I love reading. Will hates it. I only recall him ever reading a handful of books in his life, and there are not many books in a handful.
We’d been on one of our train rides together. He must have been about 14. He was patiently trailing around a bookshop after me.
“What subject are you looking for?”
“Something about time,” I replied.
He grinned slightly. “Good, that’s relevant.”
“Even more relevant.”
We used to have these rambling discussions as we sat in train carriages, you see, heading off on long journeys to nowhere-in-particular. He’d been my pupil until a few years before, but I always felt I was lagging behind in our philosophical and metaphysical ponderings. He knew things I didn’t. I needed some reading matter which would help me to catch up with him.
The book I selected was called something like ‘Travelling through Four Dimensions’. He nodded approvingly and glanced with interest at the cover.
“You’re welcome to borrow it when I’ve finished,” I offered, helpfully.
“Nah,” he said, backing away fast.
A month or so later, we were on another journey. It was a warm, summer’s day and we were wandering through Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, heading for the train station – obviously.
“Remember that book I bought?” I asked.
“The one about dimensions?”
“Yeah. It’s hard going in places but really interesting. It says-”
Head down, a private smile playing around his face, he interrupted me. He started to describe – clearly and in considerable detail – the main points of the book I’d been wading through. It was a masterful summary. He actually made some points clearer than the author had.
I stopped walking and stared at him. “How do you DO that? Do you own a copy of the book or something? Have you read a review of it? WHAT?”
He looked amused at my reaction, but slightly embarrassed.
“I don’t really know how I do it. I just knew the sort of stuff that would be in a book like that, I suppose.”
Needless to say, he hadn’t read a word of the book, or any similar volume. He didn’t need to. His ability to ‘just know’ has been with him for as long as I’ve known him. There’s a cloud – a place where all knowing, all information is stored – and he has access to it. It’s as simple and as incomprehensible as that.
Last week it happened again. I read an article about a ‘new’ theory, called the ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ hypothesis. I’d never heard of it. I checked – nor had William. Yet a year or so ago he wrote an article which covered the same ideas.
I can’t tell whether he feels vindicated or mildly irritated when science or maths catches him up. He has no qualifications in either, having left school and all education with considerable relief at 16.
I suppose I fear that people who read our recently published Kindle book will assume he cribbed all the ideas in it from books or the Internet.
His information comes from somewhere non-local, somewhere most of us don’t have access to, some sort of cosmic cloud. Any bits of information he has gleaned from an ‘earthly’ source – articles about Einstein, for example – are always acknowledged as such.
There’s another aspect to all this, though. Does his ‘knowing’ mean that the scientists have ‘got it right’ in this instance? Does his ‘knowing’ hold any more or less weight than that of theoretical physicists, for example, because it comes from this cloud? Will would argue that it doesn’t. He doesn’t believe there are wrong or right explanations. For him and his multiple universes, all things ARE.
A week or two ago, he sent me a carefully constructed theory describing how a crystal had suddenly appeared from nowhere in my cottage. It was fascinating, but he prefaced his words thus:
I don’t have any evidence to support it nor do I necessarily believe it is the explanation for it. Other theories are just as plausible to me.