So I’ve been reading Things Not Seen by Andrew Celments (mainly because the story features a blind girl as a main character) and there was one line that Alicia the blind girl said that particularly jumped out at me:
In case you haven’t noticed, Bobby, I really think
about everything. Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean
As soon as I read that line, the sentence “Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I’m stupid.” went through my mind like I was replaying a recording. And I was. Immediately I opened a terminal window, typed in “cd Documents/blindness/writings/” followed by “cat blind-stupid” and there it appeared in my terminal window, one of the many short plain-text files that I type up on whim when I’m in a reflective kind of mood. And I write a lot of the ones in that particular directory as if I was really blind:
Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I’m stupid. But then, just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I’m clever.
There was that sentence again! Right at the beginning of a random thought that I had hammered out on my computer one evening as it came to me.
OK, so this is probably not really that significant. I mean there’s not really another way to word such a statement, and it’s the kind of thing that blind people – really blind, fictitious characters, or just pretending to be/regarding themselves as blind – are going to say frequently; after all, we are faced with many prejudices from society and an assumption of stupidity is one of them.
But nevertheless this got me thinking about such coincidences, and I can think of a few that are definitely significant in some way or another. Take, for example, the day almost ten years ago when I was sitting at my old computer and I suddenly had this weird idea that it was essential for me to begin learning how to navigate a computer using only the keyboard. Even though my parents thought it was pointless and I myself didn’t really have a clear idea of exactly why I needed to know this, I kept at it until I had learnt everything that I know today and enough to get around almost any piece of software using only the keyboard. Sure, it’s always made my work more efficient knowing these techniques – after all, with practice keyboards are a lot faster than mice, and watching any blind person using a computer will show you that they’re certainly the world’s most efficient computer users even if we put the screenreader aside for a moment – but at the time I felt that there was something more to it, like that one day I would absolutely need to use these techniques but not really knowing why that would be except that it would be due to some form of “disability”, and although I have already started using a screenreader quite frequently I wouldn’t consider myself needing this until the day when I am actually blind – and of course my desire to be blind only came into my life six months ago, and I had no idea that I would ever find myself with such a desire back then when I got that weird feeling that this was something I had to learn.
Well maybe that’s not such a big deal either. Actually, you could really interpret that any way you want. Was it some kind of spiritual foretelling of my future blindness – the same spirit that has prompted me to prepare myself by giving me the desire to be blind? Or was it a result of the slight mis-wiring in my brain that made me destined to develop BIID at a later age, but where at the time that mis-wiring was still dormant, waiting only for the trigger of seeing a blind girl in a TV programme before revealing itself full-scale? Or perhaps it was the result of stray electromagnetic fields from the CRT monitor, and is in fact the cause of my BIID, the latter developing as a subconscious way for my brain to fulfil or justify this otherwise inexplicable idea that I would one day need to use a computer with only the keyboard?
Well then consider this one: exactly six months after my parents broke up (my father was causing trouble and my mother and I asked him to move out – now I live with my mother) I got into an argument with my mother. When was the last time we got into an argument? Never. I mean, we get into little scraps now and again, but this was an argument. A real argument. The kind that goes on for a few days, where you just want to get as far away from each other as possible and be alone for a bit. EXACTLY six months after he left. Like, THE EXACT SAME DAY. Really, you’ll probably say I’m remembering the dates wrong, but at the time the thought suddenly crossed my mind that, just maybe, it was six months after he had left and that that was, at least in part, the cause of the argument, and I asked my mother what date he had left and without looking it up she gave the same date that I had remembered. (Although I’m not sure why I thought that his leaving six months earlier could be the cause of an argument with my mother…)
So, was it a spiritual influence left over us by my father from before he left (he did tend to attract other weird occurrences too, when he was still living here), or did both me and my mother subconsciously know that it was six months after he left, and, remembering the resentment we both used to feel when he was living here, we were in the wrong mode of thinking and ended up subconsciously picking a fight?
I could keep going on like this, giving more and more examples of various “coincidences” ranging from slightly odd to undeniably uncoincidental. And there are two possible explanations for these strange coincidences: either they’re caused by various subconscious thought processes that we are completely unaware of and that do not manifest themselves in any other way – and in fact there may be many more such occurrences that go unnoticed simply because the subconscious mind only draws our attention to those that matter to us in some way, such as by offering more information with regards to my inexplicable desire for blindness or by explaining an otherwise bitter and heartbreaking argument with my mother – or they’re caused by a spiritual influence of sorts.
While the former explanation makes sense, and has the kind of elegance to it that I favour, as a deist I find the latter equally appealing and it is a fine example of exactly how science and experimentation can actually make evident the existence of a spiritual world rather than to contradict all theories about spiritual things. The classic theological theories tend to contradict science and that does not sit well in my mind, forcing to choose one or the other. Originally I chose the theories of a spiritual world, but over time the contradictions became too great and I was forced to instead adopt the theories of science. But over time I have realised that there is a way that these two worlds can sit side-by-side and at the same time scientific explanations for the world can still hold, and evidence from the physical world can in fact explain the existence of a spiritual one. It is hard to explain in words how this works in my mind, but it makes sense to me and seems a lot more elegant an approach than to just discard half of science in order to go along with a theory that does not evidence itself in reality.
So you can draw whatever conclusion you want, but when things seem to be too much of a coincidence to be just pure chance then I put it down to spiritual influence, as such occurrences are to me one of many pieces of evidence of the existence of such an influence.