Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I'm Hot - and I've Got Medical Evidence to Prove it!

I had an extremely high temperature last Wednesday. It got up to 40.4°C at its height. I had earlier been admitted to hospital, so I suppose I was in the right place. The interesting thing, to me anyway, was that I became a little delirious around the 38.5° to 39.5°C range but by the time the Mercury blasted through the 40°C mark, I was surprisingly lucid.

I had a sense that people around me – medical and nursing staff – got a little nervous when my fever failed to decrease. I was stripped to my underwear and covered in wet towels which had been dipped in very cold water and a portable fan blasted me until the fever retreated. I got through it all right, I just seemed to focus on trying to sleep and not concentrate on how much I was shivering. It was only in the days following that I realised how sick I was, because I had pneumonia as well, and my body was basically fighting a war on two fronts (and remember how that tactic worked for Hitler!).

I've been told before by numerous doctors that it will probably be a chest infection or pneumonia that will ultimately end up being the cause of my death. During my childhood I nearly died on a number of occasions from chest infections, pneumonia or collapsed lungs and whilst I don't believe I was in any real danger last week, I feel as if I have met the Reaper before.

Is there life after death? I'm not sure. I think on balance – if I were a betting man – I'd have to say no. Yet, it is not a clear-cut choice and I know arguments can be made on both sides of the issue. If I had to give a percentage, I'd say that there is a 65% chance that there is no life after death and a 35% chance that there is. I'm no expert though, I'm just a guy that sits in his house reading and, sometimes, writing.

If I was to take the affirmative view, that there is life after death, I see it as more of a natural/physical phenomenon than spiritual or religious. In essence, I am saying that – in my view – 'God' is not essential or required for there to exist human survival beyond death. There is a quote from R. Buckminster Fuller which may help explain my conception of the possibility for life after death:

"Until the 20th century, reality was everything humans could touch, smell, see, and hear. Since the initial publication of the charted electromagnetic spectrum, humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one millionth of reality."

[As a quick aside, whilst looking on the internets for the exact quote (having remembered the essence of it from reading it years earlier) I learned to my horror that apparently the quote features in a song by the band Incubus. Let me be very clear; Incubus are tools and I don't listen to toolish music or music created by tools. I do not condone toolish music in anyway whatsoever; indeed I favour death by being force-fed stale doughnuts for anyone caught active in the toolish-music scene.

Again, I am resolute in that regard; you could say I am Zero Tolerance on toolishness in music. Whilst I concede I listen to music created by an assortment of freaks, weirdos, try-hards, dick-heads, knobs, posers, knobjockeys, fuckwits, arse-clowns, dweebs, toss-pots and Tori Amos, I have never, nor will I ever, listen to Incubus let alone quote from their lyrics.

I hope we are clear.]

Moving on, it seems to me that there is so much in the world that we are unaware of that the presumption that because we can't see or hear something it means it does not exist must be rebutted. Every day, we all have radio waves and many other forms of radiation passing through our body constantly. We are literally swimming in the stuff! We are  soaked in it!

We are covered in bacteria and microbes that we cannot see unless an electron microscope is used. There is no such thing as empty space, even in an absolute vacuum energy phases in and out of existence. My point is that there is so much 'stuff' around us, encasing us and penetrating us that - as our knowledge of science grows - it leads us as a species to become ever more aware that the universe and the very fabric of our reality is so much stranger than our ancestors could never have understood or even imagined.

It is almost universally accepted now that there are more dimensions to our reality than the four we perceive (three spatial dimensions with time as the fourth dimension). Some estimates have even suggested that there may be up to 100 hidden dimensions to which we are totally unaware. It seems to me that it is entirely possible that on death our consciousness, or some part of our consciousness, may pass into another dimension. Maybe death is just a transition and not a termination?

I am no New-Ager, but I can't accept the materialist view that consciousness is solely a product of the brain. As advanced as we think we are in the 21st century, consciousness remains an enigma to science and numerous scientific studies have shown that there is not a specific place in the brain where memories are stored. Memories seem to be everywhere and nowhere. Some scientists have even suggested the brain operates as a kind of hologram and memories are stored not in the brain but in the mind (a separate field of energy - our essence).

I don't believe in the soul in the religious sense, but I do wonder if we are energy beings operating a flesh and blood body. It is undisputed that the brain operates using electrical pulses and I wonder if the very core of our being is not some kind of electric, magnetic, radiographic (or some other) field that science has not been able to detect yet. Just because we can't find it, does not mean it is not there.

I guess each of us will find out one day whether there is something at the end of our journey through life. 

For me, I am thanatophobic; I am terrified by the prospect of not existing. It doesn't particularly worry me how my death occurs – although obviously, I prefer not to be murdered or killed in some painful way or die from something embarrassing like a massive stroke on the toilet – but if I knew 100% that there was life after death, my fear would disappear. Instantly.

I'm not worried about going to hell (if there is an afterlife), I'm pretty sure I could bluff my way through the Pearly Gates plus I'm really pissed off with God right now and he/she/it would be best advised to let me in or else I'll rock his/her/its roof from the footpath out front whilst starting fights in the line up whilst others are waiting to get in (St Peter as a celestial bouncer doesn't instill any fear in me - I've taken on Polynesian bouncers twice his size!). God knows, I can be very disruptive!

However, the thought of the eternal oblivion has, on occasion, kept me up at night. It can strike me cold with panic. I see the logical flaw, if I am effectively annihilated as a person when I die then I have nothing to fear because after death I will not exist, but, nevertheless, I exist now and the thought that my fire may one day be snuffed out permanently terrifies me.

I think I can only deal with this the mature way; ignore it and try to distract myself with copious lines of coke and a parade of highclass hookers. (I call it 'doing a Charlie').

Notwithstanding my choice of sensible treatment measures, I need to keep this in perspective. This is just a recent addition to my ever growing list of phobias - the others being, fear of people in wheelchairs, fear of sauces, fear of white food (other than a small list of exceptions), fear of x-ray tables, fear of scale models of dinosaurs, fear of the elderly, fear of porpoises and fear of clowns.

I'm sure that my phobias are pretty stock-standard. I mean, there's nothing weird in there.

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