Grand Illusion, Grand Connection
Some ten years ago I read a book titled “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. The concept for a holographic universe is built upon research conducted in 1982 by Alain Aspect and his team to disprove Einstein’s premise that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Indeed, Aspect and his team demonstrated that under certain circumstances subatomic particles appear to communicate instantaneously, which is according to the Theory of Relativity, impossible.
It is not, however, assumed that something is literally transmitted between the disparate particles, rather they are in fact two views of the same particle, meaning it is our point of view that is unique, not the particles themselves. This is explained through David Bohm’s theory that our experience of a three dimensional universe may be a projection, an illusion of sorts, built upon a two dimensional existence.
Talbot writes, “If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected. The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky. Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web.”
If we can learn to be conscious of this, we can experience a level of interpersonal, even universal connection that may transcend space and time. This concept was cornerstone to the more recent movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know!?”
Thinking about Thinking
The Holographic Universe continues, discussing how the human brain stores information in a manner similar to that of a hologram, the data not laid down in a serial fashion, one bit of our daily experiences after the other, rather, a fairly thin, wide distribution of data across the whole of those portions of the brain capable of storage.
Using memory loss as a means of understanding memory retention, the book explains that when people suffer physical trauma to the brain resulting in memory loss, there is not a precise hour or minute at which the memory stops, a gap, and then starts again. It is instead an indiscreet blank time, often with a fuzzy beginning and end. And with time, many of these memories are recovered.
If our life experiences were in fact stored in a linear fashion, one bit of data after the next throughout the multi-faceted, complex layers of our cerebral tissue, then if any portion of that grey matter were removed, yes, the memory loss would have an exact stop and start time with no chance of recovery.
A hologram is comprised of a complete image copied across many frames, each capable of recreating the whole. When all are illuminated and focused by means of a tuned laser, a complete three dimensional image is reproduced. If any one frame is lost, the overall image remains in tact.
For my own understanding, I consider a RAID5 array in which data spread across three or more computer hard drives in such a fashion that one drive may be lost and the remaining drives may reproduce the complete image.
Why then do most of our daily experiences fail to be easily recalled while others are so completely embedded in our life experience that they may be recalled with clarity for many, many years?
I am by no means an expert in this realm, my knowledge of this field of study limited to a few publications prepared for the lay-person coupled with my own experience. But that experience is perhaps the best tool for understanding how I (and likely others) work, on the inside.
As described in my entry about an evening at the Morokoshi School, Kenya, that experience which will remain with me for a long, long time. And in the unfolding of that evening, I knew even then that I was creating a deeply seated memory.
The ability to do this, to not only live in the moment but also be aware of that moment unfolding (almost from a third party point of view) is something I have been working toward for some time. However, this eludes me far more often than not, the busy-ness of life masking the calm required for that level of awareness and connection.
Why did those few hours at Morokoshi become so deeply impregnated in my memory? I believe the answer is in the multifaceted layers of sensory input which were stimulated and subsequently layered and interwoven in my memory.
Sharp shadows were cast by the kerosene lantern mixed with the subtle hiss of gas as it moved from pressurized storage into light and heat. Steve, Cameron, and I spoke in hushed voices so as to not wake Rie who slept in the chair adjacent to mine. Only the outline of Steve’s dark face was visible; Cameron’s lighter skin reflecting the yellow light from the corner of the room. I shifted often, my chair’s seat cushion far too thin. Burning coal, rice, beans, greens, and sweet tea filled the room with a complex, grounding aroma. Metal forks and wooden spoons rattled against aluminum pots in the adjacent kitchen. The music born of my cell phone, the cast of Rent holding to ideals, friendship, and love.
My eyes, ears, nose, body, and heart were stimulated while my sense of time was put to rest. If just one of these were the sole recording medium, this event may be like any other in my life, recorded yes, but not easily recalled. Combine all of them into a complete experience and I recall with intimate detail every aspect of those few hours, each of my senses able to re-invoke the experience as a whole. Listening to Rent, drinking sweetened tea, a phone call with Cameron or Rie, photos, even an email from Steve and I am back in Kenya. I smile for the depth and power of these memories.
A Wrinkle in Time
So what happens if the power of this experience is shared by more than just three or four people, but by dozens, even hundreds. Is it possible that the memory could be impregnated in more than just a human brain and body? Could the fabric of our universe contain more than what we are currently able to measure through collisions in particle accelerator chambers? What if there is a layer of data transmission and archiving which is always present, yet seldom noticed by the vast majority of humans?
The Holographic Universe moves from a description of scientific methodology into a more experiential description of how this world may yet contain a little … magic, a level of connection which we cannot fully explain.
There were two or three people (I do not recall) walking through a park on the East coast of the United States, when their peaceful surroundings were transformed into an active battle field (the civil war, if I recall correctly). Everything was present, the sound and smell of guns, the commotion of pulling the wounded from further harm; soldiers and medics intensely engaged. Even a stone wall emerged in that moment which was not of our current time.
And then it was gone as quickly as it had come, those who walked through the park stunned and overwhelmed by their shared experience. How can this be possible? Was this event so powerful, that through a wrinkle in time that event was somehow transfixed to that place? And why were these individuals able to experience this, together, when countless thousands have walked the same path, maybe even knowing the history of that place, and not been transported back in time?
I have experienced something on par with this just once in my life, as documented in an article I wrote for MacNewsWorld a few years ago, titled, “A Ghost and the Machine”. This story draws a correlation between experiencing connection over distance and connection through time.
I believe it is safe to say that most people have at some point in their life experienced a “cold” room when the temperature was not cold at all, or a “dark” place when there was ample light. Sometimes our dreams are so very real, that they haunt us for an entire day, changing our mood and interaction with others even when we know it was just a dream.
This is the stuff of ghost stories, of myth, and magic, yes, but it is also documented that many people experience this level of connection throughout the world. Some just once in their life, some more frequently, some on command. And to the later, values and titles are assigned which represent the culture as much as the insane, crazy, unstable, not-all-there, gifted, channeler, profit, or shaman.
Quieting the Noise
Studies have shown that a statistically interesting number of pre-formal education children are able to demonstrate some level of temporal precognition or ESP (ie: guesses at the color of a card on the opposite side of a barrier). But upon completing their first year of formal education (ie: preschool or kindergarten), the number of children with this ability drops nearly to the societal norm.
While some people seem to be gifted at birth, others (re)discover this level of awareness through meditation, the practice of removing the noise of our daily lives from the synaptic pathways of our brain and neuro-muscular system to allow for the otherwise subtle, mostly lost communications of our internal and external world to be received and experienced.
A friend of mine has been meditating for nearly four years, three of those intensively, two to four hours a day and once or twice a year, an intense two week session. Through this, she has gained a level of awareness that is, according to what she has shared, often overwhelming to her, stimuli overload in a world already burdened with too much information and not enough experience.
Last week she and her friend were visiting a temple, an ancient place. The path was bounded on one side by a stone wall. My friend approached the wall, intent upon something her friend did not see.
Her friend asked, “What are you doing?”
“I am going to the water, there, in the wall.”
“What? There is no water. There is only a wall.”
“There! [pointing] Water is coming from the wall.” She pointed to a place where she saw a solid flow of water come out from the wall, through a spigot. But it was not there, at least not in the confines of this time and space. An anomaly perhaps, which enabled her to experience something that was present a long time ago.
This level of awareness has just recently come into her life, not something she seeks nor even desires for it can be confusing for both her and those she is with. According to many, moving through the world with this level of awareness is something we are all capable of doing, but we are closed to the experience or have simply forgotten how.
Open Mind, Open Door
What if each of us is capable of an awareness beyond site, taste, touch, and sound? What if each of us may be able to experience something beyond our material world, if only we could set aside the material existence long enough to perceive it?
I harbor a scientific, mechanically inclined brain. I apply the basic laws of physics to everything I see and do. When I drive over a suspension bridge, I consider the tension in the cables, the pounds per square inch of car, undulating concrete, and steel. When I walk across the crust of the snow at elevation in the Rockies, most steps holding but some allowing me to fall through, I want to know why that particular patch gave way while the others held, the formation and strength of interwoven ice crystals somehow different in one location versus another.
This summer I was looking through thousands of slides from as many as twenty two years ago. I came across a few old friends, one of whom I had not heard from for seven or eight years. I set the slide aside, but the next morning received an email from her saying she was thinking about me and wanted to know how I was doing. I nearly fell from my chair.
When I experience coincidence that seems nearly impossible, I tell myself this is but a statistical extreme. But truly, I want to believe in something more. The book “Six Degrees” by Duncan Watts is a wonderful journey through the world of mathematical correlation and connection. Yes, it dispels some of what we want to believe is divine intervention or universal connection, but as archaeological evidence shows, we have been seeking an explanation for events in our lives for tens of thousands of year.
I too desire experience beyond that which my body directly enables. I want to learn to tie my senses to my memories so that each moment of my life is recorded with depth, so that every moment counts. I want to believe again in that which a parent, teacher, or priest may have said is impossible. I want to remember how to connect to a place and time which was so real for me as a child, and yes, feel a part of a much larger universe.