I suspect interacting with the modern world of technology is helping my recovery. Even something as simple as remembering passwords, perhaps if I had been a farmer I would need to remember to use fertilizer. I do quite a lot here in cyberspace, the technology coffee shop for me as I’m so often having a coffee when I interact in this way. Just having to remember my various websites and their development helps me to remain focussed on recovery. So many tools the modern man has, this is my job until I get one again. I think I can hold down a job now, only my walking still needs to improve. All I wanted to say to you is keep trying however you can, but I think computers and the internet is helping with my memory. Having said technology can help let’s not forget the organic, people that you can trust, I would be nowhere without my wife.
I think we have overcome the need for telephone numbers. We only need an internet connection nowadays, through the net I can talk to anyone globally, even video call, I don’t need to know their number. And then there is email etc. The SIM cards in our hand phones need only an internet connection. We will no longer need to remember someone’s phone number but will be able to contact anybody by clicking images of them or just clicking a name. I can remember when my family would make an international telephone call from Australia to Germany, we would make sure everybody was around. Through the internet now we can just call person to person despite distance. Indeed we are plugged in to the net, there is much evidence of your identity, even finger print technology is used, all we need is the ability to transmit packets. Call me old-fashioned but I still like the hand written letter, as convenient as it has now become there is something special about an individuals hand written scrawl. We are today always looking at our hand phones but we need a new name, phone won’t do at all, let’s call them ‘birds’. That was a great means of communication, homing Pigeons.
My standard morning at the coffee shop near home, the usual seat. Looking where I normally look I see a hobbling woman struggling along all hunched over, I try to imagine the events of her life, the events that have made her the woman that she is today. I believe there was no event in her life that made her move about as awkwardly as she now does, quite a typical walk for an elderly Singaporean, they so often hobble. After several attempts under the webpage ‘yelp’ on this site I make a new attempt at a story then, a book, I was thinking something more humanistic this time, I’ll get back to aliens soon enough. I imagine…
She is thinking of her 22nd birthday, it is something she frequently recalls. Her husband took her dancing that evening, she never thought she could dance, afterwards it became a habit for them, to dance. Today she struggles to move, something she once did very gracefully, elegantly, while dancing. She was married at 19 to a man she deeply loved, pregnant with the first of their five children at the time of their marriage, she had two children before the birthday she often remembers. Her husband arranged a babysitter for that evening, his mother. That birthday celebration, dancing, was the pinnacle of her life she thought. To dance. She still feels him dancing with her, her husband is still with her despite dying. The religion that she observes is adamant that there is no such thing as death, something she now believes fervently. She always sees her husband and talks with him since his death, it’s as though he still exists. He died of cancer 7 years ago, he physically left her but has remained spiritually.
Just now as I watch her hobbling she drops a newspaper that she was carrying, and kneeling down to pick it up she said thank you to the spirit of her deceased husband, his spirit helped her. A gaunt and very old man. Yesterday she attended her sisters funeral but knows through these experiences that her sister still exists, also because this dead sister told her that she had only gone to the Buddha, gone to the afterlife. Her sister had told her this after she had passed away. Some might think she dreamt of her sister but for this hobbling woman dreams have a reality. In fact for her what she thinks feels real. In an uncommon way her thoughts have taken on a kind of reality, and so when she thinks of her husband he is real to her. When she asks somebody if they heard what her dead husband just said the answer is always no. Many humans experience the dead, there are so many stories of this phenomenon, but we are often too locked into the human perception of this world to perceive the other world, it exists if you close your eyes and feel. She has always perceived this otherness, and loved to dance.
I should just return to my usual subjects of science, space, and entanglement theory… it’s funny where you derive inspiration. The story could describe her life and how she got to think the way that she does, and of course the deterioration of her walking. Let’s call her Agnes…
Update months later, this story has been developed on the page ‘entanglement‘
My wife and I visited St Patrick’s cathedral on my second last day in Melbourne. I think it is the best church in Melbourne, possibly Australia. Churches are quite impressive considering that religion has preoccupied humans since we could think, we have always tried to understand existence. Saint Patrick’s cathedral has breathtaking architecture with great music playing, organ and voice. The belief systems humanity has created all point towards spirituality, they have deep commonality in their presumption of the spirit domain. Certainly people are always considering life beyond this mortal coil.
Discussing anthropological cross cultural analysis about religion with my wife we talked about the many belief traditions of humans including Allah, Buddha, Hinduism, Sufism, Christianity, and there are many more including tribal type belief systems. I can’t help but bring this question back to the scientific rationalist perspective. Science suggests we will soon invent time travel. It also says that there are perhaps infinite dimensions in the universe. Perhaps we always exist given that we have once existed, and human spirits exist in another dimension trying to communicate with us, but we are limited to the third dimension and so cannot perceive. I think the non-material world is every bit as real as the material world. Perhaps God and Jesus exist because they are in the minds of so many people, a powerful action belief. I think these human beliefs are actually the expression of the other world we are aware of, we feel it. Perhaps the human organ that can perceive other dimensions is not yet developed. We use our eyes for sight, our brain for thinking, maybe it has no physical representation the organ that can perceives other dimensions, it might exist in that dimension.
Anyway the long and the short of this post is it felt profound being in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral with my wife, it always feels a tad profound for me when I’m with her. This post is an attempted reconciliation between religion and science, both are human concepts. Science claims to be derived from reality, observation, but still limited to human third dimensional observation. Yes atoms are atoms but how do they interact? Science and religion were mutually exclusive but not anymore I suspect when the great scientist himself Albert Einstein referred to ‘entanglement theory’ as “spooky action at a distance”. Indeed entanglement theory scientifically reveals an unknown, a different mode of communication between particles. I think science too is discovering empirical evidence for the other world.
Getting very near the end of my exploration into distant memory. I just had lunch at one of my favourite places in the old city, Movida. A Spanish tapas restaurant surrounded by graffiti art. I could even remember my typical food there, anchovies tapas. I remembered the name of the lane it is in when leaving, Hosier lane. The anchovies were excellent as was the duck liver patè. A good recollection. Time to go home to Singapore soon, I can’t wait until my wife gets here on Saturday, together we fly home Monday.
It’s time for me to leave the past, turn to the present and hope for the future. I’m excited about soon being with my wife again and going to our home in Singapore. My purpose in coming to Melbourne was recovery from coma. I suspect my memory and walking have improved while being here, although I have become disappointed by Australia. It seems a very judgemental and racist place. Why they remain so unforgiving of ‘boat people’ as they call them, people who have left their home in search of a better life, remains difficult for me to comprehend. At least Australia is surrounded by ocean, not like Turkey, Germany or France etc. That said my family and friends are good people. I have been reminded that doctors told me 30,000 repetitions might help the brain to relearn. Maybe I’m close to that mark in consciously turning my ankle while walking. Perhaps my memory has also improved, not by repetitions rather by the faces and places here. Nothing I suspect caused this improvement, merely the activity of attempting to recall. I am constantly surrounded by things and people I was once familiar with. I have been immersed in memory here. Perhaps these are the things we need fellow coma victims. To keep the mind active in a targeted way might be important. The photo is of one of my favourite haunts, the Laneway, across the alley from an old joint I previously frequented, we called it Myers Place, in the alley of the same name. Anyway the long and the short of this post is goodbye Australia, home here I come.