• James Tam

Monologue of a Ghost


In memory of Vaari, and those who had gone before him

A stubborn ghost's otherworldly insight into existence, life, and death

All morning, I heard it in my head: ‘No te asustes … estoy aquí…’ I didn’t understand the words, but they made me feel secure and loved, yet ominous, and a little emotional, which was to be expected. It was my eightieth birthday, and my last day of work, finally. Anything could have made me emotional.


I had worked in the national park for more than half a century. The park had changed much during this period, so had the world. After retirement fifteen years ago, I had stayed on as a ‘freelance consultant’, bypassing a few rules, breaking some records. But this arrangement couldn’t go on forever. For decades, I had declared to friends that I will work till the last day, and ‘predicted’ that I will die at eighty — half joking, half serious. I thought eighty was a good age to go, for one could still be reasonably fit to enjoy life up to that point. Past that, the pain of longevity may become too much to bear.


But now that I was eighty, I remained as fit as most people in their fifties, requiring no long-term medications because I refused to see a doctor unless I was truly sick, and I seldom was. Nobody, including myself, knew what my blood pressure and other statistically based indices were. I never checked them. Three times a day, I meditated to connect with a secret world instead. All day long, I talked to the trees, flowers, birds, cats, squirrels, and the wolves, especially the wolves. They were my only family. I had never felt the need for a human one. After today, who will I talk to?


My only remaining task was to feed the wolves at the Wolf Research Centre. When it was established fifteen years ago, the manager couldn’t find anyone cheap and willing enough for the job. I didn’t know anything about wolves then, but that wasn’t a requirement. The Centre quickly gained fame, attracting tens of thousands of tourists every year. They bought tickets to watch wolves from a circular observatory in the centre of the two-hectare grounds, accessible through a tunnel.


The room was fitted with panoramic one-way glass walls which were mirrors on the outside. The wolves could not see the tourists, but could sense their presence, each of them, where they stood. The tourists, on the other hand, could hardly spot the animals. They blended in perfectly with the long grass and shrubs, visible only to experienced eyes. From a tourist’s point of view, the Wolf Centre was uneventful, if not disappointing. But visiting the park without seeing the wolves was unthinkable. Feeding time was an exception. Visitors got to see me on the grounds unprotected, tossing dead chickens to the mysterious canids.


No other animal had inspired more stories in the human mind than wolves. They were feared, loathed, admired, worshipped, hunted, and imitated by humans since the two species first met millennia ago. To me, they were neither gods nor devils, but definitely spiritual. I talked to them nearly from the onset. They seldom replied, but always listened. Unlike humans, they never commented on things they didn’t know. They understood a lot more than biologists thought.


With time, I could walk right into their confined territory to feed them like family dogs. The manager objected at first, citing safety concerns, but soon turned a blind eye because tourists had started to form long lines before feeding time. We — the wolves and I — could hear the faint hum of their wowing behind the thick glass partition. They — the tourists — could also just hear the wolves eating. It sounded scary, which was good for the box office. Sometimes, I could literally feed them from my hand, which inevitably raised synchronised wows behind the mirrors.


They started calling me the wolf whisperer. In fact I ‘whispered’ to many things, quite a few knotty old trees, and all kinds of animals, but I kept it a secret; I was careful not to let my ‘sanity’ called into question by crazy people. Pete was the only one I had let on obscurely. He would understand one day, I know, but not just yet. Even to him, I made it sound like a joke whenever I mentioned plant consciousness.


In the late afternoon, the whisper in my head continued hypnotically, like a mantra: ‘No te asustes…no te asustes…estoy aquí…’ I was starting to like it, and decided to find out what it meant later, if I could spell the words correctly from the sound.


I went to collect the chickens from Pete. He was in charge of feed preparation.


‘Hey Pete, you’ll have to feed them for me tomorrow.’


‘I’m sure them puppies won’t eat for a week without you, old man.’ He took off his work gloves, and gave me a big hug. Pete was a trained biologist, but was happier with performing menial chores at the park, staying close to nature.


‘No respectable wolf would miss a single meal, Pete.’


‘It’s going to be a feast, there was a line outside since after lunch.’


‘I saw that.’


‘All the directors will be there. Gonna be a bash afterwards. Will you do a grand finale for the big boys?’


‘Should I gallop around the grounds on Gabriel’s back for the board?’


‘Haha, sure! Never know, they might extend your contract,’ he laughed like a child. Extending my contract had obviously become a joke. ’Have fun. See you at the party. Even I’m invited, imagine!’


I smiled, and punched him on his strong arm.


‘See you then. No crying. Promise!’


‘We’ll miss you, old man. All of us.’ He scanned the surrounding flora and fauna as if seeking agreement, before fetching me six chicken carcasses.

I proceeded to the double gates of the wolf grounds. They needed a new coat of paint soon, but nothing urgent. Job for the next generation. Hope they’ll get rid of this ugly green, I thought. Artificial green is phoney and ridiculous, not ‘environmental’. When will they understand such a simple fact?


No te asustes…no te asustes…estoy aquí…

After closing the outside gate, I opened the second one, three chickens in each hand, gripped by their skinny legs. They always smelled a little of fresh death in this weather, quite obnoxious to a vegetarian like myself even after all these years.


I sensed the excitement of unseen tourists building up behind the mirrors. I never had the vanity of a star performer. Sometimes, I actually felt quite annoyed by the audience’s simplistic enthusiasm. All they wanted was the spectacle of an old man throwing dead birds at a bunch of hungry carnivores for their social media. I felt sorry for them. The wolves were far more fascinating than just a pack of noisy eaters. But even the centre biologist and vet were not really interested in the animals. They saw only fur and muscles and teeth in the wolves, completely missing the other half. Very unfortunate.


Now I know for sure they were also missing out half of themselves, and everything else in life. Anyway, while inside wolf grounds, I rarely thought about the hidden presence of spectators.


It was unusually quiet today.


Normally, led by Gabriel, they would come out to greet me for their meal. The concept of Alpha Male is a human invention, valid only for wolves in captivity. Gabriel wouldn’t have bothered with ‘leadership’ had they been living in the wild. However, in this relatively small prison with a few families, they needed a head inmate. But today…


Ha, here he is!


Gabriel emerged from a thick tuft of grass, and walked majestically towards me. Alpha or not, he’s a natural leader. He looked at me with a kind and loving intensity I had not seen before. Gabriel, how are you? I’m here to say goodbye. I greeted him mentally. Wolves don’t understand human language any more than cats and dogs and hamsters do. Talking out loud to them is just a commonly accepted form of idiocy. But they can communicate mentally if we are sincere and focused.


One by one, Gabriel’s family came out, followed by others. They all gave me a similar ‘good bye’ look.


So you know! Is this a surprise party?


I tossed them two chickens. They just looked at me, and didn’t move. I felt a lump in my throat.


Hey, all parties must end one day. Don’t be sad.


‘No te asustes, estoy aquí.’


It’s you Gabriel! I should have guessed!


I suddenly understood the Spanish words. He was saying ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here.’


Afraid of what? Why aren’t you eating?


I was still holding four chickens in my hand.


Suddenly, Gabriel leaped up to embrace me. I hugged him, and felt his rough fur on my face. The rest of the pack joined him. I felt so warm, so wonderfully warm, and happy. I could die for a moment like this.

In the news, they called it one of the grisliest accidents ever.


In front of a screaming crowd who had each paid twenty bucks to watch wolves eat dead chickens, Gabriel and his family ate me. On the other side of the glass wall, tourists screamed hysterically — oh my God! oh fuck! oh fuck! Two women fainted. One of the directors vomited all over himself and suffered a heart-attack. But all the while, most of the screaming witnesses managed to keep filming with their phones. My grand finale was all over social media, violating every community standard. The few junior journalists present regarded it one of their luckiest days.


Again, everyone saw only half the incident, completely missing the other half. It was not what it appeared to be. How things looked are nearly always misleading, distracting the observers from the essence.


Engulfed by a glowing warmth, I hugged and patted Gabriel and the rest of the pack one by one. I felt nothing but peace and contentment. Others might have described it as love. In decades of meditation practice, I had experienced many different sensations, but never such perfect tranquility. Then I walked through a bright light — a strong and boundless brightness which was soothing to the eyes. Gabriel accompanied me part way, tail high up. Then he stopped: ‘No te asustes. Adiós mi amigo.’


‘Gracias Gabriel, adiós.’


He then turned and left.


I had heard stories about animals abruptly finishing off old parents or pack members when they knew their time was up. Now I know it’s true. I also understand how they know.

_____

Since departing the human world, I’ve learned a few more important things about it. Some of them I already had vague ideas about when alive. Some are new revelations. Perhaps due to a karmic sense of mission, I’ve decided to hang around for a little longer, for as long as I can hold on, in order to share these insights with you. Though I had seemed cantankerous with humanity at times, especially in my old age, I do care about it after all. Believe me, it’s a surprise to me.


I’m dead, but still around, so feel free to call me a ghost, a spectre, a paranormal phenomenon, whatever. I won’t be offended. Humans should rethink their habit of giving misleading labels to things they don’t understand though. In my opinion, things not understood shouldn’t be given a name prematurely, as the name itself may distract, even mislead, the process of discovery and understanding. Imagine, if the composition of beancurd were unknown, and you were to investigate, you might waste time on a wrong start if the coagulated soy milk had been commonly called Chicken Bone Custard out of ignorance. If we don’t know what something is, why can’t we just ‘let it be X’ like mathematicians do?


Anyway, if you bump into a manifestation of my shimmering energy field, you might pee your pants, or audaciously dismiss me as an illusion, or seek help from an equally illusional doctor or priest who doesn’t know any more than you do. But don’t worry, I don’t have the intention or energy to make any such appearances.


This other side I’m on is a complementary phenomenon on which humanity depends for existence. Yes, it is that critically important, hence my eagerness to pass on the message. For the purpose of this monologue, I’ll call it the netherworld. Without it, there is simply no ‘reality’ as we know it. It is of existential relevance to us, but increasingly being forgotten, even ridiculed and rejected. Mind-boggling isn’t it? We are cartoon figures frantically sawing at the branch we sit on.


Though I no longer belong to the pitiful cluster of biomass called mankind, you’ll find me speaking as if I were still one of you. Old habits, you know. Ironically, when alive, I often referred to humanity in the third person pronoun out of frustration, as if I did not belong. Alas.

First of all, I’d like to clarify a few popular misconceptions. Far too many popular assumptions are utterly invalid, even ludicrous, but widely accepted or simply believed, thereby infecting the minds of many. The truth is — okay, the relative truth is — on the other hand, often avoided, rejected, vehemently denounced. Such is humanity. Evolution is a process of change, not necessarily improvement.


It is commonly assumed that knowledge increases with time and experience. Once something is known, it would remain known provided it has been recorded, archived and passed on. Well, in the age of big data, everything’s indeed archived; but the enormous amount of indexed information has not improved knowledge or wisdom. We have instead become more ignorant, biased, and confused.


Things have been categorised and described in prodigious details, yet — or because of that — we’re losing the ability to see things beyond the surface. The netherworld is my case in point. It’s the most critical issue to mankind, yet we know much less about it than our illiterate primal forebears did. Comparing to them, we don’t even know what we don’t know. The unknown is now summarily dismissed if the clues which may lead to an answer do not meet artificial expectations, or fail to comply with ‘scientific laws of nature’ contrived with very limited observations, or is deemed politically incorrect. The regression is alarming.


Why is the netherworld so critical? Now that’s a cute little dumb question. What could be more important than life and death in this process we call life?


As I experience and understand it now, the material world in which you currently exist and the netherworld are existentially interdependent. Without the netherworld, we — you — won’t exist. Without your mundane world, the netherworld will ‘shrink’ proportionally. The material world can never be totally detached from the netherworld, not even for an infinitesimal instant. They are like the two sides of the same coin. They are because of each other. Without one, the other is not only meaningless and unviable, but non-existent.


Unfortunately, modern humans are increasingly dismissive about the other side, due mainly to ignorance and a blind hubris derived from an obsession with the material world. We are like someone who spends too much time admiring his own image in the mirror, gradually forgetting, dismissing, suspecting, fearing, and loathing his own unseen internal organs. That’s not good for his health.


More pathetically, we don’t know much about the physical world we live in either. In the twenty-first century, overloaded with theories and equipments, we know at most ten percent — probably orders of magnitude less — of the observable universe. The rest is, uh, dark matter, dark energy, dark stuff, unknown, unknowable. The light’s off, so, can’t see, no idea. This is how ‘knowledgeable’ humans actually are about the big picture. The impression that we know nature is an exaggeration of astronomical proportion. Meanwhile, some proud and spirited humans are gung-ho about ‘conquering nature’.


Yet, bafflingly, contemporary humans have chosen — yes, it appears to be a conscious choice without knowing why — to distance themselves from one half of existence, from the prerequisite of their own existence, to the point of losing awareness and recognition of it. That’s why we know less and less about life and death than wise folks did thousands of years ago. That’s why we are becoming a lost life-form, blithely and proudly trotting down a suicidal path paved with endless sufferings, hastening our collective demise.


Mind you, I don’t know everything just because I’m a ghost — far from it.


Nobody — with or without a body — does. Not even the Buddha, or Jesus, or his Dad, or Allah, or any of the trans-dimensional teachers or gods or demons knows everything. The mystery is infinite. And infinity is infinity. Gods and Buddhas may be prodigiously wiser than you, a stupidly arrogant human, or me, a stupidly stubborn ghost; they can travel without speed limit or obstacles (something which I can also do now with poor control), and project visions across the span of time, but they can’t see the end of infinity, or it wouldn’t be infinity, would it?


Nevertheless, over here on the Yin side, without the encumbrance and distraction of a physical presence, I can see a relatively more complete picture if I manage to retain what I had learned and observed in the material world — something which I am contriving at the moment, for as long as I can, but it’s quite challenging. In any event, over here, I can contemplate the big picture and admire the fathomless mystery from a different angle, one which is complementary to yours.

Let me start with a greatly simplified conjecture of the netherworld, a conjecture which most people will dismiss because it won't appeal to their superficial perceptions — and everything is judged by superficial perceptions these days. Things we can’t perceive with our severely limited senses and intellect we reject and deride, as if objective reality depends on human approval. This attitude is monstrously absurd, but regarded rational by modern folks.


The netherworld has been referred to by many names: Heaven, Paradise, Hell, Land of Eternal Bliss, higher dimensions, the Dao, Taiji, Nirvana, Big Void, or, without registering its metaphysical nature, singularity, and the quantum state. These are not necessarily equivalent terms, but are helpful expressions if we explore and contemplate. Otherwise, well, all nonsense. Laozi said anything you can call the Dao is not the Dao itself. It simply cannot be expressed in a human language. But trying to understand it in the right direction helps groom the soul.


In the short history of humanity, a number of kind spirits had tried to tell us about the other side, and we listened. But soon after their departure, we invariably twisted their teachings into superstitions, perverting them with preposterous human-centric interpretations, hijacking them with religious institutions.


Long before death, I had already suspected human arrogance and self-centredness to be the main culprits responsible for our imbalance and blindness, thereby expediting our eventuality for no good reason.


The grotesquely inflated ego of modern humans is particularly baffling because we do know by now how indescribably insignificant we are in the big picture. Even in the context of the rudimentary model we call the universe, the one and only planet on which we depend for life — Earth — is less than one grain of sand in all the beaches in the world. How anyone who has confirmed his own infinitesimal presence could possibly fantasise a special meaning — and an arbitrary moral meaning at that! — to his existence, and insist that the great unknown should ‘make sense’ to his mediocre senses and analysis, is a mystery. Why can’t humans just shut up and admire the wonderful process of life itself?


It’s difficult to pretend sympathy for anyone so monstrously hubristic. More absurdly, those who insist on ascribing meaning to human life cannot even say with minimal coherence what a meaningful life means. They pretend, with palpable moral angst, to search for something they don’t know, and cannot envisage or define. If that is not derangement, it’s at least acute stupidity.

I tend to get unduly worked up when thinking about human stupidity. My apologies. Better return to the main purpose of my visitation. I want to tell you a little about the netherworld, so you know where you stand.


Many people have heard of the Yin and Yang, but thought no more of it than easily observable dualities, or the brandname of some fortune cookies. Yin and Yang is a fundamental tenet of most ancient Chinese philosophies. As said, the ancients everywhere knew much more about life and death than modern Earthlings. Superficially, the Yin Yang philosophy tells us everything has a counterpart: day and night, male and female, positive and negative, etcetera, blah blah blah. Without one, the other won’t even exist in name. These are macro dualities we can easily conceptualise.


At the subatomic level, every particle has its counterpart in charge and spin, somewhere out there. According to physicists, particles and anti-particles annihilate each other when they meet. In fact they just become one again, in the form of light, back to the origin where Yin and Yang began their separate but entangled journeys. That’s why the Hebrew God let there be light. He wasn’t turning the light on like we do, when entering a basement workshop. That’s why Jesus called himself the light of the world. That’s why the Buddha called us Light People.


Where do Yin and Yang come from?


Ha, from nothing! though nothing implies the existence of something. We are limited by human words after all.


The ultimate origin has been called the Dao, God (who subsequently became a bearded, suspicious, and tempestuous old white man), Nirvana, Wuji (no poles), the Big Void, or singularity. All these are attempts to help us visualise the perfect equilibrium which Yin and Yang emerge from and return to. I picture the Big Void as the boundless superimposition of a negative and its positive. When perfectly overlapping, we see nothing. There is nothing. Upon the slightest local disturbance, two equal but opposite phenomena emerge. Your physical universe and my netherworld are one such duality pair.


At the scale of Dao, or God, a tiny shift can be colossal. There are infinite Yang worlds out there, all issued forth from the Big Void, with a corresponding Yin side. The Yang worlds include Heaven and Hell and Land of Bliss and a myriad of heavens which the Buddha collectively called Chiliocosm, or something like that. Material worlds are relatively rigid and discrete, bound by irreversible time and unreachable space. Sending a robot to Mars is no more monumental than a bunch of ambitious slugs having covered the first ten metres in their sworn conquest of the Himalayas. But it makes man proud, and more confident than ever.


The Yin domain, on the other hand, is fluid and abstract, characterised by quantum consciousness and pervasive equality. All beings, including but not limited to plants and animals and humans, are equal in netherworld, sharing a common consciousness, like users with equal access rights to a cloud database. They could ‘communicate’ freely if need to, like someone thinking to himself. But like us, they don’t always understand everything that comes to mind. I had long known about the consciousness and communication capabilities of plants and animals, but didn’t know how to express it beyond psychic sensitivity. I feel very excited to have confirmed this upon death.


The one Yin World — netherworld — links up all the Yang ones, serving as a common conduit. When one expires in a material world, his spirit or soul is reabsorbed by the Yin netherworld. From there, it may reincarnate back to where he came from, which is actually uncommon, or relocate to one of the other options, including Heaven and Hell if they had been lodged in his subconscious through indoctrination, which contributes to collective ‘reality’. A spirit’s fate is based on a complex and precise karmic formula, not alterable by wishful thinking. Atonement prayers are as effective as template letters sent to credit card companies pleading debt forgiveness, promising to be frugal in the future.

Karma isn’t as bizarre as it sounds. Look at the material world. Every single particle in the universe follows an inevitable path set into motion by the so-called Big Bang — a farfetched fantasy plagued with outrageous fudge-factors — picosecond by picosecond, from the very beginning, colliding and changing lanes precisely as fated.

Remember how I seemed to be able to communicate with plants and animals? I was a wolf whisperer, though they didn’t whisper back all their dinner plans. Now I know we actually communicated through our common sensitivity to the netherworld.


Contacts between the material world and the netherworld, though dwindling, have never stopped. They can be broadly categorised into three main types.


The first type is initiated by folks with ‘supernatural’ power.


See what I mean about artificial labelling? A lousy name can turn the most natural and fundamental power of man ‘supernatural’, giving the impression of fantasy and illusion, regardless of how undeniable a phenomenon is, and how well the process has been observed and documented throughout the ages by monks and wizards and scholars and shamans and scientists. Homo sapiens hasn’t yet realised that it has absolutely no say on what is, or isn’t, natural. Knowing how to participate in nature once again would already be a big leap forward for our rapidly regressing species.


Anyway, these supernatural mediums proactively seek or receive signals from the netherworld. Truly gifted mediums live a double life, fuzzily straddling both realms with glassy eyes. To clueless observers in the material world, they are weirdos who claim communication power with plants and animals, or cure strange diseases. They are witches, saints, shamans, mystics, savants — respected, feared, worshipped, locked up, or burned. I was a vague and obscure example.


St. Francis of Assisi was a star-like specimen. Do you know his story?


He was born in 1181 into a super rich family, and died when he was forty-five. In his twenties, he rebelled against wealth and developed a taste for poverty. He often hid in deep mountains for weeks on end to pray and meditate, and to chat with wild beasts whom he rightly regarded mankind’s equals. He famously convinced the wolf of Gubbio to stop attacking the locals in return for food. He also preached to birds, and thought so hard about Jesus’ crucifixion that he developed his very own deadly stigmata. Had he studied Buddhism also, he would have been aware of the relationship between mind and matter, and the possibility of psychosomatic infections.


Was Francis genuine? God knows. I only know there was nothing ‘supernatural’ about his stories, and Pope Gregory IX who founded the Papal Inquisition — mean and suspicious by profession — believed and canonised him.


Eastern mystics who had ‘opened’ their ‘third eyes’ could also login to the Yin world, skipping over Earthly space-time, seeing things nobody believed but eventually proved true. I used to wonder how the ancients discovered then invisible features such as acupuncture meridians thousands of years before high-tech means verified their physical presence. Now I know. They saw it with their third-eyes.


Though witches are not put to the fire these days, they keep a low profile to avoid getting thrown into an asylum without medical insurance. Having ‘supernatural’ abilities often means derision at best, persecution at worst. After all, lunacy is nothing more than a deviation from the behavioural pattern of the masses — a collection of people who don’t know what they’re doing. Every now and then, some lunatics — such as those who talk to plants — may feel vindicated by contemporary researches suggesting the possibility of vegetative consciousness, yet these findings are promptly brushed aside. And to add confusion to mystery, among genuine psychics are many more charlatans. Such is humanity.

The second kind of contact involves real ghosts — spooky, scary, nasty ones.

They are aggrieved phantoms stuck with unmitigated anger or injustice. They can’t let go, and are obsessed with wreaking vengeance. They usually direct their ire at specific targets in the mundane world, trying to be as disturbing as they possibly can, ugly as hell, in order to keep their tragedies alive. In extreme cases, they may even possess their subjects, or an ill-fated bystander to harm the subject. But it takes immense spiritual energy to become this type of phantoms, hence their rarity.

Finally, there are wandering souls like myself who for some reason can’t give up on the human world yet.


We have postponed our onward journey to stay in touch with humanity for a period of time (though perceived time is different in the Yang material world and the netherworld). I’m currently hanging on to the human universe with tremendous will power, in order to gently possess one of you — a host whom I may use as medium to transmit my messages, indulging him with the illusion of creativity or wisdom. This is quite a demanding task though, requiring enormous concentration on my part. I had many decades of meditation experience before I died, and am therefore equipped with the basics to maintain clarity in this turbulent transition, like a trained athlete navigating a rapid, manoeuvring between big rocks.


Most spirits entering the netherworld don’t have this kind of power. Transiting spirits don’t normally realise that they have died. To them, death is just a bright alluring light which they follow trancelike. Their terminal sufferings have ceased abruptly. They bask in peace, feeling light and painless, indulging in nostalgic visions, greeting dead friends and relatives, then… zap, onto elsewhere, swept by a karmic force. The whole experience is like a timeless dream. They have little idea what is happening.


Without exception, all spirits are bound by some form of karmic energy. At the high end are the gods and bodhisattvas with a clear sense of mission. At the lower end are human whisperers. You may count me as one. Some people whisper to horses, cajoling them into galloping backwards. Some spirits do the same to humans, turning them into savants and geniuses by hacking into their brainwaves, turning them into mediums. But not all horses listen to whispers. Similarly, not all humans are receptive to insights and inspirations; a nominal degree of spiritual disposition is required. Such human subjects are becoming harder and harder to find.


Nonetheless, inspirational communications remain by far the most common connection between the materialistic Yang world and the netherworld. The word inspiration in Chinese is Ling Gan — literally sensing the spirit. That label is for once heading in the right direction, but literally forgotten.


Gifted artists and scientists can draw creativity and insights from the netherworld unwittingly. They follow the flow, not knowing what the next word or musical note or brush stroke or solution would be, then it happens. Unfortunately, ignorance and ego tend to corrupt the process, causing some mediums to be overly happy or uptight about their translation duties, thereby losing the connection. Some would re-tune through mediation and reflection. Some may turn to hallucinants to attempt staying on-line with the other side which they don’t know exists. It’s like after the phone line broke on a meaningful conversation, they desperately dial a random number just to resume hearing voices.


Once in a long while, a medium would be clearheaded and honest enough to tell the truth, at the risk of being ridiculed.


Srinivasa Ramanujan of India was a famous recent example. Born in 1887, he had practically no formal training in math. Barely a teenager, he solved mathematical problems then considered impossible, and proceeded to become a college dropout. Ignored by established mathematicians in India and Britain, as would be expected, his genius was eventually recognised by a Professor Hardy from Cambridge. During his short tenure in Britain, Ramanujan compiled thousands of original and highly unconventional results, some of which are still being studied and understood a century after his death in 1920, at the age of thirty-two.


A less noted but well recorded fact is that Ramanujan clearly and unequivocally credited his impossible genius to goddess Namagiri Thayar who told him some math every night in his dreams. He mostly just wrote them down in the morning. Since he was too big a phenomenon to be concurrently labelled a nut-bar, the world said well, okay, and moved on. When humans fully understand what Thayar revealed through Ramanujan one day, they may understand a lot more about their world, even untie some deadlocks in science. Unfortunately, humanity has drifted even further away from their Yin side since Ramanujan.

These days, plants and animals are closer to the spiritual world than humans. In fact, the lower the animal appears to human eyes, the more spiritual it may be. They are more attuned to their quantum states, with sensitivities which are becoming extinct among humans. Remember, here in the netherworld, plants and us are equal, so are wolves and midges. Biologists offer convincing existentialist explanations on how teeny midges sense your presence, fly towards it, land perfectly, suck blood greedily, then leave behind maddeningly itchy bumps. More amazingly, they could sense your annoyance and intention to kill, and take off before too late. All that capability is supposedly embodied by a wee dot, governed by biochemical pathways. Well, whatever. It takes more than mechanical intelligence to figure out which is fantasy and which is reality, especially a reality which defies measurement.


These lifeforms have maintained better contact with the netherworld by staying closer to their quantum state. They sense, not think. They know, not analyse or detect. Once upon a time, man could sense and think, that’s how we got ahead, for a while. Now we think that sensing is ‘primitive’, and perception unreliable. An over-reliance on anthropomorphic explanations to appear ‘objective’, in order to ‘make sense’ of things and to avoid confounding man’s enormous ego, are taking us further away from our own existence, from our origin. Humans must wake up to this fact before too late.

We talkative phantoms are in a highly unstable state. Upon crossing the Big Divide, we had lost our anchor in the physical world. But to be a legitimate ghost, we need some form of manifestation. To be, or not to be, right? In my case, I seek temporary anchorage in subjects such as writers to deliver my message. This expedient connection, though somewhat symbiotic, is nonetheless fickle and fragile. I better stop rambling, therefore, and get on with my main point, which is quite straightforward: mankind must re-approach its Yin side, or expire unnecessarily soon.


Any material world drifting too far from the netherworld will lose balance, and wobble out of equilibrium. Eventually, like all extreme conditions, it will backfire explosively in self-destruction before rebirth can happen. Sure, everything must die one day, but there’s no reason to accelerate man’s demise artificially, because the shorter the life cycle, the less time we have to learn. It is in the precious human form that we stand a better — though still despairingly dismal — chance of achieving enlightenment, reuniting with our complementary Yin, restoring consciousness to perfect tranquility. How? There’s no secret. We’ve been told by gods and sages since time immemorial: meditate, contemplate, retreat, pray, chant, discover. There are age-old revelations in every culture which we have not only ignored, but actively alienated.


Obviously, my speculations here won’t make a difference. I’m doing this under the spell of my own karmic persuasion, and an involuntary attachment to humanity. During most of my earthly days, I conducted quiet monologues with the netherworld. Now, as a ghost, I continue in reverse, whispering to a human medium. This monologue is all I can contrive. Just hope that the medium wouldn’t contaminate it with too much of his own interpretations.


Having become a ghost, I’ve created an additional ‘death’ for myself. Ghosts die too, of course, even more abruptly than humans. From one instant to the next, we can dissipate completely. Nobody can hang on to a slippery boulder in a strong rapid forever. I expect to be swept away by the karmic current any moment, sent onto other worlds, or returned to where you are to join various reincarnation cycles. I hope not though. Rebooting consciousness in a new body is a brutally traumatic process which humans promptly forget but for residual smudges and ugly scars on their subconscious. All that for what? To be a miserable member of a diabolical species again? In the long term, mankind will reset, but only after first becoming even more ridiculous.


Nonetheless, my next destination is not something I can simply nominate. I’ll find out soon enough though. Don’t think I’ll be able to resist much longer. I can feel my ‘ghost-force’ waning persistently.


Perhaps it’s time that I stop whispering, and get on with reincarnation…

_____


中文版:幽靈的獨白

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