It’s the season for ghost stories...but I don’t have many, worse yet, that’s not my forte...not my genre.
I was thinking about ghost stories recently. I’ve always been intrigued by those televised accounts of such hauntings, but I am even more intrigued by the many ghosts we all tend to believe in without even being aware of their “ghostly” natures. Those are things like Dark Energy, quarks, neutrinos, even gravity and electro-magnetism.
You might well say that, “We can measure electro-magnetism and see the effects of gravity,” and that, “Science tells us that quarks and neutrinos exist.”
But the fact is that “being able to measure” and “seeing the effects of,” is NOT the same things as understanding the actual principles of these phenomenon, nor does it make “taking the word of scientists much different than taking the word of a shaman. After all, many of the SAME scientists that attest to the existence of quarks and neutrinos have also observed that “the laws of gravity seem to reverse themselves at the subatomic level.” (http://www.alternativephysics.org/book/Gravity.htm)
As far as “science” telling us that quarks and neutrinos exist, accepting that without understanding it, is no different than listening to a priest about the existence of God, or a medium or spiritualist about the future, etc. For what is science but a group of humans, just as likely to be fallible as any other “high priests”?
In short, most of us readily believe in many things we do not really understand, have never observed and have no other proof of their existence other than various “selects,” or “high priests.”
Suffice to say, we all believe in certain ghosts, even if we don’t accept them as such.
That’s, in part, why today, I have a different kind of ghost story in mind. I recently purchased a bright green hose from a local hardware store. I’ve always been drawn to intensely, brilliant green garden hose, perhaps because they remind me of a specific hose from an early childhood memory of one my father had in our yard when I was very young.
To this day, I have never seen that precise color again...nothing nearly as vibrant as that particular green colored hose.
Recently it struck me that it may not have been so much the color, as my eyes...or at least my perceptions. In truth I may very well have unknowingly, or imperceptibly seen that exact same color again many times, but with older, somewhat duller eyes. Could that be?
Certainly EVERYTHING changes with age, especially perception. Over time, different foods lose some of their tastes, colors seem less vibrant as our eyes age and time itself seems to accelerate.
We call all that “aging.”
That’s what we call dying...“aging.”
And in a very real sense that’s true. That 6 y/o “me” is as much gone forever, as much a part of the irredeemable past as any Tsar or Caesar, or any other ancient that once walked the earth. Yes, that 6 y/o me, as well as that 17 y/o me and that 36 y/o me are all now...long dead and gone.
I merely don’t accept them as “dead” because I am STILL ALIVE, albeit in an older, somewhat transformed (slower of foot, less energetic, less vibrant of sight and taste, etc.) state.
So, in that regard, whenever I recall all those earlier incarnations of myself, I am conjuring up old ghosts – non-living entities that haunt our thoughts long after any semblance of them has gone.
To that precise extent, I believe in ghosts – non-living, non-physical apparitions from a bygone era. And while I don’t dwell on them all that much, they do indeed flitter in and out of view at various times throughout any given day.
Does perception change to mark the time past...to remind us of what we’ve lost and left behind? Or is it something else? Does a more mature mind perceive things so differently than a newer, more naïve one...but to THAT extent?
Surely any number of things can trigger such recollections, along with my current memories of those earlier perceptions, from an apple that “Just doesn’t taste as tart and sharp as apples once did,” to a glimpse of a green hose, accompanied by the longing lament that, “I’ve never again seen a hose so green and vibrant as that one I so vividly remember from my childhood.”
At some point, when we are further along in the extension of life and the manipulation of genetics enabling us to “turn back the clocks,” will we be able to get back those earlier perceptions? Will we once again see with much more vivid, youthful eyes?
Or will we STILL lose those earlier perceptions to the fog of true youth...of first entry, or encounter?
I have no way of knowing, but my thought is that it will be the latter. We may reclaim physical youth again...but never newness. That 6 y/o self will always be as much a part of a long gone past to an aged 87, as it will be to a youthful 193 year old.
The ghosts of our own pasts will always haunt us.