Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The time-traveling is just too dangerous. Better that I devote myself to study the other great mystery of the universe: women!

So I was flicking through the May UK edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine (Gee Note: What? Just because I look like I've been trapped under a fallen tree for the past seven months and have survived by living off puddles of rain water and the occasional ant daft enough to wander past my tongue, it doesn't mean that I can't dream of one day being fashionable. I'm like the start of a modern day fairy tale. You know the one where some hairy, badly dressed dude who can't get a date meets a fairy or a wizard or something, and they're all like "Woah man. You need help". And so the magic person waves a wand and transforms this furry chinless wonder in to Freddie Prinze Jr, who always turns up in these type of movies. Freddie then proceeds to heroically woo some woman with his handsome face, before he unexpectedly turns back in to Mr. Fuzz. And he'll be all like "Noooooooo! Don't look at me! Don't look at me!!!!!!!", and then the woman will say "Don't worry about it Freddie. I fell for your nice guy attitude, not your hairless face". Well that's me, pre wizard/Freddie phase. Anyway I digress) when an article piqued my interest.

Now it should be noted that it's not often that Cosmo serves as anything other than a passing distraction. For example the May edition alone has articles such as "Hugh Jackman: How I impress women" which I didn't read (Gee Note: Because if he says anything other than "I'm a movie star. No really. Wolverine baby! See? That's right. I'm kind of a big deal" to impress women I'd be amazed) and "How to decode your man" which I did read (Gee Note: Apparently the fact that my index is longer than my ring finger means that I have better verbal and writing skills than folks who have their digits the other way round. Also I "may be well endowed". Which to be honest with you comes as something of a relief. I mean having spent the past ten years in a Jon Arbuckle like quivering wreck every time I caught a glimpse of myself whilst stepping out of the shower, it turns out what I thought was "mildly disappointing" is actually a Humpback Whale. Thank you Cosmo). Which, you know, are pretty much par for the course with magazines that are obsessed with shoes, diets, celebrity, and sex.

So you'll be surprised to hear that a piece from Cosmo really did grab my attention. But then considering it's title was "It's 2020 and I'm married to a farmer" it's not that difficult to reason why. I mean that's a hell of a hook. It sounds like something Dr. Manhattan would say while kicking back on the surface of Mars. "It's five minutes from now and I let the picture fall from my fingers. It's 2020 and I'm married to a farmer. It's 1966 and I'm pretending that I prefer The Rolling Stones over The Beatles in order to impress that hippy chick in the blue jeans. It's 1987 and I hate Rick Astley. It's 2007 and thanks to Youtube I love Rick Astley. It's fun to be Rick Rolled. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. It's 2010 and I hate Rick Astley again."

It turns out that the woman writing the article, Tracey Ramsden, had been to see a hypnotherapist in London by the name Martyn Wightman. Apparently Wightman is an expert at "Future Life Progression". "What's this Future Life Progression you speak of?" I hear you say. Well I'm glad you asked because, truth be told, I haven't got the faintest idea myself. Actually that's not strictly true. I get the basic premise of it. You’ve all heard of Past Life Regression right? You know the hypnotherapy that's about one step removed from some guy wearing a cheap suit, swinging a pocket watch back and forth, and telling you how sleepy you are (Gee Note: Which if they were doing it with me would be a very redundant point. I'm always sleepy. No really I am. It's part of my charm. I'm like the human version of Garfield. Except, you know, without the tail).

Ok for those not in the know, Past Life Regression is when memories surface from your past lives. You know how you'll occasionally run in to some new ager who claims to have been Benjamin Franklin or Joan of Arc before being reincarnated in to their present form? (Gee Note: True story, I once met someone who claimed to have been Mother Theresa in a past life. Problem is this person was born in 1980. Mother Theresa died in 1997. Words cannot describe how... um... no really they can't.) Well it's more than likely that they discovered these new and insane memories while under hypnosis.

Now the major problem with Past Life Regression is that as any psychologist will tell you it's nonsense memories aren't like a Polaroid camera. Indeed memories that even the most sane of us believe to be accurate might not necessarily be a true depiction of events. Instead they warp and bend over time, influenced by what the rest of our consciousness brings with it to the party. Phobias, personal bias, and alcohol trauma may all leave their mark on one's recollections. Most of the time these are tiny little blemishes, like forgetting what the colour of Jim's jumper was or thinking that you had been having a conversation about Spiderman 3 being an awful film with Sharon when it turns out it was Dorothy who thought you were a moron for not appreciating Toby Maguire enough. Sometimes however whole events are exaggerated, down played, or completely made up. And it's not because the person with these memories is consciously trying to deceive themselves. It's just the way our crazy little minds work. We constantly construct confabulations and cryptomnesia (Gee Note: The latter of which causes Superman to lose his inhibitions and start singing folk songs really badly and at the top of his voice. Which being Superman is, you know, pretty damn loud. That alone is probably the reason it's the last thing left in the box when it comes to the Annual Supervillain WMD Draft). Or false memories to you and me.

The thing with hypnosis is that it opens up the mind like Pandora‘s Box. It's like a totally blank canvas where the slightest nudge or stroke of your paintbrush creates a completely different picture. Put a blue dot somewhere near the top of the canvas and you have a picture of the Earth from a far away satellite. Put another dot next to it and all of a sudden the Earth has become a pair of eyes staring back at you. Under hypnosis you could be asked a leading question or your brain could be stimulated by a smell or a something in your eye line and before you know it in a past life you were a little duck named Clive.

Anyway as crazy as it sounds Future Life Progression is the opposite of Past Life Regression. As in the hypnotist will whisk you forward through the years so you can pow wow with your future self. Which is kind of handy I guess. I mean I sure as hell could do with someone letting me know in advance what‘s going to happen. Advice like “Dude, for God’s sake don’t step on that rake” and “Bro, you know that girl you met in the Tavern? Yeah well, don’t bother. You really aren’t her type” would be invaluable. But here’s the thing. How the hell does it work?

No really, how? I mean I get the idea that past memories resurface because your spirit or some such jazz has already experienced them. But memories that your spirit hasn’t experienced yet surfacing? What? Seriously I’m having a hard time grasping the whole concept. I mean does your consciousness travel in to the future? And if it does, is your future self aware that you are there? I mean it should remember right? In that case why not go the Back To The Future Part II route and (Gee Note: Buy a Goddam hoverboard already) slip some sporting results your way? And if that does happen, does the future you cease to exist? I mean what the hell? Am I the only one asking these painfully obvious questions?

Apparently so, as Tracy Ramsden turned her visit to Martyn Wightman into a piece about, er, herself. You know the type of thing, she’s a modern woman, blah, blah, blah, loves the single life, blah, blah, blah, but just wants a man who isn‘t useless (Gee Note: The good news is that useless men don‘t want her either. Well this one doesn‘t anyway). By the end the only thing I’d learnt was that Ramsden had never thought she wanted to be married to a farmer while wearing a nice dress (Gee Note: I think it was her wearing the dress and not him. I don‘t know, by that point she could‘ve told me she was fighting drunken aliens with lasers and I wouldn‘t have cared), except when she saw herself doing just that of course. There was no questioning of Wightman. No discussions of a potential paradox. No “So dude… how the hell is this NOT a load of old bollocks?”. Instead lovely Tracy had a grand old time pretending to be a housewife in some kind of wooden hut or something.

Now I don’t want to say that Martyn Wightman is a fraud but… ah… well… Martyn Wightman is a fraud. That you could travel forward in time by hypnosis to contact your future self defies everything that would be physically, logically, and rationally acceptable. Unless of course he means that he’ll put you in to contact with what your mind thinks will be your future self. In which case why bother? I mean I could picture my future me now without the need for hypnosis. And to be honest I’m pretty sure I won’t have gathered any sage like advice from ten years sitting on the sofa.

So I guess I should be thankful for Cosmo. I mean I doubt my future self would even have the slightest idea on how to decode my man.

1 comment:

Naveed said...

My future self said that I need to wake up at 5am tomorrow morning.

He then proceeded to say that I have to go to work and stand behind a cash register so I can sell gasoline to the consumer crowd...

Then he said something about a radiated meteor crash in the parking lot and bringing about a horde of giant mutant mole zombies.

Yeah...it'll be work as usual.