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The Paradox of Time

To our everyday perception as physically incarnate beings time appears as a unidirectional, uniformly flowing quantity over which we have no control. There is however a considerable body of evidence to suggest that the true nature of time might be very different.

The rate of passage of time whilst engaged in an enjoyable activity seems very different to when waiting for a bus on a cold and rainy night. Although its measure on a chronometer would appear exactly the same.

Einstein challenged the intuitive notion of the constancy of time with his theories of relativity. Instead, time is seen as part of a four dimensional space-time continuum. One of the consequences of relativity is the concept of time dilation, or the passage of time depending upon the motion of the observer. The usual example is that of an astronaut embarking on a journey at near the speed of light. Upon returning to earth he would find that much more time has passed there than would have been observed by him. Effectively, he would have travelled into the future.

There are numerous accounts of individuals glimpsing the future.

In 1974 an explosion at a chemical plant in Flixborough, northern England, which killed 28 people, was seen in advance by housewife Lesley Castleton. Whilst watching Saturday morning television she saw the programme interrupted by a newsflash giving details of the explosion which was said to have occurred shortly before. She told friends about what she had seen. Later on the evening news the report said the explosion had occurred at 4:30pm. At first Mrs Castleton thought the reporters had made a mistake but realised something strange had occurred when reading in the Sunday papers that the explosion had indeed occurred at 1630. Mrs Brennan's friends confirmed that she had told them of the accident in advance of it happening.

The Bible Code, discovered by mathematician Eliyahu Rips, is a hidden code in the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible. The Bible Code, described by author Michael Drosnin, has been shown to have predicted events such as the death of Princess Diana, the September 11 US terror attacks, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin with odds of millions to one against chance. Indeed the death of Rabin was predicted by Drosnin a year ahead of its happening.

As a child I used to do a weekly line on my father's football pools coupon. One Saturday I felt especially confident that I was going to win, and kept telling my father this. I actually won a small dividend. The odds against doing so were something in excess of 50 to 1. I had never felt so confident of success in a game of chance before, or since.

My grandmother passed away in July 2002, my father in October 2003. In September 2003 I had a dream of my father driving my grandmother somewhere in his car, as he often did so many times in the past. I told my wife of my dream. At the time I was aware that my father was unwell, but had no idea of the seriousness of his condition. The dream could simply have been a memory of happier times, or was it a premonition of what was to follow?

An interesting implication of quantum physics, the scientifically accepted description of events at the micro-atomic level, was dubbed spooky action at a distance by Einstein. This concerns pairs of so-called entangled particles. Making an observation on one particle, which defines one of its properties, instantaneously defines the same property for its partner, no matter how far away it is (NB the property is UNDEFINED until the observation is made. The significance of observation is another important consequence of quantum theory). Effectively, what happens to one particle has had an instantaneous effect the other, defying Einstein's law of the speed of light as a limit. The effect has been confirmed experimentally.

Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe those meaningful coincidences which seem to occur more often than would be expected by chance alone. Jung suggested this was an indication of some kind of hidden connection between seemingly unrelated things.

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, has proposed a concept called imaginary time to attempt to overcome the singularities (breaking down of physical laws) at the start, and possible end, of the physical universe. In A Brief History of Time Hawking says "[the existence of singularities] might suggest that the so-called imaginary time is really the real time, and that what we call real time is just a figment of our imaginations."

Some leading scientists believe that time travel is possible, at least in theory. Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology believes that wormholes or Einstein-Rosen Bridges could provide a means of time travel. These form where space-time curves sufficiently to provide connect two distant points in the continuum. Princeton physicist J. Richard Gott suggested time travel may be possible by means of cosmic strings. Thinner than an atom, they extend the entire length of the universe. A spaceship in the vicinity of two strings close enough together, or a single string close enough to a black hole could be transported due to the warping of space-time (Howstuffworks "How Time Travel Will Work"

It appears that inhabitants of the so-called spirit realm or afterlife exist in a kind of timelessness. In Life After Death, an examination of near death experiences, Ian Wilson states "There are many similar examples indicating an 'all-knowledge' time-and-space transcending facility to whatever 'thought'-self is reached during the near-death experience. It is as if this 'self' exists at a level of our being ... which can and does transcend time and space".

I often attend my local spiritualist church. In April 1999, on a visit home after working overseas for just over a year, I attended a service. I'd been to the church around twenty or so times previously and one of the regulars recognised me and we chatted for a while. Near the end of the demonstration of clairvoyance the medium came to me and, as best I remember, she said things were going well for me at the moment (that was true) and she said her guide mentioned a "good woman". She asked if I was married, in fact I had married 2 months before.

The medium also mentioned a baby girl, she said she saw pink ribbons. First of all she said maybe not this year, but then I told her my wife and I were expecting a baby in September. Five months later my wife gave birth to a lovely baby girl. She also said she saw someone folding origami, I was living and working in Japan and my wife is Japanese (and can do origami)!! In all the previous times I'd been to that church I'd had messages on about 40% of my visits but none have been as accurate as that.

I graduated from a master's degree in September 2001 and received several job offers, one of which I was instinctively drawn to. I accepted this offer, rejecting three others, believing it was right for me. About a week before I was due to start the job I attended the spiritualist church where I was given the message that I was "barking up the wrong tree". I had no idea what the medium was talking about as, at this time, I believed my future was rosy.

The following day I went to view some rental accommodation in the locality of my chosen job, only to be informed that the property had already been taken. I assumed this was the meaning of the medium's message. The following week I started my chosen job, only to find it wasn't at all for me. I lasted just four days before quitting, each day growing more and more depressed and overwhelmed by feelings of despair. I had indeed been barking up the wrong tree.

Helmudt Schmidt conducted experiments which found that the results from a random number generator could be influenced by subjects willing a desired result AFTER the data had been collected. This effect is known as retrospective psychokinesis, or retro-pk.

Lawrence LeShan suggests, in The Medium, The Mystic and the Physicist that the division of time into past, present and future is an illusion and that everything occurs in an eternal now.

The evidence for precognition may be initially disturbing as it implies a Newtonesque, deterministic universe in which "living" beings are mere automata acting out an inescapable pre-ordained script with our precious free-will consigned to the rubbish bin. I believe that ultimate reality is much more complex than that.

The uniform flow of time may indeed be an illusion. Perhaps all of time, like all of space, really does exist all around us and all at once. The passage of time may be a mere illusion to help us make sense of our entrapment within physical clothes. Those who have returned home, ie to Spirit, may indeed be able to adopt a higher viewpoint, to see both future and past. But furthermore they, and we, may be able to alter them.

See also Parapsychology on the Web

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