“Awash in the grey of discovery.
Shocked at the shine of this ecstasy.”
(Extract from my poem “Ecstatic”)
This article was inspired by and records actual events.
These events give insight into my evolving conversation with what I call “cosmic truth”, “the Living God”, “the Logos”, “Ultimate Reason” “Divine Essence” and, occasionally, as the situation warrants, “common sense”.
It is the first article to be published in my “Technologies Of Trust” (TOT) project, through which I am exploring ancient and contemporary belief systems and other ways of knowing.
The rationale for TOT consists, at least partly, in the challenges of information overload, “fake news” fossilzations and related challenges of the digital age.
As in much of my other work, including my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled, there is a focus here on the dangers of “written things”: the dangers of literalism and legalism that attach to all written material.
More broadly, this article is part of my more than 30 year long, ongoing, scientific study of how spiritual phenomena may be manifested materially.
It therefore shares at least one characteristic of scientific endeavor on which Dr Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and I agree fundamentally: in his words, that “Science is a continually evolving and cumulative enterprise.”
Dr Emmons, the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, is, according to the UC Davis website, “the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude.”
And I have only gratitude for the “Ultimate Reason” that Emmons and I channelled and demonstrated as we reached agreement on this point, during a Twitter conversation yesterday (November 30).
That was the climax of a back-and-forth exchange of ideas that may have ended differently, were he and I not as committed to the scientific principle of following empirical evidence where ever it may lead.
Were he and I not committed to principles of epistemological objectivity, our conversation could have ended less amicably.
That is how a Twitter conversation I had with the Nigerian gay rights activist Bisi Alimi on Saturday, November 17 ended, as indicated below.
This article is published in the hope and spirit of reconciliation, or at least mutual respect and toleration that remains an option even when the kind of agreement that Dr Emmons and I reached is not achieved.
Documenting a series of coincidences and correlations that I suggest are evidence of the existence and presence of the Living God, what the Bible refers to as God’s Shekinah glory, the article attests to the possibility of a level of cosmic harmony and agreement that transcends empirical evidence: the possibility of ultimate agreement that faith in ultimate agreement makes a possibility.
The coincidences and correlations begin with my first viewing of a karaoke duet by a nuclear physician and a mechanical engineer of the 1940’s Christmas classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and my introduction, quite randomly, to the BBC Worldwide produced television documentary series Life Below Zero, set in super icy cold Alaska.
Informed by my experience of similar coincidences and my peculiar “poetic jazztice” sensibility, these synchronicities mushroom, like a heat spreading nuclear explosion, as I explore what they could mean.
Unfortunately, some readers of the article seem to have concluded that the its simultaneous appeal to spirituality and scientific empiricism is secondary to its exploration of elements of human sexuality.
That is regrettable.
Especially where it casts aspersions on the professional and personal integrity of myself and the other scientists mentioned in this first TOT article or any of those that will follow subsequently.
I remain grateful to those who give the meaning of the article that I have gone to considerable lengths to explain here its due, common sense priority.
At approximately 02:30 on November 21, 2018, I finally viewed a video sent to me 20 hours earlier via Facebook by Dr Deborah Rosanwo, an Afro-Guyanese nuclear physician based in Germany.
I had met Rosanwo a few weeks before at my brother Wayne’s wedding in Barbados.
She subsequently told me that she only knew Stevens, a mechanical engineer from Oklahoma City, through their less than one week old musical collaboration, facilitated by the karaoke app Smule’s internet presence.
But while Rosanwo’s and Stevens’ internet magic meshing, melodious musical performance is a spectacular, possibly newsworthy entertainment and technological feat in its own right, it is the precise circumstances in which I first found myself listening to their reproduction of that song penned by Frank Loesser in 1944 that has left me somewhat mesmerized by the universe’s exquisite, inscrutable harmonies.
My mind has been blown (yes, again), as with the “coincidence” of Nikki Haley’s resignation, as those everyday circumstances, including the rather random act of viewing a television program that someone else had tuned into, conspired with the Rosanwo-Stevens duet to create a cosmological collage of exquisite beauty and tantalizing timing.
“And the Beat Goes On”
Embedded in environmental details I could have easily ignored and failed to record, I have found, and continue to find, the most delightful, dazzling divine etchings.
From these synchronicitous real world events, I have not only been excavating empirical evidence of God’s sovereignty, but messages from that cosmic embodiment of love, the Living Logos, to me, and to all so seated, and covenanting as to see truth’s star, pointing to a “baby of Bethlehem”, seeking solace from the cold, inside and outside our beings.
From the cold of cynicism, chiefly.
By parking and paying attention; by progressing into uncharted territory, where religious or secular textual or “scriptural” evidence, like other frozen surfaces, seems thin.
In everyday things: in the most minor earthly details, I have been detecting, like Dr Rosanwo, x-ray traces of a submerged presence; sheer Shekinah glory.
And how like the Living God to uncover for us truth’s indescribable hues, when in the manner of the deeply pious American scribe John Updike, we purpose to “give the mundane its beautiful due”.
Unsurprising then, that out of a 1940’s tribute to the barely expressible yet commonplace pleasures and perils of human sexuality and related lusts, my commitment to careful, cosmological conversation has yielded a deepened understanding of technologies of trust.
Amid the “epidemic of anxiety” that is undermining individual and collective possibilities for peace and harmony; as the incomprehensible of Brexit, the dangerously flattering portrayal of Sir Elton John’s messy, messianic
consciousness by John Lewis; Vladimir Putin’s, Donald Trump’s, Theresa May’s, Angela Merkel’s, Jair Bolsonaro’s and others’ parading for strengths what the Living, Incarnate, Christian King says is weaknesses; as rivers of written codes of religious and secular conformity burst their publishing and broadcasting banks, flooding plain meaning, clarity seeking society with one or another Sir Elton like expert’s version of gay life, straight parenting, the latest in genetic engineering, the most head-turning tone of eye shadow or lipstick… the universe has been speaking to me with a 1:1 intimacy that silences disquiet.
The love notes that I started receiving on November 21 marked a fierce fire, high heat, heavy snow, waist deep deluge of the cosmic conversation that I have been nurturing since the early days of my profession of faith in the Living God, a romance of revelation attested to in my poem “Ecstatic”, referenced above.
The messages I am channeling transcend Barbados’ earthquake rumblings: they render null and void the deep-seated disease of my island home and continental Guyana’s grubby, gender, race and religious aggression aggravating tendencies.
They expose the global scourge of political glory grabbing and grumblings; the deadly California wildfires simulating legal “successes” of Raj Surinder Kandola’s and Domino’s Pizza in their most recent conscious or unconscious efforts to indicate their greed; to re-name and defame me: the pyrotechnic pretensions of cognitive cholesterol based pyrrhic victories.
“And to think that all I wanted was peace”
Buttressed by an episode of the BBC Worldwide television documentary series Life Below Zero, Loesser’s ode to love play linguistics, that most beneficial yet bewildering exchange of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and other grammatical, supra-linguistic items that typically prefaces a coital exchange of bodily fluids, converged with seemingly unrelated events in my life to produce a human ecology and cosmic cohesion narrative that I can hardly coordinate cerebrally, let alone commit to writing!
And the question of whether Loesser was unconsciously painting a prescient picture of issues to be raised by the “Me too” movement is just one of the gale force winds extending from the howling, Harmut like snow storm that this convergence of hot and cold, high and low thought systems have generated in my heart and under my cranium.
As is the historical marriage of Barbadian and Guyanese interests, two in many ways antithetical countries, once served, extraordinarily, by a single High Commissioner to London, Sir Lionel Luckhoo, an Indian-Guyanese.
What an enigma of a man, that now long deceased (12 December 1997), Guyana-born politician, diplomat, trade unionist and archetypal lawyer!
Embodying a curious duet of heat and coolness, light and dark, Sir Lionel, whose birth on 2 March 1914 prefaced the first World War, is celebrated for his world record of 245 consecutive successfully fought legal battles – all defences of alleged murders.
But Luckhoo’s family legacy and wider, much publicized Christian apologist testimony has also been imperiled by the notoriety he has attracted for his personal “scriptural” services to the mass murdering fundamentalist evangelical “Christian Socialist” Jim Jones.
And though less audible psychically since I returned to England from my island home, the current familial dilemma of another Indo-Guyanese scribe, journalist Ricky Singh, a prominent Barbados-based Christian Socialist sentinel, was also burdening my brain, not exactly subconsciously, but at a somewhat submerged level, as I engaged consciously with Loesser in my waking dream world.
A Luckhoo-Singh, African-Barbadian-Guyanese-Indian Pentecostal “string theory” was therefore emerging gradually from Loesser’s comical, coy critique of the bed-bound battle of the sexes: the co-production conflicts of woman and man that Loesser’s song articulates through two characters called Mouse and Wolf, was pointing to poor air quality Pentecostal “particulate matter” that I had encountered before.
The failure of communion, because size matters, was being underscored.
Like the heavy snowfall that blanketed Norfolk and other parts of England this past March, as cyclone Emma and anticyclone Hartmut (the “Beast from the East”) collided over the UK and Europe, a burden for Singh and all the other “friends and members” of People’s Cathedral (PC) with whom I had formed ties from the dawn of my Christian journey in 1982 was gradually building and setting on the soil of my soul.
Perhaps it was the failure of that church’s chairman Peter Williams to respond to an email that I had sent him him on 26 October, prefacing my trip to Barbados, that was weighing like an unrequited love on the landscape of my mind and heart.
Peter, eldest son of PC founder Rev Holmes Williams and the son-in-law of the patriarch Singh (through his marriage to Singh’s daughter Debbie, has failed to continue a duet like dialogue that he and I had started by phone before my trip to that isle’s pearly white shores.
Perhaps he, PC’s senior pastor Jewell Callender and or someone else in the current leadership of that Bishop’s Court Hill based establishment is having difficulty seeing how I could be crystal clear in my belief that the teachings of that and other religious and secular education offering establishments can be doing great good and great harm in the same instance.
Might Peter, an ex-banker like his both famous and notorious father, be unfamiliar with the negative and positive discipline of the number line?
Perhaps they fail to see how my employment of both Barack Obama like diplomacy and Trump like “body language” can not only help mend Barbados’ broken inter-generational, gender, race and religious bridges but also be a miraculous, awe inspiring sign of the times.
Perhaps their seasoning in literalistic, legalistic fundamentalist church politics, like Lukhoo’s and Singh’s, is limiting their capacity for the radical, thorough going renewing of the mind that is possible when excessive concerns about conformity to the letter of the law (which “killeth”, 2 Corinthians 3:6) are set aside.
My burden for the Williams, Singhs, Gibsons, Draytons, Rowes, Holfords, Grazettes, Bynoes, Bacons, Phillips and all my other PC-linked family and friends is grounded in the view of the Living Word that acknowledges yet transcends the limits of what its founder, with whom I had a fraught relationship, thought of me.
My primary concern is to share the Logos’ love song with others, especially those in need.
As I assert in my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled “My primary concern is not the personal biases of this or that Christian or church leader. I recognize that some subjectivity is inevitable, and more than that, legitimate. My main concern is the idealistic perception of the Bible which is used to cloak the subjectivity of its interpreters – clergy and lay people alike.”
This puts me on a collision with some religious leaders and their followers. But I do my best to create duets: to minimize conflict.
All of these soundings and scenes lay dormant in the seed of the pre-dawn events of Wednesday, November 21.
But it would not be until Sunday, November 25, when I sought to relieve myself of that psychosomatic burden by getting in touch with Singh’s son, Raoul Hardat Singh, who had been imprisoned on a drug trafficking charge in Barbados in June, that I got a sense of the addictive, mind manacling dimension of the Mouse-Wolf dialectical dance that I had been tracking, using my own peculiar, clairvoyant linguistic brand of nuclear medicine.
But how does one describe such a moment of seemingly simultaneous natural and supernatural inspiration or revelation without seeming pretentious or delusional?
Consider that despite knowing the sage-like younger Singh for more than 36 years, it was probably only at around 10:00 on the morning of Monday, November 26, that I learned that his first name, “Raoul”, means “Wolf counsel” or “Red Wolf”, according to one source.
The Rosanwo-Stevens remake of Loesser’s 1949 classic, sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán (born 25 November 1920, I note) in the film Neptune’s Daughter, thus became a catalyst for a deeper engagement, potentially, with a long-time friend from my days at PC, Barbados’ largest, and therefore most tangible and tangled manifestation of evangelical fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christian number line norms.
The Simran Singh recalling, 1:1 generational correspondences and psycho-social waterways that I had long been navigating by the time her sister Nikki first appeared on my radar, had therefore morphed into a flood of nominative determinism mediated meaning by that Monday morn.
And at approximately 06:37 that morning, the phonetic equivalence of the name “Singh” and the word “Sing” emerged from my mental fog.
And as the relevance of the act of singing, as per the Rosanwo-Steven’s duet, penetrated my consciousness, I experienced an even shinier, Shekinah ecstatic turn-on.
The emergence of the name of the infamous New York City prison “Sing Sing” from its learned incarceration in my psyche could therefore be construed as cognitive cholesterol or, in the context of cosmological cuisine, “gravy”.
Now we are really in the sauce!
And to those who would protest that I am making a meal of a simple narrative, I would respond, can you blame me? After the deprivation through which I have lived, surely, like the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill principal, Dr Eudene Barriteau, I can “live large” now.
This all began on November 21, when the Logos lit wildfire inside me converged with the Life Below Zero Alaskan wilderness scenes on the television in the home of Norfolk-based couple Ray and Janice Gurney.
Listen to the fireplace roar
Almost 24 hours after I had received it, I played the Rosanwo-Stevens video while seated at the Gurneys, a Norfolk, England based couple that I have been collaborating with through an Intelek Interntional project I call Holistic Home Care and Hospitality (HHCH), since at least 2014.
Now, unlike me, the Gurneys own a television and the program it was tuned to, Life Below Zero, immediately caught my attention.
As I recall, I was initially drawn in by the sight of Chip Hailstone’s last name, as thoughts of a focus on nominative determinism, featured in the BBC program Saturday Live, which I had listened and responded to via Twitter the previous weekend, glowed warmly in my memory. Saturday Live – Stephen Fry and the Inheritance Tracks of Jenni Murray – BBC Sounds
Saturday Live – Stephen Fry and the Inheritance Tracks of Jenni Murray -…
Bisi Alimi on coming out in Nigeria, wood carving and a 72-year-old weightlifting academic
I had sought clarification on a comment about parallels between African and Greek mythology by the iconic English comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and gay rights activist Stephen Fry, who, I feel certain, does not mean to lie, but like Mouse, like all of us, seems somewhat beset by his own internal and external contradictions.
Fry has so far not responded to my query – at least not in the court of public opinion that Twitter affords.
However, the African actor and gay rights activist Adebisi Alimi, Fry’s fellow guest on that 17 November broadcast of this popular BBC Radio 4 series, responded rather zealously to my call.
But I was not even engaging with the meaning of his name (second prince): I was so focused on the flame that name Hailstone had ignited.
I was also struck by the coincidence of the arctic Alaskan scenes on the Gurney’s television screen and the title and theme of the duet that Rosanwo and Stevens were singing.
Yet only casually, initially, did I reflect on this coincidence, musing “What might this harmony mean?”
It was when I did a Google search on Chip and his wife, Agnes, that my sense of the cosmic conversation that I have long been engaged in was fully ignited, albeit in a controlled flame simulating, written matter facilitated ecstasy.
Reading of Chip’s legal troubles, the name of his lawyer, “Glenda Kerry” did a “Johnny Storm” in my psyche.
Similar to the glossolalic tongues triggering sense of inspiration or revelation that I try to capture in my poem “Ecstatic”, it was a psychic “Flame On!” moment, virtually.
That is because I had met a legal trainee named “Kerry” mere hours before I sat watching the program, in the chilly seaside Norfolk town called Hemsby.
And I also got excited because there is a “hot momma” named “Glenda” that shares the cognitive compartment I am constructing around my interactions with Dr Rosanwo and other persons I met through my brother’s second marital expansion of our family tree.
And if anyone would question the importance of these nominative and other simulations and synchronicities, I would urge them to remember the marriage of medical and legal particulars that characterized my mystical “Malcolm Grant” name mix of 2 April 2013.
“Malcolm in the Middle” – of England and Barbados? (Matriarchal news matrices #1)
“Malcolm in the Middle” – of England and Barbados? (Matriarchal news mat…
I first published this article on the Allvoices.com platform on April 2, 2013.
That magical media moment, a Shekinah shiny illustration of divine providence (and I repeat, for those so seated as to see, was documented on the Wikinut.com website on 7 August 2015 – after I had been unseated and “beheaded”, metaphorically, by Allvoices-Pulse Point and other United States, United Kingdom, Barbadian, Indian, Israeli, Jamaican, Nigerian and other digital journalism jihadis – including, Donville Inniss Sloan Gaon, Amra Tareen and Aki Hashmi.
And referencing Guyana in that 2013 article, as I traced the truth of the Honorary Indian Consul to Barbados, Philomena Mohini Harris, and her intersection with my own mother’s matriarchal matrices (both their birthdays listed as April 2, not being least), I had no idea I would eventually be led to an Inupiaq woman, Chip’s wife Agnes – a genuine woman, verily.
And in this episode of Life Below Zero, I see that Inupiaq struck on the mouth, accidentally, as she and Chip erect a teepee.
I see this Alaskan manifestation of my parent’s and other couples’ marital moments, the magic that defies labels and naming even by the oracle Dante Alighieri, the 13th century poet who has given us “La Grande Commedia” or in English, The Divine Comedy.
Like all who have navigated the wildernesses of marriage for any appreciable length of time, I know the cold inside and outside those teepees intimately.
(As does one of my clients, who bears a Bristol Bay blight bodily, however hospitable the weather may seem.)
I know the fire that “Wolf” and “Mouse” mused over and maneuvered around in the songwriter Loesser’s wicked, wintery weather set call-and-response classic.
I am intrigued by the optics of the fire fighting foam that Rosanwo intones and that Agnes employs to remind Chip of what he risks losing if her lips are sealed.
I note the hardness of the wooden pole that struck Agnes’ soft lips, even as I reflect on Fry’s bipolar fast-food bits and the possible incompatibility of her womanly response.
But I close here by metaphorically drawing the oracle Rosanwo and her Shekinah science collaborator Glenda near.
How true her words, posted with the Smule video: “Father Frost is reaching out to us.”