Conducted by William C. Ritchie

Part 4

Q) You said earlier that Time Rise has generated some interesting mail from other experiencers of strange phenomena.
BWS: Yes, right. I almost feel vindicated.

Q) Can you share some of these stories?
BWS: I'd rather not, if you don't mind. These are letters from people who still feel a bit sensitive about the subject. It'll take some doing getting over the stigma of ages past, where if you've had some bizarre experience and are foolish enough to talk about it people tend to think you're a mental case. Or, more often, you imagine that people will think that, y'know, think the worst of you.

Q) Where does the stigma begin? With any unusual phenomena, or is it only about time paradoxes?
BWS: Not just about time, no. I think that's the least of the responses I've received. Time is a quandary that few people have actually had to deal with, or at least that's the way it seems right now. But whether they're talking about dreams that come true, ghosts in the attic, or visions of something unexplainable like UFOs, there is still an apparent constant inasmuch as our perception of reality is challenged, and our linear reality is dependent, in fact based upon, our perception of time. Everything that can't be explained by science has its roots in presence. Presence meaning the here and the now. We think that is all that there is, we think of both the past and the future as non-real. For instance, we imagine that ghosts are dead humans. We also believe that once you're dead you don't exist anymore. In Western thought being dead means to exist in memory only. If you are dead you are in the "past," and "past" is a concept of linear time. If a ghost has presence, y'know, if you can see him standing there or whatever, it's presence defies chronological linear time as we perceive it to be. Okay? But what if we could come to realize that the controlling element that we call linear time is a fallacy? I know, I know ... How the hell do you do that? Well, that's another story. But at the root of our limited perceptions is our unquestioning faith in chronology, clock-time, and clock-time is just a concept, not a fact. If you start questioning chronology you'll realize that many of our questions about reality are answerable. The fact is, or seems to be at any rate, that everything I'm talking about is related to Time with a capital "T". I can't offer enough information in an interview because there's just too much to say, and all the possibilities in the world of saying it wrong because of the casual process of conversation.

Q) Have you studied Immanuel Kant or Bergson?
BWS: I've studied Bergson heavily, Kant only lightly. This's gonna sound strange, but the fact is that I'm more interested in those theorists who got it immensely wrong, while being so very close to getting it almost right.

Q) Do you mean Kant or Bergson?
BWS: No, not at all. Philosophers have a way of making sense within their own postulations. It's difficult to argue with Bergson because he puts out a wholeness of thought. He covers every angle within his own purview. Therefore to argue against him you first have to discuss and dissect his entire text bit by bit. I'm not interested in being that organized and democratic when I don't agree with him in the first place. I read other's theories because I want to know everything there is to know, but it doesn't mean I'm looking to them for the answers to something they couldn't prove anyway. Metaphysics has always needed Theoretical Science, and vice-versa. Now is the time for the two to come together. Something important to remember here is that I am not in the business of science or philosophy, and I'm not the least interested in creating a new theory of Time that can be argued about long after I'm gone. My whole objective is to relate my personal experiences to other people, who then might or might not gain something from it. I'm telling my life story here, it's not just a few crazy incidents from 1973.

Q) And your life's story is about strange events ...
BWS: Yeah, but strange only in that science, philosophy, and religion cannot rationalize them away. What is there in the rule books that explains how I can be aware of events before they happen? Who has explained that Time is not linear? Who the hell has a theory of why future exists the same way that past exists? How can an ordinary person like me have memories of the future?

Q) Perhaps you aren't just an ordinary person.
BWS: Of course I am! That's what's so important about this, of course I'm ordinary. I'm different in one respect, maybe, and that's that I am very aware of the contradictions inherent in our Western belief systems, what we imagine Reality is. So many people experience strange things that they can't explain to themselves or anybody else, and you know what they do about that? They forget it ... they ignore it, they go "Oohwah, that was weird!" and forget all about it ten seconds later. Like deja vu, it's there and then it's gone. I have to admit that I've been like that too. But I eventually woke up and started paying attention. That's one of the problems: people don't pay attention to what's going on around them all of the time. Gurdjieff claimed that most people are sleepwalking their way through life, and I agree with him. Most people are only aware enough to do their jobs, eat, make babies and die where somebody can find them later. Worker bees do that too, you don't need real consciousness to be a drone.

Q) We'll add a postscript about Gurdjieff.
BWS: Yeah, ta, add postscripts about John William Dunne, too. Dunne is one of those people who were very close to getting a hold on Time, but he was also a million miles away from it. He wasn't a drone, he was aware enough to notice that the relationship between his dream states and the physical world couldn't be explained by scientific principals, and he was too smart to toss them off as coincidences. The fact is he had precognitive dreams. A lot of people do, incase you didn't know, but Dunne very wisely kept a diary of those events. To put it briefly, he developed a theory of Time that he called Seriality. I can't go into the whole thing here, and frankly it isn't worth it because it just doesn't hold up under scrutiny so it'll be misleading, but his misguided hypotheses don't change the fact that he twigged that the concept of linear, clock-type time is a fallacy. Not to say that it doesn't exist, but it exists only because we say it does. We needed something by which to calculate or verify our actions, and there was the sun coming and going so we came up with a construct of consistency based upon the turning of the planet. Fine, no problem, it's a good system for keeping records and naming things.

Q) Is the problem with capital "T" Time and clock time purely semantic?
BWS: No. Well, yes, it is now. I should really search out its etymology. It's absurd, really, we're talking about apples and oranges but we're calling them both by the same name. Henri Bergson implied differentiation by using the French word "durée," but translated into the English "duration" there's a subtle shift of meaning. Bergson's use of durée defines non spatialized Time with a capital "T". The inextricable usage of space-time as given by Einstein is a form of measurement to calculate distance by duration. People do that all the time nowadays, you ask where a store is located and you'll probably get "ten minutes away," rather than, say, three miles away. So ten minutes in this regard is spatialized time, just like ten light years is time's duration of distance traveled. All that time is lower case time, clock time, the time we invented to calculate our actions.

Q) Perhaps the capital "T" Time should simply be renamed.
BWS: Sure, look at all the time we've already wasted just getting this far. I think that Bergson should've taken the leap and renamed capital "T" Time as REALITY. Asking somebody "What is the time?" means you'll get an answer relating to the stabilized rate of duration in which we perform daily tasks. Ask somebody "What is reality?" and you've blown his mind. He doesn't know. We should all wear reality-meters strapped to our wrists, not Timex watches. We live in Reality, not through it like we do clock-time. But to make that change of perception we first have to define Reality, which by the way, I also capitalize. For most people Reality is what you see, hear, smell, etcetera, and unreality is what you imagine or you dream about. So before you can define Time as differentiated from half-past this or quarter to that, you have to define Reality as the medium of existence and durée rather than a motorcar, for instance, being something that you can see, hear and smell.

Q) Is this what you were getting at in The Paradoxman? The "This is not Reality" slogan?
BWS: Yeah, exactly. Thanks for twigging that. It could've read "This is not Time" but that would've been even more obscure, y'know? I was torn between being true to the non-reality of his situation, and the need to keep the story coherent. Frankly, I was blown away when I thought of the Jetsons imagery... I guess... it's difficult to explain, but I really can't credit myself with the Jetsons' stuff. It came out of nowhere, like Tris Caine's own thoughts, I was just there to catch it. Sounds weird, I know, but what doesn't, y'know?

Q) Will you ever complete the Paradoxman story line?
BWS: Not that storyline, no. It's been interrupted and that renders it useless as continuity.

Q) You can't just pick it up where it left off?
BWS: Sure. But why? I could write a lengthy caption to explain what happened and then you'd know. Why belabor it? It was meant to run fluidly and without interruption, in that way the story would have fulfilled a long term plan of mine, and that would have been marvelous for me and for the readers. But the book got shot, so everything has to change. I will return to all of those characters one day, but not in the same stories and not in the same format.

Q) Do you mind if we talk about your work a bit longer?
BWS: No, of course not. It's all the same, y'know.

Q) That's what I was going to say. Is The Paradoxman autobiographical? Or at least in part?
BWS: Oh, Christ no. Really, I have no real connection with aliens that I know of. I'm surprised that you'd think so. I've never met a Gray, I'm practically sure of it.

Q) Then what about the twisting of time, with or without a capital "T"?
BWS: The Paradoxman is a drama. It's science fiction. Nothing so dramatic has ever happened to me. Time travel as represented in Paradoxman is a fantasy concept, like in the Back To The Future films and any other time travel stories. I don't believe that organic mass can be transferred through time, because time isn't organic in the physical sense. Time with a cap "T," that's a different matter, but really, if the past doesn't exist you can't go to it like it's a geographical site.

Q) But precognition of future events like the incidents you described in Time Rise 1 imply that the future exists.
BWS: Right, you're right, and it implies that the past exists as well. But this takes us back to five minutes ago when I said that time should not be regarded as an element, or whatever way I put it. Time with a cap "T" is Reality with a cap "R," and Reality exists in Consciousness with a capital "C". Once that is established we are no longer talking about organic mass but pure consciousness. Mass can't travel in time, just like mass can't exceed the speed of light. But Consciousness is not restricted to the realities of mass. Consciousness doesn't exist in time because time does not exist. I believe that real Consciousness doesn't recognize our manufactured abstract concepts of past, present and future. Consciousness is not abstract, it's Reality.


In Search Of The Miraculous (about Gurdjieff) (1949) P.D. Ouspensky
Time and Free Will (1910) Henri Bergson
An Experiment with Time (1927) J. W. Dunne

Recommended Reading:
Man and Time (1964) J.B. Priestley
TIME (1937) M. F. Cleugh
The Holographic Universe (1991) Michael Talbot
Hyperspace (1994) Michio Kaku
Passport to the Cosmos (1999) John E. Mack

Copyright © 1999 Barry Windsor-Smith. This document may be downloaded for personal use.
This document may not be disseminated for profit. All rights reserved.

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