The Thinker

Intimations of Immortality

A few entries back I mentioned my pal Lisa’s recent experience with a psychic. I’m still waiting for the full report, which I am sure I will get in time. While ruminating on the subject though I’d thought I’d throw out a few of my own observations in the course of life that have made me curious about things metaphysical.

My friend Frank Pierce some years ago told me “No one ever worries about what they were before they were conceived. We only dwell on what comes after death, if anything.” This is really an excellent observation because it captures the nature of the problem. Life is really about living. Our challenge is to live it.

Many of you have no doubt seen “The Matrix”. I was struck by the scene where the protagonist wakes, as if from a dream, to find he actually exists in some soupy pod a century hence and is being used by machines that control the planet and enslave people. His perceived reality is, in fact, a simulation. As a child I often wondered if every time I moved the world was completely redrawn. While I no longer hold that as a viable notion I think there is perhaps something to this idea that our existence is in fact a complex form of virtual reality. We are in a game, or experience, that concludes with death.

It is interesting how all the major religions pretty much echo this same notion. Most religions would not call life a game, but they would say something that how one lives it and how one interacts with others determines one’s soul growth.

I have ruminated on what makes things genuine for me and I have determined that the only thing genuine is what I feel (or experience). What and how I experience may not be real in fact. But this notion is an axiom of my life: an article of faith. The alternative is that feelings are not genuine.

Most of us have had experiences of deja-vu in our lives. I get them about twice a year. Sometimes they are mild, but sometimes they are very powerful. My most powerful experience occurred in 1987 when I went to work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. I arrived at work on my first day to be shown the room I would work in and I had deja vu. I had never seen the room before I had been there. But it was all in my memory already, right down to the railroad tracks outside my window and the smoke belching from the nearby tunnel. The desk, the computer, the stuff on the wall … it snapped into place like a puzzle piece.

Scientists and those of a rational bent like to tell us our minds play tricks on us at these times: it’s all some weird neuron firing thing. But I don’t believe it anymore. It felt real so for me it was real. So watching The Matrix in a way gave me the same sort of feeling … not that I remember seeing the Matrix before I saw it, but the feeling that life maybe wasn’t as linear as I thought.

I think life may well be more like a disk drive than a tape drive. Occasionally you can move the read/write head and “move outside the time stream”. I’m speculating but perhaps this happens in deep sleep. Anyhow either I am deluding myself or I’m onto something here.

If time is an illusion then perhaps death doesn’t mean anything either. Maybe our existence is defined by the time stream that is our life and we wander endlessly back and forth between conception and death. Or perhaps the time stream goes before conception and after death and we are either immortal or live many, many lives.

My mother is 82 and feeling her mortality. She doesn’t like being her oldest surviving sibling. Who can blame her? I’m likely to feel the same way in time, if I live so long. But I remember her often remarking that she looks in the mirror and her body is so old, but her mind still feels so youthful. Maybe that too is a clue. The body is an illusion of sorts, and neither lasting nor wholly genuine. And if one can feel that truth perhaps aging can be less traumatic.

Based purely on how I feel on a gut level I am much more inclined now to believe in reincarnation. I’m not quite sure why I am here. If I am here on a mission it’s not obvious to me what it is supposed to be. Maybe life truly is a gift and it is ours to enjoy as we see fit.

I leave with my family tomorrow for Hawaii. So this web log will likely be blank until we get back, hopefully on December 30th. Have a safe and happy holiday season.


3 Responses to “Intimations of Immortality”

  1. 2:16 am on December 23 2002, ez said:

    Those are some fascinating theories. I’m a believer in reincarnation myself, partially [having an empirical side] due to many reports around the world of small children, often in deprived countries where they have no access to books or TV [these are the most convincing] describing places and events long past and speaking with alarming fluency languages which they couldn’t possibly have picked up in their experience. Some of them speak of living in these past times and then having died. As for reality being an illusion, that’s one I toy with myself from time to time, but for some reason taking it seriously is a little too terrifying. lol I CAN tell you, with as much certainty as I have about anything, that reality has many more sides to it than what we see. If you’ve ever looked at your surroundings and gotten the sense that there’s something behind everything you’re seeing, you know what I’m talking about. I always belived that was the chi, or the force that is believed by some to flow through everything. I think the idea that reality is an illusion may stem from the universe being made entirely of particles which are, at their essence, mutable. Everything is made of energy, quite simply, and will eventually revert to that form, so perhaps the “holodeck” feeling isn’t that far off.

  2. 9:42 pm on December 3 2010, Ouroborous said:

    I noticed the date on the previous comment. The last eight years seem to have lost their substance. Were they a moment or an eternity? Is there a distinction if time is endlessly recurrent? Henri Poincare’s work has been very effectively suppressed by those who have used religious superstition to exploit the masses. Deja vu is a manifestation of the eternally repetitive nature of the Universe as proven by the Poincare’ Recurrence Theorem. The traditionally faithful can exchange their nebulous beliefs for the unshakable knowledge that God is real, this is how he lives forever and we along with Him. Eternally Yours, Ouroboros.

  3. 4:38 pm on May 22 2011, Kyrsten Bean said:

    I stumbled onto your site while searching for consciousness topics. I’m constantly grappling with a similar feeling. Sometimes I feel like I open my mind up to a conversation that has always been going on somewhere, but for this moment I am able to connect with the conversation outside of my head at just the moment I think it. Today I am struggling with the aging of my physical form being entirely separate from the feeling of eternal consciousness that resides somewhere inside of the physical plane. The hardest part of being aware inside a mortal form is knowing that the physical form in this particular shape (my body) that I’ve come to identify with is not eternal, like the thoughts inside of it seem to be.

    I felt the same way when I saw the Matrix. And at certain points when I have experienced Deja Vu it feels the same, as if I have connected with a stream that flows through all space and time, and is aware of this exact moment before I am, so somehow the two meet. I used to think it meant that I was in the right place. But now I am beginning to think there is no right place, it may just be that the quantum plane I have reached at this moment is an acceptable one.

    I once had a dream where I met a musician I admired and wanted to write music like outside of a concert venue. When I went to his concert soon after, I got a black eye from a crowd surfer and had to go outside. Who walked out at that moment exactly like in my dream? The musician I admired. And it spawned a series of events that set my life on a course I will never think was chance. For some people, I think these things happen often. Awareness is compelling. Meeting him was similar to the feeling I had when I saw the Matrix. So what does this mean to any of us, the feeling we’ve been somewhere before or seen something before? Why does it baffle and excite us so much? Maybe because it’s otherwordly and seems to exist outside the space/time continuum. Because the life many of us life seems so rote and defined by time on the clock and when we step outside for a second and realize that things can happen completely outside the clock, that we can manifest certain realities or sync events from the future or past with our present in various realities that almost seem to exist all at once, it freaks out the solid structured world we’ve devised to keep our collective fear of death and destruction of the identity we’ve defined for ourselves at ease. Just thoughts.

    But when I talk like this I freak my friends and family out. Therefore, it’s nice that you share on these topics in your blog and trust the thoughts inside to the collective consciousness of the web.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site