Friday, July 10, 2009

One Hundred People In The World

Sometimes I think there are only about one hundred people in the world. One hundred people, but duplicated many times over. Could be one hundred and ten, or twenty-five, or something like that, but you get the point.
I notice people. I notice them everywhere. I notice them all the time, I notice people like some men notice cars, or breasts. In fact, there is never a time when I’m around people that I do not actually notice them. And one thing I’ve noticed is that there do not seem to be any people who do not look just like someone else I’ve seen, or known.
Even myself.
I really think there are only about one hundred people.

Often, when I find myself in a crowd, I’ll look around and notice each individual. I will invariably realize that I have been in that same crowd before. Not only are the individual faces very familiar, but the, seemingly, unique collection of faces in that place will be just as familiar as the individual faces themselves.

For many years I just found this all to be very interesting, not necessarily profound, just matter of fact. But eventually I realized that when it feels like I’ve seen someone, or a group of people, before, it’s because I actually have. The names may be different, the addresses, the experiences, the lives, and lifestyles, the professions; but his, hers, or their faces are the same faces I’ve seen before. Sometimes many times before.
And I’m not just talking about faces either. When I notice someone I’ve seen before I also notice that their body language, their mannerisms, their gait in walking, the way they smile, or contort their face in expression, these things all tend to be the same. And I’m not just talking about vague similarities, but actualities.

So, what’s going on? Am I living in a time warp? Is it a parallel universe, an unknown dimension? Are there really just a few sets of actual parents in the world, all having identical babies? And, are people being re-cycled, but existing in a way that their lives overlap, rather than with there being an ultimate continuation of the same life? I don’t know, I’m just asking.
I do know, however, that there is a phenomena called ‘The 100th Monkey’. And it is the discovery that when one hundred monkeys on an isolated island began developing a certain behavior completely foreign to their species, it soon became apparent that other monkeys, in other geographical locations began exhibiting the same behavior. Now animal behaviorists attribute it to a consciousness that cannot be contained geographically, and that makes very good sense since thoughts, most certainly, cannot be managed by boundaries. But with my observation of people looking alike all over the world, I’m now beginning to wonder if maybe the monkeys that began imitating the original one hundred are actually those same one hundred monkeys, duplicated many times over, thus maintaining the same consciousness.
Again, I don’t know, I’m just wondering out loud.

I once saw my little brother on the streets of San Francisco. I was very surprised because I didn’t know he was going to be in the City. I saw him from across the street, and wasn’t sure it was really him, so I watched him for a minute or two to be certain. When I was sure it was my brother I crossed the street, greeted him, and started to give him a hug. But, to my total shock and immediate disorientation, my little brother had somebody else’s voice.
I’ve also seen myself on several occasions, with a certainty that caused me to check in with myself to be sure I was here, and not over there in the check-out line at the market. And when I was in Bologna, France many years ago two young men, Patrice, and Phillippe, stopped to listen to me play guitar and sing in the town square. To my surprise, and consternation, they began to weep, both of them, but they were also kind of rejoicing, and carrying on. As it turns out, their best friend, Stephen (*), had been killed in an auto accident a few days earlier. They could not be convinced that I was not their friend. We went to a small cafĂ© to talk. They kept touching me, as if they were not really sure that I was actually alive, thinking I might be an apparition, or something. One of them pulled a newspaper article from his wallet and showed me the picture of their friend. And, yes, it was me! There is absolutely no doubt about it, it was me.
I am one of those one hundred people in the world.
I’m sure you are as well.

*(Read the lyrics to the song “Weep for Stephen” on the ‘Song Lyrics 2’ page of the Old Coyote website.