I wrote a fifteen page essay on the subject of “Disappearance”. The text and oration was woven in a sound installation that filled the rotunda of the Guggenheim.
Here is an excert:
Quantum Soul Entanglement
In quantum mechanics, there is a phenomenon called spooky action. Two particles become entangled such that you place particle A on earth and particle B on the moon and whatever particle A does, particle B does, instanteously, faster than the speed of light. Now, if you entangle particle C with particle A, you can teleport particle C from the earth to the moon. Particle C will disappear on the earth. And reappear on the moon. This is what happens when we die. A kind of Quantum Soul Entanglement.
Jack told me that one evening, while he was sitting in the living room of the house near the cornfields where he grew up, the night after his mother’s memorial, he saw an orb of light hovering above the piano where he’d spent hours practicing Chopin, Bach and the dreaded, wide handed Rachmaninoff. Above the piano he saw – it was a different kind of seeing – an indigo orb of light hovering above the piano.
He felt her light – that was G-d’s light – radiating from this orb. There was a wide spread peace and quiet overcoming.
In contrast, his grief was all the more vivid.
Hallucinations and Object Permanence
When Jack relayed this experience to his uncle, his uncle, who is a mathematician, began to cite case histories of hallucinations.
Hallucinations are the result of malfunctions in certain regions of the brain. Nerves stop responding or over-respond. Strange things happen.
There is damage in the occipital lobes. A person loses their ability to see. Their vision disappears completely.
But they will insist that they can see. They will relay in great detail the visage of a visitor. What they watched on TV. The décor of the room they are in. None of these descriptions are correct. Hallucinations aside, they are totally sane. Yet they will insist that what they are seeing is real. That they are really seeing.
Jack’s uncle then brought up Piaget’s study on object permanence. When children are very young, if you hold out your hand, then hide your hand behind your back, they believe the hand has disappeared. Or if they close their eyes, they believe they’ve disappeared. Children work very hard to understand that the hand is still there, that they are still there, though not visible.
We work so hard to understand permanence.
Only to then accept impermanence.