Monday, February 27, 2012

All Things Unknown

I went to find her. The voice in my head drove me to find her. I could do nothing except look for her and look for her, scouring place after place after place, until my body and mind was exhausted and I died.

Except. Except the voice in my head drove me to find her and I found her. I found her. I found her. I found her.

(Do you know what qualia means? It's a philosophical term. It refers to the subjective feelings we have. The pain of a headache, the taste of food, the perception of light. All of this is subjective. All experience it differently.)

I drove. I had no license (they take that away from you if you're in a mental institution), but I drove anyway. I was careful, I didn't speed, I didn't attract any attention. I followed the voice in my head that said find her find her find her.

(Can you distinguish between the colors of blue and green? Do you see the sky as blue? And what if you were to look through your friends eyes and see the sky? And you would notice that it was green? But you're friend would say it was blue - that all things green are blue, because that is what he perceives. Because all of reality is what we perceive it.)

I followed the voice in my head and the feeling in my stomach. The churning, the feeling of bile rising. I could find her with my revulsion. I drove down highways and through state lines and I kept going forward.

("Everything we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." Poe wrote that. What did he see? What was the world like for him? Dark and dreary and gothic? The world is what we make of it. But what if there was something that was beyond the perceptions that we know? Beyond all perceptions? We could only perceive them through our eyes, but they would exist in some state, somewhere, and they would be definite, they would be real, as opposed to the unreality of the world, the impressionist lines of our surroundings.)

I found myself driving into a town called Hope. It seemed a sign. And then there it was. The place where the voice urged me, the place where my revulsion forced me to stop. It was an amusement park, shuttered and closed, empty of all life. And the sign above it read: The Land of Make Believe.

(There are languages out there that do not have separate words for blue and green. There is no distinction. For some, there is no distinction between blue and black. Words. Words define the world around us, yet they are subject to our perceptions as well. "Schadenfreude" means pleasure derived from watching the misfortune of others. How could we ever perceive such a word? There are words that even we do not know the meaning of.)

I walked inside the abandoned amusement park and looked around. It felt wrong here, like I had stepped into a different world, a world that was wounded and bleeding and dying. The rides were rusted and nature seemed to be reclaiming some of them. It felt like something bad had happened here, something so immensely terrible that it affected the entire area, that the entire area was lost and dying.

(Do you know the word "sehnsucht"? It's a German word, like schadenfreude, but the meaning is difficult to understand. It's sometimes translated as "longing" or "yearning" or "craving," but it means none of those things. It's similar to the Portuguese word "saudade," which means an intense longing for someone or something that is missing. But sehnsucht is more than that. It means a longing for something that does not exist, that cannot be real, a longing for this unreality. C. S. Lewis described it as "that unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World's End, the opening lines of 'Kubla Khan', the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.")

I walked through that place and as I wandered, I found it shifting around me. It became something like a playground, but one in which no children would ever play in. I found myself walking towards a roundabout, those metal disks with poles that spin in circles. I could remember playing on one of them as a child and then falling off and throwing up.

She was sitting on the roundabout. As I approached, she jumped up and smiled at me. 

(How can we make a word which we cannot describe the real meaning? How can we feel something about a world that makes no sense? A world where the only thing that is real is what we perceive. And how could I have such a feeling? A sense of longing for something which is unreal, which cannot exist. How could I long for that unnameable something? I don't know, but I did.)

She smiled at me and before I knew it, I was down on my knees and she had wrapped her arms around me. And she leaned forward and whispered into my ear.

(Is it a dream?
Nay but the lack of it the dream,
And failing it life's lore and wealth a dream
And all the world a dream.)

I have no name. Perhaps I have never had a name. The name I thought I had was just a dream. The life I thought I had was just a thought. She has stripped away my dreams and my thoughts and my name, if I ever had one.

There is no way to describe it. This feeling of being nameless, of being no one.

I am nobody.

I am nameless.

I am Unknown.

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