This in turn led me to search my own blog for slug and revisit the June 2021 post "Horseshoes, leatherleafs, and inattentional blindness."
Whirligig isn't a word you see everyday, so it jumped out at me when I found it on p. 177 of The Philosopher's Pupil a day or two ago:
"There's Alex!""Where?""There.""You mean the girl in the green costume who's kicking up the water and twirling round and round like a corkscrew?""Yes. She likes doing that.""She reminds me of something I saw once in a pool in the west of Ireland.""Well, I'm going swimming now. Be good."Tom dived in and swam towards Alex. Like Adam, he felt easier with her in the water. She had stopped her whirligig and waved to him.
So far, Scarlett-Taylor hasn't explain what he saw in the pool in the west of Ireland; perhaps it will come into the story later. For now, all we know is that it was a something, not a someone.
Two pages later, Tom is discussing gastropods with Adam. Asked to come up with a good line for a pop song, the latter suggests "It's only me," and then explains:
"Yes. There's two snails on a leaf, one on each side. Then one comes round the leaf and says to the other one, 'It's only me.'""Must they be snails?" said Tom after a moment's though."I see them as snails," Adam said firmly."I think it's brilliant," said Tom.
I had actually encountered that line about the two snails before, as Jorn Barger (who introduced me to Murdoch's work lo these many years ago) used to quote it. So this is where it's from.
Last night, after my staff had gone home, I was doing some final paperwork and such before closing up the school for the night. I had YouTube Music playing on my phone, using the "tuner" function, so that music was chosen for me by an algorithm. I wasn't paying much attention to the background music until I heard the line "no more counting dollars" while I was literally counting a stack of banknotes. This made me stop and look at the video, which was "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic, a group I'm unfamiliar with:
In the video, the band is playing downstairs, while upstairs there's some kind of charismatic revival meeting going on, with people jumping around and dancing and being "slain by the Spirit" and that sort of thing. One and only one of them twirls round and round like a corkscrew: a girl in a green costume.
Near the end of the video, one of the holy rollers, like Rumpelstiltskin, stamps too hard and falls through the floor. We then look down through the hole in the floor and see five men standing there looking up.
This syncs with the "Little Talks" video, where five men fall through the ice they are walking on into the sea, where they are menaced by a gigantic sea monster before it is zapped by their fairy protectress.
Today during my lunch break (which is several hours on Thursdays), I read a little more in The Philosopher's Pupil. On p. 194 there is mention of a Stonehenge-style monument which has been restored in modern times:
The priest and the philosopher gazed at the megaliths which were arranged in a broken circle some sixty yards in diameter. There were nine stones. The earliest reference to them is eighteenth-century, when four of them were standing. The others were uncovered and collected and erected in their present still-disputed positions by a nineteenth-century archaeologist.
After reading, I was in my study when a book inexplicably caught my eye. It was on a shelf with a lot of other short paperbacks, mostly children's literature, which my wife had picked up somewhere at a flea market or something. One of these was World Famous Strange but True by Colin, Damon, and Rowan Wilson. Colin Wilson is a writer I know and like, but I'd never paid any attention to this book before because it was on a shelf I rarely looked at and anyway appeared too tabloidish to be worth reading -- like a side-gig potboiler, not a serious part of Wilson's oeuvre. Today, though, I felt a strong nudge to take it down from the shelf, something I had never done before. I looked at the table of contents, which had summaries for each chapter. The summary for Chapter Six began "The monster of Lough Nahooin. The Loch Ness monster. UFOs and monster: Ted Holiday's theory. . . ." That seemed relevant, given the recent water-monster syncs, so I read that chapter -- only 10 pages, not counting the full-page photo of Nessie.
Here's how it begins, on p. 58:
Lough Nahooin is a small brown-coloured lake in Connemara on the west coast of Ireland.
A monster is spotted in the lake by Stephen Coyne and his family:
Describing it later to an investigator, F. W. Holiday, the Coynes said the monster was about twelve feet long. It had no eyes, but there were two horns like those of a snail on top of its head.Holiday was the author of a book on the famous Loch Ness monster, which he believed to be some kind of giant slug. From the description of the Coyne family, he had no doubt that this Lough Nahooin monster was another member of the same species. Since Lough Nahooin is a mere 100 yards long -- compared with the twenty-four miles of Loch Ness -- there seemed a reasonable chance of catching the Irish lake monster.
A mere hundred yards long -- so really more of a pool than a lake. In the west of Ireland. Inhabited by "some kind of giant slug." The monster had "two horns like those of a snail" -- or of a giraffe.
Later in the chapter, on p. 64, we are introduced to T. C. Lethbridge and his theory about Stonehenge:
Lethbridge's starting point is the mystery of ancient stone monuments like Stonehenge and the Merry Maidens. . . . Lethbridge became convinced that the power that apparently emanates from such monoliths is a form of energy that comes from living creatures. He calls it bio-energy, or bio-electricity. He believes that such energy can be generated by the frenzied kind of dancing that forms part of many ancient religious rituals.
Frenzied dancing as part of a religious ritual appears in the "Counting Stars" video.
On p. 65, we even get a reference to modern renovations of Stonehenge:
When modern engineers set about replacing one of the giant lintels at Stonehenge, they had the full benefit of modern cranes and lifting equipment, and the operation was still a difficult and costly one.
On p. 66, another theory of Lethbridge's is discussed:
Lethbridge also points out that if these other levels are characterized by a higher vibrational rate of energy, then creatures from these levels could actually be walking among us now -- completely invisible to us.
In a July 2021 comment on "Horseshoes, leatherleafs, and inattentional blindness" -- the post I recently revisited because it contains the word slug -- I write:
"Aliens" (or whatever the hell they are!) walk our streets undetected.
This post is a good illustration of what makes it so hard for me to get a handle on synchronicity or what it means. That I should be "prompted" to read a relevant book by some spiritual agency -- God, Tim, the sync fairies, my own psychic subconscious, whatever -- is an understandable hypothesis, and we can ask who or what did it and why. But something much more involved than that seems to be going on.
Both The Philosopher's Pupil and World Famous Strange but True were, let us say, brought to my attention by the sync fairies. But how to account for the fact that in an 18-page section of the former book and a 9-page section of the latter, we find references to (a) a lake or pool specified as being in the west of Ireland, (b) snails, and (c) an ancient circle of standing stones in England being repaired in modern times. These three things have no logical connection whatsoever. The books were written in 1983 and 1994, respectively, and belong to entirely different genres. Are we to suppose that the sync fairies were feeding ideas to one of both of these writers, setting up my little syncs decades in advance? Or that they travel back in time and edit the past to keep the sync-stream going? Colin Wilson and Iris Murdoch knew and liked each other -- she offered to get him a scholarship at Oxford, which he declined -- but is that a possible mundane explanation (Wilson being unconsciously influenced by his friend's novel of a decade before), or is it just another improbable coincidence to add to the list? The unconscious-influence theory would be more believable if it went the other direction, from the nonfiction writer to the novelist. After all, Wilson didn't choose for a snail-horned monster to be seen in a lake in the west of Ireland; that happened in 1968. And of course the links between these two texts are just a tiny part of the vast interconnected web of syncs in which they are embedded. How does it all get set up, and by whom, and why? Even if we postulate that syncs are the work of an omnipotent God (and something pretty close to omnipotence seems to be called for), it's still hard to make sense of what exactly he is doing and how and why. And hypothesizing that sync is instead a naturally-occurring phenomenon, or something my own mind is doing, doesn't make it any more comprehensible -- au contraire. It's starting to feel more and more as if there must be some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey shenanigans involved.
And for what? All these borderline-impossible coincidences painstakingly orchestrated for what? What's the point of having me experience all this?