Friday, 28 May 2010

Discussion With Tessa Dick

Last night as part of the ongoing “Schrödinger’s Diary Archive” (see box to the right) myself and Miguel Conner recorded probably the most interesting interview that I have been involved in since writing ITLAD and embarking upon this “Garden of the Forking Paths” that describes my writing career.

I consider this the most important because it was the first one in which I was doing more than simply explaining the complexities of ITLAD/CTF to an audience (and, on occasions, interviewer) who has no pre-knowledge of what I am talking about. This one was different. It gave me the opportunity to glean new information regarding a crucial component of the whole hypothesis, the theophany of Philip K Dick.

Usually the episodes of “Schrödinger’s Diary” last about forty minutes. Last night’s recording went on for over an hour. And this was because none of those involved wished it to stop, that is Miguel, myself, and our special guest, Tessa Dick.

This interview was both delightful and fun! We spent a good deal laughing and going off on weird “Pythonesque” avenues of thought which certainly amused us anyway! But the underlying theme was both fascinating and, in my opinion, a possible turning point in the path that ITLAD/CTF will now take. (Hmmmm, why I am a so preoccupied with track analogies today; paths, avenues etc etc?) This is because for the first time I was not explaining my ideas but asking questions of somebody who was an actual witness to the events I describe in my second book, The Daemon. And what answers!!! I will in no way ruin this interview for those who wish to listen to it but if you ever had doubts about my itladian interpretation on the experiences of Tessa’s late husband, the great Philip K Dick, then these doubts will probably be removed. Tessa describes the events from the most important position possible, she was there!

Indeed Tessa also reinforces my analysis of events that took place earlier in Phil’s life when his Daemon manifested itself as both a guide and a form of mentor from his own future. This is astounding stuff.

A few years ago I asked author Brad Steiger what he thought Phil would have made of my “Cheating the Ferryman” hypothesis. Brad, who had known Phil for many years, stated that he would have been fascinated and intrigued. If anything can be taken from last night’s interview it is this, PKD would not only be fascinated, he would have understood because he personally experienced the immanence of his own “Higher Self”, his Daemon.

As a final point Tessa, in her opening comments regarding the moral negativity of the Eternal Recurrence, proved to me that readers must read both books to fully appreciate why it is that ITLAD/CTF is neither an updating of the Nietzscheian / Ouspenskian “Eternal Return” nor a re-presentation of Berkeleyan Idealism. I agree that there are certain similarities but my hypothesis is far more subtle and life-enhancing (and, in my opinion, based on empirical science rather than philosophical conjecture). Tessa, quite rightly as she has only read “The Daemon”, assumed that ILAD/CTF suggests that we all live the same life over and over again in an endless repetition of our mistakes and successes and that the lives of others that we perceive in our Phaneron is the only life that these people will lead. She cited the example of a still-born child and how morally distasteful the idea is that that child will repeat that short “life” over and over again. By applying the implications of Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation (or the Many Minds Interpretation) such a sad situation is a “reality” only in this universe, the universe in which you are the observer (c.f. Copenhagen Interpretation …. And yes, I am aware that MWI is supposed to be an alternative to Copenhagen) but within the Macroverse there will be trillions of universes where the child was not stillborn and experienced all possible alternative lives resulting from each and every decision. But the subtlety doesn’t stop there. If we apply the implications of David Bohm’s “Implicate Order”, “Holomovement” and “Enfoldment” then we exist in a universe in which life itself is enfolded within itself (and yes, I am also aware that Bohm’s interpretation was suggested as a counter to both Everett’s MWI and Bohr’s CI). Tessa will find, by a careful reading of my first book, that things are not quite so depressing. We live a “Groundhog Life” rather than “The Life of Ivan Osokin”!

This amazing discussion will be available for listening (and downloading) in a few days time. If you have the time do give it a listen ……. oh, and do check out Tessa's book "Remembering Firebright"

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

On Saturday evening my wife and I settled down to watch a recording of the latest episode of Flash Forward. It was the title of this programme that particularly intrigued me – the writers had decided to call it “The Garden of the Forking Paths”.

Those of you who have read my first book will know that the first sub heading of chapter 5 is “Too Many Forking Paths” and on that page (107) I reference the amazing short story “The Garden of the Forking Paths” by the great Argentine writer (and Gnostic philosopher) Jorge Borges.

As weird coincidences, synchronicities and other odd events have followed me ever since I embarked upon this great adventure I sensed that there would be curious clues, pointers, and references to my own work in this episode. How I knew I am not sure, maybe my Daemon was about to have a joke with me ….. after all if ITLAD/CTF is true then I am existing in a universe that is partly created by my own life-memories (in a similar way to the many images that are flashed onto the screen at the end of another phenomenal itladian movie, “Vanilla Sky”) then what I experience will be like a patchwork quilt with many significant parts of my first life embroidered into the pattern (reminds me of another itladian work – Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man”).But how much this episode was speaking to me was really quite weird. (Indeed if any of you are interested there is a recording of a 45 minute discussion I had with Miguel Conner on Aeon Byte Radio which can be downloaded by going down the list of my "Schrodinger's Diary" interviews on the upper right hand side of this Blogsite. The Borges discussion is "Entry 7").

One of my favourite artists is the French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Indeed in my first year at university, back in 1974, I decided to research and write an essay on this guy’s work. I decided to focus in on one of his less well known works, one called “Oedipus and the Sphinx” painted in 1826/27. The subject matter of the painting fascinated me. I will not go into any detail about the symbolism of this work but it has long been a painting that has continued to fascinate me.And lo and behold in the FF episode with the title echoing a section of ITLAD this painting plays a central role! This stunned me. Now I know that the screen writers have no idea about me and my work but nevertheless as the episode progressed I was waiting for the links. And they came, thick and fast.The episode introduced, for the first time, another central pillar of ITLAD/CTF, Savant Syndrome. Now this has nothing to do with quantum physics (but then again neither has Borges or Ingres), the major theme of the storyline up until now, and yet her was another reference to my personal interests.

We then moved rapidly on to déjà vu (absolutely central to ITLAD/CTF) then the role of the hippocampus in brain functioning (ditto) and, inevitably, eidetic imagery (ditto).But then, as the final point-made, it is discussed that the character Dyson Frost (is this a play on the name “Freeman Dyson” by any chance?), otherwise known as D. Gibbons, has experienced “hundreds of flash forwards” and in each one he experiences a different outcome of events. This is where the title “Garden of the Forking Paths” comes in (although sadly the background to this term is not acknowledged …. Unless a character called “Borges” turns up later.) Of course the idea of living one’s life over and over again and following the outcome of each and every decision is not in any way a strange concept to the folks on this BLOGSITE (well, it may be strange but at least it is not new to them!)

The final weirdness involved a "Blueprint" of what looked like a compass.

The moment I saw it I turned round to my wife and said "that is the "Antikythera Device".

Fortunately she recalls me doing this and (as usual) she thought it was just me being "weird". I recognised the diagram instantly. Those of you that know me know that I have this odd ability to recover information. Sometimes this instantaneously appears in my mind (I don’t have to “recall” the information. It is just there). Indeed sometimes I am even at a loss as to when I encountered that piece of information or data. Other times I have a form of “eidetic imagery” whereby I “see” (in my mind’s eye) a page from a long-ago-read document or book. I literally “read” down the page to get the information I need. I cannot do this on demand (if I could I would have been far more successful in exams). The images themselves decide when they wish to manifest (probably it is the decision of my Daemon) and I have no control of when and how.This is what happened when I was watching the previous episode of FF. The blueprint was shown on the screen and immediately my “mind’s eye” opened and “saw” a page from a book I last read at least thirty five years ago. In this “vision” my mind overlapped the two images and the words “Antikythera Mechanism” appeared in my mind. I then blurted this out, much to Penny’s surprise.My “normal” (eidolonic?) mind then took over and I remembered, using my normal methods of recall, details about this device that had fascinated me so much when I first read of it back in, I think, the early 1970’s (I will check this but I think that this would have been in Brinsley LePoer Trench’s “The Sky People. Trench was the 8th Earl of Clancarty and an amazingly original thinker whose ideas were “stolen” by Eric von Daniken, an issue of “Man Myth & Magic” or even “Impossible Possibilities” by Louis Pauwels and; Jacques Bergier – I will check this later).

Indeed in 1983 I saw, in the distance, the island of Kythera from a Greek ferryboat and probably bored to death the group I was with by describing the curious device that was found by a group of divers in 1901 in the waters of Antikythera, a small islet off Kythera. This was because such archaeological anomalies had long fascinated me, and this was a classic example.I am intrigued as to how many viewers spotted this almost throw-way reference in the “Forking Paths” episode. Indeed I wonder how many viewers would have been aware of the device at all.

So yet again something from my own past weaves itself into the plot of this TV series. Indeed in last night’s episode the very process by which I “imaged” the Mechanism in my “mind’s eye”, Eidetic Memory”, was introduced as yet another itladian theme within FF ….. it transpires that Dyson Frost had been flash-forwarding savants with eidetic imagery as they could “total recall” the various alternative futures that they “perceive” in their FF.

If I didn’t know any better …….