You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Philosophy’ category.

So myself and a few friends are sitting in The Red Lion garden, ribbing each other in the way guys do over a few beers. One of us has just got back from France with his girlfriend so he pulls out his Mac iBook from his bag and plonks it on the table. In screensaver mode, photos from his holiday begin to fade from the near distance and onto the screen in a random size and position of the screen. As this neat piece of technology is quietly humming away he is pointing out who was who and where was where and we were gently taking the mick here and there and enjoying the sun and English ale.

This has been going on for twenty minutes, maybe half an hour. We’re quite animated by now, laughing and being boisterous when an unexpected picture of our friend’s girlfriend (in her tight little pink knickers) appears on the screen. This is funny. We have a laugh about it, he half-jokingly, half-bashfully covers the picture with his hands. The screensaver goes on. After another minute or so one of us points out how funny it is that none of the other pictures, fading in from the near distance as though being thrown onto a table, have covered the picture of our friend’s girlfriend’s pink butt. Again our friend tries to cover the picture with his hands. More photos arrive, but frame this one picture perfectly. More and more and more, completely randomly, fall onto the screen but leaving this one picture untouched.

We’re finding this amusing now.

“This,” I say, “is an example of the intelligence of randomness.”

“Something somewhere,” I say to my friend who owns the laptop, “is messing with you.”

We laugh at this.

Still the pictures refuse to cover the picture of his girlfriend’s arse. We’re laughing more now. Eventually he says “right, that’s enough of that,” and as he reaches for the laptop off button, another – larger – version of the butt picture appears. Then another. And as our friend is fumbling for the off switch, finally another of the same picture of his girlfriend’s arse (once again, larger than the last until it filled half or more of the screen) appeared, as though in a last ditch attempt to humiliate our friend as much as possible with the weapon at hand.

Until eventually, in a slight panic, the machine is offed.

We thought this was hilarious. At the same time, this is a typical example of a seeming connection between supposedly random events and consciousness. I’ve seen it many, many times. It was almost as though

a/ something, somewhere, knew how embarassing this was for our friend and was – in good humour – making the photos fall in this way and eventually choosing the same one three times in a row, each one larger than the next, before our friend could get the machine off.

b/ that somehow our collective conscious was affecting the ‘random’ selection and location of the photographs.

Of course, one would normally chalk it up as mere coincidence. An amusing set of coincidences. But what is anything, really, but a set of coincidences? Our brains are chemical storms little different to the skies that hang above our heads. A functioning household has seperate organs that work together, much in the same way that our bodies do. What is it that makes us, our supposed ‘consciousness’, so unique from any process – be it chemical, biological, physical (all of which are principally the same) – present, to our knowledge, in the universe? Where does ‘I’ begin and end? Where does ‘we’ peter out into the big ‘out there’?

As I’ve said, I’ve experienced these things before: I’ll document them, and any new ones as they occur, on this blog. Maybe you have, too? Are they just coincidences? And even if they are, what is the definition of a coincidence? What is the difference between any coincidence (or co-incidence) and another? Darwin would have us believe that evolution was a random process resulting in consciousness, didn’t he? And we humans are late comers to the show…

Is something try to make contact? Is this entity, whatever it is, if anything, in some way more deeply connected with our lives than we presently understand?

There were two of us. We were both attempting the world’s first parachute jump from space. We leapt, in our pressurised space suits, from some unknown platform toward the earth: it looked like a giant glass marble in front and beneath us; the sun was shining over the top of it, to the right – the yellow white rays really stung my eyes.

The initial jump wasn’t really like jumping at all. My heart rate was reasonably normal. We fell slowly, presumably in a weak outer band of Earth’s gravity. Falling through the planetary atmosphere was strange, though. As I hit it, I keeled over to my left. My legs hadn’t fully penetrated it so I landed sideways on it, or in it, and sunk slowly through. It looked like colourful river scum: the kind you might find gathering at the mouth of a river gate. It was thickish, liquidy, and resembled the surface of Jupiter in colour and pattern: mostly beige, red, yellow, and white thin diamond patchwork. Sinking into it wasn’t entirely unpleasant, though, as it was airy: more like a foam than a liquid. I fell softly through it and held my breath as it reached the visor of my helmet, forgetting I had my own air supply. As I fell through the strange substance I remember feeling as though I was entering the stomach of some huge animal: there was something very organic, even biological about the atmosphere I was passing through. When I reached the end of it, I fell through. And I mean I fell through.

Now I was really falling. I could see the planet’s oceans, a coastline, and tiny clouds several miles beneath me. I began to get the rush of a sky dive. My heart sprinted and it seemed like my eyes would pop with the sheer size of the ocean beneath me. The constant falling sensation was making me delirious but at the same time was exhilarating. It was at this point I wondered, it seemed I hadn’t been told, whether I had to release my parachute myself or if it was automatic. I looked down at the front of my suit and saw an emergency release chord tucked into a canvas housing down my chest. Then, suddenly, the parachute was released. I looked outward across the sky and saw my dive buddy, his parachute also released, wheeling in an arc across the sky not too far from me. For a moment I thought we’d crash into each other but I swung by within forty of fifty feet then turned my back on him and began to concentrate on the landing. The fall was incredibly quick: I was expecting it to last minutes but it only seemed to last seconds. Almost immediately I was crashing into the ocean. It’s texture was like layer upon layer of thin glass as I sunk into it.

I looked around for my buddy. Inexplicably he had landed very close by. He disengaged his chute and swam over and we made a wild, slightly panicky scan for land. There was an island and we made our way toward it, eventually standing on it’s gravelly shore looking out across the giant planetary lake we had just made our entrance into.

And that was the end of the dream.

Oddly, an impression came with it. It occurred to me – just as I woke up – that movement, just like physical objects and the varying energy frequencies (such as microwave, radio, and light), is comprised only of energy. That physical movement, from A to B, as we understand it in a Newtonian universe, doesn’t actually occurr.

An example came to me. Imagine a multicoloured checkered landscape. Imagine a multi-faceted diamond (say with one hundred finely chiseled and flat reflective surfaces) floating in that landscape.

The way physical, non-Newtonian movement was represented to me was to imagine that the diamond remained still and fixedly located within the landscape. However, were it to turn on its axis in any given direction the multiple facets of it’s surface would reflect a different combination (and of varying size) of the coloured checkerboard landscape, thereby appearing to have located itself elsewhere along the landscape plane. The landscape will not have changed, though, and nor will the actuality of the diamond: nothing but the reflections given of the surrounding landscape in the multiple facets of the diamonds surface.

Could this apply to all objects in space? Are we, and all things, actually located at exactly the same location (we’ll get onto time ‘later’, I’m sure) always, only appearing to physically travel through the recalibration of our axis. Of course, to us, that recalibration results in the illusion of travel: it would have to represent itself to us somehow. In our limited perception of what is around us, there has to be some illusion of seperateness or our limited brain functions couldn’t cope.

Everything is energy, buzzing at different frequencies. What’s more is that our physical universe, at a quantum level, is perpetually unsure exactly where it is located: if anywhere at all. Bertrand Russell mused that the closer he inspected his writing desk, the less and less he knew about it, until the only conclusion he could positively draw from the examination was that it wasn’t actually there at all.

This pertains to my theory, for if there is no physical existance at a fundamental level, then there can be no distance. If there is no distance, our appearance of travel, velocity, the Newtonian sense of a moving body, can only be the recalibration of a single instance of observation (the diamond) to appropriate the energy around it in any given combination it sees fit, according to the agenda of its conscious effort.

So anyway, that happened. Now I’m off to have some birthday beers with some buddies. Have a nice day 🙂 And please feel free to comment (or not, as the case may be).

Post Scriptum: Of course, this would mean that the universe occupies zero space or has zero mass. If we were to imagine that there were no time, either (I’ll expand on this later), then this would presuppose zero space and zero time. The enormous intricacies of the apparent universe contained in a…. nothing.