Shining a quantum torch into the dark matter



(Image source: Article: Quantum theory proves that consciousness moves to another universe after death)

I vowed to make the long weekend a quiet one, for many reasons. Chief among them is that I’ve not really had a decent birthday for a number of years, so it’s not the best of times to celebrate to be honest. The last good birthday I had was my 40th: I still lived with my ex-wife, Jill, in Catford then, Louis was five and Lola, two. My parents had the kids and Jill and I were joined by a few friends in our local in Hither Green. The cracks were starting to show and my drinking was out of control but I’d not grown a pair by then. On my 41st birthday, Jill was helping me to move to my little flat in Bexley. That was probably the worst one, so soon after we separated and I found myself in a place I didn’t know and where I knew no-one.

I don’t actually remember my 42nd. The whole of that year is a blur of ill-advised relationships with girls in Bexley, while I drank more, took more drugs and let the business fail. By my 43rd, I was with my ex-fiancée, Danielle, in Sidcup but again, that period is a blur. My drinking has redacted years of my life. For my 44th, I was on the streets and on my 45th, I was in that fucking pub.

So my 46th was a non-event but I made something of the time I’d allowed myself. Although some people still struggle with the fact that I’ve re-invented myself and that I’m now a writer, it is what I call work and it’s what I love. I find it hard to stop because, even if I’m not writing for a market, I’m writing for myself. I’m getting my thoughts down and this blog is my public diary for all those who choose to follow my life.

On Friday I went to Tonbridge, to pick up something to smoke over the weekend and to have a few drinks with friends. I also met up with one of the girls. Through it all, my closest friend remains a 16-year-old girl. We may rarely see one another because others see fit to judge from afar but she understands me, just as I do her, ever since I took her under my wing at the squat. I try to give a nod now and again to friends in my stories. I’ve given this girl a whole character in my new book. Her character in Infana Kolonia is everything that this girl is and wants to be. The character in the book is constrained, with a tendency towards acts of violence. The real one’s my soulmate.

On Friday night, I got all of the things which were niggling me out of the way: I wasn’t happy with the way the blog or my website looked, so I moved a few things around. With that out of the way and with the next writing projects planned, I was free to relax. I did that alright. I smoked some weed, watched some Hawaii Five-O and just chilled, snacking on fried chicken.

One of the things to attend to on Friday was my postal vote in the upcoming EU referendum, which you may have heard about. I’ve listened to both sides and researched further. I read newspapers which are in the Remain camp but The Guardian and Observer at least look at the whole picture and give much more in-depth analysis of what is one of the biggest decisions of a generation, than the papers on the Leave side. It’s important to read even what you may not like, in order to have an informed opinion; much like life. 

In the 46 years I’ve been alive, I’ve witnessed some incredible changes in the world and in us upon it. The world is a smaller place, thanks to technology, much of which was brought about by collaboration between nations. Humanity has made just as great advances socially. We have become more inclusive and aware of the world around us. The global community is on the threshold of an age of even greater discovery, communication, science, technology and understanding. Some may hark back to a nostalgic age of empire and belonging but I look forward to a greater sense of belonging through continued co-operation. And so for many reasons, I have registered my vote for the UK to remain within the European Union. My children aren’t yet old enough to vote but I believe that a united Europe represents the best future for their generation and more to come.

If you were eating lunch and you began to choke on your food, who better to have sitting next to you than Dr Henry Heimlich? This was the fortuitous situation which Patty Ris, 87, found herself in at her retirement home in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Heimlich is also a resident. At the age of 96, the man whose manoeuvre has saved thousands of lives, got to use it himself for the first time. He saved Patty’s life and the two have enjoyed a private dinner together since. As someone who’s saved a life using the Heimlich manoeuvre myself, I can vouch for its effectiveness. For the record, the Heimlich manoeuvre involves placing one’s arms around the casualty and exerting upward thrusts, just above the navel and below the ribs, with the hands linked in a fist. What the rescuer achieves is a violent upward movement of the diaphragm, forcing the obstruction from the victim’s airway.

Incidentally, if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself alone while you’re choking, arms are still good: the arm of a sofa or chair: Kneel down and push yourself into the arm, so that it is pushing hard into your midriff. Then push yourself forward and down, really fucking hard. Whether or not you start to cough, repeat the manoeuvre and with more force. Repeat until the obstruction is dislodged. Don’t be afraid of the level of force you may have to exert: If you cause yourself an internal injury, at least you can dial 911, 999, 222, 888 or whatever and actually be able to speak to an operator. When you’re choking, you can’t speak. Qualification? Because I don’t know about anyone else but I was never taught how to perform the manoeuvre on myself on any first aid course: I had to do it to stop myself choking on a piece of steak. My dad wears a dental plate and he’s nearly choked on it before. I’m pretty sure that my mum has been on first aid courses but I’d like them to be aware of how to deal with things should they find themselves alone. I speak to them and see them regularly but the mother ship reads this and so do others. So in a similar vein, if anyone finds themselves having a heart attack with no immediate help on hand, cough: cough, really hard. You’re welcome.

Many relaxing hours spent reading the weekend newspapers yielded the usual news, education and ideas. One of the most striking articles I read was about quantum computing. With all of the research I’ve done into that and other scientific fields for Infana Kolonia, it’s quite incredible to consider that right now, the first quantum computer is operational in Canada. It’s a mind-blowing concept to consider but the easiest way to explain a quantum computer is like this: Traditional computers are based on “bits”, where each bit is a switch: it can be either on or off, a 1 or a zero; binary. Traditional computers utilise trillions of these little switches but each one is limited and so therefore is the whole, in the amount of information in those individual bits. At the sub-atomic, quantum level of physics, strange things happen. Things can exist in multiple states simultaneously. So each “bit” is both a 1 and 0 at the same time. It’s an over-simplistic explanation, akin to describing the entire universe as “big” but that’s the concept. As more quantum bits are added, their collective power increases exponentially, so that the quantum computer now running in Canada yields so much power that contained within it are multiple alternative universes: 10³°° in fact. That’s a one followed by 300 noughts. There are ten to the power of 80 atoms in the known universe. Mind-blowing.

But as soon as I was able to grasp the basic concepts of quantum theory as a whole, it was almost an epiphany. It sounds a grand thing to say but I no longer fear death, because I have a better idea of how everything works. It’s that previously latent lobe of my brain which has woken up. It could be that we simply pass over into another place already inhabited by those we miss. And await others. Knowledge comes with death’s release.

Quantum physics plays a part in Infana Kolonia and in some of my short fiction. The novel and the anthology were supposed to be on hold over the weekend but I’m back to what I’m privileged to be able to call work today.

Getting the anthology ready for publication is probably the single biggest project I’ve taken on since becoming a writer. I’m one of the first to admit that my first novel was rushed to print. It stands up well as a flash fiction novel but now that I read through the short stories, I realise that some require improvement. Some I may remove and replace altogether, or there may be fewer than 42 stories. It has to be right and I have to be confident in it to be able to sell it as a lead up to my next novel. I’ve started the editing process and the thing which is immediately obvious is how much my writing has matured. Although the old stories have merit, some are nowhere near as good as the later work. When I read the old ones, I can see myself as the writer. The later ones are like reading someone else’s prose. This is backed up as I re-read my next novel before continuing with it and it’s an engaging read, rather than a simple review exercise. I have many exciting things planned for my friends in that world and a lot of lives in my hands.

I may only have been at Le Studio Chez Moi for ten weeks, but I have imprinted myself in this place like the lettering through a stick of rock. The symbiotic nature of living here means that this place has taken me to its heart. If for whatever reason I have to leave this place, it’ll be more than a home I lose. Even after less than three months, this whole place is more than just a home to me: it’s a life. Apart from the off-suite bathroom accessed via a communal corridor, it’s perfect. It’s kind of perfect because of that though. The slight inconvenience comes because I’d have taken any place to live and I was lucky enough to get a social landlord who crammed an extra flat in which few were likely to take. It’s my box now.

It’s a cool place to live and others have said that. Just because my studio is small, doesn’t mean that it looks poor. This place is crammed with cool stuff, including the sound system, my massive music collection and the Savage Cinema: I had a few midnight matinee nasties over the weekend. My favourite place though is where I spend most of my time: on the typewriter, at the writing desk by the window, often when I have guests. Others find mine a cool place to hang out and the company is usually welcomed if I’ve had warning. One thing that really throws me is unannounced guests turning up. Even if it’s with all good intentions and with an assumption that I’ll be pleased to see them, I won’t if it’s a “surprise”. Not least of all, I fail to see the logic of turning up at someone’s flat if you don’t know whether they’ll be in.

I’m dealing with some things at the moment, and I can only do that if my wishes are respected and I’m left alone. I won’t always be here. Sorry but you’d have to get used to life without me eventually anyway.

Given my understanding of how seemingly impossible things are quite plausible through quantum mechanics, I wonder how the universe I left behind before I created this one is doing. What I’ve done is make not a personal comfort zone on the small scale but an entire universe. I alone live here and I live with many others in the places I create, Like Infana Kolonia, a book I am determined to get published and assign an ISBN to so that it is immortalised. And within that book, lies the answer. Because once we master the quantum world, where every 0 or 1 contains 10 to the power of three hundred entire universes, then we have thinking power which might finally tell us what life, the universe and everything is all about.

Many billions of years ago, another race set out to do just that. In Infana Kolonia, they may be coming back to see where they went wrong. They are an unknown quantity and as such, they may be feared: It depends how you look at things.

I stopped fearing death when I got the weakest grasp of quantum mechanics. Now I know that this is just the beginning.


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