OK. I’m going to re-write a thing I’ve talked about in various other, older blogs, about one of the most pivotal events of my life. It is a weird thing, and if you were to read this and say “I think you’ve smoked too much pot”, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. But it’s still true.
However, to paraphrase the narrator of the Captain Underpants books: before I tell you that thing, I have to tell you this thing.
I have always been fascinated by, for lack of a better term, “weird stuff”. ESP, astral projection, UFOs, Freemasonry, the secret wisdom of the ancients. This goes back to when I was a little kid, too – I remember having conversations with friends in my neighborhood about spooky psychic stuff and really, really believing it. I was a devoted fan of In Search Of…, and when I was in junior high I begged my mom to get me the Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown books (which she then got rid of when I was in college, and I’ll always be ever-so-slightly bitter about that). You may remember those books from the ridiculous commercials:
This was more than just catnip for my easily-distracted pubescent brain; this was the good stuff. I didn’t necessarily know what to do with it, but I absorbed it anyway. As I got older I started reading more advanced versions of these things; in retrospect it’s easy to understand why I gravitated towards conspiracy-minded books like Foucault’s Pendulum and The Illuminatus! Trilogy, both of which are explicitly fictional – which is to say, the fictional characters in these books of fiction are creating these fictions within the books themselves – and yet resonate with the weight of ancient truths.
The irony in all this is that I have not a single psychic bone in my body. In fact, I have, like, negative psychic ability. And not for lack of trying. If I flip a coin, I will pick the wrong side nearly every time, even if I change my mind mid-flip. I remember playing with Zener cards in my bedroom for hours and I always and consistently struck out every time.
There is psychic ability around me, for sure. My wife claims to have a bit of it, and she says it runs in her family. My uncle, who is… um… troubled, used to tell me about his experiences in the astral plane. I dated girls in college who read my tarot, and while they didn’t know each other at all, they were all fairly consistent in their readings; one girl in particular gave me one of the most detailed and accurate palm readings I’ll ever get in my life.
More recently, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, a few months ago our basement flooded, and on the day that we received the repair estimates (which were in the thousands of dollars), I went to get the mail and saw that I’d received a rather sizable check from my aunt, completely out of the blue. And when I called her to thank her, she just said “Jeremy, I just had a flash and I knew you needed this, and I wanted you to have it.” The thing is, the check was sent via regular mail, which means she sent it before the flood had even happened.
I am, by nature, a skeptical person. I am agnostic, at best, in terms of religion; I do not have to believe in science, because science is not something you believe in. But when it comes to this kind of stuff, well…
I went to my one and only Grateful Dead show when I was in college; me and my bandmates went to MSG and ate a whole bunch of mushrooms and had a really good time for about an hour. (I should also mention that this was my first time eating mushrooms.) During the break between the first and second sets, though, I started feeling very weird. The hallucinations were coming on pretty furiously, and for the most part I could handle them; but things started to go south when I realized that I’d been having the same conversation over and over in a loop for about 15 minutes. Suddenly, time was not linear, and that freaked me the fuck out. My friend saw I was having a bad time, and he walked me back to my dorm room – which was a good hour-long walk. I felt like nothing was real; I had no way of discerning whether I was actually walking downtown or if I was a disembodied brain in a jar imagining that I was walking downtown. With the benefit of hindsight, I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but at the time it meant everything. I felt like I was going insane.
This feeling of anxiety ebbed on and off for about 2-3 weeks. And when I felt like I’d finally come through the other side, I realized that I would never be able to return to the mindset I had before that night. I had been changed, utterly and profoundly, and it took quite a bit longer for me to accept that.
Around this time, I had a motley group of friends – filmmakers, actors, musicians, writers, directors – that would go to a diner near our dorm late at night, and order coffee and smoke cigarettes and write poetry and song lyrics and such in our journals, and we’d talk for hours about stuff. We’d talk about theater, we’d talk about Capital-A Art, we’d talk about life.
One night my friend and I came up with something called Disc Theory. Disc Theory was a way of reconciling Fate and Freewill. The idea went something like this:
Imagine your life is a compact disc. (The metaphor immediately breaks here, because (a) some of you grew up without CDs, and (b) if Blu-Rays existed at the time I might’ve used that instead. But this was the mid-90s, and so you’re going to imagine your life is a CD.) You are born: the universe has pressed “play” on your CD in the cosmic jukebox. You die: the CD is finished. Your life, as you experience it, is the music. When you meet someone you’ve never met before and you immediately hit it off, it’s because your music is in harmony with each other; likewise, if you immediately get a bad vibe from a stranger and you can’t explain why, it’s because your music is dissonant.
The Fate and Freewill parts go something like this: the music on the CD was already recorded (fate), but you’re hearing it for the first time, so you don’t know what to expect (freewill). You are allowed to make choices in your life; even if the choice was already made, it doesn’t affect your ability to make the choice in the first place. Even if you choose to not choose.
It’s clumsy, in retrospect, but at the time it made an astounding amount of sense. And even if it’s silly, I do like the idea of the cosmic jukebox.
Which is why I feel like I just got punched in my third eye.
I am currently reading Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis, and holy shit is it messed up. This book purports to be the true story behind the US Military’s dalliances with ESP, astral projection, remote viewing, etc., and even if only half of what’s in this book is true, it’s mindblowing.
Anyway, Chapter 19 in Phenomena mentions something called the Akashic Records – which is a way of viewing what one participant called The Matrix. (One presumes this name was devised well before the movie.) What are the Akashic Records? Well, according to this site:
The Akashic Records are the energetic records of all souls about their past lives, the present lives, and possible future lives. Each soul has its Akashic Records, like a series of books with each book representing one lifetime. The Hall (or Library) of the Akashic Records is where all souls’ Akashic Records are stored energetically. In other words, the information is stored in the Akashic field (also called zero point field). The Akashic Records, however, are not a dry compilation of events. They also contain our collective wisdom.
Holy shit, is what I’m saying.