The Final Cut

FinalCutThe Final Cut, a sci-fi movie starring Robin Williams, is an externalized illustration of the brain’s process of creating memories. The movie stresses how our belief in the truth of what we remember is often flawed by our limited perception and skewed interpretation of any given event, including every day activities.

In the movie, some people have opted to have chips implanted in their heads to record all their daily activities. Robin Williams is a cutter (an editor) of memories, who is brought in after someone dies. His job is to take those recordings and create a feature-length ‘film’ of memories as a keepsake for the deceased person’s family and friends.

Robin is the personification of what our own brains do, which is to analyze, edit, and store memories. Out of the millions of stimuli that we encounter every minute of every day, our brains decide what is worth keeping and what isn’t. It also needs to interpret those bits and pieces, and then determine how to fit them together into some type of cohesive event.

For instance, in getting ready to go to work, there is input from kids, spouse, TV/radio, emails, texts, pets, neighbors, and neighborhood. Your brain must decide what to take in and what to leave out, put it all together into some pattern that makes sense, and then store it under the heading “May 4, 2017, Thursday morning” (or something to that effect).

Now, if it’s very similar to every other morning, it may not even get a special title. It may just be entered into a group file called, “weekly mornings.” That makes it harder to pull out and review later, because it’s simply lumped with every other early morning routine. So, if someone asks if you brushed your teeth, you’ll probably say, “yes,” because that’s what you do every day. But what if you didn’t? What if, for some reason, you ran out of time, so skipped that step in your routine. It wasn’t a big enough deal for your brain to create a separate file for that day, so you can never be sure whether you really brushed them or not. But say your tire was flat and you had to take public transportation. That is different enough that the memory probably got its own little storage file. Especially, if you encountered someone strange and interesting on the bus or train that you had to take.

So, not every memory is sacred to your brain, and not every memory can be recalled in detail. Add to that the fact that your brain also has ego telling it what to do. Ego doesn’t like to look bad, so it’s going to tell your brain to skew certain things in your favor. Just like the cutter in the movie, you will store your memories, but some will ‘need’ a bit of editing.

Did you and your girl/boyfriend just break up? Well, obviously, it wasn’t your fault. Even if it was, it wasn’t; and that is what your brain will record in your memory. Did you just lose your job? Again, that memory will only be stored once the editing is done. The loss was a positive; the loss wasn’t your fault; the job was beneath you. All the details leading up to and including the day the event occurred will support this positive conclusion. While any of the ‘facts’ that don’t support the conclusion will be forgotten (or edited out). So, instead of seeing yourself as the one who was always neglectful, late, and irresponsible, it will be the person you were dating. Therefore, the memories your brain stores will support that conclusion, and any memories that indicate otherwise, will be eliminated from long-term storage.

Everyone wants to believe that their memories are truthful and infallible, but unfortunately, we all carry our own editor around with us everywhere we go. That means that every memory is just one version of reality. It also means that every person who was involved in the event, even just those every day occurrences such as getting ready for work, has their own version, their own memory.

So, the next time you question (even in your head) how someone could be recalling a moment or a day so differently from how you recall it, remember that you all have your own editor. And that editor has its own agenda and its own perceptions.


Living in a land of make believe

We live in a false world, a land of make believe. It’s a world where pretense is the norm and truth is suppressed (supposedly for the betterment of everyone). But is it really better?

In my world, I must say only nice things, only pleasant things. I’m not supposed to say what I truly believe, feel, or think because it may offend or hurt someone else. But doesn’t lying hurt, too?

For example, at my job we cannot say anything that might hurt or offend someone else or in any way upset them. So, I must monitor every word I utter in an effort to be absolutely neutral in what I say. I also cannot reach out and physically touch someone—not a hug, not a light touch on the shoulder, or a comradely hand to the back—without taking the risk of being accused of sexual harassment.

And these same restrictions spill over to my life away from work, too. If those at work were to read my blog and found it somehow threatening, non-professional, or in any way hurtful, then I could be reprimanded. If I e-mail someone (on a personal e-mail account), or make comments on Facebook or Twitter, I can be accused of being a cyberbully.

So, what happened to the world of freedom of speech, to a world where truth of perception, belief, and feelings were welcomed instead of this half-baked Disney World where only banalities and neutral non-speak are acceptable?

Am I advocating bullying (in person or on the computer)? No, but then again, one man’s bullying is another man’s truth. How are we to learn if we cannot speak? How can a child learn sensitivity if they never experience pain—the pain of hurting someone else, or the pain of being hurt themselves?

Just because you tell a child that certain words are hurtful does not guarantee that they will understand. You probably grew up being called names or being excluded from activities, I think most of us have. So each of us has our own set of “hurtful”, “not nice” words or actions that we try to teach to others. But if a child never sees the result of using hurtful language or taking hurtful actions, or if they are never the recipient of those hurtful words or actions, they have only your word that those terms, phrases, or actions are “bad”.

Eventually, that won’t be enough. Eventually, all they will see is that their parents are afraid of certain actions or words. They will become curious and may simply try using those words or performing those actions, or they may become manipulative, using your fears to their advantage.

I understand wanting to spare others what we each went through—we all try to do that—but if we don’t allow others to make mistakes, if we don’t stop creating and enforcing rules that make us live in a false world based on pretense and insincerity, then we all suffer. I find it infinitely more stressful to be constantly watching and gauging everything I say and do for fear I may offend or hurt someone, than simply allowing myself to be who I am—someone who would not intentionally hurt someone, but may (occasionally) put my foot in my mouth. My life, then, becomes like a war zone, where each step I take can put me in the middle of a mine field, and each word I utter or each action I take can destroy my world.

I can no more stay silent (as stated in the old adage of saying nothing if you can’t speak nicely), than I can not write. Yet, how I am to gauge which words I write will annoy or hurt? I believe rather than police each other, we need to police ourselves—turn off those programs that you find offensive, do not read stories or writings that upset you, and by all means, walk away from someone whose ramblings you disagree with.

So, what is your life’s goal?

If there was one goal in my life, it was to teach. As a child I wanted to be Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie, working in a small, one-room schoolhouse. However, by the time I was ten, I realized that what I wanted to teach wasn’t the basics of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. 

Between the ages of 10 and 14, I really wanted to help others develop their psi talents. But how do you go about something like that? As a 10-year old I was completely baffled by that question, after all, I had never heard of a school where you could study the skills of reading auras, hearing others’ thoughts, or remote viewing.

Oh, I’d heard of the paranormal programs at the colleges like the one in Raleigh-Durham, but they didn’t teach people how to use their paranormal or psychic abilities, they just studied people with abilities to try and figure out whether the abilities were real. I already knew psychic abilities were real, after all I had been using them my whole life.

By the time I reached my 20’s I knew that what the world called psychic talents weren’t what I needed to teach. After all the so-called psychic talents were nothing more than cording to someone and reading one or more of their auric layers. (Read Auras and ESP.) That was a common practice done by everyone – most just didn’t even realize that they were doing it.

No, what I really needed to teach was a way for them to gain the peace of their inner truths and wisdom. So many people had bits and pieces of the puzzle, but so few really knew how all those bits and pieces fit together. While I never considered myself an expert, by any means, I knew that I held some of the answers merely because I could “see” beyond the physical world that we all lived in.

At my various jobs I would feel myself drawn toward certain conversations that were going on during my break periods. It wasn’t that these conversations were particularly odd or different—they were rarely discussing anything paranormal—but somehow I knew that my little bits of knowledge, what I thought of as my inner wisdom, could help them with their everyday issues.

So, somehow I would find the courage to jump in and offer my bits of wisdom regarding life after death, angels, or even why someone continued to go out with the same type of creep all the time.

Now, you have to understand, that I’m a very reticent person, and I don’t interact with other people very easily. Therefore, for me to simply drop in on a conversation, especially one taking place between several people that I only knew in passing, was extremely unusual. Yet, the urge to “instruct”, to speak up, was so strong that it would encourage me to step beyond my normal reluctance and share my insights.

No special language was used. There were no discussions of baby souls versus mature souls, or how karmic imbalances might impact the life, because these people either wouldn’t understand or accept those terms. No, it was just using everyday language and real life examples to explain to them what I considered the common sense of living.

Occasionally, I would find a few people (2 or 3) who were more aware, and we could actually converse about things of a more esoteric nature. We would delve into the question of karma and alternate realities, or why some situations and people seemed familiar, and a thousand other topics of interest.

While that was more satisfying than the first type of discussions, it still wasn’t quite enough. No, I still felt that overwhelming need to teach, and what I was doing wasn’t enough.

I started working at a company that actually had access to several Internet newsgroups. (This was at the time when the Internet was comprised of newsgroups and posting boards—at the risk of dating myself—instead of the chat groups, web pages, or blogs of today).

During a break at work, I checked out some of the different newsgroups. For the most part, I didn’t stay long, because most of them just didn’t seem that interesting to me. However, the last one I logged into was the dreamer’s newsgroup. Suddenly, I felt at home. Here were people discussing their interpretations of different dreams, something I could do in my sleep (so to speak).

I began to spend most every lunch hour in this newsgroup usually answering questions and interpreting dreams. While others continued interpreting dreams, too, my explanations always seemed to be more accurate and I soon had quite a little following.

After about a year, one of the members of the little dream group asked about an entity named Michael. Although this had nothing to do with dreams, the response was huge. Nearly everyone had read the books by Yarbro (including me), and those that hadn’t, soon wanted to.

Now I finally had a group I could exchange my knowledge with and without having to couch the information in terms of everyday normalcy. I could talk about the differences between sages and warriors, without someone thinking I was talking about one of those role-playing games.

Finally, we started our own newsgroup, and I found that my noontime discussions were becoming almost more important than any work I was assigned. I would race to complete the work just to make sure that I had plenty of time with my group. We discussed every aspect of Michael’s philosophy and even introduced other teachings and information to the group—from Seth (by Jane Roberts) to Edgar Cayce, to Nostradamus, and a multitude of others.

As technology improved, a website evolved, and the readings and “conversations” continued. I had finally found my classroom—it existed in the virtual world of the Internet. My “students” wandered in and out of the classroom as they wanted, and it was fine, because I knew that whoever needed to find me, would.

I’m still teaching, and I’m still using the Internet as my “classroom”, but now I’m using a blog and email to share my insights and information. Also, my teachings have taken on a different tone—it’s the tone of review, but the review is as much for me as for my “students”, because as I share my information with others, I gain further insights. As I share myself with others, I feel myself blossoming and growing, too.

So welcome, …pull up a chair, and tell me what’s on your mind?