Have you ever wondered how things work?
My father did this all of the time. You could see it in his face as he had a habit of moving his eyes from side-to-side in a particular way when he was deep in thought. He would be wondering, you see, how does that work? I was fortunate that my father thought this way because he would occasionally discuss his thoughts and more importantly, his ideas, about how things worked with me. The ‘thing’ could be a computer, an engine or indeed, the entire universe.
I’m not exactly sure what thought processes my dad used but he had no more than a secondary school education broken up by the war and supplemented by some ‘night school’. He was a practical man too and could fix almost anything having served his time as a toolmaker. Perhaps it was his time being a toolmaker – making the tools to make the things people used – that helped reinforce his way of thought.
The incredible thing was to listen to his ideas. For example, he began to believe that some cancers were the result of viruses and the mechanism by which they invaded cells in the body. He wrote letters to specialists and got replies. Initially, those replies were, well, polite rebuttals but in later years, they were surprised replies, as it seemed the involvement in viruses in certain cancers is indeed suspected. How could my father have known?
He had theories about most things my Dad including the nature of reality. He tried to couch it all in scientific terms but not being a trained scientist, you had to listen carefully to his analogies to understand. He must have pondered the nature of almost everything over his lifetime. A clever man who should have had an opportunity to go to college but for the war and the nature of the times in which he grew up.
I think in many ways Dad practiced what today would be called magic. I think his thoughts took place in a contemplative state and he would ‘receive’ information from within – from his higher self or daemon or whatever word you want to use to describe it. He was intuitive. He used his imagination.
Dad never got to read The Last Observer. We discussed the ideas for it a few times and I know he was intrigued with the idea that the well-developed imagination of a conscious observer could create reality. We discussed the physics of it. There is something of him in that book. He was to some extent The Last Observer I knew. Someone, who with a sharpness of mind, intuition and curiosity, observed his world in a unique and magical way. Stanley, the unlikely hero of the novel has some aspects of my Father written into him but it was my Father who taught me to think, to be curious and to create my reality too.