Saturday, July 27, 2013

"shadows" and how I came to learn about them

At times, I have mentioned that I met two (or even more?) women before I met my wife
Luda who were somehow echoes of her before I met her -- "your shadows," I called them.

What do I mean by "shadows"?

Other people use the word "shadow" for other things, other things worth talking about.
It's like the word "consciousness," used to cover some very different things, not at all the same.
For me -- I often think about the kinds of shadows which exist... as a kind of reflection of something else.

"Shadows" have a lot to do with visualization. "Visualization" is a much more popular word,
in esoteric circles and beyond. There is a famous book "Seeing with the Mind's I"
(or was it eye?) by Samuels...

In one account, you just need to visualize very clearly what you really want, put the right kind
of energy into it, and let it go... don't bother with details of how to make it happen or its feasibility..
just let it go, and if it is a worthy sort of thing it will happen... That popular idea has some truth in it,
enough to be worth trying (with great caution), but is oversimplified in some very serious ways.
One key simplification: what happens if the goal image is otherwise worthy, but simply is not
available with the materials at hand? Common outcome: "shadows," things very much LIKE what you were looking for at some level, but really not the same thing. Things which may even seem
close to "miraculous," but which should not be taken too seriously.

"Shadows" are not something I talk about much, or read about.  It is amusing how the concept
came to my mind, in 1971.......

Yes, it's one of those paranormal kinds of things...

Back then, a kind of intersection of psychic stuff and hormones.

Prior to March 1967, I had a very clear framework for understanding life and the universe, which had no room in it for any kind of psychic phenomena, let alone the kind of stuff people talk
about in religions.  I have often written about what happened then, when I quoted a newspaper article about Mao the day before it was printed, when I made up my mind as good Bayesian to attribute 50%
probability to the reality of psychic phenomena -- i.e. to be open-minded and keep my eyes open for more evidence one way or another. Since I was already deeply interested in trying to understand the
mathematics of the human mind, I recognized just how hugely important (and tricky) this issue
is.  But... with just one incident... not much basis for deciding what it is, or for believing it
would be important to my own life. Certainly no basis for becoming one of the various types of mindless lunatic we often see in organized religions.

As I look back... it is amusing, in a way, just how much extreme evidence it took to shake up
my very well-developed intellectual framework.  I had lots of experience before that which
would have been enough to convince most people, and maybe even send them over the deep end.
(I think I did post the "Aunt Mary' story for example, from December 1963.)

I did try to think about several competing theories or hypotheses to explain what might be going on.
For many years, I have pretty much accepted the "greater life" theory, that we humans are a kind of symbiotic life form. But back then, I was attracted to a simpler theory which seemed tenable back then. The idea: other forces, beyond the usual electromagnetic field, may be the main driver here.
Some folks believed that telepathy is caused by a kind of "mental radio," electromagnetic
wave communication between people; I knew that electromagnetic waves didn't seem to fit, but that other fields may be out there.

I thought about evolution -- about how incredibly hard and long it was for evolution to discover
the modern primate eye. Since light is easier at hand than other types of force, it seemed plausible that evolution took so long to develop a way to use the other types, that it is still in a rudimentary form. The other types of force seem a bit remote to us -- but if we didn't have eyes, light itself
might seem like a minor attribute in our lives. (HG Well's story "The One-Eyed Man" gives a great picture of how it would be.) Could we actually have a kind of "third eye" which mediates this kind of stuff? In 1971, I took that quite seriously.

In my last posting here, on weirdness in my life this past month, I mentioned how I
went in 1968 to a summer job in a beautiful job in California, near the beach, which
became a lot more like a James Bond movie than I really wanted.  In those days,
I was also a "testosterone free radical" -- like the kind of ion which has tremendous
free energy, drawn to the opposite charge... not in a wild irrational way, but with really great intensity.

So in the summer of 1969,  I went to another summer job, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was
in many ways a continuation of the 1968 job.  The first week of that job was pretty weird in itself.
For example, as I walked into the apartment I had arranged to rent, on my first night in Ann Arbor,
I had a really intense feeling that something was wrong. I tried to dismiss that feeling,
which logically seemed like a disruptive feeling with no basis to it. Yet, perhaps because of my
official declared "open mindedness," I decided not to just ignore it altogether. I walked in the dark to the nearest pay phone outside, and called my mother. Perhaps I was wondering -- is this just an "undigested bit of beef" or would the old Irish Druid world say it might possibly be real? I had no other place to stay, I was new to the place, and I was a poor student; what else could I do BUT swallow my feelings? My mother said: "If your feelings are that strong, Paul, you should listen to them. You can find another place to sleep..." So I wandered in the dark, heading towards the main quadrangle of the university, and found that there were indeed openings even at that hour in the high rise student building at the corner of the quadrangle. The next morning there was a headline about
a murder in the place where I was supposed to be; there were only two apartments on that floor,
and the murderer first broke into the one where I was supposed to be, found it empty, then broke into
the other one and knifed the person in bed next door.

I could give many more details... it did shake me up... but I guess you could say that psychic kinds
of stuff were not entirely remote from my life at that time... and I did start to read bits of science fiction that might give me ideas...

Also, it occurred to me: if development of these psychic  powers is the next great step in human evolution, shouldn't I support it somehow, even if I myself am only a very weak bit player in that arena? But it all still seemed very remote from my own life, not a primary focus.

But in the summer of 1971, it became more personal to me.  In a variety of ways.

But -- that testosterone free radical aspect was never a remote part of my life or being back in those days (before I was married, much later).  The testosterone story would be even longer and more boring than the psychic part, because there was so much more of it.  It was a whole-person kind of thing; I was never the kind of shark who runs around trying "to score."

In fact... for more than a year... in 1970-1971... I was in a very deep total relationship,
the first of my life, with a woman in graduate school who had been born in Beijing, and lived in Hong Kong and Taiwan before becoming a Pittsburger. When that ended, early in 1971, it was certainly
the most painful event in my entire life, before and since.  In the summer of 1971,
I was a bit like a burn victim who would wince at warmth... but with a very strong driving force inside, buttressed by logic , logic, a driver even stronger than the hormonal aspect, but the combination of the two... might have  been enough to melt steel.  And in that summer,
I sometimes thought about a woman I had met very briefly in upstate New York in a quarry which had become a kind of swimming hole. One night, I tried to do some experiments aimed at "telepathy"one night, inspired a bit by a little science fiction novel and also by what I knew about heterodynes and frequencies and such (following the "third eye" theory). It seemed to get somewhere.
(In fact, I wonder whether I have lost something a bit when I shifted to a different theory.)
And at some point... well ... my emotions did also channel into how much I wished she could be there
in Ann Arbor. I did not even know what the word "visualization" means to esoteric folks, but
life can exist even without a word...

And then I remember ... walking to the Student Union, overwhelmed when I was brought close to
a woman who looked ever so much like that woman I met in New York... a very unique person...
but... she shared many unique features, way beyond what I would expect from random chance..
but the original was thousands of miles away... yet such a convincing facsimile... quite a bit
of hormonal turmoil that that led to.

That was certainly not the last "shadow" I encountered in my life. As I think about this more analytically, I am reminded how much of what happens in Congress is also a lot like that kind
of shadow... "bait and switch"... The shadows of Luda are a bit trickier, since they
were better, and they both preceded the time when I first met Luda in Gaithersburg
at a NIST conference...

Whatever. Just a morning amusement. Next I go do some math...

Best of luck,


1 comment:

  1. Wow that is a truly amazing story. Loving your blog. Thank you for sharing.