Reconciliation as the Theme of a life reflected in very varied books.
Aren’t words the devil? Dangerous too. I confess I recoil from all these buzz words like ‘tribe’, ‘brand’ ‘platform’ and even ‘quest’. They seem to position each of us with a loudhailer spitting in the wind. But give them a subtext, as Jeffrey does with ‘running with’ and suddenly the tribe is flashing through thin woods in moccasins in hot pursuit of a meal, a fire, and maybe ultimately rest among cheerful companions.
I confessedhow reluctant I was to hail. But having accepted that conical amplifier and hardly before I put lips to mouthpiece the Cosmos took over.
Now I havewritten a book, much malignedas weighty, or erudite, ( it is in fact light-hearted and irreverent) about the synchronicity of thought and event, and yet it still surprises me when its timing is immaculate and instantaneous. No sooner had I joined this new ‘tribe’ to take stock of where I stood then my past knocked me over, fairly viciously. I had to terminate its claims, and I did. The past was now another country.
Into the cold winds of a new and undefined freedom , and after three years of being wholly ignored I received within the week the attention of two publishers both suddenly interested in THE BOOK. One for its ‘literature’, the other for its ‘philosophy’. So the baby may not need to be discarded with the bathwater?
I read this as the Cosmos claiming the book and wresting it out of my hands. Nothing may happen with either of these but the message has been taken. No book belongs to the author, anymore than a child belongs to its mother.
Chris Brogan’s Quest 2016 prompt
How will you better clarify whom you serve and what you do for them in 2016? #Serve
All is now being ‘better clarified’. Involution was ‘addressed’ to entirely the wrong audience, the closed world of conservative, suspicious science. It was written as poetry to appeal to their hearts, but scientists don’t allow themselves a heart when evaluating a new theory based on experience, not even the experiences of their own geniuses! Especially when those solid hypotheses are losing gravitas, and shown to be crumbling. They will shore up, rather than ride a wrecking ball. I tend to be seen as a wrecking ball, however quietly I speak in dulcet imagery.
So its audience will be unlikely to be found in academic circles, unless it is the students facing the disappointment of such closed minds. Both these publishers believed in a different audience, and what thatclarified was the broken lance. A kind friend who knows me and it well offered to remove all windmills and said I could call her Sancho.
Then when an embryonic and sobered modesty was ready to settle for something less ambitious and I was deliberating the matter of three fountains( three possible books)…and which would make the most of the few years left, two things (again in synchrony) conspired to narrow attention. Yesterday a fellow Quester Suzanne Petersen Chriastiansen answered my appeal but unconsciously. She quoted most generously from a short story of mine she had read and said it .’brought back memories of all the beautiful Earthy books I grew up with like Cry thy Beloved Country or Kringe in a Bos…I especially love the African muse in the Afrikaans language… all African books have the thread of EARTHyness running through them…THAT is what I miss the most…and my thoughts are driven by me – or driving me? towards a new project’ . We Africans never shake its dust from our feet.
This observation fell like rain on parched ground.
I had bridged the great divide between Europe and Africa, and her longing had recognised it. Bridging the divides has always dominated precisely because ways to reconcile them has been the central search in myself, and my family which was to be explored in what now has a working title ‘The Tribe of Strong Women’.
With her comment arrived a book I had ordered weeks ago called ‘Every Writer has a Thousand Faces’. IT is a slim gem. David Beispiel ( the name could not be more apt to his message) suggests one should delay starting any writing as long as possible, and instead lay out an arbitrary ‘palette of words’. They will suggest themselves. Let the unconscious select what they point towards, and ultimately shape. The book has already been written, and the role of the writer is as scribe.
That seems as good an answer to Chris Brogan as I can find. The unconscious is the field we all share. All I can contribute is the vocabulary and I hope some sherbet humour, and interesting synchronicities. Forty five years ago I sought to ‘serve’ science. It has taken me almost to the end of my life to accept that was not the plan. Perhaps the plan is now simply to harvest the debris of experiences that spanned the divides, and find words for longing. It is what unites us all, and we shape it uniquely. If my drum is audible it will be heard by the longing heart.
Have another picture. Less despairing, getting there.
“Honoré Daumier 017 (Don Quixote)” by Honoré Daumier – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
“Don Quixote 5”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
Judge to Jury We will now continue the case for the Defense on the third Charge: That the book Involution-Odyssey persuaded the Author to adopt inappropriate language- something that masquerades as ‘symphonic prose’ and at an inappropriate time.
Bear in mind that even the BBC now operates by Twitter and Soundbite. This Homeric epic must be judged against that prevailing climate.
Counsel for the Defense. I now call Canon Richard Milford to take the witness box. Canon Milford you have appeared as a witness in similar circumstances before. Could you clarify that for the Court?
(An aristocratic old tweed- very frail, it’ll blow him over- gentle man. Court Reporter)
RM Well yes, although I would prefer to forget it. I was a witness for the defense of Penguin Publishers in the trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
DEF Counsel Why did they ask you?
RM Well I had just been appointed as Master of the Temple and I supposed they thought my august position would speak louder than ever I could.
DEF Master of the Temple sounds Masonic. Is it?
RM Quite the opposite. Far from secret. It is a Royal Appointment that came with a charming house in central London and very few duties except to eat dinners and take a few services in the famous church of the Knights Templars. A figure head that still vaguely connects the Law to the Church, historically, but the modern Benchers, the senior barristers, would prefer to forget that. They have managed to sever Law from morality. It was a retirement sinecure that I hoped to enjoy; being left alone to study and play chess.
DEF Why did you agree to appear for the defence of Lady Chatterley. Presumably you supported the book?
(Hardly one of the world’s shakers CR)
RM I read it, at the publisher’s request, for the first time, and could see nothing wrong in publishing what essentially is a book about love. Love ennobling sex, as I saw it.
DEF So not one to corrupt the servant classes?That was an allegation wasn’t it?…
RM If they could read it, probably not, but I have never had servants since my nanny departed when I was seven, so I would not know.
DEF Canon Milford you were an incumbent priest at St Mary’s Oxford, the Founder of Oxfam, the Chancellor of Lincoln. What made you expose yourself, if you will forgive the expression, for a highly public trial of a questionable book?
RM Frankly I did not anticipate the consequences. I thought it was a moral question being examined. I simply lent a little weight to the argument for creative freedom. I learned a lot from it. We really were an imprisoned generation. The crippled husband in a wheelchair summed us up. I considered it both brave and poetical, necessary for the time. It banished the fetters of Puritanism, to liberate sex as something joyous. It has now been cheapened, of course…
DEF What were the consequences that you say you regretted?
RM I was blackballed by the Benchers. After that I ate my dinners off a tray in my charming living room. My poor wife had hoped to be released from cookery, (not her forte- she preferred T’ai Ch’i), instead she had not only to cook but to ferry trays. It was a small kitchen designed for a bachelor with a housekeeper who made tea.
DEF Blackballed why?
RM Rigid protocol really. It was not considered proper, as a member of the Temple, to participate in a show trial that might change the Law. Setting precedents was as reprehensible as appearing in court without a wig, or in church without a surplice, but I did not realise that. I read a book, defended its right to exist, and the sky fell on my head.
DEF Well let’s hope this book will treat you more kindly. Please give us your view of this new edition of Involution?
RM Like Lady Chatterley it is equally a necessary new vision for our time. Unlike sex it won’t have the same appeal…God is for Sundays, and rituals, not daily bread and butter.
DEF What does this book require us to banish?
RM The outdated views of both God (as an external ‘mover’) and the natural world (as also external to us ). There is only consciousness, or God. Tough but there He is. I believe it a valuable contribution to the approach began by Teilhard de Chardin, the perception of the incremental spiritualisation that underpins evolution, what he called Christogenesis…
DEF Which means what?
RM The increasing unity of creation, and particularly in its convergence to Man of a consciousness of all participating in the collective cosmogenesis-the evolution of the Cosmos. I find that a great comfort in reconciling the gulf between science and my own theological belief, it renders the spiritual both magical and rational. Nothing divides us from the world about us, once you understand that.
(Good point. He is quite sharp for all the etiolated frame and thick glasses CR)
DEF You support this poetic prose language to express that? That scientific view?
RM I suspect it is the only language worth attempting since science will not take this Author seriously anyway. She seems to have found a new way of expressing a very old and universal understanding, just as de Chardin did.
DEF We have heard the charge of inappropriate authorship and the book was cleared. So writing poetically addresses another readership?
RM I believe it might. Not many, but some will understand it, if they are ready to…It is not difficult.
DEF So it does not trouble you that the Author has been lassoed by a book for which there will be few readers?
RM That has been true of many. I don’t believe she expected otherwise. To be ignored, or even shunned, is not a crime. You might as well suggest that everyone who fails should never have tried.
DEF No further questions.
PROsecution Counsel. Canon, you befriended the Author over many years. Don’t you think you should have made that clear?
RM I was not asked the question but it is not material to my opinion. Had I thought the Book of no value I would have been the first to spare her both the effort of writing it, and the vilification from the heartless world of academia. That I am more than familiar with; it is brutal.
(Knows whereof he speaks -an otherworldly fellow who started Oxfam! and walked smack into the strong arm of the Law! CR)
PRO What attracted you to the Author and her book?
PRO Will you answer the question?
RM I will but I doubt you will understand the answer. You are bound to misinterpret. I had spent close to sixty years looking for belief, real belief. I have read widely from the theological convictions of others, but they never reached the core to afford me any kind of peace. I have preached about love, and not practised it enough. I have never been blessed with religious fervour, much as I might have wanted it. When the person you call the Author blew into our lives, barefooted usually, destitute, yet full of joy I knew it could only be because she had found what I had been searching for. She was infectious. I was infected, perhaps at second hand, but undeniably. Not something a court would understand. It wasn’t her theory, although it was interesting as a means of conveying her experience, and something to hold on to, it was simpler than that, simply an irrepressible joy, and a great deal of humour…I loved her. As did my wife…The language of the book is the language of joy, admixed with enough factual logic to make it comprehensible to those whom Joy had eluded…
PROS Yet it was you who recommended her visit to the Inquisition at Cambridge? You were happy to risk her innocent joy to that destruction.
RM I hoped they might be both kinder and more interested. It was an error of hope over experience. I try and believe declarations sincere…they claimed an interest which proved untrue. But she also understood that, and could forgive it. She was a good mimic and gave a great performance of her reception…
PROS You did not, perchance, hope they would kill it off?
RM I did not. The Author was truly impoverished, living in our modest caravan through the winter, without her children, and I hoped…
PROS That someone would take her off your hands? She and her obsessive Joy!
RM How base a suggestion! No, if she was weighted with anything it was the belief that she had to impart a critical new vision before the materialist viewpoint did any further damage. I wanted to help in any way I could. Contrary to your suggestion, we thoroughly enjoyed her company, my wife had it through the days of sewing and searching for a place for her to live, and I had her in the evenings over the washing up, when we talked about her extraordinary experiences…and de Chardin…and played games finishing each other’s limericks. She taught me some biology, especially about the structure of DNA which she made fascinating; I taught her chess. She was not good on defensive play, good on the attack…
PROS Extraordinary in what way?
RM Well constant synchronicities, some almost worthy of calling mystical… They happened to us when she was about. That’s when I began to see the integration of thought and event, not as theory but a living reality. I am naturally sceptic, much too absorbed intellectually to notice such things but once I suspended disbelief they started happening all the time. The more I accepted her reality, the more it became ours…I found a renewed love for my wife, and indeed life itself. It was a wonderful period.
PROS Are you saying that her mere presence distorted time?
RM No, nothing so inflated, what it altered was my perception, and therefore influenced the unfolding of events; they became immediate,
PRO You can judge these? You have had similar encounters with the allegedly mystical?
RM No, unfortunately. I usually take my theology straight, not laced with visions and voices, but I have read enough of the mystics to recognize their qualities. I believed her entirely without pretension, or grandiose inflation. She is very straight forward. That above all is what convinced me that her book was based on genuine experiences, akin to de Chardin… He failed to find the following his work deserved, as she has. Luckily I am not sufficiently worldly wise to rely on the opinions of others. I form my own opinions from what calls to me…Her dedication in the face of extreme hardship was another reason I believed she had something valuable to convey.
PRO What has been the legacy of your relationship with her?
RM That s the first meaningful question you have asked. I came face to face with inhumanity, I leaned about the hypocrisy of academics who claim to seek truth, and the so called spiritual organisations who seek to suppress it. From her I leaned that I needed blinkers to carry on living, and ploughing a narrow furrow. It is not the book that should be on trial but the world itself. You are asking all the wrong questions.The book is on trial because it failed, but its failure was presumed before it was read. Neither it ,nor the Author fitted the mold. Who decided on that mold? The vacuous, conformist, correct-way-to-do-things… It should be the sardonic, contemptuous, self serving institutions…
Judge Thank you Canon. You may stand down…
RM On the contrary it is time to stand up…
Judge. Canon , if you continue I shall hold you in contempt of Court…
RM Don’t worry. I have taken contempt for myself. Save yourself the trouble.
(Wow! Who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him. Must interview him before the fire goes out. This will be worthy of a front page tonight…Yippee. CR)
Judge (to Jury) I direct you to ignore the outburst of the last witness. It is not relevant to your deliberations.
Judge. (to Jury) I call the Defence to put its case for the first Theory of Involution.
Counsel for the Defence. I now call Dr.Arthur Koestler.
PROS. Objection Your Honour. The Prosecution was not advised of this witness. The dead are not usually present.
DEF. The Defence were not advised either, m’lud. There was no way of knowing whether this witness would appear. That, I’d say, gives no advantage that requires a ruling.
Judge. Objection over-ruled.
DEF. Dr Koestler, it is good of you to appear before this Court.
Koestler. I was summoned to appear. I thought; so to comply.
DEF Well not many with your excuse answer that summons. Would they did! Think of the murders we could solve without Juries. To the point. Dr. Koestler you were among fifty people to whom the Theory of Involution was sent in 1970. Do you recall the occasion?
Koestler. Indeed I do. Firstly because I neglected to read it for about eight years, which was very remiss, and hard on the poor Author, but because it gave me grounds for hope…
DEF Of what exactly?
Koestler. That my own work had some promise of continuation. One likes to live on, even when dead. We, by that I mean I and the Author, were very much on the same wavelength, which I now know to have been a valid intuition.
DEFBefore we get to your privileged perspective, (because I am not sure the Court can crane its neck sufficiently), let us turn to the wavelength. What wavelength?
Koestler. A wavelength of synchronous thought: Synchronicity as I explained in The Roots of Co-incidence was fundamental in my ideas. Rather than occasional, I proposed they were a constant. You seldom look deep enough to see clearly: instead odd encounters are dismissed as chance occurrence. For constancy there has to be an underpinning causality outside of time. Now and eternity are the same place: Instant creation makes thought itself a priori and material events merely a consequence. For as long as science gives primacy to the material this idea will be rejected. Naturally.
The attraction (synchronicity) between coherent vibrations, is the very opposite to competitive Darwinian evolution. Involution stressed the oscillation between fission and fusion. Fusion is in evidence throughout scientific thought in such similar radical ideas synchronising in different people widely separated geographically, like crystals never seen before; or habits evolving in different populations without any contact between them. More tellingly in instances of Extra Sensory Perception, or telepathy, working instantaneously…
PROS Objection! Mr Koestler’s ideas are irrelevant to this case. Not only have they been widely discredited, but we are examining the value of Involution, not his inflated publishing record!
Judge Objection sustained.
DEF.Mr Koestler. Did your support for Involution stem from its agreement with your own ideas rather than any intrinsic merits of its own?
Koestler. My own vested interest in promoting its ideas played a part, in exactly the same way as the vested interests of Professor Hardy caused him to reject it. The difference lies in the reasons. Why does a court summon expert witnesses if every opinion is discredited for being pre-existent? What are ‘experts’ if not those with existent knowledge? Or, in some cases,as we have seen, ‘other agendas’ that believe ideas belong to them exclusively?
DEF Touché. Have your ideas been, as my learned friend claims ‘widely discredited’.
Koestler. They were met with as much hostility as I predicted Involution would receive. Discredited? No. Disliked perhaps. But no longer. Entanglement is now the buzz phenomenon, everything affects everything else in the quantum world. What is mind but a quantum event, unpredictable, timeless, unbound by the speed of light, able to cross infinite distances instantaneously…?
DEF Or settle on Leicester Square on a Tuesday? But not, it seems, able to penetrate the stone wall of ‘received opinion’?
Koestler. Adherence to ‘received opinion’ is a kind of collective thought as well, I’d call it a small stone in a great many shoes; consensus jack-boots. Unfortunately it traps imagination from taking flight. Since imagination has access to deeper understanding that is the misfortune of science. It limps or plods through well worn tracks in blinkers like a Clydesdale. Handsome, steady, but unimaginative.
DEFIs this what Involution was attacking?
Koestler.From memory I recall it did not so much attack as show the insufficiency of the scientific rejection of intuitive or maverick impulse, whether in a mongoose grabbing a snake behind the head, or a genius grabbing an idea from the opposite end..
DEF As you did?
Koestler. I like to think so. I proposed an alternative to the reductionism of taking things apart into component simple elements: Instead I built backwards seeing each form as a holon building towards holons of greater complexity. Thus each retains its integrity as a complex system, but becomes a stage towards a greater integrated complexity. It implies that the future has causal influence; pulls towards a larger field of integration. Each system forms a stage ‘towards’ rather than a component ‘of’ something else. I was not the first to suggest that. Jan Smuts, a compatriot of the Author, first anticipated the validity of this approach. It does of course imply an impetus to progress, rather than haphazard incidental change emerging from the past or present.
DEF. Would you say the current state of the World shows evidence of progress?
Koestler. Yes and No. I think the violent fundamentalism is the fight put up against dissolution. There seems a sense of impending unification, and the loss of power both in capitalism and religious institutions. People fear loss, and loss of narrow power is imminent.
DEF. Returning to your ideas of holons and so called progress…Why is this important, if it is true?
Koestler. It is now probably too late for it to have the importance it might have forty years ago. It means seeing each holon ( whatever the organism might be) as perfected and integral. It might share elements common to others, but uses them in a unique way. It should, if understood, undermine the reductionist attitude that finds the ghost in a machine only by breaking it apart, sometimes in the process destroying it. It is only the whole that explains the parts, not the other way round. Science has now started fracturing and replacing components of DNA, without understanding its origins. Like everything in nature, it is shaped by what was, and what is to be. Interfering with that is not unlike splitting the atom, the fall out is unknown.
Think of a Rubik’s cube. It has six faces, each deemed harmonious when of uniform colour. That is the surface and in science every organism is envisaged rather like that: They all appertain to a single shape, but none of the faces appear to relate to any other. Science examines and manipulates them in isolation, and what is on the ‘inside’ is hidden from it. It makes assumptions about that inner core, but can never observe, or measure it, or its effect upon the surface. That surface view characterises reductionist thinking.
Instead envisage an organism as a sphere, or better still a torus donut, where any part of the surface is related to every other part, and all of it governs each part of it. It is recapitulated in each embryo’s development where you find the surface cells flowing inwards to centre the brain and spinal cord. The outside surface becomes the ‘registering’ inside. That is involution’s physical equivalent, and the likely evidence of it’s truth.
If the future has a causal pull towards a converging integration the encoding of that record through historical time explains the fine tuning of each to the whole. Far better and more persuasively than accidental and divergent evolution ever can. Each organism is both a holon and part of a greater holon, the ultimate one being the Universe.
If that became the scientific approach it would seek ‘towards’ not ‘from’. Where is this going?’ would be more often asked than ‘where did this come from?’ Notice the distinction between ‘is’ and ‘did’. One continues, the other has already happened. That is science’s time bound emphasis on the past.
DEF And you could find this in The Theory of Involution?
Koestler. It did not require much extrapolation. If each new step in the recovery of past memory was also the future of scientific progress, the past was simultaneously the future. Creation was NOW, limited by acceptance (or mostly lack thereof). The limits of the past understanding was a ball and chain making for conservation, the future a deep summons to those who could hear it.
DEF You say it is now something you have validated since your death. Please explain.
Koestler. The fact that I am here should not require further words. I continue to exist, outside my Parkinson’s infected body, which I discarded. I was summoned, and I registered that summons. Hence the evidence of a single ‘field’ of which you, embodied, and I , disembodied , provides the QED. One field, some call the Akasha, integrates everything, at different levels of comprehension. You see only half, the embodied half. I see both; the seeming solid material and the non material. Involution sought to bring out that comprehension for science. Unfortunately, 45 years ago, science was not ready for it. That was why I was pessimistic as to its chances of acceptance. It is now becoming commonplace with books like Laszlo’s ‘The Self Actualising Cosmos, a work which suggests the Cosmos itself has mind moving towards spiritual unity, the final holon of everything.
I have also made a study of scientific stubbornness, or as the author now puts it ‘antigen attack from the body politic’. This continues in this debate does it not?
DEF Dr Koestler. In you first letter to the Author you say ‘Needless to say I agree with much, if not most of what you say… What did you have reservations about?
Koestler. At the time I was not sure about her conjectures concerning junk DNA, as the source of memory storage, or not as rigidly as it seemed to imply. It seemed too static a conjecture for something so dynammic, but I might have misunderstood. It could well be the resonating and coherent matrix of integration, the means through which each has access to the All. The wormholes of instant communication perhaps…
DEF And now?
Koestler. Undoubtedly DNA resonates to the Akasha, in terms of integrating the individual’s access to it, and manifests the scars of past life memories. There is considerable evidence that scars from past life trauma often appear in the body of the next life; in physical structures, club feet, port wine stains, skeletal weaknesses as well as mental flexibility and creative talent, notably inexplicable genius.
If that happens it suggests that the soul imprints its ‘structure’ upon the new DNA rather than deriving it from DNA. While children resemble their parents physically, emotionally and mentally they bring qualities with them. In that sense we choose our parents and bring our emotional baggage with us. DNA structure is a conversation between past and future. I just had not made that jump at the time because DNA was understood to manufacture proteins and little more. We are all tethered by the prevailing ideas, even when we think we have gone beyond them. No doubt I was guilty of that too.
DEF IN the same letter you also expressed doubt about whether Involution would ever be likely to find a publisher. Despite that you suggested that the Author should expand her thesis. Why did you encourage her to further work with little hope of publication?
Koestler. If the Akasha retains everything, all experience, all interaction, the thinking itself, and expressing the ideas alone makes a difference. Mankind’s limitations, not even clever Oxbridge ones, and certainly not the self-interest of publishers, do not limit what is beyond him, or the direction of travel. By formulating a comprehensive thesis the Author would embed it in something beyond science. Science will get there eventually. I made that clear to her in subsequent correspondence.
DEF Thank you Dr Koestler. You have been most enlightening. No further questions.
Counsel for the Prosecution.
PROS Dr Koestler… Dr Koestler?… DR KOESTLER?
He has evaporated! Your honour I object, I must be allowed to put my questions.
Judge. It seems your initial objection has now been heeded. It may be well to object less strenuously next time.
This post is taken from a recent article commissioned by the Watkins MBS Editor, and it explains both the experiences that led to the book and the reasons for writing it poetically. I provide a link to the whole article on Scribd which can be enlarged to full screen.(Click box at the bottom right corner)
OK We’re going to begin. I said that I, a book, had written a life and now I am going to prove it. Because I am a book and not a dull author, I do not have to begin at the beginning. I can open up anywhere, and go backwards in time , or forwards through the present into the imagination, and return to pick up a vocabulary from scraps.
Since I am a book about spacetime moments of creation I shall share one of my most imaginative solutions to awakening this Author into realising that there was an alternative reality, and she’d better be part of it. Now, just like a character in what you all call fiction, one has to work with the material. Later I may tell you why we spotted her. Our new Bride.
We had often tried to alert her with quirky synchronicities, and she found these interesting but they did not arouse real examination. She was still caught in a cheerful rationality. She said ‘Mmm? I wonder?’, and moved on. That is the problem with a scientific training, it narrows the focus, and wider things are not observed or connected. As it happened we needed the science too, so we were also planning an imaginative extraction.
We had tried to alert her with ill omens but getting married she would do. First,we tried to throw a spanner in proceedings by having her father refuse consent until the eleventh hour. That was not difficult, he had guilt and resentment and we just used both. He was rather cross to discover that the daughter he never knew he had was getting married. She then needed a special licence to get round the question of publishing banns. They did that in those far off days and it was Lent. ‘If any man knows just cause…let him etc etc’ We had a just cause. We had already earmarked her for other more important business and marriage and children would make for difficulties. So we then managed a foggy magistrate who was supposed to fill out a licence but rather absent mindedly went the whole hog and ‘I now declare you man and wife’ happened before we knew it. We were still planning the next prevention. The bride and groom were both in lab coats at eleven in the morning. Married by mistake. ‘You may now kiss the…your student?’ Well OK. They asked the cleaners in the Court to witness what they believed was a Special Licence and went back to dissecting a dogfish. Formaldehyde was never a nice perfume. Odd she thought, all that ritual for a piece of paper!
When the priest who’d been booked and was priming himself for the sex education session asked to see the special licence he said
‘I cannot marry you, you are already married’
I don’t feel married’ she said
‘It’d save money?’ said the canny Groom, never one to miss an opportunity. The marriage was rather gunshot ( he had a paid trip ABROAD…and her mother would not let her go too, unless… respectability reigned in those days… why not make it a honeymoon?) and although he was keen in principle, he had been rather bounced into it by circumstances and a mother with slender resources.
Whereupon the priest (with a severe countenance) said if they all kept stumm and were willing to swear they had never had improper whatevers he would conduct a ceremony but they would all have to fake the registry bit.Disappear and reappear. I sometimes admire the moral relativism of the Church. So if the priest would, she could, and she swore blind that nothing like that had ever passed between them. I would actually agree. Rather desultory sex had happened in the year they had lived together but nothing exciting enough to be improper. We had one final shot at waking her up. Not even hailstones the size of golf balls stopped her from walking to the church under a beach umbrella. Wretched pioneers never say die. But, like the science, we needed a pioneer as well.
We join our story…The pair of them have now been married for three days. He, the groom, the rather dishy PhD biologist is on his way to talk about locusts in Paris for the World Health Organisation. So much for the honeymoon. Right now our couple are standing under Piccadilly Station Underground trying to work out how it all happens and when exactly you step onto the treadmill, and which flow you take, because in South Africa they had never had to navigate the tides of human traffic…and I and my colleagues are about to strike…