The metallic taste in my mouth revealed the depths of my fear. Not knowing what else to do, I did what I did best and wrapped myself in a comforter of ignorance. It made things easier to deal with – at least in the short term. Tuning into my fear, my partners came running to my rescue with cries of: ‘if not for me, for the completeness of knowledge’ and ‘regardless of the outcome. ‘Humbled by their disciplined approach to the truth they said they’d help me – that was their job. I chuckled disbelievingly at their circular logic. But I could tell they weren’t lying. So, for the sake of the completeness of knowledge I took the high road and carried on. But I told them I’d be watching every step of the way, night and day come rain or shine and no matter how high I got.
There had to be better ways to keep an eye on them other than smoking more dope, but the risk of losing total control was unfathomable. Then something amazing happened: my mind expanded from within as if I’d walked into a personal TARDIM (Time And Relative Dimensions In Mind). While fear came with any unknown, believing freedom could be confined within my head or anywhere else for that matter was an oxymoron. Yet even when all known realities were held on equal footing, I still didn’t feel free. In fact I didn’t know what I felt. Whatever my true reality would turn out to be, I doubted it revolved solely around being a consumer.
As the hours and days went by, I retreated even more into my head. Every once in a while the outside world sent me a postcard as if reminding me of better places to be. A vacation would be nice, but I had too many things to do. Still…. Adrift in a sea of nostalgic feelings, life felt a little more worthwhile and more manageable. Yet even that was a tight-rope walk across a double-edge sword. Feeling more relaxed gave me more time to think about what I wasn’t doing for myself, which made me want to smoke more dope, which relaxed me more, but gave me more time to worry…. Trapped in an endless tug of war between responsibility and guilt made any vacation wishful thinking.
Feeling lonely, I turned to my helpers to see if I’d been missed. I had, but not for the reasons I believed. They looked frantic, even overworked. Puzzled by their capacity for feeling, they eyed me quizzically as if I’d taken them for granted and reduced them to mere objects. While it went against the concept of emotionally detached scientific investigation, even Bohr and Einstein had fallen into emotional traps. But I was only researching the need for a home and not some quantum variable to the nth degree!
I gave myself a peck on the hand to reassure myself I was still alive and, hopefully, some level of control. I looked up at the Universe and smiled at its deviousness. By turning to myself, I’d been tricked into making a choice: leave my life in the hands of highly strung imaginary entities or take charge. A few days without any sign of them made me glad to be finally doing things on my own, yet strangely sad because they’d become more than just imaginary entities. They, we, knew each other intimately and, more importantly, were on the same side working towards a common goal. The truth was I missed them and wanted them back. The only way I knew how was to work even harder at getting a place to live and include them in the decision making process. It wasn’t like I had anything better to do!
When the inevitable time came, I called on them and they appeared like genies from a bottle, but they’d changed. They were so real I had to give my head a shake – but it was no dream. Their beaming, peace-loving smiles and the warm love radiating back made me feel instantly loved and lovable. Through shy eyes I smiled back lovingly. Oh yes, how I’d missed them!
As a token of my appreciation for their commitment and hard work, I wanted to reward them by giving them names. As they blushed, I stood amazed at the depth of their ‘humanity’. By my own standards I was in uncharted mental territory, but that was what made it so exciting. Adrift in wondrous feelings, I did what I did best and rationalized it away: it wouldn’t last; it was only in my head; no real harm could be done and I could let them go after they’d fulfilled their contract. They panicked and pleaded as if being fired for not doing their job. I didn’t know why they’d think that – whether they were real or not. Not knowing what else to do, I got frustrated and angry, but that only made them angry too. I tried telling myself they weren’t real, yet somehow our pain felt intrinsically tied together. Their pain was my pain was our pain. Sitting with ‘our’ feelings I reassured them of the great job they were doing, but moving on to new things was part of the natural order. And I wasn’t taking sides because no point of view was more valid than the other. In fact, I needed all points of view to make a truly informed decision. With a sigh of relief, I smiled that my conflict resolution skills were still intact, but unnerved too. Something more was going on than met the eye.
As doubts reached critical mass, more characters popped into view. Confusion was met with stern looks of disapproval. It was abundantly clear I should’ve known who and where they’d came from. I was, after all, the boss. Not wanting to look weak and not in charge, I laughed it off nervously, even condescendingly and pretended they were ‘hired’ as a reward to help me get the job done faster. On the bright side, it was positive thinking in action and made me feel more important. Now with a team at my disposal – unwittingly or not, I could go on vacation and relax.
A couple of days later there was a knocking at my head. Not seeing anyone throwing stones at me, I turned inward. Amazingly my team was in heated debate over the interpretation of some of the data. Angry at being interrupted for something they were hired to do, I shouted at them to stop and get back to work – just like my bosses had done to me in the past. They stopped and looked at me. I smirked. Then they carried on again as if I didn’t exist! Feeling dismissed, betrayed, even impotent over the affairs of my own life, I shouted at them angrily. They recoiled like I was going to hit them! I was shocked they’d think that, especially when I knew what it felt like.
Tempers and insecurities flared and ricocheted. In a fit of rage one of them grabbed a handful of papers and threw them into the air. As they fluttered to the floor, I saw, felt, smelled and heard each and every single one of them. The shouting erupted again and my mind exploded. Feeding on my powerlessness, the scene became a barroom brawl. Appalled by such violent uncivilized behavior, I was drawn to a presence behind the scenes, to the engine that drove it all: my mind.
Startled, tumbleweeds blew across the dusty desert plains of my mind. With renewed confidence, I hoped to use my new found power like I’d read the ancients had. I took a step forward. Hearing a jingling noise I looked down to see spurs on cowboy boots and a badge on a vest. I felt like a sheriff out to ‘clean up that there town for good‘. I entered a saloon. Looking around I eyed the patrons, a bartender and a piano man. He stopped playing. Everything was like in the movies! I went up to the bar and ordered a shot of whiskey. Nervous, I fumbled in my vest for money to pay for the drink. Loud demonic laughter forced me to cringe in fear as all pandemonium broke loose. I shook, terrified of what had been unleashed.
Thank God I hadn’t eaten anything in the last couple of days or I would’ve shit myself right there and then. I despised being laughed and betrayed by those I thought I could trust and even worse by my own mind. I turned to my partners for advice, but they looked right through me. I couldn’t believe it. How could they do that to me? The research was for all of us, for all of humankind. Lost without them, I slumped to the ground in a heap and passed out; the brawl continued.
I woke up listening to nothing but the deafening sounds of silence. Afraid to think I’d never be able to think again, I shuddered at the consequences.
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