Vector8 Journals

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Optical Illusions

Yesterday, a billboard advert caught my attention. It was a picture of two men lying with their heads on the bull's eye of a dartboard. It was as if a giant darts player had thrown the two darts-men and achieved bull's eye. I pondered over how it was done. Obviously both men were photographed at an angle, then the dartboard was added to give the appearance of human darts. Fascinating! I forget now what they were advertising.

I started thinking about optical illusions. What other optical illusions are there that we are being deceived by? Please don't go emailing me all at once, this is only a rhetorical question.

Last night I watched a docu-drama called Space Odyssey. The BBC states it is a "programme revealing the dangers and spectacles of exploring other planets in the Solar System." There was much talk about how much scientific research had gone into making it. Though it was of course a drama, it was considered to be science-fact not science-fiction. Yeah right and I am the Duchess of Londinium! Anyway, I still watched it; something to do to while away my life and to write about the next day. You know how it is?

In the first programme, the astronauts went on an expedition to Mars where they did battle with the elements, which is supposed to be unbreathable, or so Science has led us to believe. I'll have you know, I've seen the movie, Total Recall. I know the atmosphere in Mars is so harsh, it makes people's eyes bulge out through lack of oxygen. Don't take my word for it, watch the movie. You will discover that the movie is actually about...I have no intention of telling you how it ends. I'll let someone else ruin the ending for you instead.

The docu-drama, Space Odyssey, is meant to address the origin of the universe, the "Big Bang" and whether there are extra terrestrials out there. Yes, that old chestnut! Scientists are dreaming that one day humans will explore life on Mars and other planets in person. Since we are all used to the idea that Mars is a red planet, the docu-drama looked pretty convincing. I started thinking, if it looks so real, what about the old conspiracy theory that the moon landing never happened, that it was filmed in a studio. How would we know any difference? Which reminds me of a story. Forgive me while I digress for a moment.

Years ago, I was trying to recall the name of the first man who landed on the moon, according to popular knowledge of course. I knew his surname was Armstrong but I was adamant his first name was Louis. My friend knew it wasn't Louis but couldn't think of the name, Neil. Some of you will know that Louis Armstrong was a great Jazz musician and trumpeter. I could just picture Louis Armstrong in his space suit blowing his trumpet and crooning his classic song, What a Wonderful World. Maybe it was the alcohol I was drinking at the time, but in my mind, Louis Armstrong was the first man on the moon.

Right, where am I going with this?

My point is, if you can film something to look so real like it is in another planet, what other optical illusions are there? If you've ever been to a planetarium, you will experience the various planets in the solar system all around you. It seems so real, as real as we have been taught, but it is only computer simulation. What if the universe, as we experience it, is nothing but a sophisticated technology to give us the impression that we live in a vast universe and that there are many star systems around us? I'm not suggesting that there are no other planets, I believe there are. I'm saying the changing of the seasons is an illusion to give us the impression we are experiencing the passage of time. Where is your evidence? I hear you cry.

OK my evidence is hearsay, from people who have had near-death experiences and from those giving evidence that life continues. In the book, Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda's guru, Yukteswar, dies but "returns" to give Yogananda evidence of the many realms out there.

"The astral world is infinitely beautiful, clean, pure, and orderly. There are no dead planets or barren lands. The terrestrial blemishes—weeds, bacteria, insects, snakes—are absent. Unlike the variable climates and seasons of the earth, the astral planets maintain the even temperature of an eternal spring, with occasional luminous white snow and rain of many-colored lights. Astral planets abound in opal lakes and bright seas and rainbow rivers." (from the chapter The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar)

I've read elsewhere that in other realms t there is no change in seasons, and that time is not experienced in way we do. I am not really surprised because I know Reality to be unchanging. I have experienced this state innumerable times in meditation, a state that has no sense of time and space. Indeed, when I operate in this state of consciousness, I lose all sense of the season.

Last summer, a few months ago as we measure time, I was on the bus into town. I bought some chocolate, ate half of it and saved the rest for later. Then I had an urge for more chocolate but it had melted. I couldn't believe my eyes. It couldn't possibly be that hot. I had a cardigan on and I was freezing. When I got into town I noticed all these people dressed up as if they were in some holiday resort. Had I died and descended into hell? When I got home I found my mother looking hot and bothered. I asked her what was going on and why people were going around half-dressed. She gave me the "are you nuts?" look. She told me the weather people had announced the maximum temperature on that day was 30 degrees centigrade. I was amazed. I reckon the chocolate bar was part of the conspiracy, while I was freezing in my cardigan. I reckon on that day I had definitely stepped into another realm.

I believe the reality of the physical universe and our solar system is a projection by one clever cinematographer. It is a lovely dream, just like the other realms - astral, mental and causal - are also dreams. Life is like a planetarium. You walk into a planetarium to watch a show and you end up believing the show is real and get stuck in it for a long time until you one day realise you've been watching a show all along. At least this is my theory and I'm sticking to it.

I believe the world we live in is filled to the brim with optical illusions. Actors understand what I'm talking about where their finished products look so convincing, yet the scenes were filmed in front of lots of people. What about all those raunchy love scenes which make some sensitive souls blush? Pure drama! Who would want to share their most intimate moments with hundreds of people ogling at you? Unless you're an exhibitionist. What am I saying? We are all exhibitionists in a way aren't we, since we're supposedly being watched by other beings in other realms? We are all actors and spectators on this great show called life.

Illusion or not, I'm having so much fun in the planetarium! Shut the door on your way out will you, I'll be here for a while.

I am Artiste,