My response to an inspirational TV program by Neil deGrasse Tyson
In the beginning there was light. Is that true? Nothing was seen before there was light as it was dark. But was there something there, unseen. I will not mention the possibility of the almighty - hallowed be thine name - for I choose to believe I am responsible; I have no excuses, won't put it down to a supernatural being, will do my best. I have dabbled in philosophy and arguments about what came first, and suggest such arguments(debates) will go on for ever, to the end, if there is an end.
In the beginning there was light. If we say that light is consciousness, maybe we can make more sense of the argument. I think the statement, in that light, is far more relevant today, and possibly is the only argument we can come to grips with. When the animal, an entity, became conscious of the other, when there was separation, rather than being motivated by food alone, something happened on a social level, we named things, compared things. We became conscious, there was light, there was a stirring, a curiosity, speech, symbols, writing. There was the individual and what it saw. There was life as we know it.
Neil deGrasse Tyson mentioned in his program that there is strong evidence in micro-physics that life can only exist in duality, in the duality of the observer and the observed (when there is light, enlightenment, consciousness).
The evidence, as best I can recall was that scientists studying a fundamental particle discovered that when it was not being watched it behaved differently to when it was being watched. This suggests that the existence of the particle, what it does at least, is dependent upon our observation of it, which further suggests that we could be the creators of these particles. We are saturated with these particles, everything is, so it’s not much of a stretch to say that it is through us, the observers, that everything is created, that it all starts in our mind.
We see what we want to see; that is another popular belief, as is the notion that there really is no such thing as matter; we simply call something matter, make a mark, to indicate something is here, there is an energy, something is happening here. When we can describe it with more definition, give it a weight or other measure, how it relates to something else, we can coin another name for it - give it a grown-up name, proton, for example.
I am talking in terms of micro physics, the essence of things. But even with something as common as a chair that appears solid and feels solid, it is like holding a universe, touching a universe, for there is at least as much space, proportionately, within that chair, as there is within our universe. The case for saying that there is anything that is truly solid, is rather weak. Matter is tough stuff at most. Matter is a word bound for obsolescence, leaving the door wide open for extraordinary exploration, questioning our idea of time and space - two words maybe for the chopping board as well. And where will we be then?
Further to the argument, scientists reckon that these particles can appear in two places at the same time, which is a variation on the idea that they behave differently when being observed. Rather than behaving differently, there could be two of the same thing, the same thing in two places, two different dimensions. And this leads us back to the separation theory - the observer and the observed - does it not - in the beginning, now, forever.
It is all a dream. No matter.
Reflecting on “A World of Strangers” by Nadine Gordimer
Toby Hood comments, “..a stranger among people who were strangers to one another.” Toby was the Englishman in Africa, the white with the black. He found himself among those like himself, white, black, brown, from different corners of the world, who were all wanting to escape their past, the expectations of family and the society they had grown up in.
Something that such “strangers” have in common is; they are all rebelling, to some degree, against prejudices by not taking sides. They stand precariously in-between. For me, it is a hopeful stand. Certainly was back in the nineteen fifties, of which Nadine Gordimer was writing. If this stand succeeds, becomes the predominant sentiment, then we are well on the way to a truly free society, where we naturally embrace our differences, where we share rather than fear and deny.
Of course, it is so now. Like to think so, but our prejudices are wide and often cleverly concealed. In ignorance, we point the finger.
I glimpsed a Literary debate out there in the ether, about the classic book, Lord of the Flies, about its narrow view with respect to gender particularly. The debate asks the question - in contemporary writing, what has been written to challenge that classic, now looking a little shabby, according to today’s literary lot - it was compulsory reading in schools. Apparently there is a plethora of books that have proffered different and perhaps more telling views on “primitive politics” - how different groupings, left to their own devices, would “get on”.
It had me thinking, all these books wrestling in the drama of politics and behavior - learned behavior. We all have memories, history that governs to a large extent how we operate, and I hear from many different sources how important this history is to our survival. Everything is steeped in history, how it was made and why it is what it is.
I contend, however, along with many others I am sure, that memory can also have us stuck in the mud. How we were made is history, what we see and will to be though, is a different matter. Yes, will to be. I believe we have a choice and can make a difference; we can change our direction and in so doing change what we become. I believe we have a choice, that it is not down to history, that we don’t have to continue warring, for example, just because “it has always been that way”. It makes sense to me to at least think we are in charge, that we are responsible. Oh, it’s a hereditary thing, it runs in the family. Sounds like an excuse, a cop out, doesn’t it. We can be different, if we have the will.
I guess the important question the literary debate was posing was, are we making progress, and of course we are. Are we heading in the right direction. I believe so. My novel, Yenom, has “new” people seeing new things, novel things, dreams that become their reality.
Excerpt from Yenom
"And I suppose you don't remember me."
Cain squinted his eyes, studied Seth closely. He donned his most thoughtful face. "You do seem familiar. Mind you, at my age one feels one knows everyone. Is there something you do that I should remember?"
"It's Seth, remember, you asked me what I wanted to be and I said an actor. We were going to write a script about a future world."
"Going to? Certainly doesn't sound like me. If I decide to do something, I just do it. Maybe it's done. Maybe this is it – our future world."
Seth looked about him, at the colorful lot, much like in the Amsterdam Market except here they were all paying him close attention. Our future world, he mused. "If this is it, I somehow missed the beginning."
"I don't know of anyone who remembers the beginning. And as for being an actor, we are all actors...
You must have patience.
No you musn't. We all need to be doing something. It might be sleeping, it might be meditating, it might be going for a walk. Just needs a decision - choices then a decision. Patience? Perseverance more like it.
Don't remember. That's sufficient.
Language is changing. Language must and does change, and our reality changes with it.. We all create our own reality from the stuff we think we know.
More excerpts from Yenom
She always felt a special glow of pride when she read the plaque on the door, Star Ship Revision Center. The name, Star Ship, was obvious - Leading the way. And the Revision was what it was about - revising language. She loved working with words.
Inside walls were seductive pastels, the furniture sharp and smart, gold and black. Chairs and desk seeming to hover above the floor with their elegant legs...
...There was a person coming into view on his right, approaching the water feature, longish dark hair, wearing a faded blue, denim jacket. He was a stranger, but Seth knew this man. Nothing in particular he could put his finger on, it was a manner of being more than anything.
The man sat on a twin bench four to five meters away. He draped his arm over the back of the bench, nodded to a passer-by. He let his head back so that he was looking up at the sky. He stretched, then placed his hands in his lap and shuffled his feet in a patch of dusty ground.
Seth was beside himself. There was an affinity with the young man, a stranger yet so familiar...
...Seth turned to Pete.
"Am I imagining things or is this place run by women?"
"Now you're asking some sensible questions."
The number of women about is staggering, Seth thought. Women to the fore, putting things right. They are showing us how things are done, mm, how to cooperate rather than compete, make love not war. If anyone can do it, it will be the women. Always thought that.
"Look out!" Pete grabbed him by the sleeve...