooting one another. but Clayton doesn’t bother himself with that. When people switch on their cell phones one day. when you believe in something. They appear delusional to me—the assumptions and the people. rationalistic and reductionist thinking. and this keeps me safe. Let’s take a squiz at the last point with the help of the author. But then he gets into a tizzy. It spurred him on in his inquiries and “made life interesting”. His book. For instance. can one feel compelled to save the life of one particular person? Is it just me? I can’t believe that no one else seems to notice (I’m speaking now outside the context of . loved to be in a position of not knowing. you hold something to be true regardless of any contrary evidence. That there is such a thing as progress. I don’t believe in anything. do I do so out of contrariness or perverseness? Or is it my default setting—that is. That enlightenment is as grand as it is made out to be. Their net effect is to make me resist. the more fanatically you clutch fast to its church. That the brain is the beall and end-all of thinking. Not good. looting—thousands are dying. Stephen King. That adults ipso facto are wiser than children. unspoiled. They work together. He is totally preoccupied with saving his son. Sir. Instead. That I and my friends. instinctively. and you boast that this is a ‘test of faith’. Richard Feynman. In my blogs. They don’t make sense. On all sides. Anyway. I don’t ‘believe’. dumb and dumber. the hero. Well spotted. I think things through on my own terms. Just stop for a minute and think. But why should that be? Is it a deliberate thing. The stronger the evidence against your belief. That life exists only in isolated pockets. I suppose that it’s probably a little of both. it spreads through the human population via telecommunication devices. is written more along science-fiction lines than horror (although the book has its share of that too). my family. and safeguarded from being infected by aberrant thinking. What is happening here? Why. I examined unchallenged assumptions: That death is real. full stop. I dislike falling into the trap of linear. Why do so? Is it to stave off the discomfort of having to amend one’s worldview? Is it to hold at bay the unease of being uncertain? A gentleman that I have a lot of time for. Because what is belief anyway? By definition. the Nobel Prize-winning scientist. my ethnic group or my countrymen are more important than the gaijin occupying the periphery. I’ll describe for you just what it was that I thought—and wrote—about so busily—hurriedly—and why. I’ve already stated that I don’t go along with the concept of time—you’ll understand why a little later. To tell the truth.

wafted along on the wind of word-to-mouth. we expect that people will care more for their own brood than for a stranger. they are relevant. Tried to shit but only farted—anonymous. and you give it a chance (how generous of you). Maybe that incident relates to something like this. of course.King’s novel). dogs but not pigs (different cultures have different rules). I might trounce a few and turn them on their heads. Like witty [check spelling] graffiti on the wall above a urinal. You don’t care who put them there. protect it. Doesn’t anyone agree? When you think about it—when I think about it—it’s so peculiar that ‘normal’ people care for one another to varying degrees as if—I don’t know—there’s some sort of caste system in place. an arbitrary hierarchy seems to apply across the entire animal kingdom. There’s an explosion and a couple of dozen miners get trapped. No one thinks that anything’s wrong. a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This is what I mean by human idiosyncrasy. In Australia they concentrate on the Australians. This the masses regard as normal behaviour. by some additional principle. . In Scotland they interview the families of the Scottish workers who are missing. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. this one is ‘native’. Here I sit all broken hearted. Ideally. . “Who cares?” you think to yourself. You flip it over a few times. Just look at how the news is reported around the world. and intend to keep on hammering upon here. just maybe. and they stand up nicely to scrutiny. or no-one and nothing is. as well as online) all I want to do is to run through what I have to say—thinking out loud and talking to myself—and raise those thoughts in the public arena. We say that a whale is worth more than a sheep. This is an example of the commonly held misconceptions that the neurotypical crowd goes along with. . In these pages (on paper now. (Or through a cell phone signal . Isn’t there a bit in the Bible where someone points out to someone else—somehow the name Brian rings a bell—that he forgot to acknowledge his mother. That historical personage responds with something like. I like what a man named Einstein had to say on this—he had a lot a lot to say about most things. ‘Who is my mother?’. I hope thereby to straighten out either myself or the world. To me that whole scenario is totally warped. his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest . it’s a parable that illustrates the folly in elevating one person above another. they are funny regardless. eradicate it. whereas I see it as utterly crackers. After a while you find that not knowing who wrote it no longer matters. but begin reading nevertheless. In fact. Either everyone (and every living thing) is family. Doesn’t that hit the nail on the head? Anyway. Those first few paragraphs make sense. Let’s say that an incident occurs in a coal mine. recalled and recited on account of its undisputable worth. a creature of an endangered species accrues extra mana the fewer members of its species that remain. You are willing to let the text speak for itself. He wrote: A human being is a part of a whole. Cows you eat. This delusion is a kind of prison for us. are some of those inconsistencies. what I addressed in my blogs. . but not horses. they make you smile. . Plants too—this one is a weed. my Rickmansworth meme would spread spontaneously. restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. ) Imagine that you had come across this script as a non-attributed booklet—no mention of its author. Maybe. called by us universe. And. He experiences himself. In the same vein. frowning. a part limited in time and space.

My day job is incidental to who. weight. . I didn’t want to do it’. I have the premonition that this manuscript won’t get more than a pissing glance unless someone stands up to be its champion. in fact. but I am distinctly nervous. But to sneak past people’s watchful dragons and prove myself a serious contender for the crown. ‘you made me love you. I’m above the age of consent—of an age. I figure that that’s what’s needed. I am. Distasteful as the exercise may be. if it’s all the same to you. Gaargh! This business of having to sell myself rubs me up the wrong way. my words considered in isolation. you like mixed metaphors too?). then? I always feel awkward when asked that question. though inevitably you must be starting to form a picture. as if the activity that brings dollars through the door defines you. I place more emphasis on making a life than on making a living. However. You’ll need to decide how much credence to lend me before you give what I say some serious thought. I write reasonably competently (if you can ignore my quirky. Consequently. I can see that I’m going to have to divulge a little about my background and history. I don’t feel disposed to hold my background up for inspection or prove that I’m on the level. This conversation has taken me to a place where. zany. I don’t want to have to paint a rosy self-portrait spin-doctored for public consumption (yeah. then I’ll need to pass some sort of breathalyzer test of the personality. I am going to have to crawl out on that limb. irrepressible sense of wit). I’ll need to prove—if you’ll pardon the expression—that my shit flushes. I’d rather not have to step onto the scene’. Whether I want to or not. To me that’s irrelevant. I seem to be the only one around. or what. So. skin colour and shoe-size—is of no consequence. Words do not stand alone and in a vacuum. you don’t really need to bother yourself with (which would save me the bother-and-tarnation too). Bloody hell. I don’t want to participate as a fully-fleshed character. You too? The conventional response is to name an occupation. rather than feeling constipated. Why wonder whether I am male or female (or combination thereof). That seems a little ludicrous to me. I have most of the ‘seven smarts’ and do well in intelligence tests. Surely a person’s physical appearance—height. Why give a toss about whether I write from a prison cell. It should not make a jot of difference whether I’m confined to a wheelchair. or whereabouts on the globe is the hook from which I hang my hat? But. to have grandchildren. As with the lyrics. they are coloured by the character of the person who chooses and uses them. More than that. if anything. it’s a necessary evil that I must endure so as to ensure the wider spread of my message. See. or run marathons.“Broken-hearted” I am not. who am I. I’d rather not be taken. And who is going to do that? Who’ll be the volunteer? Hm. That can’t be helped. I’m sorrier than you about that. I’ve grown up largely outside the influence of any major religion. though have never felt that to be an advantage— the reverse. I don’t require that you trust me. I shouldn’t have to do this either. because my style of thinking follows on from the type of person that I am. so I’ve no vested interest in any dogma or belief system. It should suffice that English is my mother tongue—in a fashion—and that I can make myself understood. there’s a reason for me to prove myself. That isn't how I see myself. or via the free Internet access suite at the local library. I don’t care whether or not you relate to me. buddy. But will anyone listen on my sayso? If my personal recommendation is to carry any weight. You ought not to care a hoot whether I have a steady job or am unemployed. I’d much rather remain anonymous and stay sight unseen. I sigh on behalf of both of us.

I’d say that they are insane. doesn’t everyone see things in a different light? And since there are as many ways of seeing things are there are colours and sentient beings. except for the fact that everyone else does—‘go along’. Okay. put me down as a philosopher or—go on—an adventurer-philosopher. my relationship to it. then it’s fair—is it not?—to label them insane? So . So. Insanity—inschmamity. I'm a thinker. since all of us are individuals. I mean. Yoiks. I’ve been preoccupied with gaining an understanding the nature of the universe. Not only is it rather gauche to go. You ought to redefine the definition. I’ll make the effort. with a deeper response. or maybe do-it-yourself metaphysics. I'd go along with you. really insane. “Whaaat!?” So I tend to 'um' and 'er' and point my toe. everyone acts in a manner that is rational and sensible within the context of their background. The thread that runs throughout my life is thinking. that you don't things the way that most other people do. genes. wouldn’t you say? It would clamp down on research and original thinking. Without exception. you answer. And so in that sense I fall into that pigeonhole (you have to watch out for them). I wouldn't feel comfortable with coming right out with the truth either— declaring.” You squirm a little in your seat. Consensus thinking. I hate it when people go. I’d say that I am insane in the sense that I don’t go along with group thinking. is not for casual conversation.And yet. it’s a catch-22 type of question that requires a catch-22category answer. So. of course. not flat—is it reasonable for others to dismiss you as insane? That would rather stymie the spirit of scientific enquiry. . and I have been one ever since I discovered myself self-aware. ‘Are you insane?’ It’s ever so slightly impolite. where were we at? Wasn’t it me in the spotlight? I'm someone not that different from you. Pack mentality. if you are the odd man out in a conscientious-objector type of situation. for example. The first thing you want to make sure of is their sanity. how can you claim distinction on that score? Yes. say as a citizen in Nazi Germany. Since the earliest age. “I want to know God’s thoughts. I’d say. Furthermore. Someone tells you that they see themselves as a philosopher. But hang about. How about: If one or a few dissenters differ from the majority view. not as individuals. and what I deem to be important in my life. the rest are details. and the meaning of life. That's being unfair. . are you then insane to resist the mob-thinking of the Jewhaters around you? And another example: if you are the first scientist to challenge a hypothesis that everyone believes in as a Law—for example. that the Earth is round. When all’s said and done. right? But you can’t just come out and ask. and for me to divulge how I really see myself. you can’t deny. People follow the crowd. or even an acquaintance. in the present company. To quote Einstein again. but hey. That’s the field where I feel most at home—applied philosophy. by virtue of the fact that such people hide from one another—and from themselves—what they really feel. If I am to have a label. To defer to the group as a matter of course is. That would be the short answer. world view and what have you. To entrust a stranger. But. No. I’m literally not. that ought to be true. there’s no such varmint. where the majority view is more-orless accurately represented. That reasoning is faulty. Surely. that I’m a seeker. but as a pack. Because what is it to be ‘insane’? Simply. even when . given that even chimpanzees share about 99 percent of their genetic make-up with we wise humans. They think.

when you look down your nose back at yourself—apart from giving you eyestrain—is to constrain and constrict what you do—which won’t do. even Dealing with a sexual drive. Did you ever ask yourself exactly who you are? Yes? There you go. If you judge yourself lacking. you’ll come across a group of disparate items—things that don’t exactly worry me. Planning for the future. Feeling the compulsion to ‘do something with my life’. What it does. the householder. Wanting to disengage from the predominant culture. since I don’t wear ’em). and how would you act? If that were the situation. Clutter in my living environment. Go right ahead and browse. Earning a living. What would you do if you were me? No really. This is so because you would possess (or be possessed by) my background. Writing my memoirs. have been. Finding a voice (on paper). You were hoping to take your new personality for a test drive to see what it could do—maybe get all the way up Ngauranga Gorge in top gear. And though I’ve taken the long way round to saying it. try that right now—a thought experiment. How about having a good rummage through the attic of your new digs? Be my guest. As is 'deficiencies' or 'imperfections'. then! That's another thing we have in common. whatever that might be. the only catch being that you can’t bring any baggage with you—no knowledge of the former you.conventional thinking is applied. But right now I’ll distract you with an invitation. And in that case. I’ve stuffed them into boxes labelled: The way the world is heading. Not spending enough time on meditation. That stuff is quite heavyweight. I think it's best not to think along those lines. to all intents and purposes. You would have fallen—will fall— into exactly the same errors. You would have to make—have made—the same decisions as me. It would be impossible for you to relate to the world in any other way but mine. any two humans are closer than they might imagine. As you start to explore the Max Headroom upstairs. and I speak from personal experience (as experienced from the vehicle in you’re now the driver). Crawl inside my head. The difficulty of trying to absorb everyone’s ideas. I’m going to push on and leave you waving your fists. What would you do as me. Training injuries as I get older. and that you wouldn’t—couldn’t—act any differently than I had been. There’s more to me than them. and before I’m willing to split that hairy philosophical issue more finely. . This is not a whole heap of fun. Try this: Think of me as you—as if you'd been beamed into my body or been poured into my pair of shoes (a bit tricky. environment. But instead. I tell you. Having to deal with stuff I don’t want to waste time on. But hey. no memories et cetera. genetic makeup and everything else that pertains. Dealing with people. it was the only way to get there. Suppose that you were me. something to reveal. Maintaining a home and household. is to make you give up before you’ve even begun. you might as well toss away the key. . then I suggest that. You sit back on your heels and sigh. are or will be acting in the future. The burden of possessions. then the effect of that on this make. Attending to gadgets that keep breaking down. You’re wondering if it was worth the trade. model and vintage. Imagine that you’ve somehow inherited my cerebral estate. You can only bring your own ‘bare essence’. I have something to say. . I need to seek the aid of a certain French mathematician. What I claim is that you would be ‘locked in’. but I’m not going to let you. How deflating. this mother seems to be much like your own—riddled with all sorts of faults and failings. You might wish to argue that point . but preoccupy me. The baggage that I carry isn’t me (just like my job is not). ‘failings' is a loaded word. you would be me. Forget about those boxes.

I can’t claim to be unblemished or untarnished. I have no stake in trying to convert you. then convinced myself that I was applying ‘discipline’. I’ve not always behaved as well as I might’ve. and if you make a rule of disregarding what people who lack the ‘right’ background have to say. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’d be feeling jolly good about myself at this stage of my development. I’ve not handed in a wallet that I picked up on the street. you can’t speak with any authority! You’ve got to prove that you’re an expert first. They think that great ideas can arise only from great people. you’re going to take aboard a lot of rubbish if you pay attention to everything uttered by everyone with a holier-thanthou reputation. You run a danger if you believe it verbatim. Why would I want to?—I’ve nothing that I’m trying to sell you. right? Well yes. a criminal trying to get a word in edgeways. The crimes that he has . it doesn’t need to hold up to the closest scrutiny. I’m in this game just to express myself. I’ve circumvented the problem of having a Jewishmother conscience. then somewhere along the way you’ll miss out. “Get rid of those faults and present a unified front to the world. I'm not saying that I’m a perfect specimen. I’ve goofed off during working hours. that person doesn’t need to be ‘other’. I’ve rapped my kid over the knuckles. if you will. “Oh no. If you think that the law is infallible law.” I would always scold myself. you’re going to get into a heap of trouble if you believe that this is always the case. In this case. I’ve found a way to press on despite her bag of trip-me-up tricks. Only then might you be listened to. but only up to a point. well. I might even have voted for— zounds!—the ‘other’ party. Polite society kicks in its boot with. a defence mechanism leaps into action when someone decides to speak their mind on a religious or spiritual topic. The reason that I worry about my warts and all is that I know how people operate—I’m a person myself (it takes one to know one). Say that one day someone on death row receives a genuine flash of inspiration. It had better hold together under its own strength and steam. And scour your closet for skeletons too. “Fix yourself up.The self-knowledge of my imperfections induces a self-consciousness that makes it hard to get stuck in feet first. and that you’ll only harvest mediocrity from the mediocre. Most of them have this strange and fanciful notion that there’s a direct relationship between the value of an idea and the calibre of the person who voices it. In short. Conversely. haven’t you? I’ve been involved in both a divorce and an abortion. Ensure that your underwear is clean. and I have no right to cast the first stone.” Imagine. that while a correlation undoubtedly exists. This is only common sense. The thing is. because what if you get in a car accident?” Obviously. It’s like you often read in books: if this happens to benefit one other person then it’ll have been worth it (yeah. if I walk away from the keyboard with a clearer understanding of my standing in the grander scheme of this. I’d see that as a bonus (I’ll tell you later where to send the cheque). Ordinarily. so my Magnum Oprah can’t rely on an infusion of strength of character. Go away until you can prove your own pudding. having written this book. by practising what you preach. I’ve accepted myself as I am (and without having had to go to the extent of using affirmations). then I’ll be well-satisfied. But on the positive side. I’ve downloaded the odd pornographic picture—come on. And if some likeminded individual relates to it too. sure). before you dare to show your face. Don’t think of going out in public— ‘coming out’—until you’ve dealt with your shortcomings. If I was a fat person.

I can’t flaunt any of my own. and that you demand I perform a miracle or two before you deign to give me the time of day. My only request is that you not enter into the do-I-trust-him-or-not quandary. I can’t boast of having lived an exemplary life. not yet willing to drop your demands. Neither have I ready a Reader’s Digest condensation of my message. Have I got the credentials to earn your trust? Am I sanctioned by a higher power? Do I possess the right bit of paper from an accredited institution? But again. no matter how watertight his ideas were? His jailers just aren’t going to listen. Look. From whom would you expect to receive some revolutionary and world shaking news? If you take the pre-judgemental approach. if I can’t manage to authoritatively pontificate whilst nonchalantly buffing up my halo. It pays to be published. You need an academic title to get ahead. and I refuse to dream them up either. The pressure is on. Don’t dismiss him just because. couldn’t I instead impress in some other way—recline in my chair to indicate a frame on the wall. And out of the turned-over-leaf goodness of his heart. I shine in certain lights. I’m afraid that I haven’t any laurels to wear. I can’t usually be bothered to dress up in my Sunday best. come in the not-very-presentable category (though I brush up quite nicely). In short. perhaps? Convince you with qualifications? After all. For one thing. would it. Therefore. Must have been a clerical error. “See. In a perfect world. in your eyes. only for people to find out years later and then for me to have to deny responsibility.” I think it’s a pity that these days you need a credit rating to be heard. I.committed are now just water under the bridge. to avoid the risk of being given short shrift. you understand—not blatantly—but the bottom line is that. It wouldn’t wash. preferably with a string of best sellers. but not in others. saint. so it should not be necessary for me to have to establish my credentials. A pity. that really rather limits the field. I’m someone with both good points and bad. and neither is anyone else. been validated by others. but just spend an hour or two with this text. I’m neither a sinner or a saint (nor am I interested in drawing a distinction between the two). he’s not dressed to deliver. if in me you’re looking for a paragon of virtue. So. the client is reassured when the tradesman is a professional. I’ve no hot-to-trot sound-byte for you today. he wishes to share his insight. wouldn’t you say? You may be waiting for a while. It’s not that I’ve done anything illegal. because now he knows! He has discovered the answer. Rhodes scholar. this is how you turn out when you learn the secret of life!”. just like you. I must say no. You need the recommendation of your peers (who have. “Oh no. we’d take each other at face value: you’d read what I’d written without bias and consider . then I’m going to have to disappoint you. I predict. you counter. you need a track record. I’d suggest that you not shoot the dowdy messenger. the woo-woo stuff that I’ll tackle here isn’t (rocket)science or philosophy. it wasn’t me who put those letters behind my name. Give the pizzaman a chance. Hey. and so back in an un-ending chain). How far would he get? Not far beyond the bars of his cell. I’m not blessed with a saintly soul—there’s no likelihood of my being canonized in the future. It isn’t as if I’m asking you to become vegetarian and meditate two hours daily for the rest of your life. then you’d only ever listen to a Nobel Prize winner. and so the question you now ask is whether I’m qualified in my field. I’m not a follower of fashion. too. I haven’t got the coordination and sense of balance. I cannot pirouette before you and say. presumably. Put away that mike—no comment. You can do it. The point I’m trying to make is that. or to Dog Itself (or one of its come-down-to-earth incarnations).

lecturer or guru. but is that so? Can we be so sure of that? What’s the risk we’re wrong? The upshot. information-overloaded. the bottom line. I ain’t going to riddle my thinking with no stinking references. I do my own thing with leaps of intuition. I say. roll out their background for inspection. This. slip into the role of teacher. I don’t play this game entirely on my own. I read. I don’t claim to be a mainstream philosopher or scientist (though I do have a BSc—in Biochemistry—if anyone is remotely interested). that anyone. In No Ordinary Genius. I’m no island. I’m a man after the metaphysical meat in the sandwich. You get a hundred monkeys typing and eventually they’ll string together the complete works of Shakespeare. In that case. for the sake of a better world. Be circumspect. Also. spirituality. You’d receive it in good faith from my hands. academic qualifications are of little relevance. I don’t claim to be spiritual or a mystic. Do allow ideas from foreign sources to pollinate you. Without themselves having experienced enlightenment. prove that they are beyond rebuke. It’s a finely-tuned balancing act. a . one needs to filter out most of the nonsense. I’m not just being big-headed. and so I’m open to external input. Let me put a card or two on the table. My zest and zeal is for experiencing and exploring existential issues. is only natural and fitting. everyone nevertheless insists that they’d recognise the bells and whistles that accompany that refined state. And you know—the strangest thing—it’ll read just as well as the original. Yes. I don’t easily. Everyone. I suppose that in this advertising saturated. let’s dispense with having people pass tests.it on its own terms. Tread cautiously. We’re sure that we’d be able to pick out a person-in-the-know. not a degree. That’s me. I keep myself a strictly-patrolled peninsula. everyone-has-an-opinion-and-asoapbox-to-spout-it-from age. I’m certain about one thing: I’m special. wave around old money or spill blue blood. rest assured that I’m not into any religion—I’m no theologist or ideologue. Can’t say fairer than that. I’m neither a genius nor an autistic savant. and I’ll happily incorporate the odd idea from an external source. am I special! I’m the most interesting person that I know (see Appendix 2: One hundred things about me). impress with a clean rap sheet. or at the very least the poise and equanimity of a Mother Theresa. without checking first to see whether they were stained or callused. demonstrate their purity. Though no man is an island. if they live authentically—occupying themselves mainly with what feels right for them—will be the most interesting person that they know. dig out a qualification. no matter what their roots (or where they’re wont to root about) could very well come up with something dandy. But for now I would suggest that you refrain. media-inundated. It’s a question of degree. People assume that the possession of a higher knowledge gives that person an aura. There are no credentials that one can wave about to hold forth on. and then to live in accordance with the conclusions that I reach. David Goodstein tells of getting together with Richard Feynman one evening to read with excitement the manuscript of Jim Watson’s (and Crick’s) The Double Helix. But I do that very judiciously. Just like Ed de Bono. In this context. Accept for now. is that the correlation between the stature—academic. I‘m not going to act out the part of an academic: incrementing the tedious anthills of others with micro-spoonfuls. My word. I claim. However. I insist that anyone could come up with a useful invention. or moral—of a person and the importance of his or her words is not absolute. To be sure. My peculiarity is to want to fathom what it’s all about. supernatural power. professional. but don’t let yourself be genetically modified in the head. or willingly. and I’d recommend that you apply the same strategy.

And naturally. smash. It's as if enlightenment dribbles into me drop by quivering drop (I must lose a lot through evaporation). For instance. There are different ways to use your brain.” At birth. I use logic as and where it’s appropriate—in the right hands it’s a powerful tool—but not exclusively. he selects letters until there are enough of them for his voice synthesizer to drone out. everything looks like a nail). all of us are dealt our own hand of cards. “because he never knew what anybody else was doing. I need to weigh it. I have to say that I'm deeply suspicious of rhetoric. Or start a church. My particular bunch of aptitudes work together to spur me to seek the meaning of life.” remarked Goodstein to Feynman. toss it around. for that term). weaknesses and limitations that I need to be mindful of when I make decisions about how best to go about my work. as far as I can see. philosophical rumination. You do that by playing to your skills and strengths. I'm not a fast thinker. Decades. for me at least. Stephen Hawking. I derive great joy from delving into the meaning and/or nature of being. is my tip of the day). and then I can do my own work. religious dogma. I love “a heavy set of tennis for the brain” the phrase used by Village Voice to describe Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett’s book. But along with those resources I have gaps. and then I forgot it—I have to disregard everybody else. activated with a specific kind of thinking. your area of expertise—your sphere of activity—ought to be determined by your inclinations. They neither impress nor convince me. Me. Luckily. or whatever you want to call it. Internal forces hound me to rip an understanding of what life is all about. or even mainly. I’m not a linear. does well despite having to crawl. I don't believe that it’s possible . The Mind's I . So no. For me there is nothing more enjoyable than engaging in philosophical self-reflection into the nature of existence. scientific method. I was born with the tools needed to navigate the inner landscape. lob or volley to save my soul. is to fathom the plumbings of the universe that flows through my veins. you’ll never see me give a public talk.” Replied Feynman. The strongest string to my bow—or racquet—is insight. You stand to gain the greatest personal satisfaction in life from skilfully playing out your personal hand (retain a trump or two for the endplay. “What’s it all about. test it and try it on for size. I mistrust the ways in which such techniques have been wielded by people in the past (to a man with a hammer. Though ‘there’s a time for every season’. Even common sense doesn’t do it for me. How I’d describe that for ordinary folk is that I have to heft every hypothesis a hundred times before I’m happy. The equipoise that this confers is that you get to test your thoughts for distortion. my purpose. Painstakingly twitching the cheek muscle under his eye. I used to know it. I need to fully ‘grok’ it (thanks. I’m compelled to ferret out the essence of reality. They’re mostly advertising tricks. rational dimwit. I have no ability at fancy footwork. Alfie?” they make me ask myself. confusion and dishonesty. In short. “Watson must have been either very lucky or very smart. and I can’t serve.year before that milestone of a book was published. requires heaps of window-gazing time. heaven forbid. a gift for grasping the human condition. My desire. This probably explains why it has taken so long for my ideas—and for me as a personality—to Victor Mature. I’m what Anne Wilson Schaef calls a multivariate and multidimensional thinker: someone who uses both hemispheres of the brain together with the brain stem. Sure. emotional manipulation and the like. The world champion of slow pokes. My way of pondering is not dissimilar. Heinlein. “That’s what I learned from reading it. This. and yet he still made the crucial discovery. enlightenment. taste it. spirituality.

. All I can say is: keep watching this space. Einstein. I don’t cling—like a wet blanket—to traditions for their own sake. guess what? Yes. I discover. but I’ve only just arrived there—am still in the process of arriving—so still need to get everything straight and squared away. Although I occupy the top I. Now that you’ve had a good preliminary fossick around the upstairs of my head. I’ve worried at it ceaselessly. I wouldn’t appreciate that. Here. Trust me. At the present point. . I’ll state it more definitely than that—I’m absolutely certain. What's with that? What’s the point in forcing a person to rush? What good does it do anyone to come up with an idea a few seconds faster? (Very good. So anyway. and on your own terms.) I ask you. Belief does not glue my eyes shut to a higher heaven should I sniff one out. . That way. see the state of the nation. until I get everything shipshape. because I wouldn’t measure up to the task. percentile. I don’t care to talk anyone into anything—I’m not a con man. I’m no fanatic. I’d be placed even better if it weren't for the time limits you have to sit the tests under. honestly. No. things will be a little messy in this neck of the woods. All well and good. How about the one labelled ‘My First Thought Experiments’. This is to be no leader-and-followers act. The experiment involved. blow away the dust. in middle age. I trust that I’ve by now demonstrated that I have a penchant for dabbling with philosophical matters. as I’ve just said. even though I don’t hold a theological degree or PhD. . only to have changed my mind. I’ve mentioned in passing my preoccupation with a certain type of mental tool.Q. you reach for it. You won’t find any proselytising on these pages. what does the speed of light prove? But let’s move (rapidly) on. And although it’s true that on past occasions I’ve been equally certain. Permit me to create a context for what was probably the first. I wouldn’t recommend the blitzkreig approach. . I’d be the first to admit my mistake. I invite you to take a gander at where I am now.to act in haste. Mr. Bring your own water bottle . It occupied most of my waking moments. I’d be overjoyed. until at last. Rapid-fire debate is not my forte. Tentatively. . Since I first became self-aware. Please bear with me (and maybe lend a hand). And if I’m wrong. and I manipulated them long before I‘d heard of either. I’ve toyed seriously with the nature of existence. and open the lid . I feel that I’ve finally figured it out. . scout’s honour. no matter. I’ve not crawled out from under the woodwork dragging a hidden agenda behind me. But you should have derived e=mc squared in half the time. mind experiments—for a while I was never sure what to call them. I was very young at the time. I’m certain that this time I’m certain. That’s a fair description of what you’ll find going on. It wouldn’t worry me in the slightest to go back on my word. For a while. Where to start. Thought experiments. You won’t come across disappointed and abandoned disciples scattered bleeding along dawn’s highway. that I’ve gained an insight into the ultimate reality. Come along for the ride only if you are willing. because the only reason for me to have reversed my decision would be that I’d revamped and revised my thinking to have come up with an even better construct. In fact. and yet be sure of your conclusions. neither of us misses out. and plasma. My willingness to drop an outmoded worldview for an improved model constitutes your best iron-bound guarantee that I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. you’ll want to do a more careful inventory. hm? Which box do you look into first? There’re so many to choose from. May I make a request? Don't search me out in person for some scintillating face-toface.

contiguous—I just knew it. But keep that concept offlimits to the reasoning parts of the brain. with just a snap of my finger. I’ve been trying to travel back in time (by itself no thought experiment. . I was continuous. How far back could I go? For as long as I can remember. I would not be able to swallow it. perhaps. I could never isolate the instant that I arrived into existence (and here’s where the exercise turned into a thought experiment). My immune system—kick-started into action—was now up and rip-roaringly running. Savour it. but so is the fragment of jawbone that the archaeologist uses to establish a genus. After vomiting up my breakfast I couldn’t stomach cornflakes for years. There’s the kinaesthetic imprint of having my diapers changed—that topsy-turvy sensation of being lifted by the legs. Together we’d look through a photo album. one way or another. There was never a time that I was not. being breast fed . I would flex my memory muscles and hurl myself into the past. five . Time after time. Before that. I was eternal was an extremely empowering discovery. back to when I caught my toe in the spokes of my tricycle. There was never a time that I wasn’t. I might fix upon one Easter at my uncle’s home when I must have been three. and then—pop!—suddenly appeared. Initially. . no matter how small.aptly enough. I can place myself back in the bathtub as a baby. I see myself as existing midway between and a little behind my eyes. there was a period when my grandparents lived with us. Oh. Try as I might. or orally excavated our family’s history as a bedtime story alternative. the indignity of being injected in the buttock—the one on the right. Ever earlier I time travel. . . The next experiment with such a powerful outcome was the one that I’ll refer to as ‘returning to the centre’. though. it equated to a surety of knowledge. for that very same reason. How could that be? ‘Was it magic?’ I asked the chuckling adults. Along with other sentient beings. even four. Feel it. I think of this episode as a vaccination— better than any injection in the buttock. I’d overcome death also! Realising that. I clearly recall Oma showing me the safe way to hold a knife when drying the dishes. I’d think back and try to retrieve my very first memory. Not only had I overcome the fear of death. . and somehow. and my confusion when one evening she stuck my hand between her breasts. Sink into the realization. Each somehow replenished itself with eggs while I searched the other. Its effect was to protect me against the future germ of organised religion. Oh my goodness! Without meaning to. but it led to one). The nail. You could now expose me to any belief system but. I wanted to explore whence I’d come. my parents aided me. Lying in my crib and examining the wall hangings . my own origins. and afterwards being dusted with talcum powder. What a gold mine! What fun it was to have a brain to work with. I’ve relived those memories and unearthed others. not unless it took cognisance of the finding that I Was Eternal. I’d crossed the Rubicon. it feels like I’m at the centre of the . grows split in two. His house had a front and a back garden. ‘shaving’ the soap off my leg with a finger. I’d worm my way into the foggy past and snuggle deeper under the bedclothes. This might seem scanty evidence. Grok it. . Scooping snow off the street and eating it made me ill on another occasion. . . Vaguely. would always be. or how indistinct the recollection. I had always been. I remember once the doctor paying a house call (which proves that this was well in the past). As early as six. To this youngster. even now. like cornflakes. There. I was always ‘there’. Heft it. the worry about being stabbed by a safety pin. They’d sailed by ship across the sea from the other side of the world to stay with us a year.

This is how I explain it to myself. Evidently. I see that the link it caused to break was a link of the chain that binds the hot-air balloon to earth. we were fooling around when one of the gang said that he knew how to make a person go unconscious. people lined up to have a go. I believe. you're not everything you would like to be. No dazed look on blank faces. The longer I considered it. Looking back. There’s a danger. Here’s what happened. Which brings us uncomfortably close to the topic of religion. is to somehow reconcile the viewpoint. I-as-an-essence contained the physical body. repeating the experience at least twice. Well heck. And the rest of us wondered whether to believe in what we’d witnessed and so the experiment was done again. That is how it's meant to be. Then. and we are all together) can induce delusions of grandeur. after a minute or two. Eventually. spun or tumbled. Nitro-glycerine.’ you’ve got to beware. no matter how quickly I ran. the odds must be virtually zilch. not viceversa. as you are me. I worried that I’d lost some brain cells—and may well have. Rather. though it was years until I figured out just what. The trick. my visit to an internal nether region subtly altered my perceptions. the fellow buckled at the knees and was lowered to the ground. You must be ultra-careful not to spill a single drop. But not only that. At school in the playground one day. Previously. I’d gone along with society’s assumption that in essence we are physical beings with a spiritual add-on. My undergoing unconsciousness snapped something vital. I contained it. After that. he got up. I took the plunge too. as you are he. After having ‘lost’ my body—yet retained my awareness of self (whilst unconscious)—I realized that. Which is why I always conducted this particular experiment in the outside toilet. The above were two of my earliest. Far out! The dawning forced upon me was that I could not be constrained. while you may be Godlike. therefore. However. the less I could believe that it was true. most powerful. tunnels and celestial guardians.universe. I returned into a disconcerting new world. I hung back for a day or two. because I couldn’t seem to shake myself fully awake. I was now obliged to see myself as a spiritual being having a physical experience. But that’s beside the point. “Here I am at the centre of the universe. It was like I’d won the world’s longest-shot lottery. and that the procedure was painless. This me-at-the-centre frame of reference (I am he. Nothing odd about that. I remain centred at the centre of the universe no matter where I travelled. It didn’t seem like such a big deal. In turn they were put to sleep. or awareness that. maybe I was the only one alive. It felt as if I’d been reduced to semi-consciousness. I saw no sign of it. and everyone else was just a figment of my imagination. hah! It only changed my life forever. and then wake up. Now way known! How was that possible? Wasn’t it dangerous? He demonstrated how: getting a volunteer to hyperventilate. But the formative experience of my life occurred when I was about twelve. No big deal.” I’d whisper behind the locked door of perception. Wow! What are the infinitesimal chances of finding myself right here on this patch of real estate? I mean. Sure enough. I wondered—wonder—if other people are in that position too? How many feel the same way? If there were any. The illusion is as common as muck. not to the degree that I remembered. after which he then squeezed him from behind in a bear hug. You may slip into the trap of thinking that you are Dog. the trip of self-induced unconsciousness triggered a form of neardeath experience in this schoolboy. And just as the NDE crowd are forever affected by their experiences with bright lights. instead of the body containing me. . It’s an idea to handle carefully with kid gloves. and observed the more adventurous of my friends. And yet. thought experiments. You are not all-powerful. no matter how much time passed me by. I was also indelibly marked. despite its ‘universality.

Let’s deal with it—Just Do It! As Nike proclaims. I sat there glowering on a hard wooden pew. As we were ushered in. not organised. I marvel at the fledgling whipper-snapper who had the wherewithal and temerity to home in on what I now judge to be true. and I’ll go along. It was something to do. hm. I considered what to do. or in a vengeful and jealous god. But I’ll put on my (Sunday) best smile. It would have been easier not to have to bother. Decades later. I’ll be your best pet sheep. Let some civil servant make of that what he wanted. the works. making friends has never been easy. but I share with everyone the need for human interaction. just how stupid is that? But it did make sense to me . it was my friends and acquaintances from school (again) who would induce me to come along. One evening. So we all have this ‘personal’ relationship with God. avoiding or enduring what I could not. Everyone in the country had to complete it—where you lived. thank God. I tagged along—sampling what I wanted to. The sheets of the calendar flip with the wind to the time of my first national census. There always seemed to be an obstacle between me and everyone else. akin to being put on the spot by door-to-door-knocking Adventists. here’s your chance. The background biblical white noise raised my hackles. Lambs into the abattoir. Not by my parents. the reader. Do that. but this’ll hurt me more than it does you. A bunch of us would meet up in halls. because it’s important for you. I won’t believe in original sin. And so. Okay. Do I have a bias one way or the other? Am I from the Richard Dawkins camp.Hey. a little shamefaced. But I never really felt comfortable in that environment. I mean. Socialisation was the Turkish-Delight that I couldn’t resist. Was it that I came from another country (never mind the fact that I was born in the same one as them) or that in my first few years I spoke another tongue? Whatever. to know just what my position is on the subject. I’d go along to the youth groups that were arranged by various do-gooders. No. It was a way of life in those days—a way to get on with my life. . It was the only way I had of mixing with others. For a raw kid. even then. eschewed all the choices on offer. I muttered. the members of your family. Confronting the holy spirit is a distasteful exercise. do we? Right. your income. or go on weekend retreats. Give me your best shot— some sign that that’s the way you want me to go. makes me shake my head in awe. I realised that we’d been conned. . As a child I used to get dragged along. I find that people are so very hard to figure out. The insight that I possessed. let’s put it to the test. For me. They were enlightened enough never to practise or imposed the Sunday ritual upon their brood. Choose from a list or add your own. Okay buster. my siblings and I were left to our own devices. and scrawled: Selective-apathist-activefatalist-ego-theist. Unadulterated freedom was what we enjoyed. But we were all too polite to voice a protest. I’ve always sensed some hurdle that I needed to overcome. What was I to put? For the first time in months I remembered my ultimatum. In that respect. You got a problem with that? I’m waiting . Remaining in my seat. or a member of another Salvation Army? Religion. We leap forward a year or two. Religions ought to be individual. We took part in encounter groups run by hip and vaguely evangelical teachers. I socked God with an ultimatum. but let’s not shy away from it. things came to a head when the teenagers’ group that I attended was ‘invited’ into the church next door for some sort of service. I screwed up my face. I had bloody good instincts. The question that had me pondering the longest concerned religion. As the others traipsed up for a sip of this and a nibble of that. Come on—hit me with some irrefutable evidence that all the ritual around me isn’t empty and pointless.

because I want to establish a ranking. It is actually easy to live as a fanatic and be devoted to only one goal (you hear that. From solid ground. . The more options you have. then I want you to suppose that their ‘aural envelopes’ vary. I would suggest that you build out from the centre of the universe initially. and God certainly hadn’t fronted up when challenged. Ah. be a devil’s advocate. Obama . Oh sure. if they were really on fixed tracks? This was a question that I couldn’t answer—a paradox. I've always wanted to keep my options open for as long as possible.) So it might as well be me who did the honours. It isn’t substantial. What do you see? Are we agreed that there are such things as life forms? They scuttle about my feet most every day. And then venture out from there. Forget about he. and yours too presumably. an excuse to go away and work on my X-ray vision! The atoms rolling-slash-being-rolled explains the ‘active-fatalist’ component of what I put on my census document. As for the ‘ego-theist’ component. From the space between your eyes and ears. constructed of the same atoms. by acting as if I was in charge. Whether one god (or more) exists or not isn’t pertinent. That’s an important part of my make-up. at least for the duration. to know that paradoxes existed because one wasn’t able to see the whole picture. I can always get into a state where I am all that there is (along the way I’d been initiated into Transcendental Meditation). then. I wasn’t sure about anyone else. yet we’re all different’ is difficult to grasp only if you’re addicted to dualistic thinking. If you want to do something really well—devote yourself to it—then you won’t have time for much else. the more difficult life is.that everything is predestined. My next trick is to make use of that difference to assign rank. or more worthy. All that I could be sure of was that I existed. the idea of being one’s own god was an act-as-if decision. Dare I allude to levels of consciousness? Are you going to let me away with that? Go on. Nothing in my construct rests on such an insecure foundation. And yet. It—neither the idea nor the entity—isn’t relevant. she or it. Therefore. Everything 'outside' of myself could well be a figment of my imagination. That made sense. ‘We’re all the same. I guessed. My only way out was to suppose that this puzzle existed only because I was limited to seeing things from one particular level. You are going to have to practice discrimination—or apathy—so as not to become embroiled in unnecessary and diversionary activity. then it behooves you to choose wisely. how was it that I. or be. It isn’t worth a scrap. activities and pursuits is no trivial matter. The ‘selective-apathy part comes from my conviction that you can’t do. Perhaps this is why to others I appear indecisive. and that on another level the problem didn’t exist. could do as I pleased? How was I able to boss myself—my atoms—around. Those atoms that I’d learned about at school ought to keep a-rolling in whichever direction they were pushed. Know thyself. But the bottom line is that I’ve never felt the need to install any god figure at the head of a personal ideology. or is it Osama?). (‘Spiritually challenged’—ha!—that’s a new one. then let it be a paradox for you to set aside. It was enough. When I close my eyes.) . and took on that role. this doesn’t imply that I consider one particular life form superior to any other. . Drop one thing for another only when the time feels ripe. But be clear. everything. if you want to make the best use of your life. (If you do regard it as a two-horned dilemma. I know full well that the master in control is hopelessly limited—another paradox to set aside and hopefully unravel at a later date. I set aside the issue. Start with what you know. Juggling a balance of interests. If there is such a measure. Let’s suppose that they differ in one attribute at least.

If you shop around for advice. It’s not that they’re utterly worthless—you’ll find gems embedded in all of them. that being would stand above the rest. But I won’t subscribe to any organized religion. since it’s going to have at least as great a sense of humour and forbearance as me. for the most part. I won’t blindly accept any unsubstantiated proposition (which is not to say that I’m materially-minded and limit my thinking to objects that I can sense. el supremo. though I find nothing more pleasant than to sit down with a cuppa in a nonthreatening setting and share spiritual viewpoints. No way. I'm accountable to myself only. So I will not ‘believe’. omnipresent and all those other ‘Oms’. you gravitate naturally towards certain individuals. Ultimately. I wouldn’t sell my soul so cheaply. given that there’s a ranking. that doesn’t cut it. let’s nominate—elevate—that dirty rascal to the position of King. In terms of consciousness. . No need to show the heathen infidels the error of their ways. and I’m not going to go there either. but that has mostly been supplementary. Just like Feynman. Religions. the yokozuna. that someone has to be the top dog. Whether it’s omniscient. a word of warning. I must use the manner and style of thinking that suits me best. Are we clear on that? However. I didn't want to risk being steered off track. The only thing that pre-packaged philosophical narratives offer is a ready-made excuse not to think for oneself—to give up that power to some group. I’m not going to worry myself about it. Even the thought of doing so rubs me up the wrong way. It’s certainly true that I have benefitted from reading what others have to say. hey? Love them or leave them. I've always felt that to be the case. you need to select your friends and acquaintances wisely. And that’s not unrealistic or wishful thinking. I’ve felt it necessary to isolate myself from others' philosophies. I do believe that you’ll find pearls of wisdom most anywhere. How convivial. we don’t know. Until or unless it effects a self-introduction. I wouldn't do that to myself or to anyone. I’ve no ulterior motive to steer you toward—or away from—any. there’s a song there). I’m not here to turn you into either a believer or Thomas Covenant. All it would take is for everyone to have formulated his or her own personal religion for this to be the rule.It follows. Emperor or. We’d then expect every individual to have their own take. ‘gezellig’. the kingpin. By definition. because here’s where I do my version of a literature review and mention a few influences on my thinking. or to a theocracy. investing ‘faith’ in some authority figure’s story is nothing but a cop-out. I don't swallow any particular theory. I’m not sure). and in that way no one would feel the compulsion to promote or defend their own. since we don’t know exactly who was elected (a puff of white smoke from behind closed doors). why not. or feel that they needed to convince others round to their way of thinking. outlook or position. and that probably says something about the relationship—or potential relationship—between you both (what exactly. People would actually be interested in hearing what others had to say (Louis. It cannot be the vengeful-jealous type. But before I do so. No one is in a position to say what its attributes are. All I’m saying is that to kow-tow willy-nilly to any historical or mythological celebrity is not my scene. To me. ‘God’? In what other context are we going to use that word? Besides. or better. And that’s a good lead-in. Very well then. neither that I confine myself to musing upon the mind-figments derived from logical and philosophical machinations). and I don't expect you to swallow everything I say either. Cross my heart. who remains to be offended? As to whether that entity is up to the task is another matter. Though everyone has something valuable to say.

for me at least. But in saying that. first of all. even if I have said it. you’d better take that message to heart. that is the direction in which I want to head. As far as you’re concerned. if anyone out there feels that way inclined. that one has to rely on one’s own judgement for what sounds right. but that’s an illusion. or who said it. I am not claiming. they can do no wrong. and from their perspective. namely The Beatles. do-good gurus and proselytising pimps. at their level. later. . to have developed—or be developing—a watertight system of thinking. nor do I intend. U2 and Oasis. As for me. There’s nothing more dangerous than ideas. For me it’s the Doors. It’s the sort of trouble that you get into when you ask the same thing about religions. . I would say. just not everything in toto—and I’ll do my best to simplify this narrative as best I can. may have a go. what’s my point. or a way of apprehending reality. That’s up to them. and what’s the answer? What it means. But all you other primates had better use a filter. but for some reason Eric Clapton. is that everyone has a potential audience. Van Morrison and Bob Dylan grate in my ears. wrong. Lurch forward another pace and rest some more.The ideal. I’m not going to prop up what I say by dragging out a phalanx of previous thinkers—giants on top of whose shoulders I’ll stand and rant. By all means. You take a step then rest five minutes. Take note. ‘Who is right?’. . True. and that the most that they do is to help those answers bubble forth. It’s best to assume that. but who I can’t listen to all day long. Let’s compare ideas to lyrics and riffs. Jethro Tull and Jimi Hendrix. Below them. Second. I’ll pretend that I know what I’m talking about—which I do. People in the self-growth and new age spirituality movement say that the answers are latent within us all. Get out your sun block and UV sunglasses. So. To ask. kill him. And then there are other highly esteemed artists that I simply cannot groove to. there’s a group that I admire. not fed from without by a spoon. I’ve enough on my plate as it is. or following. I don’t see it as my job to make my discoveries fit in with what has gone before and thereby satisfy the conventional view. I’m a potential usurper. and they’d be welcome. The man himself told his followers. so I won’t take it on. no? Extreme? I guess the point being made is that it’s dangerous to expose yourself to the teachings or advice of would-be well-wishers. it works like your taste in music and musicians. I don’t consider that my brief. There’s a saying that if you ever meet the Buddha on the road. And whether or not their ideas resonate with you is simply a matter of hearing or taste. As you read these words. I know that they are talented. so be alert for them popping up on your radar. I suppose. I can only hold a line or two of this text in my head at any one instant (this book is a manual for me as much as anyone to read and learn from). well. My style of mental gymnastics suits me to a tee. I fall into that category too. No matter where you read it. lie at the highest possible heights of comprehension—the Everest of what is humanly possible without oxygen. but all I wish to do here is document that journey. Shocking. then take what‘s here and run with it. all you gorillas in the room. There isn’t one that stands inarguably higher. I’m not here to convince or debate. It may seem as if I have it altogether. Using another analogy. is . There’s a category of artists each of us feels close to and has a comfortable relationship with. “Believe nothing. would be for everything you say you’ve learned actually to have issued forth from within. Again. Others. expecting to get a definitive answer.” Killing the Buddha is a pre-emptive strike. everyone is right. unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense. In my book. I’m grappling at the limits of my strength with ideas that.

then they’ll feel that they possess something valuable and will want to guard it. If a person is positive that they are right. or try to sell it to. These strings are attached to no guarantees. Don't become entrapped—in my web of threads or anyone else's. And so. Of course. insisting it is set in stone. When you rake through the embers of other philosophies on the lookout for material to incorporate into your own. listen to what everyone has to offer. everyone is absolutely correct with respect to the views that they hold and the manner in which they conduct themselves. So let’s continue by taking a look at what I understand by the term enlightenment. What I do have. And won’t need to be told.A person's background. You’ve got to change your spots. and the stories that they tell themselves. you should only listen to those people—if that is the way you’ve chosen to go. Self-referentially. world view. You don’t attain it in a magician’s flash of magnesiumpowdered light. philosophical framework. that isn't much help to you. and it works for me. or at the very least in other ways demonstrate that they are not unduly attached to their kit-bag of thinking. You’ll get to the point of being able to hear—first-hand. And I would never impose it upon. you’ll become more discerning. in that sense. I'd been so positive! I would never have predicted that I’d ever sing a different tune. I’m sorry to be the one to inform you. because they will been made self-consistently. You've got to be prepared to evolve and to grow. please. But if the music changes—or when the music’s over—then you've no alternative. rather than figuring it out for yourself—who express their uncertainty. But heed. from your own mouth. beliefs. It—or they—makes sense. But no. As the Chinese say. in your own style and school—lessons you already. There’s no sensory monitor that suddenly goes phosphorescent and switches on some sort of a halo above your head. People have the wrong idea—and would no doubt benefit from a dummies’ guide. You’ll never hear me claim to have all of the answers (if I ever do. Start out by giving them all a chance. Don't get burned. but then decide for yourself. another. In time. Of course. challenge me forthwith). But I'd drop it at the drop of a hat if I had to. But hey. or give more credence to. stick with your current framework. Also. personal way of thinking. the psychology of previous investment makes them feel obliged to defend that status quo. The decisions that they take are on the button. not the set of thoughts that people have. all support one another. ever. You should never. Based upon that knowledge—familiarity with the foundation stones underpinning their philosophical structures—you have a much better rationale or strategy for weighing up what they have to say. But do afterwards weigh up what they say. I was so sure that I’d been imparted life’s secret. I've worked out. and worked up. We’re all monkeys on the same branch of the tree. a failsafe fuse that prevents you evermore from making a mistake or failing to come up with a profound answer to dumb . I say. miraculously. it would be fair to examine. you're welcome to take a gander! But just be careful. those who speak more closely to your heart. no question. I’ve been done to. because you’ll never hear unbiased information in an advertisement. but the principles or foundation stones that they hold to be self-evident. All the answers? I haven’t got them. give everyone a listen—or read. you’ll want a means of being more discerning. know. but enlightenment is not something absolute. Beware of anyone who assures you that they know what’s what. Using James Howard Kunstler’s term. I've been there. Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will for you. the easiest thing all round would be for you to accept everything that I said—tempting for both of us. Your concept of it probably varies from mine. That being so.

everyone lives an ordinary life. . No one is ‘great’— leastways greater than anyone else. Just take a nosey at the so-called god-men. I assure you. But without exception. They speak fossilized English with atrocious accents. you must take your leave. something for him to treasure as he grew up. And there were times—undoubtedly—when they messed up. What I'm saying is that every actor in this play wears out their clothes at the elbows and knees. They are overweight and waddle when they walk. Many were good. Enlightenment does not equate with godhood. or may suffer from diabetes. Michael Jackson can do no wrong. And if perchance an incriminating letter does surface. I've known the odd genius. . But after that. All need to brush their teeth and pay their bills. And the longer they've been dead. they had an awful lot of time on their hands. then you may not care for what I say. There’s no such person. So. There’s no way round it. There ain’t no such animal. because there’s no longer and chance of them making fools of themselves—farting in public. It ain’t necessarily so. To have an inkling into a few of the whys and wherefores in the field of spiritual inquiry does not make Peter perfect. He asked them for a piece of advice that he could pass on to his soon-to-be one-year-old son. I've never yet met anyone who fits into that box. . They have their pet idiosyncrasies. or talented. the more soundly that they rest in peace. breathe. Mine them for their nuggets and holy ashes. don’t leave philosophical matters up to the experts. because it hasn’t for me. sportsmen. and that the heights they occupy are unattainable by the rest of us (so that we ourselves need not bother trying?).questions put to you. You’ll find that they aren’t perfect. They eat. That’s the sad reality. because by then everyone that knew them is also six feet under. Underneath. do learn what you can from them. That is their fond belief. Acquisto once contacted as many celebrities. As am I. sure. how quaint! How very human! That only goes to show that the Gloved One in question was genuine. they’ll swan about in elaborate national dress. Of course. That way. He asked them all. Oh. because they are limited. Love them then leave them. as if they are special. or messed about. I don’t think that it works that way. Some have a material addiction to Rolls-Royces and have amassed a fleet. Now that he’s dead. We fondly forgive him or her. “How do you achieve success in life?” and collated the responses that he got back into a book. right Sammy? The tendency and danger is for people to venerate a chosen few. artworks or inventions. I’m not saying that there aren’t people who possess a certain degree of vision. They pick their noses. and defecate. You’ll be short-changed. sleep. There’re grubby things we‘re obliged to do to function on this planet. especially if the Grateful Dead are no longer living. they were just ordinary people. It’s humbler than that. I read Wisdom to Grow On sitting on the toilet. Rather than dressing in a utilitarian style. everyone would be able to benefit. The so-called Great don’t have clean hands. they had their heady moments. But so do we all. Don’t use the flawed yardstick of ‘enlightenment’ according to the common man as the litmus test to fine-tooth wannabe gurus. or clever. But believing so doesn’t make it so. And yet that is what people expect. I guess it's always easier to applaud than to perform. A journalist by the name of Charles J. There’s less chance for new dirt to be dug up. That would be grossly unfair. stars and famous people whose addresses he could get his hands on. In between their literary novels. As are you. but is isn’t 20-20 by any means. Don't you believe it! If you’re tempted to shortcircuit the quest for enlightenment by seeking out the greatest person living—or has ever lived—in order to get the gen direct from the horse’s mouth. or marrying someone half their age. My last word on the matter is.

It was repeated many times. Accept everything that comes your way. And at the moment it isn’t.Several threads emerged. For me. And I bare my toes as fair warning: you are now approaching a person who thinks for himself. Several people recommended that a person be the change that he or she would like to see. I need to be myself and live authentically. It’s nonsense to think that we do. They make your feet stink. I insist on doing so. Salmon don’t. once you figure it . I wouldn’t say that it’s a matter of ‘integrity. but I think it makes the point. I behave differently to most other people. Educate yourself by reading and listening. Even our pets need little instruction. It just goes to show how invasive our living arrangements are. but it’s as useful piece of advice as you’re going to get. and they give you bunions. “Dare to be different. the strongest message was the exhortation to be true to yourself. Who does that person think he is to be bucking the system? He’s a threat. footwear isn’t the issue. Letter after letter spelled out the phrase. Sea anemones don’t. corns. it’s a mouthful. They keep your feet wet instead of letting them dry. It’s as simple as that.” as Anne Wilson Schaef put it (elsewhere—she didn’t make Mr Acquisto’s list). all reasonable. Work towards a greater good. a cause. “Only then. Only then. but there’s also a clear and present need for us to ignore society‘s unspoken strictures. In his Conversations With God material. I used to jog. What made me think that I did? It isn’t difficult. Aside from the reason that it’s fun to provoke a reaction. in other words. “Where are your shoes?” people ask. One day I wondered why. Focus on small steps in your day-to-day living—use time wisely. Persevere. In this age of information there’s all this marvellous advice to be had. thereby causing Athlete’s foot. It doesn’t take much effort or time to do the research. It’s our job to get him back in line. spirituality and morality. They get in the way of your gait. “Don’t worry. but you could do worse than walking-the-talk of Acquisto’s aggregated common sense. they are hardly ever necessary. I behave differently because I think differently. whenever it’s necessary. integrity. no other animal requires footwear. Why? I don’t ask them what colour underwear they have on. Strive to keep growing. Neale Donald Walsch speaks about the importance of exploring your identity when he suggests “recreating yourself anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about Who You Are. but when I march barefooted. “I always wear shoes. “will you be in tune with your own inner guidance. It’s trivial. Maintain harmonious relationships through love and honesty. will a person be serene. Why do we imagine that we’re born incomplete? Shoes don’t keep you warm—they are bad for your circulation. they just do what they do purely on instinct. and don’t take yourself too seriously. I’ll illustrate this with a personal example. Humans don’t need shoes. awareness. My habit started a couple of decades ago. Sure.” I found it sad and ironical that we need to be told to be ourselves. One of the ways in which I resist the pressure of my peers is by refusing to wear shoes.” But really.” People urged Charles’s son to demonstrate who he was by doing what he is drawn to and grows to love. There was nothing really earthshaking. “Live authentically”. In the final analysis. whether that be in the form of a religion. What people really want to know—unconsciously—is why you are behaving in an unconventional way. Stay happy by being positive. and it cost me big bucks every time my running shoes wore out and needed new ones. the respondents wrote. hammer toes and more. And then society sticks in its oar. spirituality and morality’. I’m in tune with my inner drum. Dare to be your deeper self. and how strongly our behaviour and thinking are influenced from without.” I reply. a dream or personal goal.

And eventually that’s how it panned out. The you in me salutes the I in you. It’ll have a different accent.out. I expect that. and that the instant I stumbled across a better philosophy I would drop one for the other. and so it will be a while before you’re convinced. you’ve earned yourself a rest. I’ll be coming at you from left field. Take a breather (you know. then we’ll travel as far again as you’ve already travelled. In my new guise. You relish that control. These past few years have seen you ease into a comfortable pattern. I’m coming at you from an unexpected direction (this is God talking to you now). style. I started thinking for myself. It will take time before you recognise yourself in me. Sit back and relax now. my voice will at first sound foreign. but this time in tandem. They jolted me from a twenty-year rut. this won’t be easy for you. up to now you’ve given me a free ride. right? Don’t worry. But when you’re ready. initially at least. I won’t force you to agree before you’re ready. As always. You won’t trust me right away (and so you shouldn’t). when you picked up that pencil and started venting. Oh boy! And just look where that led you. Again. Neale’s books were very helpful in weaning me away from a philosophy I’d followed for nigh on two decades (nothing to do with shoes). Indeed. through the lips of another person. I made very sure that I did not swallow Neale’s every line. you won’t find my words as predictable. For now. and for that reason alone I’m indebted to the man. It was the old variation of the original sin thing: you had to prove yourself worthy by purifying and punishing your soul. Neale’s books did the trick for me. But you’ll understand that. I felt that I had something to contribute. but we’re going to share the continuation of this incredible journey. I was wary about entangling myself in another. and you will come to say it. a welling up from your inner self. vocabulary. It will seem stranger and more difficult. really). started out: The Next Neale Donald Walsch G’day Neale. May I introduce you to your next book? I’m starting it on your behalf (well. hook and sinker. You don’t know it yet. You’ll remember how it was that first time. Luckily. cadence and so on. Neale. Once more. you’re not getting any younger). on both our behalves. Not so much a ‘dangerous book’ but a dangerous persona. they convinced me that it was time to move on. let me do the talking. When you are prepared to trust the universe further by opening up to this dialogue. in the back of my mind I’d tucked away the thought that I was only following that path because it was the best one I’d found so far. This time. having just escaped one net. I’ll be here. again. . One of the series of blogs that I started. let me put the applorange in your mouth. You’ll be hankering to know that this isn’t simply some prank. and it’s going to be hard to give some of that up. Instead of communicating with each other through the medium of your yellow legal pad. But not just now. I guarantee it will be an eye-opening experience. I’d been operating on the principle that I had to burn through the dross of accumulated karmas by meditating daily and following a strict vegetarian diet. You could say—excuse the wordplay—that we’re both ‘halves’ of a whole. You’ll chime in later in good time. Also. that brings me around to discussing the biggest outside influence to date. And in this literature review. even this new CWG material that had been so persuasive.

and gradually get to know each another as playmates. resigned to that same old. Even though I’d shrugged off one set of shackles. and we’d arrive there together while bringing our readers along. The book that I’d planned for Neale—and for us—was another dialogue. That was the only way to manage it. literally. the conversation would be between Neale and I—not he and God—where he and I are each other in other guises. God views himself. We are all one. I needed to remain me. doing as so many others do: earning a living. Having said that. there’s nevertheless no essential difference between us. or you and I and Neale and God . Basically. or God and I. Neale and I would communicate openly. on one level Neale’s books released me. but it petered out not much later. because you’ve no one to play with. . God is everything imaginable. in . same old. I had to remain largely autonomous. sharing in Neal’s and my discovery. Maybe it was because two-thirds of the way through one of his recent books I realized that Neale was a grandfather whom one did not teach to suck eggs (and at that stage my thinking still sucked). By definition. This explains why there’s all the variety that we find in the universe. But this time. Nevertheless. his take of the cosmological picture is as follows. expresses and extrudes itself through us. We’d trust that the universe would lead us where we were meant to go. on the physical worldly plane. it would serve you well to read what he has to say. I plodded by from day to day. making my life as comfortable. Neale has a much better way with words in his body than this one. You too would belong and feel included. To sum up. (He would join in the conversation. ) I saw it all so clearly—even before it was clear—that in the book.Let me do the pedalling for a change. But I just couldn’t submerge myself in it. you too would realise that you too were part of the equation. (Or even you and God. Anyway. I don’t know exactly why. It's so that God can have a damn fine time don’t you know! According to Neale. addresses and bank accounts. I didn’t need to look any further. And so God needed to set things up—‘create’ the situation. just as there’s no difference between Neal and God. Next. when after he made contact with me I would share the blog’s username and password with him and give him shared access. I resonated strongly—still do—to so much of what Neale had to say. It would be a wildly uplifting and hugely beneficial new conversation. I had my own control to wrest my own control. I opened a page at random. It’s no fun being God. I was still complacent about my life. They’d start as strangers. God programmed it so that those bits of Himself had no knowledge of their common origin. We are all-inclusive. He was bored. To use another turn of phrase which Neale is fond of. being God puts you in a bind. At the beginning. Its premise: that although we two are distinct individuals with our own names. I just knew that he and I were on the same wavelength. Well. Say no more. and the first phrases to leap out at me (from page 116) were “submolecular time travel” and “there’s no such thing as time”. my life remained in a rut. in the course of writing the above paragraph. . Let the force be with another of your facets for a spell. God was lonely. that’s how the blog began. there’s no room for an other. This was so that the different entities could have a relationship with one another. The book happened to be Conversations With God – Book 3. Neale and I would discover that we are one—really one—and that there is absolutely no difference between us. I guess it was me that wasn’t ready. you are everything that there is. I had to grab one of Neale’s books from the shelf to double-check the spelling of his name. enjoys herself. Reading that.) We’d write and post without any pre-knowledge of where our talk would lead. if you like—whereby She separated off pieces of Herself. And so. You see. Well.

spirituality . And that applies not only to ordinary people. Ironically. I started to research that new topic (velomobiles fell by the wayside). I’d been surfing the Internet as you do. and forced me out of my shell. I switched to a stronger brand to see. the issue that tapped me on the shoulder. Let me tell you. Life After the Oil Crash. sustainability. I withdrew from their world by growing my face long. five years later. I had to leave them. I became a transcendental meditation initiate. politics. the media. Velomobiles are sublimely-shaped human-powered vehicles. Who could be happier? Then. They have polished enclosing fairings that go low to the ground. I‘d long since given up listening to and reading the news. According to Socrates. instead of the second coming. Geology. frightened me to the core. For someone who used to shun the news. I guess that a certain amount of fertilizing-the-ground-beforethe-seeds-are-sown has taken place. The next phase of my life—which I’ll call. conventional way. but I certainly suspend my belief about what they say. It was a whirlwind ride. reading up on my current passion. the stuff that powers our society. For a while. You could say that it ripped apart the fabric of my life. peak oil has certainly added value to my remaining years. Forthwith. Since adolescence—earlier to tell the truth—I’ve had no faith. They’re Ferraris for cyclists. and began to mirror the values and views of the establishment. there’s nothing quite like learning that “Civilisation as we know it is coming to an end soon” to spur a person into action. a rough-and-tumble romance. . I find myself at odds with the way that society functions. My close encounter happened on a fateful day in 2005. By crikey. to fill the gap of absent friends. and. I’ve surfed a path to. I was earnest only about exploring the workings of my inner world—the outer world could go hang for all I cared. All you had to do is sit in a corner and close your eyes. the knowledge that I accumulated around the topic of global petroleum reserves forced me to re-examine a whole host of similar assumptions. permaculture. consumerism. it was all that I read about. When you turn your back on the ‘real world’. corporatization. I don’t disbelieve people or mistrust them. and then punched me in the face when I turned around. the unexamined life is not worth living. economics. partly. As my school friends ‘grew up’. and when you ride them you save an awful lot of fuel. ecology. or the media. I can trace my love-hate affair with what an informed community of free-thinkers fondly refers to as ‘the end of the world as we know it’ (TEOTWAWKI) to that pivotal point in time. You know. geography. psychology. In that case. through and around numerous discussions about corruption. In the same way that Stephen King’s Cell got me to question why we regard the survival of people we have a relationship with as more important than that of strangers. . religion. Instead. Emulating the Beatles. What I discovered there opened my eyes (widely). was fuel. Mind you. those tumultuous years were an education and a half. A random link I clicked on to learn about the state of global fuel reserves dumped me at the website. civilization. aged twenty now. this was important! For the next couple of years. conformed. I don’t trust the authorities either. I dropped them. It took a second major crisis from without—a veritable meteor strike—to instil me with a sense of urgency. Oh-dear-how-sadnever-mind.an unquestioning. a very different apparition arrived on the scene. capitalism. we turn to the dawning of the millennium where. I won’t accept unchallenged anything that anyone tells me. In my case. it was only after I stopped meditating— twenty years searching for enlightenment—that the penny dropped. it has a habit of intruding. But let’s not go there with those biblical metaphors. delocalization and . How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Peak Oil—started from that very moment. conspiracy. I kid you not.

I can sympathise with the sentiments of those who groan. In short. I sat enthralled. he says. Deal with it. Derrick Jensen. I had thought that joining an eco-village was the answer. Download their videos and podcasts. the host of the C-Realm. Seek them out. Moreover. They’re the human face of this world predicament. For me. He speaks about his experiences during the six or so years that it took to put his documentary together.relocation. largely. On the positive side. However. they demonstrate that they are prepared to examine the evidence and if necessary modify their worldview. “I’m sick of all this shit. or even the future of the entire human species. Along the way. It stirred my innards with the power of pornography. They hussle vigorously to get heard. I’m proud to regard them as my virtual family. There’s nothing to be done about it. Check them out on You Tube. . Sharon Astyk. I’ve gained a group of friends—a whole tribe of them. Richard Heinberg. Was I the only one in the throes of an epiphany? In one respect. but when I glanced around the theatre I registered only doom and gloom. and yet also fantastic. Dmitry Orlov. elated and excited. I’ve deduced that I don’t need to worry about myself. he’s discovered his voice. I no longer subscribe to that view. As he forces his way onto the beach. after having spent a number of years farting about. it’s almost blown my mind. it turns out actually not to be all that important. but if the only outcome of that is the perpetuation. He developed a perspective and learned that he had something valuable to say. As What a Way to Go winds up. Get over it. They are the best. The planet is doomed. Michael Ruppert and KMO. There are. I used to think that the best response was to maximize my personal chances of survival. and they all bring something to the party (before the party’s over). Daniel Quinn. How many books haven’t I consumed? How many documentaries? How many sites have I earmarked. If I was building a lifeboat. then that wouldn’t make much sense. Ran Prieur. bookmarked on Delicious. he sums up what he’s gained. there’d be room reserved in it for them. It moved me. the documentary is just another the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it flick. Carolyn Baker. Bring the apocalypse on!” I share the narrator’s premonition that he is living through the end of the world. a bunch of documentaries on the subject that you can watch. What a Way to Go has finally shaken me free. Borrow their books. you accompany Tim as he strolls toward the coast along a road that becomes a track and finally a path through the brush. But what excites this middle-aged white guy is that. but they listen to one another with respect. Each has his or her perspective. my chosen few. and that brought me into contact with a great community of visionaries and thinkers. John Michael Greer. and if we don’t dramatically revise how we relate toward our biosphere. scrambling from one peak oil fix to the next (it’s a drug as well as pornography). Read their blogs. and I feel privileged to know them. James Howard Kunstler. and about his evolution and development during that period. as I mentioned. meaning to get back to and digest thoroughly at a later date? The process of discovery has been horrific. Tim Bennett and Sally Erickson’s What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire made the biggest impression. I felt enthused. of an unsustainable living arrangement. There’s no point to it. By their words and actions. I sought informed and unbiased opinion. They value each other and the sum and range of their collective diversity. Yep. I’ve been to hell and back. because it’s been a journey that has brought me to full life (paid for in the coin of a certain peace of mind). From the opening chords to the closing credits. It socked me to the core. but I wouldn’t change an instant or retrace a step.

To quote Oliver Wendell Holmes. in other words. He offers that prognosis from observing two people read the same book. who reckons that no book can change a person’s life. and that the Greeks were the last ones to fool around with it. At one point I even tried to enlist Mr Quinn’s help. I am happy to sort through an unpromising bunch to come up with a winner. It’s just as well there’s nothing else I’d rather spend my time on. therefore it is the person that makes the difference. They act to bring about transformations that single you out from the common crowd. because I trust myself to evaluate a mutational idea’s worth. Twelve years. I’ll accept the risk.Another who trod a parallel path is the author. These are usually detrimental to an organism’s wellbeing. he speaks for the need for a revolutionary new way for humans to perceive reality. On his behalf. His name and his book. or if the idea is an ancient one. but they’ll also earmark you as being different. And to stand out invites being cut down. To cut a longish story short. There are categories or degrees of change. Yes. especially any that lead to some mental construct that helps to explain. was the second. it’s wise to be suspicious of change—either in yourself. My only requirement is that it needs to have impact—that’s how I sift the wheat from the chaff. I live for ideas. When I say that I’m after something new. Right here I’ll insert a little snippet from Bernie Siegel. That's what I live for. Daniel Quinn. hey? I wonder if we’ve got that long. she explained. It had taken him twelve years to write his first book. It needs. “Man’s mind. maybe one time in a million. Didn’t my Rickmansworth meme fall into that category? Well then. and he’s become a major influence on my thinking. yourself. I’m on the hunt for anything and everything that would be useful in helping me—and others—make greater sense of the world. she let me know that writing was not very easy for Daniel either. That's the main reason that I read. I’m in the market for ideas that force me to see things in a different light.D. M. If one happens to you. was my first reaction. his wife did. they’ll awaken you from the consensus trance. The sort of idea I value must have the potential to affect how I live in and how I relate to the world. since I wasn’t exactly enamoured with the way that I wrote. If I really wanted to express my idea. the novelty of an idea does not lie in its newness. once stretched by a new idea. It’s not about titillation. to be applicable and practical. For me to rate an idea highly. read. never regains its original dimensions. That rang a loud bell. Daniel writes about civilisation. In his book. One is bored. The New Renaissance. feature high on most lists of recommended reading in this genre. the man declined. So. You’ve gotten away with it. Keep that in mind as you. That’s the change I’m after. For me. Or rather. Mutations are one. why not pass my ideas along to someone better qualified? Eureka! I’d ask Daniel to take up the cudgels on my behalf. We keep dabbling because very occasionally. Ishmael. a mutation results in an improvement. then I should be prepared to spend that long too. or in your thinking. I don’t mean that I’m after ‘the latest thing’ per se. and where we might have gone wrong. To me there’s nothing finer than to come up against—unless that be to come up with—a brand new idea. it needs to be something that improves my life. while the other is inspired. I need to be able to smoke or consume it . or tie disparate threads together. Ideas that have the power to infect your world view are dangerous medicine. clarify.” Which tells you that you’ve got to beware too. I couldn’t care less it it’s up-to-date and topical. who I discovered in the course of my six or so years of research. consider yourself lucky if it only has a minor effect. But some of us don’t learn. It’s not about sitting in an armchair engulfed by the sixo’clock news.

remembers that when he was a boy his father told him never to have any respect whatsoever for authority. Refrain from screwing up your face. You want to put as much distance between yourself and such a blasphemer in the shortest space of time. ‘Is this reasonable?’” Shades of the Buddha. Bruce Lee used to say that a wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer. You don’t say ‘yes’. If you read books. Here's how I (you decide whether I’m the wise man or fool) apply that lesson. Only through entertaining an uncomfortable idea do you learn something new. and ask yourself. I find that reading is the best way to put me in touch with another person. Just keep your mind open. Don't dwell entirely within anyone's headroom. that can't be a bad thing. And I’m not so arrogant as to assume that mine is the one true vantage. Suspend judgment. to act as a counterbalance. Neuman). A little cross-pollination works wonders. Try it and see. where he ends up. For example. every action they perform and every opinion that they hold makes perfect sense. Don’t let yourself be completely swept away in the throes of a new love affair lest you lose your sense of equilibrium and poise. in my scrapbook. you don’t say ‘no’. And. please don't approach me. Richard Feynman. It reflects back their worldview. Whether the author of the book I read lives or is history makes no difference to me. And the corollary: if you’d like to make friends with me. you can be locked up for voicing such a thought. Really. Reading as a hobby is a natural complement to philosophical gardening. In fact. But the flip side of this coin is just as important. someone claims that no Jews died in the holocaust. (What if a girl in Rickmansworth was right?) After all. Whether I’d relate to him or her in the flesh is immaterial. I become them for a spell—it feels like I’m under a spell—when I share their experiences. the scientist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. as it helps me see the world from their point of view. According to Jung. “Forget who said it and instead look at what he starts with. let the buyer—or borrower—of books beware. I begin by supposing that there is some grain of sense in every wrong-sounding statement. it doesn’t add to the experience if the (wo)man is still alive. . according to a person’s framework. reading their words is so much better than speaking to the person in question in person—that's been my experience. as if it was what Edward de Bono calls a ‘po’ statement (the term didn’t take off the way that ‘lateral thinking’ did). what difference does that make? Not a scrap. “Philosophy butters no parsnips. and I benefit from tapping into some of that centrifugal force. I begin by allowing myself to contain every thought or idea. Conversely. if you read something and enjoy it. having come around to the point of view that acquiring experience is the reason for living. then. “Preposterous!” is the right-thinking person’s knee-jerk response (“all right-thinking people are suck and tired of being told that all right-thinking people are sick and tired”—Monty Python or Alfred E. After all. But hold your horses. A proverb credited to Cato the Elder has it that wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise. and then happen to find out that the person who wrote it died last year. There is an integrity there. Don't rush. an internal consistency. But at the same time. Just write me an essay and post it to me.on a daily basis. I’d recommend writing at least one too. no matter how comfortable it feels when you first slip between the sheets.” so I’ll stake out my area of research as Applied Philosophy and see what grows in that garden. I am stimulated by the thoughts that spin the worlds of others.

No one died? What could that mean? In what way could that be so? Such an approach may lead you to consider what it really means to die. Could it be that there’s no such thing as death, or that death not what we imagine it to be? Use that as a lever to pry yourself in a little deeper. Life and death are just different sides of the same coin. Hm. So therefore the holocaust merely hastened the inevitable. After all, everyone dies. That is a given. Everyone who is born is destined to die. As soon as you’re born, you’re dead. It's not that by killing someone you are bringing about something which would otherwise never happen. When you are told that radioactive fall out killed 250,000, and you learn thereafter that it shortened those people's lives by several weeks—but fifty years in the future—what does that imply? How do you record that on your actuarial tables? See? What at first you react to as a nonsense can be rattled around and smelted into cerebral ammunition. The point is not to be too hasty. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to shoot a non-truth down in flames. Develop the habit of keeping your mind open and flexible. Jack be nimble; Jack be quick. At first when you encounter something new, you can barely put a finger on it. You can barely catch a whiff. Ideas are elusive; don’t fool yourself that you generate them within you, and that you’re their master. I truly doubt that—though am open to the idea. They flit about around you, like butterflies. They’re nimble. Without a net you’ll never catch them. As I said at the outset, I shy away from—in fact I shun—any system of thinking that claims to be superior to the rest. Philosophy, Scientific Method, Religion and the like. Yes, I will use them, but not exclusively. I tend rather to go for the grok. An idea has got to sit right, feel right, and heft in a way that I can accept. It’s like when you test an unknown plant to see if it is edible; you rub it on your skin or hold it in your mouth to see if it provokes an allergic reaction. If it doesn’t, then so far so good. Alice, why don’t you take a little bite and see what it does? The scientific way, they tell you, to verify or disprove a hypothesis, is by carrying out replicable experiments. In my career as a pseudo-scientist, I’ve chosen to employ mainly thought experiments. They are cheap, quick, and they seem to work for me. In the next part of my doctoral thesis—harrumph—I’d like to walk you through a few I’ve done. Let me go back to the lab and dig them out. I’ll re-examine their results to build on and develop. We’ll see what the consequences are, the corollaries. Finally, I’ll describe what I see as their implications, and maybe close off with a question and answer session. How does that feel to you? Though it sounds a logical and sensible plan, I’m sorry that I can’t lead you along a wellthought-out progression. Up my garden path, there are no easy, clear-cut steps (though I’ve installed old tyres). There isn’t a wheelchair-accessible slope that leads you to a coherent and comprehensive (and comprehensible) overview. My history isn’t like that. It is still being written, in fact, as I write. The order of these thought experiments is roughly as they occurred to me—loosely chronological. But they do not work seamlessly. I don’t have a firm, fixed destination, and I don’t have much of a game plan. I engage in this exercise for myself as much for others, so I share your curiosity about what will develop. A machete? Yes, we might need one. Bring it along by all means. To engage in thought experimentation would not seem to be too dangerous a pastime; nothing is likely to blow up in your face and kill the cat—not unless your name is Schrödinger. With a thought experiment you don’t usually expose yourself to the sort of rays that caused Madame Curie cancer. Which is not to say that thought experiments are foolproof or that they can’t go wrong; for how long didn’t people believe that heavier

object fell faster than lighter ones, or that the world was flat? But do thought experiments have any bite. Are they a legitimate modus operandi? Can they lead you anywhere but round in circles? I think they can. Actually, if you want to make dramatic progress, they are the only game in town. Application of the scientific method has never resulted in any great leap forward. Every leap has only ever been achieved through imagination, creativity and lucid dreaming. Thought experiments are extremely powerful. Einstein himself (who said that imagination is more important than knowledge) is said to have arrived at his Theory of Relativity after imagining himself riding on a beam of light. Other examples include Kekule’s benzene ring, the discovery of Velcro, television, the microwave oven, alternating current, coordinate geometry, chemical transmission of nerve impulses— eureka moments all. You may wonder whether they are hard to conduct. Don’t worry. You’re bound to have come across thought experiments, maybe in another guise. Perhaps as koan, haiku, riddles or puzzles. To some degree, these are all thought experiments. If you think about it, the act of reading itself is a thought experiment. Consider how amazing it is that the inky squiggles that your eye perceives translate into a shared experience with their original author. And it's all happening right inside your head! Reach up with your hand and grasp the back of it where the entire universe fits ever so snugly. Zowie Bowie! Science fiction offers a particularly good portal in terms of thought experimentation. Riverworld, Ringworld, Foundation and Chung Kuo. Every tale starts off with, and flows on from, one or more ‘suppose ifs’: po statements that we accept for the duration. In order to enjoy the story, we don’t worry about how likely or believable they are. This is great apprenticeship training. For example, take the premise that underlies the Matrix movies. Say that everything we perceived as real by our senses is not, and that the universe as we know it is an elaborately constructed virtual reality world that we’re all hooked up into. If that were so, you wouldn’t know the difference. No one can prove that anything is really out there. Yeah, but hey, you say, it's real. I can smell it. Nope, that’s just molecules tickling some nerve ends and scooting upward from there into your grey matter. But I can touch it. Again, that’s just another set of electrical impulses travelling up, this time, from your fingertips. Et cetera and so on. Stick with me, as I pluck away at the warp and woof of that insight. Everything you thought you knew is wrong. Yep. Everything that you think you’ve experienced is actually something else. Consider your last good meal. Wow! That was the best bibimbap I’ve ever eaten. Well, I’m happy for you. And I wouldn’t want to take anything away from your enjoyment. But just take a look at what went on: You experienced that meal through your senses. Taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing and so forth. And what are they? They’re generated by receptors of one kind or another that transmit nerve impulses up to your brain, right? Those impulses get interpreted, decoded. The brain decides that the experience was a positive one. You’re left with a satisfied—satiated?—state of mind. What you’ve paid for, unless you were feted, or had the meal at home, is an interpretation. Dollars for a state of mind. You fork out big bucks to attend a concert. Wonderful music. Great sounds. It’s mostly hearing that’s going on (mixed in these days with visual special effects). Electrical impulses zapping along to the brain. Synapses sparking. The brain reacting. Wasn’t that a great gig? Again, you’ve paid for state of mind. That’s all. Poetry will do it too. So will a run along the beach. Arranging photographs in your album. Witnessing the birth of your children. Your dreams, your thoughts, your wishes, your goals. Everything that you

experience, even carrying out a real-world, honest-to-goodness chemistry experiment with test-tubes and Bunsen burners, boils down to impulses shunting around in your brain. Everything out there, everything that we sense, is just subjective experience. It all reduces to neural activity. That must be so by definition—that’s why they’re called ‘senses’. They are our means of perceiving the outside world. And so, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling are in a sense delusional, or at least illusional. Everything else also: all the other ways I experience life. Everyone that I relate to. The stuff that I own. Every activity that I engage in. How do I really know that I’m walking, cycling or swimming? It could just be what I imagine myself doing; it could be—no, it is— just electrical impulses travelling to and from the muscles concerned. Even my own body may just be a figment of my imagination. Really, all I’ve got to go on is mirrors and the poor evidence of my eyes. This brings to mind the old question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Really, who's to say that it isn't all just happening inside your head. Draw a ray diagram. Inverted and reduced. You visualize the conifer upside down on the screen at the back of your head, upended. But in the real world, is there a tree, a forest? Is there even a real world? Your turn, now. Mount up. Be my guest, and do your own mind experiment. I’ll start you off with a gentle push; you just steer and balance. Ready? Off we go . . . What is the largest thing that you can imagine? What’s the largest thought that your head will contain? Whatever you propose, I’ll try to top it. Is that so? You’ll take me up on that? You’re wobbling along quite contentedly and think that you can dream a dream that is larger than mine? Okay then, hit me with your best shot. Oh, very well. How about a room filled with fish and chips. All the ice-cream in the world . . . all the tea in China . . . a million dollars . . . a billion . . . Come on, you can do better than that. I want to be the very richest, the most powerful, the most attractive . . . Really, you disappoint me. I see myself as the ruler of all, an Emperor, the head of my own religion . . . Peanuts, my friend, peanuts. I am the incarnation of Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, Jesus . . . Is that really as high as you’re able to aspire? I can travel back in time. I am immortal—a never-ending story. I’m Superman and have X-ray vision . . . I tell you, you are merely scratching the surface. I declare myself an angel . . . So what? I announce that I’m the Devil. I am a god . . . God Himself!

He wondered: what if one night. while everyone was asleep. Not this. we’d be lost. much greater than even that. If you are anything like me. but with nowhere to go. I wondered: what if every day we wake up as another person? Think about it. That is what makes it so tantalizing. There are an infinity of options. its events. It intrigues us. Oh. It’s out there on the edge of your periphery. and you can sense it. The yesterdays that we recall are its yesterdays. Surely it could not be true. You’d wake up with your whole history behind you. Go on. to forever be continuing in a brand new continuum. the juicier. you wouldn’t know if you’d become another being. A good conspiracy quivers at the edge of belief. Here's a good one to try. something unique. You’re after the bigger picture. not if the procedure involved the complete deletion of previous memories and the uploading of new ones. It consumes us. not that—you’ve avoided everything that doesn’t completely fit the bill. Am I right? Greatness lies within you—if only you know how to coax it out. with exactly the same genes. right inside that person’s head—then they would act and make the very same decisions and choices as he or she. Going through them to choose the best has meant that you’ve had to refuse most of them. And the tastiest one of all is the one that everyone is a part of. What a conspiracy that would be. Because how could I be sure that it wasn’t already happening? We awake into another body. It fools us. my friend. We cannot break free if we tried. You could save the world if you wanted—if you only had the trigger. Well. because it made me think of something else. . honestly. at the tip of your tongue. No one would be able to know. a related notion. but it might be. circumstances. that idea disturbed me. Just as you wouldn’t register a change in size. Watch this space. environment. and this would be just another day in the life of you. life as we know it could not go on. Everyone loves a good conspiracy. It might just conceivably be true. Poincare. Go on. But the cross that you bear is to delve for deeper meaning. I’ve always thought it stands to reason that if suddenly a person was someone else. We re-enter another life. and you’re prepared to make sacrifices. listening to music or working on your fitness—even developing relationships—has most likely felt like a waste of time—not a good prescription for happiness. You know that you’ve something to do. Just imagine! To entertain a conspiracy is a form of thought experimentation. It made me feel I was going crazy. It is an integral part of life’s fabric. I can almost let myself believe it. its birthdays and parties. Deep down. There’ s nothing wrong with it. say it. If we were free from it. It teases us. my vision for myself—and for you—is much. I’m about to inform you. admit it. Without it. We forget about ‘our’ past. upbringing. the one cause to be involved with.I tell you. knowledge—absolutely everything the same as that person. You are all gifted up. the universe became a thousand times greater in size? No one would be able to tell the difference. You’ve lost patience with your peers and the fussy little hobgoblins of their existence. The idea that this could be so freaked me out. People would wake up and blindly go about their business as usual. We come to consciousness into another life with its background intact. Apparently it originated with the French mathematician. and assimilate the past of someone else. if only if it was true. The broader it reaches and the deeper it penetrates. you’re possessed with a certain sense of grandeur. Extraneous activity has felt like an indulgence. so titillating. All your life you’ve racked your brain for the 'right' thing to do. Don’t be shy.

because how would I reach backward in time down the years? However. okay. then it wouldn’t be so. That being so. . I’ve probably only one chance to make contact and to . Without the memories and selfawareness of a previous self. because all links would have been lost. Your lenses—your overview of the situation—may not be so clear. feelings. This is how things work. At most there’s just the ghost of déjà vu. what is termed ‘reincarnated’. How would we get around that? I. if you occupy the future. perceptions. now would there? You wouldn’t know that you were no longer ‘you’. But somehow.I’m talking exactly the same here. How’s that for a premise? That would make the best Famous Five story yet! I’ve a mission on my hands. The knowledge of our relationship has been scrubbed. then clearly the best way forward is for me to plant this book for you to find. there’d be no way to tell you had changed hosts. No-one likes to be told what to think. but . in spite of the fact that you’re not one-hundred-percent convinced. and you might also. that’s how the world is. . How it goes is that I fancy I’ve a secret task to perform—to locate ‘The Other’. I must trust that you are fortunate enough to live in a relatively open society. my favourite conspiracy is a cross between E. It has hidden Theo—maybe you’ve morphed you into an unrecognizable form. I’m telling you . If you had any inkling of your former self. . Po statements. I warrant that you’re not the sort of person who makes waves. We’re both in mufti. I’m not really sure. . have the benefit of knowing that there is a person to be on the lookout for. Okay. We’d be unaware of it happening. and where it is possible to harbour variant thoughts (as long as you keep them to yourself). because Theo could be anywhere in the world. The grand conspiracy has worked to separate us. please. It would be like being born again. Hear me out. only at a more frequent rate. you would not miss your earlier existence. In every respect you would be who you’d always been. Don’t rip their wings off. Another difficulty is that we wouldn’t recognize one another on sight. But Theo is the type of person who goes along with the flow. meet for the first time—some really important individual who I’ve a very close tie to. at least. I can make a stab at Theo’s characteristics. or s/he. somehow I must reach you. and couldn’t. I shouldn’t be telling you. bear with me. No. or retained some of your present beliefs and attitudes. remember? These are just fleeting butterflies. or even both of us. But without such an inkling. It’s my job to get back into touch with—or. We’ve been reincarnated. But you don’t necessarily know that there’s even a game on.T. I figure that my best course of action is to send Theo a message-in-abottle (from your friend Roxanne). or lineage. But I. I hope to high heaven that you don’t live in the past. I need to remind Theo about me. It has rendered him or her invisible—I’ll use the name Theo from here on out (from THE Other). I don’t know what you look like—or even if you’re human! I don’t know where you are. or when you live. attitudes and mind. one in which differences are at least tolerated. though I’m not sure of the nature of the linkage. weasels! Metamorphosing into something new. and The Truman Show. have been brainwashed (as per the above). Those around you probably follow a conventional religion. you may be living in another time period also. Incarcerated. Why could this not be true? It must be true. How could you? Yes. and refer to Theo in the second person singular to avoid having to dither between ‘he’ and ‘she’. Still. Your day would seamlessly ensue from the background of all that had gone before. For all I know. I’ve got my eyes primed. if your brain was well and truly washed.

It probably wouldn’t hurt. no! I need to finish my story in daylight.” wrote Douglas Adams. And hope it’s picked up on someone’s radio-telescope. there’s no way I could speak aloud as I do on paper. I’ve got to attain escape velocity and get beyond the boundaries of this Truman World. otherwise I’d just gabble and blather. Forgive me if it sounds rushed. clunkenly. it must be done right here and now. eyelids a-flutter. I don’t mean in the flesh. having accompanied me this far. not ‘continue’. By ‘contact’. before the clock strikes midnight and the coach becomes a pumpkin. I need the time to edit and refine my words. All its systems seem to be functioning—I’ve got a clue or two. it isn’t necessary. Deep sleep with my muscles paralysed. for all ‘my’ previous memories would have been wiped out. but what good is likely to result? Because you see. I try not to panic at the idea that I may soon awaken into such a pair. assess the situation. some future morning. alluding to the Rickmansworth girl. this version of Groundhog Day is utterly warped. Eyes that don’t know where to turn. and I’d have to start from scratch. completed by the time that the sun sets and I go to bed and my consciousness slides into the peaks and troughs of alpha waves and beta. the best or maybe only means of reaching out is through words. because the day is all that I’m sure of. I can rely only on a single day to realize where I am. But can I be sure that tomorrow’s lenses will provide that same ‘insight’? And thereafter—how long will it be before I return. It resists and hinders me. I must work in isolation. I’ve since revealed that the story is mine— and yours too if you want a slice of the action. I have now the means. It’s only the thoughts that matter. But if time and opportunity are limited . This is a job that can’t be put off. Shit! I tell you. Windows glazing. and then afterwards beam the finished product message into the ether. and I’ve the insight to glimmer what’s going on behind the scenes. Carpe diem—seize the day. Is our situation hopeless? The particular body that I’ve woken up into today seems to have a grasp of the situation. then we really seem to be caught up in a whirlpool. I’m turning into a zombie. for who knows when the planets will be aligned as now. or maybe even how to see. the possibility that we speak different languages. They clatter upon the page. the time. It swivels my head towards the window and glazes my eyes over.make a convincing argument. or bodies. but. It has lenses through which I can see all of this reasonably clearly. the likelihood that we live in different eras. and I have a handle on what I’m about. even if we happened to live in the same street. It might not even be desirable. Nor should we need to. When I state that the goal is for the two of us to get into contact. But they’ve come out chopped and broken. No. we’re waking up every day in another body. Window-gazing. I know who I am. This damned conspiracy doesn’t want me to proceed. the wherewithal. “This is not her story. But an additional complication is that. and compose my message. Eyes that are closed. you’ll appreciate why. REM sleep. A spin of the wheel to get my act together. This is my timeframe. it is doubtful that we could ever meet up in the physical sense. and the insight to make hay of this span of unbroken stream-of-consciousness when I know I’m alive. I scramble back to our original point of departure. A one-shot lesson. Where am I? I had everything clear in my head just now—wonderful lines that swept and swooped and slid across the page. If this is so. Given the practicalities of geography. Eyes that are blind to the predicament that the two of us are in. I refer to employing the medium of the written word. foul spot. I cannot dally. dreaming of the little death. Today I simply must escape. Even if we did get together in one room. I can only rely on these daylight hours to do what I must. in the course of the search. into a host in which I can continue my work? No. Disconnect.

depending on whether we want to create a hedonistic or romantic mood. There are documented accounts of people who recalled where treasure was hid within a house where they lived in a previous life. to avoid a situation of confused identity. I don’t think you could avoid it. As you might predict. It would have to. red beard (before mine went grey) and socially inept manner. I have to confess that I don’t possess that power of recall. . mental gymnastics. I savour his zest for being. After all. John Michael Greer. Not ‘once upon a time’ but for as long as I can remember. Would it be so very farfetched to imagine that he and I are one: that I used to be him and was then reborn into this present body? As a thought experiment. I share his nationality. I don’t have déjà vu moments of sitting behind a canvas. but myths shape the way that we relate to our environment and to life itself. never fear. But the absence of hard evidence doesn’t rule out the possibility of a common ancestry. According to the author. his overpowering creativity. I’ve read of such a thing in books. He claims that they’re the tools we use to understand the world. let’s suppose that reincarnation is possible. stories are extremely powerful. I haven’t an unexplained taste for tobacco and absinthe. Maybe that’s an indication. By attacking the larger philosophical questions. it’s about Vincent Willem Van Gogh—good biographical fiction. not ‘argument’. I don’t know. I’ve pored through his letters. why bother with stories at all? Why not tell it to you straight—do an article or thesis? Take out an advertisement in the New York Times? Isn’t a narrative just a work of fiction? Why spend all that effort on something that isn’t even factual? A good read is all a work of fiction can aspire to. I suppose that reincarnation—should that be how our souls are processed—involves some sort of cleansing or brainwashing step inbetween lives. Prior memories not generally being common. So how about it? Let me consider the question and. his compassion for his fellow man. for the sake of argument—no. Do I have any evidence—not of reincarnation in general. middle name. I’ve even named a son after him. I don’t have any clear memories of being him. Then. This isn’t a narrative in the conventional sense. and the way that he railed against relentless physical limits and limited means. where would that take us? I expect that we’d need to think along the lines of reincarnation. Not only do they contain lessons and morals. I’ve traced his history and have amassed a library of books about his art. and urban legends of that type abound on the Internet. oh. mixing pigments. and I’ve papered my walls with his prints. There's hope for me yet. So don’t worry. It's just that where Vincent is concerned. I couldn’t have lived a fuller life. surely. for who wants to argue? For the sake of. I’ll break down—seven with a single blow— the straw.and valuable. his passion for life. the greater fraction of the world pays it lip service. And that would explain my inability to demonstrate a closer connection. but of this particular instance? Well no. How’s that for a Grimm day’s work? Our bedtime story for tonight (jeez. is it that late already?) is called either Lust for Life. Let's allow that there are instances of people remembering a former life. Not so. If I had been he. I’ll go on reconstruct the wreckage into a giant beanstalk that will win us the golden goose. his simple tastes. Maybe I was once Vincent Van Gogh. stick and brick huts of our cosmology. I’ve felt a connection to that gentle soul. or Starry Night.

) I asked you not to worry if our chosen dog didn’t appear to have the power reply to prayers. I sorted out several pressing issues. but God? Not on your Nellie! Quick. Let’s see how you rate me on this occasion. At any rate. Gorillas in the room we’ll allow. I didn’t slip the issue to the side by the semantic expedient of giving Him. Oh dear. right now. if there are more than one. It doesn’t matter where it is housed. then. move mountains. First. surely.Say that I’m right. And by default. It didn’t take me more than a minute to clear the air. as I’ve defined that being. Thereby. God may . there goes the siren. who is in charge here? An all-powerful god must be able to run rings around any old sundial. And the issue of whether God is an actual entity or a cloudchamber-like. Did you notice? In the previous paragraph we were invaded. Remember the trick I used to back the hairy monster into its lair? I deviated from the mainstream definition which is that God is some superhuman identity looming loftily over its creation. they would be one). as the highest form of consciousness that there is. when I spoke of being an Ego-theist. I assured you—and Richard Dawkins—that the quandary was. Sir God. For reincarnation to be the norm. actually) to the day on which I was born. exactly equal. You may have felt then that I evaded the issue—though I feel that I handled the matter rather adroitly. Consciousness. I did away with the one-god-ormultiple-dogs thing. Does that pose a problem? I can’t see how it would. for people in a state of limbo in between bodies there must be some cosmic equivalent of a transit lounge or suspended animation pod. Her or It another name: Life Force. someone give the bouncers the nudgewink. The godhead not a lottery that you can share. The bookkeeping system for that would beggar belief. And so. which is where we’ve arrived. now is the time to revisit it. I re-defined God simply. You know. by definition. just as long as it exists somewhere. Regardless. unless there’s no consciousness anywhere. Mustn’t allow an alien presence here. is key. arise. or walk on water. The king is dead. spiritual ether is also avoided. How then to explain the period of time—a half century or so—from the day Vincent shot himself (two days later. and then we all breathed much easier. No. With a fell swoop. I promised you that we’d get to that. Because. it would be quite inconvenient for the next life to have to start the instant one shuffled off one’s previous life’s mortal coil. then there has to be a winner. A deus ex machina entered the door. You’ll remember that we’ve been there before. Intending to regain some perspective. or red alert. Nip him in the crux so that we’re free to proceed onto bigger and better matters. We’ve got to clock his ticket. then they can’t all be equal (if they were equal. then the onus would fall upon them (and if they doubted even their own existence. I conferred the title ‘God’ to the most imposing player on the block. You see that. This notion of God. time ought not to be a problem for a god. in fact. and then immediately get stuck. God can cope. I pondered on that beast’s secret identity. Nature and the like. long live the king. A fire drill. Because you see. We want God to be time’s master—I mean. simpler. in whatever shape or form. then God help them. I made a vital adjustment. to retrace our steps. don’t you? How could there be a question? Well hell. For now. It’s not on the cards. must exist. if there’s more than one contender. Universal Spirit. Instead of trying to decide on whether or not there is a dog. I didn’t begin where most people begin. then God. if a person happened to hold the notion that he or she was alone in the universe. it isn’t a concern.

Circling at a bemused distance so as not to singe my wings. All religions are no more than cults. or saucer rather. and you can bank on potential readers discarding your work in droves after but a cursory flip-through (I tell you. . by definition. with the benefit of hindsight. treating each other as brothers and sisters. do please accept my apology. Have at you. But just you hang fast. but all of them were neophytes. but as I said. so does Dog. I tell you. I can see that that my instincts were totally correct. as far as religions go. then. manner or form. but it has got to be said. I play with fire). That understanding is crucial. And so to some extend. present. turning your cheek seven times seven . knowing and so forth as you’d imagined. I hadn’t meant to blather on about God. or an ET who missed the boat. Religions are damnably dangerous. Pepper religious words throughout your tome. Is it any wonder that sometimes you feel as if you are a spaceman left here on some bitter. but I’ll show you that it simply isn’t so. I knew it in my bones even then. far-off world (where a hyperspace by-pass may as well go). Good Samaritans. Anyway. I could tell that the adults had it completely wrong. Apart from the study of Philosophy—is that quaint subject still taught?—organised religions have more-or-less cornered the market. those observations intrigued me. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to be blunt. Unless you have it. . me hearties. that and the other. All that stuff about neighbours. religion and the like. I’ll need to intrude upon their patch and bandy swords with the bastards. because not one of their models of the world or systems of thought addresses an essential couple of existential features. In the next few pages. When you look into their eyes. is there a consciousness? I suspect that you sometimes half doubt it. how time doesn’t work. you can’t read any meaningful pattern into . don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ll prove it. No system of belief explains how time works—correction. the chosen people. you may be surprised. I know that I certainly have. or as all. From a very early age. It may seem as they deal with that matter. then you are blessed with a healthy aversion to organised religion in any shape. In my experience. and in spite of my resistance. I say this categorically. It’s that no system of belief half adequately addresses the nature of time. However. and sharply too. the second deficiency is even more damning. The first. who is in my family and who is not. However. . And now. Crusaders! Now. you can’t believe there’s someone home. And that shortcoming alone proves that they are seriously deficient. doing so turns people off. people like Jesus were well-meaning. . There’s a far more intimate involvement between all forms of life that organised religions have no inkling of. Though it couldn’t be helped. Every religion is miles wide of the mark. and therefore can't hint at. this tribe and that tribe. And that would be enough to damn them. by George. if I’m to present an all-inclusive and meaningful philosophy of life. You’ll recognize the spectre of conspiracy starting to bestir itself (see how I came to dream it up?).powerful. How perversely did people enforce it! How they suspended their powers of rationality to pursue it! Even as a six-year-old. No beating about the Bushes. I’ve had a moth-like fascination for religion.then not be as omni this. But . If you’re anything like me. This may well shock you. Who are we to determine just what god can or cannot do? Anyway. is that no religion explains the real nature of the relationship between us and God (and with each other). It remains to be seen just what implications will follow. then I can’t in all honesty avoid bumping elbows and rubbing shoulders with the big boys. onto the one fact that if anything at all exists. People pay lip service to the idea that we’re all aware—that each one of us is the centre of his or her universe—but that’s often hard to reconcile with the way that most of the peasants conduct their drudgery.

Watch me wrestle it to the ground and place my foot on its head. it has come to occupy a more established niche within the collective consciousness. To be consistent. Let’s keep that fire fed. We’re nobody special. I’ll risk peppering the next few paragraphs with another loaded word or two. I’d say that for the modern reader. However. maybe in another country. Well then. No problem. there’s usually a time lag. and I’ll do so in the time-honoured fashion of telling—or continuing to tell—a story. it follows on. doesn’t it. In this circle of life—or sinusoidal curve—I’m going to treat reincarnation as the rule. Another quirk of reincarnation is that we naturally assume it to be geographically unchallenged. . does the process stop dead right there? Why would it once it’s learned how to leapfrog? How would your essence wear out through overuse? The soul. We’re born. in their own eyes at least. So I roll up my sleeves to tackle the next item of vocab with gay abandon. should not make a difference. But so is everyone else. shall we dansu. not the exception. There’s no need for me to write a primer. since it’s my habit to revise and recapitulate. and they’re not just watching. But before he makes his entrance. what about the timing? I mean. Next. undoubtedly has the hardiness of DNA in its durability. One reincarnation. or a series stretching all the way back to whenever. we take that as a given. We’re all whirring madly en masse. For your entertainment. I’ll make it my mission to make time disappear in a puff of smoke. It might take weeks. Words like ‘reincarnation’ and ‘transmigration’ are now quite tame. come to think of it. Should one’s rebirth involve relocation miles away. Just as women’s magazines enjoy boosted sales when they feature a member of the royal family on the cover. Well. I don’t think that fate has singled the two of us out.the warp and woof of the universe. . should it exist. two. with everyone changing partners on cue. maybe Van Gogh would be thusly regarded . and me too. No less a figure than our old friend Einstein is preparing to step into the passion play (he’s in make-up now). . Everyone is at the dance. reincarnation can’t involve only the two of us—he and I. we die. Would you foresee difficulties with transporting spirits across oceans and mountain ranges? Do you have a problem with being broadcast to another planet? No? Mighty! You’re my kind of alien. they roll off the tongue and may actually help a little in terms of customer interest. If V becomes me. though I can remember a time here in the West when it was regarded as wild and wonderfully woolly. However. I’ll examine the part it has to play in my drama of fancying myself a reincarnation of Vincent Van Gogh. I don’t see just Vincent and I doing a tango as a twosome in the middle of the floor. Get ready for another character to join the cast of—what was it again?—Starry Night for Lust? Vincent is about to be joined onstage by another person from history. and yet. I’ll attempt to do an Ernest Hemingway here (if you’ll take the photo). Maybe ‘a little less loaded’. Reincarnation as a concept is now a fairly middle-of-the-road concept. no? The next Dalai Lama isn’t necessarily born the instant that his predecessor snuffs it. we are reborn. because their flavour is quite exotic. We’ve got a little bit of ad infinitum going there. these Eastern imports might help to dilute the more mainstream religious terminology and add Spice Girls. Here comes the wolf! (just seven-kidding). everyone must be included. we live. that reincarnation must be a series of repeated occurrences. the terms I’ll use are milder. To start with. That being so. Those considerations don’t impede us. Mr Sugiyama? Now. thanks to the spread of Hatha Yoga and the ubiquitous Hare Krishna lunch.

you don’t name your dogs and cats?). We had no problem with it operating across geographical distances. and topple old Father Time from his throne. Come on. God was number one. Don’t snap back at me with an answer. Do. Ah. because in your previous life you were so into surfing. faster than light. The next point is that reincarnation may occur as many times as it likes. (s)he’s doing fine! Now that we’re running hot. before the right cubicle is free. No way should you fear it— neither that actual being. before awaiting the neck show. or fun. and we fondly nicknamed it Dog (what. Are you up for more? ‘Are you ready?’ the mindless voice announced. We accept—expect—that astral travel is supersonic at the very least. and to . I trust that you are satisfied that there’s some sort of power. and we don’t bat an eyelid to imagine that person reborn an instant later on the other side of the ocean. then the other. Let’s tick off those points again. he might have to might hang around in limbo for a century before the time is right and the signs are fortuitous. Okay then. nor having that mantle bestowed. if need be. that doesn’t bother us either. We wouldn’t consider that as lying beyond the powers of the entity in charge. Lemme see now. we’re motoring! Let’s move on right along. flick that switch. Indeed. we touched on the concept of God—where I’ll admit that I might have employed a certain sleight of hand (in the holy spirit of the means justifying the end). We established that fact quickly for a platform upon which to build and launch off from. But I suspect that this wouldn’t cause you to worry either. isn’t it? Take a minute or two to decide. we’re not going to place limits on what can and can’t be done. Look at that—for a god who wasn’t able to more mountains or walk on water. or am I right? Very well. but can it do the superman thing and spin itself backwards along the fourth dimension? That’s a new one for you. without the essential DNA ever wearing out. We’ll just take a moment to review where we’ve got to so far. I suggested that reincarnation occurs as a series.even years. We’re getting ready to do some thought experimentation here. it can happen as quickly as it likes. Or a pig because gluttony was your vice. Assuming that it operates. The other is cosy and warm. It takes light a fraction of a second to make the leap. Am I right. or ignore it by travelling faster than light. It can either suspend time for as long as it likes. We're happy for it to leap periods of time ‘at a single bound’ or even. Reincarnation we accepted as a distinct possibility. not just for the sake of argument. how about a spot of transmigration to stir the waters? You know. not as ‘play’. Someone dies. beam me up). and that it is administered by man’s best friend Dog (who better?). One of them is benevolent. We established that there is one of some form or other. even if that role devolves as yours. The second thing we did was to toss around the concept of reincarnation—again. but you know what I mean. Yes? You can handle that? I’m impressed. then we wouldn’t in any way envisage this as a problem. As far as we’re concerned. Just as soon as we’ve completed our recap. First. It doesn’t see bestiality as an issue—that’s not exactly the word. We’ve an organizing principle that doesn’t baulk at physical limitations (distance). or year than that person’s death? You tilt your head one way. but hold onto your hat. Jack. Hell. but so as to snap off a few useful sticks for a Meccano-type construction. The situation at the other end of the scale—when the transition is to occur instantaneously—well. date. but there’s no earthly need for souls to be so slow. being demoted (or promoted) to a dolphin. I want you to give it some serious thought. should a reincarnation event require an astronaut’s soul to jump from a fatal accident on the moon to a baby on the dark side of the earth (Scotty. Is it possible for someone to be reborn at an earlier hour. mental exercise. let's tally up.

Gross! Someone who lived a good long innings. and who was memorable for several events during their lifetime. But are you sure? Say we have 2009 minus 1879. That’s a thought—there must be thousands with the same surname. You’ve never shaken his hand. When I mentioned the name Einstein. there's your answer. How did you decide that I wasn’t referring to his son. for Mr Einstein. near the end of his life (the one where he sticks out his tongue at the camera is a favorite). But you know. Heavens to Murgatroyd! How many 130-year old people do you know? Can you visualize someone that old? And if you can. I say. you vultures! Okay.everyone—not only to a select few. the consensus. I took it for granted that you were familiar with him. that I intend to append him to my chain of predecessors. He’s going to be another forebear of mine. Let me ask you something else. they need to be given a chance to breathe and dry out. you see. probably. Why not picture him thus? Why did you picture him as an old man? Here’s a quickie for you. not his age in the picture you chose. That should be an easy one to work out. you take Einstein's birth year and you subtract it from what year it happens to be now. But now we want to take further grammatical and even metaphorical and/or metaphysical liberties. A big hand. I once read that every great idea is born drowning. because I admire him. his moustache and rumpled clothes. It doesn't compute to us that a body keeps aging after it dies (although I’ve read that a corpse’s fingernails and beard keep growing for a few days). But how? I bet you’ve never met him in real life. it’s time now for a change of pace and scene. there are certain complications. does it? It doesn't sit comfortably with you. No. Very well. He’s come here at my behest. or his uncle? What made you home in on our friend Albert? Is he more important? If so. Answer me this: How old is Einstein? No. please. That’s what you do when you fire up a thought experiment. They’re only ‘what-ifs’. let me welcome another character to the cast. What features stood out? You would probably mention Albert’s shock of white hair. So much so. you would have visualised the man. but in actual fact. But how would I manage that? Or rather how would Dog? Because. At this point. It once was black. his hair was once cut short. At death—physical death—the soul leaps merrily across time and space to take up residence in another body—geographical location not being an issue. Okay then. You don’t jump in with both feet and then immediately shoot yourself in the foot. Hey presto. let me do my duty first. I also assumed that you knew which Einstein I meant. That makes one hundred and thirty. If old Albert had died at his peak in a car crash like Diana. can you tell me how he appeared in your mind’s eye. It's a weird thing to consider. don't you think? . what‘s the deciding factor? It’s strange how easily we leap to conclusions. I’ve neglected to properly introduce the man. you must have recalled a photograph—one taken. you say. say. wouldn’t that creature resemble Gollum more than Albert Einstein? It doesn't bear thinking about. But wait. would be that he is about 36 years old. maybe because he’s so well known. though. nor does it make sense. and time not being a major concern either—it’s delay or annihilation (or consistent use of tense). I see. or po statements. How old do they appear in your mind now? (assuming they’ve left the land of the living). most likely. Hold off. We want to chop the hourglass into smithereens and turn it on its head! Do remember if you will that everything we’ve been discussing is only a working proposition.

Einstein was born whilst Van Gogh was still living. Your day would unzip forth from the background of all that had gone before. but I’m sure you’ll get over it. One. Not only that. because I’m not far from opening up the throttle. but we’ll imagine that this is the case).How about you? Never mind how old you actually are. That wouldn’t surprise me. Einstein was still alive when I was already a toddler (not really. Still. bummer. I won’t give up. Ooh hell. Damn! Somehow there must be a way around it. How might that mighty beast crack that particular Bono? Let me offer a solution. You’d better. or according to another ratio? And maybe it isn’t uniform—it speeds up or slows down according to your physical condition. I can understand how the idea of giving up one’s ghost on a daily basis would be repellent. and sooner than you can imagine. you become another person. you would ‘be’ who you had always been. Without another set of memories and the self-awareness of a previous self—remembering that cases of prior life recall are extremely rare—you would not miss your earlier existence. We’re going to work on getting you up to speed. you’re gaining a son. Matrix-like. Are you willing to wind things up a notch? All righty. Yes. our consciousness is not obliged to go the long route and have to grow up tediously from babyhood. does your self-image age too? Does it keep pace with the clock. you’ll soon get to be ‘you’ again. Do give that po statement a little time. It’s my experience that most people clutch fast to their individual identity—witness their efforts to live a few seconds extra when their time is up—and they resist the idea of a collective consciousness as strongly as they do doctrine of Communism. how old do you feel yourself to be? And does that perceived age change with time? By that I mean: as time passes. Thereby. There are a couple of things worth considering. then there’d be no way to tell you’d changed hosts. your new identity (or dolphin or pig) would behave exactly as the programming dictated. Dog ought not to be restricted by time (or by anything). The thing is. Their lives overlap. So yes. I’m going to get you to suppose that reincarnation is unlimited in another way. Hm. You wouldn’t know that you were no longer ‘you’. once the software was uploaded. or when you are in prison. But to continue with my story—time’s a-ticking on that 24-hour dial—you have a problem when you want to be both Van Gogh and Einstein. One would have to conclude that if this was done well—weldlessly—then. But not so fast. a soul. here’s your next assignment. I’m going to assume that there has to be a way—remember. I’ll get you to imagine that it doesn’t wait for your life to end before it kicks in. such events or incidents would have some pertinence. Now. but how could a person. Touch the water with your toe. wangle it so as to be alive in two places simultaneously. into the next life as fully-formed adults. hold on now! Run with me for a minute. I plead. Here’s what I’ll do—I’m going to dust off and recycle our conspiracy notion of being reborn/uploaded into another body every day. or life circumstances. . is that your system is somehow able to miraculously reboot after wiping its previous memoryconsciousness and replacing it with another. Maybe when you develop some chronic illness (not acute). Strap yourself in. it’s a mindbender. you might say that this sounds rather depressing. and come to consciousness with all the memories and attributes and inclinations of an entirely different person—the Poincare spin-off. To all intents and purposes. which is the only way that I can see it working? I would seem to be stymied. and the idea that every night when you go to sleep. the one where you awake as someone new. Don’t worry. improved-Persil version of reincarnation could slot us. health. The second thing we need to grasp is that this new. Try to realise that you’re not losing a daughter. Burt Monroe. I’ve already pointed out that if this was indeed what goes on. You know.

such a mechanism would be far too cumbersome. See it as the principle behind moving pictures. No. me too) comprise some sort of living strand. Flash twenty-five frames per second upon the screen (less in poor quality cartoons.Well and good. half second. Toy with the idea that reincarnation occurs. According to J. in my opinion. the logistics. as it were. not at the end of each day. movies are a wonderful analogy to this process—and on the wider screen. no! Think larger and grander. not ‘do’.” Okay. Increase our speed up to a rate that makes it ridiculous to hang onto the term reincarnation—it’s too long a word to work properly at . where the picture jerks) and there you have it: the illusion of movement come to life. I eased you into this realization by putting you to sleep. but after every second. unless they belong to mine or yours would be part of theirs. The whys and wherefores. Roll the following between your fingers. Is it a collection of reincarnation threads that you’re weaving? No. But the next step up—the next gear—is to try for size the thought that the change happens right under your nose. faster and faster until you fairly feel yourself—yourselves— vibrate as if between two mirrors. we live in different time zones. but that is only an illusion. I can see what you’re driving at. No. I had the change occur at night while you were under. So prepare yourself (you’d better you better you bet) for a giant leap in quantum mechanics—one small step for man. It seems to run continuously. Hughlings Jackson. “Time in the form of some minimum duration is required for consciousness. awareness of self. Try to envisage your selfknowledge. This isn’t a question of who gets to ‘bag’ which being – I grabbed Van Gogh and Einstein. And other people. Imagine that the rate of reincarnation were increased immeasurably. For one thing. what if the same rule applied to how we sensed our beingness? What if consciousness was a series of rapid-fire stills. In many ways. Just give me a minute. For us humans. days don’t pass so regularly. hang on now. genetic makeup—everything. You then. Each individual believes himself unique and separate. because the engine would surely stall if we had to hang about for twenty-four hours at a time in between identity changes. okay. quarter second or eighth. no. history. a giant leap for mankind. not after an entire lifetime. Twist that dial all the way up. I mean. And then I want you to bounce back. They are not as clear-cut. There’s no such clock. Okay. Some of us work nightshift. There’s some evidence for this. Think of the bigger picture. shifting into another identity at lightning speed. are part of another strand. You haven’t quite got the cat by the tail. even for Dog. Try this out. You see the identities or dual identity of Einstein and Van Gogh dithering between the two of them. Just try to envisage flitting into someone else’s shoes and instantly engulfing—or being swamped by—that person’s memories. right? Each personality is filled to the bursting point with self-awareness. life. And back again. can you imagine that? Don’t worry about the mechanics. so you get to nab Da Vinci and Tom Cruise. I say this. reincarnation on a daily basis would be too much of a handful. the dizziness and the nausea are not your concern (I’ll get you a pill). Yet they are joined more tightly than any pair of Siamese twins for the eighteen or so years that their lives intertwine. Since we’re apt to be up at all hours of night. in that our brains run at eighteen cycles per second. Back and forth. not exactly. and yet they remain utterly unaware of the connection. ‘po’—we might suppose that Van Gogh and Einstein (and yes. Here’s what I want you to do. I propose that the change is effected by a form of fast-forward reincarnation that takes place more regularly than once a day. Can you do that? No. Film is spliced together by the frame. and consciousness. you would imagine. like The Moody Blues’ seesaw. And all of us have been to all-night parties. a neurologist interested in epilepsy. For the sake of argument—sorry.

my friend. but there’s a very good reason. picos and further. Wow! Talk about existence being an illusion. for the speedy version. at every miniscule point in time a flitz occurs. or separate living threads. I know). The memory of what is perceived lingers in the mind until such time we reconfirm that it remains or has moved. I propose that one’s soul is a spark of consciousness that leaps about the universe in quantum-sized instants—shall we call it a quark. Think of this as a lesson in quantum physics of the consciousness. We’ll start small once more. Bear with me. I appreciate that this isn’t easy. Instantaneous and every instant. that—rapidly building up the whole picture of what is out there. their focus leaping from one object to another—foreground. Think of flitzing as reincarnation with a vengeance—reincarnation on broadband. There’s not a Van Gogh and an Einstein doing the do-si-do. Digital. Flaming Nora! But that would mean . From now on. whereas we’ll reserve the term reincarnation for the refined and sedate end-terminus disembarkation. background. I say. I’m talking not just billionths of a second. . and get back to where you started. This arrangement would permit the illusion. bits of string or what have you. it’s tough to get your brain around it. It’s like the way that vision works. not analog. Nanos. It’s nonsense to think of a ‘me’ and a ‘you’ when we’re that utterly combined. or verb. yours—are (or is) made up of infinitesimally small quanta of consciousness linked together. before the sensation of having taken leave has had any chance to dawn. uniquely and separately aware and alive. . even though the area we actually sight clearly is only the size of a thumbnail at arm’s length. let’s say that consciousness is also quantifiable. . into every creature. wavelets. Po statements. Why would we possibly want to do that? Don’t I realise that I’m giving you a headache? I do know.higher velocities. Yes. and it’d be great to empower us both. she or it is continuously. a snip or a snark? I’m open to suggestions. You’re right. so that it seemed it had never been missing. a quirk. Yep. This is the mother of all illusions! Just like Poincare’s idea about the universe expanding a thousand-fold overnight. this side. Okay. but billionths of billionths of seconds. That would generate the illusion of continuous being. plant or life form that exists . but a thorough understanding of the underlying principles confers unbelievable power. you wouldn’t know that a flitz has happened—that this flitzing is happening. You’ve got just one whirling dervish (the Eingog?). we’ll refer to the process as flitzing. I want you to have ‘time’ to flitz a circuit of every centre of consciousness. just as matter and energy can be broken down into the smallest particles. Let me spell it out in plain English: life consists of ONE spark: a single entity that flitzes around as instantaneously as makes no difference into every skull (I’m anthropomorphizing. Our life history—my life. you may roll your eyes at me—I’m a typical science fiction reader. It’s meaningless to speak of separate entities. . you read me rightly. quoth the raven. with our eyes darting here and there. But why? you ask. I want your spark of consciousness to have time to rush around the entire cosmos and back to where it started. What did you think that the expression ‘We’re all one’ meant? But it gets even better. . Why do we need to venture into La-la-land territory? Hold your horses. I’ll expand the field— another being. At every conceivable instant you are another person—no. remember? Poe statements. Fine. That will be the noun we use. Slice it up as finely as you want. Under the above mechanism there ain’t enough room in this town for the two of us. You can’t prove that it isn’t. that he. You can’t prove that it’s so. There’s no limit how fine a tooth comb can be pulled. in every life form that it touches.

time stands still. For It. If they had taken a clock and an odometer with them on their trip from a distant star. It has some support. I mean to demolish time and space (Einstein. the fourth dimension. ought to be as accessible for roaming as any other. What I suggest is that my spark (or your spark and everybody else’s) doesn’t have to follow a particular temporal and Cartesian sequence. quantum electrodynamics—who could possibly keep abreast of that field? Would anyone want to? I can’t tell if we’re talking about a photon.If Dog can manipulate matters to control a creature’s consciousness in that fashion. It would deal in consciousness—would regard it in quantum-sized units. Additionally. photons have a mysteriously unified view of things. One thing. As you travel at your leisurely pace you are oblivious of that extraordinary state of affairs. So let’s invent another science. just as we never worry about what will happen/happens/happened in the past. Go for it. If you start with a single centre of consciousness and smash it up via some sort of big bang mechanism into a helter skelter of apparently discrete centres—the particle-wavelet whatevers that have features of mass. quark. and everything is in the here and now. or you. At light speed. In a sense. and also to what we think of as the past and the future. Every time is real for the consciousness quantum spark. cheer me on!). spark or whatever. and since time stands still. then there’d be no limit as to however many Who’s Who from history I. as well as ‘forwards’. It doesn’t have to flitz in split-seconds around the universe in order to return before it is missed in the here-and-now. that idea is not unfounded either. and that makes good sense. I’m proposing that any ‘time’ is as good as another. Quantum physics. time. energy and now consciousness—then that would lead to an explanation of the whole shebang—maybe rip the veil from the face of Old Mother Maya herself. There’s a lot of traction we’d gain from grasping that. though—they say that matter and energy are fundamentally the same. electron. the physicist Feynman—or it could have been his PhD supervisor. quantum mechanics. positron. the future and the past would be equally real. Eternity and total unity are physical entities that lie outside of your direct awareness. I find interesting. For instance. simultaneously. everything along its path—the start from which it came and you—exist at one point. As humans we might worry about travelling back in time. might have been. From Thomas B. From the perspective of the photon. That being so. lest we adversely influence the natural course of events and never end up being born. And believe it or not. eternally. John Freeman—came up with the equally astounding idea that the universe may actually be a single electron/positron leaping about all over the place both backwards and forwards in time so quickly that it ‘fills out’ the entire thing. That. It would hint how life as we know it has resulted from the explosion of a single. Dog! Our challenge now is to come to grips with the concept that reincarnation can move us ‘backwards’ in ‘time’. It makes you wonder if consciousness could also be an integral part of the equation? Could there be a third aspect or quality to ‘stuff’? The one thingy-bit I’d be curiouser and curiouser about is whatever sub-particle carries consciousness on its back. Dog truly would be unlimited in time and space. but that doesn’t mean that a higher power would be thus inhibited. we’d never need to worry about the future. It may leap across distance within the present. distances collapse. We’ll add Quantum Consciousness to the curriculum. quirk. Czerner’s What Makes You Tick?: As they travel. the time and the distance travelled would have measured zero. In that case. .

you still imagine yourself separate. But let’s give the present moment some measure of credibility. We’re casting about for a lifebuoy. essentially of nothingness. Save Our Souls. Our perception of the present. and how do we fit into the overall picture? I ask. into an unbroken. When speaking objectively about the phenomenon of time. what the hell is this—some unholy text? Is the writer—yours sincerely—the . But we’re not fenced off from one another. as God. the it/them/us assembly. But we also sense that the present is. He claims they lie outside our direct awareness.? Oh my God. . Richard Alpert and others state that the present is all that there is—that it’s the only time that we have. or the cilia on a single-celled creature. You are then at ease in the here and now and at peace with yourself. just what it is that God wants from us? What is it that he wants us—ME—to do? What is my—OUR—purpose? Ah. “Be here now”. Let’s be present in the present. Let’s think of it as having a certain substance. So how do we get a grip on all of that? What do we consist of then as individuals? How are we to regard ourselves? What does each of our lives comprise.” We’ll take a closer look at Czerner’s ‘eternity’ and ‘total unity’. only to have been replaced with another Xmas present. We really need a lifeboat here. concentrated centre of consciousness-essence. As Baba Ram Das wrote. the past and the future. Ism is the means and mode whereby life jerks itself forward by the bootstraps. . Or else we’re those little wriggly things on a starfish. you can’t mean . right? Us and Him—a kind of duality. at one and the same time. I put it to you that we’re finger puppets. Don’t Panic (inscribed in large friendly letters). we might easily overlook that meniscus and split time into two. . We’ve got to get it all together. For the sake of convenience. argument for and even proof of quantum-mechanical-reincarnation. and when we insist on regarding ourselves as individuals with separate souls with discrete lives lived out linearly in different times and locations. Any of its occurrences cannot be measured. . I mean. . unbreaking wave (surf’s up. and that together we make up one enormous hand (it’s just that it’s hard for our self-awareness to stretch that octave). We’ll assign to it the thickness of one of our quanta of consciousness.original. Tolle. because at the moment we’re just passengers in a ship adrift in the midst of an absolutely perfect storm. Imagine yourself sitting at your shoulder watching yourself with a detached objectivity. On one side the whole school-herd-flock that is actually one. Correct me if I’m wrong. nothing. but what you’re saying. thinner than the thinnest skin. let’s refer to that whole before-and-after conglomeration. Whoa now! You’re not going to . I think. Who’s got the glue? So . Okay. We pull the wool over our eyes when we cling to the anchor of ‘seeing is believing’. we are totally together. . Are you telling me . Beach Boys). Though we’re alone. The present is gone as soon as it arrives. is that there’s just us—WE—plus God. and on the other side there’s Him. let me get this straight. . our most intimate experience of being. . It is gone before we know it—gone. It lasts not an instant. It has no substance or duration. is itself the greatest testament of. It lies between the future and the past. Practise Eckhart Tolle’s advice—“All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. were it not for the fact that we skate or glide or surf across its surface. The question is how. So what the hell is the point? Do you mind me asking. Do you see what I intend? I’m about to string together these moments. but we’ll examine them anyway.

I’ve a few cards left to balance. that of billions and billions of us—both the living and the dead (and those to come)—being individual entities living separate lives. these philosophical gymnastics are not simply to indulge any delusions of grandeur. here we come. One good breath . allowing us to experience ourselves in multiple bodies. halfpied. not out of left field. and then the whole structure will gel into bedrock. I know that at present it all looks like a house of cards. Unified Field Theory. . Come on now. Give this poor sod a handle on this. It gets across quite nicely the idea that we’re all one (though it holds dogs at arm’s length). I don’t know what the people who conjured up the term have in mind. It’s a struggle for us all—all one of us—to conceptualize that which has emerged from the woodwork. Visualising and conceptualising are what I do best. As you assured us. The Egg. Visualise once more our little spark. No. Let me make sure that I understand. But remember what I promised at the outset. I perform them not so as to cosy up to whichever famous figures I take a fancy to. It depends. both simultaneously and overlapping. which is to meld together these hypotheses and postulates to explain all the unanswered mysteries of the universe. there are only a dozen or so pages to go. Warp infinity. Well. cloven hooves and a pitchfork? The sooner we escape the clutches of such cult-generated. It leaps merrily around the world unhindered by geography. It may also be a good idea to dip into Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations With God material. and yet it is such a difficult one to absorb—I don’t know that I even wish to. really. I have a grander aim. is doing the rounds on the Internet as I write. crackpot fantasies the better. and to my life? This has come. . if the ideas contained herein result in your seeing everything in a new light. It’s time now to tackle time travel. It skips blithely across time. I know full well my strengths and limitations. Believe it not. and I include myself here. but from another planet! First. Shh now . no less—wrapped up and lumped together. damnation and original sin? Does anyone see the devil as a red-skinned being with horns on his head. But we’ve got to circle around and sneak up on it from the dark side of the sun. it seems to me. hang onto your hats. we’re almost done. your worldview is incredibly simple and easy to grasp. you ask me to accept that there is only one super-being. perhaps I am. but I struggle to spin my thinking into words. Behold that spark now flare several orders of magnitude. This spark is going supernova. I’m required to give up my worldview. Heavens above! What changes am I going to have to make in my thinking. Instead. And would that be such a bad thing? Aren’t you halfway there already? Western society has already largely weaned itself away from the idea of a vengeful and jealous Dog. if you please. . I’m going to up its power. I may not be the best person to do that.devil in disguise? Is that what’s going on here? Is he (as me) fooling with your mind? Is this the antichrist you’ve run into? Is your soul at risk? Danger. Fasten your seatbelts. each having a unique relationship with a higher power. You might like to sample a shorter. Did they see any of this coming? Certainly. userfriendly version. I’ll certainly try. But really. Is there anyone who still seriously believes in hell. Will Robertson! Who knows? It could be—I mean I could be. . Andy Weir’s short story. eat your heart out And you know. It’s not about self-gratification. and if they make you realize that everything that you had previously believed in is now largely irrelevant thereby causing you to discard your earlier religious convictions then. all of us—including god. . from the standpoint of those guardians of the status quo.

when we’re asleep as opposed to when we’re awake. because we have a sense of past. we only dip into wakeful waters for a matter of hours before needing to recharge our batteries and refill our oxygen tanks. outside of you. You are there. After all. You’re here behind the rays that shine into your eyes. I’d judge that wakefulness is not our default state. don’t you know? And then. including God. we’re mesmerized. the planet. Ism. In which of the two are we more ‘at one’? With your eyes open. independence. autonomy. Everyone occupies his or her (gender is yet a further distinction) quarter-acre patch of reality. This knowledge snips us even more sharply off from one another. let’s consider our depth of connectedness to each other. it’s as every day is utterly new. But we slough all of that off when we sleep. Why is it that it takes me so long to orientate myself? For up to an hour I’ll lie there gazing at the ceiling. Time feels real. At that time we are centred (unless we’re just tossing and turning). and that they experience a continuous existence. and we take in the drama at face value. ONE. Let’s leave consciousness out of it for the moment. we ‘know’ that at each extreme there are boundaries: our birth and death. You never become ‘exhausted’ in the sleep state and just have to wake up. We’re wrapped up in that containing consciousness. We’re not so much a flutter of butterflies. Nevertheless. the cinematography of our lives feels as if it's actually happening. Of course it must be. We are neatly self-contained. We return to our origins where it is natural to be. We are one. space feels real. Or am I really a butterfly dreaming of being a man? I wonder if the dream state isn’t more ‘real’ than wakeful consciousness. you take on an aura of individuality and otherness. and we draw nourishment from being there. don’t we feel dullest at day’s end? And so. It’s a perplexing thing. Every single instant. I. Life feels so delicious—as it’s supposed to. I wake up from a dream in which I was a butterfly. Things are out there. The pupa grows. Why is that? Could it be that the illusion of being a diurnal creature is stronger in others. We’re not wakeful beings who sometimes need to sleep. free will and choice. whereas for me consciousness is punctuated more deeply by periods of unconsciousness? Another thing—we assume that the adult form is more ‘advanced’ than the immature fledgling. We’re all fenced off from everyone else. gets bigger. Instead. The illusion is of being a separate entity. when I awaken. the universe and our roots. Isn’t our level of consciousness greater when we’re up and about? It seems so. therefore. Don’t we feel freshest just after we’ve arisen in the early part of the day? And conversely. Specifically. no? C’mon. let’s do an assessment of quality of being. But dammit. We are the one source that dips into regularly into wakefulness to enjoy the dream of so-called reality (and we know that TV reality shows aren’t real life). but for me. we are God. Enjoy the individuality. I’m obliged to work out what my routine is as if I’ve never followed it before—talk about brain washing! Every morning takes me back to square one. The reels roll. The illusion is of a wondrous separateness. .I am here. as a cocoon. We are one another. US. and that must be an improvement. but maybe we ought to check out that ‘obvious’ assertion. we never question that the waking state is higher than mere sleep. and to a lesser extent the future. This is a carnival.

perhaps. Imagine this space-time event which we call Rogers as a long pink worm. who are you really? From your perspective. thinks of himself as “the space through which stuff passes”. I jolted up from the page. This pulsing matrix of humanity is like a fire awaiting a match. Heinlein’s idea lodged in my mind in much the same way that Adam’s Rickmansworth meme did a few decades—and world revolutions—later. Who am I really? More to the point. continuous through the years. I’m seriously considering the idea that the child is the father to the man. Am I the only one who sees that? We’re only a spark away from the realization that all is one. I imagine the simultaneous smile as that light dawns! Someone hand me a cell phone so I can spread the word . In Life Line. Alan Watts refers to individual identity as an ego in a bag of skin. At the other end lies. sees luminous eggs with tendrils. which is the timeless entirety. At the far end is a baby. Dave Pollard. In this fashion the race is liken a vine whose branches intertwine and send out shoots. In a dream. What evidence do you have that I do? You’ve only these pages of print which proves nothing. an ardent blogger. But that is illusion. that’s the more important question. However. InThe Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are. and as thick as the present. There is physical continuity in this concept to the entire race. the first story he ever had published (in 1939). all races. There’re all types. and with help from ‘The Dean’ of science fiction writers. With a nod to Lewis Carroll. of which we see a cross section here at right angles to the time axis. . I’ve come up with the jabberwocky framework. and so the temptation might be to turn up one’s nose. for these pink worms branch off from other pink worms. an omnipresence that is all ready to go. in the books by Carlos Castaneda. and I’m struck with their variety and beauty. you are about twenty inches wide and perhaps ten inches thick. We’ve taken time right out of the equation and elevated our position to that of Czerner’s photon! For us in the now—in the . sausage or tube. It stretches past us here. I grant that it’s not exactly glamorous to picture oneself as a worm. You are not quite six feet tall. Only by taking a cross section of the vine would we fall into the error of believing that the shootlets were discrete individuals. CSN’s David Crosby calls the body a meat suit. In time.there’s more of it. there stretches behind you more of this space-time event reaching to perhaps nineteen-sixteen. and so it must be more important. Forget me—after all. surely so does our wisdom. . Robert Heinlein describes a four-dimensional body in the following way: You are a space-time event having duration four ways. I’ve just had an epiphany and now know what it means to be God! In every pair of eyes I witness consciousness swim. Don Juan. As our memories accumulate. and the cross-section we see appears to be a single discreet body. I stumble and reach out to support myself. I have travelled around the world. and the eyes are brown—and then I suddenly stagger. the other at the grave. But just consider what we’ve accomplished here. I look into everyone’s eyes—especially if the people are women. one end at his mother’s womb. an old man someplace in the nineteen eighties. Reading this for the first time as a teenager. smelling of sour milk and drooling its breakfast on its bib. I may not even exist. just as I feel that the wakeful state may be inferior to the sleep state. we’re just a membrane away from grokking ourselves for what we are and always were. and I imagined my own pink worm encircling the globe. I go into a busy mall with people walking about everywhere.

For that person. For them—and for our hypothetical absentminded professor—they live entirely in the present. It is a curious phenomenon. When all is said and done. In reality. We are only able to ‘see’ along our body in one direction. If four-legged creatures don’t have the ability to remember. or more real. or was told one had cancer. no aliens. The present is no more special. Pink worm naked over snow. one would not be aware of any anomaly in this random-number-generation as observed from without. after every ‘jump’. because there’s so much less visibility in that direction. We stand outside of it like the time lord. but not for how far. While it does so—here. is. One’s spark touches base at every place along the worm’s length. our consciousness quantum brings to life its host’s complete store of background memories—instant update (though slower for me in the morning). Time. a zygote-sized snout and a somewhat shrunken seventy. time would have absolutely no meaning. or awareness. We peer at the future upstream and. Enter the return of the spark. but within any point of the worm’s body we have the ability to look back in one direction only. It “stands still. Could that be what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s? But returning to the topic thread. time is open for our spark’s next random popping up. And again. However. then. I’d no doubt exclaim. we declare that it hasn’t happened yet. In a wink of a blink. tribe or nationality. because of the eye-blurring speed with which it performs. of our other end is more limited—intellectually we know that we stretch in that direction. Get over that notion. no species. essentially. which we label the ‘past’. there and everywhere—those kisses constitute the current present awareness of where we find ourselves at any given moment.know—time no longer exists. Or. think of time-vision as a diode. Just as an electron can appear in any spacial position about its nucleus (so quickly that it seems to be a cloud). The whole thing is existent. Dr Who. and in a sense have a much more accurate perception of life than do we. But that’s not the truth. Every point upon it is as real as another. It is the phenomenon that results from our (limited) ability to see or remember along one of the dimensions of our being. . we might visualize it as a giant hand playing all eightyeight keys at once—a chord more powerful than the all the grand pianos at the end of Sergeant Pepper. there exists just the one continuum. Our knowledge. eternally”. And if I knew what I know now. I could be me as a ten-year-old. Say that someone is afflicted by not being able to retain memories—neither long term nor short. whether it be the day of one's twentyfirst birthday. Our entirety exists outside of time.or eighty-year-old tail that is rudely truncated (sooner and blunter. Or. At any point in one’s life. but with your other arm extended into thick mist. like a statue in a blurred time-lapse photograph. if you are cut down accidentally in the prime of life). than any point in the host’s past or even future. Don’t take pride in your ethnicity. There are no borders. It is the equivalent of you looking down the length of your outstretched arm to your fingers. we’re jabberwockies: four-dimensional wormlike bodies with flukes for arms and legs. race. an electronic component that allows electricity to travel one way only. “Wow! It’s suddenly Xmas!” You and I are not human beings. nothing more than an illusion. it would be perceived as the cutting face of life thus far. Perhaps it’s like that for other animals. then they’re not going to have a sense of time. that ‘next’ moment can occur at any point of the host’s life. It alights as gently as a butterfly slash bee along our tubular bell’s length like a finger playing chopsticks. Life as we know it at every instant is simply a cross-section of that jabberwocky. (first) marriage.

ludicrous and ridiculous idea. It’s like you know how far. There is no past or future either. Death. Each illusional life has a fixed length that is inbuilt. Do a little thought experiment and judge for yourself. It’s merely a physical event. And you don’t attribute a connection or a magical relationship between the two and insist that the horizon is creeping towards the foreground. And this reasoning applies to our lives also. Life is but an eternal instant. In a sense. and you need not mourn over only being able to reach merely two metres—fingertip to fingertip. pulls it toward you. there is to drive from one city to another. I admit that this interpretation of time turns our whole concept of life topsy-turvy. it is it. what are we left with? Where would we be? When? What chance is there for us to grow? How could we hope for a change in our situation? How could evolution occur (if you haven’t already shown Darwin the door)? It’s not that there’s no time. A knee cannot make an elbow happen. we link up those separate instances to create the illusion of time fluidly passing. In actual fact. your consciousness stays put. You’ll find that they’re not real either. It’s just that time isn’t the thing we imagined it to be. There’s no karma going on that we’ve got to watch out for—nothing’s going to zap us between the eyes. Death is merely the dead skin that lies at your periphery. But that the fourth dimension doesn’t exist is surely a preposterous. but that doesn’t count.’ Where did that firework burst forth from? Did you catch it too? Oh my god. It’s made of granules. ‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ have little. And like the principle behind motion pictures. Features that lie along the road do not ‘cause’ one another to happen: this forest is not the ‘bad karma’ from having crossed such and such a bridge. Time is merely the measure of the distance between two points. there’s no free-will. and that is that. You might say that you can see the clock’s second hand move. No killer on the road. not at its edge. You remain at the epicentre of the universe. Try to feel time pass. try this thought experiment out for the other dimensions too.But actually. quanta. drive or fly. there are no chance happenings. It feels like the same place that you were before. or the air that breezes by your fingertips and across your scalp. the creature is fully formed. Whether you walk. Examined from a vantage freed from the mental constraints of time. Time is not what we’ve been brought up to believe. What I’m saying is that everyone experiences the present only as an instant. This roundabout is the not the effect caused by running over the sheik’s sixth sick sheep six miles back (or that hill ahead). A bulge in one part of our jabberwocky body does not cause a depression—physical or mental—in another. You pass your gaze from one part of its body to the next. There is only ‘our’ subjective present. there is no present. upon some Roswell operating table. meaning. Whoops! ‘There is no death. It doesn't matter how far— short or long—where you end up. there is no time at all. and there are no choices to make or be made. As far as the jabberwocky is concerned. instead of propelling yourself across the landscape. if any. The whole jabberwocky exists. The scissoring of your legs. for it. does not exist. or instants. Without time. or top to toe. As a diversion. Just sit back and close your eyes. the same way that you ride the highway. the one which we’re forever unwrapping. Think of travelling a distance. Are you able to? I certainly can’t. you’ll always state you’re 'here'. It is an external action that you don’t experience within yourself. there is no death! But surely that’s crazy! . It whips the carpet out from under our feet and the cloth from under our meal. for example. It just tells you how far apart two moments are. it doesn’t. at once. All of a sudden there’s no cause and effect. albeit an instant with duration.

nested and contained . The memories of each of them includes the memories of all previous ones. By the time that you came to the end of the book. seventh and-so-on birthdays. How could it be that time is an anachronism? How could things function? We need a model to use as a crutch. if this includes the awareness of a set of other 'conscious-quanta'. and what drives them? Well. . Now then. can be generated through a static process. picture this. To tease out what I mean. and then I’ll leave it at that. together with their cqs. as you flipped through the pages. one that is consistent and logical. . right? That nesting of memories has the effect of flipping pages without any additional help—nothing else needs to happen. let me concentrate for a minute. Nested memories flip all on their own without any external help. How does it work? What are the mechanics. I have memories of my ninth. you had something that you could impress your friends with during whatever they call it on your part of the world—interval. Time passes—or is passed—by some thumb that works our pages. perhaps during an especially dull lesson. contained in our instantaneous consciousness. your little fellow doesn’t move. run. or construct your own (you will tell me about it?). always present and essentially static jabberwocky statue. I’m ten remembering when I was nine. but only because we haven’t trained or prepared. . Mine. and then repeated that on the following pages. Rats. There he stands—your little friend. that is their in-built nature. But what is not so obvious to us is that on a ‘higher’ plane the same thing applies to us. although not as class work. Let me try. if you like. it’s static It appears to be moving. and stand firm. digital or particulate (enough synonyms already). seven and so forth. as a dynamic phenomenon. Have you ever created your own cartoon sequence? You might have done so back at school. Take it or leave it . I've lost you already. even though it might think otherwise. we’ll need to do a little more work around the question of time. it remains in perpetual motion. the memory of which contains my memory of being eight. I’ll demonstrate that time. discrete. If so. Though we’re a fully-formed. the following might ring a (school) bell for you. On the next page you drew it again. walk. They come included one inside the other like those Russian nesting dolls. In a quiet moment. How am I going to do this? How can Einstein keep it relativitaly simple? Okay. we seem to be in a flurry of motion. All I’ll aim to do is to get you to admit that my explanation could hold water. for the sake of simplicity look at happy birthdays. break or recess. . But this isn’t self-evident. eighth. you might have drawn a little stick figure in the corner of your exercise book. In other words. You might have even given it a name. I suggest that consciousness consists of being 'uploaded' into a particular instant. let’s. They’d see your figure skip. . You can happily leave your exercise book inside your desk. I’ll do my best to present an alternate explanation. In reality. but slightly altered. be airtight. Step one: start with our newest portrayal of time as a collection of instants. of course. There’s some mechanism at work a-flipping through our leaves that makes us imagine that we’re in motion and progressing through time. but one which I won't ram down your throat into your liver. jump and fly (you were inventive). Towers of Hanoi. we so-called living beings. as an awareness of a subset of moments that we think of as our past. Therefore. “Look!” you told them. I believe that memory is the key—memory. At the time I turn ten. time is quantized.I agree that it’s a fish bone to swallow. Okay. Your figure had come to life.

so from your vantage point. A person’s—or creature’s—life is simply a set of cards that have an awareness of certain other cards hardwired into them. Would that disconcert you? Not at all. No sleight of hand is needed for it to be active. At a given moment. Those birthdays are nested nicely one inside the other. Let’s say that you flitz through the years 4534644—one of my old phone numbers. the reason being that at age three you have no awareness of ever having been four or five. Next. you don’t perceive any gap. It whirrs and pulsates and a little light flashes—a virtual electron leaping from one energy state to another. Some days I don’t—not easily. it can occur in either direction. or the memory/awareness of other moments (imagine a Venn diagram with subsets that get smaller and smaller (think of an onion (that does not need to be of glass (or contain a walrus)))) then. Instant magician! You don’t need to do anything with them. As far as you are concerned. Somehow a person. let’s say that your awareness flitzes to age five. That would constitute its life. A deck of cards that is there to flip—that’s all you need to conjure up the illusion of time passing. two and three. that ‘time’ exists because you’ve recall to it. Then. It doesn’t make a scrap of difference that you’ve changed the order. On the hand—attached to the arm that points in the opposite direction—within a paradigm of shrinkage or disappearance. you are growing up nicely. Every jump in any direction—forwards in time. and. Some days I get this. Call IT support. within the context or paradigm of continuous expansion. At three you only have one and two under your belt. If you then shuffled them prior to flipping. Now. ipso facto. We have now a nifty model for what life is. It's like an arrow pointing back into what we imagine or feel is the past. Stack the desk whichever way you want. In each case the illusion will be that of a life proceeding through time in an orderly fashion. you find yourself at age four. But if there do exist some other cards—another suit. suddenly. you’re three. Imagine that you’d drawn your stick figures on a deck of cards. you’d witness the most amazing thing. everything works. . What causes it to imagine itself happily alive and proceeding in a smooth orderly fashion through the years are the characteristics of its nested set of consciousness moments. It doesn’t make a difference to the illusion! I’ll say it again because this is important: if you shuffle the deck and then flip through. It’s alive. Do you do a double take? Do you suffer from a spot of déjà vu? Again. or rather what constitutes a particular life. As far as you’re concerned. and in any order. like a screen saver. just leave the pack sitting on a shelf. So you might need some more help with this too. You may as well have never been there. From there. back. if they each contained within them a nested subset. like a semi-diode or one-way transmitter. this flipping is not just one way. Well and good—you’ve ‘aged’ as expected. growth or progress. But the awareness of those memories extends only in one direction. So how does it operate? Okay. When you next jump straight to six. You haven’t retained anything from your previous visit to that number.Additionally. creature or life form has access to a set of past-up-to-present memories. it buzzes and hums to itself. or just a subset? I couldn’t tell you right away. Now then. say—that that don’t share in the same awareness—there’s no intersection—then I suppose that they would belong to other creatures’ life spans. it would result in the converse illusion: that time is progressing into the past. because at six you have access to your memory of being five. Brownian motion and atoms. We have a set of 'time moments’. you’ve just turned four after having been one. Fine. and those of your parents. you proceed to four. dare I say. you do not. sideways—poses no problem at all. gives rise to the illusion that time is passing into the future. is that set the universal set. Contentedly. I’ll come at it from another angle. then that.

‘she’ or any other. This is not a private conversation. declare. housed yourself in a different living arrangement. I’m telling you that you are. the guy responsible for these words. You’re the one. And how you deal with that is up to you. God does not splice our living by the life. The letters don’t scroll. and you can’t tell which is which. "I are. The truth of the matter is that we are! We are ‘the one’. Feynman’s or Wheeler’s (same difference) electron. but I’m back now”. Look. All gold atoms glitter with the same intensity. This is where the buck stops. since none of those cosmologies break free from the gravitational pull of the illusion of time. ‘I’. See it—or imagine it—alighting randomly along all moments in the superwocky rat king of intertwined lives that every living creature is a part of. I don’t exist. you appear to be travelling along with time. As you know. No man is an island. there is no way to tell an atom apart from any other. Instead of "I think. and listen. Theo is our shared name. just listen to that bell toll. What I mean to say. therefore I am". They only seem to be happening. Separated in space or time. and as yet unborn—is inextricably linked. Love your neighbour as yourself. (Think 2001: a Space Odyssey not Star Wars. or even if it oscillates repeatedly ad infinitum. You did this/are doing this. it was a wonderful holiday that I had away from yourself. by God! He does not play dice with the universe. is that everyone in the world is connected. Seriously. It’s no wonder that each one of us feels special. dead. the famous. There’s only ‘us’—there’s no ‘I’. There’s only you. yet relates to every other particle as if they were all separate. though. It’s no wonder that each of us feels that we’re at the centre of the universe. It’s your brain that is squirming like a toad. There’s just one spark. ‘You’ have merely jump-started yourself into another environment. we’ve all got our hands in each other’s pockets and nothing is private. ‘You and I’ refers to all of us—the thousands of millions who are sitting on the other side of the monitor (well. We’re all wrapped up and pounded upon by that same. implodes back into a black hole. all-important. This is not idle speculation. or merely the well-known. As if each was different. I’m not telling you that I’m God. You and I are one. A cheap day excursion. There’s no need to. Of course. This is no lolly scramble by God. complete. We’re Napoleon. you’ll understand that I don’t mean just the two of us. after aeons. dude. there’s no ‘you’.Similarly. It is all here. Can you grok that? . The alphabet exists as a unit. I’ll say it again. This is no fanciful word picture. ‘I’ am just you. doesn’t matter. Mix them up. The universe too—it seems to explode and then. the one-and-only. experienced what is there to be experienced—and written about it— and have now flitzed back home to you. Don’t point the finger at me. The alpha and the omega at once. by ‘you and I’. The brotherhood of man and beast. maybe a dozen). Whether it does so once. therefore we am!” In fact. In fact. Everyone—alive. there’s no ‘he’. Don’t you see? There’s just the one of us. right here. You’ve taken a return trip. and every particle ‘sees’ every other according to the laws of gravity and electromagnetism and what have you. nor a means whereby I or you get to link up with the important. There’s no six degrees of separation. All I’m relaying to you is “Hey. may just as well not exist. Do unto others. single spark. by the day or even by zillionths of sparks.) All is as it is. or else loops back on itself like a Moebius strip. we’re shooting the breeze about “eternity and total unity”. Christ and Cleopatra. Life’s actually far simpler than that. they’re carved in stone. they’re all one and the same. convinced that our spirit will never die. This world view of a spark dithering up and down a jabberwocky (or jabberwockies) stretching four-dimensionally through the timeless ether is neither an idle dreamer’s toy. whereas from god’s point of view everything is.

the superjabberwocky gets to imbibe the world through those multitudinous portals. or work of art—has the potential to disengage us from the illusion of our separateness or boundedness. . It’s just the current book you’re reading. Every creature ought to be completely into itself. Really. Cops and robbers. fangled info? What would be the reason of this supercalifragilisticjabberwocky arrangement? You shouldn’t be left up in the air like this. Cannibals and saints. Serial killers and rapists. It doles itself up into little parcels. and finds it pleasing. The ebb and flow must seem to occur in deadly earnest. song. God gets to enjoy itself when it shares our lives. Because see. medical drama. they alter our consciousness and take us out of ourselves. it really is a matter of life and death. Each movie runs for seventy or eighty years—that’s from our human point of view. That’s not you. we’re the actors. I’m going to close with some light entertainment. It instils each critter with the sense of being separate. Any 'time' is as good as another. people are surely going to gasp. I see it enjoying its creation through its creatures as a mansion of a thousand eyes. Tell me. that's it from God's point of view too— that portion of it that compresses itself into each head. Think of watching a video (in the genre of The Matrix it would seem). How passionately everyone plays their part! You could almost believe that it’s true—and that is the whole point. In a minute. callous and evil to we spectators. We’re the ones receiving homage. not really. And of course. out on the street. That is why we pay such homage to the stars. Flitting here. or a strong sense of empathy. Getting a game of poker going when you’re the only player in the room is rather tricky. it’s just your day job. You really shouldn’t be bothered about the ending. and so I’ll try to do something about it. I agree. Whether your current life story is one of war. If they do their job well. it all exists at once. but I would suggest that it’s neither. What’s the point of my scrambling your brain with this addled. New Orleans—they seem horrendous. have you ever exited a theatre amazed at how closely you resemble the hero? You even walk the same way as him. horror or western. Life as we know it in the present tense is but a cross section of the beast. In the grander scheme of things. My treat—let’s go to the movies. from an overarching perspective. One option—maybe its only one—is for it to separate itself. Behind the scenes. And that’s a microcosm of the macrocosm. sampling a little of this life and that—how it does enjoy this show. It is the whole wishing to experience something different (and can you blame it?). God. . Now. please. is not a matter of concern. I see that super being looking back through our eyes. and so you are almost too embarrassed to make your way to the foyer. a psychologist might say that this could indicate either a poor sense of self. It fires up each of these animalcules with a little quota of self awareness. online beheadings. and there's nothing that will harm you in a permanent sense. If you would. being the whole is a difficult situation to find yourself in. panasound. But the overview—the bigger superpicture’s—is that there is no time. Now. supersensual bio-pic. always in the starring role. it is ludicrous to think along the lines of: "What kind of god could allow such things to happen?" Events such as the twin towers collapsing. I’ll ease you down to earth as I wrap things up for this session. There's nothing that can go 'wrong' with it. Every one of its lives must be for real. it’s only cowboys and Indians. It looks through our windows onto the world . .Your head is spinning (I can feel it vibrate from here). there. and is intimately involved with every bit of the videotape in the vault. takes its seat to take part in the most real virtual reality show of all: a tri-D sensaround. turn once more to face the glass and look directly into the eyes of the superjabberwocky. I think that a movie—or story. when the lights come back on and they see you. By doing so. except that it isn’t. God actually watches every monitor at once.

what was it . Now. You are forever being played upon. . . those giants sent out an exploration party.” My answer would be. then why would you kick up such a fuss about the other? Besides which. But that doesn’t prove that I’m wrong. through some twist. pianissimo. but they were brain-dead and no use for interrogation. . a game to enjoy. . I had piano lessons as a kid). In fact. Two sexes and all. that music savoured by a god who would otherwise be at a loss for entertainment. It attains those dimensions and no further. And so has everyone who has ever lived—friends and family. Science fiction. Some sort of fracas or incident resulted. No death. We’re all on the same riverbank. and blah. for heaven’s sake! Isn’t that a cock worth crowing over? As the jabberwocky. by accepting the Rickmansworth meme. the present and also the future. if you’re not bothered how far back that arm extends. Of course not. remember? We’re not going to move. Naturally an alien race was involved. The thing is. tulgey woods? But aren’t such stories grand? I love devouring them. For Dog it is only a show. “What are you going to do when your home is invaded. They were humanoid—writers should always keep in mind the possibility of a film adaptation (it’s easier for actors to creep inside their costumes if your creature from the black lagoon has four limbs). Just because I can make out a higher plane. Think of a piano. it was a lucky break for mankind. This tableau feels as real to me as it does to you. but before colonising it (ha. we’re immortal. you could think of as so many (nested) years. or an experience to relish. that doesn’t mean that I get to reside there. its keys tinkled up and down. of course. fortissimo. They had discovered the Earth. and surprisingly. Still. Just a quick reminder about how that works. ‘Oh. It is static. scales and arpeggios. at this point someone like Derrick Jensen is bound to leap in and challenge me with. One or two survived. We’ve no need to wait until we die and go to heaven before we meet up with our cronies. we’re all the same person. figures from the past. but that’s only because of the quality of the special effects. and their inclination was to swat us like midges. blah’. and they start torturing your son? Are you going to turn around and say. So why grieve. Here’s another that I half remember. god is continuously tapping into and out of our jabberwocky's range of experience. staccato. ritardando (yep. Your piano has eighty-eight keys that. the aliens came off second best. but you’re not really hurting anyone here. ‘at a stretch’. that’s a biggie in anyone’s book. On the plus side. Give yourself a pat on the back. and if you are moderately lucky. only that I’m subjected to the same rules that everyone is. . including time (since time is the fourth dimension). Indeed. however you cook it. Now. our jabberwocky body has a span in every dimension. blah. we're a veritable mangrove swamp of intertwined jabberwockies slithering in the . they didn’t know about the hyperspace by-pass either). just cause you can't get to the honey jar on the upper shelf? Why mourn for the air beyond your fingertips? No one bemoans not having lived before they were born. in this story the aliens were virtually identical to human beings. no matter how we stretch and strain. We’re all in the same boat on a grand adventure at least as good a read as Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series. Woowee! Better than a slap in the face with a wet fish. strangers and enemies. you’re performing a great service. in chords and rhythms. legato. The only major difference was that they were about a thousand times larger. one banishes death.and a thousand times more so for the people involved. It wounds me as deeply as it would anyone else.

raped. you pull out your atomic blaster. his better half eventually found him out. attributes and what have you. Aliens. We’re at a fair ground. The idea that grabbed my imagination was to think of consciousness as the controlling force that sits behind your eyes. shooting galleries—and each of them feels incredibly real. The universe is set up for god—Ourself—to enjoy. Our hearts thump and the adrenaline rushes. We’re simply differently-shaped limbs on the one jabberwocky. And never in the sack. To be afraid of ‘aliens’ makes no sense—it’s purely xenophobic. you burst across the finish line. And yet. as Derrick would say. Then. I see that they were right. that begs the question of what homunculus sits behind its eyes. How daft it would be if your legs stood in mortal fear of your arms. the concept of ‘alien is bogus’. after a thorough debriefing and medical examination. and he learnt its language. There are all sorts of attractions there for us enjoy—wild rides. Inside whatever six-foot giant alien you discover yourself strapped. Well. He had access to its memory banks. the best part of the story was over. after about six months of training. or lose a child. What utter garbage! Didn’t they watch the news or read the papers? By a very long chalk. Talk about faking it. It doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. You give it heaps and go all-out. There’s some parallel evolution going on here. living quarters were installed. but let’s skip that for now. For me. plants. not necessarily with your vehicle in the best nick. . what are you going to do. Anyway. In a bizarre form of virtual reality. for the remainder of that lifetime we may never recover. Wired up to the different parts of what was left of the nervous system. every life form is but a vehicle inside of which there sits some secret operator. then we’re approaching the idea of flitz-like reincarnation. you couldn’t expect to keep such a thing permanently under wraps now. or that wrong has been done. and also an exo-skeleton type of contraption that allowed an astronaut-operator to control the hulk of the giant’s body from within. it doesn’t matter. everything obviously was not all right. One approach to life is to give it the works. How dared they say so? Where did they get off? Now. I forget what happened next. stalls.) And. (Admittedly. The devil takes the hindmost. the aliens in this one were so gigantic that after their prefrontal lobes were removed (that tissue was no longer functional) there was enough space in there for a lunar module-style office to be constructed right inside the giant’s head. Eventually. would you? You might fool the military. At this point my mind draws a blank. always with a vacant grin plastered across her or his face: “Everything in this world is perfect the way that it is. he peered at a monitor through the giant’s own eyes. there is no such thing. memories. you floor the pedal. a space cadet occupied that chair to control the hulk as if it was a robot. however. he operated the giant to use its original spacecraft to return to the home planet.As an aside. tentacles. Getting back to the story. we’re wrong. this does not negate the all’s-right-withthe-world view. or whatever—they’re just talons. not only of its body parts. the remotely-guided giant took up with its family again. It only goes to show just how realistic the illusion is. but also the associated paraphernalia of personality. philosophize? No. Barrelling hell-for-leather down life’s highway. Our nerve endings scream when are murdered. Seen in that light. trunks and wings. or with the most possessions—he who dies with the most toys wins—but as if you'd tumbled down one roller-coaster of a mountain. is your motto. if you look at that vehicle as consisting. You broadside to a stop in a cloud of dust. Next. but rarely a woman’s intuition. when an alien confronts you. Lemme show you. According to Ism ideology. Still.” I don’t need to tell you how I’d react. It used to bother me whenever a so-called yogi. mystic or holy roller would state. We’re all just tentacles on the same tree. Indeed.

Though there’s not much evidence of divine inspiration in most of the fish in the sea. I don’t know. Cranking up steam as much as each engine allows. or itself (us-self) through every form of life. really. animal and plant. There are different states of health to experience. are God to the extent that Dog’s consciousness shines. something from which you can differentiate yourself. panting. At heart. Whatever happens to you in life—whether you come down with some condition that confines to a wheelchair. Think of us as portals opening out into one another. you steam punk. or whether you lose everything in a fire—it doesn’t matter. unless the openings are small. Oh it may hurt all right. We like to believe that good and bad exist. and that there is something we have to do. it needs to be that way. . But the essence of the Rickmansworth message is that there is only the one of us. In most cases. we’re all essentially the same. or maybe add to it. Theo. All good thought experiments will lead you to that conclusion. when the god boys say “It’s all okay. time periods and geographical locations to immerse ourselves in. There has Gott to be a boundary. customs. You can't be you. for all anyone knows. Hey. Not ultimately. Everything’s just fine and dandy with the universe. and it’s only possible to have a relationship with someone other than yourself. something we have to prove. But that won’t do—you can’t put on the best performance with a bunch of clones. are we bringing forth the Age of Aquarius or what? Roll on 2012. And so. And that might include parallel universes—all and every possibility. you see. every human. you. We come in different sizes. Stephen Hawking. squeezes or expresses itself through our being. God passes away the time in an . but for real (or as real as anything can be said to be). then that might take away some of the fun . languages. the tooth may pain as it is pulled—I’m sure I’d fume and fuss along with the best of them—but that doesn’t change the fact that. It’s not much of a third eye.bruised. Look at all the models and styles of vehicle that we get to enjoy! The Greatest Show on Earth been arranged for our viewing pleasure. and that we need to earn our entrance into heaven. but. And that’s just as humans! The mind boggles. We’re here for each other’s entertainment—hey. That’s why we’ve been compartmentalized. Knowing you as yourself relies on the fact that the self stands apart from the external environment. her-. God wants to be having these relationships. Look at the spectacle of synchronised swimming! (Mind you. The whole circus has been set up with just one purpose in mind: to provide everyone with a good show. To be you. ages. unless there is something that you are not. How do you like them apples. We live at every end of the spectrum and all conceivable positions in between. we’re one. shapes. All of us. If the two parties suspected that they were one. . Every good boy deserves fruit. who experiences him-. not vicariously. not only those that are. only our selves we haven’t met. it’s all but a Technicolor dream. and our programming makes us cry. the being in question has an opening that is very small. but with a smile on your face. and different physical bags of attributes to master—or not. laugh or scream when the whip comes down. exhausted and out of breath.) And so a magic wand has been waved to conjure up the illusion that we’re all different and separate. We have before us a fantastic and limitless variety of DVDs or computer game modules that we get to live through. there needs to be something that is not you. colours and sexes. The sense of self is purely relative.” I have to agree that it really is. and simultaneously. There are different cultures. although each of our stories seem so real. it's good to meet you! There are no strangers here. those Chinese acrobats aren’t half bad. that’s only our imagination. but those that were or will be. "What a hell of a ride!" And the journey’s never over. bleeding. it would be impossible to maintain the necessary illusion of separateness.

I dread the thought of waking up in your eyes to discover myself trapped— together with the memory of all those years lived as you. viewing portals—or whatever I’ve referred to them as—are clear enough for you-yes-you to spy the superjabberwocky through the looking glass for what it is. did a little shimmy right where things reached their peak. Barry Manilow writes the songs. Nothing in this life is a matter of do-or-die. . it’s part of the play. “Look at the difference. We are enabled to say. I’ve given you the go-ahead on several occasions. But it’s delicious to believe that it is. . “What is time?” I ask not so rhetorically. I’d love to release you. the brother-at-a-distance to my Vincent Van Gogh (and the cousin to Einstein). just as I’ve only the ‘day’ to perform my magic. And. I provide the liberation literature. My reason. The grand conspiracy that we’re an integral and unwitting part of is a never-ending story. From where you sit. under whatever paradigm you follow. windows. It fires the grand conspiracy that makes it possible for God to experience himself. I must confess that my ulterior agenda for intellectually grooming you is that I wouldn’t want—one day—to find myself in your shoes. You’re quite entitled to rub me out—in fact. It is simply one more mechanism that serves to cut and dice. should you choose to accept it . Get it out on close reserve now! Your mission. This is more-or-less the end of the story—or several stories—although the tale continues. I believe. Here. subsets of which are hyper-memory-linked in such a way that we consider that assembly a life. The glass—in the windows of my soul—of my particular manufacture allows me to see this. You actually ought to. Your turn to take the baton. and then trace the bullet back to your vantage point. the Other. is to make available to me (when I flitz into you) the wherewithal to escape from your head.endless circle game. I must be changing. I would like you to trust that nothing is worth worrying about. The whole point of my spending today— these twenty-four hours—to create this magnum opus. Variety has been hard-wired into our very being. and for him to view life from the widest variety of angles. It was he and I. evolving. We are ‘different’ so as to be able to experience ourself from all those points of reference. I have it all wrong. but not because of altruistic motives. And the attributes that I’ve been granted allow me to run that notion by you. You know. is purely selfish (witness that I haven’t yet developed the habit of universal thinking). . No milk is worth crying over. I too catch only glimpses. to be brutally honest. or rather ‘ploy’. so do you. Ugh! The thought makes me shudder. see me now. See me then. there and everywhere is experience. I’d warrant that your perspective is at best impermanent. Nevertheless. But not so fast. You are absolutely correct in acting to remove me from the picture. growing!” But actually. did you notice? I’ve hinted at it often enough. But there are no lifelines. you’ll view the Zapruder incident quite differently. It allows us to view the multiplicity of instants of our being as separate slices that we can compare. You’ve discovered this text in a university library? Don’t muck around. in the preamble to the ramblings that preview the following volume. or me and him— WeUs—merging as one. I must warn you. To be blunt. It has ended with a twist. And to those of you whose lenses. The issue here. or premise. You’ll remember that I began with the supposition that it was I who had the mission to locate and make contact with Theo. And that. I’ll lay out what you may have missed in all the excitement. Think of it as a grand twiddling of thumbs. It’s part of the illusion. I learned that ‘he’ was just a version of ‘me’. count yourself lucky. that I used to kick things off. What you’re going to do—what you did as the reader—is to consolidate the two of us as one. And you won’t even have to kill me. From your perspective. is basically that. The plotline. Our consciousness is in an infinity of instants. That is the coin of the realm.

Or. the coming down to earth and the start of rehearsals for the next tour. You’ve nothing more substantial than the inky marks across the page or the text upon your screen to base my existence on. hypothesize the Theory of Everythink. Correction: OURS truly. generated through the action of scanning your eyes side to side. I can’t. However. How could I be so irresponsible? I’m not going to hand you over the secret of atomic power. You’re the God. I could be an author from the dim and distant past. I won’t leave it there. What follows will be the essential loose jamming that happens backstage after the concert is over. You’re the One. and see what you can do with it. You brought me into being. It follows up some of the consequences of this new home-spun philosophy.I already don’t exist. You’ve only assumed that I do. fool around. not The World According to Garp. when all is said and done. but the brave new world as alluded to by yours truly. it is finished. we’ve just sat through the main feature and have now selected another option from the menu. I intended to bring the reader up to the headiest of heights. Be seeing you. you know. The first volume is done. the unwinding. you don’t know me from Adam. bro—brought home the bone and laid it at your feet. the only player on the block. Einstein and Eisenhower. is what is needed here. The extra feature that follows will translate the Theo-ry into practice. director and an actor or two sit in the dark discussing what went on. It’s where the rock and a hard place meet. It’s a Talmud of sorts that spells out. then tell you to go outside. and saying so is not merely a literary trick of the trade—there is no me here. Because. So. one which allowed you to conjure up the Rickmansworth meme. we’re going to have to undertake some processing. the top Dog. and will lead us to a veritable bizarro world of conclusions. to use another analogy. I suggest that you make yourself comfortable—maybe get yourself a refill of popcorn (but go easy on the coke). and the zeppelin’s got to be brought down safe and secure. I think. This book is unique in that will be followed up by the option to. we’re not home Scot-free yet. What happened was this: you flitzed out of your head into this—my—Charles Atlas physique. but not to leave Theo high and dry. Think of the seventy or so previous pages as constituting the greatest hits package wrapped up in a rock opera. I wouldn’t do that. and then to construct the philosophical worldview of Ism. There’s a lot that we’re going to have to unpack and internalize before we’re fit to be released into the world and onto society. You are the one who has made material sense of me. only you. don’t you know? We’re on a high here. You uploaded—or became uploaded into—the set of attributes and skills and insights of another biology. How do you know that you haven’t dreamt me up out of thin air? Hey. The question that remains is: Can you grok it? And that’s the preamble to the ramblings over also. where the producer. rerun the entire movie with the sound turned down. The donkey work is done. And you’ve brought that all back home. and where The Theory of Everythink evolves into the ideology of Ism (and without the sacrifice of a limb). A commentary. . You’ve done it. In the volume that follows. The music’s over.

16.Appendix 1 . 4. what is our relation to he. 11. or to others? Do we possess free will? Are we governed by destiny? Does a law of karma operate? Does reincarnation occur? Is transmigration possible? Is there some guru who knows what it’s all about—is that even possible? What do I do to get enlightened? Good and evil—which is which. 13. and why? Do heaven and/or hell exist? Do souls need ‘saving’? Are ‘sins’ worth worrying over? Are people punished for doing wrong. 18. 17. she or it? What is the purpose of life. 3. 20. 14. 6.Questions 1. 12. 9. What happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? Does my pet have a soul? Are all religions—or just one of them—on the right track? Is there a god we can depend on? If so. 10. 5. 19. 7. drink and make merry? Are we more responsible to ourselves. 21. or are we free to eat. 8. 15. and rewarded for doing right? Is it wrong to kill (for food)? . 2.

28. space and infinity? What does my apparently being at the centre of the universe tell me? Why aren’t other people much bothered by the Big Questions? Where precisely in my body is ‘home base’? Where do I go when I sleep? Am I the same person that was as a child? What are memories actually? What are dreams actually? Say I achieve self-actualisation—where do I take that? To strive for enlightenment—is that the ultimate goal? . 27. 44. 42. 39. 26. 29. 35. 38. 23. 33. 40. 32. 41. meat and tobacco? What is the nature of consciousness? Where do other life forms fit into the picture? What is the nature of time. 36. 24. drugs. 43. 34. 25. 37. Why are the wicked aspects of this world tolerated by a higher power? What makes something alive or dead? What is the meaning of existence? Déjà vu consists of what? What does it mean to be ‘spiritual’? Does logic lead us anywhere useful? What is our role/mission/duty? What is reality? Soul.22. 30. 31. mind and body—how do they operate? Is sex okay for purposes other than procreation? Is there any merit in abstaining from alcohol.

doesn’t that make everyone else wrong? Are artificial intelligence and the singularity on the agenda for the future? Is there life on other planets? Are there parallel universes? Is time travel possible? When and where are the beginning and the end of time? Was there a Big Bang? Does Einstein’s god play dice? Should we be concerned about aliens. 50. 60. 49. 56. 62. 59. 52. 67. 53. 46. 63. 66. How does one achieve perfect happiness? Is love the pinnacle of what it means to be human? Should I be more concerned for others instead of myself? What do I do when I differ from the consensus? How can I be both ordinary and uniquely special (I feel that I’m both)? I feel separate from yet connected to others—which is it? Is their a ranking or importance of species? Is it okay to regard our family and friends as more important than others? Where do I fit into history? How do I reconcile my worldview with that of others? Do I live according to ‘standard’ practice. 58. 57. 61. or do I go my own way? Is the holding of some or other belief warranted? If there’s only one answer. UFOs and terrorists? How do we stop wars once and for all? Is human nature an insoluble problem? . 55. 54. 65. 48. 64. 51. 47.45.

or concentrate on the future? Are some people ‘higher’ than others? . 74. 70. 78. 75. 73. the past. 77.68. 81. envy and enmity be avoided? What is the crux of the mind-over-matter conundrum? What stops people applying the golden rule? What knowledge would empower us never ever again to panic? Should we live in the present. 79. 71. 72. How can we stem nationalism/tribalism? Is self-sacrifice to save another life meritorious? What would bring about spontaneous global co-operation? What would bring about a global mind shift? What would render all previously wrong thinking obsolete? Does the meme of ‘progress’ work for us? What is the cure for greed? How can fear and worry be nullified? How may negative emotions such as jealousy. 76. 69. 80.

. 12. 27. 26. . 9. 21. 4. 19. 16. 5. The Doors is my favourite group Eggplant is my favourite vegetable I resumed stamp collecting after a gap of four decades I find public speaking easy I fall asleep within minutes My IQ is very high I have completed several walks of over 1000 km . 23. 6. 22. 15. 2. I’ve written over 5000 haiku over a ten-year span I’ve lived and worked in India and Japan I was vegetarian for 25 years I learned to meditate when I was 15 I took piano lessons for 5 years and passed every exam but one with honours I suspect I have high-level functioning Asperger’s syndrome I’m on the point of being able to ride a unicycle I’ve lost count of the number of marathons I’ve run (about 20) I’m happily married for the second time I have ridden my bicycle quite happily on snow and ice I don’t watch TV I rarely drink and have never been drunk I’ve never done any drug . 17. 20. 7. barefoot I’ve trekked in the Himalayas I didn’t speak English until I had to start school I’ve travelled by ship through both the Panama and Suez canals The age difference between my oldest and youngest children is 23 years I started and stopped a computer based business before the Internet I can’t use public urinals I spent more than 8 years writing a book that was never published. 10. 13. 11. 8. 3. 18. 25.Appendix 2 – 100 things about me 1. 14. 24.

53. 48. 44. 54. 34. 41. but we feel the same age I still have dreams about setting a personal best for the marathon I’ll wear the same clothes constantly. 37. 31. traffic wasn’t a problem yet I can’t leave chocolate alone if I know there’s some in the house . I weigh what I do when I was 17 I remember when The Beatles broke up I can remember Robert Kennedy being shot. 45. 36. but change the inner layer When I started cycle-touring. and so shall I The first two movies I admired were Papillion and 2001: A Space Odyssey I always need to go to the bathroom several times during the night I wear earplugs against the noise of heavy traffic I can read a book while walking The first cooking I ever learned was Indian When I was 21. My gall bladder along with 14 stones has been removed I read out aloud the entire The Lord of the Rings to my younger sisters I was born at midnight. 42. nappies. but not David Carradine As a teenager I was into surrealism. bath-time) A great-grandmother lived to be 101.28. 39. I rode across the USA by bus in a week I only managed to tolerate New York for 45 minutes In my fifties. 43. 49. op art and dada I have memories from when I was a baby (cribs. 30. 40. 51. 35. 47. and so don’t know the date of my birth or zodiac sign I once walked 150 kilometres in 35 hours I only got my car driver’s license at the age of 28 I have appeared on two TV game shows I admire Kwai Chang Caine. 55. 46. 52. 33. 32. but not his brother I can’t abide gardening I hated how my face changed when I turned 16 Heinlein’s Doorway into Summer was the first book I stayed up all night to read Our family got our first television set when the moon landing was televised I am 16 years older than my wife. 56. 38. 50. 29.

81. 72. 71. so did I (from watching boxing title fights) I own thousands of books I knew it was true the instant that I learned about Peak Oil I can count on my hand the people who I can relate to I could eat bibimbap every night I'm the only one in my family never to have smoked I never need to use an alarm clock I have gone for more than a year without toilet paper I’m allergic to nothing that I know of I get almost all my clothes second hand. 67. 84. 69. 74. 82. 64. 59. and I keep them until they wear out I like computers. 80. 62. 58. 85. 63. 77. 78. 66. but it leaves me exhausted . I regret it Too much sugar makes me sneeze I hate to lose at chess. 60. 83. 73. 79. tea or something sweet. 65. but I’m not that keen on winning either My parents are in their eighties despite smoking their whole lives I’m not attracted to Western women I can’t imagine being homosexual (though I’m not homophobic) After Muhammad Ali retired.57. 68. but they frustrate me I’ve entertained the ex-Prime Minister of my country I started listening to music after watching a Jimi Hendrix documentary I always read on the toilet (I must) I use the smallest dab of toothpaste when I brush I hardly use soap or shampoo I’m an excellent teacher. 75. 76. Making decisions is stressful for me I have never purchased bottled water I am most content in my own company My fingernails are weird: very thin. 61. 70. round and flat I have the hairiest legs of anyone I know I don’t put salt on my meal After I’ve had coffee.

I just don’t want to At school I was second in my year. 89. the inside of my left ear itches I wore a beard for 16 years In my teens I read nothing but science fiction Every year. I’ve never owned a dishwasher. 91. 90. 100. 96. 98. I can’t speak to save myself I’ve never had a broken bone I haven't any tattoos or body piercing I‘m named after both of my grandfathers . but the top guy was literally a genius In a face-to-face situation. 88. 2009 and 2010 I have perfectly good tape cassettes over 30 years old I’ve never been in trouble with the law When I stroke the left corner of my mouth. 92. 94. 93. 97. 95. yet I feel I’m just a novice I could do anything that I set my mind to. 99. 87.86. and I hang my laundry outside to dry I’m not averse to foraging I attempted to set the same world record in 2008. my wisdom grows exponentially.

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