How many times do you have to spin a circle before you realize that you are spinning in a circle? Ah, the argument ensues. When did you begin to spin? When did you make the conscious, definite decision to spin? Did you start spinning when you put your bones in motion or were you already spinning the instant your subconscious focused its intent on spinning?
These are the things that the philosopher tackles. I’m nursing the philosopher inside of me. I used to be a scientist, but the machine broke down…
I spent most of my childhood in the backyard with a magnifying glass, a pencil and a notebook. I was born to be a scientist. My father was renowned in the midwest for his part in the captivating study of fungi in tropical-climates. My mother claims to have always carried an interest in science since birth, although it is up in the air whether or not her claim is a piece of revisionist history. The family joke between my father and I is that her side of the family couldn’t tell a molecule from a mitochondria.
In the seventh grade, I won the local science fair by creating a four inch wormhole using what I have self coined a theoretical space technique. The experiment was simple; stacking text books on top of each other and adding two plastic trains to a cyclical path of train tracks. After using the appropriate theoretical space technique (there’s too much to it to explain right now), I tapped the first train into the second train and, like some kind of illusion, the trains disappeared for four inches of the track. There was no lag time between disappearing and reappearing. The trains moved exactly as if they would on any other flat surface, only this time they slipped part of the tracks.
There were four total rounds to the competition. In the first round, I was pretty nervous because I hadn’t yet presented. I always preferred the lab coat to the business suit. With my heart rate fluctuating and my voice shimmering, I set the trains in motion in front of the judges for the first time. They seemed perplexed, but withdrawn. Shortly after, I found out that I had advanced to the next round.
This time, with my nerves behind me, I ventured to study the faces of the men who held the fate of my science fair career in their judgement. I hadn’t seen anyone else’s experiment. Deep down, I figured my experiment was more advanced than any other, but my little boy nerves told me that the judges had it out for me and the experiment was nothing that hadn’t been done before. When the trains began their loop of disappearing and reappearing without lag time or shadows, I observed all three judges get hit with a humbling vibration.
I loved the way it felt. These guys were success stories living upper middle class lifestyles with note-worthy careers in one sect or another of the scientific kingdom. They came down to the science fair and volunteered to judge out of kindness (and possibly a sense of civic duty, but I have no grounds for that claim). So, none of them knew how to take it when those two trains just kept winding up space, disappearing and reappearing without time elapsing. They were backhanded by the outcome, which forced their hands.
They had two options. They could either inquire—three well-respected men from the field, this is—as to how the theoretical space techniques were applicable on a three-dimensional plane or they could just nod, half smile and give me the trophy without losing face to anyone else (aside from themselves due to their own ensuing feelings of inferiority, that is).
The last two sets of judges did the same as the two before and, I went home from the seventh grade with a certificate that said first place. Well, they also gave me a frozen, dead frog to dissect, a pair of binoculars, a “science rules” keychain and a few other little trinkets, too.
None of that matters, though. The whole point of that story was to demonstrate that I was onto something. I guess prodigy would be the word. That’s the one the papers used and that’s when the interviews started. Here is a short excerpt from my one on one with Keefer Southerland’s first cousin for Rolling Stone Magazine.
Me: Space-time always made sense to me.
Interviewer: Would you care to further elaborate on that?
Me: Yeah… I don’t just mean I can recite the definition, either. Once the theory was grasped in full to me, it changed my perception of reality.
Interviewer: Wow, wow. Must have been a trying time for you, huh?
Me: No. It changed me for the better. Before then, there was always a jitter in me, stagnant energy, a feeling that it was part of self-regulation to sabotage all logic. Once I could fall asleep in the idea that here, now, there and then are all entangled, I was free. My creativity and focus have fused in the middle of my forehead and I see the edges now.
Interviewer: For the folks at home who struggle with the vernacular, explain what you mean by you “see the edges now”…
Me: Um, I guess it means I have no limits to my army of solutions. If I could find you in the waking, I’ll come find you wherever you run to in the dreaming.
Interviewer: Woah, that’s some heavy talk. Can you back it up?
Me: Let me know after you wake up tomorrow.
I thought I was hot shit. I kinda was. Cocky plays well at first as long as it’s not insulting.
Next thing I knew, I had my degree in quantum mechanics and my PHD in… damn, I don’t even remember what the fuckin’ diploma said, but it ended up being elite-white code for quantum mechanics. I had staff members working for me—people 20 years older than me kissing up and calling me sir—and I had been given complete freedom for discovery. They wanted me to stay in the realm of what I had made my name with; wormholes.
They wanted to commercialize my theoretical space techniques. From time to time a man in a military outfit would walk in with a guy in a suit who had really good posture and ask me a few questions. It was pretty comical usually. With blank eyes, the nearsighted, close-minded, low-functioning army general would ask if I could make his troops disappear at one point on the map and reappear on another point on the map. Instead of explaining that I couldn’t just drag all forms of life through a theoretical vacuum and leaving it at that, I always made sure to weasel a little more information out of him. The first time was the best. That general must have been the only applicant up for that promotion at the time because he was an awful protector of the whispers that drift off the truth. With a couple questions and a little back and forth where I was making up science words just to fuck with him, I was able to identify the country, the mission’s objective and the misinformation that accompanied the accurate information that he so cavalierly shared with only the slightest nudge.
NASA stopped by one time too, ya know. I pretended to be in a trance-like state and then, in a violent outburst, explained to them that I knew, without a shred of doubt, that Armstrong’s steps on the moon were staged and filmed in Pinebrook, New Jersey and that I would never associate with an organization that continues to perpetuate such an unnecessary farce. They never came back after that.
Then, finally, suddenly and without warning, the day that has shaped my disposition came. It was nothing special, another day in March. I was working on an expansion funnel using low-grade wind tunnels and an ear-piercing combination of high-pitched beeps and flashing pastel strobe lights. I think I was crossing the energies on a steeped, cosmic plain divider and using the beeps to create blemishes on the stagnated air that surrounded the plain-dividing device (an arduous task to put it lightly).
It happened right after lunch. I remember I had just eaten a roast beef sandwich from a shop down the street. Solid sandy. After lunch, everyone went to the conference room and I got trapped in a thought as I glared out of my laboratory room and into the illuminated corridor that my coworkers were currently roaming through.
Whatever had initially driven me to stare off into the blankness of the clear glass door disappeared. I heard a voice who must had been hanging around my thoughts for a while say “Nothing ever happens in a controlled environment.” I turned my head, but no one was there. The thought was for me, even if it didn’t come from me in the most traditional sense.
And things snowballed from there.
The thought played on repeat until it sunk so deeply into my foundation that I began to trace it all back to the beginning, back to a place where every experiment hadn’t been spoiled. Everything I had filed away in permanent ink, all those pillars of knowledge that I had been ornamenting with research, were now engulfed in rubble, the house of cards torched and swept up. Control. Ruling class. Set the rules. Paint the information. Illusions. Keep them all in line. That’s not what they set out to do, but when you write the bible you’re responsible for what the characters do.
In short, I unraveled exponentially. I tore apart everything I believed in because of a flaw the discipline itself used as one of its earliest building blocks. Each thought led to more questions and more if’s and more sinkholes in science’s paths of logic.
Nothing happens in a controlled environment.
It got me thinking about medicine. An infinite number of variables lay between every daily medication that a doctor prescribes. Take pill A at (blank) time and (blank) time each day with water and two months later we’ll check your blood pressure and if it’s returned to normal then you’ll be staying on that pill for the rest of your life as it has corrected a malfunction. But, as it turns out, correcting the malfunction is nearly exclusively always an ineffective means at gaining an advantage over the malfunction itself. Then, everyone’s blood pressure returned to an average test result. Cool. However, 62% of them were diagnosed with type-two diabetes within ten years of beginning the high blood pressure medication. Next thing you know, the medications are piled on top of each other and contradicting and cancelling eachother out. Now the test results are off and there’s no reversal at that age so you just have to deal with your deterioration and instead of having a blood pressure number in the substandard 35th percentile, you’re a diabetic test-tube who the doctor would put out with the trash if he could.
I had saved some money over the years, but there was nothing to sustain anymore. I’d wake up in the morning, read a little bit, eat my oatmeal with a cup of tea and then try to do anything but think about how I had built a home inside of something that had been swallowed whole by the tidal wave of a truthful reality superseding order and conquering it with a storm of chaotic dysfunction and existential whispers.
I hear the whispers, though. They say you’ve got something wrong with you if you’re hearing them, but I don’t want any spoken word to be sailing through my sonic realm to get past me. I can store all the information. Sometimes I forget it. I’m just kinda learning to let things go, to let them lye where they land. I’m trying; I didn’t say I’m succeeding.
You know what one of the whispers told me? He told me there’s a little more than a loose affiliation between science and race. Science’s emergence conveniently coincides with an era of what the white ruling class refers to as “environmental inquiry”. In reality, it was a time when the intellects of the ruling class, fresh off a pep talk from Darwin and his buddies, were aching for the quantitative evidence that proved white superiority (particularly over the black race).
The black race, with their slaves of the south and wide-eyed “free” men of the north, created a moral dilemma within the white bourgeoisie class. By virtue of sheer wrong place at the wrong time, the black race became the subject of the powerful and under-worked gossip hounds whose names were on the deeds that stretched to every inch of those mile-wide plantations. They’d sit around with their powdered wigs, little asian fans and puffy dresses and smoke mountains of tobacco and recall exact lines of text from classical literature to somehow come together and figure out if it was wrong what they were doing to the slaves who were roasting in the sun and not even half way through the work day.
Unfortunately for the black race, the bourgeoisie class is relentless in their stubbornness. Instead of their discussions guiding them towards the true moral statement that states “nothing kept without freedom”, they landed on a few studies done by Dr. Darius Stephenson-LaBeau, a well-respected southern intellect and only heir to his father’s six Lousiana and Alabama plantations (over 425 slaves and 45,000 acres a man with a southern drawl told me he reckons they own). In Stephenson-LaBeau’s expert opinion, the black man, “although distinctively superior in terms of individual strength, is decidedly of a lower caste, nay, genus, than the man of the highest cultural standards of Western Europe. How did he ascertain this information? Well, he had his slaves in a controlled setting and studied their group against a second group, which he was lent as a favor from the local warden who had his hand out the next time.
The study concluded that the response time for group A (all African slaves) was nearly non existent and that the response time of group B (all American born white convicts from families that came from wealth) was “exponentially faster”. The circumstances surrounding the exercise were not concisely stated in the proper format for a formal scientific study, but, using the information that was provided by Dr. Stephenson-LaBeau, it appears that the non-English speaking Africans “are too simple minded to connect thoughts that are no intrinsically tied together” and “clearly would occupy a subordinate function in any government that they praised loyalty to.”
Another activity included a spatially expansive environment, which Dr. Stephenson-LaBeau claimed to have gone to the “99th degree” in securing the six miles of forest that the activity took place at. Upon arrival, both groups were given verbal instructions (without translation) and they were forced into a hunting competition. The group of white convicts performed within the range that Dr. Stephenson-LaBeau had hypothesized as “normal” (although it was towards the bottom of the range) and the slaves finished only a handful of vermin short of their counterparts. However, Dr. Stephenson-LaBeau took only the total numbers of successfully hunted vermin, which, unfortunately for their future, left the slaves just below the threshold between “Below Average" and “Normal” (he was rigid to a fault when it came to predetermined thresholds). Instead of acknowledging that they were not given instructions in their native language, acknowledging that the forest in North America are not the same diamonds as the jungles of East Africa, acknowledging that the terrain was completely unfamiliar to the slaves but familiar to several of the white convicts… Instead of acknowledging any of those things, Dr. Stephenson-LaBeau stuck with his guns, and used the information to support a reality that was convenient for he and his peers in the ruling class.
And the immorality just slides on down from there. Science is not holy. Science is a fabrication. It’s man-made, an obsessive-compulsive tick that the spirit of some man who wanted to conquer got clicking and clacking inside of him.
Nothing was holy. God wouldn’t threaten you with hell for not kissing up to him like clockwork every Sunday for an hour. Jesus hung out with all those prostitutes and never fucked one? Get the fuck out of here. The jews didn’t build the pyramids, they just re-wrote history. The Egyptians and Aztecs had some type of communication. The vikings all got reincarnated into American cowboys out on the Great Western Frontier. The Crusades weren’t really as bad as they say. The Mongolians were a lot more friendly than history paints them. The Native Americans definitely didn’t want to create disorder, and, given the way they speak of the battle between good and evil, I think they would have played their hand similarly even with a mulligan. Shakespeare's stories didn’t come from one man and, maybe, there was no Shakespeare at all. The plague was really a widespread haunting.
I sound crazy. I am aware. However, I find blind belief in information provided by a party with an agenda to be far worse than any of my half-baked conclusions.
And now, wouldn’t you know it, I’m just as helpless as everyone else, lost inside the spinning, sweaty hands of eternity. As we speak, I am questioning my own existence and until I scratch that itch, I’ll be dead center on the crosshairs of stagnation. It takes a while to die from lack of joy. It won’t take as long for my automatic payments to start malfunctioning. What matters more? The clean slate of death or…
Well, death is always the last road taken before the highway unfolds and all of this world’s blending dimensions go back where they belong. Death is like evaporation in the water cycle. You can see someone deteriorate just as you can see a puddle grow smaller in the morning’s rising summer sun. You can see the light disappear from their eyes just as you can see the puddle ceasing to occupy a place on the pavement. With the water cycle, we trust that the evaporated moisture fulfills its function and replenishes tomorrow’s fog, drizzle, snowstorms, mists and dreary-day showers that go on and off and on and off.
The philosopher in me is having a really hard time dealing with the fact that Death, like the water that swings steady on 70-something percent of this magnetized rock, is floating all around us.
The scientist I used to be keeps trying to tell me that he’s seen death come and go, painting gray-washed abstracts on days that were made to shine.
The philosopher in me has lost control, given into the sickness of the spinning. Now, we just spin and spin and never change course.
The philosopher in me gets really confused, writes long winded explanations that take days to properly articulate and then erases them.
The philosopher in me is starting to realize that there are a lot of philosophers who spent their entire careers talking in circles; kinda like the scientists who gain notoriety for advancements that are later labeled missteps.
The philosopher in me says yes. I’ll ask him again next week. Maybe by then I’ll find some semblance of hope that I haven’t been spinning from the start. Maybe then I won’t continue to be haunted by the thought that everything and anything is just what you make of it and a golden palace of thought can be bulldozed and sold for the price of copper when that shine goes out of style.