Thursday, 13 January 2011

Reality Impact

Yesterday I knocked someone over whilst driving my car - (as opposed to using a baseball bat or a battering ram!)

Miraculously, she was fine.  Or as far as I know, she may have got home last night and died of delayed shock, but since I've had no call from the police, I'm guessing that all she's doing is rubbing arnica on some bruises.

Aside from the fact that the actual event itself was dramatic, unexpected and totally random, it led to several insights into reality from my point of view: Vivality.

So this is what happened:

Sitting in the left hand lane at a crossroads, waiting for the traffic light to turn green so that I can drive over the junction.  A car is next to me on my right, but several feet in front, waiting to turn right.  The traffic light turns amber and then green. There's the sound of a car horn, and I pull away from the lights. Then, BHAM!, out of nowhere somebody hits the right side of the car bonnet, flips right over the front of the bonnet and ricochets off the left front side landing on its back in front of my car.  Whilst the body is boogying with the bonnet, I slam on the brakes and think  'I've killed her', a feeling of physical alarm (nerves firing) a profound sense of horror and shouting 'Fuck, No!'

All this happened in the space of probably 3-4 seconds.

I pull on the hand brake and unbuckle my seat belt, and the woman starts to move and get up.  I think:  'No, don't move', and then realise that she isn't dead.  But then fear that even though she's moving doesn't mean that she isn't seriously injured or about to die.  I get out of the car and move towards her.  She looks confused and distressed and I ask her if she is o.k.  She replies ' yes' and apologises, looking straight into my eyes, and continues by saying 'It was my fault'.  I reply something along the lines of 'Don't worry, I'm so sorry, are you sure you're ok?'.  Then a couple of other people join us, one leads her on to the pavement and a man says to me 'do you want to pull your car over'.  I get in turn left, park and put on the hazard lights.  I get out again and go over to her.  A man is talking into his mobile phone, I'm not aware of what he's saying.  I ask if she's ok, again.  She says yes and a lady with her tells me that she's her next door neighbour and she'll take her into the coffee shop we're standing outside and tells me not to worry, she seems fine but she needs to get in somewhere warm.  They go into the coffee shop and not knowing what else to do, I get back into my car and just sit there.  A woman gets out of the car parked in front of me and walks up to my car door and asks if I'm o.k.  At which point I start shaking and crying - gone into reactive shock.  The woman advises me to wait until I'm calm before driving away.  She leaves and then a man approaches my car, asking 'is she alright? She just stepped out in front of me.'  I realise it's the driver of the car who had been on my right at the traffic lights and that it must have been him sounding his horn as the woman stepped out in front of him. As I drive a low, 2 seater, his car would have concealed that there was someone crossing in front of him, which is why I didn't see her.  I tell him she was fine and he leaves.  After a minute or so, I drive to my original destination.

Then starts the interesting bit (and I'll explain why the 'accident' wasn't interesting in a while, so bear with me): The thoughts start.

They come thick and fast for the next 10 minutes:

'oh my god, I can't believe that happened' 'thank fuck she was alright' 'what if she hadn't been alright' 'imagine if i'd killed her' i could go to prison, i couldn't live with having killed someone' 'it was her fault' 'i didn't do anything wrong' 'did i do anything wrong' 'did i pull away too quickly' 'should i have stayed and made sure she was alright' 'is that ambulance there been called to see her' 'how can i just carry on driving'.  And some imagining of me telling people about it, and their reaction - all in the form of thought images.

And on and on and frickin' on.

And meanwhile the driving to the destination is happening completely on automatic.

(Just to say that I did phone the police when I reached my destination and they confirmed that an ambulance had been called and had checked her out and she WAS fine.)

Then the day continues on it's way.

So .....  that's what happened in Vivality.

In REALITY, what happened is this:

Woman standing at traffic lights, legs start walking and woman crosses in front of car.  Car horn sounds, woman carries on walking.  Another car accelerates and moves forward.  Woman walks into car as it's moving forward and momentum carries the body over the bonnet of the car and onto the road ahead, whilst body in the car applies brakes of car.  Car stops.  Woman in road moves and stands up, woman in car gets out and walks towards other woman, there is talking, and walking to pavement.

That's all that actually happened.  And that's why it's not interesting.  It's just what happened.

And as part of that happening there were thoughts,  which conceptualise the actual continuous happening and chunk it into AN EVENT.

And not just an event, but an event that happened to 'me' and to 'her'.

'Me' and 'her' also a part of the continous flow - tagged by thought only.

Thoughts that added speculation, drama, causality.

Vivality speculation:  'oh my god, I've killed her'
Reality: She wasn't dead.

Vivality speculation: 'What if I'd killed her?'.
Reality: She wasn't dead.

Vivality drama: 'If' I'd killed her, I might go to prison, I couldn't live with it'.
Reality: She wasn't dead, I wasn't going to prison, I was living with it.

Vivality causality: 'It was her fault'
Reality: She no more decided to walk in front of a moving car than I decided to knock someone over.

And whilst those thoughts were part of the continuous happening they did not in any way describe the reality of that stream of action.

The action happened entirely spontaneously, in a continous flow.  There was no cause.  There was no effect.

In fact, nothing happened at all.  There was no static event - but the thoughts tagged and described it, somehow setting it down as a permanent picture, like a mini-film; complete with sound effects, commentary, dramatisation - a little soap-opera.  A complete figment of thought.

And even though the thoughts didn't describe the reality, they were (and are right at this moment) no more than an uncaused flow of continous reality.

The CONTENT of thoughts is Vivality (or Johnality or Sueality - insert appropriate name).

THAT they are is reality.


  1. Oh, I LOVE IT! This is GREAT, Viv! Damn! I'm so excited to be reading YOUR blog... Viv's blog, for God's sake. Ha! Love it, love it, love it! Can't wait for more.

    And I love the name... Vivality. Speaks of vibrancy, life, energy. Cool name.

    Now, to the post. Once it's all broken down into what REALLY happened, then you're right, nothing that interesting happened at all. What a magnificent machine this brain is, no? It's nice to be able to recognize it for what it is, isn't it? Jealous!

    Thanks for doing this, Viv! I really, REALLY, can't wait for more. :)

  2. Cheers, Mike! Appreciate you reading and commenting. Don't know if there will be more.... hee, hee.

    The brain is indeed incredible - Although all we ever know of it is THIS thought, THIS impulse etc. Don't be jealous, Mike - you'll see - really it's nothing, it's more to do with dropping expectations that anything is going to be any different. There's only one thing changes - an erroneous belief in the thought 'I' as being anything other than a thought. That's it.

  3. I've added this one to my blogroll, so maybe you'll see some traffic from my site. Get the word out, ya know? OK, so maybe I'll save the jealousy bit for when you win the lotto, or something cool like that.

    Meanwhile, what the hell? Why, if it's really nothing, can't... oh, hell, nevermind. You know what I'm trying to say. You were just here... swear to God! I witnessed it. :)

  4. You were saying.......

    "Why, if it's really nothing, can't..."

    Was that going to be followed with 'I do it'?

    Was it? Huh, huh, huh?

  5. YES! OK? Now, leave me alone! ;)

  6. Nope. Shall not. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  7. Thanks, Randall! Really appreciate your comment and for taking the time to read it. :0)

  8. a good read viv's. Reality verse vivality, who will win?! *hears thunder sounds in background*


    I'm adding you to my blogroll as well if you don't mind!

  9. You type some words, We are in a car that knocks over a woman. Thanks for sharing, and keep on trucking.

  10. Thanks, ian - for reading and commenting.

  11. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll - appreciate it.

    Who will win - s'easy: Reality is always the winner. It's the champion!