Other Thoughts

November 6, 2010

Poets, Artists and Self Destruction

Thinking about what puts the ink in my pen.
It's interesting that many great writers and poets went down the road of self-destruction one way or another. Is it that we're just a crazy lot who just also happen to be gifted with word and wit or is it possible that having vision and perception far beyond the common man and thinking way too damn much in general, we eventually open the door too wide; thus eventually leading us down a path of disillusionment and our own destruction. The quest for self-expression at times leads to immense frustration, when one is consumed by such passion, it is very tempting to just shut out the world and concentrate on the one within. The temptation to just lock oneself away and be alone with ourself is therapeutic, essential and at the same time dangerous. The quest for understanding and expression often seems to lead to madness, yet without the madness that drives the creativity, we can not create. A vicious cycle, is it not?

". . . [The poet] arrives at the unknown: and even if, half crazed, in the end, he loses the understanding of his visions, he has seen them! Let him be destroyed in his leap by those unnamable, unutterable and innumerable things: there will come other horrible workers: they will begin at the horizons where he has succumbed." --Arthur Rimbaud

'Visionaries and dreamers have always been dusted with a little oddity.'
— Trevor Baylis


October 8, 2003
Link Found Between Creativity and Madness
Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan:
"In a nutshell, this research says that people whose brains are more open to stimuli from the outside environment will either be:
Creative, because their openness to new possibilities and stimuli gives them more, and more various, information with which to make connections and have new ideas, or
Psychotic, because their openness to new possibilities and stimuli leads to overload and mental illness."

from Alternative Reel:

Euripides [480-406 B.C.] Greek Playwright - Mauled by a pack of wild dogs owned by Archelaus, the King of Macedonia.

Dante Alighieri [1256-1321] Italian Poet - Fell ill and died about an hour after completing The Divine Comedy.

Francis Villon [1431-1464?] French Poet - May have been attacked by a mob of bandits or hanged by authorities after a brief prison stay for murdering a priest. Take your pick. Left France at the age of 32 and was never heard from again. "Where are the snows of yesteryear?"

Christopher Marlowe [1564-1593] English Playwright - Stabbed with a dagger during a bar fight at the inn of the Widow Bull in Deptford. Was it an argument over the bill?
Richard Lovelace [1618-1658] English Poet - Believed to have died of consumption "in a very mean lodging" in Gunpowder Alley, Shoe Lane. "I could not love thee, dear, so much/Loved I not honour more."

Thomas Chatterton [1752-1770] English Poet - Killed self by drinking arsenic at the age of 17. Apparently in despair over lack of recognition. Gained popularity after death. [Editor's Note: Chatterton's father was well known around town for a rather dubious talent - he could put his entire fist in his mouth.]

Lord Byron [1788-1824] English Poet - Killed by doctors during a "blood letting" attempt to cure malarial fever. Last words: "I must sleep now."

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822] English Poet - Drowned while sailing near Spezia, Italy, and was cremated on the beach. [Editor's Note: Shelley's heart wouldn't burn and was given to his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as a souvenir.]

Honore De Balzac [1799-1850] French Author - Believed to have choked on too much coffee.

Edgar Allan Poe [1809-1849] American Author - Died of "acute congestion of the brain" several days after he was discovered lying unconscious in a Baltimore street, wearing someone else's tattered clothes.

Leo Tolstoy [1828-1910] Russian Author - Gave away entire fortune, froze to death in a railroad station on a cold winter night.

Ambrose Bierce [1842-1914?] American Author - Disappeared in Mexico while reporting on the Pancho Villa's rebellion. May have been murdered by bandits.

Arthur Rimbaud [1854-1891] French Poet - A probable victim of syphilis, had right leg amputated, became paralyzed and gradually slipped into permanent coma.

Lionel Johnson [1867-1902] British Poet - Fell off a barstool during a bout of heavy drinking, according to legend.

Alfred Jarry [1873-1907] French Dramatist - Paralyzed in both legs at the age of 34. Last request was for a toothpick.

Sherwood Anderson [1876-1941] American Author - Complications of peritonitis in Colon, Panama, after ingesting a toothpick along with a hors d'oeuvre at a cocktail party.

Jack London [1876-1916] American Author - A "raging alcoholic," died of uremia brought on by a morphine overdose at the age of 40.

Vachel Lindsay [1879-1931] American Poet - Killed self by drinking disinfectant.

Virginia Woolf [1882-1941] British Author & Critic - Filled pockets with stones and drowned self in the river Ouse.

Franz Kafka [1883-1924] - Died of tuberculosis and was buried in Prag-Straschintz. Had requested that all of his work be destroyed after his death.

Ezra Pound [1885-1972] - Arrested for treason after World War II for broadcasting Fascist propaganda, declared mentally ill and committed to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington D.C. Released in 1958 and died a semi-recluse in Italy. [Editor's Note: Born in Hailey, Idaho, Pound's middle name was Loomis.]

Maxwell Bodenheim [1893-1954] American Author - Shot with a .22 rifle by an insane dishwasher.

Sergei Esenin [1895-1925] Russian Poet - Cut wrists, wrote a final poem in own blood (called "Do svidania drug moi" or "Goodbye my friend") and hanged self in a hotel room in Leningrad.

F. Scott Fitzgerald [1896-1940] American Author - Legendary boozer suffered a heart attack while working as a screenwriter in Hollywood for a couple of hundred bucks a week. According to John O'Hara, Fitz died "a prematurely old little man haunting bookshops unrecognized." [Editor's Note: Zelda died in a fire at an Asheville, North Carolina, mental hospital in 1948.]

William Faulkner [1897-1962] American Author - Suffered a heart attack after falling off a horse.

Hart Crane [1899-1932] American Poet - While en route to New York aboard the S.S. Orizaba, leapt into the Caribbean Sea; reputedly said "Good-bye everybody."

Ernest Hemingway [1899-1961] American Author - Blew brains out with a hunting rifle in Ketchum, Idaho.

Thomas Wolfe [1900-1938] American Author - Suffered a cerebral infection, leaving an eight-foot-high manuscript for his editors to sort through. Buried in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, North Carolina. ". . . the last voyage, the longest, the best."

Nathanael West [1903-1940] American Author - Car accident killed West and his wife after he ignored a stop sign. His buddy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, died the same weekend.

Robert E. Howard [1906-1936] Sword & Sorcery Writer - Spent all-night vigil at bedside of comatose mother and died of self-inflicted gunshot in the morning; mother died that same night.

Malcolm Lowry [1909-1957] British Author - A "sleeping-pill suicide," fell dead with a plate in hand while starting in on a midnight snack, according to writer Donald Newlove. ". . . and how alike are the groans of love, to those of dying."

Tennessee Williams [1911-1983] American Playwright - Choked on a bottle cap while trying to get hands on some barbiturates.

Albert Camus [1913-1960] French Author - Single-car automobile crash while returning to Paris from the South of France.

John Berryman [1914-1972] American Poet - Jumped from a bridge over the Mississippi River; reputedly waved at passersby on way down.

Dylan Thomas [1914-1953] Welsh Poet - Alcohol poisoning during a lecture tour of the United States. "I've had 18 straight whiskies . . . I think that's the record."

Roland Barthes [1915-1980] French Critic & Philosopher - Run over by laundry truck outside the College de France. "Literature is the question minus the answer."

Jack Kerouac [1922-1969] American Author - Abdominal hemorrhage at mother's home in St. Petersburg, Florida, while watching "The Galloping Gourmet."

Flannery O'Connor [1924-1964] American Author - Became gradually immobilized by lupus and died at the age of 40.

Yukio Mishima [1925-1970] Japanese Author - Committed seppuku (hara-kiri) and was beheaded during failed attempt to overtake a Japanese garrison.

Anne Sexton [1928-1974] American Poet - Committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of her home.

Sylvia Plath [1932-1963] American Poet - Stuck head in a kitchen oven.

Jerzy Kosinski [1933-1991] Polish-Born American Author - Think he committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head in the bathtub. Can anyone else confirm this?

Richard Brautigan [1935-1984] American Author - Self-inflicted gunshot wound; body wasn't discovered for several weeks.

Seth Morgan [1949-1990] American Author - Rode motorcycle off the Golden Gate Bridge and into the San Francisco Bay.

John O'Brien [1961?-1997?] American Author - Committed suicide just two weeks after selling the movie rights to "autobiographical novel" Leaving Las Vegas. Book served as suicide note.

So... Any thoughts?


November 6, 2010

Infinite Universe(s) ?
Shake up that Grey matter... not to be confused with the White matter, of course.
*Warning: open mind and intelligence necessary*
"pay more attention to the journey,and less attention to the destination..."

Champion of Destiny by J.R. Mooneyham 

Believe it or not, there's several tantalyzing clues in modern physics theory pointing to the possible existance of an infinite number of universes, many very similar to our own.
If this turned out to be true, it could be as hopeful to some as it is maddening to others. Renowned science fiction author Larry Niven has shown a distinct distaste for such a notion, in books like All The Myriad Ways; he believes a multi-faceted Superverse might render individual lives and initiative void of any worth, as varying actions across the dimensions would seem to make the net result a wash (in one universe a person might be a hero, saving thousands of lives, while in another the same fellow could be a murderous butcher, killing thousands instead).

But a wash may be precisely what the universe requires to balance out the cosmic books, and pay for the big bang. A wash would also mean we should each pay more attention to the journey, and less to the destination-- the voyage itself truly being what it's all about.

"In quantum mechanics, everything that can happen will happen."
-- Is Quantum Evolution The New Science Of Life? [Contact: Katie Minton], 04-Feb-2000, http://unisci.com/

Other possible good in a universe where everything that can happen must happen is that many of the tragedies each of us suffer in the here and now cannot have occurred in every other reality. Our lost loves, families, and friends in some other course of events remained at our sides for many more years than in our own personal experience here. Somewhere, somewhen, life must have turned out far better for us than it has here.

Not everything about the possible 'superverse' need be poignant. There might also be practical, down to earth lessons to be gained from the idea.

For instance, across all the dimensions of the superverse, there would be many variations of ourselves, and our lives-- in fact, there would have to exist all possible combinations of such, in some of the scenarios implied by the multiple universe theories.

So somewhere, sometime, there might exist the ultimate expression of ourselves; the best possible realization of our individual potential. Somewhere could live and breathe the smartest, strongest, most savvy expression of what our genetic code, life history, education, discipline, motivation, and physical realization could ever combine to form.

In other words, somewhere across the dimensions might live our ultimate self. Almost a comic book super hero version of ourselves, who is brave enough, smart enough, strong enough to try for the acheivement of our greatest hopes and dreams, and likely succeeding at many of them.

There's several ways we could benefit from this possibility (if it's real). One is to decide that we ourselves, in the here and now, will become this ultimate expression of our potential. After all, we possess much of whatever that other person has to work with, maybe as high as some 99% or so. It may be the only difference between us and they is a small bit of additional will power, or a single pivotal event which galvanized in them the motivation that is unorganized or inconsistent in ourselves, in the here and now.

Don't believe that much difference could be generated from a one percent or so variation between our dimensional selves? Consider the obvious (and substantial!) differences between human beings and chimpanzees. How much of a true genetic difference exists to create the vast evolutionary gulf between a human being and a chimpanzee? Roughly one to two percent. A couple of percentage points difference in the DNA determines whether an embryo is born a human being, or a chimpanzee! Now apply the significance of a couple percentage points of difference between ourselves in this reality, and ourselves in another: the true difference between Harry Smith the ditch digger here, and Harry Smith the richest man in the world in another dimension, could easily be just one or two percent in terms of his personality, education, and direction in life.

If the superverse is sufficiently fluid to contain samples of every possible contingency, then it may also accommodate a universe where we change our life and ourselves to the point that we literally replace our high achiever alter ego as champion. In short, there's nothing absolutely stopping us from wresting away the title of champion from our own alternate self, existing in another reality.

Remember that in this contest, we are only competing with ourselves-- not with the idealized heroes of the cinema portrayed by Arnold Swartzeneggar, Sylvester Stallone, or Bruce Willis.

It might be that all we have to do to win the championship is be just slightly braver, a smidgen smarter, a tad more decisive, or a wee bit more confident, than we have been up to now.

How hard can it be? After all, somewhere we've accomplished this already (assuming the superverse is real).

In several of his books, the fantasy writer Michael Moorcock explored the idea of a reincarnated hero for the ages; one soul which inhabited a variety of bodies in an eternal battle for the forces of Law as opposed to Chaos. Your own Champion of Destiny bears some resemblance to this idea....

Moorcock's champion moved primarily through time and space. The search for your own Champion's place will primarily take place sideways, through various different (but related) realities-- which we're calling dimensions, in this article.
Changing Tracks
Making your own destiny
If it's true that there's an infinite number of universes, or parallel realities, that somewhere and somewhen, everything that can happen must happen, then it seems we're all trapped in lives with pre-set destinies, our fates sealed. Right?


Picture a vast railway yard. You're sitting in a rail car on one of the tracks. There are innumerable other tracks, parallel tracks, as far as your eye can see, to both sides of you. Let's say the track you're currently on is headed somewhere you don't want to go.

What do you do?

You jump to another track.

OK, this analogy may be fine as a fairy tale, you might reply, but how could you jump tracks in real life?

You act differently. You change yourself, or perhaps your goals. You might even physically move from one city to another, or change jobs. Whatever it is, you destroy the status quo, and firmly head off in a different direction from that you followed before.

OK, you say. Maybe making big changes in my life could possibly get me onto another track, headed towards a new destination. But what about navigation? How do you increase your chances of getting exactly where you want to go?

The key words here are "increase your chances". Because that's what all the different tracks are based on-- chance. Probabilities.

If you know exacty where you want to go, you start building up the probabilities for you going there, one brick at a time. Sort of like building your own yellow brick road to Oz.

The whole thing's much like a sweepstakes; your chances of winning are increased by your stuffing the box with thousands of your own entries.

Find the weakest points in your plans, probability-wise, and strengthen them-- for your chances of success are only as good as your weakest link in the event chain.

Exactly what you do, and when, all depends on what you want to do, and where you want to go.

If your goal is to be a world famous novelist, and you've not yet written a novel to be famous for, then writing your novel is your weak point. After you've written a novel, getting it published and into the bookstores is the weak point, and so on and so forth, until it's a fait accompli.

If your goal is to build a software empire like Bill Gates (Microsoft), but you have no products, software development is your weak point-- you must either create or buy the rights to new products, or represent someone else's, in order to have something to sell.

Failure comes from not recognizing or addressing the weak links in the chain of events leading to your destination. Picture these as possible damaged or unfinished areas in the track-- if you don't fix these, your train can never get to your destination.

But lots of folks can't do any of this. Why? Because they don't know where they want to go.

For these people, simply choosing a destination is the weak link in their causal chain.

Say you can't commit yourself to any particular destination? You just did. Because even the act of NOT choosing a destination will determine where you go-- whether you like it or not.

If you were in a strange restaurant, which served exotic foods from all over the world, which way do you think you'd be most likely to get something palatable to eat? By choosing from the menu yourself, or allowing someone else to choose for you? These are your only real choices in life, too. You can choose your own course, or let someone else do it. And often that someone else will not necessarily have your own best interests at heart.

You either "choose or lose" (the quote is borrowed from MTV; an alien entity from another dimension, if we ever saw one)
Bifurcation points and Dissipative Structures
Bifurcation points are instances where literally anything can happen. They occur in and about things called dissipative structures. Dissipative structures are essentially things like living organisms, intelligence, or even some machines-- anything that spits out higher orders of organization or perceived value on the one hand, and entropy (waste products) on the other. Human beings often take in raw materials of food, energy, and data, and excrete bits of new and improved technology, along with waste products like feces and pollution. Dissipative structures export entropy (chaos) to the rest of the universe in order to have something a little better and more useful in the here and now. Human beings cut down forests to build homes, make a living, and be generally more comfortable in the here and now; the cost of this is an export of troubles like shortages, pollution, and devastated landscapes to other folks in the present and future.

Sure, we may not exactly be the best dissipative structures in the world yet, but we're learning.

Anyway, dissipative structures can make sudden leaps to new plateaus of efficiency-- or disasterous plunges into destruction and chaos-- at places along their development called bifurcation points. At bifurcation points anything can happen, and often does.

Anyone wanting to make maximum progress across the dimensions will want to learn about bifurcation points and dissipative structures; for these concepts are important leads to substantial reality manipulation for conscious beings.

Small or incremental changes in your life or environment can often be accomplished with simple hard work and determination. But really big changes, changes like going from being a cook in a greasy spoon to becoming a world-renowned chef, often also require successful passage through a bifurcation point or two along the way.

So knowing how to bring about bifurcation points can be important to your dimensional travels.

Bifurcation points require either or both high energy input and high instability. In terms of one's own life, high instability could mean things like lots of travel, or moves from one location to another, one job to another. Or, the instability could come from having a wide circle of associates you regularly correspond with online, receiving from them all sorts of wild new ideas and leads to pursue in your own work or hobbies. The reason such conditions would bring about instability is that you literally couldn't know and couldn't predict what you might be doing or thinking from one day to the next.

High energy input can mean concerted effort over a long period of time on a very precise target. A male hair dresser was anguished over the lives lost in airplane crashes due to fire, and decided to invent a fireproof plastic. He devoted years to the task, endlessly experimenting and refining his work. Finally, he ended up with Starlite, an amazing material that not only seems practically imperious to flame but thermally insulates objects coated with it as well. Starlite or something like it will probably end up not only being used in aircraft and automobiles, but as heat shields for spacecraft too.

Keep in mind that the key conditions here are "high energy input" and "high instability"; exactly how they are achieved is up to you. In some cases, only one of these may be needed; in others, both may be required.

Though passage through a bifurcation point can often take you far towards your destination, your plans may be so fantastic, or the obstacles facing you so tremendous, you may have to traverse several different bifurcation points to reach your ultimate goal.

Unfortunately, knowing how to incur a bifurcation point is only half the preparation for successful usage of this mechanism; you must also be able to survive your passage through it.

Bifurcation points are not nice, simple gateways through which you pass on to better circumstances. Indeed, they are often extremely stressful, wrenching experiences. In perhaps the majority of cases, your passage through a bifurcation point may do little more than simply accelerate your travel through a chain of events you would otherwise meander through much more slowly. In a word, a certain span of your normal life may become "compressed" within a bifurcation point. This compression sounds good in theory, but can be terrifying and unbearably painful in actual practice-- unless you're fully prepared to meet the challenge.

If you successfully emerge from the far side of the point with your faculties intact and your plan still on-track, then you may well have managed a great leap across the dimensions, and be much nearer to your goal-- maybe even have arrived there already, in a single leap.

But not everyone who enters a bifurcation point survives the experience. And those that do may be broken mentally or physically, just as if they'd been through a war. If you ever do intentionally enter a bifurcation point, it may be the last, as you could possibly die from the trauma or simply be unwilling to go through such an experience again.

For these reasons you should not take the usage of bifurcation points lightly. They can be uncontrollable once initiated, much like a nuclear chain reaction, or a powerful storm at sea. Thus, you may wish to reserve bifurcation points as a last resort in your Traveling across realities, wielding them only rarely, if at all. And realizing before you trigger them that you may literally be buying yourself progress towards a particular goal with currency earned by a trip through Hell itself.

Lastly, bifurcation points are not purely voluntary devices you might use to become your own Champion of Destiny. They are also natural, randomly occuring events, which may descend upon you at any time, simply as a by-product of the workings of reality itself. This means you won't always have a choice about entering a bifurcation point, as it may choose to do you rather than you choosing to do it. Though the information in this article can help you to create or recognize a bifurcation point in process, it won't necessarily enable you to detect their approach. Luckily, most of us don't encounter actual bifurcation points more often than once every five to ten years or so during our lives. And some of those we actually manage to detour around-- because sometimes it is possible to notice something potentially horrendous looming up ahead, if we're paying attention. It's just that we can't detect them all, or even most of them, with a great deal of certainty. And often we're not attentive to the future at all, blindly walking into whatever comes our way.
Reasons for moving from one Reality to another
Why would anyone want to travel to another world, another reality? Especially if that reality was different from the old in only certain, measured ways?

Perhaps to escape from something. A checkered past, or an implacable, vengeful enemy. Maybe to pursue greater happiness. To leave a poverty stricken environment for one presenting greater opportunities.

Maybe just for the adventure.

Where do you want to go?

It's only necessary to know where you wish to go if the desired destination is a better or more interesting one over your present circumstances. As discussed elsewhere in regards to the entropy effect, if you seek something worse than your present locale in terms of risk, health, or general living conditions, there's usually no need to know or do much of anything-- for you'll tend to get there anyway.
Weaving a Thread of Continuity
Rarely will a single, spontaneous action switch you from your present track to the specific one desired. Perhaps in the case of very small and limited goals this might be possible. But here we are speaking of making a very large leap-- a jump from what might be judged an average existence to the one representing the very best and most you could ever hope to experience.

For such a long distance jump (through perhaps millions or billions of intervening dimensional realities), usually a large number of small switching events will be required, all done with consistency in direction towards the circumstances desired. The process could easily take months or years to accomplish. For example, let's say you're presently an unemployed college dropout with aspirations to be president of the United States. To work your way from your present reality to the presidential one, you'd have your work cut out for you. Some elements of the transition would probably include somehow completing your college work (perhaps finishing it with night school, or correspondence courses), participating in an election campaign or two, making and cataloguing contacts, maybe getting a job working for a state representative, getting some legal, business, and/or negotiation expertise under your belt, then running yourself for a few offices, beginning with local posts, and doing a reasonably good job in them. Next you might work your way up the ladder, sooner or later running for jobs like governor, representative, senator, then finally, eventually, taking a stab at running for the presidency itself. Or perhaps you'd follow an entirely different route, such as becoming a wildly successful businessman with political savvy, using your fame and fortune as a short cut to the White House. There's all manner of ways to get there. The point is, it's not a one step or simple process. The bigger the leap you want to make, the harder and longer it'll likely be to accomplish. But it's by no means impossible, since in the superverse anything that can happen must happen somewhere, somehow. Though it may not be probable in this reality that you'll become president, it is possible-- even if only by the wildest turn of events. That means in some other dimension you do become president. All you have to do is shift yourself over to that reality. The truth is that there's an infinite number of dimensions where you become president-- it's just that they may be many infinities away from where you are at this moment. There's an infinite number of dimensions where Spuds MacKenzie (a beer commercial dog from years past) was elected president, somewhere, in an election where he was entered as a joke or beer advertising campaign, and the voters were so fed up with normal politics and so enamored with Spuds they decided to surprise both the Democrats and Republicans with the ultimate rejection of both parties. It'd be fun to visit that reality just for a day-- the day after the election results came in-- to see the politicians' flustered reactions! If you think electing someone as unqualified as Spuds for President is too far out to be possible, keep in mind we might have elected Ross Perot in our own reality, if he hadn't shot himself in the foot so many times-- he was actually the leading contender for a few months in the polls during the 1992 election campaign! As for an explanation of how there can be 'infinities of infinities', please refer to various books on mathematics, such as Bridges To Infinity by Michael Guillen, copyright 1983 and published by the Houghton Mifflin Company.

You must remember that simply getting to a desired track is not the same as succeeding in your quest. For if you are unable to meet the new requirements of that track the superverse will quickly nudge you back a notch, maybe more. And it's not like you'll have no competition-- there'll be literally millions of different versions of yourself vying for the same position-- many unwittingly, but a few purposely, like yourself. So you'll in effect be competing against yourself-- against all the infinite varieties of yourself that exist across the dimensions.

This means should you succeed in switching tracks, you'll require the staying power necessary to hold your position. We cannot tell you the precise requirements for the position you seek, since we can't know your goals. But we can give you a general outline that should serve you well up to a certain point. After that, you're on your own.

Mental clarity and physical health and stamina would seem safe items to put on the list. Having made lots of influential friends (and minimal enemies) along the way usually won't hurt either. Finely honed skills in persuasion and negotiation are excellent tools for almost any human endeavor involving groups. Being widely read helps enormously in being able to both fit in and stand out as desired in social gatherings, as the knowledge and understanding gained can make you conversant in almost any topic that might come up. Personal business success, with the fortune that would accompany it, rarely proves a liability. Credentials of acheivement, like college degrees, are often valuable in realities like this one. More prestigious accomplishments, like noteworthy books, successful businesses, distinction in military service and others, can contribute to success in almost any field.

Just as a chain can't do its job with any links missing, your own success in shifting across realities requires an unbroken chain of circumstances linking where you are now to where you want to be. The change from here to there must be continuous, with no gaps to threaten the foundations of your success. We call this 'weaving a thread of continuity'.

Essentially weaving a thread of continuity means filling in the blanks. Planning out in detail how you get from where you are to where you want to be, and then acting on it. The plan has to be as rigorously thorough as a military campaign, always preparing for the worst, but being ready to exploit the best outcomes should they appear. The plan should be based on reasonable assumptions, and proceed towards its ultimate goal in measured, logical, gradual steps. Any break in the logic of your plans will likely become an uncrossable chasm once you reach that point in your design. If you plan for some miracle to occur, in which a rich uncle you never knew you had bequeaths you several million dollars at precisely the time you'll need the money to finance your new business, your plan will be a failure before it's even off the drawing board (At least this will be true for most of us. However, somewhere in the superverse this wildly improbable scenario actually comes to pass for some version of ourselves).
Isn't it cruel to leave behind friends and family?
No. Because you don't leave them behind in the traditional sense of the word. If you succeed in shifting over a few tracks, it is unlikely anyone around you will notice the difference in their own lives. Indeed, you might not notice the difference yourself as changes will be so slight as to be probably undetectable.

The successful Traveler will perceive significant differences only in cases where they have managed a leap across thousands, or hundreds of thousands of realities, in just one or two leaps. Close friends and relatives of the Traveler will likely perceive no more differences in their own lives in the case of great leaps than small ones-- because the continuum will automatically adjust to your changing position by moving all the other relevant pieces involved to balance everything out. If you shift over a couple of tracks, you'll knock some other dimensional variation of yourself out of his normal place and into another. He, or some other variant, will be installed in the spot left vacant by your departure.

Does this mean you'll be replaced by some imposter? No. The other you will more precisely be you than the most carefully cultured and trained clone from your own reality could ever be. He will be you. And it won't be like this entire process is unnatural, as it happens all the time. The only unnatural aspect of it will be your own awareness and conscious initiation of the change.

Now at this point we run smack into the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle and Schrodinger's cat (in physics topics), which both speak to awareness of certain basic phenomena skewing the consequences of an event. In other words, anything that happens in reality is changed in some way by being observed or noticed by an intelligence. When we look at the moon at night, our act of observation has some effect on that body (though we can't know precisely what that effect is, and by all normal perceptions it must be very slight).

Will your awareness of traveling across realities change the results from what they might ordinarily be? Well of course! That's our whole purpose in Traveling, isn't it? To change what is and what will be to what we want to be?

From this perspective, we heavily depend on factors like the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle to power our Travels.

Is it possible for your Traveling to cause distress for your loved ones they otherwise wouldn't know, as a by-product? Yes, because remember the underlying tenet to this whole concept is infinite possibilities. Though we doubt the majority of us will ever travel far enough from our ordinary places to cause such extraordinary havoc in the lives of our friends and family, there is always the possibility far ranging Travels will result in significant impact on those we leave behind. Fortunately, any and all changes would be limited to that part of their lives centered on us, the most extensive Travelers in their lives. In some of the worst case scenarios, such as if our previous role was being a father or husband, those close to us might suddenly perceive us as dying, or going through a mid-life crisis, or becoming an alcoholic, etc., etc., etc.-- IF our departure causes such dislocation that a considerably inferior version of ourselves is pulled in by the continuum to take our place. But recall such would only be the case in the most extreme and unlikely instances, wherein we successfully Traveled so far afield from our original position that we transposed ourselves with a variant suffering dire circumstances, or switched with a dimensional clone of such fragile mental constitution that he (our alter ego) could not cope with the new environment he found himself in as a result of our manipulations.
Possible obstacles and limitations
How difficult is it to switch tracks?
Not difficult at all. You do it all the time, in fact. Each decision or action you take has the potential of changing your present course. Usually these changes are minute-- often the smallest consequences may all be a part of the same track. But probably once a week or month or so the average person makes some choice or takes some action that moves them over by one or two tracks in the cosmic switching yard. The new dimension encountered duplicates the previous one so closely that likely no significant change is detected by the Traveler at the time of the switch. For the vast majority of us, we'd have to shift ourselves over hundreds, perhaps thousands of dimensions to see a measurable difference in our surroundings, and our lives.

Due to the existence of entropy (which essentially amounts to a rule that everything in the Universe tends to go to hell-- run down, die, or decay, if given half a chance), switching to worse tracks is far easier than switching to better ones. In other words, it's far easier to get to hell than it is to heaven, just as many religions preach. Moving yourself to a reality wherein you're a wealthy philanthropist is much harder than moving to one where you're a drunk or drug addict-- at least for the vast majority of us. So you could say that in general always taking the easy or quick way out of a situation will tend to send you to hell. This is not to say you should never follow the path of least resistance-- in some cases that is precisely the correct thing to do-- but rather that always doing the easy or expedient thing will tend to lead you straight into ever worsening circumstances.

As ObiWan Kenobee might say, "That way lies the Dark Side of the Force, Luke".

The same entropy described above also has an effect on the consequences of difficult decisions and actions, by making the majority of them go awry. In other words, even when you try mightily to do the right thing, you'll often miss your target-- sometimes by a figurative mile.

The only way to fight the effects of entropy is to learn continuously and reasonably prepare yourself to meet coming challenges, where possible. Learn about yourself, about others, about the world. Learn as much as you can about everything. In making preparations, we're speaking of setting up contingency plans in case your first or second choice in matters doesn't work out. Preparation also means efforts to pave the way for change in order to increase your chances of success-- like working on a consensus of your peers before approaching the boss with those suggested changes around the office.
Inertia and Momentum
Inertia and momentum seem applicable to a remarkably wide range of phenomena-- and dimensional shifting may be no exception.

It may be that it's easier for a relatively obscure person to travel far across many dimensions than a more widely known individual. The larger a circle of friends or fans you obtain in one reality, the more "rooted" you may become there. While such roots may greatly enhance the potential of that particular reality for you, they may also strongly restrain you from substantially changing your ultimate destiny via cross-dimensional traveling.

Alternatively, should you achieve a high velocity across the dimensions, you may find it difficult to stop at the one desired, overshooting it, to land in something far stranger than you had originally intended. So strange that you may be judged as mentally unstable or worse by the inhabitants of that new place...

In an extreme case, you could find yourself in a reality so far removed from our own that the natives of Earth would deem you a freak, alien, demon, or worse, either killing you on the spot, or imprisoning you for life.

Imprisonment itself would seem a powerful obstacle to dimensional travel, though it likely is far from an absolute one. Nelson Mandela seemed to manage quite nicely to shift over from some twenty or thirty years in prison to a liberated political power to be reckoned with in South Africa, during the eighties and nineties of this reality.

An adept in cross-dimensional travel would be very difficult to capture, hold, or kill. He would seem an escape artist extraordinaire, a secret agent of James Bond stature, a genius of improvisation and adaptation. Of course, since we don't expect to encounter such a person in real life, if we ever did we'd tend to think they were just very, very smart, or very, very lucky-- or both. How many of us would suspect they were simply switching realities at will?

And to beat all, we might never even know they escaped-- as often they'd be replaced by some more hapless version of themselves from a few hundred thousand dimensions away. But of course, the most skilled and benevolent such Travelers might arrange to prevent the imprisonment of their dimensional clone too...by seeming to simply disappear into thin air. Think for a moment about the smartest or luckiest people you've ever heard of. Could they possibly be cross-dimensional travelers? Perhaps without even realizing it themselves?
Being bumped by other Travelers
Has your life taken a significant and wholly unexpected turn lately? The stranger events have seemed to you, the more chance they stem from you being 'bumped' from your original position to another by a dimensional Traveler, to use a term well known to airline passengers.

Being bumped in this manner may result in either better or worse consequences for you personally-- the effect is largely random in nature. However, the probability is that you'll usually perceive the changes wrought from bumping to be negative, for two reasons: One, the natural tendency towards chaos in the universe makes the likelihood of misfortune higher than its counterpart. Two, since the entire superverse may be a closed system, or zero sum game, any savvy Traveler among the different realities would always be shifting the cost of their own success to someone else in the form of a loss. To put it another way, if a smarter version of yourself a few dimensions over manages to get a job promotion they weren't really supposed to, you personally could lose out on the promotion you deserved in this Universe as a result.

So after a fashion we're all competing not only with others for such secular advances, but with ourselves as well, across all the variations of reality.
How far can you go?
If all this is real and not pure fantasy, if one really can travel from their present reality to a more desirable one, just how far can you go? How much could you really change about your life by Traveling across the dimensions?

The real limits may not lie in the number of dimensional boundaries you can cross, but your own physical and mental stamina and lifespan. A truly talented Traveler, exploiting their ability to the max for reasons of pure exploration of the farthest reaches of probability, could surely enter into realms so bizarre as to be unrecognizable to less 'OtherWorldly' folk, such as ourselves.
Can you take anyone with you in Traveling?
This seems most unlikely. The minimum requirements for such a companion would be a Traveling skill and level of dimensional awareness precisely matched to your own. Too much or too little of either would create an asynchronicity that would surely divide you quickly in your travels. Plus, such a person would have to be commited to following your lead as closely as possible, rather than pursuing their own path; the slightest divergence in goals would carry the two of you farther apart with each leap you made.

We would guess the nearest you could come to sharing your travels would be in the form of your best, dearest friend, spanning a wide swath of the dimensions you travel through. Hand-picking a friend or lover or close family member to accompany you in actual Traveling itself would more than likely result in a serious drag on your own Traveling efforts, as you tried to overcome far greater resistance from the continuum to your efforts, as well as endless problems associated with helping your companion adapt to changing circumstances, even as you yourself struggled to do the same. It would simply be a terrible mess, and a great headache to deal with, that would severely weaken your own ability to Travel towards a particular destination. On the other hand, maintaining a conventional relationship with a single best friend across the different realities, discussing these matters with them, but not actually trying to take them with you from one world to the next, could work out as the most practical thing you could do to maintain a close relationship among your journeys. As long as you touched base with such a friend frequently throughout your Travels, whatever version you found in each new reality would likely be very nearly up-to-date on your exploits, albeit with a perspective that you were an increasingly eccentric associate, at best.

Sooner or later your friend would become seriously concerned about you, or afraid of you, as your story became increasingly outlandish, and you yourself less and less familiar to them. From your friend's point of view, you would seem to gradually become more and more involved in a fantasy world of your own making. Of course, this impression could be mitigated in some ways by the real changes you managed to invoke in your journeys. An example of the off-beat impression your best friend might get from your Traveling is this: Your friend may have been there all along as you (the version of you the friend perceives over time) worked your way up the ladder at your place of employment, finally taking over the company, to attain substantial wealth for yourself. Then, over a period of weeks or months your friend noticed you speaking of stranger and stranger things; notions of changing your life by traveling across dimensions. Finally, your friend would hear you claim that you weren't exactly the same you the friend had always known; that you were a different you, who'd displaced the original by purposely traveling across many different realities. Your friend might laugh uneasily at all this-- but it would over time come to disturb them, possibly putting your own personal welfare at risk, as well as the relationship itself.
How do you tell if you're succeeding?
Landmarks along the way
Reincarnation texts often speak of souls traveling in groups through the ages; that there exist something like families composed of individual spirits which tend to be born into fleshy form in clusters, close to one another. That though their roles might change from one life to the next (i.e., the father and son of one life might switch roles in the second, or a husband and wife in one become a sister and brother in another), they essentially remain close to each other is some way-- at least until some important lesson is learned or task accomplished, after which they may be transferred to a different group. Demotions (from human to animal shape, etc.) too are referred to in the myths.

The implications of spirits traveling in groups through time may offer something of value to would-be Travelers across realities as well. For dimensional travelers are apt to find the same family members, same friends, same lovers, existing in many of the different realities they move through on the way to their destination. And the farther afield from their reality of origin that they travel, the more likely these same folks will be found in roles and relationships to the traveler distinctly different from those previously witnessed.

Indeed, one way the Traveler may be able to determine the rate of progress across dimensions is notice how quickly a particular familiar face is replaced in significance by a new one in their personal lives. Perhaps you have a close relationship with an older brother here. But as you proceed across realities you find that relationship becoming less and less important in your life, with another more and more often substituting for it, until finally the brother has been replaced with another person altogether, as far as that particular niche in your life is concerned.
Dreams: Perceptual Traveling?
Throughout all of recorded history, mankind has attributed many different kinds of significance to dreams. Today we know that much, if not all of our dreams, are simply routine psychological and physiological maintenance and repair necessary for our brains to perform their daily tasks.
No small number of innovators and other notables have also documented instances of brilliant new ideas being communicated from the sub-conscious to the conscious mind, by way of dreams remembered.

Many of us, including some celebrities, have experienced waking moments which seemed to have been forecast by a previous dream-- though usually the event so viewed possesses little or no detectable significance to the dreamer's life or welfare. So at best these cases seem to display a somewhat random and very cursory glimpse into a future time. Though a tiny fraction of folks might claim significant benefits from the experience, for most it has remained a puzzling and apparently unexploitable aspect of perception.

Itzhak Bentov in his book Stalking the Wild Pendulum suggested that an exotic, faster than light form of communication might exist among all life in the universe. The essential structure of this communication would be hologramic, which means while all information would be present in each single, smallest unit of the overall reality, the quality of practical access to this information would be proportional to the quantity of units serving as a gateway to the knowledge. Other factors too were applied by Bentov to the concept, but here we will focus on this alone.

Bentov singled out breakthrough ideas by innovators as one possible example of this communication.

Could Bentov's FTL (faster-than-light) communication theory be stretched to apply to more than one universe-- to an infinity of universes? To a superverse? Bentov's text suggests as much in several places, among them the concluding sentences of a section he named The 'Aha' Moment-- where he speculated that our universe might be but a single cell of some much larger system, which itself was a part of an even greater design.

Despite enormous progress in almost all scientific fields of late, still do the experts consider our own brains and psychological make up to be the most complex and mysterious of the matters facing us, in our quest to know all we can of our reality.

We continue to discover new and surprising aspects of our nature every day-- often fairly radical things implied to be possible by Bentov and others like him, years before.

Could a small measure of dimensional oversight be another hidden ability we possess? That is, might we discover in years to come that our dreams sometimes offer us a window not merely to our unconscious, but ocassionally to other realities as well? Realities as valid as our own, but physically separate from ours, and mostly beyond our ability to affect easily through the medium of dreaming itself?

Or might we someday discover that our deeds in dreams do in fact have a physical impact on remote dimensions? And vice versa-- that beings far removed from our world sometimes exert unknowing (or purposeful!) influence on our world by way of their own dreaming?
Blazing your own trail
If you're following a course of gradualism (as recommended here), you'll easily be able to determine your pace of success by the achievement of one short term goal after another on the way towards your ultimate end. Each successful semester of school means one more win closer to whatever ultimate goal you've decided upon.
The more rapidly you're proceeding across the dimensions, probably the more unusual, even bizarre circumstances you'll notice along the way-- events, people, news items, even new products in stores much unlike anything you recall seeing in your previous realities. You might also detect changes in your own preferences, such as a different clothing style, or a switch in taste from one set of foods to another. These will not necessarily be conscious choices; you might only notice by accident that you're making different choices in clothing purchases and eating habits days or weeks after the changes first appear. In truly extraordinary cases, you might wonder if you're having memory lapses, as you discover associates or co-workers seemingly familiar with you, but whom you cannot remember meeting previously. Or, you may find books or other items among your personal possessions you cannot recall buying or receiving in any normal manner. Many possible variations on this could make themselves felt in cases of accelerated dimensional displacement. Deja Vu. Prophetic dreams. Clairvoyance. Even schizophrenia could sometimes be awful confusion resulting from someone finding themselves suddenly many realities removed from their origins. This is not to say that such things are definite signs of cross-dimensional travel, only that they could be in some cases. As you might realize from the mention of schizophrenia, cross-dimensional travel can be just as debilitating as it can be rewarding, much the same way raising the Kundalini is described in some Yoga texts. Always remember that a sufficiently large leap in the wrong direction could just as easily end with you suddenly quadraplegic from an unremembered auto accident as it could you being the beneficiary of a great inheritance.

This should serve as yet another warning to you that cross-dimensional travel is not something to be taken too lightly. Just as a trip cross country can result in your landing in some real predicaments, so too can traveling cross-dimensionally.

Of course, with the insight provided in this article, you should be at least a bit more prepared for such eventualities, than those Traveling with no sort of guidance whatsoever.
What proof do we have that all this is true?
Like we said before, there's really no absolute proof at the moment-- it's all highly theoretical. And there may never be proof. For any hard evidence would not survive the transition to a new reality. We can't even be sure the memories of the Traveler will remain sufficiently intact to detect the changes in his environment when he succeeds. It could be that with each new universe we find ourselves in, our organic memories automatically adjust to make it seem the same one we always inhabited-- even where it isn't. If we've successfully transported ourselves to a reality profoundly different from our origin, we might be incapable of recognizing it as such once we've arrived. After all, we'll be able to remember being born and raised in Mars Colony Twelve. The Colony has always been our home, and always will be, unless we can find a way out. But how? All we'll know is that every day seems the same in the Colony...
Our ace in the hole might be no more than possession of this notion of Traveling. For the idea itself may survive the transition, even if the experience of using it doesn't.

But the notion alone could be all we need to succeed. For as long as we are substantially unhappy in whatever reality we inhabit, we might explore and pursue the notion of Traveling, and continue to periodically succeed at reaching new dimensions, until we no longer have the desire to travel further, having reached a place where we may finally be at peace.

Perhaps our emotional status will be our only reliable way of gauging our progress. The happier we are, the closer to our destination we may be. The unhappier, the farther away. In this way might Traveling be similar to a game from our childhood; incorporating the hints of "warmer" and "colder" in our perceptions, as we move to or away our desired destination.
But what good is it?
If some of you out there are thinking that all this really doesn't help you much, that it all essentially boils down to the same old requirement that you earn your way towards your goals, the same rule that always circumscribed your world, you're right! We can't change the laws of physics. And we're not describing some new and fabulous short cut to your dreams here (for that you'll have to examine other aspects of this web site). Rather, we're simply pointing out a new perspective on reality, something strange that may have always existed, always been a part of our universe, but which few of us have realized up to now. What's the value of this new perspective? How does it help, when it essentially provides no short cut to your dreams, provides you no new and significant advantage over how you previously believed the universe to work? It can help in only one fashion: it's another way that the phrase "nothing is truly impossible" could turn out to be true. Anyone can be president, anyone can be rich, and "anyone can be married to a leggy supermodel", as David Letterman of CBS might suggest. There are no absolute restrictions on what you might accomplish-- that's all we're saying here, and all that the laws of an infinitely diverse superverse would offer to its most savvy inhabitants. What you do with the implications of all this is solely up to you.
There is one other way this article might help you, though it's admittedly a small one, and perhaps of little consolation to many. And that is privileged knowledge.

You see, not all your different selves have learned about these possibilities yet; many never will. You took the steps necessary to find this page on the web-- many others of your kind didn't. You then read this article in depth-- lots of your dimensional clones did not. All this makes for an excellent chance that you're in a definite minority here, so far as possessing this knowledge this early in the game. Still better news is that only a small percentage of those in the know will actually take this information seriously-- which reduces your ultimate competition in the dimensional sweepstakes even further.

So you should be in an excellent position here to bump others, rather than others bumping you.

Comments? Thoughts?