You wake up and it’s bliss.
Christ, this must be what those enlightened guru dudes on tele must feel. Zen or whatever it’s called. Is this Zen you ask yourself?
You’ve never had this before, it’s ecstasy but y’know, without the actual ecstasy.
Your head is rushing, no, swimming…swimming with ideas, boom, boom, boom, tangents connecting with tangents leading to insights and foresights. It’s like a river has burst its banks and has formed a new waterfall and it’s all cascading and crashing down, down, down on your mind and it feels utterly amazing.
What is this, you ask yourself?
What’s….what’s, what’s going on?
This moment, this minute, no, this second, right now, this is it, this is all we have, it’s all we can ever have and it’s all there’s going to be. Everything is connected and it’s all culminating in this experience of itself knowing itself and feeling itself for what feels like the first time ever.
You sit up, Am I awake?…, yes, of course, I’m awake, I’m in bed, the shine is shining in through the curtains, I can hear the birds singing outside, there’s a lawnmower going somewhere and someone is downstairs.
I’m conscious, obviously I am but it’s like I’m experiencing being really alive for the first time.
You lie back down…..woah.. that was intense but you don’t want the feeling to go. You close your eyes and try to recapture that spirit, that fleeting feeling of one-ness with the world.
How did I get here? Like, to be here, if you think about it, it’s too much of a coincidence for it to have all come together and happened. What did Carl Jung call it? Synchronicity? It’s a coincidence but a coincide where the universe is winking at you, like a coincidence that’s meaningful, like if when you think about someone and then see a Whatsapp off them just seconds later, or when you’re thinking about something from childhood and a song you remember from that summer comes on the radio.
The alarm goes off, disturbing your train of thought. Why am I letting it disturb me though, I’ve got something on my bedside locker that’s a billion times more powerful than the machines that put man on the moon, it’s a cliche but it’s true. Well, let’s not get all Eddie Bravo here and claim that the moon landings were fake. What’s that astronaut’s name, Edgar something….
Yea, Edgar something or other, he had a strange experience up there, he looked back at the earth and had this intense feeling of non-duality, we’re all one, each human, the planets, the stars, the universe, we’re all this one organism experiencing what’s on offer. Why can’t I think of his surname…Edgar, man, it’s on the tip of my tongue?
Man, I’d love to see the earth from above, I wish everyone could and we could all have this one-people feeling. End wars and racism and just be able to love each other. Dreamer, yea, but sure so many things we have came from dreams. Anyway… he established some organisation to do with Noetic Sciences, cool dude, kinda trying to get as much science out of the paranormal and woo as he could. And he did. Edgar…Edgar something, man, what was it?
What a life he must’ve had though, think of all the little things that must have happened and must have gone right, or even wrong from him to end up being an astronaut on that ship and experiencing that feeling and then going on to establish a new field in science, well, not really a new field, but giving legitimately to certain things that scientists would normally frown upon….
Sure how did I get here? All of the dumbass and stupid decisions I’ve made and all of the right calls I’ve made that have ended up with me being here? I wouldn’t have even met my wife if something like 10, or probably more, different in-no-way-possible to be connected things actually happened.
I was working in a shop and I hated it but I’d been working a 9-5 in some corporate meatgrinder of a firm and it was driving me insane, it was my first serious job after college and earning good money but it was sale after sale after sale, convincing people to buy stuff they didn’t really need, or want. You ever see those programmes about people burned by buying property in the sun? That was me, I’m so ashamed of it, we all knew those apartments were crap but people had money in their pockets to burn so we took it, but the guilt man, the guilt of doing it was making me depressed and I had chronic insomnia. I had enough money from the job to quit so I did and to make sure I wasn’t bored I walked into a local Tescos and got a job stacking shelves, it was perfect, I had like 10 trolleys to stack every day and I could listen to my music on headphones, the money was crap and the only stress was the uniform, it was bliss.
What Pronoia is
A friend in Australia I hadn’t met yet was crossing a road at a busy junction after a few pints one night out on the lash in Brisbane. A drunk driver speeds around the corner and flattens my new mate that I don’t know yet. He nearly dies but pulls through after a few weeks in hospital, a couple of close calls and going under the knife a few times.
I left my corpo job and worked in Tescos, that’s two big decisions right there. My mate decided to cross the street at that moment and the drunk driver had to choose to drive that night, we’re on 4 choices already and even then, do we count what came before those? Naw, that’s where I’m starting.
Anyway, Davey got a shitton of money as a settlement for his accident and did what all good Australians with money do, go to Ireland to track down their ancestors and any living relatives. I’m stacking baked beans one day and up he rocks asking for a job. I send him to the manager and a few days later I’m showing him the ropes in the shop.
We take a break together and get chatting, I tell him I want to go back to writing and playing music and he tells me he used to be a drummer in a metal band back in Oz. Christ man, let’s start a band, so we did. That’s a joint decision ain’t it, so five things.
In a town called Pula in Croatia my to-be wife has decided to take a year off college and earn some money (that’s Number 6), deferring a year that turns into two, and moved to Scotland (number 7) to earn some cash. She’s soon disappointed by the Scottish weather. Can’t blame her, what was it Billy Connolly used to say about the Scots….ooh yea, Irish people who loved rain so much they moved to a wetter country. She knows where Ireland is on the map, and what Guinness is but that’s about it.
Davey and I and a few of the lads get a band going and live the life of riley. Playing a few gigs here and there and living it up like lads in their 20s should. Guitars and girls and beer and drugs, it was probably the best couple of months any of us had had. And while we certainly could have made more of ourselves at the time had we been a bit more determined it wasn’t really about success, it was about making music with your best friends and enjoying what we had. Living each day as it came, Jesus, we were never so free as we were then.
With Aussies in Ireland though you only get a year’s visa, you can extend it but you need to advertise the job and if someone Irish and more qualified goes for it they get it, Davey was just working in a shop so didn’t even bother asking the boss so he decides to go to Scotland because in the UK you can stay for two years.
What are we on now? That’s decisions No. 8.
So the band kinda stops for a bit although a few of us keep playing and writing music for the fun of it. Once Davey settles into life in Scotland we head over to see him. When he moved over first he decided to stay in a hostel (Number 9) until he finds his feet. While there he meets this Spanish girl, they get on really well and start seeing each other, so they get a flat together. She’s in Scotland because after watching that Mel Gibson film Braveheart she falls in love with Scotland and decided to go there (Decision 10). Of course, as soon as she got there all the Scots tell her she’s bonkers because it was filmed in Ireland. My uncle was a set designer on that film, then again it was so big sure they were hiring the Irish army to play the extras.
What is Pronoia?
If the Spanish girl, Maria, had realised it was filmed in Ireland but about a famous Scot she would probably have ended up in Ireland, or maybe not. Anyway, on our second night in Edinburgh Davey and Maria have a house party. At Maria’s work that day she invites some of her colleagues, she tells them there’s some Irish friends over to see Davey for a few days and we’re all good craic and that they should come to the party, so, what’s that, she decides to tell them about us lot and asks them to come…two more, that’s 12 decisions and then 3 of them come, so they made choices and one of them was my future wife, that’s 13 things that had to have happened for me just to meet her at a random party in a random flat in Scotland coz I went over to see a friend after he ended up living with a Spanish girl who probably should have been living in Ireland who ended up living with Davey because they met in a hostel when he decided to leave Ireland for Scotland because his visa was out who I only met because he walked into a Tesco I was working in because I’d quit my corpo job because I hated it.
What are the odds though? That’s 13 things, so if each thing has y’know a 50% chance of happening, y’know, it either does or it doesn’t. But for 13 things like this to happen, the odds are crazy. 13 times of something being 50% chance is…or god, let me work that out…. odds of 0.012 of happening, so put it another way, for all of those 13 things to go our way and end up meeting, from those 13 decisions all of us made along the way, we had a 1.2% chance of meeting when I decided to leave my 9-5 job.
And think about all the other tiny, tiny chances that happened in between those bigger ones, all of the little things that could have happened that would have blown all of us off on a different course. But….they didn’t. All those things did happen. How wonderfully amazing is that?
Me and you, we had just a 1.2% chance of meeting, that’s nothing. And then we had to go and fall in love.
How could you not feel like the stars have aligned for all this to happen? And it’s not a centre of the universe, the world revolves around me kind of thing, it’s that, fuck in hell man, the universe has put us together, against all the odds and here we are.
This must be enlightenment, it has to be. To be able to look over things and realise just how unbelievably lucky we are to be where we are and how it’s all led up to this incredible moment of realisation.
Pronoia Short Story
Not to mention the fact that the world didn’t stop turning last night and we’re cradled in the sun’s loving gravity embrace and we live at just the perfect distance away from the sun for life to even exist here. There’s a roof over my head and food in the fridge and I’ve a job where I can earn some money to have enough food on the table. I want to climb on the roof and shout ‘I fucking love being alive, this is the single greatest moment that I’ve ever experienced and I’ve never felt so alive and so in love and blissed out and so fucking happy……
The door opens and she enters the room. Wow…all those thoughts come crashing back again. It’s insane we even met and to fall in love and have a family. Jesus,….it’s, it’s, it’s madness.
‘I’ve something to tell you’ she says….
Oh un, paranoia raises his bastard head…
‘The cat shit on the kitchen table last night……”
And I laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh….Mitchell? Hahaha, Mitchell shit on the table? I ask
Yea and she’s laughing now too.
Mitchell, that’s was his name!
This originally appeared as a podcast here.