As a clock maker of some 25 years in the business, I was approached by Ascot Race Course to give a quote on restoring a public clock which had been out of action for a very long time. As it later transpired nobody could ever remember it being in situ. Employees who had been there for 16 years could not even remember it being used.
When I arrived to make an inspection it was indeed a public clock, the case alone measuring 4"2' x 4"2' x 12' (1.27m x 1.27m x 0.3m) with a dial diameter of 3" (0.92m). Unfortunately, somebody some years earlier had walked a piece of 4 by 2 through the plate glass dial, leaving virtually nothing of the original glass. As if to compound my dilemma, it turned out that it was not a clock in the true sense of the word, but a weight driven time clock with two fly-back hands. Exactly the same kind of mechanism as on the windup wrist chronographs that have two re-set buttons each side of the winders. I had absolutely no idea how the dial was calibrated, nor really what the clock was supposed to do. Furthermore neither did anyone else.
I made a quote and it was accepted. I felt certain that somewhere along the line I would gain some information. This however was not be. So, having resigned myself to 'perhaps upstairs will prevail', I started renovation on the case and movement.
Early inspection of the old wooden case showed quite extensive damage to the corners. After much thought I decided to have four brass suitcase corners fabricated, this would cover the damaged areas and considerably enhance the look of the case.
Next step - out with Yellow Pages. Looking under the heading of brass, I selected a firm called Tubelok in Cannington. I rang and spoke to a guy called Robert, who readily agreed it was no problem to manufacture what I needed. I then proceeded to enlighten him as to the nature of the clock, and where it had come from. His reply was - wait for it - 'Oh, I know that clock. I was there when it was smashed, not only that, but I also know the architect who was there at the time, and he has all the pieces of glass stored.' Next step - contact the architect. Sure enough, he had all the broken pieces of glass together with - wait for it - a photograph of the clock before the dial was smashed.
The following Sunday, my architect friend, accompanied by his girlfriend, who just happened to work at the Turf Club, duly delivered the pieces of glass along with the photograph.
There is another curious twist to this tale. The clock has two hands, one short and black that count off the minutes, the other long and red that counts off the seconds. The photograph very clearly shows that the black hand is in front of the red one, however, in reality (my reality) this is a mechanical impossibility. Perhaps Lyall Watson author of The Secret Lives of Inanimate Objects could throw some light on the subject. Synchronicity perhaps!
COMMENT BY SIMON HARVEY-WILSON
Synchronicity, a term first used by Carl Jung in 1930, refers to 'meaningful coincidences' that are so unlikely to occur by mere chance that one is compelled to seek a deeper explanation for them. Much has been written on the subject by people from fields such as depth psychology, the paranormal and physics. Most seek a æcause and effect' explanation for synchronicity, but have so far been unsuccessful. A popular approach is to highlight the philosophical differences between Western mechanistic notions of causality, and the Eastern viewpoint, preferred by Jung, which suggest that events can be meaningful related in an acausal manner. While somewhat vague, this idea implies that science's understanding of reality is too superficial. However, this may be changing.
An interesting suggestion come from respected ufologist Jacques Vallee in his book Dimensions (1988). Vallee has a masters degree in astrophysics, a doctorate in computer science, and once worked as Manager of Information Systems at Stanford University, an ideal cross-disciplinary background from which to ponder anomalous events. Information theory is a helpful analytical tool in several fields of research. Quantum physicists use it, neuroscientists use it, and so do researchers designing faster computers.
Vallee theorises that the æstrangenessÆ of the UFO phenomenon, other paranormal events, and synchronicity, may be easier to understand if we view our universe in terms of information processing.
To set the scene for his explanation Vallee contrasts the difference between two types of information storage and retrieval systems: a library and a computer memory. Library books are stored by topic, in a linear fashion. We have all had the experience of being told by a librarian to go up the second aisle and then turn left to find whatever books we were seeking . However, large computer systems store information in a non-linear fashion. Related information is sprinkled throughout the memory system in a non-sequential fashion based on an idexing system that uses probability as one of its criteria. This enables the system to cross reference information in a multi-dimensional fashion, something that is impossible on a book shelf. Vallee's example has someone seeking information relevant to the intersection of two topics, 'microwaves' and 'headaches'. (p.288)
Vallee suggests that we use Information theory to expand our understanding of how the universe might work. He suggests that we live in what he terms a æmultiverse'. 'perhaps it is proper to shake from our theoretical ankles the chains of spacetime. Space and time co-ordinates derive their convenience from graphic considerations. .... If we had invented the digital computer before inventing graph paper, we might have a very different theory of the universe today.' (p.287) Further on he writes : 'If we live in the associative universe of the software scientist rather than the sequential universe of the spacetime physicist, then miracles are no longer irrational events.' (p.288)
But to what extent can the universe be seen in informational terms? Timothy Leary has written that: 'All matter and energy in the universe is just frozen information.' (Drury, 1991:1) Respected US physicist John Wheeler is famous for his 'it from bit' doctrine (Chalmers. 1995), in which 'it' refers to physical matter, while a 'bit' is a basic unit of information. As explained by neuroscientist David Chalmers (1995) '... information is fundamental to the physics of the universe.' Furthermore, the theory of non-locality, which states that 'all (subatomic) information is everywhere' is now accepted by quantum physics. (Talbot, 1991)
Likewise, speaking of the Collective Unconscious or Overmind, Terence McKenna (1991) writes that: '... we are in a symbiotic relationship with an organism made of information ...' If there is a deeper level of reality, as Eastern religions and transpersonal psychology suggest, then it '... maybe organised like a randomised data base (the multiverse) rather than a sequential library ( the four-dimensional universe of conventional physics). (Vallee, 1988:288)
So, what is the nature of the interface between this deeper informational level and ourselves, because it seems to be there that synchronicity occurs? Once again a computing analogy is instructive.
A computer may present information in different formats, such as on screen, by disc, hard copy, or verbally. This emphasises that the way information is stored can be utterly different from the way it is presented to the user. For example, imagine drawing a diagram on your computer screen, then saving it into memory. If you then crawled into your computer's hardware looking for your diagram , all you would find would be a jumble of wires, chips, electric currents and magnetic fields. No diagram anywhere. Yet if you request the picture again, there it is just as you left it.
Perhaps space-time is the 'screen' in which the information that comprises reality is presented for our consumption, but which bears little linear relationship to how that information is stored or cross-referenced at a deeper level. Vallee (1988:287) writes that: ö The theory of space and time is a cultural artefact.ö It may be our individual consciousness that formats the jumble of information that exists at a deeper level to present us with the cultural artefacts of space, time, and even matter. If this is the case, almost anything is possible.
Synchronistic events may be examples of meaningfully related information, packaged as events, rising to the surface of our awareness. It is interesting to note that Hinduism uses the term 'causal' for one of the deepest levels of transpersonal consciousness. (Ross,1993:21O) To seek the 'cause' of synchronicity we should perhaps look at the consciousness of the person involved. What 'wavelength' were they using at that time? Synchronicity may be a type of psychokinesis, and an invitation to seek the unity beyond appearances.
CHALMERS, D., (1995) Towards a Theory of Consciousness.
DRURY, N., (1991) The Visionary Human.
McKENNA, T., (1991) The Archaic Revival.
ROSS, G. (1993) The Search for the Pearl.
TALBOT, M. (1991) The Holographic Universe.
VALLEE, J. (1988) Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact
Source: Journal of Alternative Realities - Volume 3, November 1996