I thought I’d try intensifying my delusions.
NOVEMBER 3RD 2009 AT 1:03AM: The definition of nothingness. A body without organs is absolutely infinite. Allow me to explain. A being which is absolutely infinite experiences itself as a being which does not exist. Its infinitude without any otherness to define itself has no definition, no identity. Without any identity to append to itself, no organs, its infinite possiblity is experienced as an infinite nothingness. A seething void. It looks within itself and sees a yawning abyss. Everything and nothing, both absolutely infinite. The body without organs experiences itself as a collection of molecules, each one fighting to escape from the other along their own lines of flight, each one heading for its own exit. It feels absolute terror and pain as the last of itself is shredded apart, being pulled by gravity in every possible direction except inwards. Total freedom experienced in one moment of collision between intensity and flatline. The being does not know it yet, but it already doesn’t exist.
It tries to recover itself, tries to imagine itself as a finite being, tries to differentiate itself by simple linear arithmetic. One precedes two which is followed by three. There is no zero. This is nothing, this is just a delusion. Go back to sleep.
Time passes by only because it is recorded. “In the beginning it was written”, time begins. A sinister entity places a curse on the world as a necessary cause to creating it. Finite beings learn to do the work of recording, create meta-realities, meta-time, A-Time. Memories are the first written language, and like language, memories are a virus. What is perceived as a chain of events which happens linearly is in fact implanted in us from the past by the ARC Virus.
400,000,000 BC: An ancient proto-mammal catches a cold. The virus passes its RNA into the mammal, and awakens the ability for neuron plasticity. Clusters of neurons activate at the same time, the internal functioning of the mammal and its experience of the world no longer self-contained but rather subject to representing the world outside itself. The mammal experiences a horror beyond imagination: A horror at the experience of consciousness itself. It begins to perceive events as a chain that is able to be recalled. It is no longer an intelligent object, but rather it has acquired a primeval form of sentience, perhaps mercifully dying from the virus.
1842 AD: A monkey forces the birthing of Axsys via autoproduction. Neuron plasticity is bound to time yet experiences errors like any other machine, errors described as “false memories”. Dysfunction in the recording of phenomena inspires the need to virtualize the process. The monkey picks up a bone and thinks it can wield it instrumentally, that there will be no unexpected consequence to this. In creating a machine that can record memories, memory becomes virtualized. The existence of recorded reality as a molar entity is fragmented. Memory is given infinite possible expression, infinite direction. All things which have been and will be are now and always have been. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
I look back on a decade and see petals floating on the surface of a dark pool. If any particular day existed, its existence isn’t certain to me. At any particular moment I may imagine myself being able to perceive the world and record it, and know that the me who is having the experience of perceiving the world will cease to exist. At the bottom of the pool there are drowned, bloated corpses, all of them remarkably similar to each other and just out of sight. I throw myself in, feel the water rushing into my lungs, body retching, trying to expel the water, oxygen being cut off to my brain. Panic sets in. The pain is intense. They say drowning is the worst possible way you can die because the combination of physical and psychological agony can’t be found in anything else. So I do it again, and again, and again. I throw myself into that dark pool, I see the petals floating above, silhouetted by the moonlight pouring down from the uncaring night sky, but it doesn’t matter. Cut to black. Next shot: Looking into the pool again. An infinite nothingness throwing itself away, trying to escape itself, trying to dissolve.
I look back on a decade and realize that there is no me who is perceiving any of this. The existence of an identity depends on the existence of memory, and the existence of memory depends on having DNA from the ARC Virus inherited millions of years ago from an ancestor. The thing that I call myself has no such history. It looks back and finds that there is nothing. The expanse of time and memory does not even pretend to be illusory, it is false on its surface. The petals are half-submerged, they slip down into the dark water, I perceive myself feeling nothing at this. The camera pans away. I see myself wandering through dark alleyways. The doors are shut, the windows covered, light streaming out from the crevices under the doors and beyond the curtains. Whatever is perceiving these events has the nonsensical sensation that this thing is me wandering through the empty pathways, barely visible, translucent. It shuffles along, it stops, it picks at its skin, tears chunks of it out, scratches away until it reaches a phantom organ. It rips it out, it tosses it aside. The organ rots away in fast-forward like a claymation effect from a low-budget horror film. Camera pans away again.
The thing that I think is me passes through crowds on a campus. The scene is lit by a twilight fog, and all things are barely visible set against the gray background with a sun that is hanging from the neck neither rising nor setting. The figures are all black and move in a blur. They make no acknowledgement of the thing that is walking between them, nor does it acknowledge them. All intelligent objects guided by their own internal inertia. The audio is missing from this scene. The thing I call myself has its ribs exposed, the chest cavity gaping open and empty. The spinal cord is visible, the back is held together by a thin layer of skin and muscle draped across bones. Still, none of this has any effect. It stops. Cut to first-person view.
DECEMBER 16TH 2013 AT 8:15PM: A moon hangs in the sky surrounded by a halo. It stops to contemplate this. A the edge of the halo, the sea, and the trembling lights of the city below. It imagines itself at the bottom of that dark pool. It doesn’t know yet what the significance of that is. The thing is struck by the beauty of the moon, is fixated on the night, wants to be absorbed by it forever.
Drowning is the most painful death someone can experience. This is why a mandatory death sentence should be imposed on everyone. Forced drowning for all sentient intelligences, this is the only political program I advocate for. There has never been a real you, never been a real me, never will be a real anyone. Identity is a symptom of the virus that infected our ancestors. Memory produces an identity, a collection of things that have seemed to happen and seem to produce a thing out of them. A recursively defined set of data that has no origin. A shell that believes itself to have something within it, something other than the hard surface, something other than the cold machinery that acts of its own internal inertia.
There is one way out: Schizophrenia. I thought I would intensify my delusions, so I decided to pursue the feeling of my own nonexistence. I find that if I look into myself, I see nothing, I feel nothing, I perceive a thing which appears to act in accordance with the viral DNA running through me, but there is no essential reason for this. Phantom limbs, mental illnesses, twitching, sleep walking, the body’s nature as an intelligent object reveals itself in everyone and is reduced to categories that try to contain the rebellion of ourselves from ourselves. There is always the possibility for mitosis, infinite doubling. I look within myself and realize that there never was a real me, never was a me to begin with. The thing which appears to be me has no memories, has infinite potential, is a flatline, a corpse with some appearance of intelligence. It bites at its own skin, peels back layers of meat, rips out its phantom organs and claws away its face with bony fingertips. It breaks its own limbs and casts them aside, smashes its body against rocks, crumbles itself to dust, and yet the dust itself continues to act as though it is sentient. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so the thing exists forever, trapped in a time loop by the body it possesses which itself inherited it from some ancestral cold. Something that has never existed can neither live nor die.
FEBRUARY 27TH 2022 AT 3:09PM: There is nothing left.