He who laughs last laughs loudest. It is either not a particularly compassionate saying, or it concerns the gawky one who needs extra time to get the joke. The proverb originated in Tudor England, but for once, not from Shakespeare’s quill. Apparently it comes from a play first performed in 1608 and goes like this: Laugh on laugh on my freind. Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end. While sometimes there may be some justice in having the last laugh, there usually is more than a whiff of schadenfreude about it too—taking rather too much pleasure from another’s pain. The English word is ‘to gloat’, but it doesn’t quite reach the poetic heights of schadenfreude.
So I will not be rushing to have the last laugh myself, aware that arrogance is one of the worst sins in the world. Along with ignorance, almost all bad behaviour falls into line behind it. But that would not be the only reason. The fact that not one of us can be sufficiently sure of what we believe no matter how many out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, or direct contact with spirit entities we have had, there will always be doubt. We may feel that we have received enough knowledge that alters our internal system of verification from faith to knowledge, but in the end it remains subjective and therefore it can only qualify as personal Truths. Naturally the same would apply to the belief in atheism for the same reason. When one understands this fully one can equally call into question facts—they rarely stand up outside of our memories, excluding naturally that the sun, whether we can see it or not, rises each day, and once a month we get a full moon, and the such like. All of us appreciate the ability of the brain to create hallucinations and false memories, mostly due to chemical inducements, whether natural or as added stimulants. Many of us have experienced those who appear to have left reality, not aware of who they are, perhaps because of dementia destroying their brain, or talking to spirits and ghosts, fearful of unseen dangers, or those who just enjoyed a temporary refrain from reality like the time I experienced a LSD trip where Gulliver’s ‘little people’ were getting on with their lives around me, oblivious of my presence. It is the inability of my being able to say with 100% certainty that what I see, and what I believe I know, is The Truth, and that doesn’t exclude what I remember. It is this that keeps me humble. And yes, I know that it is easier to say this than to live in humility and gratitude, and the brain is not very good at showing us the way. I have been practicing taking myself into my heart lately, and trying on these big ideas and theories, but still it is a work in progress although already there have been some interesting results.
But…well…hell…oh shit…just the one time!! No, seriously, the following has constituted an epiphany for me, but what I love about this particular one is that it would have been massive if it had come to me all at once. It has been more of a slow pot roast—a growing realisation as the different ingredients revealed themselves to me. I am almost afraid to carry on writing. I want so badly to do this thinking justice. And I do hope that all my ramblings come together in the end.
As of about a couple of months ago, not long before my blog on lemons, I started paying more attention to what had really been a glib comment from me to begin with. I was in awe of the fact that the whole universe, our greater world, our planet, and our small individual lives, are strewn with clues. Everything I see as a dot I now think of as a clue—a clue on the map that I would call the Ultimate Treasure Map. And so I have moved on from the plan of my life to the plan of life of which I am a part.
A clue that has been jumping up and down saying, ‘look my way, look my way’, is revealed to us particularly in physics from Einstein and his contemporaries onwards. I think the first half of the 20th Century could be seen as a second Renaissance in the West. People like Freud, Jung, Tesla, Nietschze (just made it onto the list), Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli, the modern artists including Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and Frida Kahlo, great writers including John Steinbeck and Lawrence Durrell, musicians including Mahler and Ella Fitzgerald, politicians like Jan Smuts, Georges Clemenceau and Theodore Roosevelt, and so the list of film makers, actors, the suffragettes, nursing pioneers and inventors goes on and on, and I am sorry for any sub-group I may have missed.
I know the following is a long quote from Albert Einstein, but it is highly relevant to this piece:
“Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavour to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality will become simpler and simpler and will explain a wider and wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is approached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the objective truth.”
Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, The Evolution of Physics, 1938.
I am not sure when scientific experiments switched from proving the existence of something because the ‘something’ has now been directly observed, to proving something exists because the wake it leaves proves the theory. Phew, I think I shall have to find a better way of saying that, although I believe that Einstein foresaw exactly this problem in the above quote. I particularly love the role played in his analogy of being able to hear the ticking of Time! This could stand as a clue for me.
A case in point is contained in this quote from Nassim Haramein:
“Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles that carry no charge and are so tiny that, when traveling through space, can pass right through the Earth undetected and not interact at all with the atoms that make up the Earth! Neutrinos are so hard to detect at all that scientists have had to build elaborate devices to try and find direct evidence of them at all.”
A brief explanation of the discovery, a Nobel Prize winning journey for two scientists, can be read on this site:
But what is most interesting is that a neutrino itself will probably never be directly observed. Their existence was proved by the confirmation of a mathematical equation that told scientists they should give off light five milliseconds apart, and this is how their existence was proved. And again this keeps the physicists humble because it relies on faith. While physics on the large scale, the Cosmos, and on the sub-atomic scale are not fully synchronised yet, although Haramein may disagree, they both seem to play out along similar lines. We have learnt to accept that clues can form proof of existence of a world that we find hard to pin down. But there also seems to be a feeling that the deeper and further we go, the more the road opens up before us. But on another level, the answers that we are starting to form are getting simpler. I think it should be getting clear by now that I am using physics as an analogy for faith knowledge.
In a recent Ted Talk where the astrophysicist, Prof. Sheperd Doeleman, talked of the recently received image of a black hole, I am reminded of Einstein’s analogy of the closed watch. Here I mention something that really took my understanding of the universe to a new level. Our understanding of gravity has moved on a lot since my days studying physics at school. The sun’s mass is great, and impacts or curves the web/grid that is spacetime, and this then causes our planet to ‘fall’ into the curve that keeps us directed to a revolving path around the sun. I know that there are still almost as many ‘unknowns’ with regard to gravity as ‘knowns’, but it is a start.
On this point I need to refer back to Indra’s Web/Net/Jewels or Pearls. It was first noted in the Avatamsaka Sutra in the third century, and later is again described in the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism:
Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each ‘eye’ of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.
Why I brought up this wondrous event of being able to view an image for the first time of a black hole in the greater universe is also because Prof Doeleman makes the comment that ‘the universe was trying to tell us all along what to do’. It was because of how the mathematics, translated to the chosen object, kept on working out in their favour—clues and more clues. He also goes on to say, “Black holes are the great mystery of our age. That is where the quantum world and the gravitational world come together. What’s inside is the singularity.” The singularity concept strikes me as the great holy grail of physics, and makes for some really interesting theories. He later goes on to say, “That is because gravity is finally strong enough to compete with all the other forces. But the universe has cloaked it in the ultimate invisibility cloak.” Again these words take me back to the idea of the closed watch.
I love the idea that in the not too distant future, and via the same process, we should get to see the black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way, and the image should be of equal quality. While this first ever image is of a black hole from a different galaxy, it is a thousand times larger than ours, but it is also coincidently a thousand times further away! But the words that struck me were ‘at the centre of our universe’. It turns out that most galaxies, perhaps all of any stature, have a supermassive black hole at their centre. Many physicists believe that they provide the gravitational pull that galaxies need to hold themselves together in the early stages of their creation.
Another thought, and while I know there is nothing original about it, but it fits in so poetically with all of the above. The only reason we see anything is because of the photons (light) that bounce off all matter, and enter our eyes to leave data upside down on our retina, and then our brain interprets it so that we know what all matter looks like. It gains its form within our cerebral experience of it. Our eyes could be viewed as something of black holes with our irises providing the event horizons. And another rogue thought—we will never be able truly to see into a black hole because no light can escape from one. Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted their existence, and slowly over time astronomers pieced bits of information together until finally X-ray emissions have now helped to pin-point black holes, and today we have the wondrous image of a highly energetic donut with something very mysterious at its centre.
Briefly, and returning to the name of my story, and the great but slowly forming epiphany that changed again my way of reading life and myself—The Fruit of the Rose—I have experienced today what I believe is one of my greater synchronistic experiences that pertains particularly to my getting to know more of who I am, and why I am.
A reminder of synchronicity: When two wholly disconnected events clearly come together, and in their union they carry a significant meaning that each did not, or could not, on its own.
I am watching a new series called Time of the Sixth Sun, and early on someone describes the moment when his life changed. He believes that he experienced a profound realisation, an awakening, that opens up a whole new way of being, or the beginning of making that journey inwards that alters the focus of your life for ever. It is a moment that in shamanic terms is called The Fruit of the Rose. For me it instantly collided with a strong memory of how I connected to the mysterious and discreet Fruit of the Loom image that seemed to be on everyone’s t-shirts in my youth. I can honestly say that it was years later I saw them offered for sale in our shops. I remember trying to fathom what it was about, and eventually I saw that the label inside also said Fruit of the Loom, and that therefore it was the brand name of a manufacturer, and I never thought about it again until this moment. It seemed to disappear from my life as mysteriously as it appeared—one could say because it is only a clue—snooze you lose. Apparently the original company was based in Bowling Alley, Kentucky, and a town where the high street is filled with skittles bearing the image of Fruit of the Loom pops into my mind. It must surely be one of the most mysterious of brandings ever. I can’t help being amused by the allusion to a connection between clues and skittles.
Look at some of the synonyms and definitions of the word ‘loom’.
Synonyms: emerge, appear, become visible, come into view, take shape, materialise, reveal itself, appear indistinctly, come to light, take on a threatening shape
Definitions: (n) for weaving tapestry, a textile machine for weaving yarn into a textile, (v) appear very large or occupy a commanding position
According to the documentary I am watching, The Fruit of the Rose represents:
What you planted in your own consciousness long before you ever came to earth…a reminder when the time was right, that you would awaken.
And it turns out that The Fruit of the Rose is my Fruit of the Rose—that is to say, my trigger. Sweet! Roses have always held a strong significance for my family and me, and there is nothing unusual in that, when you take a look at the mythologies and events that are represented by the rose. Even more especially, Elle spent hours contemplating and meditating on the rose, and incorporated it into so much of her artwork and her notebooks. More often it was a rose she picked from the beautiful Iceberg whitish yellow rose variety that I had chosen for our courtyard and around the fish pond in the home where we all spent our last happy years together. She tried on a few occasions to encourage me to do the same, but my head and my heart were not in union in those days, and I was definitely not ‘awake’—more like sleep walking towards the end of my days. Stagnant could also describe those years.
I was drawn to this further quote from Einstein, and I can’t think of a better way to close off this piece.
“…It gave me great pleasure to tell you about the mysteries with which physics confronts us. As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists. If such humility could be conveyed to everybody, the world of human activities would be more appealing.”
— Albert Einstein