Guest Column: A perspective on reality by Audrey Leamon*

Audrey Leamon, Self-Portrait

I am an artist and a seeker who has explored a myriad of philosophies and theologies over the past 75 plus years. I have a few degrees and worked in education and library environments and in the privacy of my art studio depicting different realities on canvas.

My travels, studies and experiences have led me to believe reality is more complex the deeper we look. Our individual lives are more disparate than the surface of our characteristics.

Decades ago libraries collected 16mm films people checked out. And any given movie could go frame by frame from beginning to end as a metaphor of birth to death. It was always so noticeable when the projector got a little goofy and you’d see a few frames go by out of sync. And like a character in one of those films I may think I’m in control but I have my doubts.

We as observers seem to think the film’s characters have any number of choices but in reality they are enacting a “creator’s” script. From the initial moments of the script birthing to the last scene and the wrapping of the film perhaps after a bit of editing, it’s put back in the film canister tidily or not.

I suspect my life in this universe is much like a film and I’m merely a character of a script designed at birth through my genes, the resources I could intellectually and emotionally call upon were already genetically engineered into my system. I can only do so much with the resources written in my genes, the subsequent script and my surrounding environment encourage and impel if not determine my behavior.

I’m not pointing to the intellectually puzzling pre-destination theology (discourses about God and His eternal plan to save some and not others). Rather I refer to my internal wiring as genetically scripted leading me in a direction. I thought I was choosing during my life but in reality my behavior is a matter of my scripted wiring within the context of environment and survival with only chance or luck serving as a form of “editing the script” and the primary catalysts to a change.

Life indeed is unfair and more so if we have a faulty and dissonant script offset to a degree by our accumulated knowledge, the ability to process experience, our environmental context and the wherewithal to act and a bit of chance and luck not originally written in the script.

There exists the idea of the “branch in the road” premise. We have a choice it suggests to choose one or the other road to our future. Chance for me has played a role. There are a number of physicists who have arrived at an idea of multiple parallel realities. I think I’m correct in suggesting there’s “bleed through “between the universes.  The “bleed through” is where chance, luck and circumstance seem to come into play.

So if I’ve got it right, one goes along living one’s life until a major decision is available and made. Perhaps the decision might be whom you partner with or marry, where you decide to live or any number of things might be considered a significant preference. At such a juncture, the Road-taken and the Road not taken both possess a reality and proceed till the next major thing happens and a decision is made. In the process of the Road-taken one may encounter the “bleed through” of a parallel reality where one briefly experiences the surreal nature of the Road not taken.

I may like to think I have free choice, but exterior to chance or luck, I suspect my environment and my scripted internal wiring serve as the final arbiters.

*Ms. Leamon is an internationally known Master artist. Her husband David was a prominent library director (update: David passed away on April 23, 2018.)