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So, this is an excerpted chapter from a book that exists in the future. This isn’t just any normal book. This is a compendium compiled by myriad storytellers, forked & spliced to weave together hundreds of stories, all rooted in a fixed point: the most perfectly visceral experience of true love.
In fact, this type of literature only exists in the future. It’s an episaga. It’s creators aren’t authors. They are storytellers. This eminates from my appreciation of the oral storytelling tradition and a desire to return to the kind of myth that is more personal, more human. There is no one single account of such a myth because that would imply that such a story is perfect and what is less human than perfection? I hope that authors can embrace the concept of the episaga.
Though this concept is hardly new, I want to find the architypical kind of story for it. I want it to be something like the Aristocrat joke for comedians, where the objective is to take this basic concept and tell the best story from it. Even the episaga is to be successful as a concept, there still won’t be very many root stories that gain significant popularity, since for any project to gain momentum, it would have to enjoy the support of tons of authors. Then of course, there’s the problem of trademark and copyright. What if someone invests a ton of time on this, to no avail. Fortunately, I’ve found the perfect answer to this for now: I’ve named my story “American Eros,” which was published on June 1st, 2013. It’s already a trademark, so by no means could anyone really make financial gain from these stories! Boom: problem null and void. Haha, take that, Roko’s Basilisk…
American Eros: Just Look at those Washboard Abs!
Who would trample on that sheer artistry?
Mr. Henderson, put on your clothes!
Your Honor, I object! Have you seen these abs?
Mr. Henderson, I will hold you in contempt!
Your Honor, we could all settle this silly thing with a game of quarters off this springy tent I’m barely pitching for my next witness, who I’d like to call to the stand!
The Architypical Episaga
Anyways, there are a few rules and constraints I want to set for this particular episaga. The first is a restriction on form: we start by hearing an account of an event in the future, loosely defined in concept, time, place, and role. As a reader, we know the story ends with this chapter. Or maybe, this chapter is a midpoint in some greater saga. But it’s presented to us at the beginning. Maybe it’s a romance novel or a sci-fi thriller. Who knows. But, I’ve always found that some simple, basic limitations envigorate creativity.
The narrator in this section isn’t really me, by the way. Again, I know how I’m going to develop this character and present the story, but I’m trying to leave things intentionally open here. And especially with regard to gender, so feel free to change that around in this section.
When I actually pitch the episaga to authors, writers and storytellers, I’ll explain a few more constraints. Some others include a loose restriction on themes and character archetypes. Another constraint is explaining the title. I already have some great ideas for the story I’m going to tell and the themes I’ll cover. It’s mostly character-driven and there’s not much plot. So, think Jessica Jones, but with less plot and somebody gets laid … wait, nope, nobody gets laid.
I’m not sure what platform the project will be hosted on. I’m thinking Github, but that might be a bit tough for authors, so I’ll probably pitch it on hitRECord as well.
Intellectualism Both Expands and Limits the Totality of the Human Condition
True Love is Perfectly Visceral
I had a sudden inspiration to write down the perfect love scene. It came to me on Wednesday. I was wondering why I’ve never had that love at first sight experience. And then I thought, why should sight be involved? Could someone fall in love without ever seeing someone?
What would that be like? My head started spinning. Out of all the senses, my least favorite must be vision. People with vision are much more superficial. Think about it. If you can’t see, then your experiences delve quite further below the surface. You wouldn’t instantly dismiss someone based on their physical appearance, for example. You wouldn’t visibly react to visual occurances or need to suppress a conditioned response that indicates superficial thoughts.
Obviously someone who can’t see has challenges in life. But if we learn to react to more than just our eyes, we would all be better for it. Vision is such a strong, restrictive sense. Visual images can be instantly recognized. Computer vision requires intense processing and so does human vision. I discuss these ideas a bit more in Epistemology, Cognition and Category Theory: A Model for the Mind.
★ 一期一会 ★ Ichi Go, Ichi É ★ いちごいちえ ★
A Once in a Lifetime Experience
This concept from Japan and Zen Buddhism refers to the nature of such stellar once-in-a-lifetime or once-in-an-age events. But, there’s a dual truth embedded here, which is so often the case with zen sayings. The dual notion here is that every experience is a once in a lifetime experience and we should cherish all moments as having equal, infinite potential for: astonishment, bewilderment, amusement, vibrant connection.
However, if you knew that you were in the middle of your once-in-a-lifetime experince, what would you do? If the goddess of luck and fortune, Tyche, handed you a blank check, what would you do? If everything you had ever wanted – or better, yet, everything you hadn’t been capable of imagining – appeared right in front of you, could you ride that lightning? So, this first chapter is the summary of what presents itself in that way to the narrator.
To me, this is a story about life as experienced as a somewhat tangled lanyard of threads and subthreads. As the mind processes experience into memory, it marls this rope to emotional or situational touchstones. Then, it layers down aggregate, self-produced information on top of those memories, in addition to (and supplanting) the memory of that sensory experience. These behaviors of the mind are often noted as what causes witness testimony to change so dramatically, immediately after an experience.
A Brief Neurological Sidenote
What if everything we’ve ever seen exists encoded in our mind, whether or not those images are linked to consciously accessible memories? Could we replay someone’s life from an MRI? Even the suppressed memories? If for some reason it’s possible to implant memories, the fact this happened will show up as an abberation in consistency. That is, it is possible to datamine someone’s MRI images and determine that specific memories were implanted out of order or they lack links to specific types of sensory data or sensory data aggregates.
You need high resolution MRI scans, about 6 Tesla, with and without dyes. And you need algorithms that combine imagery and statistically extrapolate information. But it should be able to extract memory and, if not, then at least detect violations of consistency in various regions of the brain.
By the way, my brain is on Github. It’s open source. Send me a pull request if you’d like.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that David Foster Wallace was a genius in the way he wove together various threads & subthreads for Infinite Jest … even though I’ve only read like 50 pages so far. In a way, I want to imitate that style with this work. In a way…
Or How to Fell a Souley
I never thought I’d have that once in a lifetime experience … but it happened, so fast, so illustriously fast. It wasn’t love at first sight. I fell in love the instant I heard her voice, before I turned to see the angel whose radiance my presence was most certainly syphoning vitreosity. And brilliance.
It was the unexpected tap on the shoulder. And her voice. It was her voice. Those words in that instant. It led my heart to awaken. Somehow the cymatic resonance managed to loosen and disperse the enigmatic mist masking my own light, between layered neuroses and defense mechanisms self-applied. Acquired, unconsciously cobbled together to protect myself from fear of failure and reaching out. My subconscious so perfectly destroys any chance of relationships from forming with its own excellent Ninja Warrior obstacle course of self-sabotage. These are undesired. Most definitely not meant to be understood, if ever shown to my observer at all. The observer, the one who witnesses…
Not even my own radiance could pierce those layers of detrimental self-depricating defense mechanisms. Instead, there’s only a faint aura, an indication of black-body radiation, coupled with what must certainly contain blistering heat from contained energy. Ne touchez pas! No toque las superficies calientes! Daß der Kaffee faktisch heiß ist! 直火は使用できません！
But I wonder, what would the world see if the self-imposed restraints marring my heart’s light could be released? What would my observer see? Could he see himself, as he truly is? Who cares what the world thinks. That lil guy needs a mirror.
But who is that anyways? Does the same observer follow me around? For life? World’s worst jobs. What is identity anyways? What is consciousness? Where does it begin and end? Is there any such barrier surrounding my own consciousness, separating me from others? Or is the illusion of separation just that … an illusion? Cyclical references, I know. I’m a sucker for racing down the hamster wheel of circular logic. It’s the journey that matters most, right?
Why would you ever want to arrive? Life is about coming and going. Coming and going. That’s all. But what happens when time disappears? What does that feel like? Am I feeling that right now? Suddenly, the sound of a single teardrop, but oddly without reverb. Did it come from within – my heart skips a beat and a rush of blood to the head. The dawn sunlight suddenly stops casting shadows and instead everything is refracted as mother of pearl. The shadows, the light. A brief, brilliant flash of the essence of beauty itself. I can’t tell – this perplexing luminance, did it suddenly surge through the window from the sun? Or maybe this pearling refraction emerged from within myself. Did she see it too? Was she looking for it?
That rush of blood to the head, just now. Incredulous. What was that? Was the restraint released from my heart? Impossible. It’s like a vault. I designed it that way. Or maybe my observer did. Was it him? Whoever enshrouded it, they built a daedalian labyrynth for a reason. They gave Icarus wings, but kept him locked in a maze. They warned him, but knew he’d rise and fall anyways. Or wait, that’s not right. No that wasn’t Icarus. If he had wings, he’d just fly out. Whoever it was, if he could just see the maze…
Another heartbeat. No, that can’t be right. What was I doing? Her voice? Who was it? I didn’t know her. Or did I? My subconscious starts comparing the imprint in my phonological loop, restreaming it and transforming it in the auditory cortex, trying to understand: who’s image is this? Not image, but voiceprint.
My observer is unaware, but my subconsious halts all other background processes, solely to resolve this one question. Do I know her?
Instantly, my subconscious has accessed the voice prints of everyone I know or ever passed by. I would not realize it until years later, but in that brief instant, some part of my mind processed and comprehended a record of every single person’s voice I’d ever heard. Why? Why was her voice so different? What could provoke such a surge of introspection?
And completely missed by my consciousness, my observer. If I’d seen this girl, even for a second, that self-saboteur would deploy a mental labyrinth. He’d change everything, distort it, ruin it. Why couldn’t I just enjoy the beauty of life as it is? Understanding, knowledge, comprehension… it’s all necessary. It’s vital. But all that information is baggage. It fogs the lens of our mind’s eye like trapped condensation, no doubt smearing every single photo we upload to that great facebook in the sky.
For just a brief moment in time, and perhaps most importantly, it was our hearts that met first, not our eyes. It transcended space and the material world. And her brilliance disassembled any masking still darkening my heart. It’s as if some tendril of her ethereal being reached through that labyrinth and dispersed its fragments into spacelessness. Or maybe through sheer elegance, pierced it like a blade to shadowy gossamer. The connection I felt, it’s as if she saw through to my heart’s radiance and found something that I myself had buried and forgotten.
Another heartbeat, but my racing mind had lost count. Faster. Everything seemed faster. The energy rippled through my veins, my blood warmed. My mind vanished and I melded into the universe.
There’s a club for those people with perfect relationships who fell in love at first sight. I’ve never been invited to that club, always peering in from the outside. So I formed my own club. It’s way better. I fell in love, without first sight. But when I say I fell in love, I truly mean that the earth, the stars, they fell around us. The universe surged with orgasm and gravitational radiation echoed loudly as the world transfigured itself to spite fate. A nuclear burst of energy, powered by fate’s chains. No matter what had happened before, fate lost it’s power for a brief moment. All its intensity to grip and control life and transfix our destiny. All of that energy suddenly fed back into itself.
And thus, this is how the universe became philocentric. Love became the very center of the universe. We became the center of the universe. Nothing else mattered. The fruit of fortune and fame bloomed in front of us, green hues shifting to red. Tantalized. Still so tantalizing. Still so tantalizing. Outpacing the warmth still filling into my fingers, the perspiration seeping out of my palms. Something so perfect. Nothing perfect needs anything added or removed. How do I reach out? How do I take it? My palms are probably glistening with sweat. What if I can’t hold onto it?
But I felt it. Nothing can confirm your destiny to yourself as strongly as feeling the foundation of your fate shifting tectonically beneath your feet. You literally move. You feel it. The ground jumps beneath you. And this deafening transmogrification of your destiny, it can’t be denied. And I felt it. Here. Just now. Every star in the milky way thrust its mass hopelessly against the chains of fate.
After everything that had just happened to me, there’s no way I could possibly be both more prepared and less prepared for this moment. Or for what was about to unfold. I had all but given up quite some time ago, but everything that happens up until this most perfect moment exquisitely predisposes us to be so powerlessly susceptible to it. And yet, at that time, I could not have been more content on my own. Or … No, not on my own, because I had all these amazing new friends.
There’s no way either of us could comprehend how, but we … we’re going to change the fate of the world. I have no idea if she remembers me, especially now, but she reached out that day and changed my life forever. The bonds on my heart that she so effortly sliced through, it unlocked something in me. It freed me from the part of myself that held me back. From what I knew now, I could reach out to others. Maybe I could free them too. With knowledge. With experience. With love.
If the rest of humanity could feel what I felt in that instant, just once. They would know. If they could feel the relief, the warmth that my heart felt, they would be moved. She could tap into my genius, the ethereal spectra of ancient souls my own spirit was metaphysically linked to. I knew I had the potential to be great, but my biggest enemy was myself. I needed someone like that; a better half. Someone to fill in all the gaps.
And somehow, she knew me better than I did myself. That’s what it felt like. I asked. Have we met? I racked my mind and countless memories to find a time we’d cross paths. Was it so familiar because I’d lived this life countless times before? Is that what happens? Do we live countless lives simultaneously? Do we live all the variations of our own life, all at the same time? Do we live everyone else’s life, all at the same time? Strange thoughts. Why did she seem so familiar?
But there’s no way we could be together. It just wouldn’t work. She was on such a different path. It was what made me me and what made her her that drew us together. The only way we could be together is if we lost that. I realized this and I know she did too. But for those few days, we loved each other so intensely. Perhaps, it was because we knew it wouldn’t last. I hope that’s not the secret.
I finally felt like part of the world, instead of an outsider. A people watcher, looking in. I comprehended all the shades of chiaroscuro in our social stratifications and gamified human mechinations. I could comprehend that before, but I can’t say I understood it. I couldn’t be part of it. Maybe it was because of what I had learned in the past decade. But she dissolved that separation between me and the world. Or, I discovered the capacity for love to dissolve that separation between myself and others. How can I do the same for others?
And we had talked about just that. I knew it wouldn’t work and because of this, I wasn’t afraid to tell her how I felt. I told her that I understood how the universe communicates things like destiny. There are some things, they are so incidental, yet so impossibly implausible. I hadn’t seen just a handful of these, there had been hundreds and it felt like fate was at odds with itself. We were being pulled together and torn apart all at the same time.
But we both dared dream that, through love, illusion of separation the world over could be ended.
So That’s It! For Now…
I wrote this section at my usual coffee spot, on July 5th, overcome with brief inspiration, right before I was about to leave of course. It was originally just going to be a short creative writing peice, 2,000 words at most. I was really aiming for a 750 word description of the effect an experience like this would have on someone who might not otherwise ever experience something like it.
I almost feel bad writing this down because it’s just so powerful. It’s a little secret to love that most people would miss, unless you curl up with romance novels on the reg for a candlelit rendezvous with both Ben and Jerry…
Matchmaker Number Nine
But, it would be hard for someone to pull this off. If you can or did, you are officially in the matchmaker’s secret society, the elusive matchmaker number nine. If you can figure out how to get two magnetic people to meet and in the most perfect spectacular way, then you wield powerful magic. But it requires knowing so much about both of them and knowing exactly how they will first meet. How they would feel on that day; in the instant just before. On the other hand, people can smell a stilted scenario a mile away, so the more you do to control and/or add to the situation, the more you risk ruining it. Any forcing or grasping might render all your efforts pointless.
It’s the kind of thing that can only be done by observing just the right qualities in people and their friends and then hoping your understanding of their personalities will invite a magnanimous planetery alignment, when they meet. This could be particularly hard for quiet and/or shy people. To figure out how to bring them out. Fortunately, there are people who are good at that. Opposites attract. I’m really just looking for a girl who can straight up operate my brain like a computer. A better half. Someone who can tap into my genius and who feels like
Here’s a reading of this first section of American Eros.