Modernists’ Angels

5 04 2011

Oh, but the modernist can accept angels, only on his own terms.  Robin Parrish, a current writer of Christian fiction, or, I should say, writer of fiction marketed as Christian (according to him),  wrote a novel called Nightmare, essentially a fictionalized telling of various known ghost stories from around the continental United States.  What, at first, appears to be a very pre-modern plot about angels, demons, ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, ends in a climax of an entirely modernistic nature.  In his story, men have learned how to harvest and bottle the human soul.  All of this requires special materials, special machinery, several hundred life-support systems and a full lexicon of spirit-controlling hieroglyphs.  In essence, he took the magic of the supernatural and brought it under the dominion of everyday science, though it be a purely imaginary one.  Somehow, when the world of angels and demons falls into the realm of the test tube and the litmus paper, it ceases to be the very thing that made it special: it ceases to be magic.

The modernist will forever reject the supernatural, until he finds a way to manipulate it and control it, just like so many other things.  Then, not only will he believe it, but he will state that the existence of such things are an absolute fact.  He will not be reverent of them, and he will teach us to be equally irreverent.  Fortunately, the supernatural lies forever outside of his grasp.  Spiritual things are not physical, therefore they cannot be studied as physical things.  A permanent barrier leaves the modernist in ignorant bliss, while protecting us from yet another technology that threatens to wipe us off the face of the earth.

Occasionally, we may meet a student of public broadcasting who will tell us that the Bible could not have been accurately copied for thousands of years.  He tells us that we accept it blindly, on faith, that we call it inerrant simply because we want to believe that it is so.  The quickest way to shut him up is to tell him that there is a field of science called textual criticism, whereby the oldest codices, actual thousand-year-old parchment, are compared with each other to determine what the original text actually said.  Considering that our recent translations are based on that very same science, he doesn’t have much to stand on.  He puts his faith in science.  More to the point, he puts his faith in processes subdued by mortal men.

Magic can be seen simply as technology that is not understood or fully grasped by the human mind.  The assumption is that it actually cannot be contained.  Take a person from a thousand years ago and go on a walk through a field just as the pop-up sprinklers activate.  To him, that’s magic.  Mushrooms mysteriously sprout from the ground and begin watering the plants.  Such a person would either be struck dumb or run in terror.  The monitor in front of your face, the ability to talk with people anywhere in the world, the chance to board a flying airship and travel the world, such things are magic…no, they’re just technology.  Ah, but if I could say the magic word and turn you into a toad, now that would be magic.

The problem with magic, real magic, is that not even the person wielding it has a complete grasp on what it is she’s doing.  The witch uses superhuman powers, she thinks, but she does not reconcile the fact that she is only human, and she does not understand her work well enough to think of it as technology.  If it seems like magic to her, then it’s because it really isn’t her magic.  It’s the magic of a demon.  If it’s yours, then it isn’t magic to you.  If you think you wield magic, then you aren’t really the one wielding it, sucker.

On the other hand, the modernist wishes to turn all things into technology, or else reject them.  Hence, the modernist would take that which is not his and possess it.  That which he could not possess, he would reject as mere myth.  Here we have the original sin repeated in Technicolor.  The domain of God is…well, he has no domain, in the modern mind.  Is the spirit the possession of God?  If so, then it does not exist, and if not, then we can manipulate it, harvest it and do what we want with it.  That is to say that a modernist can deal with angels only if he can find a way to make an angelic handgun and hold them for ransom.  So long as he is helpless in the world of the spirit, he is certain that the spirit does not exist.  Miracles follow the same line of thinking.  Miracles that come from God are fake, to the modernist, but miracles that come from men are real.  The only difference is in the possession.  God gave us the whole earth and everything on it to subdue and claim dominion.  Yet, we would have what God has not given us, or, having failed at that, we would reject the very existence of the thing that we cannot accept, the thing that we cannot have.

If you could put a demon in a bottle and sell it at the dollar store for a buck, then this world might believe in demons.  If the demon could put you in a bottle and sell you at the market for half a farthing, then you only need medication.  It’s all in the wielding of power.

This world does have its own version of the angel, though.  It’s called the outer-space alien.  In it, you have an intelligent creature from without, influencing us with power that we do not have, formed in an image that we have not learned, but the alien creature lives by technology, and that technology can be learned.  The difference between the alien and the angel is in the potential to subdue.  It’s all in the wielding of power.  The modernist can accept the alien, because the modernist can have some hope of assimilating its magic and subduing it.  No such hope exists over angels.

The modernist is obsessed with power.  The modernist does not want a God that he must fear.  He wants the whole Garden of Eden, its forbidden fruit, the angels and God, himself.  What he can’t own, what he can’t hope to own, he would rather pretend does not exist.

Hat tip to Nina Stone.

Offended Demons

2 05 2009

I was a high school student, it was summer vacation, and I was bent on writing a novel that would allow me to hit the ground running as soon as I reached adulthood.  Well, I was thoroughly entertained by my own work, but anyone else reading it would need a pain reliever.  The title page should have included an MSDS sheet (acute boredom: Visual LD50: 50mg/kg mou).  I was in the middle of proofreading a line, my mom and a friend were on the other side of the room, and my mom was asking me to do something.  I pulled my finger back from where it hovered before the screen, and then I turned to rise.  The next thing I knew, a look of surprise crossed my friend’s face, and the old CRT came crashing down upon the keyboard, popping two keys off and breaking a third.  My friend was squawking like a chicken, “Did you see that?!  Did you just see what I saw?!”  with his mouth agape, he looked like he’d seen a ghost.  My mom rushed over to me and started mumbling something about how my dad works hard to pay for things around here, and we shouldn’t be throwing things around and breaking them.  My friend was trying to convince us that the monitor had been flung through the air, straight at my head, only to stop mere inches from me and fall straight down, onto the keyboard (I say keyboard, but it was one of those Commodore computers where the keyboard was fused with the CPU).  My mom, of course, wanted to know what I had done to make it happen.  I just sat there, stunned, with a monitor in my hands.

 In all of the commotion, my mom did not challenge my friend’s claim as to what had happened, that the monitor had flown a trajectory at my head.  In about a week, a friend of hers mentioned that my mom was praying harder because of some crazy spiritual stuff that was going on around the house, leading me to believe that she had seen exactly that.  I had tried to rationalize it.  I looked for some sane explanation to draw a line between where it sat on its stand and where it ended up on the keyboard.  I tried to simulate how it might have fallen forward with enough momentum to get it to where it landed, but any explanation felt like a stretch, and there was no denying that two other people saw what happened, and they were scared by what they saw.

 Fortunately, I didn’t see it.  I remember lying in bed at night, wondering if I really had annoyed a demon, somehow, and made it want to retaliate.  I also wondered what it was that bothered the beast, so I could redouble my efforts and really irritate the heck out of it.  My mother, undoubtedly, was wondering what had been done to allow the thing into our home in the first place and how to get it out.  My first thought was that the thing didn’t like what I was writing.  I wrote more enthusiastically after that.  My novel was, after all, a story about the Antichrist and the angels and demons involved in that conflict.  There was also the consideration that I had become exceedingly visible as a Christian at school, taking my bible to class, wearing crosses and making absolutely certain everyone knew where I stood in my faith.  Maybe it had something to do with the witch that sat behind me in English class.  Classmates remarked that it was a rather ironic seating arrangement.  She had her pentagram earrings, and I had my bible, and I could feel her looking over my shoulder at it.  But she was actually a rather nice person, over-all, and, by my estimation far closer to the truth than people who say there is no God or people who simply do not care.  I was hot; she was cold, and everyone else was lukewarm.

 In retrospect, I think I can say that something unseen tried to hurt me but failed, and something unseen tried to protect me and succeeded.  After all, despite my own ignorance of the situation, I was not even touched.  Some people might be more than a little petrified at having been the target of some invisible ghoul, but as a well-bullied nerd, I just saw it as yet another feckless attempt by someone to scare me.  Whether that someone is visible or invisible doesn’t change the fact that, so far, the threats have been nothing but threats, and the oppressor never actually hurts me.  It is to be expected that when we live our lives faithfully, expressing that faith to anyone who will listen, someone will hate us.  Someone will try to make us be quiet.  They will slander us and call us names.  If the people don’t do it, then the demons will.  We can’t be like the weak parent that lets her child walk all over her because she’s afraid of making the kid angry.  We must say what needs to be said.  The atheist will criticize my efforts, but he has neither tried to spread the Gospel, nor wanted me to succeed.  He is not an expert in witnessing, and he has never been on my side.

 What’s bad is not how the unbeliever reacts, so much as the believer who takes the side of the unbeliever in criticizing the one who spreads the word.  Some people spread the word through tracts.  Christians and non-Christians alike voice their petulance against it.  Yet, people have come to faith through tracts.  Some people have spread the word in a pushy, aggressive, hard manner, and such people have been denounced by both Christians and non-Christians for…you’ve heard it before… “shoving the bible down their throats.”  Yet, these messengers have succeeded in bringing people to faith in Christ, occasionally.  Even the meekest of witnesses has been met with a long string of insults when that believer has dared to say what she believed, and, as always, there has been some other believer ready at the guns to take the side of the unbeliever in rebuking the messenger of the word.  Yes, and even the meek have had their victories.  God has used everything from a genealogy to a fist fight to make people wake up and accept him, but I have never heard of anyone reaching the unbelievers by agreeing with slander against Christians.

 If the word is true and cuts to the heart, then it makes people cringe.  It gnaws on a person’s mind like an unwanted song that just keeps playing over and over.  It is an ear worm.  It makes people mad.  In fact, they claim that it is stupid and inconsequential, but they betray themselves by writing books and blogs and papers all over the place on this unimportant and petty belief system called Christianity.  It’s so stupid to them, they say, that they spend their lives denouncing it.  In fact, they’re obsessed because the truth of it is nagging at them and they just can’t let it go.  God won’t let them ignore him.  He nags at the back of the mind, because, after all, every living person still has a chance at redemption.  That’s a chance well worth the effort.

 So let the fallen angels and fallen people protest.  I dare not stop.


Perceptual Fog

17 03 2009

We experience in the past.  We act in the future.  By the time it’s reconstructed in our minds, the event is over, and by the time our bodies move to respond, it’s already the future.  Somewhere in between the two lies an infinitely narrow time span known as now.  Now doesn’t exist for any length of time.  It’s not even now by the time we acknowledge it.  It’s never now, because now is like two parentheses with nothing between them.  It’s not a long enough time span to contain any event.  Now is simply the interface between the future and the past.  It’s never now, yet it’s always now.  We exist in the now.  It is now now, yet, it is never now.  Between one second and the next, there are an infinite number of slices of time that at some point could have been called “now,” and each of those slices would be infinitely thin.  It’s another case of infinity divided by infinity.  What does it equal?  Sometimes it equals a second.  Sometimes it equals a year or more.  It’s yet another metaphysical mystery, because to study the laws of physics and their causes is to study the laws of metaphysics.

Sure, if all we did was study the effects of time on the world we know, then we’d only be studying physics, but when we wonder about the forces giving rise to time, then we step outside of the physical universe to examine it circumspectly.  An infinite number of nows could be a second, or it could be a year, so what makes the two any different from each other?  The perception of time arises from the effects that events have on the brain with time.  A year’s worth of events change the workings of the brain in terms of memories.  It works in cycles.  Each thought is experienced over and over, making a thought last for longer than a fleeting fraction of a second.  The more times a cycle runs through the brain, the greater the perception of time.  The key is that the brain, like the world around us, is a product of cause and effect.  Everything that it is now is the result of cumulative effects from the past.  In the next moment, there will have been a few more effects enacted upon it, and the workings of the mind will be slightly different as a result.

The brain can’t know the future, because it hasn’t been affected by the future yet.  The future is just as real as the past, but we just can’t perceive it because cause and effect only work in one direction.  To know the future is to violate this principle, and reverse this order.  This gives us every reason to fear the future, because we cannot see it clearly.  Had cause and effect generally worked in the opposite direction, then what we call the future now, would functionally be the past, and vice versa.  We’d be in the same boat we’re in now, but with the terminology reversed.  If cause and effect worked in both directions…things could get interesting.  Effectively, there would be no such thing as time.  The past would affect the future, which would then turn around and affect the past, and back again.  The time line would not be a line, but a plane.  Each time a cause and effect bounces back and forth on the time line between future and past, the entire line moves up a notch, drawing a zigzagging line depicting causal relationships as they bounce back and forth.

That’s if cause and effect can ever work in reverse order.  If I hit someone, they might fall backward.  However, I’d be shocked if a person fell backward and I responded by involuntarily throwing a punch.  Therefore, if cause and effect could work in reverse order, normal causal relationships would still always work in the same direction as they are seen to do now.  The difference would be in events that do not usually happen, such as foretelling of the future.  Telling the past is easy, because the causes of the past affect the memories of the present.  To tell the future would require an entirely different set of causal relationships, ones that do not normally happen.  The causes would exist after the effects.

Where does prophecy come from?  It comes from God, does it not?  Therefore, though for us time functions one-dimensionally, for God it must exist in two dimensions at the very least.  All we have is a future and a past.  We see a static time line.  It is what it is.  If the effects ever precede the causes, then we’re dealing with two-dimensional time, or a time line that changes with time.  It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but it is necessarily true.  In order to foretell the future, we need the assistance of one for whom time has one dimension more than we do.

The situation was similar in a previous post, Sid, The Defender, where a circle named Sid lived in a two-dimensional world and could only see objects that existed in that plane.  He was unaware of the three-dimensional person that could see him.  He could not understand the entirety of the finger that crossed through his world.  It looked like a circle to him.  If we wanted to, we could have that circle (the finger cross section) walk through one of his walls, a simple line, by lifting our finger out of his plane on one side of his wall, and placing it back into his world on the other side.  With the extra dimension to our advantage, what would be impossible in his world becomes easy for us.  Then, when we see an angel walk through walls or disappear entirely, or when the beings of a supernatural realm observe us without being seen, we marvel at the impossibility of it.  Yet, if they have the advantage of a fourth dimension, then they have the same advantage over us that we had over Sid.  The impossible becomes possible, but within certain limits.  Angels are not omnipotent.  They strive against their own forces of evil, just as we struggle against ours.

Some people see time as the fourth dimension.  I don’t.  Time has a dimension.  It’s the timeline.  For God, that’s a plane, having two dimensions, maybe more.  I don’t even know what it is for the angels and devils.  I can only say that I suspect they’re in the same boat as us on that one.  Otherwise, Satan would have seen his eventual defeat and decided against rebellion, or chosen to undo his rebellion and make it as though it never happened.  Had it never happened, the underlying root of the evil would still have been there.  He’d still be a devil at heart.  The same would be true for us.  Choosing righteousness because we see our own Hell looming before us is no righteousness at all.  Everything we know about Heaven and Hell, God and anything that might make dirty rotten sinners like us act like angels is a matter of faith.  Were it obvious, could people see the Hell before them like the memory of something that has not happened yet, they might not act out the evil that was in their hearts, but the underlying motivation would still be there.  The fog of perception that keeps the future hazy to us makes all the difference between faith that saves and uncontested fact that makes for boring textbooks.  People avoid running into walls, because they are sure that the walls exist.  They can believe what they want about the afterlife.

In the attic of my mind, I asked God if things would work out all right.  He looked up from his writing of history to say that things would turn out just fine for me.  “Then, I won’t end up dead in this story?” I asked.  “No,” he replied, “You’ll die, but it’ll work out all right for you.”  I’ll die, but I’ll be just fine.  Okay….

Be thankful that you’re blind to the future.  If not, then you’d be reliving your life from the very beginning with all of the memories of things that haven’t happened yet, all of the disasters, all of the burden.  You’d know about the September 11 attacks well in advance.  You’d feel like a jerk if you did nothing about it, and you’d be pulling your hair out if you tried to stop it.  You’d hate your enemies before they deserved it, and you would be faulted for your baseless aversion.  You’d love your future spouse while you were nothing but a stranger to that person.  Spontaneity would be utterly dead.  Everything would be scripted.  Your time of death would be known, and life would be a countdown.  Everything would be set so far in advance that life would lose its meaning.  The reason it would lose its meaning is because you’d be the one responsible for giving it that meaning, rather than God, who currently performs that role.  If you knew all events that would result from any action you made, all of life would be scripted by you, not God.  This person only loves you because you knew what it would take to make them love you.  That job you have is only yours because you knew what strings to pull.  All of life is what it is, because you made it that way, if you could see the future the way that you see the past.

Thank God for your ignorance.  Thank him for the perceptual fog that grants him the right to author the meaning of your life.


Things Unseen

22 02 2009

It was evening, and I was home alone.  I was a thirteen-year-old, washing the dishes, and the television was on, softly playing some news exposé about the elderly, or something.  The setting was stupidly simple.  All I did was whistle a song from a television commercial, the Cool Mint Listerine ad, where they have this animated bottle swinging from a vine.  Then, during the last few notes of the song, I heard someone join me in whistling the song.

Yeah, I was home alone.  There was no one in the room with me.  I looked up at the family room, where I heard it, but I saw nothing.  It definitely didn’t come from the television.  I rubbed my forehead, and mumbled, “That’s not right.  Now I’m hearing whistling.  This isn’t happening.”  I started back on my working, hoping to forget about it, but then I heard it whistle again.  That time, I knew I heard it.  It was as clear as if some invisible person were in the house with me.  It had that acoustical property, not like something from outside.  Someone whistled like they were testing me to see if I really heard it.  It was like a questioning, ascending tone.  I stood there with a plate and a dishtowel in my hands, thoroughly dumbfounded.  This time, I walked toward the sound.  I pointed at a chair and said, aloud, “I know I heard it come from right about here.”

Then I heard it again, two notes, one higher and one lower, like a “yoo-hoo.”  It came from my right, directly right.  It was definitely in the room with me, on the opposite side of me from the television.  To my right was nothing but a dark hallway.  It didn’t sound like it came from down the hallway, though.  It sounded like it had been right beside me.  I looked down at my dog, and she just looked up at me like nothing in the world was wrong.  Two thoughts sprang to my mind, quickly, that either I was hearing something supernatural, or that someone was in the house with me, playing a trick on me.  The second possibility scared me worse.

Then I heard it again, on the other side.  There was nothing between the sound and me but empty space.  In that direction was only the television, and a wall.  What’s more is that I could have placed the sound at arm’s length, and about half a foot above me.  Whatever it was, it was either tall, or hovering, and it was completely invisible.  It sounded just like a human whistling.  Once again, it sounded like it was testing to see if I really could hear it.  What’s funny about human nature is that we can be terrified by things that we don’t understand, even if no threat appears imminent.  What’s even funnier is how I dealt with it: I went back to doing the dishes.  One might say that I defended myself against the unknown by clinging to the familiar.  I figured there was nothing to be done about it, and I just wanted the whole thing to go away.

And that’s all there was to it.  It left me alone.

Not long after that, maybe a month or so later, I saw my parents standing at the door to my sister’s room, looking a little worried.  Through the door, I saw her crying.  My mom said something about the stress of school getting to her.  She had been doing homework at the time.  Later, I asked my parents what had happened, and my dad said that she had been spooked by noises.  With a certain pride, he later explained how the house creeks a little as it cools down in the evening, making harmless noises.  This would be what’s called a poltergeist, also known as a “noise ghost.”  It’s not a ghost at all, but a product of physics.

A few days later, I asked my sister about it.  Her story didn’t match my parents’.  She was minding her own business, when she heard a voice that distinctly sounded like it was in the room with her.  It said her name.  It was the voice of a male human.  She thought it sounded like he was trying to get her attention.  He stopped when she panicked and started to cry.  This was definitely not the creaking of a heterogeneously cooled house.  This was something like an invisible person.  In retrospect, she didn’t think that this thing was really threatening her.  In fact, considering that it left her alone after she started crying, it probably meant no harm.

The next two years, I could not so much as pee or take a shower without feeling that someone was watching me.  I had become acutely aware that there was something humanoid in my home and completely imperceptible.  Whatever it was could see me, but I could not see it.  I knew of only four things that it could be: a demon, an angel, a human spirit, or God.  I eliminated God from the list right away.  Whatever the thing was, it seemed to be experimenting, which doesn’t fit with an omniscient God.

Was it a demon, or other evil spirit?  I’ve been around one of those before.  I was at the residence of a lesbian, who was toying with membership in a vampire cult, perhaps to replace her fading gang affiliation.  She gets the award for being most likely to ruin her own life in the dumbest way possible.  She was a pathological liar, too.  Her place was oppressive.  The air felt stifling and dense, and I felt about fifty pounds heavier.  I had the distinct impression that something in that place did not want me there, but it was helpless to make me leave.  A demon can only take what you give it, and she was giving it rights to her life.  Looking back on that, I feel pretty strong.  I feel like I had the authority to make it leave.  Had I done so, she probably would have invited it back, and we’d be worse off.  This thing that I heard in my own home didn’t feel anything like that.  There was no oppressive feeling.  It just seemed like an invisible person.

Was it a human spirit?  If it was, then it could have been the boy next door, who was killed in cold blood by his own friend.  That was years earlier.  I was just a little kid, putting together a circular seventy-something-piece Bugs Bunny puzzle with a friend, when a police officer stepped directly over our puzzle to knock on the front door.  After a few words with my mom, the officer left.  I can still remember them hauling away a pre-adolescent boy in handcuffs.  His face was stone cold emotionless.  He had shot the neighbor kid with the family’s own gun.  The Bible says that we are not to contact the dead, as they have no influence on the world of the living.  So I’m forced to rule-out the murdered boy, or any other human spirit as an explanation.

Was it an angel?  It’s the only option left, but it leaves some room for explanation.  Whatever it was, it seemed surprised that a person could hear it.  Generally, I’ve always had the impression that the understanding of angels was static.  One does not think of angels as being surprised by anything.  We don’t think of angels as having angelic technology.  We don’t think of them as actively learning things, and we never think of them as stumbling onto anything or making a mistake.  Let’s imagine the Apostle Paul, lying in his prison chamber, and an angel appears.  The angel takes a quick look around and apologizes, saying that he got the wrong cell.  So the possibility that an angel blew its cover accidentally seems somewhat absurd.

Then, my next question was how a spiritual being, or anything not physical, could move physical air to make physical sound waves.  I could say that I heard the sound in its own element, like a spiritual form of sound, but it fails to explain the acoustical properties of the sound.  The sound waves had to bounce off of the walls, but the house is not a spiritual thing, so spiritual sound waves don’t really make any sense, either.  I could call it a hallucination, but someone else encountered it, too.  I inquired of someone that I thought wiser than myself, asking what we knew about the laws of spirits, and whether angels were subject to their own physical laws, as we are subject to ours.  She replied that it was likely, and she called it “metaphysics.”

Now, I know that there are two meanings for the word.  The first is a well-developed pantheistic belief that, really, has nothing to do with metaphysics in general.  When I refer to metaphysics, what I mean is anything that lies outside of our physical realm.  This includes angels, demons, God, human spirits, and anything else I might have missed.  This experience sparked my interest in that other world.  I wanted to know the mechanism of what had happened.  What I actually learned was almost nothing.

The first thing I must say is this: we are living in their test tube, and they can easily observe us.  However, we cannot easily observe them.  This is important, because these are not just impersonal forces.  These are intelligent beings with their own objectives.  Imagine attempting to negotiate with someone that you know nothing about, who has been observing you for years.  In all likelihood, any deal reached will be entirely to the benefit of the other guy.  What I mean is that if we fail to see the depth of our own ignorance and deal with it appropriately, then we run the risk of falling for a hideous deception.  When encountering a spirit, we cannot presume to know its intentions, or anything else about it.  We must walk carefully.  We must do nothing with the spiritual realm without the help of the Holy Spirit.

The second thing I might say is that it would appear that spirits do still learn things.  The implications of this are enormous.  It explains why angels can change their minds and rebel against God.  They’re still learning, thinking and making decisions.  The significance of this lies in the possibility that spiritual stability today might not be the same tomorrow.  The forces that we do not see may learn things that can affect our world in ways that we did not expect.  Specifically, today we have a human ruler; tomorrow we may have the Beast.  Quite possibly, the day may come when the technology of angels and devils permanently disrupts our way of life.

Other than that, I still don’t really know what happened to me those many years ago, when I was minding my own business, washing dishes.  Maybe in the next life I’ll find out.

The better part of a decade later, I had my own experience in that role.  I was sitting on the roof of the student union building at college (it’s just one of those crazy things that college students might do).  It was the dark of night, and the outside area was lit by floodlights mounted under the eaves of the building.  Along came someone I knew, named Becky.  I called out her name and she stopped in her tracks and looked around.  She stood in the relatively narrow space between one building and the next, a relatively unobstructed area.  I was out of reach of the lights, which made me effectively invisible to her.  The funny thing about human hearing is that we’re really good at identifying the direction of a sound, so long as it’s not above us.  We don’t have a third ear for finding vertical direction.  Hence, when I called out her name, she looked in my direction, but not up.  To her, I seemed to be in the empty space between her and the wall.  I called her name a second time, and she replied, “Where are you?  Am I blind?!”  The hint of panic in her voice brought me back in time to my own similar experience.  I knew what it was like to be in that position.  Shortly, I climbed down a tree and introduced myself.

The earlier situation was actually quite comparable.  If we live in a three-dimensional world, and we interact with a four-dimensional one, then we look for events arising from the other world along the dimensions that we are familiar with.  She looked along the horizon for the source of a voice that was above her.  I looked through three dimensions for the source of a voice that originated from a different level on a fourth dimension.  Walking through walls and disappearing are not only possible but elementary for a being that has freedom of movement along an extra dimension.  I cannot fathom what that must be like.  I guess it’s just another one of those things I’ll have to wait to learn about on the other side of the grave.