Thursday, 25 June 2015

Ghosts and the Matrix.

There aren’t very many rock and pop songs that take a ghost story as their theme, are there? This is a rare exception by Godley and Creme from 1981. When I first heard it I found it a little chilling, even though I’m rarely chilled by ghost stories.

But I have a problem with the lyrics. When the narrator picks up the newspaper and reads the report of a woman’s suicide, it describes her as ‘identity unknown,’ but then goes on to report her line ‘under your thumb.’ How could they know that was her problem if they didn’t know who she was?

(And why do I do this? Why do I expect everything in stories to make sense? Life doesn’t.)

But anyway, having listened to this in the car today as a pleasant accompaniment to my egg and cress sandwich, and having moaned inwardly at the irrationality contained within the lyrics, I had a thought:

Let’s suppose that the ancient eastern wisdoms and the modern quantum theorists are right about supposed reality being a form of illusion – that the phenomenal world of trees and mountains and houses and goats is actually not a fixed and real platform at all, but a creation of ours – then this raises an interesting point:

We’re so convinced that the world of phenomenal reality is something into which we’re born and in which we function that our mental states are greatly influenced by it. If it’s cold, wet and windy we tend to be subdued. If it’s warm, dry and sunny we’re usually in much better spirits. So if the wisdoms and theorists are right, it means that we allow ourselves to be victims of our own illusion. In other contexts we would regard that as a form of mental illness. On the other hand, I suppose it’s not so different from watching a scary film in order to be scared.

(I could do with creating an endless supply of premium beer and malt whisky, preferably 20-year-old Talisker. And I wish I could make up my mind as to whether or not I take this world seriously.)

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