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 …….