Monday, September 07, 2020

Remembering Earl Rich

January 1995
Today marks 23 years since the death of Earl Rich.

I'm working on a collection of essays about people I have known who died and I'm writing a piece about Earl. I've written about him many times on this blog but it's good to have one polished and comprehensive piece of work.

This is how it begins:

I am skeptical of claims of the supernatural, so there must be a rational explanation for the sound outside my window, someone calling my name and saying "good-bye," on the morning Earl Rich died.  

I've often wondered what the rational explanation could be. In the novel by Kurt Vonnegut, "Breakfast of Champions" one of his characters died this way: "Like all Earthlings at the point of death, Mary Young sent faint reminders of herself to those who had known her. She released a small cloud of telepathic butterflies..."  

I thought of that Vonnegut passage just after I looked out my window to see who was calling. Nobody was there.  In his book "The Demon Haunted World" astronomer Carl Sagan said that one claim of extra-sensory perception that deserved serious study was this: 'people under mild sensory deprivation can receive thoughts or images "projected" at them.' 
Sagan doesn't speculate on how thoughts or images might be projected. One of my theories is that maybe neurons in the brain, which send and receive electrical signals, at a moment of extreme stress, could transmit electrical pulses at a wide distance. Another theory I have was inspired by reading about quantum mechanics. There is a phenomenon called "entanglement" where two particles become "entangled" and then the state of one particle is always matched by the state of the other particle, even when very far away from each other. It's so strange and counter-intuitive it freaked Albert Einstein right out. He called it "spooky action at a distance." That sounds about right to me: spooky action at a distance. 

nt faint