The Day of the Dead …

Día de Muertos, Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Evening, Allhallowtide,whatever you call it, tonight may be seen by kids as a fun time to dress up in costumes and get free candy from strangers just for showing up at their door, but, given the events of this past year, it means more than a kid’s holiday tonight. Some say that tonight, the chasm between the living and the dead is the thinnest of any day in the year. 

For me, it brings back memories of dressing up in a costume and my Mom driving me to different “good” neighborhoods, and letting me Trick or Treat, but with Mom dead now, it gives me pause to think about the whole topic of death.

Whether you believe your lights just get turned out at death, that you disappear into nothingness, or whether you believe you go to Heaven (or Hell) or get reincarnated, the one thing we can agree on is that, at least for a time, you HAD a life…you were alive, and had choices every day of what you would do with that day.

I had to go several places today and saw children dressed in Halloween themed outfits, people buying candy for the night, and as I was picking music CDs to play in the car, I realized that most, if not all the CDs, featured singers / musicians who are now dead. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, BB King, the Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Little Feat…all of them now are fairly old or dead.

Many of us this year have lost loved ones….people who were so close to us that we would have gladly given our lives in exchange for theirs, and when reflecting on that, the question that all this brought to me is , what have we done with our lives. Poor or rich, athletic or overweight, black, white, brown,  red..whatever pigmentation we carry, male or female, atheist or believer, uneducated or overeducated, we all have had choices of what to do with our time here on Earth.

For my parents, since we were fairly poor, it was hard work, every day, long hours for not much money. But, they showed me how to treat people…how not to judge people based on their skin color, their religion, their affluence or lack thereof.
They taught me to respect others as long as they deserved that respect, and they taught me helping others is a virtue, not a weakness,

I think not only do “we the people” have to reflect on what our lives have amounted to, but we as a Nation, whether you live in the USA, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, whatever, must reflect on what the life your Nation has been given, whatever resources your country has, what have YOU done with this life you have?

To me, if one’s life as an individual , OR the life of the Nation, was just about getting rich, exploiting others, and treating good people unjustly, is what your life has amounted to, what it is all about, then your life has been squandered on you.

I saw my folks do without so they could give me things I wanted or needed as a child. I saw them give to others, when they didn’t have for themselves, and, I incorporated that as the way a life should be lived.

In a couple if weeks, we will celebrate Veteran’s Day…and we have many vets who have given their life, or are living lives in which they are severely disabled, when they entered the service whole and healthy. I can remember seeing Veterans on the streets when I was a child selling “Buddy Poppies”.  My folks always gave money to the Vets on the streets with the Buddy poppy program. My father was a Veteran of World War II, but as a kid, I didn’t know how bad off some veterans were.

The whole point of all this is simple. We have lives…and while we are living them…what are we doing with them ?

I know, in my mind, my life has never been as beneficial to others as my parent’s lives were. Their lives though, were my model, and from being a small child onward, my big aim was just to be the kind of people my Mom and Dad were, when I grew up. I didn’t want to be poor like they were, but I wanted to live a life of helping others, and of extending my hand to someone who needed it.

I think, if we are to evaluate our lives, we should do so in terms of what changes if any, we have made in the world as a result of us being here, and secondly, what impact did we have on those around us. Did we inspire them to share our values, and in essence, “pay it forward”?

Everyone who is born, is a day closer to death every day we live. Of course, we have to make a living, do those things that we are required to do as citizens, and, somewhere in there, sleep a bit. But, in our discretionary time, have we made things better or made others think about changes that need to occur ?

I don’t think you have to be President, build a pyramid, or have your name in a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to have lived a worthwhile life. I just think you have to do the best you can, every day, to make the lives of your fellow humans, and animals, a bit better because of what you do and who you are.

I think we NEED to try to stop every once and a while and say “What have I done with my life” or “What am I doing with my life”. Have I made life better for those living around me, or for those who will be born in the future ?

Unfortunately, people are all too quick to measure a person by how much money he or she accumulated during life, how much fame they acquired, etc. Some mobsters have beautiful, ornate tombs or headstones or a giant mausoleum, but in life, they killed, or caused to be killed, many people. Many died with blood on their hands, but gave away money to those in their old neighborhoods, and were seen as honored people by those receiving those monies.

Many rulers, past presidents, have fancy libraries in their names, but in life, they caused many people to die or suffer, and deserve no great reverence in death.

I talked to a woman today whose father died at age 65, and from what she said, although poor, he was a good man, and also from  what she said, it seems obvious that the malpractice of doctors at the hospital were truly at fault for his death at what was a relatively young age.

So, amid the horror movies on TV, the kids in costumes searching for candy, take just a few minutes to reflect on your life, the lives of your loved ones, and ask yourself, if I passed away today, what was my life about…was I a contributor to progress, or did I just selfishly take and take with no thought for others.

In closing, I know many people who have lost loved ones may read this, and to you, my condolences.

I think the best tribute we can give our lost loved ones, is to live a life helping others, and to inspire others to do the same.

So, to my Mother, who I miss more than words can convey, to the loved ones of all my friends and followers, you did well. You lived a life that mattered…you passed on the goodness you had inside, to others…and to me, that is what life should be about.

Hoping your Saturday, Samain, Halloween, All Saints Day, was a good one.


Thanks for reading this.



The Well of Memories

We’ve all heard of people in NDE experiences (what I call Temporary Death Experiences, because they DID technically die, not just were “near death”) where they went to the light, and saw a lost loved one who know looked like they were in their 30s, almost glowing, looking better than they did before. This has raised a question with me that I think deserves, no, demands, more inquiry. Where are memories stored ?

We know that there was a man with severe epilepsy who was having so many grand mal seizures a day, it was definitely life threatening, and so, the surgeon took a bold move by ablation (burning out) of bilateral medial temporal lobectomy to surgically remove the anterior two thirds of his hippocampi, parahippocampal cortices, entorhinal cortices, piriform cortices, and amygdalae, in an attempt to reduce the amount of glutamine, because it had been noted higher levels of glutamine had been associated with epilepsy. ( More on this at ) Although it did help with his epilepsy, an unfortunate effect that was permanent from the surgery was his loss of the ability to form short term memories…so, although he had well preserved memories from his life before the surgery, after the surgery he was unable to form short term memories which, in the normal person, can be transferred into long term memories.

So in essence, Henry Molaison was always living  in the “now”, If he met you 10 minutes ago and you left the room and came back, you had to again introduce yourself to him. In later years, scientists found that the hippocampus is important to short term memory creation.

As memory research has improved, scientists now classify long term memories into two types, procedural and declarative. Procedural memory is involved in things like knowledge of how to ride a bicycle, knowing how to shave, to drive a car, etc. Procedural memory is also known as “implicit memory” and Declarative is known as “explicit memory”.

Procedural memories are produced by doing the series of acts over and over. You can remember when you were learning how to ride a bicycle. I know when I was young, my Father was trying to teach me to learn a bicycle and had the patience of Job because, it seemed I just not coordinate my muscles and balance well enough to do it.  Then, and I recall this event very clearly, there was an “AHA” event where suddenly, I could do it. I got on the bike and rode it perfectly.
I never did get as good as my Dad though , because he could ride the bike backward (turned around with his back facing the front tire). At any rate, once you learn how to ride a bike, you don’t have to learn again from scratch even if it has been years since you have ridden one.

This is different from declarative. From we read that
”  Declarative memory (“knowing what”) is memory of facts and events, and refers to those memories that can be consciouslyrecalled (or “declared”). It is sometimes called explicit memory, since it consists of information that is explicitly stored and retrieved, although it is more properly a subset of explicit memory. Declarative memory can be further sub-divided into episodic memory and semantic memory“.

The main difference I guess is that procedural tends to be an unconscious type of memory…whereas declarative is a conscious type.

Over the years, scientists have mapped the regions of the brain they believe are associated with different types of actions, abilities, etc., but, they have also found that the brain seems to be far more plastic than they previously thought. They’ve seen people who suffered trauma to one part of the brain that controls a certain function, that after the trauma, it is like the brain has rewired things and now, they can still perform that function, but a different part of the brain has taken over. This goes along with the so-called holonomic brain theory of Karl Pribram in association with physicist David Bohm. This theory of the brain, especially with regard to memory, is a holographic storage concept,which allows for non-local storage of memories and information. More on this at

Now, we’ve waded through all this for me to ask one question. If all memories are stored in the brain, and that, in essence, the brain is like a computer hard drive, and death is like pulling both the power cable and the data cable loose, how do these people who die, recognize dead relatives ?

In other words, if the essence of YOU, who you are, what your life has been, your memories, is stored solely within that walnut shaped bit of tissue in your skull that we call a brain, when there is zero brain activity per the EEG, how are people able to perceive events during temporary death? How are they able to form what are permanent, long term memories of exactly what happened to them when they were clinically dead? A flat EEG means that the brain has NO activity, and yet, there are cases where people have been temporarily breathing, no eeg, no sign of life, even starting to show the classic signs of lividity, and yet, they came back describing not only what was being said, what was happening in the operating room, but even in waiting rooms down the hall where their relatives were gathered together, talking.

This goes WAY beyond ” non-local” holographic storage in the holonomic theory of Pribram and Bohm. It suggests that the essence of who YOU are, may not be housed solely in the brain. If it were, then people who clinically die, should describe being confused, not knowing who they were, not knowing the people they see in Heaven, nor the people they “see” in operating rooms. Of course, where does the sight come from anyway. There are no optic nerves, no occipital lobes in the spirit, and of course, this consciousness, this awareness of things when a person is technically dead, where the heck does THAT come from.

A simple view of the spirit or soul (I’ve always had difficulty knowing the difference) would be an animated , etheric or energetic form of a person, but, one would think without a brain, there would be no ability to “think”, let alone, process what they see into short term or long term memories. They would, unless you alter this simplistic theory , in essence be spiritual zombies…wandering aimlessly, without consciousness, without memories.

But, the events described by people on the series BEYOND and BACK, and on the AFTERLIFE PROJECT, and in many books, magazines, videos, movies, etc., would indicate that the higher functions we as humans are so proud of, i.e., memory, compassion, love, consciousness, are preserved in the spirit or soul even after death.

Of course, many who are skeptics will look at the testimony of those who have experienced temporary death and come back to report on it, as people who have a great imagination, people whose brain was affected by hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and thus, that they hallucinated. But, facts are stubborn things and in many cases, the nurses, surgeons, as well as family members who listened to what the patient who temporarily died reported, have to admit that somehow, what these people “saw and heard” in the spiritual body, was indeed what happened, and in the case of one woman who perfectly described what as said, what happened in the waiting room, located far away from the operating room, she was able not only to report exactly was was said, and what happened, but also, one of her relatives did something highly unusual for them, something anyone guessing about what was happening, would  not have known.

Although finally we have some scientists who are brave enough to start asking the questions about what happens after death, we are light years away from understanding exactly how things like memories are preserved in a spirit…or how consciousness is preserved in a spirit.

We’ve learned that there is something called “muscle memory” such that, if you repeat a task over and over and over, when called upon to perform that task, you don’t have to consciously think about how the action is done, it almost seems to be automatic. In martial arts, we have certain sets of actions called kuen (aka kata in karate in Japanese arts and Korean arts) which, after you practice them over and over, you develop a “muscle memory” so that, in an attack, you don’t have to consciously plan your actions, they flow spontaneously from having practiced the series of actions over and over.

For many scientists and skeptics, they would scoff at this whole line of inquiry, and that’s fine, but for those of us who are interested in the area of study involving temporary death, or “NDE” (near death experience), it does raise interesting questions about where memory and consciousness is stored in an energy body that has no brain. But, perhaps the energetic body has a sort of brain…a non-local, non physical center of memory, thinking, awareness, cognition.
Certainly, there must be some means by which they are able to recognize dead relatives when they temporarily pass to “The Other Side”.

One other aspect of memory is the “engram” (and I am not referring to the Scientology gibberish they call engrams).

 “The term engram was coined by the little-known but influential memory researcher Richard Semon.

Karl S. Lashley‘s search for the engram found that it could not exist in any specific part of the rat’s brain, but that memory was widely distributed throughout the cortex.[3] One possible explanation for Lashley’s failure to locate the engram is that many types of memory (e.g. visual-spatial, smell, etc.) are used in the processing of complex tasks, such as rats running mazes. The consensus view in neuroscience is that the sorts of memory involved in complex tasks are likely to be distributed among a variety of neural systems, yet certain types of knowledge may be processed and contained in specific regions of the brain.[4] Overall, the mechanisms of memory are poorly understood. Such brain parts as the cerebellum, striatum, cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala are thought to play an important role in memory. For example, the hippocampus is believed to be involved in spatial and declarative learning, as well as consolidating short-term into long-term memory.

In Lashley’s experiments (1929, 1950), rats were trained to run a maze. Tissue was removed from their cerebral cortices before re-introducing them to the maze, to see how their memory was affected. Increasingly, the amount of tissue removed degraded memory, but more remarkably, where the tissue was removed from made no difference.[4]

Later, Richard F. Thompson sought the engram in the cerebellum, rather than the cerebral cortex. He used classical conditioning of the eyelid response in rabbits in search of the engram. He puffed air upon the cornea of the eye and paired it with a tone. (This puff normally causes an automatic blinking response. After a number of experiences associating it with a tone, the rabbits became conditioned to blink when they heard the tone even without a puff.) The experiment monitored several brain regions, trying to locate the engram.

One region that Thompson’s group studied was the lateral interpositus nucleus (LIP). When it was deactivated chemically, the rabbits lost the conditioning; when re-activated, they responded again, demonstrating that the LIP is a key element of the engram for this response.[5]

This approach, targeting the cerebellum, though successful, examines only basic, automatic responses, which almost all animals possess, especially as defense mechanisms.

Studies have shown that declarative memories move between the limbic system, deep within the brain, and the outer, cortical regions. These are distinct from the mechanisms of the more primitive cerebellum, which dominates in the blinking response and receives the input of auditory information directly. It does not need to “reach out” to other brain structures for assistance in forming some memories of simple association.

So, the bottom line is that even in the area of neuropsychology and neuroanatomy, there are many things we do not fully understand about memory…its storage, retrieval, the relocation of the function in people who are sustain brain injuries or born with a partial brain, etc).

And, if we are so far from fully understanding and mapping the physical brain, we are all that more far from understanding what happens after physical death.

Just a word about music posts…

I post a LOT of tunes…and honestly, my own tastes are eclectic…I therefore post a lot of different genre…including jazz, rock, blues, metal, country, etc…

I am aware I post a LOT of blues…and for folks who are not blues fans…sorry…I love the blues and I honestly post the stuff I listen to. I don’t listen to a lot of Opera nor Rap…nor certain metal groups.

I hope I post enough other types of tunes to offset those who are not blues fans…and I appreciate your patience with me when I play a genre you may not like.

I also have various musicians and groups who follow me, and I appreciate them and often feature their tunes because I like them.

Anyway…just had to say that.

Think before you say a hurtful word to your loved ones …

As I was working on making Mom’s urn look as pretty as I could, suddenly, like a torrent, like a dam breaking, every mean, every disrespectful, every hurtful word I ever said to my Mother began flooding into my mind, things I had forgotten about for years…small things, misunderstandings…and even though they were not that bad, or were long, long ago…perhaps 50 years ago…for whatever reason, I was hit by a deluge of them…and suddenly, felt the pain she felt when I said them…I honestly don’t know how to explain it…but it had such a powerful effect on me, it prompted me to write this. I truly, without reservation, always loved my Mother more than anything in this world, and the fact that somehow, my brain or spirit, or whatever, had kept track of them all, even the smallest things, for decades, just to be released to me as I was finishing work on her urn, in one torrent, of one thing after another, shocked me…and I would give anything if I could just go back and take those back…but, every act, every word, every inaction…apparently creates ripples in your life, and in those around you. And, the hell I’ve gone through for the past hour, having them all come back to me as if they just happened, hurts…and I just want to say this…you can’t have a do over…what’s said, for good or for bad, exists…if not in your immediate mind, it has its own life somewhere…if only in your hidden memories.

So, if there is a message in all this, please think before you say something in anger…especially if it is to someone you love more than life itself.

Blessings. Peace.

Systematic murder of patients is happening in USA Hospitals

Tonight, I sealed the lid on the urn that contains the ashes of my Mother and my Step Father. Before closing the lid, I looked at the plastic bag, full of ashes, which had a small, shiny, cheap metal tag with a four letter code on it that apparently is used to match to the person they cremate. I created a small certificate for Mom that I put in the urn before I sealed it…honoring the kind of person she was. She died September 24th, 2015, the cause of death was listed as “Sepsis”. With all my heart, I believe my Mother COULD have been saved…and in the around 60,000 or more, pages of clinical records we have from just the first hospital, a reading of only the first 200 showed a pattern and practice of lying, covering up, etc. I have had big attorneys, nurses, doctors, and others take a look, and they all say that at the minimum there was serious neglect, but going further, the records suggest they were trying to kill my Mother. She went in with JUST a case of pneumonia…no skin problems, the day before feeding herself, able to carry on conversations, recognizing friends and loved ones, able to walk with a two man assist, no heart problems at all. In just four months, she was turned into a bag of ashes. As an only child, my Mother had done everything she could for me my whole life. She had always put me first. But, perhaps the most important thing to me, she was my one friend who never, ever, under any circumstances, ran away, or abandoned me. She stood by my side, and did everything she could to make my life as good as possible, most often, by sacrificing things she should have done for herself.

When you are at the point of giving up…

Each of us has trials and tribulations. I lived with a woman for three years who had a case of spina bifida manifesta, which left her paralyzed from the waist down , and she occasionally lost control of bowel and bladder function. She was still a relatively young woman, and I, an ablebodied person with two legs, saw how hard it was for a chaired person just to go through the journey of a normal day. When you can walk well, you don’t realize how hard something as simple as a parking lot strewn with rocks can be…and as an ablebodied person, you have to learn the tricks like taking a person in a chair down stairs essentially walking backward…and learn the best way to hoist an older wheelchair like an EJ, into a trunk or put it behind the seats. I never once saw her give up. She tried to remain cheerful, but I did see her cry once when she was watching a girl and boy, holding hands, walking down a sidewalk. I drew immense strength just from knowing her and being beside her for three years. I remember once the wheel of her chair snapped off and she had to call me to the house to help. She worked full time, and she tried to get as much fun out of life as possible. She smiled when I knew she felt like crying. Her bravery, courage, strength of spirit in the face of adversity, was amazing. She had hand controls on her car to drive herself to work, and one time, on the freeway, her hand controls came loose, but she managed to get on the shoulder. One of her friends driving by, saw her broke down, and came to get me. I had to repair her controls and also, learned how to drive using hand controls only…not easy on a major city freeway during rush hour. So, in spite of it all, she kept up her spirits, though, I knew that the smile outside, often hid the crying inside. As a little girl, she was on arm braces, but discovered she couldn’t carry books or do a lot with her upper extremities, and so she opted to use a wheelchair, and as she got older, her legs became so weak, she would have to use her hands to move one of her legs, so there was no “going back” to the braces/ crutches.

She never talked about suicide…even when her younger brother, who had a worse case of spina bifida manifesta, died.

I talk about her because each of us has our own burdens. I have been honored that so many here on Twitter have had as much confidence in me to tell me their personal problems, trials, and challenges.

So, I know both first, and secondhand, that many people are carrying immense physical, emotional, and psychological burdens, and that they sometimes, come close to…giving up, for wont of a better word. I’ve talked to people who were suicidal, and none that I got the chance to talk with, as far as I know, ended their lives by their own hands.

This morning, I opened the urn with my Mother’s ashes. It is a double urn, one that already contained my stepfather’s ashes. The crematorium that did HIS, made a nice, elegant looking certificate with his name on it that they place inside. This place just put a silvery tag, with a number, nothing to give Mom’s ashes identity (but the gentleman last night showed me a tracking sheet where all cremains have an ID number so they can match it up). We had asked them to seal the urn,and were assured they would, but they hadn’t. It was getting late, they had a funeral going on at the time we were there, and I just wanted to get my Mom’s ashes home. So today, I am going to create a nice, parchment paper certificate for Mom’s ashes before I seal the lid of the urn.

As many of you know, this has been a long nightmare for me and my wife. We’ve had to fight too many doctors and administrators to mention. I’ve been insulted, was initially threatened with having my “ribs broken” by the ER doctor because I insisted my 89 year old Mother be on full code status. I’ve been before two “Ethics Committee” ambushes with 15-20 doctors (and one “priest / lawyer” in Chicago in telephonic attendance), and I never wavered. One of my friends, near the end, suggested I meditate and get in touch with Mom. It’s been a long time since I did formal meditation, and it was hard to clear my mind given the totality of what has been going on…Mom’s health being only a part, albeit, the most important part to me.
But, finally, I was able to clear my mind…and the words I got in my mind from Mom was “I’m tired”. I didn’t want to think that. After all, the doctors had kept her sedated a lot, so it was hard to know exactly to what extent she was uncomfortable, but I realized later, she had stage 4 decubitus ulcers, had all the hoses keeping her mouth open, and it was then I realized this was not living, not even surviving, it was torture, and I could allow it no longer. My whole life, I’ve feared the date the 23rd, because something told me that one of my loved ones would die on that date. So, ever since I was a very small child, every 23rd of the month, I would get extremely apprehensive and anxious. On the 23rd, Mom’s urine output in the bag, had stopped…and finally, I knew I had no choice.

All through this, I had people trying to force me to do what they wanted me to do, but my charge, as her only son, as her legal guardian, was to try to keep her alive in case there was a last minute miracle…but those two words in my mind let me know, the door was closing. So, late on the 23rd of September, I finally agreed and checked the box, to let her “die a natural death”. I’ve signed many documents in life, taken lots of tests and passed them, but that document…that one box, was literally the hardest check mark I’ve ever made. And, in just a few hours, on the 24th, Mom died.
If I had done it on the 23rd, that lifelong fear that it was predetermined someone very close to me would die on the 23rd, would have come true, and again, that decision would have been taken from me and Mom.

This morning, I opened her urn, saw a plastic bag with a shiny, small, metal tag with a number on it, and immediately flashed on all the Christmases, all the Thanksgivings, all the birthdays, all the scraped knees, all the things Mom had done for me in 62 years. I can’t tell you how many times when people would ask her something, she would say “It’s whatever my son thinks is right”.

Each of us has a breaking point. Some find it early in life, some find it late in life. Each of us finds a time when we feel like giving up. Perhaps the one thing that my friends and associates in real life would tell you about me is “He never gives up”. But, I would lie to you if I told you I didn’t feel like it today. But, I’m not giving up. My heart is battered, bruised, and broken, but there must be an accounting for what was done to my Mother at the first hospital. She came in with a simple case of pneumonia, no decubitus ulcers, in fact, was feeding herself, responding to questions, knew my wife and others, initiating conversations, even walking with double assist. But, since I hold giving you truth as important, that first hospital all but killed her. The second hospital did their best, but she had four stage four ulcers they had allowed to happen, did nothing to prevent. She was so thin, there was no skin to place over the places they would have to debride, so they would not debride these four stage four ulcers. The official reason for death on the death certificate we got last night was “sepsis”.

In essence, that first hospital took the human who meant more to me than my own life, a beautiful 89 year old woman, and turned her into a bag of ashes.

I’ve talked to many other people who have lost loved ones lately, or are in the process of losing them. If I could, I would personally hug each and every one of you, as well as hug each person on Twitter that has supported and loved us, and been with us through this journey / fight.

So, I’m not giving up. I won’t go away. I won’t give the “doctors” and “hospital” the satisfaction that they won. I will do everything legally I can to create problems for them. And, I will, as long as I can continue, be here for you as well…to listen if that’s what you need, to sympathize, to try to support you through your trials and tribulations.

Because, this is what family is about. My role model in this was my Mother. She never, ever abandoned me, never failed to give me everything she had. She was MY example of what a good person is, what a good person does. So, if I have helped any of you, please understand that was only the reflection of my Mom in me that was helping.

I am nothing really. I’m a loudmouthed Viking Anon Pyrate, but, I have Brothers and Sisters in Anonymous, in Occupy, and those unaffiliated with either group, but whom I call “Brother” or “Sister”, because, we ARE family. Maybe not closely related, but we are in the Family of Humankind.

So, that’s my thoughts for this Saturday. I’m tired, and stressed, but I fight on.

#MuchLuv to You All, from my Heart…

Still answering DMs

I was offline for a couple of days and due to all that has happened, I just had to cut back on my Twitter use for a bit. That said, I have DMs from October 7th, and perhaps even older, and I am trying to get to them as I can. Thanks for being patient with me during what, for me, has been a very trying time. Blessings.

The Illusion called Reality…

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” ~Albert Einstein.

I’ve never thought Einstein was joking in that quote. In fact, it perfectly describes my way of looking at this thing called “reality”. I used to think there was something wrong with me because from day to day, it felt like I was either in a dream (or more often, a nightmare) or in a play.

I think that’s the reason I discovered I have a knack for acting, because to me, the nature of daily life, feels so much like that. And that is not to say that I am someone who is not being honest in his day to day life…it’s just a feeling that somehow, we are “seeing through a glass darkly”.

I remember when I was a child, that sunshine seemed SO bright back then…it was one of the things I really loved… was being outside in the hot summer sun. Then, a couple of years ago, I noticed that to me, the bright summer days didn’t seem as bright as when I was a kid. Now, I don’t have cataracts or any vision problems that would explain that, so I started doing a little research. What I found was that according to the folks who measured the amount of sunlight hitting the ground in the 1950s, and who have continued keeping records to this day, there actually HAS been a drop in the amount of sunshine reaching the ground now, relative to then. It is referred to as“Global dimming” .

I’m not sure why, but it seems that the memories of the bad things that have happened to me are more pronounced in my memory than the good ones. It’s not that I don’t remember the good ones…it’s just that they have the “Glenda the Good Witch” kind of glow around them in my mind that doesn’t seem real…almost like they were just a wonderful dream I had.

The conundrum of reality has recently been even more confusing with the articles that postulate that perhaps, what we perceive as reality, is in effect, merely a holographic program that is being run by some celestial computer. This is not merely a science fiction plot line, but actual scientists are speculating on this. They call it the “simulation hypothesis”.
A few links include:

There are many more articles. All you need to do is google “simulation hypothesis”.

When I first heard of this theory, it caused my lifelong question of just how “real” is “reality”, to carry more weight, more gravitas if you will.

And, as I have grown older, I’ve noticed daily, many MORE incidents of what I guess you would call synchronicity. For example…I will be writing a sentence…and a phrase from the sentence will come on the TV as I am writing it. When I was young, I hardly ever noticed such things, not that they happened and I didn’t notice, but they just didn’t happen…perhaps once a year something like that would happen, and not as noticeable as what I am experiencing now.

In a way, it’s maddening because it FEELS like someone or something is trying to get a message through to me…but I’m just too slow or addle brained to get the clues. And, of course there’s the phenomenon of deja vu. I’ve read some theories that scientists have come up with to explain that phenomenon, and when you compare them to the possibility that we are actually reliving our life, and use Occam’s razor as the tool to compare them, the possibility that we are really reliving moments of our life makes much more sense than the contorted and bizarre mechanisms scientists have postulated.

Those who look into the “multiverse” theory know that, in some theories about multiverses, almost every type of reality that can exists, does exist , has existed, or will exist. In other words, let’s say in this dimension, you are a neurosurgeon…there is a universe in which you are a drug addict with a criminal record a mile long. But, let’s take that notion perhaps one step farther. There is something called “quantum entanglement”. From Wikipedia “Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently—instead, a quantum state may be given for the system as a whole.”

To say it more simply, if two or more particles were at any point joined…and let’s say they speed away from each other at light speed for a century…whatever happens with one of the two particles, is immediately experienced by the other particle. SO…let’s say that at some point, all the “YOUs” there are, in several different dimensions or universes, were originally together…and then, through some mechanism, the different versions of you were sent into different realities, different universes, it is possible that out of the clear blue, you would experience something you cannot explain, and the explanation is that it happened to your “Quantum twin” in some other reality. Or…perhaps the lives of two “quantum twins” are not exactly the same, but are fairly similar…deja vu might explain some odd time delay or replay of a similar event in your other twin’s life.

I’ve never spoken much about this because people start thinking…uh oh, he’s gone off the deep end…because when you start doubting reality, people want to drag out the DSM V and start trying to pigeonhole you into some form of mental illness.

I do think that the recent death of my Mother, has caused me to think a lot more about the nature of reality, and not that whole E. Kubler Ross thing about denial. I think that’s merely a defense mechanism of the brain that when any horrible event happens to you, your brain wants to play like this is not really happening….and I totally understand that.

I think it’s a good thing to challenge your belief systems on a regular basis and when your beliefs don’t seem to work well with what you are seeing or experiencing, perhaps it’s time to change to a system that DOES explain what you see. When one stays closeminded about things…and wants to say that there can be no other explanation, that is not being scientific. A real scientist goes where the facts take him or her, and doesn’t refuse to go down a path simply because their belief system says that cannot be real, even if the facts seem to indicate it IS real.

I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

So, I struggle, day to day, trying my best to make sense of it all. To this point, there is an oddness about this thing called “reality”…like a shimmering silvery silk cloth placed over something…you know something is behind it, but it is being slightly hidden from you…there, but not there, at the same time.

Blessings. Namaste.

Thanks for reading.

Better to not promise than to promise and not fulfill it

My wife just called and told me the oldest of the kids we took to the Fair, wanted all our names because he was going to write a special thank you note to us. He said, this was the first time anyone had promised something to do for him, and went through with it, and it meant so much to him. He’s an 11 year old black child living in the inner city. He is overweight, and has some sort of hip problems (both sides) which causes his walk to be very awkward, and I think it probably hurts him to walk much. I noticed the more we walked, the more pronounced his limping was, but, he was so excited he was walking through the pain. He said when he heard we were taking him to the Fair, he didn’t get his hopes up because people who promised to do something good for him, had NEVER fulfilled their promises. So, he was shocked when we took him and the other kids there to the fair, just as he had been promised. I think it gave him a new hope that perhaps there ARE people who keep their promises, and for an 11 year old child, living in poverty, having hope that things will get better, is very important.

Thanks for reading this.

Showing someone cares can create a lifelong memory

Yesterday, a friend of my wife and I had to go to a consultation with a doctor on possible surgery in Dallas. She is a very good person, and does a lot of work in the inner city to try to help those less fortunate.
After the consultation, she told us that she had gotten donations from some well to do folks in the Metroplex, and was going to take some underprivileged kids to the State Fair, and asked if my wife and I would help her take the kids and be adult chaperones to watch the kids.

We agreed, and we had two cars full of kids that we took to the State Fair. I had never been to the State Fair, and I really don’t usually like carnivals or Fairs, but, it was a chance to do something good in the real world. Our friend got the OK from the parents or legal guardians of the kids, and everything was set to go.

The kids were from 6 to 10 or 11 in age, and included both black kids and Hispanic kids. The kids were bubbling with excitement to get to go to the fair. They got the chance to ride some rides, to walk around and just enjoy the event.

When we were getting ready to leave, an ambulance and two motorcycle cops came into the Fair…and at the time, we didn’t know what was going on, but later, found out that one of the rides had broken. A wheel came off run of the rides “The Crazy Mouse” and injured one of the workers,

After we left the Fair, and took the children back home, we were talking about how things went. I was telling my wife and our friend how I was realizing just how fortunate I was to have had the wonderful parents I had. I was also reflecting on how much fun the kids had, how awestruck they were by all the sights and sounds, and what a good time they had.

I told my wife and our Friend that, although the kids had a great time at the Fair, as a child does when they can go to these entertainment events, there were memories created that day, and it was something the kids would remember their whole lives. But the memory I think that will be more important than just the fun they had, was that here were people who were there, showing they cared about the kids, and, this was the most important things for these kids. Many were from broken homes, many had no father figure in the home. While we were driving them back home, the radio was on and the kids were singing along…evidently these were the popular songs because the kids knew all the words (I’d never heard the tunes before).

I asked one of the kids who sang the song and they told me (but I forgot). But I told them they sang great, and they should keep singing, perhaps become a singer one day. I could tell just that little bit of encouragement, that little bit of someone telling them they did something well, meant the world to them.

So, I hope that these children enjoyed the Fair, but even more, that they realized that there are people in this world who care, and that , they do have a future, and that perhaps they can someday, realize their dreams.

Thanks for reading this.