The sky above Tisdale this morning at 8:15

Not a clear day

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, February 13, 2003

The presumption by some that only a select group of thinkers are capable of shedding light on the important elements of human life needs to be set aside, for indeed, the most profound realisations often come to us from a variety of sources and the creative genius of artists is most often that which brings to all of us, the most important revelations.

Alan Jay Learner was the brilliant lyricist who wrote the words for My Fair Lady, Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, Funny Girl and many more great Broadway musicals wrote the book and lyrics for what was a whimsical fantasy about a character Daisy Gamble, a New York student who was mysteriously able to tell that the phone was going to ring before it happened and could make flowers grow. Mr. Learner put his character into a little play called "On a clear day you can see forever" and it first was put into production in 1965 then in 1970 it was converted into a movie and starred Barbara Streisand.
Below is the email I received this morning from Amarjit Singh Kabo from Bombay, India.
hi dear

i read ur article on predictions for 2003 and the previous ones also and am surprised to learn that u have predicted the right in all aspects.
u r really astonnishing.....

will u throw some light on my future
i am amarjit singh kabo from bombay , india bday 16th october 1978 and birth time is 7.55 am

When I read Mr. Singh Kabo's message this morning, I was pleased and flattered that he enjoyed the predictions which I had made and at the same time worried that others might take me far more seriously than is appropriate. I thought about what sort of answer I should send this sincere man who lives in a culture so diverse from my own, where a good deal of energy and consideration is given to both the past and the future. My response must not be trivial, nor is it something I should take lightly, because were he to act upon some comment of mine the responsibility for his action might morally fall upon me. (Like it or not, raised as a Protestant, there is far more Jewish content in my background than I often realise.)


On a clear day
Rise and look around you
And you'll see who you are.

On a clear day
How it will astound you
That the glow of your being
Outshines every star.

You'll feel part of every mountain sea and shore.
You can hear,
From far and near,
A world you've never, never heard before...

And on a clear day...On a clear day...
You can see forever...
And ever...
And ever...
And ever more. . .

George Burns
when he was playing the character of God in the movie "Oh God" is asked about the future and he responds that he is very good on the past but the future is up to us to construct. You may also realise that Gene Roddenberry

and writers of Star Trek since his demise, have toyed over and over with the concept of the possibility of time travel and in the Voyager series on episode involves Captain Janeway on the carpet for her repeated violations of interference in the time space continuum. (Just so you understand that I am not entirely sure about the mix between fantasy, science and reality, the new hard drive on my computer is the largest I have owned up until now and is called the "Cue Continuum.")

implications of Lorenz Butterfly haunt me. Up until now I have tossed off my predications only thinking about the possibility of being right. Now I wonder about the influence and contamination of the future that just tossing those ideas out into the world might have on influencing what might happen. Immediately you realise that I have defined a causal loop. The kind of problem that is often described as "which came first, the chicken or the egg" problem. By predicting the future we may predetermine the future and without time travel, actually be guilty of influencing, or changing the course of history. A temporal anomaly, a temporal paradox,a preemptive historical strike, a determination of what shall be.

Of course you realise as you read the above, that this is incredibly presumptuous, but at the same time, each of us influence each other and who knows the ultimate affects of the butterflies in our past, the little messages that Professor Nash in his Philosophy 101C class in 1962 dropped into my consciousness, may now influence how I see things and in turn I reflect that impression on to others who in turn . . . well you see what I mean.
Ultimately, almost every question becomes one of ethics and ecology. As humans, we are residents of this planet and as a natural organism destine by our biological make up, to carry out our lives as we are constructed. But as sentient beings we have will, we have the collective capability of working together and we have awareness limited not by our life span, but because of our evolving communication skills, (of which you are presently experiencing) we have responsibilities to the greater good and to what we perceive to be right and good.

Ultra sound gives prospective parents the window into the future and long before their child is born they can find out if their new baby will be a boy or a girl, yet so many parent choose not to know. If I were to have the gifts of the clairvoyant like the fictional character Daisy Gamble I would be faced with the terrifying prospect of dealing with pre-cognition. It is most likely the best ethical solution to be blessed with would be ignorance rather than the curse of guessing, even some of the time, about what might lie ahead.

What, if any responsible and ethical message should I pass on to the inquisitive twenty-four year old from Bombay. If I knew, should I tell him that devoting his energy to finding a lifelong mate to share his life with is the most important thing on his personal agenda, when that might oppose directly the carefully made plans of his parents and relatives, in his living up to the expectation that he marry the girl and family that has already been chosen for him. The reality is, that statistics and relationship research shows clearly that one of the most successful means of selection of a suitable mate is an arranged marriage. Love, an emotional and perhaps biological construct, is far less successful and for one living in Bombay, probably completely incompatible.
Let us just take the simple facts Amarjit gives:
  1. I have to filter these facts through my extremely limited background and cultural bias, but what tiny facts, or what I think are facts, about Bombay come into play. I believe the population density of Bombay to very very concentrated with millions and millions of young people in a city, with amazing extremes between the rich and the desperately poor. Bombay is the cultural formulating city of the whole subcontinent and for its magnificent and enormously successful motion picture industry, is referred to as Bollywood churning out more modern entertainment than almost any place else on the planet. Music, movies, television, popular culture; Bombay is the source. Keep in mind the importance of location. Where, is always far more important that what anyone is.

  2. He was born in October and in most of the world that might mean something, but in a subtropical climate where the temperature remains pretty hot all of the time (25ºC today) with January being the coolest month of the year, suggesting that being conceived in January is not uncommon in a city of twelve and half million people. Bombay is a wet place, it gets between seventy and ninety inches of rain a year with most falling in July. However, being born in October, in the Northern hemisphere has one great advantage, there is a strong likelihood that Amarjit fits in pretty well in school, as fall born boy babies do best in formal education when they are average in time of birth. (the school ciriculum more closely matches their age and ability when the meet major challenges)

  3. For such a huge city the crime rate is pretty good with less than four hundred murders a year and fewer car thefts than Regina (2685 in 1995 compared with more than 3,000 in Regina). Since Amarjit uses the computer, we can assume he is literate and from his message his English is more than adequate, keeping in mind that Bombay is the gateway to India. It was there that the East India trading company set up shop long before there was a Hudson Bay trading company. However, he uses a hotmail email address, so he does not use the computer he is using for personal email, as it would have the corporation email address, so this suggests he is not using his own computer, but a public access, or one at work.

  4. Oh yes an important and significant thing about this fellow, like most of us ,he was born at 7:55 in the morning. You can bet a natural birth, natural term and perhaps not the eldest in his family.
Based on what we have for information we can predict, without leading the man astray, that he has a much better than average chance of living a full and productive life. In a society where literacy is well below 50% he is clearly literate. Even more so, he is able to use the Internet gaining information, and interacting over this communication system, which moves him way up the ladder world wide in prospects. He is above average intelligence, having completed high school and post secondary level training, which moves him statistically further up the income and prospects ladder. With these advantages he can expect to earn, in his lifetime, an income that would place him in the top thirty percent of his society. This means that he will enjoy better health care and that in turn will raise his life expectancy. If the assumption of education is correct, he will marry a person of equal education, which will mean that they will have above average expectations for their children's lives who will indeed follow them in professional careers.
Those people with post secondary education tend to recognise their advantage and for this reason scale downward the number of children they will produce and most likely will aim for that "2.5" average for numbers of children.
Amarjit ethnicity is Punjabi and since he carries the name "Singh" we can be almost certain that he is Sikh (language spoken at home most likely Urdu). The cool thing about being a part of a traditional family oriented and culturally rich society, he will have grown up knowing who and what he is, which dramatically reduces the chances that he will ever suffer from alcoholism, or drug abuse which are associated with deculturalisation.
Now the ultimate question, will he be a happy man? There seem absolutely no reason for him not to enjoy a full and productive life. He has the advantage of education, a stable family background and a positive outlook on life. ("What he is asking is, what can be predicted about me?" Clearly, that is significant of a thoughtful, introspective young man.) At twenty-four he has his life before him, graduate school to be a challenge and then a career. The odds of him not having a good life are very low indeed. (Unlike a Canadian of his age he is not faced with the major cause of death to people his age, automobile accidents. In Bombay the average number of fatalities in car accidents, and keep in mind this is of a population more than one third the population of our whole country, is less than three hundred a year)
But despite this rosy picture for Amarjit, there is one serious and important issue. Ten years ago the ongoing conflict with India and Pakistan was just friction and a few shots fired over the border. Now with nuclear weapons and missiles this young man, his family and their future could vanish in a split second. India is a success story, it feeds its huge population, despite its enormity it is controlling health issues. Politically India, if it pursues its own solutions, working out differences, compromising and relying upon its traditions, it has a good future. But with twenty-five major language groups and the dangers of social unrest the people, people like Amarjit, must be involved in the political process to see their society function safely and positively for everyone.
May you be bless with true happiness and success and may your grandchildren know and honour you Amarjit Singh Kabo.

Timothy W. Shire

On a clear day you can see forever web site
Stewart, R. S., The Sixth Sense of Alan Jay Learner, November 1965, Atlantic monthly as posted on On a clear day you can see forever website.
Musical Heaven website, On a clear day you can see forever, facts and synopsis on play and movie.
Powers of ten - check out the presentation that takes you from far above our Galaxy and zooms in to a leave on the ground and ultimately to the interior of a proton.
The Mumbai Pages Bombay web site


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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