I was jumping up and down because I thought I had an agent
Uh uh! False
start. The agent talked to her "media-guru" and he said, "No one
is interested in the nineteen thirties
smartie-pants! "Ted Allan in Spain: the movie" stars Hemingway, Bethune,
Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. It's introducing Ted Allan. And all of their Spanish
stories are intimately tangled through with Ted's. Ted was the pivot in their
history, man! And, and I've got an illustrator, and that's a start
is going to be fantastic!
of the things I discuss in "Ted Allan in Spain: the movie" is: that
there should be a reason to tell a story. Oh, it can just be "interesting"
I guess. But I quite like a moral to a tale(1).
Where are we going?
several stories to tell: first (to catch your attention: to make a splash) there
were tales of the "supernatural", the paranormal - Hamach's clairvoyance
("clear vision") and that something-like-telepathy with Marsha's dream
we live in a mysterious world. That's a moral.
second story I want to tell is about "spirit", though that again is
just a road to where I want to take you, to homeopathy.. That is a story about
the physical world, how it works. Science. Yes. You'll see
suspend judgement for a moment. I'm going to show you some amazing, but true,
stuff about homeopathy. Just pretend, for a moment, that homeopathy is for real,
that there is an explanation, and that it has actually been demonstrated - more
than once - but ignored and derided, or ridiculed (like Semmelweis washing his
hands before examining new mothers, you know that story).
Here, though, look at this
little whatever, it's called a Dot-Blot. It was the state of the art DNA technology
back in the 1980s: back then it was The AIDS Test(2)
. Here in this image we see homeopathic DNA diluted to 10-16 and 10-26
see the story is technical. It's may take a while to tell. At a dilution of 10-26
we are at the threshold of where there is no substance left, yet the "homeopathic
(ultradilute) DNA" is binding it's molecular/substantive (labelled) complementary
strand. I will explain this, fully, as we go on(3)
. This dot-blot, Mohammed
Ewaida gave this to me. It is your actual coach-from-a-pumpkin, coach-horse-mice.This
is their actual picture! And they're still here long after midnight. (They've
not turned back into mice and pumpkin.)
a whole new field of science. A question, a study, of pattern and resonance (and
it's not pertaining to the supernatural or spiritual (though it's probably in
"resonance" (and other such places) where we'd want to look for those
things)). No, this is a science rooted in the quotidian world, right here. You'll
but first, secondly
two: Spirit: an atheist's guide to the divine
brother Nando talks to spirits. And to the Creator. He gives thanks a lot, and
humbly asks for blessing, healing. Asks the Eagle, Wolf, and Buffalo for vision,
kindness, patience, and of Makwa, the Bear, asks for healing and clarity.
What is "spirit"? Sister Catherine
says that spirit is essentially, is intrinsically mysterious. Let me tell you
the story of when spirit waved in my face, so to speak, waved and said "I'm
here!" signed to me, "You can't deny this!" .
mentioned, above, that I was brought up a "materialist". and "atheist".
Then one day in my mid-twenties, in the mid-sixties, my friend, Paul Horridge,
said to me, "all data is experiential." My world shifted.
the truth of that statement depends on how one defines "data", but at
the time it just rang as self evidently true. And, indeed, it shifts the world.
Experience is primary. The material world is a concept, an experience, an abstraction.
And, if one is no longer an a priori materialist, then why not "spirit",
why not "God". Because, a priori, there is no reason to believe in the
divine over the material. "Oh," you may say, "because its all so
complex and balanced and
" Thank Darwin. "Yeah, but what about
"first cause"?" How old is electricity (our knowledge of it)? How
old is genetics? Our lack of understanding is not evidence of Shiva, Jehovah or
Witchi Manitou. For spirit to be more than a wish, we need empirical evidence.
So back in the sixties, as I fell into hippie,
into the "counter culture", I played with Tarot and the I Ching. And
the I Ching seemed to answer my questions very explicitly. And with the Tarot,
many cards seemed to glom to my readings. "Maybe I'm not shuffling efficiently,"
"Ah," I said, "It's a "normal distribution" thing: a
bell curve. There are some people who never experience coincidences, and some
who experience a lot. I'm out on the upper toe," I thought. And then, though
decades later, spirit waved in my face.
the mid-nineties I did a Vision Quest. That was a four day dry fast. (Most or
many First Nation's rituals are ordeals. Even the sacred pipe, though an honour
and a blessing, is a bit of an ordeal.)
on the edge of Guelph Ontario on Vern's patch, a little tuck of country-side,
pastures, corn fields, trees and scrub, little river, creek running through. Half
a dozen fasters, each of us isolated in our own little bent-willow and tarpaulin
shelter in the bush. The task is to mind your fire all night. By day you can catch
nap in your "tent". Or bath the riverlet - crayfish and minnows nibble
(dead skin from) your toes. That's idyllic. And wading in the stream I had one
of your little epiphanies: walking in the water, sun breaking through clouds,
rays and me like, "This is what it was like (numinous) when John baptised
Jesus." That's as close to a vision as I got in my quest. Quest for? Maybe
I was asking for a sign. But that was it.
in the city, though, everyday for a month there was a synchronicity, a small or
great coincidence, everyday. I can't remember the little ones. A big one: we were
out on the deck watching the sky. John and Mary, just back from a little north
of TO, were saying how vivid the skies were in the country, meteorites mid the
million stars, but no northern lights, they observed. Only time they'd seen the
lights, they reflected, was here in TO five years before. I turned to Teresa with
like that would have been about when we stopped on the drive back from Montreal
and saw that white flickering. And now, then but ten minutes later Teresa points
at the sky and says, "Look, what's that;" a flickering, and then ten
minutes beyond that the whole skies was awash in a rolling display (black and
white, down here in the south). We don't look at the night sky much here in Toronto,
so I've seen this southern edge of the northern lights perhaps once in a decade.
Every day a coincidence. A synchronicity.
So one day, I'm sitting riding home on the
bus. It's evening. And I'm thinking, "There hasn't been a coincidence today."
And with that thought I raise my head and open my eyes to, right in front of me,
a gentleman in a tee-shirt with an image of a teenaged girl with a baseball cap
with a "Covenant House" logo, and in front of her the legend, "She
won't have to sleep on the street tonight": and over his shoulder, the gent
in the tee, a poster with the same image and legend!
years later, when I was discussing this with my son, Seth, he was saying that's
not so astronomical, the tee-shirt and the poster. Right, though I've not had
another experience quite like that one, but that's not the synchronicity, that's
not the sign. It's opening my eyes on that coincidence with the thought "There
hasn't been a coincidence today," that's the synchronicity. And that in that
month of synchronicities. I can't gain say that. That does not happen by chance.
So this, for me, is evidence of a creative
intelligence: of spirit announcing Itself: "I'm am that I am": I exist.
the opening scene in Tom Stoppard's play/movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are
Dead,(4) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
are riding to Ellsinore - they've been summonsed - and one or other is tossing
a coin and it keeps coming down heads. "One hundred and forty." Toss
and catch. "One hundred and forty one heads."
the playwright is giving them a sign that they are not in the natural world. (That
they are characters in a play.)
not really a parallel. Spirit wasn't claiming to write the whole book. Just to
weave in where she will.
Arabs say "Maktub", "It is written". And that reminds me of
"The Laws of Drama."
Ted Allan, was a playwright and he said there are laws, laws of drama. He said
the first law of theatre is there must be conflict.
second law, said Ted, is there has to be "character development."
third law is, you have to care. If you don't care, you may just switch the channels.
(Ted said that if the audience could identify with the protagonist, they would
These were his musings on theatre,
and when he told them to me I thought, "Wow! That is, actually, cosmic! What
if it is all written - "Maktub" the Arabs say - it's all written, and
this is God's theatre."
On the personal
level, in our own stories, we identify because we are the protagonist.
the grand scale of things, universally, conflict is an essential of any good story,
and perhaps that is why there is "evil" in the world. My friend, Rick,
says if the dragon isn't awesome you'll not spawn much of a hero.
God got bored in His heavenly bliss, His renaissance paradise with all the angels
singing glory glory and hallelujah. "Enough!" He said. "Let there
be dark and light." And there was. There was a big a big a bang with quantum
and relativity and natural select, chance and error and the devils snaking through.
Further to the laws of drama: I overheard
an actor, in Starbucks, explain to a student director, "The climax must be,
at one and the same time, a surprise and inevitable. So that's the fourth and
fifth laws, which might explain the need for the rational, the predictable. Without
expectations, where's the surprise?
sixth law of drama: If spirit wanted to be manifest it would do so in neon with
whistles and bells. But it chooses, it seems, to be subtle. Why? Why would the
playwright sit on the stage?
law is love.
But it's not
clear to me that the future is determined. Actually, just talking to Terry today,
I was realizing that this is a bit like your quantum probability waves functions
collapsing. We'll come back to the future in a later chapter. And evil and mind
and reincarnation. Meanwhile, on a lighter note, here let me tell you about Nando
and the Mayan Myth of creation.
Mayan Creation Myth and Why Things Are As They Are
Nando sat on his
futon in front of his laptop. "I'm writing about the Mayan story of creation."
Nando is a Mayan medicine man. He's been my house guest these many months.
It seems there was a counsel of Creators.
"Like a committee?" I asked.
"Like a circle," said Nando.
the beginning this committee, this circle of Creators made creatures out of wood,
but the wooden men neglected to give due respect to the Creators, so they burned
them. Then the Creators made men out of mud, out of clay, but again, they clay
creatures failed in this respect, so the Creators washed them away.
ha!" I said. "That explains why the world is such a mess. The Creators
were a bunch of bumblers."
said Nando (with a heavy accent). "It all works out fine. Next the Creators
created the animals, and that was good, and though the animals didn't give much
attention to the creators, there was no blame in that. So next the Creators made
men, and women. But then they thought, the people are a little too clever. 'Ah
ha. They are clever like us,' so the Creators took away men's vision, their inner
vision - they closed the third eye - and they took away their patience."
"Just the men?" I said.
the men," said Nando.
indeed, that does explain a lot. They are not very kind, the Creators."
"Oh no," said Nando. "They
gave us dreams."
Not to worry too much. When the Mayan calendar renewed in 2012, I am told that
many of us got back our vision and our patience, so we can begin to live in reality
rather then the dream world.
why do I have a picture of Nando's back? At my first gallery art show I sold a
picture I'd done of a man's back, and another visitor to the show was disappointed;
they'd wanted to buy it, so Nando said he'd sit for me. And, and, and, it was
years later Ezra bought that painting/drawing of Nando's back.
so let's finish with a poem:
I don't see...
don't see that the Creator is evident in His creation. I think, for the most part,
this "miraculous" world once uttered in the Big Bang unfolds through
quantum and Darwin. For the most part
the Creator hides
as men spin lies
the devil rides
in our hearts
along with the worriers and the warriors
the glad-eyed boys
with the kiss-me girls
to trust love
in the dolmen arch
hides in the graves
and the grass
of Blake and Solomon
and in the tears of so many virgins
Creator hides from our reproach
hides from our blush
hides in the open
in the mind
here: for contents and chapter one