I have always been fascinated by astrophysics. Mars and Stars have been on my mind since time immemorial. One of my earliest memories is actually of wishing on a star.
The career and works of Camille Flammarion illustrate that he held similar passions. His speculations on Mars and other planets – and the potential for life there – have been part of my musings for some while.
The concept that there may be life on other worlds did not originated with Flammarion. And although we have gone 24± centuries without definitive proof of extraterrestrials, there is a legitimate search for evidence that is considered under the wings of science.
Only recently have I learned that Flammarion’s study and published material also treated on psychical matters. The scientist was also a Spiritualist – for more than 60 years. He was a contemporary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and they both made “pilgrimages” to renowned figures in Spiritualism, including to Eusapia Palladino. In 1897, what may be considered as the height of that movement, Flammarion’s writing turned exclusively to the conditions and environment(s) of the soul.
Having once been a scientist (chemistry), I must admit to some conflict between logic and the subjects to which I’m attracted as an author. Apart from A Song Heard in the Future, my novel-in-progress about the life of the seer Teiresias, I’ve been developing another book about the legacy of Spiritualism during World War II.
Richard Feynman – a theoretical physicist – is purported to have said, “…nobody understands quantum mechanics.” While I don’t believe that such uncertainty demands that all possible explanations are of equal potential validity, I do think there’s enough vagary to support the idea that even those who study quantum physics do not fully comprehend their own field.
The zeitgeist has seen fit to give television shows to some who think beginning presentation of any wonky theory with the phrase, “Is it possible…” is sufficient to intercept skepticism. I am and will remain far from going that far. I am much more comfortable with “What if…”, which has been the spark of every theory. Part of quantum mechanics may prove Flammarion – and all scientific spiritualists – partially right.
“The sight of my soul far exceeded that of my body, and, to my surprise, this power of sight appeared to be subject to my will.” — from Flammarion’s “Lumen”
Two dozen centuries without proof of a hypothesis is not proof of the antithesis.