Things You Do Not Know

People have a tendency to conclude a whole lot from not very much. Their speculations can be mistaken for reality, their extrapolations unquestioned. I have joked about the phenomenon of self-diagnosed omniscience in this blog and I have introduced the concluding kangaroo, a being that jumps a great distance over chasms to form conclusions.

People also like to pontificate; evidence is rarely a major concern.

I first became aware of some oddities in my character, the summer of my 13th birthday. We went to Butlins at Pwllheli and I spent a lot of time walking along the Llyn peninsula. I did not want to be there with my parents. I was able to persuade various bartenders that the beers I was buying were for family.

The average man of the street has never heard of three or four pronged nagal beings. I was very much with the question as to who or what I was / am that summer. I even had a jacket like this at one stage.

While I was decorating this afternoon, it seemed to me that people may conclude about what I am up to and engaged in, based on the contents of this blog. They may be certain that they understand what is going on. They may forget that I choose what to put in the blog and what not to.

A long while back an American university was visiting the one that I worked at, with a view perhaps to forming an alliance. The delegation was “senior” and to help fill their diaries, I was delegated by the powers that be to talk about pastoral care, student support, transferable skills training, the tutorial system, science outreach and academic quality control. The delegation arrived at my office and we had an extended discussion which covered a lot of ground. They were a bunch of suits but very engaged in what I was saying. They started asking me if I had been to the USA before and made an informal invitation to come visit. Somewhat surprisingly they took my contact details and arranged a follow up meeting for the following day.

The next day two of them came to my office they had called the “mother-ship” and proceeded to offer me a job. They would pay for me to come visit for a fortnight to scope out. Then we could put together a plan for a new form of student liaison and care office campus wide. They suggested that I could have a big salary and choose my team.

While the negotiation about alliance was taking place, I was being head hunted spontaneously.

Nobody knew that this was going on, the seaside sounded attractive…

It was out of the blue…

People tend to conclude from within their own version of reality. As a consequence they do not include things which they do not know into their conclusion. They are unaware of the things which they do not know. This rarely inhibits conclusion forming.

Self-diagnosed omniscience if inaccurately or prematurely diagnosed is unaware of the things it does not know. It deems that there cannot possibly be any things which it does not know.


Alternate Realities

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

Brian Eno and David Byrne


I have been pondering upon this a little today and not from a weird science fiction multiverse angle rather a view which is much more mundane.

The alternate realities stem from how we cognitively assemble the world or rather our version of it.

It would be possible, for example, for me to carry out an experiment using a laser to record a vibronic spectrum of a molecule and to agree almost entirely on the outcome of that experiment with someone who “lives” in an alternate reality to mine. In the context of the experiment my means of interpretation would be entirely consistent with others around the globe equally skilled in the art.

Yet the “reality” we each live in would be different.

I had a Muslim student once who used to pray in a darkened laboratory and was consequently a trip hazard. Although our core believes were different, we shared common ground, our worlds intersected in spectroscopy.

The “reality” in which a country of >60 million souls is “besieged” by an influx, a horde, of cross channel immigrants is not one which I share. There has been precedent, William the Conqueror.

Immigration is a natural phenomenon. World history is underpinned by it and aboriginal cultures are often ethnically cleansed on a massive scale. I don’t see an ethnic cleansing of the UK currently on the cards. No need to be so dramatic, then.

If for example you are hardwired into the Matrix of modern living, there are elements of my world which would be alien. You may be Pavlovian tuned to a small microcomputer with three cameras and a hefty price tag. When “God” beeps or vibrates you must consult the pocket oracle. Yesterday I turned on our new Moto ‘phone for the first time in three weeks. The idea was for it to do updates and then for it to go back into hibernation. That ‘phone has sent and received only two texts since purchase and has never been used for a ‘phone call.

In my alien world that makes sense. It is a non-sequitur for others.

If one has attained a measure of non-attachment, that alters the very fabric of reality in comparison to someone who is still hooked line and sinker, to the socio-political world construct in one of its guises.

If you have not attained non-attachment, it is impossible for you even to begin to experience or guess what non-attachment is like. I can remember attachment so I have a better chance of assimilating your “world” than you do mine. I could probably operate in your “world” with less difficulty than you in mine.

A step function change from clinging and attachment to letting go and nonattachment would be very unsettling.

Overnight if you had to drop attachment to your career, your status, your beautiful house, your marriage, your status and turn off, extinguish, your pocket computer deity, it could be tricky to handle. {Could you go cold-phone-turkey?}

Your mind might ask, “what is wrong with attachment?” It may seek to justify being attachment to a host of stuff.

In one reality attachment and clinging are the fabric of a reality.

In another where attachment holds far less importance reality has already changed.

On the same planet, without a wormhole, these two different realities can co-exist.


If you dropped all of your attachments would your reality change dramatically or stay the same?

Ponder on this…

What would it be like to have next to no attachments?

Differing Notions of Reality

I’ll kick this off in the mundane. Today the wife has been to hospital for her Zometa infusion to help strengthen her bones against disease.


Tomorrow morning before dawn we will try to get Bowie into her cat carrier and take her up to the vets to have her bits done and vaccinations updated. After that, assuming all goes well, Bowie needs to be indoors for ten days. The stray cat will get central heating…it already knows how to use a litter tray. We should pick her up before close of play tomorrow.

I read in the news that Western Australia is looking to recruit Brits. There is a job going as head of Molecular Sciences at a university in Perth. Unfortunately I no longer fit the bill, nor do I have any referees, so there is no point in me applying. I know {briefly} one senior member of staff there.

After the work done to repair the Clio the lights on the trailer have stopped working. I have isolated the problem {I think} and should be able to have a crack at fixing it. This will save a few hundred euros.


There are many people who might be afraid, bricking it even, after a dream like the one I had this morning. In general people do not speak to/with disembodied dead people. But how else could you speak to a dead person? They are not going to be walking around all meaty and perhaps malodorous, despite however many zombie films/programmes you may have watched. The essence of the dead no longer animates the form. They must by definition {almost} be disembodied.


A lot of people pooh-pooh the notions of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night. Yet their unwillingness to enter a so-called haunted house at midnight is directly proportional to the volume and adamant nature of their pooh-poohing.

I can make an unverifiable statement.

I have communicated with people who are dead as per the criteria of the medial profession. The number of “people” I have done this with exceeds a dozen, in this lifetime. Some were very distressed, others not, they were simply swinging by.

So, while people may pooh-pooh, I will say, “place your bets”. If you are right then we will never speak again. If not, then maybe you {the disembodied you} might just drop by one evening to say hi. I would resist the urge to say “I told you so…”

There are two different notions of reality here.

1) There exists no communicative entity after death. Alan is therefore a complete loony-tune. He has lost his marbles and is a few cards short of a deck. That a “scientist” like him should fall so low is a shame. Sad.

2) A fragment, a part of the essence of being remains after death and is able to communicate with appropriately skilled beings.

I personally am not overly fussed if people believe me or not. If they are adamant, I would like to invite them to hang out in a haunted house overnight with me. Put your money where your mouth is, balls out and all that. A soap box is a good place, a good height, from which to shit a brick. Armchair and keyboard warriors may feel more courageous in their executive or gaming chair in front of a computer.

In front of peers, and with the courage that proffers, many are insistent that their notion of reality is the only one.

At twilight, in the middle of the bush or on a dark unlit inner city street, the rigidity of that professed reality starts to shimmer, refract and change.

The “reality” if context dependent, is not universally real, it is a perceptual context dependent ersatz.


I can switch comfortably between talking about diary entries in mundane physical plane reality and talking with the dead in the wee small hours. I have no need to change my trousers. I know which world I am in and when.

Do you?

Reality – Did That Actually Happen?

I doubt that many people from my past, my South Kensington past, my meeting with Nikon executives in Tokyo past, my £5 million series A start-up funds past, would imagine that I would apply for a simple job on Tristan da Cunha…

“Tristan da Cunha (/ˌtrɪstən də ˈkuːn(j)ə/), colloquially Tristan, is a remote group of volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying approximately 2,787 kilometres (1,732 mi) from Cape Town in South Africa, 2,437 kilometres (1,514 mi) from Saint Helena and 4,002 kilometres (2,487 mi) from the Falkland Islands.

The territory consists of the inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha, which has a diameter of roughly 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) and an area of 98 square kilometres (38 sq mi); the wildlife reserves of Gough Island and Inaccessible Island; and the smaller, uninhabited Nightingale Islands. As of October 2018, the main island has 250 permanent inhabitants, who all carry British Overseas Territories citizenship. The other islands are uninhabited, except for the South African personnel of a weather station on Gough Island.

Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory with its own constitution. There is no airstrip on the main island; the only way of travelling in and out of Tristan is by boat, a six-day trip from South Africa.”

But I did and that speaks volumes. Really, did that actually happen? A high technology Imperial College laser dude resorting to that. I was good to go…

I did in all faith make that application.

What does that say about how well I have been treated and accepted in blighty?

Edinburgh of the Seven Seas was perhaps calling….

Far out man…

When you have the “plague” people want to keep their distance…in case they get infected…

Their bargepoles might not be long enough..

So maybe I shoud foxtrot oscar for the common good…

Do You Have a Preferred Version of Reality?

When one starts doing personal development courses to help others, one quickly realises that so many people are in fact not self-aware, and they don’t really care about it. It never occurs to them that they are largely ignorant about inter-personal dynamics, and they tend to behave as if they know it all already. When I was asked to do some team development at a Cambridge University institute the brief was that the technicians were causing problems and they needed to learn to work better together. It quickly became obvious that it was the academics who were causing all the problems by their unrealistic demands and the power imbalance. When I suggested that it was the academics who needed training it went down like a lead balloon. So, I had to adjust the course for the technicians into how to deal with difficult people with unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitled divinity. The preferred reality there, held by the academics, was that THEY, the technicians, were the problem.

Lots of people have preferred versions where everybody else is the problem. There is always someone else putting flies in my ointment, pissing on my fire, it is all their fault, the bastards.

People can be very insular and myopic.

I mentioned elsewhere in the blog there is the phenomenon of unacceptable truths. Something may be true accurate and correct, but the mind, the perception, is totally unwilling to accept it, because accepting it brings with it implications and consequences which differ from the held preferred notion or version of reality. To accept said truth causes the “reality version” to implode, crash and burn.

I know someone who found out in middle age that the person he thought was his biological father was probably not. He did not want to do a DNA test to have surety. People can tell whopping lies to each other for decades. The truth is not acceptable.

I doubt most are able to be ruthlessly and accurately honest with themselves. I added accurately because people can be overly harsh and critical. Honesty is balanced and not skewed either one way or the other.

If you think about it, even a little bit, the scope of the title question is vast. It encompasses approach to life, to death and notions of afterlife. Most people tend to be centred in the socio-political programmed common view of the world.  If you read newspapers or listen to the news, that demarcates the boundaries of the everyday “reality”.

If you meditate on the question, “do you have a preferred version of reality?” You will begin to see how many biases, preconceptions and assertions you have. There will be elements of your “reality” that you take for granted which are unbalanced and inaccurate.

What is your preferred version of reality?

Is it real?