I’ve been feeling a little weird lately, particularly over the Christmas season. A little off-balance. It was a weird sort of year.
And this feeling was amplified a day or two after Christmas when Carrie Fisher died – something that was not only very sad for me, but also seemed to mess with my sense of reality in a weird way.
I usually like having my sense of reality messed with, by the way – I always find it engaging, because it forces me to think and to also go back to thoughts I’ve had periodically over the years concerning what the real nature of reality is. But no so much this time; not when it involves a sad event or the death of a personal (and, as it happens, massively popular) icon.
It wasn’t the only thing lately, however, that got me thinking outside of the box. And for the first article here this year, I decided to take things in a different direction for a moment.
As a result, this – I believe – will surely stand as the only article anywhere on the Internet that combines Carrie Fisher with questions about the nature of existence, the Simulation Hypothesis and the Holographic Universe theories, the nature of the ‘dream world’ and human consciousness, as well as referencing Trump, Brexit and other current affairs within that context. Also, in case anyone needs the warning, there is also a major SPOILER here for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – so if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t read this article.
Fair warning: I’m going to go in a stranger direction here than some of you might like. I wouldn’t blame you if you choose to jump ship at this point rather than get drawn into offbeat ramblings about the nature of life, death, existence and reality. And I apologise in advance if this text becomes a stream of thoughts without answers: but for any of you who come with me on this, I hope it proves interesting or engaging enough to justify the web-space.
I have actually always been engaged by these questions and this sort of subject area, due partly to some experiences I’ve had and partly because my mind tends to seek out those kinds of questions anyway. Some of those experiences would reveal more about my personal life than I wish to – so I choose to omit them from this article.
However, there’s one experience that I’m happy to share: it’s not a major example, but it perfectly illustrates the baffling, mysterious and profound re-evaluation of ‘reality’ that I’m trying to get at here. So I’ll share this little incident with you first and then I’ll get onto why more recent events have prodded at my sense of reality a little.
About ten years ago, I was in my mother’s garden at her house and I was watching over a three-year-old girl that my mother used to babysit.
The girl was my mother’s neighbour’s kid; and whenever I visited my mother, the kid would hang around with me a lot and insist that I play with her (because, apparently, she thought I was funny). So on this particular afternoon, we were in the garden. I don’t remember where the conversation started, but at some point she started talking about rainbows. She had read a story in nursery that included a rainbow; and she asked me if rainbows “are real”, because she had never seen one.
I said yes, they’re real. So she asked me why she’d never seen one. And I said, “well, you’re only three – and you only heard about rainbows a few days ago’. She then said she really wanted to see a rainbow, like in the story.
At this point, I jokingly decided to play a game with her and I told her that if she closed her eyes and wished really hard for a rainbow, one would appear in the sky.
Side-point here: if you’re reading this and thinking it’s a cruel game to play with a child, I should say that I tended to do that kind of thing. For example, I once told her that butterflies used to be adult human women, but they ate too much butter and accidentally turned into butterflies in the middle of the night. I usually told her things like that because she was an extremely bright three-year-old and would usually think about it for a minute or so and then identify that I was just playing games with her head. She would generally find it funny that I was trying to trick her and I would find it enjoyable to watch her blossoming three-year-old intellect analyse the nonsense I was giving her and try to determine whether it was true or not.
For the record, whenever I gave her something like that, I always made sure to later tell her I had only been joking. So it wasn’t cruel. But anyway, that’s what I was doing with the ‘close your eyes and wish for a rainbow’ thing.
So she closes her eyes, laughing about it. She then asks, ‘How long do I have to keep my eyes closed?’ I said about five seconds.
And then – and I shit you not – this is what happened. While her eyes were still tightly closed, I glanced up at the sky beyond the fence: and there was a fucking RAINBOW in the sky. It was a little faint; but it was there.
I almost didn’t want her to open her eyes, because I didn’t know how I would explain it to her.
So she opens her eyes and notices where I’m looking and then she sees it too. The difference between my reaction and hers was enormous: I was confused, disoriented, a bit disturbed. She, on the other hand, had a big smile on her face, was happy and actually didn’t seem bothered or unsettled by it at all. “Oh, you WERE telling the truth!” she said.
But I wasn’t. I hadn’t been – I’d just been joking with her.
The funny thing is that, because of her age, she didn’t even linger on the matter; about two minutes or so after the rainbow (it had only been visible for around sixty seconds), she already seemed to have shaken it off and given the matter no more consideration. I, on the other hand, was totally bewildered as to what had just happened and I spent days driving myself up the wall, trying to figure it out in a way that would be acceptable to my objective mind.
There are lots of things it could’ve been. Just an extreme coincidence, for one thing. Or it could’ve been some kind of shared hallucination based on thought-pressure.
Maybe I had somehow, unconsciously, created the image in her mind as well as my own.
Or maybe she had hallucinated a rainbow because she really wanted to see one and I had somehow given her the ‘license’ to see one by telling her she should close her eyes and wish for one.
But then, why did I see it before she did?
It is possible, perhaps, that the rainbow had already been there before we’d even had our conversation about rainbows – and maybe I had subconsciously picked up on it being there but hadn’t overtly noticed it until after. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure that, while we were discussing rainbows, we both actually – and naturally – looked up around the sky as a reflex: and didn’t see anything like that. It had, for the record, been raining that morning; though there was no real sign of sunshine either then or for the rest of that day.
In any case, whatever it was that had happened, this incident – and several incidents like it I’ve had in my life – has always made me highly contemplative about the nature of reality, the possibility that we live in a reality that has ‘dream-like’ properties to it, and the possible role of the subconscious mind – or what the writer Colin Wilson once called the ‘hidden powers of human consciousness’ – in being able to shape reality in ways that we – at our current, limited understanding of consciousness and reality – are unable to figure out.
In essence, the question I keep returning to is this: is our every day, waking reality much more like a ‘dream’ than we usually think it is? Does it have dream-like properties to it? And is there any part of our consciousness or minds that is aware of that and somehow able to manipulate it?
I constantly come back to these types of questions and mysteries; often when things occur that prod at my sense of reality and force me back to those considerations. This was happening a lot in recent weeks: and most of it centers on Carrie Fisher.
And I was prompted in this direction again by coming across fellow blogger, Nick Alimonos’s, post in reflection of 2016 over at Writers Disease and in which, like me, he was very saddened by Carrie’s death. In it, he writes, ‘we are all living in a computer simulation, or as I prefer to think of it, in some author’s imagination, George Michael dies on Christmas Day, and is known for the song, “Last Christmas.” Fisher played Princess Leia, a character whose mother, Padme Amidala, dies of a broken heart, then Fisher’s actual mother, Debbie Reynolds, goes and dies of a broken heart. If that’s not proof enough, our government is hijacked by a KKK-approved fascist propped up by a Russian dictator (yes, I went there, fuck you) closely imitating Philip Roth’s novel, The Plot Against America, and Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate…’
I’m not necessarily saying I do think we live in a computer simulation or in the imagination of some mysterious author (partly because I would tend to wonder if we’re not living in our own collective imaginations and essentially ‘writing’ our own story both individually and collectively – and both on a conscious and subconscious level), but several years of private study and contemplation leads me to the conclusion that we, generally, only comprehend a percentage of what reality really is and what consciousness really is, and that there is some kind of as-yet-not-understood overlap between not just the unconscious and the conscious minds but between the ‘dream world’ level of mind and the waking-world level of consciousness.
And I’m not going to cite or quote The Matrix or anything like that: frankly, you only need to go back and read Rene Descartes – and I’m not going to quote Descartes either, because we’ll be here all day.
And nor am I going to go into the Simulation Argument or the Holographic Universe hypothesis – not because they’re not valid theories, but because, again, we’d be here all day. And no, I tend not to believe the idea that we’re all actually living out an ‘ancestor simulation’ being run on a super-computer by our post-human descendants. Something about that feels counter-intuitive. That being said, I would not be at all surprised to one day learn that the truth – even if it isn’t that particular theory – is something just as mind-blowing.
The Simulation Arguments or the Holographic Universe hypotheses generally deal with the macro-level of existence, applying to cosmic questions and the nature of the Universe: I, here anyway, am dealing on a much smaller level of the purely human/consciousness level and the human experience on earth. The two areas are not mutually exclusive, of course, and would obviously overlap, and even more so if we go into the Mental Universe debate: but it is only January 4th and I haven’t had enough Weetabix to be grappling with hypothetical models of a vast universe or multi-verse that I can’t really see, touch, hear or examine.
So this is just about us, human beings, and our human experience.
Elon Musk, by the way, is among those advocating the Simulation Argument, just to illustrate that it isn’t the realm of science-fiction.
But getting back to my initial flow.
Nick’s take on the year seemed to mirror my own somewhat. I spent much of last year half wondering if we were, collectively, caught in George Bailey’s ‘Pottersville’ from the classic Frank Capra movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
In that film, Mr Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is placed into an illusion of a kind of alternative reality/timeline in which Mr Potter – a heartless, greedy, ruthless banker/businessman owns the entire town of Bedford Falls and renames it ‘Pottersville’.
With the fictional Mr Potter clearly meant to symbolise corporate greed and ruthless bankers enslaving or compromising the lives of well- meaning people, it was difficult to watch someone like Donald Trump and his Goldman-Sachs team winning the presidency of the United States and not wonder if we were entering a collective ‘Pottersville’; I wondered something similar in June when ‘Brexit’ happened. The day before the EU Referendum vote, I KNEW Brexit was going to win: because I had been walking the streets (in London) and I suddenly noticed all these movie posters for ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ all over the place.
The posters all depicted a post-apocalyptic London, with familiar landmarks like Big Ben and the London Wheel.
The next day I’m watching TV and Nigel Farage is making a big, pompous (slightly scary) speech about Britain now celebrating its “Independence Day!”. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the film posters had been enough to convince my subjective mind – if not necessarily my objective intellect – that the vote was going to be won by the Leave campaign: and, unless the filmmakers were in on a pre-determined vote-rig, there’s no way the Independence Day: Resurgence studio or distributors could’ve known Britain would vote to leave the EU, while it is also pretty unlikely they timed the film’s release to coincide with the UK Referendum date.
Strange synchronistic correlations like that happen fairly often, of course, either on a minor level or sometimes on a bigger, more conspicuous level. Some could be dismissed as coincidences, though it depends on what we mean by ‘coincidence’: with others, we often tend to wonder if there’s some deeper, mysterious meaning, pattern or causality.
Coming back to Carrie, Nick’s observation about her mother ‘dying of a broken heart’ was in fact something I had been thinking of as soon as it was announced – just a day after Carrie’s passing – that her mother, the Golden Age Hollywood superstar Debbie Reynolds, had also died (and had reportedly said, during making funeral arrangements for Carrie, that she just “wanted to be with Carrie”).
Aside from being very sad and poignant, what it made me think of immediately was a key story element from the Star Wars prequels that a lot of people had actually made fun of at the time.
In the climax to Episode III in 2005, George Lucas wrote into the story that Padme (the mother of Princess Leia) died right after giving birth to the twins Luke and Leia. Although it has always been taken to mean she ‘died of a broken heart’, that phrase isn’t actually used at all in the Episode III script. What is actually said by the medical droid is that “for reasons we do not understand, she has lost the will to live”.
It was always taken to be, therefore, that she died from simply losing the will to stay alive (or a ‘broken heart’) due to her anguish at what had happened to her husband, Anakin (who, as far as she knew, had just been killed). Now lots of people made fun of this scene, dismissing it as silly or unscientific (newsflash, people: Star Wars is fairytale and mythology, not docu-drama).
But when they announced that Debbie Reynolds had died the day after her daughter, this was of course what came to mind straight away.
I don’t mean to demean Debbie Reynolds’ death by couching it in terms of fairytale or fantasy (she, officially, died from a stroke); but no one could pretend that her passing away a day after her daughter isn’t very curious and doesn’t hold in it a hint of the mystical or, at the very least, poetry.
The real-life story was now echoing the fictional fairytale that Lucas wove for us: and specifically echoing – and bear with me here – how Carrie Fisher’s iconic, fictional alter-ego’s (Princess Leia’s) fictional mother, Padme, ‘lost the will to live’ and gave up on life.
You have to bear in mind that the Star Wars saga was always written to be mystical, mythic and esoteric by Lucas: it was always designed to open up young people’s thinking and perception to the greater mysteries of existence. In writing that part of the story, Lucas wasn’t depicting ‘death by broken heart’ or anything so silly. He was writing about the mystical, mysterious nature of death, life, birth, and the spiritual, energetic or psychological connections between two deeply-connected people and the mysterious influence or pull they exert over each other invisibly.
And he was dramatising and mythologising the fact that we still know very little about the more esoteric or mystical dimensions of life, death and connection.
And Carrie Fisher, who – for better or worse – will always be most famous for her fantasy/fairytale alter-ego Princess Leia, ended up leaving this world in a way that itself became bound up in the ineffable, mysterious and profound.
I find that fascinating; and, on some small level, I also find it a bit beautiful.
But, like the aforementioned rainbow, it prodded at my sense of reality; and, perhaps more specifically, at my sense of where the dividing lines are between ‘reality’, mythology, synchronicity and dream-like properties.
This was actually even further amplified for me a few days later. Why? Because I didn’t see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when it came out a week or so before Christmas. I waited to go see it after Christmas and I carefully avoided spoilers or reactions online. By the time I got to seeing the film, Carrie had already died several days earlier. And (spoiler alert) I had had absolutely NO idea that right at the end of the movie – literally in the very last image of the film – we would see a young Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) recreated, as if by magic, to speak the film’s final line. I genuinely had a tear in my eye, watching this – because I had not known that this was going to be in the film.
And you really have to have seen the film to properly get how otherworldly and even magical this moment feels. It’s only a few seconds of film and it is only right at the end: but it is literally as if the young Carrie Fisher of 40 years ago has been brought back to life for a moment – not just visually, but in speaking too: and it isn’t just a minor moment, but literally the climax to the film. It is an extraordinary moment – and an extraordinary feat of visual effects – that, for me anyway, has a dream-like quality to it.
Now, of course, the movie was finished ages ago and no one had any way of knowing Carrie would pass away in December. But the emotional effect of the sequence somehow feels like an apotheosis of a cinematic and cultural icon – as if, on some, deep, subconscious level, it was designed to mark and amplify the real-world passing of Carrie Fisher (which, of course, it wasn’t – if we’re going to be mundane about it, it was just a coincidence).
But this for me – aside from getting me in the gut – really further amplified what Nick was saying about us living in a computer simulation or in some ‘author’s imagination’. There were people going to the cinema on December 27th – the day Carrie’s death was announced – watching Rogue One and seeing that final, surprise climax with Leia/Carrie and then coming out of the cinema and hearing that Carrie Fisher had just passed away: and that must’ve been a jarring, bewildering experience.
These sorts of coincidences or strange, synchronistic events and connections have always been something that fascinates me.
I’ve experienced lots and lots of them myself and it has prompted me, for years, to contemplate the nature of consciousness, sub-consciousness, super-consciousness, the Jungian ‘Collective Unconscious’, and whatever hidden (and probably non-linear) and as-yet-not-understood forces or mechanisms underlie all of this. I’m less interested at this point in time with the ideas of simulations or holographic universes than I am with the mystery of human consciousness and its enigmatic, multi-faceted nature.
Events often occur – and often they are minor, trivial incidents – that prod at our sense of reality. Sometimes bigger, macro-type events occur that do the same – and by this, I mean events that aren’t trivial things in our personal lives, but things that draw mass attention due to the nature of the event or the stature of the people involved; such as, as it happens, Carrie Fisher.
There are much bigger, more extraordinary examples of this than what I just cited – but I’m repeatedly citing Carrie because it was so recent and fresh in my thoughts.
Another good example of this, historically, is this. Pretty much 100 years ago (specifically on December 30th 1916), the legendary Grigori Rasputin was murdered in Russia. But an earlier assassination attempt on him had occurred in June 1914: on the very same day – and, according to some, at the very same time (though I don’t know if that’s true or not) – that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo (the event regarded to have triggered the First World War), a religious fanatic had stabbed and almost killed Rasputin many miles away. Rasputin – the strange, occult figure referred to in intelligence code as “Dark Forces” – survived for another two years, but there’s no question that he was a figure absolutely crucial to events then and yet to come in Russia and Europe and that his assassination in in 1914 would have effected the fate of Europe as much as his eventual assassination in 1916 effected the fate of Russia.
In his epic book The Supernatural, Colin Wilson highlighted the sheer improbability of this apparent coinciding of events involving ‘the man whose death caused the First World War and the man who could have averted the war’, despite the two events being – on the surface of it – completely unrelated and geographically miles apart. He concluded, ‘The coincidence is as extraordinary as any I have come across’.
Not that I’m comparing the death of Carrie Fisher to World War I.
But I often wonder then, at moments like that, whether someone or something is periodically trying to send us a message or to encode a little cheat-code or something into what I’m going to call – for now – the HTML of life. When little mysterious things happen in our own lives – usually in little ways that personal to us and relevant to no one else – I tend to wonder if these are little messages being sent to us to break us out of mundane thought-patterns and remind us that there’s something else much more mysterious going on.
When I say ‘someone’ sending messages, that ‘someone’ could just as easily be a higher element of our own consciousness that sees things at a different level; either subconsciously or super-consciously or drawing from what Jung called the ‘Collective Unconscious’.
Or, you know, depending on your preference, it could be a program being run by the ‘super-computer’ to mess around with our heads: or a chink in the software that manifests every now and then.
When it comes to something like a larger or more commonly shared occurrence, such as how lots of people felt about the death of Carrie Fisher, I wonder if these little ‘messages’ or ‘easter-eggs’ are woven in to the process of events to speak to us – or at least to those of us inclined to look at things at this level – about the existence/reality of a deeper, more complex, more mystical dimension to life and human events than we’re accustomed to seeing things in.
The source of those ‘easter eggs’ doesn’t even have to be any kind of ‘superior being’ or external agency: it could just be us.
That is to say, if we follow Jung’s idea of the ‘Collective Unconscious’ – a realm of human consciousness that is all about archetypes and symbols, could it also stand to reason that there would be a kind of collective subconscious – almost a living ‘dream world’ – in which our minds also reside for much of the time? And in which ‘we’ would operate by different laws of reality and consciousness, such as, for example, being able to exert some degree of influence – in non-linear fashion – over events occurring in ‘the real world’ or the waking world?
If that were so, would ‘we’ not want to occasionally send ‘clues’ or ‘messages’ to our ‘alter-egos’ in the ‘real world’ to alert us that we haven’t fully appreciated or understood the real nature or mysteries of our existence?
Of course, if it is an unconscious power, we would generally not be able to use it at will or even knowingly at all, but it would work every now and then at its own whim or according to some ineffable, non-linear ‘logic’ of its own. Such ‘messages’ might manifest every now and then as the “glitches in the Matrix” that Keeanu Reeves’ character experiences in The Matrix movie. But sometimes we might get it on a bigger level meant for mass consumption.
Now, speaking of Jung’s ‘Collective Unconscious’ and its language of symbols and archetypes, it is worth returning to the matter of Carrie Fisher and noting that the iconic alter-ego she is so closely associated with – Princess Leia – is herself a massive, pop culture archetype/symbol in our contemporary landscape. I’ve said this before, but characters like Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Captain Kirk, or Peter Pan or even someone like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, etc, are (at least for a generation or two of us) our modern mythological figures and heroes – and our modern ‘archetypes’, equivalent to where other generations or cultures had archetypes or symbols like Roman or Greek gods or Titans, fairytale characters, Arthurian legends, etc.
In other words, they are easy, natural symbols or short-hand via which we relate, understand or identify experiences or paradigms with at the unconscious, non-intellectual level of the mind.
Our minds don’t call on those sorts of symbols or archetypes all the time, but when we do it’s because they’re tied to elements of our own sense of identity or sense of the world or of situations and they are even more prevalent in our subconscious than in our waking consciousness: it mostly occurs at a subconscious level where intellectual or analytical thought processes are being bypassed and much simpler, more direct language is being used.
So, again getting back to the point, I end up wondering whether the real-life passing of someone as iconic as Carrie Fisher becomes a chance to also speak to us, via a literal archetype/symbol of our modern cultural/mythological consciousness, about the possibility we might be living in a reality that is really far more interesting, complex and yes, mystical, than we generally appreciate.
Which also, somewhat marvelously, is also what George Lucas had always been somewhat trying to do in his fairytale space-opera too.
I’m not, by the way, forwarding any ‘answers’ here or establishing any model that I fully would commit to. I’m aware that everything said here is too vague for that. But I’ve come more and more to the instinctive view that there are dream-like properties to what we think of as a solid, mundane, waking world.
And that something, someone or all of us collectively are, at some level, dropping clues and easter-eggs all over the place to make ourselves and each other think about it more.
I am, of course, NOT suggesting that the world we’re experiencing every day isn’t real or that it’s a total ‘dream world’: but rather that ‘real’ might be a much more multi-layered thing than we generally think and that it might be a mistake to think this waking world is the absolute, definitive ‘real’ on its own. What I’m really looking for – and I’m not pretending to have found it – is figuring out whether there is an overlap between the dream state and the ‘collective unconscious’ and the ‘real’/waking world: and, if so, why does it exist and how does it work?
I can’t even begin to answer either of those questions.
The reason, in fact, that I struggle a little with the Simulation Hypothesis in ‘super-computer’ terms is because of consciousness and the complexity of our minds, perceptions, feelings and thoughts: the vastness and complexity of our consciousness is the reason I find it hard to believe we are simulations. When I think of what human minds are capable of (think, for example, of some our greatest art, literature, film, music, etc), the idea of us as Sims becomes immediately counter-intuitive.
Consciousness, it seems to me, and in all of its modes or divisions, has to be the key: and that means, really, an understanding of consciousness that fully incorporates the faculties or functions of the unconscious or subconscious (and even potentially a ‘superconscious’ state, though admittedly that’s even more complicated and speculative) and their relationship to our waking world experience.
The reason I’m drawn to a possible – and as-yet-not-understood – influence of other levels of human consciousness on strange synchronicities or events (such as the strange timings and correlations involving Carrie Fisher recently) is this. The unconscious, again drawing on Jungian ideas, deals in symbolism and archetypes (which is one reason perhaps why the same basic mythologies and stories get re-processed and re-told for different generations; such as Joseph Campbell’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’ or ‘Hero of Many Faces’ motif, which George Lucas took as primary inspiration); while it is generally held also that the subconscious mind deals in subjective impressions, non-linear perceptions and general associations or connections between things (often things that our waking consciousness doesn’t find any objective or obvious connections between).
That mode or level of consciousness also, as a number of thinkers (including Colin Wilson, who I keep quoting because of familiarity with his books) have pointed out, has no real sense of or respect for ‘time’ in the way that our waking consciousness does.
And so – and, again, bear with me on this – if there is such a thing as a collective subconscious mode that we might possibly co-exist in, and if from that mode of consciousness ‘we’ wanted to send messages to our alter-egos in the waking world, ‘we’ would perhaps naturally do it via symbolism and archetypes, via symbolic connections between things and – because ‘we’ would have no real respect for time – the results would often involve very odd or conspicuous timing or correlations.
And also, because our unconscious puts great stock in mythology and fairytale-like themes and tropes, ‘we’ would tend to try to communicate with our waking-world alter-egos via those kinds of motifs.
It’s just a thought. As it happens, a very incomplete thought at this time.
When you’re dreaming, most of the time you don’t know you’re dreaming. Essentially, you assume that you’re experiencing real life. Some people tend to ‘clock on’ that they’re dreaming more frequently than others and some people are very good at ‘lucid dreaming’; which is essentially taking control of your own dream narratives via conscious awareness that you’re not in the real world. When I was a bit younger, I’d done that a few times through practise too: but, generally speaking, most of the time when I’m dreaming, I don’t know it’s a dream: I assume it is real life.
In ‘our’ ‘real’ world, we assume it too that it is real: but we’d have no way of knowing for sure if it wasn’t.
For clarity’s sake, I’m still approaching this as if both the dream world and ‘our’ world are real and that the difference is simply relative – it’s all ‘reality’, just different modes of it. But even if we approach this with a more orthodox, firm division by which ‘reality’ is only the physical, waking world while the ‘dream world’ is mere imagination or fantasy, there’s still a problem of how would we know that THIS is the ‘real’ world in absolute terms.
But another fascinating possibility that emerges if you start to consider life having dream-like properties is the question of whether someone could find some way to master the totality of human consciousness and therefore begin to manipulate it. In other words, a ‘lucid dreamer’ who would be able, in effect, to hack reality itself.
Interestingly, when we talk about dreaming and not knowing you’re dreaming (but thinking it is ‘real’), the thing that usually wakes me from the illusion or tips me off that I’m ‘only dreaming’ is when something ridiculous happens. Something illogical and which couldn’t possibly happen in real life. Like, say, telling a child to close her eyes and wish for a rainbow and then having a rainbow actually appear in the sky.
Admittedly, as weird as that was, is isn’t quite impossible enough to qualify as an absolute smoking gun. But moments like that are enough to claw at one’s sense of reality and prompt serious questions.
There was another thing I learnt ages ago when I was reading a book on lucid dreaming. The idea was that you train yourself to place ‘markers’ or symbols in your dream, so that when those markers or symbols appear in a dream they serve to remind you that you’re only dreaming. The idea is that you train your mind to associate these markers or symbols with the dream-state; and that way, if you’re having a bad dream or something unpleasant, your mind will make one of those symbols or markers appear to put you at ease.
For example, it could be the moon. Or a star. Or it could be looking at a clock and having it be a certain time. Or a piece of particular music. For someone I heard about, it was tugging on his ear a few times. Which sounds a bit like Dorothy clicking her heels together in Wizard of Oz. A popular one was also seeing a rainbow, as it happens.
Which, again, makes me wonder sometimes if certain weird or inexplicable events or strange synchronicities or symbolic correlations are somehow doing the same thing – acting as markers or ‘signs’ to remind us that the reality we’re experiencing isn’t quite what we think it is – but doing it for us in the ‘real’ world of waking consciousness, just as a lucid dreamer might experience in a dream.
That is, of course, dealing with levels of reality or paradox that are very difficult to properly get our heads around; but then everything about our existence is somewhat paradoxical, beginning with the idea of an ‘expanding’ universe that is already supposed to be ‘infinite’ or the idea that, at some point in cosmic history, *nothing* existed and then *everything* came into existence from the nothing.
So, really, paradoxes or things that just don’t feel right are simply what we have to get used to.
I am of course not certain about any of this and I’m not selling any theory in particular. And if you’ve read all the way to this paragraph and were expecting any kind of tidy conclusion, I apologise – but, really, how could there have been any definitive conclusion to a post like this one? I also apologise if this post has been a little rambling and all over the place.
As I said at the beginning, I’ve been feeling a little weird lately. But in actual fact, these kinds of subjects were one of the main intentions I had when I started this blog – before we got sidetracked by all the depressing world events, conspiracies and politics.
Admittedly though, the problem with posts or subjects like this is that it is impossible to build to a ‘conclusion’, as there aren’t definitive answers: however, I tend to think the questions and ideas are just as interesting.
A Happy New Year to all.