Off all the chapters this for me is the one that has caused me the greatest amount of emotional conflict and turmoil. Why am I reiterating painful childhood memories in the context of presenting a vision of the universe? I sound like a sore loser who in reality is probably one the luckiest men to ever have lived.
But ultimately, it is because of the artefact that is now inspiration for my ideas and hence logo. But there are two number that I see that can be associated and not for the first time in my life have those numbers played a role in shaping the man I am today.
I feel given the circumstances that the only way I can approach this is to be as honest and straight up about how and why my spiritual beliefs were formed. But in living by the scientific method I am compelled to follow the evidence. Even if that evidence was drawn by the hand of a man to whom many call God.
And so I behave like a man whose immortal soul is on the very line. Truth and honesty are my guides.
“God created man so that they might tell Him their stories, for in His infinite wisdom God loves listening stories”, so the saying goes. Its one of those pearls of wisdom for in trying to understand people and the world, this for me, holds as much truth as any physics equation. So indulge me a moment as I tell a story.
I was at home working away in my study yesterday when from downstairs I heard a whole lot of noise. Alarmed, as I was the only one in the house, I went to investigate half expecting to encounter a burglar.
It turned out it was my cat, Ghost. He had managed to catch a robin red breasted bird that he had brought back into the house. I’ve had a number of pet cats in my time who on the odd occasion manages to actually catch something. Ghost, on the other hand, seems to catch something every other day and yesterday it was a robin red breast.
Cats being cats like to play with their food reliving the joy of the successful hunt over and over again, until its time to eat. The bird was far from dead, flying about inside the house, hotly pursued by Ghost. Not wanting another feather downed massacre spread throughout the house I went to the kitchen to get a box in order to trap the bird.
I got lucky, as the bird was on the floor paralysed not moving. Ghost was looking straight at it hoping his new play thing would provide more sport for him. The bird didn’t move. Rather it was a creature awaiting its inevitable doom; it was going to die and had resigned itself to that fate.
As hard as it is to hear, or as equally it is to confess, I know exactly how that bird felt. Paralysed, like a dear caught in a car’s headlights, watching the oncoming inevitable to happen only wishing for quick and merciful death.
“Hell was made for the inquisitive”, to quote Saint Augustine of Hippo.
When I first read that quote, so many years ago now, my reaction was one of disgust. “What a horrible thing to say!” I thought in response. After all I have spent my life in the pursuit of knowledge and used said knowledge in order to make the world a better and happier place, like any good gentleman should.
I sit here now and think, “I should have headed the wisdom of Saint Augustine” for in encountering the unknown, beyond the confines of human knowledge and discussion, is the loneliest place on Earth where chaos reigns. Here there truly be dragons.
I used to be agnostic. Didn't really care for questions about wither there was a God or not. As I saw it, it was not the job of science. No science experiment or observation could capture some kind of definitive proof of a great creator.
My world map and core identity was materialistic. Not in terms of what possessions I owned but rather in terms of seeing everything being made up of atoms and molecules. This was my basis in reality from which I reasoned.
The idea or notion that a vision pictured inside my head had any basis in external reality was at best laughable. It was real to me, being my own imagination, but to suggest there was some kind of connection to anything beyond the neurones firing in my head was ridiculous.
"There is no such things as psychics", was my belief and a core fundamental one at that. I was certain in this belief, until I had cause and reason enough to question it. This one belief of mine was just one of many core beliefs that I had held to be certain. Now they are gone replaced by uncertainty, confusion and doubt.
Now, if I were to choose a belief that I could be certain off it would be to believe that I was both cursed, and ironically blessed, by God himself. Most scariest of all is that, as much as I fight such a belief, when it comes to God and myself He really did make it very personal.
Awakening each morning my conscious thought screams in the pain of darkest anguish and despair. Some mornings I wake up blind; crippled by intense migraines. A condition I’ve done my best to hide less weakness be taken advantage off. A disability to human resources was and is to me the greatest evolutionary advantage. And as for medical help, that now only now invites laughter from me; less you would hear a tirade of most bitter scorn and criticism.
Focus of thought, my mental kata, each and everyday as my mind screams out in pain, “why? why? why?” over and over again. That is how I ended up with the ideas that I now present to you. Always did my mind need some problem to work on, the harder the better, and like an athlete I trained my mind each and everyday.
Looking back now, at the half way point in life, I blink in disbelief at the things that I have done or be asked to do. The Internet had not made it outside the computer lab when I first used it in the year when the web browser was invented. Nowadays I watch hardened computer professionals jaws drop to the floor at the tricks I seemingly can pull off.
My secret, a disability, that sounds like an excuse for pulling another sickie. And so one Christmas , a couple of years ago, when I was at my worst I posed a question to myself, in order to climb up out of the darkness and back into the light once again.
My question, “Is interstellar space travel possible?”
What my subconscious threw back was an initial question about Dirac’s equation and then the idea started. Our universe is one of two jets originating from some kind of gravitational singularity. A simple enough idea and upon exploration of said idea I expected to find that such a question had already been thought about and discussed. As with every other idea I’ve ever had before someone had already thought about it.
“There is no such thing as a new idea”, to quote Mark Twain.
Nothing! Not a word! Rather to my horror and despair I realised that such a question had never been asked as I watched evidence upon evidence start to pile up. The feeling to know that alone I could be the person to start humanities trips to the stars themselves. Insanity! Madness! Arrogance! How I have beaten myself up trying to nullify my own idea in vein. An engineer’s reaction to the unknown.
Now I ask myself, “Did ever any man or creature hold such power as I do know?”
Some people may call it arrogant. You’d be wrong! The thought is a very genuine and humbling question. I alone, by myself, have gone out into the chaotic darkness in order to try and answer the deepest questions we humans have ever asked of ourselves. Answers I found, more answers than ever I could dream off.
And please, don’t get me wrong, by what I mean when I say “I alone”! Its just that I have spent my life as a loner. Hermit like, living on the very fridges of society, is what I mean by alone. The lone wolf genius, although I would not call myself as such.
But genius is the proper word. I know exactly what I am about to do having more than touched the full and naked mind of God himself. Having shared a drink or two with Him along the way. I mean after all in the coming section I will present evidence and a case that looks to overthrow the foundational rock upon which current cosmology is founded upon; the cosmological principle.
Ostracism to me is a natural state of being. I like being alone with my own thoughts meditating on things that other people around me have little or no knowledge off. Not in order to feel superior or special in anyway. No! That is folly!
But rather as a necessity because of my illness in order to overcome the depths of darkest despair in order to return to the light. I have spent my life filling my head with the treasures of knowledges. I will die a very rich man and I can take my treasure with me when I die for it is within me.
But in having this idea and following its path I have been met with a vision of everything, both inside and outside of creation.
Now I turn to my fellow man and ask “why are we not building our own flying saucers and travelling to the stars?”. Only to find a reaction that draws a blank look as people recoil in fear at the mad lunatic standing before them. And yet again I feel that old familiar sensation of disappointment with my fellow man. The drip, drip, drip effect; each drop a further loss of faith in my fellow human leaving naught but a pit of despair in its wake.
“But what about God, what about religion?”, you may think. After all I talk as one who sounds like they’ve met God personally. But ostracism, my natural state, was forced upon me as a child because of religion and belief.
I am not from a religious family. We respected it, but it just wasn’t our thing. In fact, the concept of a religious belief was completely alien to me. Sunday School was my first experience and the general message taught there was “Be kind and excellent to one another”. Can’t really argue with that now can you?
But I grew up in the 80s, during the time of The Troubles in Northern Ireland when sectarian hatred and conflict divided communities between Protestant and Catholic; between Unionist and Separatist.
Dad, had just retired from the RAF, and he had managed to find work flying planes in Northern Ireland. As a 7 year old kid, I came in as an outsider now living in Northern Ireland and it was here that I first felt loneliness. I had gone from being a popular kid with friends, to someone no one wanted to be friends with and I had no idea why this was. And I did the human thing, I blamed myself, for the hurt I felt.
But it was when I went to boarding school, in the freezing cold middle of nowhere in Scotland, that the real lasting damage was done. Here, as a 10 year old kid, I was suddenly branded a “devil worshipper”, by the evangelical American preacher who was the Chaplain of the school.
It is hard to make people understand or comprehend the idea that only a couple of decades ago that being branded a witch or wizard, worshiping the devil using magic, was in fact a very real thing. That’s something from the days of the Salem witch trails you might think. No, I have experienced it!
Let me explain, the moral panic sweeping America at the time in the 80s. Fantasy literature and games was just starting. For me, it was playing the Fighting Fantasy role-playing books. But for the all powerful evangelicals, who controlled the right-wing of the Republican party, such material was sinful and devil worship.
The logic behind it shows the very deep level of thinking these people had. One now very popular game, thanks in part to this moral panic of outrage, was Dungeons & Dragons. In creating your character when rolling up its statistics in the game you used three six sided dice. The higher the role, the better your character’s stats. The highest role with a set of three six sided dice is eighteen, meaning each dice would read six, six, six. Which as we all know is The Number of The Beast.
So as you can see Dungeons & Dragons and any such game, by association, were in fact not games but a means of seducing kids into Satanic Worship. I kid you not! This is the logic and depth of reasoning of these evangelicals. These people who outright reject Darwin’s theory of evolution because “God created everything and all creation in seven days” and who believe that the world is no older than 8000 years.
Tom Hanks, the actor, started his career with a movie called “Mazes and Monsters” that depicted this make believe fantasy of the religious right. Off course, being in an isolated environment, where Christian faith is central to the boarding school’s community was prime real estate for such a fantasy. And I, as a ten year old, was “undesirable number one” and branded by all the other kids as worshipping the devil.
I became an object of hate and fear and it was cool and righteous that I should be spat on, kicked, punched and called every derogatory name under the sun. And so cursed by God I learned how to live the life of an outcast. Marked with the number of the beast by the evangelical church.
People talk about the Salem Witch trials and the horror of persecution by the old church. And I say, I know because I have been branded as such in these modern times and people don’t believe me. The memory of the Orkney child abuse scandal forgotten.
Nowadays, its not Christianity that has a problem but Islam. Shia versus Sunni versus the rest of the world’s population and faiths, all the while playing the victim of an oppressed minority. So yeah, religion is really not my thing. The mental scars remain and never did heal as emotion was buried deep having been affectionately nicknamed “Spastic” one to many times.
And so I have lived the life of hermit, though a very successful one. But like the trapped bird awaiting its death at the hands of Ghost, my cat, I know how it felt. For that is the lasting legacy of such a moral panic.
And in turn the evangelical church, in me, has created their own worst nightmare incarnate. Though how I got my own lightning bolt scar is a tale for later.
As for the bird, I caught in the box. I took it outside and it flew away to live another day.