Monthly Archives: February 2016

On the mystery of “our deeply strange existence” from scientist David Eagleman

We are living in an era where humans seem to need the strong seasoning of certainty even more than ever. Militant atheism seems hell bent (pardon the expression, a tad inappropriate in this context, eh what?!) on ramming down our collective throats their conviction that religion is pernicious rubbish. And militant religious fanatics have been turning to their usual tools, honed to a fine art  over many bloodsoaked centuries, of persecution and/or slaughter in the name of whatever faith they aver is ‘the one and only truth’.

How totally refreshed I was, therefore, given our current less than calm and reasonable collective context, to come across a wonderful opinion piece in a recent New Scientist magazine, from which the following quote is taken:

” But when we reach the end of the pier of everything we know, we find that it only takes us part of the way. Beyond that all we see is uncharted water. Past the end of the pier lies all the mystery about our deeply strange existence: the equivalence of mass and energy, dark matter, multiple spatial dimensions, how to build consciousness, and the big questions of meaning and existence….good scientists are comfortable holding many possibilities at once, rather than committing to a particular story over others. In light of this, I have found myself surprised by the amount of certainty out there….”

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His book of ‘possibilian’ tales, Sum, became an international best-seller and is published in 22 languages.

To read the whole of the opinion piece  “Why I am a ‘possibilian'” which I found so refreshing, click HERE.

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/David Eagleman 2010 and 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation…” Henry Miller and a strange tale…

“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.”

Henry Miller

Good old Henry Miller – he could always be relied upon to bring sex into everything. And I love the quote! But it is a red herring, folks. This post is purely about what may – or may not – have been an experience of reincarnation. I will, as ever, be most interested to have your reactions.

Responses to last week’s  X Files post have been intriguing: it generated several purchases of my book “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness”, and a number of emails telling, very privately, of readers’ uncanny, inexplicable, but undoubtedly real experiences. But no-one was prepared to leave an account of one of theirs publicly in a comment  – thereby validating my own feeling that such matters are so productive of private unease that public exposition is for most of us, a step too far.

It took me a long time and a prolonged period of enforced leisure, to decide to go public with some of mine, for the period 1970-1999. A major motivator was a lifetime’s accumulated knowledge of how common paranormal experiences are, but how little validation our mainstream society offers them. As a rational, sceptical (in the open-minded sense of the word) person, I wanted to add some experiential evidence to that vast body of knowledge which demonstrates that we do not, never have, and never will, live in a universe totally accessible or explicable through the application of rational analysis alone.

 If – as contemporary scientists seems to be telling us– we only have measurable access to 4% of what’s going on, how can they be so arrogant as to dismiss what probably goes on in the 96% of energy in our universe which we cannot measure at all, as yet?

In the previous post I said: “And in my next post, I’ll share one of my own weird stories. You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine!” Well, you did share some of yours, albeit anonymously. So, being a woman of my word, here is one of mine – an extract from the section on Reincarnation – from “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness”. It would be good if this time, you could share a story or two here. Be anonymous! Call yourself Henry Miller if you like. If you do, I promise not to think that he is communicating from the Other Side…

Lecce, Italy

Lecce, Italy

Lecce, Italy: September 13th 1986

In the Atmospheres section, I set the scene for our 1986 trip to Italy, describing the Apulia Region where we found ourselves as ‘a corner of Italy which was full of atmosphere, some of it quite uncanny.’ In less than a week, we had two experiences which were quite out of the ordinary.

This first one took place in Lecce, known as ‘the Florence of the South’, on 13th September. I still recall what happened very, very clearly. We were on a bus trip with a voluble female Italian guide in her thirties, determined to cram as much local information as possible into the heads of the ignorant Brits in her charge. As a result, not helped by the heat, we reeled off the bus somewhat brain damaged for our hour’s ‘free’ lunch break. As usual, everyone on the bus meekly shuffled behind the guide to the appointed watering hole. As usual, we did not. This was our first sight of Lecce and we wanted some quiet time on our own to enjoy it.

The bus was parked in a dusty square, next to a big old church. I looked all the way up the spire, noticing an empty plinth at the top, and thought “Where’s the Archbishop?” I recall being instantly startled by this thought, as though it belonged to someone else’s brain – after all, I’d never been to Lecce.

Nevertheless, very shortly afterwards, we found him. There was a stone restorers’ yard in a narrow street we wandered into, round to the right of the church. In it, lying on his side, was a rather battered looking statue, his verdigrised copper covering cracked and peeling from the wear of many centuries. “There he is – it’s the Archbishop!” At the same time as I recognised the statue, it felt again like someone else’s thought. I wondered if the heat was getting to me...“Mad dogs and Englishmen….”1

I loved Lecce on sight; it felt uncannily familiar. Missing out on lunch, I took Ian on a fast trot round the immediate area we were in, finding my way around with no difficulty. I pointed out a sunlit terrace above a street not far from the church, where I used to sit at a table and write, feeling that I was a man then, and a writer. Ian almost had to drag me by the ear back to the bus, since I was most reluctant to leave.

I have long felt a strong affinity with Renaissance Italy, despite having never visited the country before. Some day, I’d like to return to Lecce and see what my reaction is then. But I’ll make sure it’s mid-winter, so that I can’t blame a heat-addled brain for bringing me one of my life’s more peculiar experiences!

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ENDNOTES:

1 “…Go out in the midday sun “ Mad Dogs and Englishmen Noel Coward song (1931)

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NOTE: If you’d like to buy this book, the simplest way is to go into PayPal and send $10 directly to my PayPal account which is : contact.anne.w@gmail.com .PayPal will then send me an email notifying me of the payment, whereupon I will send you the book within 24 hours.

wisps-from-the-dazzling-darkness

900 words Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

The X Files are back…time to share a few weird tales…

I wondered why there had been a sudden run on sales of my Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness memoir, until I realised that the X Files had just returned to  UK TV screens this week! Our collective appetite for  that which lies beyond the boundaries of ‘normal’ does not seem to have been the least affected by the reductionist onslaught in recent years on anything and everything which lies outwith the perceptual scope of our five material senses.

I must confess to finding this particular stance by so many scientists (and other reductionists) strange, to say the least. Have they never investigated the weird worlds of quantum physics? Have they never contemplated the implications of  4% matter, 23% dark matter, 73% dark energy?  If – as contemporary scientists seems to be telling us– we only have measurable access to 4% of what’s going on, how can they be so arrogant as to dismiss what probably goes on in the 96% of energy in our universe which we cannot measure at all, as yet?

I’m very much in favour of taking a sceptical position regarding matters which seem at first sight to be impossible within conventional analytical frameworks. Sceptical, in the open-minded sense of the word, that is. However, as I have discovered over the course of my lifetime, an awful lot of people you talk to, in all kinds of contexts – bus stops, coffee bars, counselling sessions, churches, evening classes, astrology readings, cinema queues – have a story to tell, if you are prepared to listen. I am one of those people who attract other people’s weird life stories at the drop of a hat.

That was why, eventually, when I had the time to do so, I finally gave in and decided to write a book in which I told my own: atmospheres, dreams, ghosts, mediumship, mystical experience, poltergeist phenomena, prediction, premonitions, reincarnation and telepathy – yes, folks, I’ve encountered all of  that lot, much though on each and every occasion I would have much preferred not to have done so.

As far as I am concerned, ‘normal’ life hands out quite enough challenges, thanks very much, without us going looking for more in the realms of the otherworldly. However, as I – and many, many rational, reasonable, non-gullible people – have discovered, there are levels of experience which, although they lie outwith the known and measurable 4%, have a palpable reality which people cease to doubt once they have encountered it themselves.

So, readers, how about celebrating the X Files’ return by sharing some of your own tales which lie outwith the 4% of what is conventionally knowable? Be anonymous if that’s more comfortable. It would be great if you felt like leaving your story as a comment. Or email me. And in my next post, I’ll share one of my own weird stories. You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine! And – of course – you can always go over and buy my ebook. A mere $10…

wisps-from-the-dazzling-darkness

500 words Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Children at Play – or Bulldozers. What’s your preference?

Following a lively and constructive meeting last night, the next phase of our Maryhill, Glasgow, UK’s community battle to save a precious piece of wild land in our area from both developers and our own city council has begun!

Save our wild land!

Save our wild land on North Kelvin Meadow/The Children’s Wood!

In this phase, we need urgently to put pressure on the Scottish Government over the next 25 days. See http://thechildrenswood.com/ for details. We need your help, Friends: where you are in the world does not matter!

If you feel that wild land worldwide should if possible be preserved to nurture and safeguard children’s relationship with Nature – and all the health benefits which go with that – do take the time to write a slogan of your choice which includes “Save The Children’s Wood, Glasgow, Scotland” and post the photo on Twitter, Facebook etc.This supporter, Claire, lives in Yonkers, New York (hint, hint, you guys in the Big Apple!) She wrote: ” I love the children’s wood and it is my niece and nephew’s favourite place to play.”

Claire, Yonkers, NY

Claire, Yonkers, NY

 Or  – go through to http://thechildrenswood.com/ and sign our latest petition. And – Share this post on Facebook. We need all the help we can get. Thanks!!

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200 words Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page