If you missed part 1 then click here to read it first (and watch out for the cucumber sandwich).
It’s odd when you take in a view. From where you are to where you can see, there’s this space between you – and whatever it is you’re trying to connect with – to what it is you’re looking at.
I’m sitting down from hours of walking on a Sunday with a lot on my mind. Two weeks of thinking things through, learning about new stuff, researching more stuff and slowly coming to a new, and not altogether pleasant, understanding. There’s a limit to how far you want to reach as you constantly turn back on yourself to doing simple things – it’s safer there; it can’t just go on and on in your head. You have to set your own limits.
I’m held still by a stronger presence of light hitting my face and warming my skin. Then, in my own mind, a thought appears before I even know what I was thinking before: “It’s not the heat of a star I’m feeling; it’s the atoms and molecules that make our atmosphere dance with the solar particles coming from our Sun – shaking out their own energy as heat. There’s none between where I am here and the Sun, otherwise I would be less than even vaporized dust.” My eyes are closed, but I’m sitting upright. I can feel the soft grass in the palm of a hand, which is slightly behind my back, holding my weight. It’s cold, which I find strange for a moment – a sensation that I can’t recall being there before. A bright red flash of color collides with the back of my eyes, through the layer of my eyelids – and I’m awash in what I can only describe as bleeding to death in my mind. I am not the same person I was a month ago.
My other hand is rested between my thighs, my legs stretched out and crossed. I flick my eyes open and, at first, there is nothing still but a dazzling cascade of color; impossible to describe green punching dots right in the middle of my sight and fiery red splashes around the sides. In the middle of the view I know is there, is an unbelievable sight of yellow-orange, saturating a valley. I can’t see anything that registers in my mind.
I can hear voices. They start from behind me, then to the sides – and then, there are no voices. There is a sound that is silent – I sense it right in front of me – down there somewhere, in the distance, within the valley. You can’t hear it, but it’s there. Even a solitary view has a sound. It goes through you, in you and then out of you. It’s as if the air in that space has become an acoustic beacon travelling outward from somewhere out there in the distance, blending in symphony with a crowd of voices seemingly hanging in a gravity that can’t pull it down.
I hear my name, and I realize what it is that has happened. I have been asleep – or as close to. When I came to, I was not aware that I was awake. For a moment, I knew that I was here and then, not here. These strange sensations started to happen a month ago, when I began a blog about the Digital Age.
Before, it was clear to me and to the time I am now in, that every sensation and every view I was seeing was really there, but now it feels unrealistic and absent of any truth in it. As if I am being given a suggestion about what it is I am supposed to feel and what it is I am supposed to see. The sensation and view I am experiencing is interrupted and my thoughts scatter. This isn’t the first time this has happened.
“How long was I out?” My voice sounds like I have a very dry throat. I feel thirsty. One of my hands is still numb and I clench it just to get the blood flowing more. I hear a russling movement on the grass; the way in which grass has a quality it shouldn’t have. “Longer than usual. Two hours.”
It’s not unusual for me to fall asleep upright as I am, sitting on the ground. I could feel one side of my back was as stiff as anything I’ve felt before and a second indication gave itself away when I turned my head slightly. “Ouch.”
I move my head more slightly than before, but not in any specific direction. I didn’t know exactly where the position of the voice was, but I knew to whom the voice belonged to – a greater and encompassing cacophony of sound is still all around me, enhanced beyond how I normally think I hear – and for some reason, it felt like watching television in a living room with sunlight streaming through the windows with all the sound outside slowly coming in as each window was opened one after the other. My eyes are closed again, still recovering from a complete green-out in my vision. “My back’s stiff. Is there any orange juice left?”
I’ve already raised a hand, which still feels numb and cold, and I feel something round-shaped and its surface resistant to pressure move into my hand. With my eyes still closed, I raise it to my mouth and feel the lip of the object’s rounded features touch my own. I could smell the chilliness of the orange before I started to drink. As I drink, I can’t help but feel for a moment that I am, once again, taking in the view.
I know that she’s talking again and it wasn’t deliberate that I seemed to be not in control of ignoring the question. I am distracted all of the time. Once again, a view opens up inside of me and before me. Right there, as my eyes open is that view again, one I have never seen before, and yet, every week that comes by. Somehow, my arm is outstretched before me like I had no control over it; holding a transparent object to the sunlight and I think, “All that light passing through the orange…” and then another thought, “Because atoms are mostly empty space.”
Time is passing. I can feel it now more than at any other time in my life. Things feel wrong, but it also feels completely normal – as if it has to be this way and not the way I think it should be. “You’re doing that again.”
“I know, sorry… When did I do it the last time?”
“Two hours ago.”
I gulp down and finish off a clear plastic cup of orange juice. I couldn’t imagine ever going without a drink when I felt thirsty.
A Day Imagined
What we have imagined in the last 100 years, when we looked up in the night sky, all of it – no matter how insane it appeared to be – looks like it is actually going to be what we imagined something impossible would look like if you were able to do it.
The stuff you see in Sci-Fi movies is already happening, and I doubt we can stop it. When I look at what scientists are attempting and what they’re saying; seeing not only what it is they’re attempting to do, but what they’ve already locked themselves into for the next 30 years, you know that somewhere in one of the many scientific fields that deal with absolutely unsupportable ideas, that somebody has a pretty good idea what’s going to happen either way whether it’s to be believed or not.
When you reach a certain age, anybody over 50 will you tell you this – 30 years is nothing; 30 years was shortly before yesterday when you forgot a birthday and it still bothers you. It’s when you visit your Grandmother and you notice her looking at her withered hands and she says, “Are these hands mine?” – she’s not crazy or losing her mind. To her, 50 years ago was last week and her wedding day is remembered as if it were being painted before them by an artist of renown. Ageing is simply not a part of anybody’s consciousness – it’s almost a relief to think of it as two things being separated by a fairly obvious arrangement when time began and consciousness got pulled into it and dragged mercilessly along its infinite, and unknown, length.
The unknown future is coming toward us at an unprecedented speed. Higher than it’s ever been before. Nobody has noticed just how far we’re going; that there really isn’t that much more we need to understand so that it can just be placed neatly into our Digital Age as another reference. What’s there seems to be waiting for us to do something with it, and there’s a lot of it and we’re poking at it to see what it does from one side of the mirror to its other side. And in each one of these miniature mirrors, there seems to be a version of everything we see around us, as if it were some kind of unseeing projector deflecting itself and then reflecting everything back into it.
It’s like the Digital Age is waiting for us to wake up so it can put itself away on a shelf and be forgotten.
Science is not what it appears to be. Scientists are thinking they’re saying one thing, when they mean another. Scientists seem to want to get to another habitable world as soon as possible; as if they already know they can generate the power necessary to do it. They’re searching for something that doesn’t have any relation in a normal thinking human being; talking their way through an abstract hundred billion dollars that they need, to do it.
But then you know they can. Trillions of watts of energy is yesterday – hundreds of high-powered lasers firing into one position in space, slamming into a small piece of matter and heating it up; they can heat things up to temperatures only found in stars like our Sun. It’s like nobody has paid any attention to just where we’re going with all of this. It’s not about how much energy we have to heat your home and a billion others like it – to keep us safe and sound; it’s energy that can produce enough momentum in deep space, where you would hit speeds of a million miles per hour, before the Earth was too small to see – other than it being a vague blue dot – in a matter of days. People will be going not just to some remote destination, they will be leaving the reality of existence behind – too far to even think of where they are in space-time – “… sorry. I didn’t catch that.”
“You’re doing it again. There’s more left if you want it.”
“I was just thinking. Did you know that the speed of plasma when it gets hot enough, and you direct it like a rocket booster, is a million miles per hour? And the hotter it gets, the faster it moves. Rocket boosters exhaust heat at seven thousand miles per hour. It’s a w-”
“I know. You said it last week.”
“I thought I said that to David.”
“I told David what you said; you mentioned it to me first.”
The Digital Age is linear, but it’s also going in reverse at each end and waiting for its middle to come to a point and just suddenly wink out of existence.
From a perception of infinity to an absolute zero, the approaching Quantum Age has no boundary between an infinity to an absolute zero. It simply doesn’t exist, because it doesn’t need to be anything to be everything it already is. We’ve been poking a stick in a quantum ocean for 30 years, but it’s no longer causing ripples; they’re becoming waves. One after the other. As those ripples span outward, they come back to the source.
I notice her reaching into the bag and take something out. “Do you want to finish this cucumber sandwich. I’ve already had a bite out of it.”
Sometimes, I wonder if the reasons things add up, and subtract in the way they do, it’s the universe making the best of what it’s got and tries to make it better for all the visitors that have gotten stuck within it.
“Sarah, I can’t think how to end this.”
“I can’t seem to end this blog I’ve been working on. I have it all in my head and it just seems to be leaving me all of a sudden.”
There’s a pause of momentary time between us – it’s strange – and for the first time, as I look up, I see her as I saw myself looking out across the valley.
And then she says it like I knew what it was all along.
“I’ll miss the Digital Age.”