Along came a spider

Of late, I have been reading “Is there Life After Death: The Extraordinary Science Of What Happens When We Die” by Anthony Peake (also known as ITLAD). The book is a fascinating read, so very interesting and covers a great many topics (some of which my limited brain can only take in on the first reading).

The section I have just finished (Echoes of the Future) relates to an attempt to describe / prove (both scientifically and experientially), precognition. In short (and my interpretation which is very basic in stark contrast to the book), it is the concept that we have a lower self (our physical form experiencing the external (objective) world subjectively) and a higher self (perhaps best described as the subconscious or the “non-local us” – the premise that our consciousness exists not inside us but “out there”). Furthermore, it is suggested that from a precognitive perspective, certain folks have the ability to tune in to future echoes, via dreams (day or night) or via visions / messages (via mediums). Anthony posits that our higher selves may in fact have lived a life already, our life the we are currently living, and that the likes of precognition or déjà vu is our higher selves way at saying that we know what’s coming next and here is a message, a breadcrumb if you will. The book cites several cases, most notably a precognitive dream a little Welsh girl had the day before the Aberfan mining disaster, sadly her request to stay away from the school that day being denied, and not averting the course of her future and immediate demise.

So it came as no coincidence that I could well have had my own precognition today, my very own Minority Report. As Morrissey once said “Last night I dreamt”, sadly not about someone who loved me, but spiders. At the age of forty two, I have pretty much overcome all of the fears of early life (including some rather irrational ones), namely tall buildings, dentists, sprouts on ironing boards and dying. There really is only one left, spiders (again quite irrational for someone who lives in the UK).

In my dream, I was back living in the Far East and recall that I was on a trip to Thailand, somewhere in the jungle outside Chang Mai. All of a sudden there was a huge down pour and I looked for cover and found a wooden terrace which was only about two foot high. I wriggled snake-like half way down the terrace, when from above spiders (black and yellow) started to descend on fine wires landing on my naked torso, giving me the fear. I woke up in a sweat, itching all over and it took me a while to get back to sleep (after checking under the covers just in case any of the little bleeders where in there).

Maybe it was the fear / negativity within dream or perhaps lack of sleep which put me in the worse mood I’ve been in for quite a while. Maybe it was that work is a real drag at the moment which doesn’t help, stuck in endless days of mind-numbingly-boring contract documentation. Some days (thankfully very rarely) I wake up and without reason and without justification, stay subsumed within a dark cloud, stuck within its black sticky “mono-filament-esque” web, unable to cut myself free. This in itself is ok as long as others are not affected by it. Sadly in a busy house that can be a real challenge.

So before I logged in, I decided to have a quick round up of the news via The Guardian and the BBC website (my last visit to Auntie honest) to see what was going on in the Scottish elections. On the BBC homepage was a picture of a spider. Knock me over with a “magic feather”, what a coincidence. The story behind it read that the UK is set for an invasion of giant spiders by all accounts. Excellent news….

By lunch time, I decided to take my mood into my own hands and sat out in the garden and decided to meditate during lunch. The weather was fine, so on went the Kundalini Yoga playlist, down went the eyelids, up went the mudra and I was taking back the natural order of things, control. It was serene, it was calming. In my hypnogogic state I drifted in and out of consciousness for about an hour, not dreaming, but feeling (not seeing) kaleidoscopic colours and soothing warmth of the sun. Towards the end of my chill out time, I felt something on my left arm, a tickling sensation. Upon looking down I found that there was a “money” spider weaving in and out of the hairs, laying behind it coils of silk. I picked it up with the end of my finger and drew it close to my face, and there it sat not moving for what seemed like hours, just staring directly at me (not that I could see its eyes, it may well have been its arse – I was still feeling quite sleepy and my glasses were still in the office). I gently placed it on a nearby rose bush and trundled back to work feeling much better.

With the wife at college on Thursday nights, I made sure all the kids were settled before I took the dog for a long walk. Still feeling a little dazed from the dark morning cloud, I decided to lighten the mood further by listening to Bill Hicks, a natural pick-me-up of mine whenever I’m feeling blue. Towards the end of our walk, we have to pass an embankment and the right hand side of the road, a high sandstone wall with only earth behind it which acts as foundations for the houses above. There is a rather curious feature on the wall, one which always catches my eye each time I pass it. Half way along the wall there is a door. A door which leads to nowhere. I glanced up at it to see that right in the middle was a huge spider web, with a disproportionate common garden spider sat still in the middle, just as Mr Hicks informed me once again that life was just a ride.

After the wife got back in from college, I went for a late night run with my eldest down on the promenade and told him of the events of the day. He is very logical and put it all down to pure coincidence, and the former me would have done exactly the same. I said that it would be a shame if everything was reduced to materialism, and to me what matters most just now is not matter at all. I concurred that the logical part of my conscious state agrees somewhat to his argument that if I hadn’t have had the dream in the first place, those things may well have been there today anyway, it’s just that my sense have been alerted to their presence (all very mature for a 17 year old boy). The romantic in me would like to think beyond the logic though.

One thing is for sure, I love my new-found thirst for the exploration of the Universe (both outer and inner). There are so many interesting and diverse interpretations “out there” that my reading list grows day-by-day (especially the writings of Mr Peake). I love the fact that for the first time in my life, I can’t get enough of reading and writing about reading. Long may it continue…

ADDENDUM 1: As I type this up, my spidy-senses are once again tingling, allowing myself one final arachnid-based chortle. On getting out of the car (after dropping the wife off at work), I glanced at the wing mirror to make sure there were no cards coming before I opened the door, only to find a further two micros-spiders fighting it out over a well trapped breakfast.

ADDENDUM 2: I just met my wife for a coffee in Starbucks and without knowing that I’d uploaded a blog or even be aware of the whole spider thing as I’ve not spoken to her much since yesterday morning, she said that after she had finished her massage session at the salon, she had heard an almighty scream coming from outside. She quickly went to see what the commotion was about, when she was confronted by a stylist in floods of tears. She asked her what the matter was, and she said that earlier, she thought she had flicked a huge spider from a cardigan she wearing, but was unaware that it hadn’t dropped on the floor, but it had moved to the back of her arm, and eventually crawled itself up her back and then up her neck to the underneath her hair, snuggling in nicely under her right ear lobe to keep warm.

Enough already…

T.H.O.E: Prelude

Prelude (/ˈprɛljuːd/) (noun): An action or event serving as an introduction to something more important…

By the time I finish “The History of Everything” blog, I will be a different person. Older, for sure. Wiser, time will tell. I am not claiming that this blog will influence anyone or have any effects (profound or otherwise) on anybody other than its creator. Nor am I claiming that what I will find out over the course of the next few months will influence my current priorities in life, they will not change. The fact that next to nobody will probably read this is likely testament to that. In fact, if no one other than me actually observes this blog does it even exist? I guess from a Copenhagen interpretation, it exists and it does not exist until I get a “Like”…

The goal of this blog is to fill many gaps. In my case, there are many gaps in what I currently believe in terms of existence and the way we as humans and reality operates. I will be drawing upon many references from various sources and media, from philosophy to physics, from the biblical to the biological, from theories of relativity to theories of relative insanity (and there is plenty of that in my family).

I will attempt to give a linear view of things (but will also loop-in the loop theory), from before the beginning of measureable time, on through the last 13.7 billion years of development projects to infinity and beyond (whatever that may be). I will not attempt to pillory theorists and intellectuals (perhaps with the exception of Richard Dawkins who is neither), nor will I praise them, I will simply present to myself (and anyone else who cares to read this) the thoughts and ideas that have developed over time from a great many people (not many great people) so that the reader can draw their own conclusions to my conclusions.

I am a very simple person who has to have things dumbed-down a lot of the time so my pea-sized brain can take things in, so this blog should not be in any way inaccessible to others (but perhaps paradoxically it will be to me).

If there are things which are factually incorrect within these insane scribblings, they are simply errors of ignorance and I am more than happy to be corrected by the more learned folks of Planet Earth (and in turn will update this blog accordingly).

I have thought long and hard about the key questions I hope to answer during this blogathon. At the time of writing this prelude, I would like to formulate my own logical and most probable answers to the following. If These really are questions without answers, but one can form a diagnosis based on the facts presented, and then weight that with a probability factor :

1. Does God exist and is there such thing as a Grand Design (not including Kevin McCloud)?
2. What was there before the Big Bang?
3. What started the Big Bang?
4. Is there really a missing link?
5. What is reality?
6. What is consciousness?
7. Why are we here?
8. What happens when we die?
9. How will it all end?
10. Is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything really 42?

We live in an age where science is trying to prove everything beyond reasonable doubt, which is not probable because mankind will find it rather difficult to prove the existence or non-existence of God, consciousness and reality. We live in an age where religion and economics is so fractured and fragmented, that we will kill each other over our beliefs or for things we do not possess but want to possess. We live in an age where politics, rules and regulations are adhered to by the docile masses, with those that declare democracy doing so in such a way to make people believe they are free, but they do their upmost to covertly remove true liberty.

All of that said, I believe that there is a shift in human consciousness. There are a growing number of people out there who are looking for unfathomable questions to be answered, how are starting to ask the why are we here type questions. The advent of quantum mechanics (and my little knowledge of it) has proven to me at least as I sit here, that as So-Crates Johnson once said in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure “All that we know, is that we know nothing”. Science may be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt how the universe that we know started, how we as homo sapiens physically evolved over time, but at this point it cannot determine what consciousness and conscious thought is. I don’t think a mathematical formula will ever be able to prove why we are here…

I am at this point reminded that I will not be berating science, nature or religion throughout this piece, mere drawing all of the facts I have in my possession and coming to the most logical conclusion.

To that end I will attempt for each theory/concept I come across to bear the following in mind. I call it the ZSSP (Zipbung’s Sliding Scale of Probability) and each theory/concept will be rated 1 – 7. It goes something like this (adapted from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion):

1. Fact: 100 per cent probability the theory/concept is true. “I know that it is true.”

2. Strong Belief: Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe the theory/concept and assume it to be true.”

3. Leaning Belief: Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe the theory/concept and assume it to be true.”

4. Impartiality: Exactly 50 per cent. “The theory/concept is exactly equiprobable.”

5. Leaning Doubt: Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to disbelieve the theory/concept and assume it to be false.”

6. Strong Doubt: Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly disbelieve the theory/concept and assume it to be false.”

7. Fiction: 100 per cent probability the theory/concept is false. “I know that it is not true.”

My journey should be an interesting one that’s for sure. As a parting shot to this the prelude, precursor and preface, I leave you with a Bill Hicks quote to ponder now and as a reference point throughout my journey through The History of Everything:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace”…