February 2008 - Posts
I always find it interesting from checking my blog stats that some people actually find this blog interesting. It's always been an interesting thing for me to see how people react to what I consider the truer me. People form impressions about you when they look at you, before they know anything about you they've already formed a mental image about you. The less you do to counter that the longer that image can grow. Before you know it there are two of you: someone else's idea of you, and, you. It can be nerve-wracking then if this other person has come to like you. Will they still like you once you show them the real you; you show them how you differ from their idea of you.
You know, we're all at different stages of our evolution. And by evolution it'll quite suffice for that to mean where we are in our lives. It's a lot like driving on a road. Some cars are in front of you, where you want to be; some cars are behind you, where you used to be; and some cars are right alongside you. When you're driving there's little need to speed because you'll get to the same spot the cars in front of you are at. Maybe a stoplight will hinder you, maybe a traffic jam, maybe an unexpected detour, but if you keep driving you'll get to where you want to be.
I've come a long way since I was born. I've learned and mastered things I once had great difficulty with. Some things take a long time to achieve. But, you know, if you keep driving -- heh. I'm happy. Sometimes I wonder if my visitors find value in what I say. I actually prefer not to know, mystery can be an exciting thing. Still it is a newfound desire I notice, to help others. I notice where I am in my life right now and I feel like leaving notes. Maybe it'll help someone else. Humanity can be so much more than it allows.
I was just outside basking in the wind, enjoying the sun, when I noticed a fly on the side of my house. I was just looking at it move around and of course its movements appeared jerky, like it was jumping around. Then it just hit me, for whatever reason, it's just moving faster than my eyes can perceive. I've known that before but the new realization is what came next. If it's moving faster than my eyes can perceive then my eyes are operating at a certain frequency. They're sampling time at a certain rate; slower than the fly moves so I perceive jerky movement from the fly.
It's somewhat a bit of a stretch to extend from that to say that my whole body is operating at a certain frequency but, it seems so true. Every cell in my body operates at a certain rate. Not unlike how a photon oscillates at a certain rate. At the very least the cells that make up my eyes operate at a certain rate.
That definitely makes the question of what is time an interesting one. Time would just be a construct our minds create when it fuses together the discrete sensory moments it captures. Hmm, I know what I'm saying now has already been observed by others but it's always a unique thing when a light bulb goes off in your head and you recognize a novel aspect of reality.
The larger principle that got me excited though was the statement from spiritual sources I frequent that we blink into and out of reality. That we don't entirely exist in this dimension. Seeing that fly move faster than I could perceive made that statement seem much more relevant and true.
A ritual I've gotten into lately is spending an hour or so outside just milling about and generally doing nothing. It just feels good to feel the sun on my skin, the wind blowing against me, the earth beneath my bare feet, watching trees sway in the wind, seeing nature just go about her business. It started because I would tend to my compost heap on Saturdays. After I would put some food scraps in the heap, gather up some stray leaves, rotate and water it, I would just enjoy being outside and wouldn't want to leave. Since then I've learned that vitamin D is a powerful vitamin to have in your body -- I mean like anti-cancer powerful -- and of course gets most of it from the sun hitting the skin. The sun's even good for your eyes. I just love how you can go by what feels good to determine how to live your life.
Of course the other benefit I get from this hour I spend outside is a chance to center myself and put the week's events into perspective. Not really doing much of anything in an environment that's intensely pleasurable for me allows my mind to wander. Existing problems don't seem so important or insurmountable. New solutions and perspectives spring to mind. It's great.
This is from another blog I've been writing to lately. So the reference to the end of the world post makes no sense.
The very next day after I posted my journal post about the end of the world I got a subscription offer from a magazine called Skeptical Inquirer. From reading the promotional materials it sounds exactly like something I'd like. It deals with investigating paranormal phenomena in a scientific, or structured, manner. Instead of approaching it with an ax to grind, an attempt to disprove, it seeks to study and let the facts fall where they may. There was even an insert about a free book offer upon signing up called "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?"
What I noted as interesting was the timing of me getting the mailing. After I wrote my post about such a stigma-laden topic as the end of the world, I knew I'd probably get responses from people that had at their core the thought I was a kook and worthy of derision. And to a degree I was right. Knowing this I was a bit hesitant or nervous to write it, but nevertheless I did. So getting that magazine offer actually made me feel better. Somehow this magazine that focuses on applying scientific principles to the unknown found me out and thought I'd be interested enough to subscribe. "See, I'm really not crazy", I told myself. :)
But to be fair I have to ask myself, was there really any meaning in the timing of the offer? I've gotten other magazine offers in the past which seemed to hold no special value when I got them. And more than likely even this magazine found me because of my subscriptions to Scientific American and Discover magazines; I was most likely on some list they bought and/or compiled. So that it arrived when it did is just when it arrived.
That's certainly the scientific way of considering the timing: consider not only the possibilities that you want to consider but also the ones that you don't. I find it extremely valuable actually to judge things in this manner. Considering things from as many vantage points as you can, especially the ones you don't like, increases objectivity and clear thinking.
Of course the coincidence viewpoint is as valid as any of the others, to exclude it merely because it is not possible to find evidence to support it would actually go against objectivity. And that's the key thing about paranormal activities: they can rarely be proven objectively. I personally may strongly believe, or may personally witness something, but other people can not. The phenomena frequently can not be repeated. It just seems to go against the scientific method in so many ways. How can you prove something so subjective in nature?
Perhaps one way would be to expand the set of criteria used to judge the veracity of a claim. Must it be necessary for something to be physical, must something be observable with the classical five senses? Can all observable things be explained? Does the lack of observation prove something doesn't exist? Interesting questions. Yet, there is a danger, a stepping into the unknown, to allow things as true for which you can not verify in some physically objective manner. Yet, is there a danger in not believing that which you have subjectively seen but which others have not?
Certainly if you witness something you have indeed witnessed it. But this is all that has occurred, a perception, to state why you have perceived it is something else entirely. Ptolemy witnessed the moon moving in odd patterns and explained it with retrograde motion to fit the prevailing geo-centric view of the cosmos. His observations were correct, he correctly saw the moon move as it did. His flaw was to explain what he saw without proof to back it up, to ignore the observations that didn't fit the model he wanted to believe.
So yes, I did get an offer to Skeptical Inquirer, and yes it did come one day after my end of the world post, but that's it. Is there meaning to its timing, is there not? I can't say either way. Do I leave it at this, or pursue the matter further?
Of course I won't leave it. :)
To attempt to prove meaning in the timing of events you could track how often such fortuitous timings have occurred. But should you also track when such timings have no value? How often would you be tracking things? Becomes a dilemma, eh. Events only seem to have valuable timings when you are predisposed to thinking they do. To say it another way, you're normally oblivious to the timing of events and you only become aware of them when there seems to be some value in them. That fact alone could be interesting. And I did leave out one critical observation from the timing of my magazine offer: it made me feel good. I noticed the timing.
Emotion. What is it about these special timings that makes them noticeable at all when we are so frequently oblivious? In my case I had an emotional response. Might other fortuitous timings provoke an emotional response that elevates them from the mundane into the extraordinary? 'Tis possible.
So, should you believe in coincidences? If emotion is key to them, should you discount them, and with them your emotions? Perhaps the question can be reframed as, what value does one place on their emotions?
It is an interesting subject.