The Time Exchange
Chapter 14

To be honest with you, my memories of sequel reality are a bit on the dim side now, so many years after the events of my experience of it. It happened at times when my cognitive faculties were too overwhelmed by the strangeness of the sensation to be particularly discriminating. All I can remember is that it used to happen a lot during the early to mid eighties, and that it was a sense that everything around me was in motion while I remained relatively stationary. It was a fairly unnerving feeling of having no control, like being awash on the high seas of time if that makes any sense to you, and that it was the galaxy that was in continuous motion around me.

I remember it was a big deal for me at the time. I used to talk to myself about it continuously, but the salacious details of it have simply failed to survive the ravages of so many years without its recurrence. My experiences of it stopped fairly suddenly close to the end of 1986 when my acquaintance with the whole time exchange thing came to an end. I remember the termination clearly because it also meant an end to my acquaintance with old Nyth which was distressing for me. I'd been dumped by a girl before so I was well aware of what that felt like, but to be dumped by a ghost, and fairly abruptly too, was just humiliating. Her justification for dumping me so abruptly involved her observation that I wasn't about to die anytime soon, so that her further attention to me was a waste of her precious time and effort.

My memory of these episodes isn't a complete blank, however, because I also remember experiencing a sense that I was no longer in the place I was in before all the motion around me began. It looked a lot like my world. It was dark and even had yellow and green neon lights, but it felt like it was somewhere else in the galaxy so great was the sense of distance from the world I was accustomed to seeing. I saw dusty country towns as expected but so sleepy or perhaps so peaceful that they couldn't have been in the world I had so recently departed. And they seemed to be fully switched on to the presence of the galaxy around them which was a profoundly beautiful thing to see, and which will remain a vision I'll cherish always.

Hallucinogenic substances occur naturally in the environment, and in sufficient numbers that they are readily available to most animals at some point in their lives. There are numerous plants which contain hallucinogens such as marijuana, jimson weed and peyote to mention just a few. There are also likely to be fewer taboos restricting the ingestion of such substances among animals compared with the case among human groups, so it is not unreasonable to expect that some animals could specialise in the psychedelic perceptions which follow their ingestion.

Animal bodies are as likely to learn how to hallucinate in the absence of narcotic stimulation, so it is also likely that they are able to slip into an inertial stream just as I did, and experience the sequel realities I've been telling you about. I suggest that if animals are able to tap into a stream of sequel realities and navigate a path through the multiverse then they will have a substantial advantage over humans in the event of a global ecological disaster. Maybe you're thinking that animals are as short of time as humans are but I think this is not the case. Humans are desperately short of time, but animals appear to have oodles of it.

Maybe you think that this is just nonsense. Perhaps you think that we're all in the same boat when it comes to global extinction, but let me point out one last example of this grand cosmic dreaming. This one could be considered the ultimate patch of cosmic dreaming here on Earth because it is just out of this world.

I'm not a serious astronomer by any means, but I have had a good close look at the night sky as you would expect from one who is as obsessed with space as I am. I love the galaxy, and I especially love the centre of the galaxy which on a clear night seems to me to be the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon. We get a great view of the galactic centre here in the southern hemisphere because the plane of this body is nearly parallel with the horizon as it is descending, and the constellation Scorpius has her tail dipping into the galactic centre while the rest of her body is upside down. The situation is different in the northern hemisphere where the plane of the galaxy is at an angle to the western horizon as it descends, but Scorpius is still facing downwards.

In any case it is the wry irony of the figure of Scorpius that gives me cause for some alarm. The teasing presentation of a venomous arachnid seeming to threaten the heart of the galaxy with its thorny tail is too cute to be a coincidence. Of course, it was possible to dismiss it as such in the past, but with the discovery of the host model and its infinite regression the accumulation of so many coincidences is too unlikely to be anything but a deliberate effect. The time is surely now for us to accept that everything contains a creative identity, and therefore consists of an unavoidably symbolic intent.

My point is simply that the galaxy has been toying with us in many ways for a very long time indeed, and that animals and creatures of many kinds are involved in creation on levels much deeper than they are usually given credit for. If a spider's network of dreaming involves existence on a galactic scale then you could reasonably expect spiders to be creatures who are well worth knowing. I expect that most other creatures are in possession of such deep cosmic connections, and that their network of dreaming extends throughout the local multiverse located here on Earth. A multiverse of dreamed realities where death simply represents the permanent closing of a door is, I believe, a very reasonable expectation indeed.

Of course, as has been noted the social construction of reality represents a special case of the structure and function of a multiverse for human groups, but this is not to say that it doesn't work this way for others who are not hooked in to the human definition of reality. Unfortunately for cows they have had to sacrifice their exclusion from this definition by allowing themselves to be so intimately involved with humans, but there could be exceptional cases where cows have managed to avoid human involvement. I know, for example, that there are cows on the Nullarbor Plains of Western Australia far from human settlements because I've seen them there.

The cows on the Nullarbor, along with many others out there and elsewhere, won't have much trouble traversing the multiverse in their search for a world safe from human harm. If they're not skilled in the psychedelic arts then they will have to die and let their dream bodies seek out a safe harbour for them to wake up in, and the same can be said for any humans in search of something similar. But humans are a pretty suspicious lot and most of them will want to cast doubt on anything of this sort because it doesn't even make sense to them much less belong to the realm of what is physically possible. "What about the geological record?" they'll ask. Surely fossils are evidence that there is only one timeline, and that the existence of a multiverse is just nonsense. But these doubters will fail to realise just how big time can be.

If you've made it this far into my time exchange story then you will probably feel comfortable with the notion that the body consists of a representation of the entire universe. Well, some bodies are more representative than others. While the bodies of animals depict the birth of the universe nicely with the heart beating at the centre of their circulatory systems, plants are just as representative in their own way, and trees are especially representative of the structure and function of the multiverse. In a universe of pervasive symbolism a tree has the honour of being among the most fundamental.

As a representation of multiple timelines the leaves and flowers of the tree depict the present states of the multiverse while the branches and trunk depict the past and the timelines which each of these flowers and leaves will have in common. This will have been the case from the beginning since a pair of leaves will be the first to appear following the successful germination of a seed. While the present states of the multiverse will grow in number and flourish they will display subtle and significant differences, but they will have common ancestors and their fossil records will be virtually identical.

The flowers and leaves of different branches will have ancient ancestors in common but they will also have more recent ancestors which are different. The fossil records of these timelines could vary significantly were it not for the fact that they all share a common genotype displaying common traits throughout the growth of the respective multiverse. Here on Earth our respective timelines have so much in common that it may look like we are all living on one world, but we are many worlds bound to each other by no more than a bunch of socially binding agreements. We are not parallel worlds or universes so much as interwoven ones where the pattern seen unfolding from day to day is subject to negotiation.

Just as humans together constitute a universe of conjoined worlds so too do animals with the exception that they will tend to be more selective with whom they form a strategic alliance. Animals will have a tendency to avoid humans, not because they are naturally shy, but because humans threaten their access to those parts of the multiverse on which they habitually depend. Their dream bodies will seek out alliances with creatures such as spiders because of their ability to network with more distant ancestors, and thereby more easily navigate to locations within the multiverse which are safe from human contamination.

Spiders and trees and a lot of other creatures not so visibly portrayed have a lasting place within the cosmos unlike humans who have turned their back on the past in their hurry to get to the future. Humans have entered a temporal cul-de-sac, a dead end in time, from which the only exit involves a re-establishment of their connection with the environment. We're in this cul-de-sac because we've defined reality not in terms of a densely populated multiverse but as a single conjoined universe where death is not the faithful companion of individuals but a mysterious spectre who overshadows the lives of virtually everyone. I've been teasing you with the proposition that animals are suffering in modern times when it is humans who are in need saving here. With their ability to more easily navigate the multiverse, animals are doing just fine.

Now, I've written at length about such things as death and the structure and symbolic content of the universe, but you may be wondering "Where's the love? Is there any room for something so common as love in this intrepid yet interesting paradigm?" Well, love is the foundation stone upon which reality has been built, it's not the only one but it is the most popular with the vast majority of people giving credence to it. It has been the faithful rock of ages too, but with the emergence of a global human growth crisis early in the twenty-first century it has now become fundamentally faulted.

The germinal love from which all the other forms of love have grown is the procreative one between a man and a woman, so I'll focus on this particular kind of love because its symbolism is consistent throughout the different scales of existence. In a universe where symbolic identities egress from points of infinity sex is one which can be seen to be recurrent throughout, indeed a point of infinity itself has a sexual identity as has the greater universe surrounding it.

The body is not just an opportunistic biology exploiting the world in any way it can, but a vast collection of symbols which represent the entire course of time. The sex cells represent the beginning of time on our scale of existence, but consistent with my observation of the infinities contained within us these are not the smallest bodies to behave in this way. Protons and electrons are by no means the smallest particles either, although electrons are very small. Positively charged atoms and electrons are a lot smaller than human sex cells and yet they are able to behave in a way which is similar. Free electrons will be drawn to positively charged atoms until electrostatic equilibrium has been achieved. The resulting union won't divide and multiply like a biological zygote will, but in terms of their representational symbolism the behaviour of free electrons in the vicinity of a positively charged atom is not unlike that of sperm.

On our scale of existence is the sex we know and love, but very close to us at the very edge of cosmic dimensions is the planetary host who is implicated in sexual behaviour just as we are. There are the Antilles archipelago and the Gulf of Mexico which together have a distinctly sexual identity and which are evidence of the sexual nature of planetary existence. But even more so is the location of the Chicxulub meteor crater on the gulf coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Evidently this dinosaur killing impact was not an act of cosmic retribution as one might expect, but a very precisely targeted act of sexual fertility.

The precision of this impact allows us to implicate the entire Solar System in the courtship of sexual behaviour on a grand cosmic scale, and other such impacts going back to the very birth of the Sun itself. Evidently gravitational attraction is not without a sexual connotation implicating in turn a sexual nature in the existence of other cosmic bodies such as galaxies and the very universe itself. The Sun has a long history of attracting and absorbing gravitational impacts which contributed to the birth and growth of its existence as an independently functioning star.

I'm sure it will be clear to you that we are surrounded on every side by beings who have a fundamentally sexual nature which is just what must be expected from a universe of infinitely regressing abstractions. The constitution of our bodies reflects this regression, but because our bodies also consist of a map of time it is interesting to view sexuality in terms of a continuous temporal dimension. I'm tempted to suggest that for us, on our scale of existence, sexuality is an integral component of the very fabric of time.

If you will grant me this concession then let me suggest that sex depicts the two ends of time, the origin and the destination. In this case sperm cells represent the beginning of time while the ovum represents the end of it, and speaking in more general terms it follows that males and females likewise represent opposite ends of time. It may be somewhat surprising to you but it goes a long way toward explaining why sex so persistently defies comprehension to suppose that sexual behaviour represents the endeavour to join the two ends of time. There are several levels on which this holds true such as the cellular and organic levels, but of most interest to us is the social level where couples endeavour to negotiate the daily intersection of their earthly lives.

Such is the nature of love, and you know what they say about love? They say, "God is love." This is a simple yet unifying formula which has worked for people for a very long time, but can you guess what will happen in the long run if everyone worships love?

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