Sunday, 23 March 2008


There are certain things one never forgets.

I remember a walk on London’s Hampstead Heath, a long, long time ago. As most of you probably know, the Heath is a rather magnificent, very spacious park in North-West London. Situated between Golders Green, Hampstead proper, and Highgate’s tolling bells, it represents a nostalgic past - a past in which villages were intimately linked to their landscape. And I used to go jogging there for many years while I was living in Parliament Hill.

On this particular walk, Elizabeth and I were admiring the trees in Kenwood. In fact, I have always been enraptured by the view of weeping willows reflected in translucent ponds, by magnificent copper-beeches, rhododendrons, tall chestnuts, or sloping lawns bursting with bluebells. I should explain at this point that there was one particular tree, a venerable oak, I had long been in the habit of passing on my daily jaunts. Feeling exhilarated, I now suggested that we should touch the bark, feel its texture, press our cheeks to the roughness of the crust and close our eyes. Sense the pulse, as it were. It was a heightened form of self-consciousness, a moment of physical exuberance. A euphoric convergence, if you like...

And this is what happened next. As we opened the Sunday papers, two or three days later, we both caught our breaths. There was a feature about flora on Hampstead Heath. And the central pages of the Colour Supplement showed a photograph of a copse of three trees, with our oak prominently displayed in the middle.

I have rarely felt so effervescent about anything!

It is possible to disagree with the cause but there was no arguing with the effect. And even though, it is hard sometimes to separate wishes from conclusions, I could not help feeling that our share in the manifestation was part of the impenetrable mystery. You might say I am more attracted to strange phenomena, than to the ultimate problems of physics and philosophy. But I am convinced that each of us is a participant in creating our reality. As a matter of fact, I felt more than a little responsible for it. I felt like a time traveller having gone back and relived my past. Gone back to a secret area of the soul which, when kept pure, can act as a magnet and draw to itself any event - even an unconscious one. By all means, call it a coincidence, but do not attempt to put the odds in numbers. There may well be half a million trees on Hampstead Heath.

A classical measurement is, as a general rule, an irreversible process. Nor can we grasp the concept of consciousness because it is in terms of consciousness that everything is defined. Each definition merely yields probabilities concerning the next one. But life is not linear, life is lateral. So imagine an amalgam of perception, purpose, desire, and intuition, with a thousand possible contingencies, and you will have a notion of the very intelligent agency which does not fall within the competence of the professional scientist, but which I do not feel able to define any better than by referring to it as “Synchronicity”.

Which fact will give you the key to my entire esoteric constitution. And while I recognize the necessity for a basis of consensual reality, true authenticity, in my opinion, lies in a reality that is part of the personal experience.

It may, on the other hand, mean absolutely nothing.

And I shall, therefore, take the mitigating view that such a synchronicity is only a personal representation of the universe, or a segmented part of it, and that events which relate coincidences to personal observations, are properly speaking accidents only.

Still, the imponderables are enormous.

Happy Easter.



Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if we only accept as true those phenomena which are scientifically verifiable, we must perforce inhabit a very narrow reality. i studied Psychology for a year in 1994; i read Parapsychology journals in that time - some phenomena (e.g. 'the feeling of being watched') held up even under laboratory conditions but others didn't. Science is grounded on empiricism, on verifiable, repeatable experiments - scientifically speaking, if it can't be repeated under similar conditions, it's not true.

However, as you say, consciousness is the determining medium. If so, any phenomena which relies heavily upon the consciousness of the participants will most likely not be amenable to laboratory conditions, any more than i could get a decent erection if people were filming me and taking measurements (!)

There must be this distinction between what we experience and feel to be real and what can be proven in lab. It's also helpful to study Statistics, as i unfortunately did in my youth - statistical analyses are the bedrock of science, and they only accept certain phenomena - i mean that anything that isn't passively compliant and repeatable just won't fit. It seems to me that what we call synchronicity is of this kind; it can't be duplicated in a lab, it isn't subject to the Mann-Whitney U Test, in other words it is a lie, scientifically speaking.

It's just that it's true.

Nige said...

True, Elberry - and Selena, I share your passion for ancient oaks and have often felt strong tree-hugging urges when around them. I'd recommend a visit to Ashtead Common, one of my regular haunts in Surrey, where the veteran oaks are truly extraordinary (and very numerous). Nearer to home, there are some very fine specimens in Richmond Park too, as you probably know.

Selena Dreamy said...

Ashtead Common?

Definitely on my list, Nige, though it is a bit of a drive from Hertfordshire.

Any cream-teas?

But, of course, I love Richmond Park. Great Chestnuts,there, too...


Selena Dreamy said...

Medical opinion, Elberry, sometimes explains psychic experiences as a consequence of “limbic inversions” and, more often than not, they tend to manifest when everything appears to be stressed to the limits of a shattering cataclysm of agony or despair, rather than in an experimental studio filled with laboratory mediums and people wearing white coats. It is a strange story, quite lacking internal logic, but I remember reading about a German officer at the Russian front who, at the daily roll-call of his fighting men, would always know beforehand who would be dead the next day.

The phenomena under study are not the laws of physics, but the nature of human consciousness. And attempts to apply reason to the study of the irrational is a contradiction of terms - an oxymoron! Shadows collapse as soon as the light is turned upon them. The whole idea of verifying supernatural phenomena by means of the scientific is simply idiotic.


Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Hell of a lot of that happening tonight here too. Believe in it very much, synchronicity.

Anonymous said...

Tolkien loved trees and rightly so. They are not just external objects there for us to chop down and burn - the external world mirrors our soul; some things, like most modern buildings, only mirror tiny parts of us; others - such as good old stone churches & trees - mirror more of us.

We need these mirrors if we are not to live entirely in our heads. Tolkien, i think, recognised that in some sense trees are a part of us. Slower, quieter, stronger, but yes, they are a version of the human.

We need to encounter these mirrors in the world or we become utterly lost.

Jonathan said...

If the walk and the article were related and not accidents may have been that some third forcefield connected you and the reporter who wrote the article, or the photographer who took it. I wonder when he/she submitted it to the editor?

Superstitious thought might imagine you caused the article to arise, or vica versa. Scientific thought will say it was a random accident (and want to pount out all the co-incidences that don't happen every day and that, no surprises, you dont notice) A third position might say some shared resonance was focusing around that tree and gathering you and the creation of the article together as complementary energies, perhaps because you shared something in common with the author.

Often I think about certain topics and ideas in uncanny synchronicity with others. I just think that those thoughts happen to be 'on air' at that time for that group of people who happen to have attenae appropriately tuned to access them.

Life is a congregation of radio waves and frequencies and people are radios, set where they are set.

You might as well ask 'Why should we not be inter-connected in this way' as ask 'How can you prove that we are?'

Happy Easter too, Dreamy. The resurrection of the creator of the universe doesn't attract much attention in the lands of Ishaemel, it seems. No doubt this is because it is not supposed here that he ever died (or indeed became a creature). Muslims, it seems, like their God to be absent and distant, uninvolved, so it seems (they may deny this).

Selena Dreamy said...

thoughts happen to be 'on air' at that time for that group of people who happen to have attenae appropriately tuned to access them.

As good a metaphor as any, Jonathan. The dilemma facing any scientific analysis is, of course, identical to that facing quantum mechanics’ Uncertainty Principle : the act of investigation itself distorts the findings.

And thank you, Elberry, for your e-mail! Some very interesting links, I shall need some time to absorb them all.


Big Chip Dale said...

It's always nice to read such a joyous celebration on our trees. I hope you spent a few minutes to etch your initials into it.

Selena Dreamy said...

yours and mine, Richard!!

Anonymous said...

I am with you on trees and on irrational beliefs - I believe a lot of strange things myself there is no need to be ashamed!!