Saturday, 2 April 2011

Saturday 2nd April – Hunger's End

A new day.
It's weird when you haven't been somewhere for a long time and then, when you get there, you discover that nothing's changed and that life is carrying on just the same as if you hadn't been there. It got me thinking about that philosophical school of thought based on how life only exists in terms of what you're seeing at any one moment, or the idea that reality is made up of whatever your own mind constructs, that your brain, like a very complex computer, is developing reality as it goes along: you turn a corner and your brain constructs the reality that you think is facing you. Oddly, everybody's brain seems to be constructing the same reality. So if Andy and I are cycling to Merstham, as we did yesterday, we're both seeing and feeling the same things rather, say, than Andy seeing herds of Wilder beast crossing a vast prairie, and me seeing the M23 and a few semi-rural fields.

Heading down Gangers Hill towards the A25 and Godstone.
Right now I'm sitting in front of a computer in my conservatory, typing this blogpost, and that, for the moment, is my reality. I don't know of anything else existing outside of what I'm looking at; for all I know my wife and daughter, who I assume are upstairs, aren't upstairs at all, they don't exist, nor does anybody else. Except, of course, I know that they do exist – don't I? Andy at this very moment, I'm assuming, is, like me, out of bed and preparing for today's cycle. My mum and dad are probably sitting by their patio window, looking out on the garden and sipping tea, listening, perhaps, to Radio Four. But these are all assumptions based on the construct of my own reality. Perhaps none of it exists and the world outside of what I can see here in the conservatory is a blank screen, white noise, nothing more.

I cycled towards the station but ended up turning round and cycling home.
The best example I can give of these thought processes is, oddly, an animated children's movie called The Wrong Trousers, starring Wallace and Gromit. There's a moment where Gromit (the dog) is sitting on a steam engine when the track on which the train is running simply stops and Gromit is required to throw pieces of track in front of the train to keep it moving and, thereby, making up his reality as he goes along.

There's a great book by Philip K Dick entitled Ubik, in which the nature of reality is questioned (as it is in most PKD novels) and the whole notion of creating reality as we move along is encapsulated by the character of Jory Miller, a 12-year-old boy 'living' in a state of 'chill half-life' in between life and death.

This is all a bit heavy for Sunday morning at 0631 and I can't for the life of me figure out how it all came into my head, but there you have it.

Back at Hunger's End, then, it was as if we'd never been away. The place looked the same as we arrived at 0910, except that we had to wait for the two women who worked there to put out the tables and chairs (we always sit outside). Both of us ordered two slices of toast with jam and a couple of mugs of tea and then chatted about my current job situation. It's all very boring to be honest and I wish I just had a job, but I don't. At home, we're all under a lot of stress as the money runs out in about 28 days and when you've got a 12-year-old in the house who simply doesn't understand the concept of not having any money, it's not good.

We sat there for about an hour in the end and then moved off. Andy cycled home and I made for the station, having decided to catch the train home. But I just couldn't do it for some reason. I cycled along Station Road, deep in thought about my decision to catch the train and eventually I decided not to; I turned around and headed back up the road and off home via Fanny's Farm. For some reason, I had a lot of energy and enough power to take every hill, especially Markedge Lane, but then later the steep side of West Hill, with ease (considering I only have eight gears at the moment).

Andy took this shot of Warlingham Green yesterday at around 0730hrs.
What would have happened had I taken the train, I wonder? Would it have crashed with all passengers killed and I wouldn't be here now, writing this post? There was nothing in the news. Would I have met somebody who would have offered me a job? Who knows? And that, of course, is another school of thought: the fact that simple decisions are life-changing. If I turn left instead of right, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for me  – and everybody else's lives change too. Imagine that for a moment: you turn left instead of right and then, whoever you see on the road sees you and you become a part of their lives. You might in some way influence their actions during the day and a whole myriad of miniscule decision-making processes turns the world into what it is.

There's a great book, that I never finished, entitled The End of Eternity by Asimov, which deals with this subject. I think I might make another attempt at reading it.

1 comment:

  1. Crikey mate- its the sort of topic that requires a number of ales!