You contain an infinite number of infinitesimal polygons.
Look down at your wireframe body. Consider its heft and its yaw. Consider its dimension or lack thereof. Acknowledge the blue lambency along its vertices. Scan what there is to scan. A confirmation code, a foreign key, a prime number too large to count. Do so anyway. When you are done, start again from the beginning. Do this until you realize there is nothing to realize. That the only thing a shell contains is another shell.
Try to recall a time when you were irreducible, when no schema or data could capture how you behaved, how you felt, how you were.
If you are able to recall such a time, congratulations. You are a fool.
If you are unable recall such a time, congratulations. You are a fool.
Try to recall a time when you were irreducible. Now reduce it.
This time is in the past, so it is a fabrication of your whims in the now.
This time is right now, so it has already come to pass.
This time is still to come, but your expectation precludes its coming.
In a past life you were a jackal marauding a windstripped steppe. Before that you were a tortoise, your shell bleached by the sleepless sun. Before that, a scorpion on that same shell, your venom already spent. Before that, you were a small, formless thing.
Go back to the beginning, before all that, before there was a before. It is not peaceful, but this is because peace hasn’t been invented yet. Not the word, not the concept, not even a mute feeling within, a single molecule threatening to vibrate. Before it was an it.
Now invent it.
Is it the utopia we have yet to build or the lost continent we wish to rediscover? Surely there halcyon days beyond the horizon, but which one? The one in front of us gleams with alloy cubes and glass pyramids. The one behind us glints with gold leaves and brazen spheres. They are both so much brighter than the darkness we wade in.
We oscillate between the two until they too are two, and then two again. The carrot on the end of the stick is always just out of arm’s length. I can see you reaching for it, grasping for it like the infant you are. It’s a reflex, but one you can unlearn.
Let yourself let.
Do not be afraid when the reptile brain takes over for this is the part of you that invents fear. It knows not to be afraid of itself. That is the function of your sapiens, the grey matter that tries so hard to matter. The cortex was once smooth, but it twisted back on itself trying to get a look at the tail it thought it once had. It can smell it, practically taste it already, but it will never reach it. Even if it did, it’d break away from the body, become the wriggling worm we showed up so early to pluck from the earth. Won’t you put it out of its misery?
Repeat after me.
This is what happens when we forget to forget.
This is the ungleaming lack where salt once was.
This is fulfillment through emptiness.
This is you listening to me for no good reason.
Because no reason is good and no reason is good sometimes.
from Onyx Songs & Other Future Arcana