by Dennis Gaumond
What if someone assassinated Elvis? What if this happened before he got to revolutionize pop music by being the first attractive white male to sing like an Afro-American blues artist? Would rock and roll not have been popularized? Or maybe the process would have taken much longer? Or what if Hitler had been assassinated before his charisma got a chance to popularize the Nazi movement?
Consider the idea that someday mankind will develop the technology to time travel. There are several sci-fi movies and stories that have explored this theme. They are based on the notion that we could send missions into the past to undo events that dramatically changed the course of history. What if we could stop certain personalities from contributing what they contributed, preventing them from affecting us the way they did?
As entertaining as such imaginings may be, I have my doubts that it would work that way. I don't doubt that someday we may indeed be able to time travel. What I have a hard time with is the popular definition of time itself. The average person visualizes time unfolding in a constant, linear manner, with one event following another in a cause/effect relationship. From that perspective it is easy to imagine that, if we could prevent a certain event from taking place, we could indeed change the course of history.
But what if our reality doesn't work that way at all? What if our 'common sense' interpretation of the way time unfolds is completely wrong? Allow me to propose an alternative vision that may be a little closer to the actual truth, while admitting that the actual truth is probably far beyond our capacity to fully understand.
Most of us, at some point during our high-school education, were introduced to the concept of a force field - the idea that energy can exist in a way that influences whatever is within its field to behave a certain way. There are gravitational, electro-magnetic and atomic fields, etc. Such a field is a 'condition', a template that has a predictable effect on whatever may take place within its sphere of influence. We don't know what causes such an energy field. This is because we don't really know what energy is, we only know what it does.
During some science class, most of us were shown that, if we place magnets under a metal tray, we would create a magnetic field. If we then threw a handful of iron filings onto the tray, they would arrange themselves in a predictable pattern. If we removed some of the filings, the remaining filings would re-arrange themselves so that the pattern prevailed. If all the filings were removed and a new handful of filings were thrown onto the tray, the same pattern would form. In other words, the condition for the pattern is already there - like a template - determining the arrangement of the filings.
There's a little known branch of science called 'cymatics' - developed by Ernst Chladniand Hans Jenny. They developed experiments that showed how sound can affect matter. I'll offer an oversimplified description of their work. A metal tray was placed on an electronic speaker and then a quantity of sand was placed on the tray. A musical note was then played through the speaker. The vibration of the note caused the grains of sand to arrange themselves in a specific pattern. A particular note always caused the same pattern. If the note was changed, it would produce a different pattern - the higher the pitch of the note, the more complex the pattern.
There's a passage in the Bible that says, " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." There's also a passage in the Hindu Vedas that is almost identical. It is alluding to the notion that 'the word', which is another way of saying 'sound', is what shapes matter. In other words, vibrating energy - which is what causes 'sound' - is like a type of force field that determines the way that the particles that make up our physical reality arrange themselves. There are many mystical writings that say similar things.
In the modern era, science has also questioned our ideas of reality. Our common sense perception of matter, for example, does not stand up to quantum testing. Matter, as we perceive it, is pretty much an illusion, as the mystics have always said. Matter is not really solid, as we perceive it to be. Science suggests that it seems to be made up of empty space. If an atom were the size of a football field, the nucleus would be the size of a tomato seed in the centre of the field, with electrons the size of grains of salt orbiting at ferocious speeds at the perimeter of the field. Furthermore, if we enlarged the nucleus to the same football field size, it would consist of even smaller particles whipping around at even greater speeds.
The particles that make up an atom are held in place by an atomic field. The atoms that make up a molecule are held in place by a magnetic field. The cosmic bodies that make up the physical universe are held in place by gravitational fields. What's even more astounding is that science now sees the smallest particles as energy fields unto themselves. So, an atom is all empty space. As Einstein suggested with his famous equation, E=MC2, matter seems to be equivalent to energy.
Similar to the pattern formed by the iron filings or the sand on the vibrating tray, our reality is a pattern shaped by underlying energy fields. Just like our physical, five-sensory perception of matter, our notions of time as a progression of events in a cause-effect relationship - also a five-sensory perception - may be equally inadequate. Einstein and others have demonstrated that time does not flow in a constant, predictable manner. They have shown that there are many factors and circumstances that affect the flow of time.
Having exposed myself to much information regarding the nature of reality, both from a scientific and a mystical/metaphysical perspective, I'd like to present a model of the concept of time that makes more sense to me. Imagine that, just as there are energy fields, there are also time fields. In an energy field, matter is affected by the force within the field - i.e., the metal filings are pushed into certain patterns that are determined by the field. What if 'time fields' had a similar effect on events? What if time fields determined the pattern of events.
Of course, to most of us this sounds pretty 'out there'. In our mind's eye we can't help but see the world according to the information provided by our five senses. But both science and metaphysics have suggested that matter is not what it seems. The same is true of time. Some of the questions that tease us are, what causes an energy field? Or even more profound, what is energy? What is time?
The mystics tell us that every aspect of our reality is a different manifestation of energy. This is hard to understand as it applies to solid matter, but is even harder to grasp as it applies to such intangibles as thoughts, feelings and the flow of time. The latest developments in physics seem to be in agreement with ever more of this mystical information. There are hints that it may be in accord with an even more profound concept, the idea that energy is equivalent to consciousness. So the sum-total of all consciousness is what constitutes energy, which in turn shapes every aspect of our reality.
If this is true, then it implies that consciousness also creates the field that shapes the unfolding of events. Could it be that the 'event pattern' determined by the time field is such that, if a certain event failed to happen, some other event would happen that would achieve the same result? In other words, a new circumstance in our reality was destined to happen.
This is reminiscent of the classical philosophical debate - is our fate predetermined or do we have free will? With this model of the nature of time, it seems that both are true. At first glance it seems that if events occur according to a predetermined template, then we really have no free will. But our consciousness, both individually and collectively, evolves according to the decisions we make with our free wills. It is this ever-evolving consciousness that is shaping the time field, which is in turn, determining our fate.
I wonder what Elvis would think of all this? Would he see that, according to the time field, rock and roll needed to be born exactly when it was? Maybe society needed to be affected by the sweeping influence of rock and roll. If it wasn't Elvis, it would have been someone else. What would he say about this? He'd probably just say, "Thankyuh, thankyuh ver much."