I recently got an email from an old friend and colleague about a possibly psychic dream. I’m not going to report on that here, it’s old hat for me to hear about dreams that provide psychic info on real-world events, but some of the other ideas his email stimulated in me may be of interest, so…
I was very intrigued when I saw the heading on your email, “Ghost Dream and More,” as I’d been thinking about you and your dreams off and on for a week or so. Remember you once told me years ago over a lunch downtown that you had a lot of nightmares, and I elicited from you that you often watched horror movies at bedtime?
That’s not a rigorous experimental design, but it was hard not to infer cause-effect connections…… 😉
Now one of the things that’s always fascinated me is why are horror movies so popular? Why would any intelligent person want to frighten themselves? Aren’t there enough real-world perils if we want to worry about something? I’m sure the answer is multi-faceted, but my guess is that part of it has to do with the fact that most horror movies involve “supernatural” elements.
(In my scientific parapsychologist role I hate that word supernatural, as it says we can’t figure out what’s going on, by definition, some non-understandable being just interferes unpredictably, and reality is hard enough to figure out without talking ourselves out of it in advance).
So here we are in an intellectual culture that’s quite materialistic, no God, gods, goddesses, etc., people who think about them are frowned upon or institutionalized, just dismissed as “believers,” etc. Yet so many people love these horror shows. A sneaky way to indulge a feeling toward the spiritual, a disguised way? If there are devils there must be angels, and then on to….. ??? I don’t know, but I’ve always wondered about your and other people’s fascination with horror movies. I hate them myself!
> I am pleased we are both still on the same side of thegreat divide. I am at the age when my friends are starting to disappear.<
Ain’t it the pits?
I have convinced myself that there’s good evidence that they are not really gone, just “transitioned” to another kind of consciousness – but that’s rather abstract, and meanwhile they are gone….. ;-(
> I think the reconnection with you is giving me the willies.
Should you thank me or be pissed? I know there’s a very humorous piece about the willies, I think it’s a short story by James Thurber, worth looking for. Got to learn to distinguish the willies from the heebie-jeebies, the shakes, etc. 😉
A few years back I took a new drug for my atrial fibrillation and it threw my heart into ventricular fibrillation, which can kill you pretty quick. Luckily I was seeing my cardiologist at the time – he took a listen, pushed me into a wheel chair and personally rushed me into the ER at Kaiser Hospital. All these doctors and nurses appear from nowhere, electrodes taped on, IVs attached, they give me a short-acting drug (can’t think of the name at the moment – oh, I think it was Brevitol) which knocks you out without depressing respiration, and then they are using the paddles to shock my heart. I’m out for a few minutes, didn’t feel the shocks, then in a stupid state for a few minutes, knowing I was stupid, but glad to be alive.
Now here’s the funny thing. Until they injected me with the stupid drug, I was wide awake, cheerful, engaging the docs in nice technical conversations about what they were doing, even though I knew that I might be dead in a few minutes. The part of me that self-monitors was quite impressed, as a big part of me was repeating, “Hey, Charley, if you want to freak out, you couldn’t find a more appropriate time to freak out than now!!!”
In retrospect I put it down partly to knowing of all the evidence that we survive death in some form, not enough to convince me in any absolute sense, but enough to make me think the next few minutes might have been quite interesting if I died, rather than just eternal blankness. And that was a safe and useful position, of course, for if there is eternal nothingness after death I’d never be embarrassed by knowing I had the wrong idea! 😉
And those years of meditation training and Aikido, staying calm in difficult situations, had to have helped.
“So,” I say to myself, mentally stepping back, “why am I telling you all this?”
Partly as reassurance. Yes, our friends are dropping like flies and we’ll go too one of these days, but it might indeed by quite interesting afterwards. I’m not worried about Hell. Insofar as I think there’s a God, this God must be better than me, and I’m not so cruel or stupid as to punish anyone for all eternity.
Partly as continuing some conversations we had years ago, and which I suspect are of more interest to you now as death comes closer. If you want my best thinking on this whole area, try my book of last year (2009), The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together, which is my attempt to make sense of it all and to show people why it’s rational to be both scientific and spiritual in orientation.
Partly maybe as I just need to write a lot of this kind of stuff, I think I have another book in me which is going to be about how an honest, intellectual scientist struggles with the “spiritual path.” without the comfort of simple faith, and maybe, or maybe not, gets somewhere….
Or maybe partly I’ll put some of this musing on my blog, disguising your identity, as this writing may be practice for that future book…..