Saturday, August 31, 2013

A spooky story involving time shifts and synchronicity

Tonight at the lodge, two members related a recent experience that sounded quite strange as they told it... Only to become more strange as I pondered the impossibility of it. It involved an answering machine recording of lengthy phone conversation between two people--a conversation that occurred two years earlier.  It is a true "Twilight Zone" experience that is reminiscent of many of the stories in early "Fate" magazine.

One late night, Jack noticed his old skool answering machine click on as an incoming call arrived. It activated several times until it finally began recording a message. The "message" turned out to be a two-way call between fellow lodge brother Ned and an acquaintance as they made elaborate plans for a dinner for an upcoming event. The answering machine recorded a lengthy discussion between the two--who would cook what, who would bring what--even though neither individual had "called" Jack's machine or otherwise recorded the call, a call which had in fact occurred two years earlier.

Ned well recalled the conversation as well as the event, but he could not explain how the call mysteriously appeared on Jack's answering machine many months after the fact.

One of the listeners was a lodge brother who was once employed by AT&T as a network installer, and he had no explanation for the event; and neither did I--though I quickly considered, then discarded, the possibilities... "Maybe the call had been recorded somewhere by something and then..." No.  "Maybe there's a ghost in the NSA machine, and a recording made somewhere was inadvertently forwarded..." Nah. Then Ned held up his new Droid and showed us how Jack was listed as frequent call-ee, even though he had never called Jack on this phone. "Possibly," I thought, "Ned's new cell had imported earlier call data from an account or a cloud service..."  Possible, but not likely, and it still didn't explain the ghost answering machine recording.

The recording is by no means supernatural--it does not defy currently known scientific laws. In fact, the skeptic would argue that the event has a simple explanation:  Someone obviously recorded Ned's call, and then later forwarded the call to Jack's answering machine. While this is of course possible--and, depending on your perspective, probable--I don't buy it. There is simply no reason why anyone would go through the trouble of recording Ned's call, and then, two years later, forwarding this call to a bemused Jack. Both lodge brothers are in their eighties and well past the age of any such intrigue.

What this does remind me of is the oft-reported phenomenon of "phone calls from the dead," where deceased individuals somehow manage to call the living on telephones as well as leave messages on their answering machines. It is a quintessentially late twentieth-century phenomenon, as the "dead" seem to be able to traverse various analog networks (not to mention, voice carriers) and leave audible artifacts on legacy hardware.

Occam's razor suggests, to me, that there is strong synchronicity involved, and that "time" is, as Seth suggests, simultaneous, and not sequential. Events are ordered by the strength of association, and not by cause-and-effect. An event happens to Ned and Jack, lodge brothers. Had the experience happened to two people unknown to each other, it would have been either ignored or not actualized. Instead, it was noticed, and discussed, and now--recorded and published. Meaning and purpose?  Unknown, at least, for now.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It's never easy

Finally, my thoughts have materialized into reality and I have a very minor cold (about the strongest illness that I can manifest).  Someone I know is back in the hospital--not due to psychosis this time--but a significant depressive episode that  gradually built up after the death of a family friend. I, being the non-religious mystic, regard death as, the Masonic ritual informs me, a kind messenger sent from our supreme Grand Master. She is devoutly Christian, but fears death. To me, this is significant.

Always before she heads for her breakdown, before she loses contact with reality, she passes on a story about one of her friends' after-death communications "because you're interested in that."  It's one of the markers that tells me that she's on her way down.  The latest story involved a dream by a man of his deceased father. The father conveyed the usual reassurances but also mention something very significant. He said that it had been very difficult to arrange the dream meeting. He had to overcome a lot of hurdles to establish contact. It wasn't easy, and it took time and effort. Which makes sense. If it was *easy*, contact with the deceased would be common. It's not. This is why I am very skeptical of the Sylvia Browns and the James Van Praaghs.

Monday, August 12, 2013

NDEs explained! And a side note

Imagine my relief today when I opened up BBC News in my RSS reader and discovered that near-death experiences are now explained!  Should I demand all my money back that I've spent on countless NDE books?  "Not so fast," says the faux angel on my shoulder.  Scientists have merely observed a spike in gamma brain waves at the moment of cardiac arrest in lab rats.  This could mean a number of things.  One Seth quote that has lingered with me is, to paraphrase, "The reason that we consider physical death to be a terminal event is that we are unable to observe the transformation of energy."  A massive transformation of "energy" occurs at the moment of physical death, a fact that has been anecdotally documented by contemporary near-death researchers... they are generally labeled "shared NDEs."  Perhaps what scientists are witnessing is such an event.  So, perhaps scientists need to do more research (and journalists more proofreading) before announcing that NDEs are "explained."

And a side note... I've been getting lots of hits lately on a post that I wrote several years ago about Jonas Elrod.  Some are following links suggesting that Elrod is a "fake"... others follow links that suggest that he's truthful.  I am embarrassed to confess that I no longer remember who Jonas Elrod is.  And I'm too embarrassed to re-read my article to refresh my memory.  As I've mentioned a number of times, I no longer follow the paranormal.  I don't think I've missed a thing.  I now describe myself as a meta-physicist (or meta-physician); I'm interested in the study of consciousness and in the way consciousness interacts with what we call "reality."  While I find lots to suggest that the materialistic viewpoint is valid--it's hard to argue with measurable reality and validated facts--I also find lots of niggling flaws and contradictions that also suggest that the reality that we consider valid is, in fact, manufactured, created.  Reality is simply more complex than we currently are consciously able to observe.  Paranormal researchers study the "mistakes" in the matrix and attempt to map an alternative reality.  However, if consciousness "forms" reality, then is it not also "forming" paranormal reality?  In other words... a study of paranormal phenomena will be skewed by the paranormal beliefs of the observer and may be no more "true" than observations of the conventional materialist.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Is it possible to hallucinate an NDE?

Has the NDE narrative become so culturally endemic that the expected phenomena--the tunnel, the bright light, the warning to "turn back; it's not your time"--can be hallucinated?

I ask, because I've just been the recipient of such a narrative, and I'm not sure that I believe it.

This is apart from the patently fabricated accounts; since I've become a paranormal ├╝ber-skeptic, I now disbelieve much of what I read on the subject.  But I'm wondering if some reported NDEs are hallucinated.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Quantum Entanglement: What Would Seth Say?

Halfway through composing this entry, by an amazing synchronicity I glanced at the cover of this week's New Scientist magazine and noticed the feature article:

New Scientist

Part of me is surprised that science hasn't figured this out yet. Could it be that this is the reason we don't yet have flying cars and Spacely's Sprockets?

Probably. Despite years of wrangling over the conundrum of quantum entanglement, or "spooky action at a distance," science cannot make the big leap to a complete embrace of quantum theory because quantum entanglement violates causality.  Classic science still rules.

Yet, it was the easily observable fact that strict causality not only can be violated, but often is, that launched my interest into metaphysics. I was quite a serious science student in my youth, so when I began keeping a dream journal and documenting clear examples of precognition, I knew immediately that science was "wrong." And still is: "Specifically, precognition would violate the principle that an effect cannot occur before its cause." (Hyman, Ray: "Evaluating Parapsychological Claims" as cited in Wikipedia).

In other words, precognition breaks strict causality. And strict causality cannot be broken, because it not only informs our entire understanding of the universe, but also violates a significant part of our religious and social canon. How can you be punished for your sins when there is no cause-and-effect?

Yet, on a weekly basis in my mid-teens, I documented personal examples of precognition that defied causality. The reality of my experience contradicted the dogma of official science.  And still does, in fact... My precognitive hunches are reliable and consistent enough to function as a sixth sense. I personally could not function--would not want to function--in the material world without them.

Fortunately, Seth stepped into the breach fifty or so years ago (in our terms), halfway through "The Early Sessions" (Volume Two):

If cause and effect were an absolute law, then continuity would also have to be an absolute law, and all or any evidences of clairvoyance, or viewing the future, would be absolutely impossible, even in your universe, and this simply is not so. It is only because there is basically no cause and effect, but merely apparent cause and effect, and no past, present and future, that clairvoyance is possible in your universe.

And while awareness of clairvoyance is fairly rare, it does exist; and though watered down in most instances, is a natural method of warning individuals of happenings with which their own outer senses would not be familiar. It is a natural method of protecting the individual by giving him an inner knowledge of events. Without constant clairvoyance on the part of every man and woman, existence on your plane would involve such inner, psychological insecurity that it would be completely unbearable.

I've devoted quite a bit of camouflage time pondering the conundrum of causality versus free will because I think that unraveling this mystery will open up access to other dimensions of experience. The answer is there, somewhere--and I hope to find it. After all, science hasn't, yet, though it appears to be headed in the right direction (although my hunches tell me that a New Scientist writer would not want to be cited in a metaphysical blog of this nature):

We live in space-time, and experience causal order within it, yet causal order is not apparently fundamental to quantum theory. If we accept quantum theory as the most fundamental description of reality that we have, it means that space-time itself is not fundamental, but emerges from a deeper, currently inscrutable quantum reality. (Michael Brooks, New Scientist, August 3, 2013)