Written By Cisco Jose
June 30th 1977 – March 21st 2011
Recently, I attended a regular, late showing of the new movie “Paranormal Activity” at a local cinema. As per reviews by critics, personal acquaintances, and trusted friends, it promised to be a masterpiece of the horror film genre, and a very well spent hour and $23.50 CAD (not including my drink and a delicious pack of “Oh Henry” bits). My companion to this much-anticipated spectacle was a gorgeous and well poised young woman – a beautifully elegant human paradox, and psychological conundrum I am happy to have discovered. Subsequently, she would prove to posses a perspective on natural law that I had not encountered before. The first lesson of that night was that critics, acquaintances and friends are not to be trusted when it comes to movie reviews, because the film betrayed all their vehement recommendations. The movie, aside from making me nauseous, disappointed us both and proved to be a waste of our perfectly good hour, and my hard-earned money.
Alright, it’s not fair to say that it was a complete waste of time because amidst some of the unexpected “bangs” and “arghs” that we have all come to “expect” from scary movies, and most memorably, the emphatic yet adorable laughter of my lovely escort, there was some enjoyment to be realized. But the wasted money still bothers me. Please don’t think that the person I allowed to sit next to me in a dark movie theater is any less than normal for laughing while watching a horror film. I can give you many other reasons for thinking that about her but this just isn’t one of them. You see, the film runs on the premises that supernatural beings exist and one has been the cause of young woman’s lifelong predicament. In the beginning we are introduced to her boyfriend with whom she cohabitates, and who has recently purchased a new, expensive camera, which will be later used to capture the alleged “Paranormal Entity” on film, as it manifests itself to our protagonist. Throughout the timeline of the movie we are shown date and time stamps on the screen in the chronological style of other true documentaries to give us the impression that we are watching footage of real events. The producers have done a great job of making it look like home video recording. I cannot criticize the effort and work that went into putting the film together as my limited knowledge and experience in the field would make such a judgment ridiculous and unfair, and me to look like the asshole I really am.
Other aspects of the paranormal are presented to us as the intricate plot develops and unravels. A psychic is brought into the picture to help explain the type of phenomenon taking place. We are then educated about the differences between “hauntings” and other similar experiences. It is at a very specific point during this part of the movie that the psychic refers to “demonology” as a science and one of its proponents as a professor, that my companion fell into a hysterical and almost uncontrollable laughter for reasons not only unknown but also irritating to the rest of the audience. The laughter, it seems, was brought about by the erroneous perception that the reference to demonology was an attempt to present comic relief. It was for her, a most difficult endeavor to understand how intelligent, adult human beings could believe in such fantastic pretenses. Zina, as I have come to know her, eventually regained control of all her faculties, not due to my lack of insistence that we may be asked out from the cinema for disrupting the show, but because she felt the need to breathe normally again. Soon after we left the theatre and we agreed to move to a local restaurant/bar for a late snack and a drink where we carried yet another of our long, profound conversations that have become the trademark of our relationship. As it is with all interesting chats, we covered many topics moving seamlessly from one to the next. And as the conversation came back to the subject of the unexplained many questions were posed regarding our beliefs and conceptions about life and the universe. Zina, as she had several times before, denounced her belief in “religion” because of its nonsensical basis. She does however, share my respect and consideration for religious beliefs and the order they can provide to society and civilization. I pretentiously explained to my stylish friend that I could not see a way or method to quantify the existence of a “God” or “higher power” and was therefore undecided about the issue. I continued to deliver lots of very cool sounding bits of useless information, until her interruption gracefully put an end to my senseless babbling. “But there is” she said “there is a higher power, and it’s nature”. It made perfect sense. It was something that I, along with millions of others, had always known. Nature is the higher power, the common link, the driving force behind it all. It is that which nourishes our existence, and that without which we could not be. Nature is the life-giving force from which we come and where we will all, and without exception will return. It is the God that does not require us to worship, or idolize its presence because its laws are universal and infallible, and most importantly, it is all there for us to see and understand.
As I listened to this enlightened affirmation, I pondered on creation and evolution. I wondered if the clues to the elusive beginning were hidden in nature. I thought about the scope of the natural limits and found myself contemplating the vastness of the entire cosmos and the universe. I became very small and insignificant and I knew things that we all know yet many of us choose to ignore. I rediscovered that this world and this universe were incredible and unfathomable and so much of its natural law was beyond my comprehension. It was then that I realized that I did not need anything outside of nature, that what I now had, was more than enough. It was that night, sitting in front of a reluctant philosopher, a gentle Buddha, that I finally understood reality. I learned that wonders and miracles were possible without the need for a dogma and mythical nonsense, that a man is an amazing creature without magic and mystical energies flowing from his hands. And that human potential is immeasurable and can only be understood by the study of the real self and not by embracing the fanatical ideas of the misguided and the misinformed.
I don’t know if Zina knows the effect she had on me that night. I don’t know whether or not she intended to have such an impact on my perspectives. I will have to ask her soon during one of our long conversations. I hope that when she reads this she understands how thankful I am for her simple words and how much I respect them. I should let her and all those who have led me to this point know that I am grateful to them for bringing me here. All the people who have taught me something and have not only challenged my beliefs but have allowed me to challenge theirs and in so doing making us all stronger. My Mother and her wisdom which often defies logic, yet is always exactly what I need to know or hear to make the right decision. My Father, who sometimes doesn’t seem to care much about what I have to say, but out of nowhere will offer me jaw-dropping, profound knowledge and wisdom that I simply can’t seem to find in books or any scholastic material. My two beloved sisters, whose experiences have taught me to look at all angles of a problem, and to consider all the facts before I decide to act on any particular matter, as not to injure or offend the wrong person. I wonder if they know how I admire their strength. Also, those incredibly amazing beings that complete and comfort my sometimes lonely and meaningless existence. Those two angels, Alex and Andrea who in their short lives have endured more than I could possibly bear. I wonder if they know how much they mean to me, I should tell them soon. I should tell those little yet bright lights of hope I have encountered along the way that I am truly grateful. I should give thanks to my Ali for giving me so much insight into the human mind and emotion and allowing me to learn more than I set out to teach her. I am lucky to have all these incredible people, all these great teachers who, unknowingly have contributed to my understanding of things. Many more than I can mention in these pages.
This is my truth, and I don’t need a god or mythical being to make it real. I know that all the powerful and beautiful emotions I experience when thinking about each of those mentioned above stem from a choice that I have made to allow myself to love them and learn from them. This truth is honest and noble, and I will not allow it to be insulted and violated by ridiculous shams and deception like that offered by modern mythology. In fact, I will do my best to teach others to respect and venerate truth and in the process, teach them to see and accept each other as the fully multidimensional beings we all are.
In honour of the great lessons we learned together. For those who by chance were taken from us, and others who by choice left us behind.
I will NEVER forget
Edited by: Jeromee Juan