Category Archives: Dreams

Shift Happens

So the other day I experienced yet another Reality Shift, and realized soon after that this happens with enough frequency to be a noteworthy, bloggable phenomenon warranting further study.

The Reality Shift is unknown to science, although pop quantum mystics (re: bullshit artists) like Deepak Chopra or Rhonda Byrne might tell you that you are using the power of intention to reshape the world as your own, or send yourself into a nearly identical alternate universe except for those things you wanted changing. Any time someone starts speaking this way around you, you must a> correct them politely, b> run away screaming, or c> smack them.

The weirdness to which I refer seemingly happens at random, and more than likely within one’s own head. It may have the looming pressure front of nostalgia, not wholly unlike deja-vu, but particular in several regards. It leaves the victim feeling out of place and time, suddenly and inexplicably the world is unfamiliar and strange, or even exciting and new, though logic dictates that you have seen it all a hundred times before, and nothing has physically changed. Everything is somehow just… different.

Reality Shifts most certainly occur. The way you felt about your elementary school WHILST in elementary school is far different than the way you feel about it now. In fact, you have felt differently about it many times over in the course of your life through random quirks of circumstance and remembrance. Your tv-and-movie expectations of high school at a very young age were soon supplanted by the real thing, though they may have inadvertently tinged that part of your life, either at the time or years after. Your relationship with the people in high school, and your abilities of relating to people, drastically change as you enter adulthood, the work force, collegiate social circles and the like expanding the parameters of your worldview. Everything from your geographical orientation as you learn and memorize new environments to your comfort levels contextually as a member of the human race. Obviously we all change and grow and evolve with age and experience, and on the whole this is a gradual process. But can these Shifts be noticed and even recorded in memory?

Most of the time we do not feel the Reality Shifts within ourselves until much later upon reflection. But to actually be aware of of your perceptions and contexts apparently changing as you look around you in wonder, your head sent into a spin, leaves one dazed at the vast reality none of us truly understand a mote.

So having started a new job one month ago, (and having gone through all this many times already) I was in a good position to recognize what might be happening when this Shift occurred. As I finished assisting a customer, I stared off deeply into a nearby wall, one that I have seen hundreds of times before now, and felt a wave of alien resonance envelop me, an odd sensation like being in the Twilight Zone. Was my brain perhaps in the process of rewiring itself to accept my new placement in the universe? Shuffling the short-term into the long-term memories, (something that dreaming most likely accomplishes), thereby shaping my worldview at my present age to the appropriate circumstances pertaining to my life and survival and social graces? Does this happen any time our lives require it, during relationships as they blossom and evolve, friendships, vacations, or whenever a preponderance of sensory information makes it necessary to grow as an individual, incorporating new information and ideas? I have felt little Reality Shifts in response to what seemed at the time to be crazy new ideas in my life, listening to an Alan Watts podcast in Hawaii, reading a very difficult Social Science book for AP History, learning what anti-zoo meant from an insipid liberal, accepting the death of a relative or the end of a relationship, discovering that my father did NOT have the ability to change traffic lights by pointing his finger like a gun and going *pfvvew*.

Take note of these things when they happen, and ponder every possibility; transcendental, religious, philosophical, neurological (though I myself am predisposed to the latter two). Assuredly this is not singular to my life, but each and every human must be capable of being wowed by it.

Stop the train and let me off!

Every day of my life as long as I can remember, I have pictured myself as a hundred other things besides a man; a superman, a sea turtle, a bird, an ape, a demigod, a snail, a plastic bag, a volcano.

I fantasize that God or some other space alien will lift me up and unify me with the energy of the cosmos, or else smash me into an unrecognizable paste with their giant fist-from-the-sky. Either way, I wouldn’t have to deal with the minutiae.

I wish that I had never learned what wishing was. No I don’t. Yes I do.

But an immortal man would have no more chance of understanding the world or himself than a stillborn baby. So here’s to equality.

I asked an old man once, while helping him fill out an online application, what I should put down for his skills and whatnot. He replied with clear pronunciation, “Well sir, I am what you would call, ‘a lazy man.'” Even though I hated him, I wish everyone would be as honest as him, and by that I mean I wish everyone would say exactly what he did.

People suck. Mostly the white ones. There’s not enough hatred against whites, if you ask me. But its not as if anybody will do anything about it. The winning teams were decided long ago.

The difference between luck and chance is the letters that are used, and thus, their placement in the dictionary.

The difference between success and banality is the same distance between a supermarket and a natural history museum.

You’re born, you live, you die. Like the frothing effervescent sea foam of a pounding rushing wave, which exists but an instant, only to be replaced later by a near facsimile. It’s silly to want to do anything else but that, or even complain about the circumstances in-between. It makes for very predictable literature, or a very boring board game.

There’s a reason there that the heavy waves of the ocean are considered revitalizing and new to the fragile human spirit. Doesn’t anybody else wonder and worry about the fact that a body can trouble themselves over the supernatural (sometimes egregious) effects of a rainstorm one day, and smile at the uplifting stupor of a full rainbow the next?

A lot of people have no regard for ‘tomorrow’. They seem foolish because a storm could wipe out their home the same day they lose their job. Those people who have great consideration for ‘tomorrow’ wisely organize their piles into geometric stacks that will one day be the forgotten detritus of a long-extinct smoking cinder.

Everywhere are roots sticking out of the ground, and throngs of immobile people, and fences, and ‘No Trespassing’ signs, and public transportation, and little spiky balls of vegetable matter stuck in your footwear. But the reality is you can’t escape your own skull, the contents of which conspire against you far more than any other real or imagined forces of the universe.

I used to laugh at people with ridiculous phobias, as I am not afraid of clowns, or needles, or spiders, or dentists, or dogs, or what other relatively harmless things my friends are. That is, until I realized that I am afraid of perhaps that most fantastic and intangible construction of human evolution: falling in love.

I don’t believe I could take the time to get to know somebody as well as I know myself. I don’t know myself all that well.

Some people take drugs to stop them from thinking so much. Others take drugs so that they’ll think even harder. Society is a drug that does both simultaneously.

I can feel my thoughts and opinions and beliefs and wishes and aspirations and dreams sloshing around in my brain. I feel their weight. As though tilting my head back and forth would let them ooze warmly from my inner ear canal with a loud ‘POP’ and puddle into a pillow cover which I would then throw away and forget about.

When I try to force myself to think, I get sleepy. When I try to stop myself thinking, I get a headache. Either way I need to lie down.

If I ever do get depressed, it seems to be during those transcendental moments of beauty that defy all attempts at description. I involuntarily enter a trance-state as if in some drunken mind-frame, but wholly different from any drug. Thoughts overtake me, in what should be a happy or religious experience, but somehow induced from another place, like spoken in tongues, or finding something you thought you threw away long ago, or suddenly realizing you’re at the place you were supposed to be, but you don’t feel at all the way you anticipated. Disoriented, thinking of your position to the world all wrong once confronted by its image, then inexplicably angry at nobody. What an odd coincidence.

I’m grateful for plenty of things, but perpetually devoid of any ideas on how to express it appropriately.

If I ran away from ‘it all’ and changed my name or stole somebody’s, sure, the scenery might be better, but there would still be all the bullshit. It smells the same everywhere.

My most foolish fantasy has never been contemplating suicide. That is, I never think about it seriously enough to be considered ‘contemplation.’ Certainly not more than the average person, I suppose. Just as every heterosexual has the stray homosexual thought, but with such infrequency and frivolity that one can’t seriously self-identify as gay, let alone act upon it. So when somebody steps in front of oncoming traffic to end their life, it astounds me that they would want to reduce all the petty problems in their life into one massive immediate one. Though, to their credit, if they are killed they can’t be said to have any problems at all. But I always think, ‘if they aren’t killed, just seriously injured, they’ve increased their share of problems to work with tenfold.’ No. My most foolish fantasy is that I imagine stepping into oncoming traffic, surviving, and being somebody else’s problem. Maybe somebody attractive.

But I’m not depressed or tortured. That would be just another excuse to disrupt a disturbing train of thought, and I think its best to see the train to its destination, no matter how annoying. The trains are never on time, always end up at the wrong place with the wrong passengers aboard, with squealing wheels sparking against steel at an uncontrollable rate of speed, the driver having jumped off long ago. So far, there’s been no crash, but that’s almost worse.

No artist is tortured any more than any other thinking individual. Torture is what religion and the CIA perpetrate upon dissidents, or what some fetishists do for loads of money. But I repeat myself.

I don’t know what’s more upsetting, that the universe doesn’t care what I do, or that I don’t.

Not that I really have any problems or complaints, mind you. Just the typical ones that we all have, from the starving third-world villager to the multi-billionaire CEO. Wait. Scratch that.

It troubles me very deeply and very often that I am just like everybody else on the planet, and nobody is just like me.

Funk Phenomenon

Throughout my life I have had strange sensations that make reality seem altogether unreal, things that I hadn’t been aware of being universal. Oh, perhaps I assumed they were and never thought about it, but equally plausible, I assumed they were singular to me and thus never thought about it. As I grow older and more saturated by intellectual trivia, I learn that all, or at least, many of us share these seemingly subjective and arbitrarily indescribably experiences. In fact, many of them even have names.

The Tetris syndrome, wherein a particular task, such as playing Tetris, so dominates your life that it inundates your thoughts for days after, fills your dreams, and literally flashes before your eyes. This happened to me not only with Tetris, but with computer solitaire, and various work-related consternations, like being ‘in the weeds’ with sandwiches and fries. As a preteen, my obsession with Star Wars was such that I was seeing TIE-fighters in floor tiles, quilt patters, grains of wood.

I have sometimes felt my leg or even arm (especially when falling asleep in a chair) to spasm me back into waking, ever so slightly. This is called a Hypnic Jerk. And that strange sensation of falling or tripping just at the precipice of sleep, and the sudden awakening to catch yourself, it is called, for some reason, The Strange Falling Sensation.

An entire field of research is dedicated to the absurd and yet all-too-common area of synchronicities. Thinking about someone and then they call you, dreaming about events or locations before you actually experience them (or spookily, before they exist at all), odd names that seem to pop up all at once, songs or newly learned words and phrases that once obtained for the first time, seemed to be noticed absolutely everywhere. Perhaps strangest of all, I found myself reading the Coincidence File by Ken Anderson, and using a picture of an old classmate as a bookmark. Who should appear some months later but this same classmate, commenting on having also read the same book. It is, incidentally, a great book full of fresh case files and possible explanations for the meaning (or meaninglessness) behind eerie synchronicity.

Sometimes I am sitting in a room, visualizing or fantasizing, when it occurs to me that I am actually thinking about events (past or fictional), that occurred in the very next room, or perhaps in the very room I am in, but in my mind’s eye they were oriented differently (objects in the room, the direction facing the room, my concept of ‘font and behind me’) than I am at that point. It is somewhat jarring.

I have experienced not only déjà vu, but additional levels of it, sometimes one after another in a long sequence. Come to find out, I am not alone in this, it is called Déjà vécu, the feeling of having lived things out before, as if reincarnated, or stuck in a temporal loop, or the entire history of the universe repeating itself a la Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake. As Charles Dickens wrote, “We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time – of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances – of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it!” Unfortunately this feeling is delayed, so that it is equally plausible that our brain is only tricking us into believing this synchronicity is occurring. Surveys have revealed that as much as 70% of the population have had these experiences, usually between the ages of 12 to 25.

Incidentally, the phenomenon of having something on the tip of your tongue, unable to recall it entirely, is called presque vu, or ‘being on the edge of an epiphany.’ I liken it to waking and trying to remember your dreams, often in vain.

I have discovered that the occasional (but by no means frequent) invasion of a subsonic sensation in my ears that none around me can hear is quite possibly a condition called Tinnitus. Though Tinnitus is usually explained biologically, sometimes even objectively hearable and verified by a doctor as emanating from the ear itself, there are also ‘Hums’ reported all over the world, from Hawaii and Mexico, to Auckland, Australia. I believe that I have a heightened sense of hearing, as I can usually tell from a reasonable distance, even through doors or walls, if someone has a television on, and I can determine who is at the door, simply by the way they hold and move their keys.

People with synæsthesia experience sensory data differently than most. We are all aware of what a ‘loud shirt’ is, or the consistency of food. But a Synæsthesiac would be constantly experiencing the shape of tastes, the sound of colors, the taste of words, the physical feeling of sounds… Letters and numbers can even evoke colors, days of the week and months hint of personalities. I must admit a certain affection for Thursday, being such an absurd and likeable fellow. I can also identify with the synæsthesiac’s tendency to ‘view’ periods of time spatially, as 1984 is ‘further away’ than 1991, but certainly not as inconceivably ‘far’ as 33 B.C.E. And tell me you’ve never thought of letters in this way: “T’s are generally crabbed, ungenerous creatures. U is a soulless sort of thing. 4 is honest, but… 3 I cannot trust… 9 is dark, a gentleman, tall and graceful, but politic under his suavity” -Synæsthetic subject report in Calkins 1893, p. 454.

On acid (which I maintain did not expand my mind, but merely temporarily confused it into letting me see things how I really wanted, replacing its everyday lies with yet others), I was able to see additional colors of the light spectrum vibrate from different kinds of lights. Usually eyes adjust well to light, and it is not an overpowering green fluorescent, or orange-gold street light, sending arcs and spots into our periphery. But effervescent rainbows played upon the center of my eyes, often without the aid of lights at all (as lingering on the inside of my eyelid). Not only did forms and shapes, like my knuckles, reflection, and someone’s gauged earlobe, stretch and contort, but time itself became unusually arbitrary, as if breathing in… and out. Thoughts assaulted me with electric intensity, and sounds seemed to echo and buzz. My feet sunk into asphalt, buildings bent in to meet me. I somewhat lost control over the volume of my voice, and so stayed silent most of the night.

A long and rewarding conversation over pizza, soda, and cigarette börek with Eric concerning time travel, the infinity of space, and finally the parallels between his epilepsy and my acid trip, which both of agreed we would not like to see mixed. He has déjà vu, jamais vu (the feeling that none of this has happened before, though it should be familiar), re-sequencing of memory, loss of memory, reviewing specific parts of his life (in essence a ‘time travel’), additional sounds, tastes, and smells that are not truly present. Signs of a Complex Partial Seizure may include motionless staring, automatic movements of the hands or mouth, inability to respond to others, unusual speech, or other unusual behaviors, all of which I have seen Eric experiencing. Some epileptics also encounter ‘auras.’ Some, like Eric, are artistically compelled, with the overall intensified colors, sounds, and emotions in their life. Alcoholism, mania, pedantism, hallucinations and hypergraphia (the extreme compulsion to write) are not uncommonly linked with epilepsy. Though his experiences and mine differed in many ways, and were caused by different afflictions of the temporal lobe (his being a chronic neurological condition, mine being the result of psychedelic drug use), the similarities were astonishing!

And the more I sought, the more I found answers, names and case studies for all of those little things that are kind of bizarrely insanely altogether human. It seemed that I was not alone, after all, an answer to that question before I laconically came around to asking it.
It seems then, that true physical reality exists, and not my subjectively filtered perception of it, which alas, would be my only way of perceiving the world. With further empirical data to eradicate those things that seemed to be singularly constructing my own world-absorbing apparatus. However, another equally unconfirmable possibility was that my mind was filling in the pertinent details and connecting them up dubiously with previously established paradigms of thought. But that would mean that a lot of things in life wouldn’t make sense.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized a lot of things don’t make sense.

When two people are arguing with each other, but it turns out they are both arguing on the same side for the same thing. That I can look at a sign of numbers passing my field of vision, and not know for certain that it will remain the same. (My friend Paul and I as kids tried to remember a license plate for all time, but neither of us can remember it now. Who is to say it would even be the same?) Little things inexplicably get lost. Facts seem to change, like that obscure D-list celebrity that I heard about dying, who is in fact still alive. A particular part of a song, which I swear contains my favorite coda, no longer does. Favored television shows go off of the air if I neglect to keep up with them, as if I alone determined their ratings and thus cancellation. Time moving in bizarre, almost dreamlike ways, too slow or too fast, depending on the task at hand (it flies, for example, when I am having fun).

How do I know that a strawberry to me doesn’t taste different to you, we have only ‘agreed’ upon the descriptions for it such as ‘sweet’ or ‘tart.’ Empirical data such as testing other foods and comparing their collectively agreed upon adjectives might help, but it still doesn’t say anything for the individual’s subjective experience of it. It may seem an arbitrary point in practical life, but one central to the issues of identity, self, individuality, and consciousness. Similarly, how do we know that we all identify the same color spectrum. With a can of paint labeled ‘red,’ a physical crayon that exists, we could hardly get it wrong, so long as all of the colors were delineated for us somehow. Someone who is color blind cannot see certain or any colors, and cats see color in a different way to the extent that red and turquoise aren’t just reversed, but indistinguishable. Those sorts of color problems negate the experiential data of the whole, and become obvious anomalies. But who is to say that the ‘red’ that I see isn’t based on an entirely different spectrum, totally unknown and alien to you than yours, and vice-versa.

It occurred to me once or twice that the lives of the deaf or blind have no basis for what phenomenon we experience daily, and yet, without being told otherwise, might assume that everyone was the same. That without knowing that what they had was a specific affliction, they wouldn’t identify it as an affliction at all! In the H.G. Wells’ 1904 story, “The Country of the Blind” a man finds himself into an isolated valley, where generations were exposed to a disease that rendered all newborns blind. By the time the last sighted villager had died, the blind had their other senses honed to peak performance and adapted well to their environment. Believing that, ‘in the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king,’ the interloper attempts to educate and conquer them. But having no concept of ‘sight,’ indeed no concept of ‘blindness,’ they write him off as a lunatic, or perhaps some sort of anomaly himself.

In philosopher Thomas Nagel’s 1974 essay “What is it Like to be a Bat?” he writes about the subjective character of experience. “…if the facts of experience—facts about what it is like for the experiencing organism are accessible only from one point of view, then it is a mystery how the true character of experiences could be revealed in the physical operation of that organism.” We can know that it is like something to be like a bat, but we cannot know what it is like to be a bat.

In Philip K. Dick’s 1978 essay, How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later, he writes: “Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world, a world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. And that led me wonder, If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe, it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown of communication… and there is the real illness.”

He is espousing a philosophical concept known as representationalism. Representative realism states that we do not (and cannot) perceive the external world directly; instead we know only our ideas or interpretations of objects in the world. But a problem with representationalism is that if simple data flow and information processing is assumed then something in the brain, described as a homunculus, must be viewing the perception, and thus is a biological and physical effect, which should make most of our worldviews coincide. A further difficulty is that, if we only have knowledge of the representations of our perceptions, how is it possible to show that they resemble in any significant way the objects to which they are supposed to correspond? According to this theory, the external world is only to be inferred, our perception of the external world is mediated by way of sense data such as photons and sound waves.

If the world of the blind and the world of a bat and the world of an epileptic and the world of a synæsthetic and the world of a schizophrenic and the world of an acidhead and the world of you and the world of me are all their own, then clearly we cannot identify the base reality, the absolute zero reality, the ‘true character of experience.’ There can be no real consensus as to what constitutes normalcy, if two witnesses near a fatal shooting cannot agree on the calibre of gun they heard fired, the timbre, the number of shots, or even that there were any shots at all! Surely, location, acoustics, and memory are all details to take into account, but let’s assume that each of these witnesses firmly believes that their point-of-view is the correct one.

The problem then, is one not so much of our worldviews being so drastically different that we each exist in our own spheres, but that all of our spheres are intermingled, some (like the bat and the schizophrenic), only slightly. The closer the spheres are, the more our worldviews agree, but no two can be completely identical. The logical follow-up question, then, is ‘what is the normal reality that most of us are seeming to be attaining?’ As Philip K. Dick postulated, for all we know, it is the schizophrenic whose world is ‘correct.’ Does majority rule? Is it Darwinian? Does the fabric of reality restructure itself based on our beliefs, such as when I inferred that evidence literally ‘presented itself’ to me because I needed evidence to do so? There cannot then, be any ‘correct’ universe, or ‘ideal’ universe. However, this becomes a problem when we talk about practical application; facing challenges of class stratification, racism, religious war, social neglect, world hunger, etc. Is it not true that Muslims, Christians, and Jews are all just clashing points-of-view, of disparate realities with differing location, acoustics, and memory, each resulting in wildly different texts? None (or perhaps all) of them can be said to truly be accounting for things ‘wrong.’ Overall then, what does this subjective reality problem say, not only for reality and consciousness, but for truth itself?

As Nagel put it, “Without some idea, therefore, of what the subjective character of experience is, we cannot know what is required of physicalist theory.” All attempts, it would mean, are futile.

William James defined true beliefs as those that prove useful to the believer. Truth, he said, is that which works in the way of belief. “True ideas lead us into useful verbal and conceptual quarters as well as directly up to useful sensible termini. They lead to consistency, stability and flowing human intercourse” but “all true processes must lead to the face of directly verifying sensible experiences somewhere,” he wrote.

Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem shows that no formal system which aims to define natural numbers can actually do so, it will inevitably contain statements that are neither provably true nor provably false. In essence, no formal system is ever truly ‘complete.’ (Though this refers to formal logic, and probably not so much our complicated and vast universe, the implications are still apparent.)

Counter-intuitively, many philosophers and scientists, notably Karl Popper, believe that a scientific theory cannot be truly scientific unless it has some basis for falsifiability. Not that it necessarily is false, just that it can be. As Stephen Hawking explains, “No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory.” A logistical problem of induction and science in general. Since we were not around to watch evolution take place, it will always remain, in the strictest sense, a ‘theory.’

Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle states, very simply, that it is impossible to know both the momentum and location of particles. This is not to say that the act of observing the event changes it, (commonly known as the Observer Effect), but rather, that in quantum physics particles do not truly ‘exist’ in particular locations and movement the way all of us ‘do.’ Of course, we are all composed of particles, which are constantly jumping in and out of existence like thoughts. Particles have been known to teleport through space, even through time. We are also limited by our technology and knowledge in this area.

Michel De Montaigne in the sixteenth century was instrumental in the development of Skepticism, the belief that humans are unable to attain true certainty. He famously said, ‘Que sais-je?’ or ‘What do I know?’.

There are holes in the universe, but more importantly, these holes (in physics, in logic, in basic continuity, structure and cohesion) aren’t just occasional lapses in the continuum, but even necessary to it. How can such a contradiction be?

If all of our information is arbitrary, ultimately subjective, dubious, faulty, or outright useless, how can we be sure of any real time-frame, if part of this ‘self-correcting system’ is to fill in those ‘pertinent details?’ The universe was created 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years ago, or twenty seconds ago. It will fall apart in 100 billion years, or approximately three days. Space expands with no intrinsic limit on its rate. If space were speeding up, expanding, contracting, slowing down, it wouldn’t really matter to us, provided it did it uniformly.

But how can something that at one point existed as a small point of finite matter, or for that matter, pre-existed that as nothing at all, now exist as infinite? Anything that is bounded in any way by definition ceases to be infinite. A line moves ‘infinitely’ in both directions, and a ray moves ‘infinitely’ in one, but unless they more infinitely in all directions, nay, never had a starting point or direction at all but always existed infinitely, then it isn’t true infinity. If I were to become a god tomorrow and think and live for eternity on eternal type things, I would still not be infinite, because I was born. A starting date is just an expiration date in reverse.

The Greek philosopher Lucretius (99-55 B.C.E.) proposed that the universe is necessarily boundless. Say for example, you were to hold as spear to the ‘edge’ of the universe, and then throw it. It should either continue, or bounce back, n’est pas? If so, then there is clearly either more space for it to continue through, or a physical object that prevents it, and clearly more universe ‘beyond the edge.’

Sir Fred Hoyle, the originator for the name of the Big Bang, ironically refuted it as a theory. And though his reasoning that anything infinite must have always been infinite, intuitively, sounds ‘correct,’ his alternative Solid States theory doesn’t enjoy much support these days, as further empirical data supports the Big Bang theory.

Lucretius and his spear, Hoyle and his solid states, however, just might have not been thinking fourth-dimensionally enough. If time is a dimension just as height, width, and depth, and if it is true that space curves, even back upon itself like a doughnut, or that there are an infinite number of universes, then all reasoning flies out the window like so many Bronze Age javelins.

Bishop Étienne Tempier of Paris ruled in 1277 that God could create as many universes as He saw fit, and hey, why not? It is God, after all.

I’m not even going to get into this:

Continued evidence that the more we learn, the less we know. It is the wise man who admits he knows nothing, implying that knowledge isn’t power.

So what is the most practical, if not pragmatic, definition of reality to live by? I myself prefer Philip K. Dick’s maxim, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Because believe me, some mornings I have tried.

Dreaming in Metaphors, or: Your Honor, I was Hypnogogged!

“Yet the stupid believe they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, that one herdsman – how dense! Confucius and you are both dreaming! And when I say you are dreaming, I am dreaming, too. Words like these will be labeled the Supreme Swindle.”
-Zhuangzi the butterfly
“If that there king was to wake, you’d go out — bang! — just like a candle.”
A lovely little somniloquy:
The Sandman reifies, I rectify.
I’ve let my lucid dreaming abilities atrophy, partially because ’waking life’ diverts most of my focus, and in part due to the trickery apparently at hand by the same subconscious that made me to back off from so forcibly dominating the dreamrealm with my dorsolateral prefontal cortex and awesomo power a little under a year ago.
When I first discovered lucid dreaming way back when, I latched onto it as a kitten’s dew claw latches onto drapes when it knows you are going to make it dance for company. I could fly (or leap and glide, at least) whereas previously I had been a hapless victim careening in the passenger seat of a figurative and literal Cadillac over precipitous cliffs of wispy foggy dreamscapes, like the inertia of paralysing quicksand in an hourglass, like the polyphase-delayed reaction of a smoked mirror. Later, life would imitate this art whilst traversing Mt. Washington in Pharli’s devolving automobiles under the influence of effective lysergic acid diethylamide. But of no consequence, for I would sleep soundly as said kitten later that night, cares of the day behind me, as I fought for peril-fraught cities, surmounted insurmountable odds (and even mounted a few other things), and was generally held in high regard by humans, bigfoots, cartoon characters, gods, dogs and LEGO peoples the Eschercube over.
(It’s sick and twisted to mix and torture dying metaphors so, but that’s dreamlogic for you, and I don’t intend to stop just when I’m starting to enjoy it. I guess I’m a metaphor-sadist, or a reasonable simile.)
Then the collective unconscious (those dicks) put a hamperin’ to my napperin’ and devised a series of ways to decieve me into once again disbelieving that I was in a desireworld. The circuitous logic of that labrythine realm would allow me to do the fantastical things I knew I was quite capable of only there, but in a way ambiguous enough to keep me in such a foolish forgetful frame of mind.
To wit: I find myself soaring serenely over the threshold of my star-studded city (Gotham meets Mos Eisley meets Santorini) at night, wind thrashing WILDly my mane of luxuriant hair as I swiftly descend ever-so gently to the ground for a street rumble. However, this is but a hypothetical musing, a vivid description within the brackets of discourse to a friend on just such an illusory state. By infusing this fantasy element on top of itself within the dream, squaring it, cubing it indeed, multiple layers upon layers unto those of an onion, or perhaps more deliciously a layer cake, I am deceived into believing that I am awake and merely remembering what it is like to be asleep. I should have noticed something amiss, I say– I say, awry, boy, with my friend having an eyeball for a head, and dressed in a tuxedo and tophat.
Elsewhere: A diabolical evil genius (and perhaps an ancient goddess) lurks, wringing wrinkled old hands (that are both segmented pincers and tentacles with suctions), but this is but a daymare, bored and zoning into daydreaming repetition at work and Meanwhile: waiting for my alarm to falsely wake me for the third time, having only imagined that I completed my entire morning routine/ritual twice already, aware that only one of them was first sleep.
(Flawed much? That’s dreamlogic for you, which I may have mentioned already in this strange loop.)
I propose to the same friend within the same dream (or dream within a dream, as Poe very well might write and very will did) that I could ascend into space upon a bolt of lightning, and I do, but since I was hence posing a simple hypothetical, the fact that it is insanely absurdly concurrently occuring makes perfect sense at the time of present tense.
A favorite quote of mine “when you daydream at night, what do they call that?” (Though for the life of me I can’t remember who dreamt that one up.)
I remember things wrong, and there is no help here from my logical higher brain functions, as I misremember things often while awake. I am missing money that, in ’reality’, I have readily available either in my wallet or bank account. More frustrating (though its an arguable point*) is when I have veritable oodles of cash, only to awaken and discover, alas, I am still disappointingly broke and there is nothing to be done about it. The duality of these two, of course, forces me to question which is the ’real’ universe, the sixteen or seventeen hours I spend awake, or the seven or eight hours I spend asleep.
Though I only just recieved a clean bill of health from my lady-dentist (with gentle reassuring hands), I still fret over the sudden and inexplicable loss of back teeth. And sometimes I feel like a total hypnic jerk falling out of a tree. It’s obstructive! It’s fatiguing! It’s apnœaying at the very least!
I ask myself within the dream if perchance I may be dreaming, a resounding logical answers rebounds “if you ask just this question, it must be!” But what sort of logic is this for a dream, and if I postulate now on the question ’awake,’ then does it mean I’m sleeping? Will this blog exist tomorrow, or is it just another incomplete theorem, an uncertain principle, a hole torn in the universe by Lucretius’ spear? I maintain that my city is the same one I visit each night, as if created by Windsor McCay or Neil Gaiman. I worry that it divides, interrupts, biphases even, so how do I build a universe that that doesn’t fall apart two days later?
Whichever of the many contentious theories on the purpose of dreaming the case may be, (tapping into a collective greater than the singular self, the inner symbiology of mystic archetypal information, a simulated reality, an etheric battleground between mindless ones and mummudrai and shadow beings, portentious visions of the future, divining the nature and true numerical name of GOD, the hardwiring of data, the movement of short-term information into long term information or: RAM to ROM during REM) it was clear to me that it ’wants’ to be in control of what happens just as much as ’I’ do. Always the bigger man, upon realizing this I sought to compromise, and allowed for a certain amount of dreamy spontanaeity and at the same time keeping cool resolve to use those capacities that make me so… awesomo.
(And if we all share the same collective mind on some astral plane, living out each and every life there is to live, well… then you’re only Jung once.)
I average about or less than (<) two nightmares a year, since I discovered lucid dreaming way back when, and especially since I had found clear-headed balance on such neutral ground (remember that clear also means empty, and neutral can still be a disputed imaginary Maginot line). I have yet to have one this year (knock on particle board) of any remembrance or import. Certainly never enough to wake me in a cold sweat, which is a function solely reserved for my clock radio (right above to ’snooze’). But that nuetral ground is infact not a ceasefired strip of land, but the partition betwixt deadly highways. Since, it seems, slumberland isn’t willing to compromise, and continues to vex me with its shades of unreason, I shall once again have to assert myself using those techniques I have perfected. As a result, the quality of ’waking life’ increases accordingly.
I’m so tired. I haven’t slept a wink.
*of fact of sale of law of view of honor of departure of no return of service of presence of origin of impact of focus of divergence of contact of grace of light of interest of purchase of inquiry of it all

All sound and fury, signifying nothing…

One thing you should not do: Watch a lot of episodes of the Twilight Zone on Youtube and then read about the Fermi Paradox and then stare for a long, long time at your new apartment, the world around you, and the cold rain outside to forever…

I wish I had a Paradox named after me. Or a Principle like that asshole Bernoulli. Even that inbred douchetool Doppler has an Effect.

In the tradition of MIT or SETI, if you are an intergalactic, interstellar, or even time traveler, you can hang out with me at my groovy new pad in San Francisco. What’s so great about it? It’s not Pittsburgh, for one. And for two: there’s gold in them thar ceilings!

Ciao, bella.

Chip Can’t Walk in the Fire Without Fire Boots!

I’ve been having trouble sleeping at night for no specific reason. It’s nothing in particular, but a reeling, seething mind full of unanswered questions and a stomach full of rotten four-cheese Cheez-Its. Who really killed the Kennedys? Jacob seems to think that it was Mokèlé-mbèmbé, and I’m starting to agree. Too bad the bastard has a head start on us by forty-four years, two months, two days, five hours and four minutes.
Other questions that haunt me at night: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? When will the mighty evil enveloping this shrinking universe be seen for what it is and defeated by the masses? Is the inherent nature of humanity one of chaos, fear, ignorance and hatred?
Why are there vegetables?
In other news, that tiger that the po-po* riddled with holes made her way to heaven, despite being bogged down by a cosmic battle with a departed demented bag lady, and the loss of physical form into an ethereal blob of mere concept. Once into the light, she plopped her blobform into the unemployment office, and currently tends bar at the swankiest tiki bar in all the dreamrealm, (i get my Zombies there for the friend price!) In case you were wondering (you sick fucks, you) Heath Ledger went straight to H-E-double-hockey-sticks.
I haven’t heard from Future-Breshvic in a while. That’s probably not a good sign for me. Either I’m dead (done in by some cunning foe or eventual atomic deterioration), or I’m pulling double shifts at work, or I’m keenly smitten with some new flame, they’re pretty sweet on each other and are going steady. Duder! Temporal dopplegängers before hos! Temporal dopplegängers… before hos.
Whatevs, that me is (going to be) a total asshole anyways. Once I showed up in a twisted bunny costume. I told me that I hated that movie, but then I said that in the future I love it and its my myspace page theme. It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore. And to learn that myspace is still popular a year from now! I am Jack’s clichéd movie quotation.
Hmmm… I wonder if I’ll have a place to live this time next week?
Great Scott! The Libyans!

Sounds made up.

Things are so hectic right now. Not only do I have work every day at six am, but I have to get the rest of my stuff boxed up, read six or seven books, write out some plot synopses, finish off this roll of film, defeat an arch-foe or two, fill out this sketchbook, do the laundry, find an apartment, and our Revengerists Compound was bombarded sometime last night by dreaded space Cosbium-14. And I can’t shower today because my dad is grouting.

But tomorrow I am going to the zoo. The same zoo where a tiger escaped and killed a man, where a snow leopard and a polar bear almost escaped in the past week. Since it most likely won’t get published by the several newpapers I submitted it to, here is the article I wrote (unedited in blog form) concerning the tiger. I want to reiterate: we don’t get mad a pie for being delicious.

I had a dream the night of the attack, long before I could know of it, that a tiger escaped from the zoo. But at the end of that dream, I was eaten alive by a hippopotamus. Then I come to find out that the contractors who fucked up the tiger thing are also responsible for the grizzly bears and the hippos. A hippo has a vertical leap of twenty-eight inches. We’ll all see what happens.

Also: If a baby giraffe runs into a wall and kills itself, then that baby giraffe did not deserve to live. Giraffes are lame. End of story.

NOTE to Future-Breshvic: This Cosbium thing might have put us into an alternate timeline and gang aft agley all our best laid plans. I don’t remember anything being made mention of it when I was in the future, but maybe it was just such a minor setback it wasn’t worth mentioning. Then again, maybe our timelines are so far removed from the ethos of psychohistory that you and I shall never meet, in fact, are DOOMED. Questions. Comments. Concerns. An ashtray. And a paddle ball game. Remote Control. These Matches. And this lamp. And the chair. And my dog.