My name is Darryl Sloan. Since my birth in 1972, I have lived in Portadown, Northern Ireland, a town infamous across the globe for violent clashes between the Protestant and Catholic communities – a conflict that has been totally irrelevant to me from my earliest years. While some were drawing the Red Hand of Ulster on their school jotters, I was more interested in drawing space battles.
From childhood, I’ve been a highly creative person, dabbling in art, writing, filmmaking, composing music and computer programming. In my twenties, I got a few science fiction stories published in small-press magazines; I composed music for several commercial computer games; my long-time friend Andrew Harrison and myself made several micro-budget horror movies under the name Midnight Pictures, one of which, Zombie Genocide, became very well known.
My primary passion from my late twenties has been writing. I’ve written and published two novels, Ulterior (2002) and Chion (2007), and one non-fiction book, Reality Check (2009). These three volumes have sold a combined total of over 2,000 books, which, while not enabling me to quit my day-job, is a huge success for a self-publishing endeavour.
To pay the bills, I have always worked with computers. Since 2000, my job has been as an ICT technician in a school. Some of my duties include web design, photography, and filmmaking. I consider myself very fortunate to have a career where I can engage in creative exercises that I genuinely enjoy.
A couple of quirks about me: I’m one of a minority of people who choose not to watch television. Rest assured, I haven’t turned Amish. I do own a TV, which I use for watching DVDs and blu-rays, but there is no broadcast signal pumped into my house. I choose not to watch TV because I’ve got better things to do with my evenings than allow myself to become a channel-surfing zombie. I watch what I specifically want to watch, then I switch the set off and do other things. TV is “57 channels and nothin’ on,” as Springsteen put it. Not to mention that television is essentially the replacement religion of the masses; it’s what people use to fill the void in their lives and to have their opinions shaped.
I also do not own a car, although I can drive, and for many years I owned a gas-guzzling 4×4. Around 2007 I decided I was going to start going to work, and getting my groceries, by bicycle, to reclaim my health and save some money. Best decision I ever made, and I stuck to it, although in 2011 I decided to invest in a motorcycle, as a low-cost occasional-use vehicle – with style!
I’m a material minimalist. Being extravagant or carefree with money does not come naturally to me. So, despite being on a fairly low wage, I find it impossible not to save money.
Women have not played a large part in my life to date. That may change, or it may not. Being in my forties and single is not something that I look upon with sorrow. It gives me a great deal of control over my life that married men tend to envy. Would I have written several books, if married with kids? I doubt it. Every life situation provides different opportunities that should be seized.
Religion is a subject that tormented me for a long period of my life. I became a Christian at age seventeen, but was continually torn between Christianity and atheism for the best part of twenty years. I could never make either paradigm work, intellectually or emotionally, and the fact that I took it all so seriously caused me a great deal of distress. I finally gained clarity at age thirty-six, when I began to research and understand more esoteric ideas, such as the notion of an underlying oneness behind the everyday experience of separateness.
I started to develop an appreciation for a worldview where phenomena like telepathy and psychokinesis would not be impossible. This led me to do my own experimenting, and I was able to obtain small but measurable results that I could not explain by mundane forces. My personal spiritual journey and my psychic dabblings became the book Reality Check. This slim volume I now regard as the mere prototype for a much larger and more significant work called I, Universe (to be published in 2015 by Skylight Press).
I don’t know what you would call my personal philosophy. The central idea is that everything in the universe is one, under the surface. The temporal, material universe is an expression of an infinite formless essence. A religionist would call this God; a scientist would call it the singularity. To bring both sides together, I simply call it the Infinite. Each human being is not an individual soul; he is the Infinite focused to a point of limited awareness within space-time (if that makes any sense). These ideas are not entirely new. Approximations of them were expressed by the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides and the Eastern philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. There are huge advantages in figuring this stuff out, in terms of psychological well-being, which has a knock-on effect in your day-to-day living.
This may sound conceited, but I consider myself to be one of a small minority of people who are seeing the nature of life with any sort of clarity. Most religionists are trapped in whatever beliefs they were raised with. Similarly, most scientists adhere to a materialist philosophy that they inherited without question. We’re living in the wrong paradigm, and hardly anyone can see it. That said, I get the impression I still have a great deal to learn, with much correction along the way.
Darryl Sloan, 7 August 2014