Sunday, 23 May 2010

I've been to the Moon, you know...

I've mentioned this story to several people in comments that I've left around the blogosphere. I find it extraordinarily poignant, for a whole bunch of reasons. Anyway...

I was on a (NLP), course in a hotel, one time. There was a break in proceedings, and I headed out of the lecture room for a snout (cigarette). I ran into an old confused-looking guy in the lobby. I say old - he was probably in his sixties. I can't remember why we started talking, to be honest, but I remember how he spoke: slowly but clearly, and his ideas appeared disjointed as though there were lots of things that he wasn't including in his dialogue, but then he said something quite extraordinary that I doubt I'll ever forget. "I've been to the Moon, you know," he declaimed.

Now, I know that most people would regard this as evidence of delusion, or something, and would make damn sure that they exited the conversation as quickly as possible, on the ground that they might be infected by the guy's supposed insanity. However, I see the world differently to most people. I think this guy was an authentic genius.

Now, I don't know whether he had been to the Moon (incidentally, I think that it seems unlikely, but that doesn't make it impossible), and I don't know whether he believed he had been to the Moon, irrespective of whether he had, or not, and I don't know whether he merely consciously imagined that he'd been to the Moon, and that that was a sufficiently "real" experience for him to make the claim as though he'd physically been there. That's not the point. The very fact that he was still able to formulate such an idea, at his age, when most people have forbidden themselves that level of whimsy (if that's what it was)... That's the point. You see, most people are living the lives that they permit themselves, after all the things that they've been told are impossible have been deleted. There's not a whole lot left, you'll note.

I told him the only thing that made any sense, in the circumstances. "I believe you."


Sairs said...

I like this story! I could even completely imagine it as you told it. You have a great way of describing the experience. I like it when I read something and the words make me see it as I read. I like that I have a cinematic imagination in my head, though it can also be annoying too. If someone is tellig a funny story for example, I can see it, so I usually am the last person still laughing 10 minutes after everyone, trying to cover it up as coughs and such. It's also why I can't read and listen to music at the same time. I see music in pictures (they are stories) and books as pictures and they clash. It gets frustratingly loud almost. Like listening to the tv that is off the station and has snow and that static. I have no clue how half the students I deal with at work, can sit there reading their course notes with their earphones in. I must be getting old!
Sarah xx

Radagast said...

Funny: it never occurs to most people that they think in pictures - most assume that they think in language, but that can't be. Pre-verbal children can't think in language, because they don't have that facility, and it hardly seems likely that we change, as we get older. In any case, if we tried to think in language, we'd grind to a halt, because most of the concepts that flash through our minds defy description.

Funny (again): I tried to communicate more clearly, because I thought that people couldn't understand me (they constantly misconstrued what I was trying to say, anyway). But I understand now that there are other reasons why people avoid exchanges other than where they believe they are in complete control of the subject matter, and none of them seem to cast me in a good light. Not to worry. So, there it is: I use simple language to convey relatively complex ideas and avoid confusion and misunderstanding... LOL - what a waste of time that was!

Anyway, I agree: there's too much noise. Lots of competing and contradictory signals, and seemingly nobody interested in resolving anything.