Meaning of INNER SPACE to ME !

October 8, 2012

New Blog by Merlin Fraser.                                                              October  2012.
Author of the INNER SPACE Trilogy of
Inspector Nick Burton Murder Mystery stories.

Talking to a small writers group the other day I was asked where I came up with the title “INNER SPACE for my books.”   I had to stop and think before I could give the lady a serious answer, or at least one that would make sense to people who didn’t really know me and at that moment in time probably hadn’t read any of my books.

I mean for starters the title is hardly original and has been used countless times and covers a whole load of different scenarios including one where a miniature submarine is injected into someone’s body.

However to me ‘Inner Space’ is and has always been the inner space of our minds and the sheer power that lurks there. Hidden, possibly suppressed for countless generations by those who feared being thought of as different.

Without trying to stir up a hornet’s nest I have to confess that to me ‘Evolution’ has always made much more sense than ‘Religion.’   Although by studying the former you come to realise where the latter came from.

When you look back far enough into the history of our species we should embrace evolution as our friend for it has been extremely kind to us in lots and lots of ways over the centuries.

As one of the many competing animals back at the dawn of our time we were a pretty miserable example when compared to the competition.  Slower than almost every predator around us we survived on fruits and plants and when times were lean we had to scavenge the remains from the kills of the mighty hunters.  Even there we were weaker, slower and less organised than the many other scavengers around.

To me when I look closely at humanity as a species it is a wonder that we survived at all but survive we did by developing the one special thing we had, our brains.  One that was capable of intuitive thought, a brain capable of reasoning which gave us the ability to recognise and solve problems.

These primitive people started to understand many of the things around them. They studied the other animals and from the Wolf they learned how to live in cooperative harmony to hunt and share the bounty, care for the young, weak and the old. They grew to understand much of what was happening around them the seasonal patterns of the year and how to plan in the months of plenty and so survive the cold lean months of little.

Back then within these nomadic ‘hunter gatherer’ groups the social hierarchy would have consisted of family clans and near relatives. Seniority would be based upon age and respect, the strongest hunter who could plan and keep the community fed and out of danger would become a natural leader.

A pecking order of seniority would follow based upon skills, jealously guarded and handed down from father to son, mother to daughter.  In all groups there would be someone who had a healing skill, someone who had studied the herbs and plants and through trial and error uncovered their hidden secrets. There would be skilled hunters, tool makers, and those who could fashion clothes from the hides and skins of their prey, boat builders and fishermen.

Through simple observation these early people learned that everything they needed came from the earth beneath their feet.  The plants and roots they ate for food, the fish in the rivers, the animals they hunted and the birds of the air.  Over time they came to realise everything was part of a whole and there was a natural cycle of life and death in all things.   Just as a mother gives life to her new born child so the Earth brought forth life to everything else, to them she was the ‘Great Mother.’

They revered the Earth Mother who supplied their every need but they also feared her because like many of her children she had a temper. To upset her was to be avoided lest she would lash out with terrible storms, or with a powerful light that could destroy trees and kill animals.  Worse was when the Mother was really angry and she would shake the ground or caused fire and stone to shoot from the high places.

Of course with thought comes questions, lots and lots of questions mostly beginning with the words What, Who, Where, Why or How ?   Then as now people don’t question when things are going well. However, when something extraordinarily bad happens, like a devastating earthquake or a violent volcanic eruption comes suddenly wrecks havoc and destroys life … Many will turn their faces skyward with the question upon their lips “Why me God ? What did we do to cause your displeasure?”

Ever wonder why we do this ?  Old habits, it seems, die hard.

I believe the answer lies in the explanations our ancient tribal elders came up with to dispel the fears of their clan.  Of course you have to remember that they didn’t know any more than those who were asking the questions, but hands up anybody who remembers a leader who was ever stumped for something to say.

Quite at what point in our evolution someone came to the conclusion that everything that ails us had to be the work of spirits is not at all clear.   I suspect that because we feeble humans could not emulate a bolt of lightning, or do anything to cause an earthquake it must be logical to assume they are caused by some invisible force.

Perhaps if the living were not responsible then these forces were coming from the dead.

Perhaps this was the dead affecting their revenge upon us mere mortals. To reinforce such arguments it is reasonable to suppose that they would believe that as in life where there are both good and evil people then it is not a difficult leap of imagination to believe that in death such people would go on to become good and evil spirits ?

Therefore to them it makes logical sense that the evil ones would send violent lightening storms, earthquakes and volcanoes to destroy us. While the good ones blessed us with calm sunny days and showed us the beauty of a rainbow when they were pleased.

To me it was only natural progression that from those simple explanations that created these spirits that eventually from within the group a person would be appointed to interpret the messages of the spirits.  What is it they say, “He who lives longest will see most!”

Such a person would come from the wise elders, a story teller but probably a bit of a showman as well. So the Shaman was born and became the spiritual leader of the group. Not only would they act as the voice of the Spirits and act as a go between they ultimately became a link between the living and the dead.

I believe most of this happened fairly early on within our development this I base upon the notion that every ancient culture in the world has the same common roots and Spiritual beliefs with Shaman leaders of great power.

The deeper I went the more I realised that certain facts kept repeating themselves and it became more and more apparent that although separated by thousands of miles of ocean there had to be common origins to the many beliefs and practises I was discovering.

In fact, that something, even bigger and wider than the oceans, was ‘Time.’  Eons of time for our common ancestors to wander, settle and split into new wandering groups. It took a lot of time for them to move out of what is now Africa on into the Eurasian continent across ice bridges and into the Americas and out into the Pacific.

What else could explain common factors like the worship of an Earth Mother and her children in the sky the Sun and the Moon, as well as common belief that we were the children of that mother and brothers to all the other animals living on the planet. Together with a recurring and common belief that the dead of all species became sky spirits both good and evil that had to be revered and honoured.

To me this indicates that such belief had to have been common long before the long distance wandering started.  Proof of this is when white settlers found these beliefs were still alive and well in African native tribes. And then in the New world of the Americas as late as the fifteenth century and then even later when we discovered Australia and New Zealand.

It is true that over time and distance much became corrupted and distorted and many of the rituals and ceremonies took on a local feel but the central core belief in an Earth Mother with her children in the sky remained.  The belief that we take on the spirit of strong animals, the lion, the wolf and the bear by killing them and then wearing their skins in ceremony to honour them, that and a dozen more similarities.

Central to all these ancient cultures were the Spiritual leaders and Healers, sometimes one and the same person other times two or more separated by rank.  By now many of the rituals would be great ceremonies, always at night where the darkness broken only by firelight would add to the mysterious and magical illusions effect.  Add rhythmic drum beats, alcoholic drinks, dancing and hypnotic chants and the illusion is complete, under such conditions surely it is possible to see anything and belief everything you are told.

In the cold light of day with a severe hangover I seriously doubt much was remembered save the Shaman’s recollection of what happened.

I suppose by now many of you will be thinking ‘OK,’  so what, exactly has any of this to do with ‘Inner Space ?’   Fair question and I have to say it was essential for me to set the scene with the above so that I could lead you into the next chapter of events.

Scattered throughout history there are many stories of Shamanic type leaders being able to spiritually leave their bodies at will and venture into other realms.   Some did so as a means of aiding the hunters to locate their prey while others used the power to visit the world of the spirits.

Of course how they did this is not documented and has left us to speculate as to how or even if such things were possible.   Today we know through the powers of self hypnosis it is possible to reach a deep meditative state and that many claims have been made of journeys and visions achieved while in such a personal mental place.

We are also well aware that through the use of certain plants or drugs we know that great mental journeys are achieved.  Now whether any such journey is in fact real or pure hallucination is open to a wide interpretation.

Certainly to anyone skilled in the knowledge and affects of certain plants, roots and fungus these effects would have been well known and used by our ancient ancestors.

In more recent history there are many well documented examples of people spiritually leaving their bodies in ‘Near Death’ situations.  To do this at will is called Astral Projection and many people claim to have the skill but none can actually demonstrate the ability to the acceptance of the scientific community.

Other such mystic skills such as psychokinesis or telekinesis, the ability to move things or influence people using only the power of one’s mind are also attributed to the Shaman of old.

Such powers although scoffed at these days were still widely believed and used as excuses to arrest and execute people for witchcraft as late as the seventeenth century. The most famous of which is the Salem Witch trials of 1692. During which time in Massachusetts twenty women and men were executed on counts related to witchcraft, and nearly 150 others were imprisoned on similar accusations.

To me these were the last dying embers of an ignorant and abusive cultural repression that started with the coming of organised religion to the Western world with the Romans two thousand years ago.  Followed by a group of early Christian religious zealots determined to stamp out any and all things they were too ignorant to understand.  Such people probably drove back our understanding of medicine and healing by a thousand years because they considered the healing arts of the ancients as magic and magic was the work of the devil and therefore evil.

That such evil practices still take place in many other countries today does not surprise me because I have discovered that organised religion has little to with belief in anything and has everything to do with power.  It is purely man-made and is an instrument of mental control over the masses where faith in their lies has become habit..

What troubles me is that these religious zealots still exist, we see them everywhere and not just the obvious ones in the East whipping up hatred for all things Western.  They live and operate among us using the same tried and tested tools of their trade, Fear, Superstition, Hearsay and Wild distortions of the truth, that they and only they offer the true path to righteousness and enlightenment.

The battleground is the Inner Space of our minds, lurking there there might be some hidden and lost mental powers, such as those I use in my stories.   However in reality I think the only real power we have lost is the one that started everything in the first place and that is the individual ability to think and reason things out for ourselves.

Collectively I honestly believe that we as a species have handed over the responsibility of thinking to others to do for us, be they Shaman, Kings, Religious or Political leaders or just TV Admen…

By giving them total access and control over our Inner Space I think we gave way too much of ourselves and we were and still are betrayed.

9 Responses to “Meaning of INNER SPACE to ME !”

  1. Jaye Denman Says:

    Glad to find your blog, Merlin, and will be reading more. Hope all is well with you and that your books are selling well. I’m still waiting for the next one and hope you’ll let me know when it’s published.

    This is a very interesting commentary on the concept of “inner space.” Your remark, “…I think the only real power we have lost is the one that started everything in the first place and that is the individual ability to think and reason things out for ourselves” is very telling for an American in the throes of a presidential election campaign characterized by the zealots of whom you wrote. It’s very stressful, though if it ends wrong (according to my opinion), the next four to eight years in this country will be more than stressful–they will be close to unbearable. I already spent eight years hating what George W. Bush put the U.S. (and, as our ally, the UK) through. Not sure if I can bear another administration like his, and hope I don’t find out.

    By the way, do you ever “pop in” at HP any more for a read? I currently have a series of flash fiction stories that are linked to form one overall story. I’d like to have your “take” on them because I’m hoping to expand them into a book once I’ve completed the last few episodes. You can find them on my JayeWisdom profile page (on which HP has changed the design). Each one is a quick read “as is”, but meant to move the overall “saga” forward, and they’re marked as “Part 1 of a Series, Part 2 of a Series, and so on.” Thanks in advance if you find time to read them and give feedback.

    Recent changes in the Google algorithm as well as internal HP changes at the same time hit HP members’ traffic hard! Mine is down more than 50% and there seems no way to increase it even though my most-viewed article is still ranked high on the first page of Google. Is your blog suffering the same decrease? Since I’m very “techically challenged”, I’m just rolling with the flow and hoping that the situation will improve.

    I’ve missed having new hubs from you to read, Merlin, so will enjoy checking your blog. Do stay in touch, my UK friend.

    Jaye Denman
    aka JayeWisdom on HubPages

  2. This is a fine essay Merlin – no doubt it will cause controversy as it hits organised religion below the belt but free speech and free thought is a important right. There is nothing like the freedom to take what we need and leave the rest. Les

    • merlinfraser Says:

      Hi Les, I like controversy because controversy challenges people to actually think about not what they believe but why?
      My articles are designed to show people that what they believe is what they have been told to believe and not necessarily what they found out for themselves. This is not a criticism of people today because this has been the status for centuries with totally unsubstantiated promises of everlasting life after death or an equally foul alternative of burning for all eternity in the fires of Hell.
      My message is clear, wake up and smell the coffee, a few simple exercises in logic tears away centuries of half truths, manipulation and downright lies. My greatest fear is when the vast majority of the faithful of the three main religions finally work it out they will tear this world apart.

  3. merlinfraser Says:

    Hi Jaye,
    I am glad you found the blog of interest; I know my thoughts and opinions on the subject make for uncomfortable reading for many people hopefully because what I write makes them think rather than just remembering what they were told. Last night I tried to watch a TV programme about a small group of devout believers who wholeheartedly believe the Bible is the literal word of God that the version of our creation is as stated in Genesis, that the world is only about 6,000 years old and are happy to accept that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together. They were taken on a bus trip to Western USA where they were to meet individuals with a more scientific approach to who we are and how we got here.

    You know what I managed only about 20 minutes of the programme before I had to flip the channel, more for my sanity than any other reason. For the life of me I cannot understand where these people got their absolute unshakable belief that they are right and the rest of us are deluded. What’s worse they are by no means alone and we allow them to walk around and they have the right to vote, I honestly believe that if it were any other subject than religion and God these people would be locked up in a rubber room for their own protection.

    I am all too aware of the imminent US election; it reminds me of a question I was once asked by an American friend about our famous annual boat race on the river Thames between Oxford and Cambridge universities. He said he had seen it on TV for the first time and thought it was a great race but how come we always end up with the same two teams in the final ?

    I have often tried to explain to our colonial cousins that we here in Britain have much more history than you do over there and you should try and learn, if not from our great successes them from our many failure. I have often tried in vain to explain that if Voting made any difference they, (the Government) wouldn’t let us do it, so I guess my unfortunate message to you is this I can predict 4- 8 more years of pretty much no change.

    I stopped visiting and contributing to HubPages a long time ago, more or less just faded away, very few even noticed I don’t think but I got tired of constantly having to defend myself and my comments from the attacks of the PC brigade, seemed to make little difference that what I said was the truth but if it upset the thin-skins them I was automatically at fault. I could have modified my activity to my more humours Hubs but I missed the opportunity for a great rant. My Inner Space opinions came under attack as being anti religious and a lightly veiled attempt to suggest that anyone who believed in God was Nuts ! So I thought I don’t need this and left, I know…I know cowardly in the extreme because it gives the bullies their victory.

    As you can see my decision to move on was never about money, to be honest I never made a bean out of Hubpages.

    I tried other venues for a while, I joined Linkedin and joined forces with a few other writers to help other writers but like Hubpages as a source of expanding my personal realm and gain a readership it was a lot of effort for very little gain. Like Hubpages I met a lot of great people and enjoyed the banter between us but also like Hubpages it was peopled by Assholes who were determined to spoil it for everybody else.

    As for your continued Hub pages existence I applaud your hard work and will be more than happy to read some of them, is the order Part 1, Part 2 Etc. important are they like chapters that must be read in order ? I ask because I am not entirely sure what you are trying to achieve with this method of short stories. Perhaps you could give be a better understanding of what you are attempting here so I can be more objective in my comments. Hope that makes sense.

    • Jaye Denman Says:

      Hi, Merlin…So good to chat with you again.

      Believe me, I understand your response to the religious fundmentalist groups. I try to avoid them, because I have trouble keeping my cool with people who want to cram their beliefs down my throat with no regard for what I want. It’s a waste of breath trying to engage someone in discussion or debate who is completely close-minded, and arguments make my blood pressure rise. For the most part, I’ve stayed away from religious and political forums on HP and elsewhere on the ‘Net. (I don’t “do” Facebook any more since a negative experience there.) Lately, I’ve let myself be drawn into making comments on forums with regard to U.S. politics, and that’s a waste of time as well. I’m trying to stay out of that quagmire for the duration of the campaign.

      Well, I’ve missed you on HP, and you had a lot of devoted fans who have probably missed seeing new hubs and comments from you as well. Occasionally, I go back and read one of your existing hubs. The “powers-that-be” on the HP Team mandated a profile page design change, and I was a holdout until the last. I’m beginning to grow accustomed to it, as you do anything you’ve no choice about anyway.

      But I do understand your reasons for going. There will likely be many more “hubbers” exiting the site if the HP technical team doesn’t figure out the reason(s) for the huge drop in traffic and either (1) do something to rectify it, or (2) tell us what we need to do.

      I’m having lots of fun with the short-short story form (flash fiction, under 1,000 word count). It originally began as a challenge to myself to discover if I could write a story in less than a thousand words that contain all the elements a story needs. It’s great as a fiction writing exercise, if nothing else. Then HP member drbj suggested that the second one I wrote could probably be mined for further stories. I decided to try and, after the next one, thought I might as well make it a series. The first one, “Fatal Irony, Part 1 of a Series” is actually the end of the overall story. Beginning with Part 2 through 11 (the latest I published on HP), they’re all back story.

      They should be read in sequence: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc. Each has a title, and I didn’t get the ‘Part and number’ into every URL (in fact Part 10 and Part 11 both read “11” on their URLs due to an error), so you have to look on my profile page to find the full titles and blurbs.

      I still have at least three more episodes to write to end the series. I’m hoping I can then take all the parts (which are like chapters, but with gaps in the time period between each one), flesh out the story and turn it into a book, either a trade paperback or an e-book. The people on HP who have been following along seem to be enjoying it and waiting for the next installment, but I’m not sure they’re objective. (They’re my HP followers, after all.) I’ve waited until so late in life to get serious about trying a book (I’m now 69) that I feel like the Grandma Moses of fiction! Ha. Anyway, if you have time to read these installments written in short story form, or even part of them and tell me what you think, that will be great. I don’t want to impose, but will appreciate your feedback if you have the time available.

      I have been busy lately, other than writing short stories and trying to sell vintage “stuff” on I’ve edited two other writer’s novels, one of which was recently published, and I’m preparing to edit a non-fiction book in progress. I enjoy editing, but it is time-intensive work and keeps me sitting on my tush for many hours at a stretch!

      I’ll be checking on your blog periodically now that I’ve found it. Take care,

  4. patgarcia Says:

    Let me congratulate you first of all on your blog. Nice work and I hope it brings you added attention for your books.

    As for your article, I believe you know that I disagree with you. I read your point of view and can respect it, but as in your Inner Space Trilogy, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed, I believe that everything in this world was created by the God that I believe in.

    The God that I serve doesn’t want us to stop thinking. He wants us to think, he wants us to be creative and more than anything he wants us to find our purpose in life. However, my rebuttal is not a provocation for an argument, because it is my belief that the world is messed up due to people refusing to take responsiblity for their own actions. It hurts them to think and they hide behind religion and point fingers at it for an excuse.

    I find the Inner Space trilogy written by you to be very spiritual in some aspects. That is one of the reasons that I enjoyed reading it.

    I look forward to your fourth book and even though you and I have two separate belief systems when it comes to God, I will read your fourth book because I believe we have similar beliefs about taking responsiblity and maximizing your own capabilites.

    Thanks for giving me a glance into your own theory of life. It was interesting to learn more about you.


    • merlinfraser Says:

      Hi Patricia,
      Welcome and always thank you for your thoughts and comments. I know you and I have widely different beliefs and of course that is our right in a society that permits the freedom of thought.

      I suppose where I might gently disagree with you about the one God that’s left is the word ‘Commandment’ religion is full of commandments. Ten main ones for the Christians while the Jewish faith add a couple of hundred more dictating pretty much everything they do, when and how to do it including what to eat and a lot more besides.

      Not being any sort of expert on the Muslin faith but from the outside looking in it seems to me their entire life is governed by commandments of one sort or another. You see to me the very word Commandment smacks of control.

      You see this is where free thinking took me away from believing what I was told, away from the ritual repetition and rote of the church and organised religion. I came to see that when you look very closely at the rituals of the three main faiths only one conclusion is possible; ‘Control.’

      Of course as you look you realise, or at least I did, that this long term mental control of the mass population is entirely manmade and has been around for centuries. Many accuse the Muslim leaders and Muslin religious zealots like the Taliban of using fear, intimidation and real violence to keep their control over the majority and it is true. Jewish religious leaders use ritual which they call ‘Tradition’ as their instrument of control. However Christianity was equally violent for centuries and so far is the only one where the masses rebelled to the point where we are today. How many splinter groups is in these days ?

      The point is that I came to understand that when you look deeper into the origins of religion you see the dirty hand of man all over it and what started as simple explanations of natural phenomenon to a fearful people grew into the superstitious belief that the dead had spirits and that only the Gods could wield the forces of nature.

      Of course I don’t expect you to accept or believe any of this, I am not here to challenge your faith, nor would I do so, I bring you this to show you I agree with your statement;
      “ it is my belief that the world is messed up due to people refusing to take responsibility for their own actions. It hurts them to think and they hide behind religion and point fingers at it for an excuse.”
      I agree, the only difference between us is that this lack of responsibly is not a modern phenomena but goes way, way back to the roots of which I speak.

      I hope you will always enjoy my thoughts and scribbles and the occasional rant !

      Bye for now


  5. A short comment from me: You already know I agree with your thoughts / words, but I enjoyed nodding my head in agreement as I read. It’s very good to see this blog and the thoughts of the author behind the Inner Space trilogy. It should attract those with similar views, although differing views create controversy and interest too. Well done. 🙂

    • merlinfraser Says:

      Hi Janette,

      Thanks for your comments, as you know I am not exactly a stranger to controversy because many of my thoughts and ideas are intended to challenge the comfortable norm for the many people out there who cannot or will not think about such things, preferring to allow others to tell them what to think. There again I don’t expect anybody to blindly accept what I say or think and I enjoy being challenged on the subject and I enjoy a good debate. Although I have to say not with the Close minded ‘Creationists’ out there who seem happy to say whatever comes into their heads as an argument.

      I don’t have a problem with those in society who need a God, or have to believe there is something beyond death, what I find near impossible to understand are those who will argue that the world is only 6,000 years old and are happy to believe that man and dinosaurs happily walked the Earth together.

      I look forward to the views of others

      Bring it On !!!


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