Am I seeing things? Yes, yes I am.
Am I seeing things? Yes, yes I am.
Hello everybody! Hey, have you ever heard of the Pixar theory? It’s the crazy, all up in your head face, twisted take on all of the movies ever created by Pixar. The theory runs something like this: all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe. Just take a moment to drink that in. Now, there are people who have considered this thought, and not just dismissed it, but have put forward many compelling arguments as to why this cannot be so, and yet...the argument put forward by Jon Negroni is a seductive and comforting take on the collection. Obviously I couldn’t begin to do the theory justice, so if you feel like it, check out the real deal at jonnegroni.com.
Now the reason I mention the Pixar theory, is because I was recently doing some research into why people see things, that others will swear blind are not there? A few years ago, one of my friends showed me a book of pictures, which at first sight appeared to be a colour TV that had been tuned to the wrong frequency. It was one of those 3D books where you were advised to look beyond the picture, and get a sense of what appeared to be a shape of some sort, a ship, a clown, something, I dunno. Because for the life of me I swear that there was nothing there and the makers of that book had stumbled across a case of the Emperors’ new clothes if ever I’d seen one. Others however did not share my opinion. I was informed by them, that there most definitely was something there, and corroborated each other’s story as to what they were looking at.
Well, they would wouldn’t they?
Oh look, it's a dolphin!
So it came to pass that one of these so called friends who I’ve known for around 20 years, so I suppose I kind of trust him tuned me into a children’s cartoon called Adventure Time! He did this with a Caveat: under no circumstances should you look for deeper meaning in this cartoon. “Ha” I laughed, who even takes cartoons seriously, or as a guideline/ reference to the way you should live your life? So then, I totally did. Oh my goodness, saints and flip flops! You wanna bend things out of shape in your head? Watch this program and know a truth. Not THE truth, but certainly A truth. You see this cartoon, deals with everyday kids and teen issues that affect our youth of today. You know, like, Quantum logic shifts, imbuing the essences of spirits into Hero swords, shape shifting friends, and of course, mutated bubblegum.
All that stuff I just mentioned is absolutely crucial to the main story, and I haven’t even begun to look at the protagonist or his companion. Finn, our hero, is a teenage boy who struggles with his own notions of being a hero, Jake, is his magical shape shifting dog. If you take a chance, and just watch one of these episodes at random, you may be lucky enough to get an insight into the story of one of the many characters who inhabit the world of Adventure time, you may however be exposed to some random dream sequence of an imaginary character who exists only in the mind of the story teller, who observes the world of Adventure time (a land called OOO) from behind the veil of an alternate dimension. This guy’s name is Grayble. I’m not making this stuff up. The show is fantasy, with the footprint of reality stamped all over it.
Seemingly fun situations have lasting, and detrimental long term effects. If you die as a part of a physics defying chase, or fight, you really die. Yet the abandon that the main characters throw themselves into life threatening situations exposes a belief in the idea that heroes don’t lose. The desire to do good and serve others is the compulsion, with the risk of death as an ever present, often ignored side issue. So what are we looking at here, a story told in cartoon form, or an indicator of how our kids should approach life in general? Are there other messages contained within the world of OOO? Well, actually yes there are. That’s not the issue though. The issue is, do these hidden alternate messages exist in the real world, or only where they have been created by story writers who include them to add depth to their work?
Most of the things that we learn about in life are part of someone else’s script, an already existing story. Whether it is a social, financial, or political issue, chances are that in order to understand and manoeuvre efficiently within that story, you are going to have to learn its history, and how the system within the story works. Those who have access to, and make the best use of information about that story and system will be the most successful within it. If, within that system, there exist those with the power to determine how much of that story/system people have access to, these people become the script writers of that system.
Assuming we don’t get stuck in the ethical rights or moral wrongs of the position the system script writers are in, we can look at those writers and ask ourselves: “Is there something else here that I should be looking for? Is there hidden information within the construct of the story itself”?
Nope say rational people. What you have there they reason, is a little thing called Pareidolia. You want to see it, you make yourself see it, and that is the end of that. A good example of the use of Pareidolia is the attempt to use it to determine the state of a person’s mind, via a test known as the Rorschach inkblot test. Ink is poured onto a piece of paper, which is then folded in half, and opened up to see the effect of folding on the ink blot. Whatever the shape of the ink stain means to the observer leads the analyst to draw conclusions about the observer’s state of mind.
The question, despite the call of the rationalist still remains. Knowing that script writers place deeper levels of information in their work, is it possible to seek a deeper meaning to the mechanics of the system of life? Is there information about not just the planet we live on, but the weather systems, movements of tide, or even wind patterns that are available to those who choose to search for them? Some have argued that there are, they have taken their research to new heights, and once they have found incredible Earth shattering conclusions, dovetailing beautifully with the beliefs and skills of the Hopi Indians, their research is promptly tucked away for safe keeping as it’s obviously classified. I mean, if you can look at the clouds, and suddenly you can work out that the Biosphere is out of harmony, that’s some pretty big news that affects everyone living on that Biosphere. However, apart from possibly affecting the profits of people whose practices directly contribute to that disharmonious effect, you also have to come to terms with the idea that someone must have put that information there in the first place. A system designed to be read at different levels of interpretation?
Of course, Quantum Mechanics has always had your back when it came to this kind of stuff. When you look at something, you are actively changing what it is that you are looking at. So to recap: Observing a system may reveal deeper levels of information about that system, which may or may not have been placed there by design, and when you interact with said hidden system, you change the system by your very observation. Simple right?
Take for example, Schrödinger’s Cat. Don’t know what that is: See Here.
Before we look in the box, the cat is both alive, and dead. My reasoning is that this makes the cat a zombie. Alive, and dead, all at the same time! I have felt this way for a long time, and only recently stumbled upon proof that clearly vindicates my theory:
Schrödinger’s zombie cat is out of the bag. Box. Whatever.
Powerful stuff. Or is it? Having discussed this matter with an old University lecturer friend of mine, she puts the whole thing down to the process of Pareidolia. Pareidolia for those not familiar with the concept is the way that the mind recognises pattern and forms in random stimulus, for example, seeing faces in clouds or smoke formations. She reckons it is a throwback to the times when early man attempted to form order out of chaos, and shape a meaningful world around him. I thanked her for her input, but regretfully informed her I had already explained that theory. She asked to whom? I told her all about you, but she didn't seem to believe me. Or care.
Now here is where it gets a little troubling for me. I spent a long time studying Zen Buddhism. Now Zen teachers are notorious for teaching through the art of gesturing, nodding, and smiling. In so doing, they teach nothing, which is everything.
Try this Koan on for size:
A monk told Joshu: `I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.'
Joshu asked: `Have you eaten your rice porridge?'
The monk replied: `I have eaten.'
Joshu said: `Then you had better wash your bowl.'
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
It is too clear and so it is hard to see.
A man once searched for fire with a lighted lantern. Had he known what fire was, He could have cooked his rice much sooner.
The hell is water?
So, to recap, I can experience an event, which changes as I observe it, as well as being the product of my own mind, which may or may not be there, and has no bearing on anyone else’s experience, because giving my experience a name, is like waving a stick in the air and smiling. Can you see now why I love Zen? It even extends to Haikus, poems that are structured with three lines of five, seven and five syllables totalling seventeen. Like this one for instance:
The old pond lay still.
Suddenly, a frog appeared.
Splash! No frog, no pond.
The upshot of all this is not to attempt to confuse the reader with weird esoteric knowledge, but rather to suggest that there are information systems available to us all, that offer a unique insight into the world around us. Information systems are right before our eyes, and attuning ourselves to pick up on the hidden messages that they convey could solve a lot of our problems and clear up a fair few questions we may have about the world around us.
On the other hand, as attested to in Umberto Eco’s fantastic book Foucault’s Pendulum, the most fantastic of extrapolations, which seem to explain the very nature of the political landscape of the world, could all just boil down to the misinterpretation of a shopping list.
“To see the universe in a grain of sand...”