Saturday, 6 July 2013

In defiance of entropy

I was recently reading Philip K. Dick’s superlative novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? when I was struck by the sheer bleakness of several key situations.

My reflexive reaction was to resist.

I was not deluding myself, or in denial of the reality that entropy is always encroaching on everything, that all things pristine will inevitably decay, return to dust, succumb to mortality. But I was so incensed by those visions of slow death that I was spurred into something of a resolution: I decided that I would fight that shit to my last breath.

I want to be a beacon that blazes life into a wasteland of rust. I want to hold up, as high as I can, everything that stands for light and fire and brilliance, even as I am overrun by the armies of ash, detritus and despair.

I will not “go gentle into that good night.” I am well aware that it is only a matter of time before I am broken down and overpowered, but within the time I have, I intend to make every second count. I am making the seconds count right now, by writing these words, by committing to the virtual world my very own nuclear spark. And when my time comes, even as the last drops of life bleed from me, I will keep holding onto anything beautiful I can retain. I will share that beauty, make as many people smile as I can reach, even as the sky crumbles and the world ends.

One day, perhaps in a different universe to the one we know, someone who needs this spark will come across it and use it to relight their own smouldering remains of hope. And this is one way I see myself playing my part in the ongoing survival of all that is worthy in life. This is the flame that I think of as an exception to the rule of destruction: touched off from one soul to another, lying dormant for however long is necessary, then reappearing triumphantly to spread light anew, igniting a thousand torches in a chain reaction of symmetry.

I realise that this tenuous flicker may not survive forever, no matter how many forms it metamorphoses into. But I am sure it will put up a much tougher fight than the forces of downfall expect.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Applying layers to reality

Yesterday evening I took several books from my former apartment, a few of which I had not yet read. The blurb on the back of one of them captured my curiosity so intensely that I was gripped with the compulsion to start reading. The title was Seeing Through Third Eyes, and the book jacket was a large wraparound photograph of a canalled city, perhaps Amsterdam, in autumn morning shades of yellow and orange.

The story was about a person named If -- which I presumed was a Norwegian version of Jeff, or something similar -- who is described as a ‘sensitive, compliant consumerist’ yet nevertheless has a high degree of insight into his motivations for the life he leads. As the story progresses, he begins to think critically of his peers due to their lack of awareness into the essentially superficial reasons for their own behaviour.

Everything changes with the arrival of what we understand to be an invasive alien presence, or perhaps some long-dormant terrestrial race, or perhaps even a class of non-physical entities that assume control over the people in the novel. I didn't read much of that part yet, so all I know about it is from allusions in the blurb.

From what I did read, I had the impression that the Attrachian newcomers -- while intent on, basically, acquiring some percentage of local resources -- were intent on a takeover that involved minimal bloodshed and disruption of people’s ordinary lives. I even speculated that the novel would end with the characters finding themselves ultimately better off under Attrachian control, than they had been when presided over by a human government.

Most interestingly, the novel is narrated from the perspective of one of the Attrachians, who forms a strong friendship with If -- and it is even hinted that they eventually develop some kind of sexual relationship as well. Don't ask me about the mechanics of this, I only read up to the very earliest moments of the 'invasion', which initially took the form of remarkably unusual and extreme weather. (To the reader, it is apparent that the Attrachians have the power to ‘steer’ tornadoes and precisely control other atmospheric phenomena.)

The opening of the novel is written in picturesque and eloquent prose, although I started reading while other people were watching a movie nearby, and the mix of battle-noises had a profoundly negative effect on my dreams later. I ultimately found myself thrust into the thick of an alien-invasion nightmare -- in first-person, full-sensorium context -- but the invading Attrachians were much more repulsive and inhuman than the parts I had read suggested.

The luminous and slightly surreal novel that I had been enjoying, was sadly corrupted into something that had more in common with the film Battlefield Los Angeles. There was even a particularly horrific moment when I managed to trap one of the foreigners in a partly destroyed cathedral, and systematically unloaded vicious injury on the poor individual until I learned how to kill it. Suffice it to say, the story had really descended into breathless fear by that point; what had been written as a thinly fantastical, engaging and perceptive social commentary, had turned into a visceral fight for survival, filled with terror, heartache and devastation.

I awoke, eventually, and I was in such a terrible frame of mind that I longed to continue reading the original book, in the hope my internal mutilation of its narrative may be repaired by what developments the author actually had envisaged for If and his friends.

Imagine my disappointment upon realising that the book itself existed only in the Land of Dreams, and from the standpoint of Newtonian (waking) reality, I had already been asleep for some time before the moment when I selected it from the pile of recent arrivals and began reading.

Monday, 6 August 2012

An unusual spin on ghostwriting

On many occasions when I have been meditating, or sometimes just snoozing, I have noticed that there is another person or persons in my vicinity. The interesting thing is that unless there is very obvious sensory information available, such as the sounds that person makes while moving around, it is actually quite difficult to distinguish between people who are physically nearby, and those who do not exist in my Newtonian present moment at all.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of being partly asleep when someone else is fully awake nearby. Perhaps by the smell of their perfume, or the sound of their voice, you know immediately who it is. When thinking of someone I know, I don’t necessarily visualise their face or hear their name in my mind. I just have a loose concept of their identity, and something like an average of the feelings that they most often evoke in me. I presume other people think of their friends in a similar way.

For people I am aware of, but don’t have a great deal of background information about -- such as celebrities or politicians that do not have any direct relevance to me -- I form the same type of identity shortcut. Predictably, the information density of such profiles is much more sparse; if I have actually been physically near a person, even if I don’t speak to them, I form a more comprehensive impression of what I imagine they are like.

I would never describe myself as a spiritual medium, but I suspect that people who genuinely have such a talent are able to derive a much greater depth of detail than I about the people I am vaguely aware of sometimes. On one occasion, I was meditating in the library of a building that was constructed on an old historical site. The person in my vicinity was a young teenage boy, and although I did not have much visual information, I had the feeling that he was from the early 19th century. Either that, or he was in period costume. Even more interesting was the fact it seemed to me that there were others near him, but just beyond my ability to detect them clearly.

My decision to build this website is part of a long-term plan that occurred to me in the small hours of April 24, 2012. The concept arrived in a spectacular and slightly overwhelming flood of information to my consciousness; as with many historical lightning-strikes of inspiration, the entire expanse of strategy was cohesive and fully formed. It reached me complete with all the relevant details and specific verbiage that I struggled to type out as soon as possible, or at least remember.

For the next couple of weeks, that information continued to unpackage itself in my mind. One morning, in the no-man’s-land between sleeping and waking consciousness, I enjoyed something in the order of a conversation with an elderly gentleman who was helping me on my mission.

This person had a cheerful nature but a somewhat serious, attentive face. He had a generous, neatly kept moustache, and wore a dark brown hunting cap. Although he was sitting in a wheelchair while we talked, I also knew that he was capable of walking, although it was difficult for him. He used a cane -- or possibly two canes -- of the anodised aluminium variety, with ergonomic plastic handles and a glossy bronze finish.

We were both in an animated, even excited frame of mind, to be collaborating on this project. It was our shared conviction that it would be a very successful endeavour and significantly improve the lives of many people; this made us feel happy and enthusiastic.

In the lucid yet dreamlike state of my consciousness, it made perfect sense that we were talking about how we would approach media interviews, if the concepts we wrote about succeeded in having a far-reaching impact on the lives of people all over the world. Both of us were riding high on optimism and self-belief, and standard-issue waking consciousness did not fully establish itself for a considerable period of time.

When it did, I understood that this person I had been having such a great time chatting to, was not physically present. He probably doesn’t even exist in the Newtonian world. But I am sure he had, and I suspect he continues to have, an instrumental role in helping me articulate these thoughts to you. I am not saying this site was exclusively his idea, or I am channelling his words instead of writing my own. It was a collaborative effort: we shared ideas, refined each other’s arguments, helped one another develop sensible progressions of concepts.

I don’t know who this person is, or what he is called, but I know he is real. And it would be an act of deception -- almost tantamount to plagiarism -- if I didn’t gratefully acknowledge his contribution to what you are reading right now.