Wayne E. Hanson grew up around Eugene, Ore., attended Pleasant Hill High School, and the University of Oregon. For the past 25 years he has been a writer and editor in Sacramento, Calif.
Messengersby Wayne Hanson
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I made up a theory called �The pinhole camera theory of the universe,� to explain where all these stories came from. It says that the further back you go in time, the narrower time gets, until it passes through a pinhole and then spreads out again only upside down. Maybe the big bang is such a pinhole, and before the big bang there was a universe full of things like oceans and continents and people living in cities with tall buildings, driving cars and complaining about their leaders. Some of these stories come from before the pinhole, I can't explain them any other way.
But galaxies collapsed and collided and everything shriveled down to a point with no volume and infinite mass. Then the universe passed through the pinhole and exploded. It expanded, cooled, the rains came, oceans filled up, bacteria began swimming, and here we are.
So the idea is that when our current society reminds us of something back before the pinhole, we feel d�j� vu, a shiver, a recognition of something we can�t explain.
Futurists feel that shiver before the rest of us and architects build structures we instantly recognize as "modern," because it resonates with something upside down we can�t quite remember.
A necessary part of the theory is that bodies are temporary but we aren't. But we pretend we only live once, because otherwise think of all the responsibility. Anyway our memories stay with us, but we ignore them because we have crimes and secrets and losses buried with those mummies we�d rather not face.
The guy known as Adolph Hitler, for example, could now be a 65-year-old grandmother living in Newark and she certainly wouldn't want to remember anything she could be arrested for. And that kid -- sky-diving, bungee jumping and binge drinking -- is just trying to escape his past as a retired records clerk who, on his deathbed, looked back on his life and thought if he ever had another chance he'd like a little more excitement.
I was walking around in Mexico City a few years ago. The city is in a mile-high valley surrounded by mountains, with skyscrapers thin as knives, abandoned multi -story buildings leaning over from the last earthquake, insane traffic, milk-white skies, 20 million people trying to get along, earn a living and make a better life.
And as I walked along, it was all d�j� vu � I almost remembered lots of cities that looked like this, with elevators that went sideways and street corners I walked past thousands of time on my way to work.
I make no claims of historical accuracy. After all, this is just fiction, not something to set your watch by.
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