Tuesday, 9 August 2011

That strange feeling...

An interesting comment by a kindly visitor to our blog, Kev (see the previous post), mentioning "eerie half forgotten memories of childhood like a person a place or a TV show, music. Things that were but also never were" (our emphasis) made us realise that such feelings have never been explicitly discussed here.

If you have such feelings yourself, there is a text that offers a tentative explanation of such feelings, fragments of dream-like memories, and fleeting shadows of a vision. As a matter of fact, the text has been the subject of an entry in this very blog, but it is likely that many have missed it.

It is a long text, and beautifully written, by Philip K. Dick. 
It is not science fiction (although it does mention it).
And it is not for readers afflicted with a short attention span.
But most of the people who are seriously interested in the topics discussed here probably are unlikely to suffer from it.

Here's the part that might be of interest to those harbouring the feelings described by Kev:

I submit to you that such alterations, the creation or selection of such so-called "alternate presents," is continually taking place. The very fact that we can conceptually deal with this notion -- that is, entertain it as an idea -- is a first step in discerning such processes themselves. But I doubt if we will ever be able in any real fashion to demonstrate, to scientifically prove, that such lateral change processes do occur. Probably all we would have to go on would be vestiges of memory, fleeting impressions, dreams, nebulous intuitions that somehow things had been different in some way -- and not long ago but now. We might reflexively reach for a light switch in the bathroom only to discover that it was -- always had been -- in another place entirely. We might reach for the air vent in our car where there was no air vent -- a reflex left over from a previous present, still active at a subcortical level. We might dream of people and places we had never seen as vividly as if we had seen them, actually known them. But we would not know what to make of this, assuming we took time to ponder it at all. One very pronounced impression would probably occur to us, to many of us, again and again, and always without explanation: the acute, absolute sensation that we had done once before what we were just about to do now, that we so to speak lived a particular moment or situation previously -- but in what sense could it be called "previously," since only the present, not the past, was evidently involved? We would have the overwhelming impression that we were reliving the present, perhaps in precisely the same way, hearing the same words, saying the same words. . . I submit that these impressions are valid and significant, and I will even say this: Such an impression is a clue that at some past time point a variable was changed -- reprogrammed, as it were -- and that, because of this, an alternate world branched off, became actualized instead of the prior one, and that in fact, in literal fact, we are once more living this particular segment of linear time. A breaching, a tinkering, a change had been made, but not in our present -- had been made in our past. Evidently such an alteration would have a peculiar effect on those persons involved; they would, so to speak, be moved back one square or several squares on the board game that constitutes our reality. Conceivably this could happen any number of times, affecting any number of people, as alternative variables were reprogrammed. We would have to go live out each reprogramming along the subsequent linear time axis, but to the Programmer, whom we call God -- to him the results of the reprogramming would be apparent at once. We are within time and he is not. Thus, too, this might account for the sensation people get of having lived past lives. They may well have, but not in the past; previous lives, rather, in the present. In perhaps an unending repeated and repeated present, like a great clock dial in which grand clock hands sweep out the same circumference forever, with all of us carried along unknowingly, yet dimly suspecting.

Do not miss the rest of it.
Science fiction sometimes can come closer to science than to fiction.


KO said...


Philip K.Dick had a lot of interesting ideas.

I think this theory he is speaking of reflects well in his work 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' or indeed Bladerunner, where the main characters, Deckard and Rachel actually harbour the memory patterns of dead (possibly still living) people.. But who is to know? ;)

My trip down the road of Time Slips i think is coming from the fact that i keep having VERY clear memories of extremely early childhood and a yearning for some reason to be back there again..

I dont think i had the most exciting of childhood's as my father was always working and i never really visited exciting places.. But that era.. that period fascinates me.

I, and i think this is the hauntology thing here, sometimes cant help but stare at buildings that remind me of a certain time.. or if i see a vehicle or tv show that was around then, even if i dont enjoy the program, i'll look at the locations they were shot in and imagine i'm there... (We're talking the 70's to early 80's here..sometimes the 50' and 60's and i am not from that era!)

I love visiting my hometown. Especially parts and buildings that have never changed and still hold memories no matter how exciting or dull..

Sometime's i can stare at a place, perhaps my granparents old house and in my mind it will come to life to how it was.. Its quite vivid.

I think i'm just very nostalgic. Perhaps a bit extreme. But i guess thats why i have a bit of a longing to experience a timeslip.. It would just be very interesting.

It's quite a rare subject isnt it? I mean, just the other day, i decided to download one or two podcast's on the subject to hear possible experiences and thoughts, however one was full of stories i had already heard and the other podcast was the most badly researched programme on the subject i had ever heard! They even decided to ditch the programme half way through as they didnt know what to say on the matter! Had to laugh at that! :D

Anyway, hope you're well and thank you once again for the kind words and the nice welcome..

Lets keep this subject alive! I feel like we're on the cusp of a discovery! ;)


Myosotis said...

Hello again. :)

And again, I am very glad that you wrote about this, because you touched upon a very important point that was not explored in the post itself.

See, these words...

"My trip down the road of Time Slips i think is coming from the fact that i keep having VERY clear memories of extremely early childhood and a yearning for some reason to be back there again.. "

...describe my own experience, perfectly. (Only my early life was... ehm, "exciting", with lots of travel.)

And I do believe that some - perhaps most, or at least very many - of the memories Dick talks about could be traced to early childhood and to THOUGHTS and yearnings associated with certain moments (seemingly long-forgotten) at that early time.

However, the YEARNING part I find most mysterious. Yearning to go back to the early days is one thing - but even at that early point - to which we yearn to return - there was already an awareness of SOMETHING, a first yearning, perhaps, for something, that made that moment memorable in the first place.
(If it were only a sense of well-being, I think it could be easily replicated by more "pedestrian" associations.)

A thought of WHAT, a desire for WHAT could be present in such a young child?

Some explain it by "past lives", but of course, that's just a theory, as far as I am concerned; and to be totally frank, I find the one-life - only much larger than we could possibly imagine - much more appealing.
(It also appears to make more sense, existentially - but that's a large subject, so let's not even go there at the moment.)

Anyway, I agree, there is a huge, all-important discovery to be made - and we have to make it individually, in my opinion.

And I believe that momentous, mind-boggling discoveries could be made - and perhaps ARE being made - at any given moment. But the world at large never gets to hear about them. Which is normal, considering that we all live in much more individual and - up to a point - incommunicable universes than it appears.

They are momentous nevertheless, and they may very well contribute to a common field of possibilities - of BECOMING.

So, yes, I think it is important to talk about such possibilities, because chances are that Rupert Sheldrake (as I interpret him) is right, and that once we've deposited our individual input in the common reservoir of ideas and possibilities from which we all draw, whether we know it or not, what was not possible before BECOMES possible.

Thank you very much for writing.
Happy journeys! :-)

KO said...

I agree.. Discoveries will be made..
It is interesting that 'groups' of people are having these experiences though. Makes the whole thing unique.. perhaps more real.

The other thing that get's me is that people could be totally unaware that they are having a timeslip.. Too busy with their own goings on to take notice of their 'changing surroundings'...

That fascinates me. ;)


Myosotis said...

Indeed! People unaware of their own wandering into a changed reality is a fascinating phenomenon - and it SEEMS to happen more often than people realise. I have met people who only retrospectively, in conversation with others, realised that something was "amiss".

But there is another curious state of mind associated with "time slips" that I find endlessly intriguing, and I believe it provides direct insight into whatever it is that occurs at the time of a, shall we say, "dimensional anomaly": an ACCEPTING mood seems to overcome many people.
A few - just two or three - cases have been briefly covered in the entry "Yet I did not wonder".

This *could* indicate that the brain has slipped into the "theta" state. That doesn't mean that people are simply dreaming awake (while walking, no less), but that they are in a widened state of perception. They are seeing things that ARE there, only normally obliterated by our sensory system, which seems designed to keep things from us (for the sake of our own functionality).

KO said...

Kind of like a 6th. I believe we all have it but it's been locked or shut off. Filtered in some way, yet only some can almost, tap in to it as it were but never fully..

I'm sure there's a very good reason for the shut off of this sense..

I also have a theory of 2 types of time slips.

A real, physical and scientific timeslip and a timeslip thats been brought on by dabbling with the occult. almost like a deception in some way by 'other' forces. (not good)



Myosotis said...

That's very interesting, Kev.
If you feel so inclined, you're welcome to write a short article about it, and we'll publish it here (under your name or pseudonym, of course).
We cannot offer money - only glory. ;-)

And yes, there probably is a good reason for our senses to shut out certain modes of perception...
However, there is the possibility that this "shut-off" mode corresponded to a certain mode of existence that MAY be in the process of transcending.
Clearly it cannot be lethal - not normally - or nobody would be able to "slip" in timespace, or would come out of it incapacitated. Yet this doesn't happen - again, not normally.

There's a LOT to ponder... :)

KO said...

Indeed i have gone a bit further in my theorizing in your 'Room with a view' piece from 2008.. ;)

Myosotis said...

And a nice piece of theory it is. ;)
Here's the URL for the benefit of any curious comment-reader:


Myosotis said...

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