This will never become a book.

2012 May 30 Wednesday

Meaningless Numbers

Filed under: synchronicity — kdefg @ 23:36

I’ve been reading more about Jung and his thoughts on synchronicity.  It turns out that I had not fully understood his theory.  The idea that coincidences have meaning is too simplistic.  In fact, it is counter-productive to notice a coincidence and then try to find meaning in it.

I’ve saved a few examples of coincidental numbers that cropped up this past month.  First there was a day when I went to my bank’s ATM to check my balance.  I saw a slip of paper on the ground and picked it up, and saw that it was the ATM receipt from the previous person’s transaction, with $1,339.xx shown as their account balance.  I then checked my own balance, and got a receipt showing $1,339.xx — the two values differed by twelve cents.

Other numbers jumped out at me this month.  I saw the string 55422 (I forget where) and thought it might have been from that “Amelia Sequence” from a television show, but 55124 would have been the correct match.  I read about an online story having 115 characters so far, and then read about an online forum having a gathering with 115 members registered to attend.  My family went shopping and bought a computer mouse, and in the parking lot I challenged them to remember the model number, just as we walked past a sign with the same 3-digit number.

None of those pairings held any real significance.  They didn’t trigger any transcendental awareness or reveal any hidden meaning.  These were simple coincidences, not examples of Jung’s synchronicity.  The fact that they were all numbers is because I’ve been looking for numbers, rather than letting the universe work its magic in whatever symbolism it chooses.

At the library today, I thumbed through a book by DeBell on “Spiritual Messages” which suggests that there is more going on at an unconscious level when synchronicity happens.  Jung talked about it in terms of the observer effect.  My psychic/emotional state is only one factor, added to the material circumstances present at the moment of an unexpected external event.  The inspiration or “aha” that I might receive is in relation to the thoughts on my mind at the time.  It is supposed to be a closed loop, with subtle and personal symbolism.  Any mere coincidence like numbers that anyone can see will only have meaning to the superstitious types.

I’ve picked up a few more books to read this week.  In the meantime, enjoy the random chaos of the universe.

 

 

2012 May 29 Tuesday

Turtle on the Ceiling

Filed under: reality — kdefg @ 22:57

The subject of Near Death Experiences was on my mind today.  I’ve never had one myself, but I enjoy reading the testimony of people who have.  They’re all over the Internet these days, on a variety of blogs and in videos.  Researchers try to gather the similar ones for study, while other scientists think of ways to discredit them.

Even people who are not necessarily near death have reported having an Out-of-Body Experience, especially in the Emergency Room or while undergoing a procedure in the hospital. They claim being able to see details of the activity taking place during a period of time when their brain was unlikely to be capable of conscious thought.  One suggestion has been to place a card in a patient’s room or in the surgical operating room, hidden from direct sight.  Then researchers could ask these people what they saw from their vantage point above the scene.  In theory, if their point of view was hovering at the ceiling, then they should be able to read the text on a card placed on top of a cabinet.

I think this is never going to work, because reading text or seeing a symbol on a piece of paper requires light rays to enter an eye and strike a retina.  The hovering spirit of a person having an OBE is not seeing in the physical sense.  I believe they are experiencing their surroundings using something like the mind’s eye, which is really a construct formed by consciousness.  The mind (but not the brain) may be sensing everything going on in the room, and the memory of that upon waking feels like they “saw” it.

I’ve rambled on about “mindseeing” here before, in searching for a verb specific to visualization of the model of the world we keep in our heads.  I want to believe that it is an activity which we take for granted because we don’t have an accurate language to describe it.  When I see myself in a memory, I am not replaying a recording of what I saw at that time, but rather my current mind takes the vantage point of an observer, similar to playing a video game in third-person camera mode.  When I play in a virtual world game, I try to use first-person mode as much as possible, because it feels more like I am really immersed and seeing the world in real time from my own eyes.  I wonder why people choose third-person at all, and whether they experience their own memories differently because of it.

So, getting back to the experiment to test for an OBE in a hospital.  My suggestion is that the researchers should skip the clever signs and random words on a hidden card.  Instead, they should put real objects up there on top of a cupboard.  Choose distinctive but obscure things, to make it unlikely for someone to generate a false positive by guessing.  Make the objects have strange colors and unusual shapes, something a person would do a double-take if encountered in real life.  Let them be as memorable as possible, so the patient cannot help but report about it upon waking.

I’ve only had surgery or been knocked out for a minor procedure a few times, and it’s always seemed like no time passed at all.  I don’t remember any disembodiment or disorientation, neither going under or coming back up.  There is something fundamentally different about anesthesia compared to the unconcience dreaming.  For example, last night I dreamt about a turtle.  I can remember holding it, the feel of it in my hand, the dark color of its shell, the sound of it trying to talk to me.  If I should ever have an OBE, I would hope the memory is equally vivid, and not simply the word TURTLE on a piece of paper.

 

2012 May 28 Monday

Experts

Filed under: life — kdefg @ 23:14

My long weekend of conventioneering has come to a close.  I can now go back to a household routine of television and meals and chores.  I could read books or play games, but I will spend more of my free time reading articles I find online.  In doing so, I absorb facts and opinions from many sources while being entertained, but I retain very little new knowledge that way.  To learn something new, I do best to attend a lecture or watch a demonstration while I take notes.

Several of the convention panels were informational, led by people who frequently insisted that they were not experts.  They were fans and aficionados, some I might call scholars, and the few who were professionals in their respective fields were vastly outnumbered by the hobbyists.  Relative to me, they were all experts.  Many of them brought props or showed slides; many of them also read from note cards.  They apologized, as if an expert would be able to speak for 50 minutes without forgetting important bullet points, or that an expert would have a mythically superior set of visuals to display on a projector screen.  To me, it was all good.

After experiencing all this information dump, I am left wondering what kind of an expert I would make, or rather, what kind of panel could I lead or lecture I could give.  What am I an expert in?  (Certainly not grammar, which would insist on the structure, “In what [subject] am I an expert?”)  I have plenty of shallow experience in a wide range of fields, but not much depth in any one area.  A lot of my professional knowledge has been rendered obsolete over the years, leaving me with personal interests but no more expertise than what other fans and hobbyists have.

It’s not like I have no skills at all.  I am able to hold up my end of a conversation with intellectuals, and people do ask me for advice and my opinion on matters.  I just don’t think I have any unique wisdom to fill a book or impart as a lecturer.  This is beginning to make me feel lacking in some way, like I have failed to fulfill my destiny.  Is it important to be considered an expert in something, anything, after reaching a certain age?

Or perhaps I really am an expert at all the little things I spend so much of my time doing.  I am like the hobbyists at the convention panels, apologizing for not being the absolute professional encyclopedia of knowledge in the things I do know well.  The reality is that there are people out there for whom I am good enough to be their expert.  I just have to find them!

 

2012 May 27 Sunday

Parallel Surrealities

Filed under: reality — kdefg @ 23:29

If you’re familiar with some of the more popular works by Philip K. Dick, you’ll know his characters often experience a shift in their perceptions of reality.  If you’ve read further background into his life, you might know that PKD himself experienced occasional shifts in perspective.  He described having the sensation that two different timelines were superimposed on our reality, but most of us never become aware of it.  (I have no specific links for you, but do a search for “Black Iron Prison” and you might read about how it appears in his fiction as well as the details of the incident which triggered his visions.)

I’m not a fan of the theory of parallel universes.  I don’t believe that a new reality forks off at every moment, nor that every choice we make spawns an alternate reality in which the opposite choice was made.  Certainly quantum physicists can write theoretical equations for such possibilities, but that’s just abstract math to me.  Even if reality is merely the illusion formed by waves of energy through space, there can be only one instance of the matter that coalesces out of these energy waves.  At least that’s how I envision the mechanics of the universe, despite enjoying fiction like the movie “Primer” which defies explanation.

Today, however, I got a taste of what it might have been like for PKD to experience that overlap.  I’ve been attending a Steampunk convention this weekend, sporadically dropping in on panels and taking in the ambience of the venue.  The event is running in parallel with a major anime gathering, which in itself is a jarring mix of fandoms, but at least they are hosted in two separate hotels.  While the anime (and manga and video game and general nerd culture) fans are all about the bright colors and exuberant self-expression, the steampunk enthusiasts are generally in favor of quiet elegance.  And yet, they co-mingle in crowds and share the shuttle bus without prejudice or resentment.

My moment of heightened awareness came as I sat in a foyer and listened to the sound of a teletype machine.  A corner of the hall had been converted into the working office of a telegraph company, complete with a ticker-tape clattering out the news headlines.  A Victorian clock stood outside their door next to the company sign, and a messenger delivered telegrams to citizens in the hotel.  The telegraph operator pinned pieces of paper to a cork bulletin board so attendees could read about events elsewhere in the world.  In my peripheral vision I saw women in corsets and bustles, and men in top hats and waistcoats.  For a brief moment, I allowed myself to believe that this was our modern reality.  This was not a step back in time, but a projection of how time could have progressed from the Victorian era to an alternative now, veering away from the invention of mass communication (and so much more).

I saw the past superimposed on my present, along with an alternate timeline crossing in front of me, like a pair of train tracks running an electric rapid transit system in parallel with a steam locomotive.  I could read the headlines about the United Nations and Syria typed out in monospaced capital letters on yellow paper with faded ink.  And just when I had wrapped my brain around this scene, the bell on the teletype machine rang, a signal indicating an incoming priority headline as was done in its time, and was still being used when I worked in a radio station in college.  I was simultaneously experiencing a memory of a real past and a simulacra of an alternate past-future, while also being aware of my modern clothes and lifestyle.

The illusion is not concerned with what is real, but which WHEN is real.  Perhaps they are all simultaneously real when you strip away the filters of linear time.  It is this kind of stuff which makes science fiction write itself.

 

 

 

2012 May 26 Saturday

Minimum Nightly

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:49

I’ve been considering whether or not to try doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year.  At first I thought, “Sure, I’ve been writing every day, and I have the time, why not?” And then I seriously tell myself, “Self, you cannot even reliably hit 500 words every day for a week, so how will you come close to three times that amount?”

Coincidentally, at the convention I’m attending this weekend, they had a panel called “NaNoWriMo For Beginners”.  While the nice ladies talked a lot about structure and publishing, they did reiterate that the point of the month is simply to write, and feel free to write badly.  Just write.  And there is no failing!  While you may not “win” by hitting your goal, you never fail.  Simply by sitting down and writing *something*, you have accomplished more than most people who say they might try to write a book one day but never do.

So with that pep talk, I’m back on the fence about giving it another try, in either June or August.  The camp motif is more like NaNo-Lite, without the live write-ins.  I still don’t have a story idea — and that is O.K. — but I do still have characters to build from.

What do you think?  (And my apologies for yet another brief entry just before my obligatory deadline.)

 

2012 May 25 Friday

Conned

Filed under: life — kdefg @ 23:39

Right now, I need sleep more than I need to write, but I did make a promise to myself to write something every day.  Don’t expect this one to be very long.

I’ve spent my day at a convention — commonly called a ‘con’ and thus the title for today.  These things wear me out, but I do it every year.  Last year was full of new anime to sample and entertaining panels to attend.  This year seems like a lot of repetition, and I don’t seem interested in sampling the obscure.

I should be making observations about the attendees, the crowds, the mass of humanity gathered with a common purpose.  Except, there isn’t just one single purpose, but an assortment of sub-groupings.  I barely spend any time in the gamers’ hall, and I’ve never attended the formal dance.  It amazes me how this many people can share a culture and yet have such a wide range of likes and dislikes.  Still, they all seem to respect their differences, and it is a weekend of good vibes and friendly acceptance.

Maybe that’s why I keep coming back, for the commonality and community.  It’s a place where I do not need to fit in but I can still feel like I belong there.

 

2012 May 24 Thursday

Non Sense

Filed under: dreams — kdefg @ 23:53

Another night with very little to report; another morning when I did not write in my dream journal.

This is not to say I did not dream last night.  It’s just that what I did dream was so bizarre that I didn’t want to record it.  In it, my body had no arms or legs, no head either, just a torso, but it was hollow, more like the shell of a body, with the rubbery texture of those covers that slip over the Wii remote control.  And yet, it wasn’t my body either, because I was looking down at it, and in my hand was something like a lightsaber — so I still had a hand, and arms, and a head to be looking down from — and it was I who was cutting off the limbs of this body.  Total nonsense, right?

What am I to do with such imagery?  I started the journal as a way to practice storytelling, and to maybe keep ideas for future writing experiments.  This, however, is not a scene that I want to revisit in any kind of writing.

And how do I derive meaning from this?  I cannot think of anything I had seen recently which could have spawned this kind of symbolism.  This is not a repurposed scene from a movie, as sometimes happens with my dreams.

So I woke up and decided not to remember it by writing it down.  I didn’t take much time in bed sorting through the memory of it before getting up, which is usually a good way to let the details fade.  I had pretty much forgotten about it as my day became hectic with running errands and meeting deadlines.  And then after lunch, driving past a construction site, I see their civic banners for whatever new building was going up behind the fences, covered in slogans and inspirational phrases, and the one word which stood out in the biggest font was ‘DREAM’.

I continued my errands, which involved waiting in a line for six hours to pick up badges for a weekend event.  Exhausted from standing and shuffling and sitting on a hard floor when the line stalled, I was glad to come home to a late supper and a final hour of television.  What did I watch?  The season finale of “Awake” — actually the series finale since it was cancelled — that show in which a detective does not know in which reality he might be asleep, or whether he is caught between two equally-real dream worlds.

Dreams are not supposed to make sense — this is what we tell ourselves when a particularly weird dream makes no sense at all.  But perhaps those are the most important dreams of all, the ones which surpass the kind of sense we understand in our waking life.  It is the nonsense which challenges us to think, until it makes “non” sense.

 

2012 May 23 Wednesday

Hard Sell

Filed under: life — kdefg @ 23:57

I came across a recent blog post about junk food (click to read why Glenn is “pissed” about it). Yes, it is a rant about the proliferation of bad nutrition and bad dietary choices, not only that they exist but that they are advertised.  The underlying message I get from him is that people would make better choices if healthy foods got equal amounts of commercial time.  I think the better solution would be to ban all product advertising.

Beyond merely stating that a product exists, what is the purpose of commercial advertising?  It is to sell you something, to “help” you to make a choice that you would not make without their “advice”.  Advertising does not want you to be informed or educated.  Commercials do not invite you to read the labels or compare your options.  Their technique is to speak in generalities and superlatives.  The very existence of their message is proof that they don’t think you would buy their products without that message.

Imagine if a product was forced to stick to the facts.  State your product name, its purpose, list its ingredients, and disclose the products it is similar to.  Then go away.  Let people make their own comparisons and decide for themselves if it will improve their lives to make that purchase.  Ban all bogus statistics, like how much money people saved by switching insurance providers — of course they saved money, otherwise they would not have switched!  Ban all claims of being better than similar products, because “better” is a subjective assessment which will differ from person to person.  In my imaginary world, all consumers will be skeptical about claims and educated about the marketplace.

While we’re at it, let’s ban all sales commissions.  If I walk into a store, I don’t need someone motivated by profit to talk me into a purchase.  I need to do my own research and then choose to buy based on my own personal needs.  The sales clerk should be paid to be there to complete the transaction.  Whether or not the product is worth buying has nothing to do with their time on duty.  Don’t punish sales people for representing an inferior product, and don’t reward them for pushing that product onto people.

Gee, it feels good to rant.  Thank you, Internet.

Back to the junk food issue, I wanted to point out that healthy food doesn’t bother with commercials because it doesn’t really need it.  Carrots sell just fine without a jingle and a mascot, and they are priced accordingly.  The fact that moms don’t buy more carrots for their kids could be blamed on competition for her time and money from the evil potato chip consortium, or it could be that her kids don’t like carrots.

Today I looked at the snacks available at the college coffee shop.  Next to the granola bars was a convenience pack of Pop-Tarts.  I was sorely tempted, for I have known the bliss of brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sometimes it sucks to be a responsible adult.

 

 

2012 May 22 Tuesday

Blood Relatives

Filed under: reality — kdefg @ 22:37

If you believe the internet, I am an alien.  Or at least part alien, descended from aliens.  Or angels.  Maybe my ancestors were spawned from “fallen angels”, the Nephilim.  I am fairly certain that I am human, but the internet tells me that my Rh Negative blood sets me apart.

My favorite go-to page for details about this theory is actually a forum post, on a website devoted to Unexplained Mysteries.  The topic is called “The Rh Neg Blood Type – Nephilim bloodline” and it was started over two years ago.  Among the many statements presented as scientific fact is a list of characteristics supposedly more common among the Rh-negative subset of the population.  Reading down their list, I would say I match only half of the qualities — then I stop dead on “Cannot be cloned”.  Since when is that a thing?  Has there been research in the area of human cloning which has been successful, but only for Rh-positive blood types?  I haven’t read much more of that post beyond that point, which occurs less than halfway into the article and above a lot more “evidence” for their theory.

I actually would not mind being part alien, which I suppose the Nephilim would technically be.  I don’t know which of my parents gave me their Rh factor, or whether both of them are Rh negative.  I don’t know whether my brother inherited the same trait.  As a family, we have not kept in touch, and I do not feel particularly connected to them.  I even went through a phase when I was young when I thought I might have been adopted.  It wasn’t true, but it was a symptom, a sign that I felt somehow different.  I still feel that way, like I’m only getting by in life by pretending to act human.

Feeding into this strange swirl of fringe theories is a prophecy in a book called Apollyon Rising 2012 in which a “scholar” has found evidence pointing to the return of the gods, or rather the alien “gods” from humanity’s distant past.  Or maybe it’s the Watchers returning to Earth, or it’s the Nephilim — assuming they left and did not stick around to continue their cross-breeding program.  Visit the webpage for the book, scroll down below the halfway point, and read all the bullet points, just for the entertainment value. Honestly, that author seems to muddle a lot of theories together.  His many other writings rave about the evils of transhumanism, too.  If I’m a half-breed, or even merely descended from half-breeds, I have been tainted in his eyes.

I for one welcome our returning alien overlords.  I just wonder if they’ll recognize me.

 

2012 May 21 Monday

fiction sprint – Application

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:59

Sitting in the waiting area, Meg flipped through the pages on her clipboard, checking her answers.  She resisted the urge to change some of the bubbles she had so neatly filled in.  The instructions were clear, that she was supposed to answer quickly, to use her first emotional responses to the questions, but this went against her nature.  She was used to pondering and evaluating situations before taking action, using her brain instead of her gut or her heart.

The door to the inner office opened.  Out stepped a lanky young man with a dazed look on his face.  The advisor held the door open behind him and patted him on the back.  “Take a few days to consider our offer, then give me a call. You have my number there in the paperwork.”  The teen looked down at the stapled papers in his hand and made a fist around them.  With his head tilted down, he avoided eye contact as he walked past Meg and headed out the lobby door and down the hall.  Meg thought to herself, “I hope he’s not driving home in that condition.”

The advisor watched the boy leave, and waited until he was out of sight before turning to look at the rest of the waiting room.  She scanned the entire row of seats, even though it was obvious at a glance that Meg was the only person sitting there.  “Well, it looks like you’re next,” she said to Meg with a cheery lilt that sounded like it had been rehearsed to perfection.  Meg stood and followed her into the small office.  The advisor motioned for her to take a seat and then closed the door.

They went over some formalities, exchanging names, confirming that this was the right appointment, pulling up her records on file.  The evaluation process had been going on all week, and this interview was the final stage.  The brochure said it took some people almost a month to get to this point.  Meg was exceptionally motivated.  She handed the clipboard across the desk before the advisor even asked for it.  The sheets of paper were fed into a slot next to the computer monitor, and Meg’s bubble answers silently disappeared into the scanner.

“Thank you, Meg.  While we’re waiting for those to be tabulated, let’s review your options.  Have you narrowed down your selection yet?”

“I thought the easy way to go would be as a vampire, but that seems like a flooded market these days.  I ruled out zombies for the same reason.  So I’m thinking of applying for something in the esoteric sciences, like wizard or witch, perhaps.  Are they still available?”

The advisor was only pretending to listen to Meg while the computer monitor scrolled the results of her evaluation.  She turned to read it more closely, and Meg could see yellow text flashing in the reflection of the woman’s eyeglasses.  “Hmm, yes.  You do have an aptitude for it, I see.”  Her voice trailed off.

Meg waited.  This didn’t feel like good news.  “What else does it say?”

The advisor shifted in her seat, sat up straight and put the insincere smile back on her face.  “Have you considered a career as an angel?”

==(abrupt ending as I’ve hit my midnight deadline and passed 500 words.)==

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