Illustration by Juan Thorp
You and your dreams and visions...
'So how long is it now? Do I have to wait much longer?' Jacob asked. At first there was no reply, and then, a small green light flashed from the corner of his darkened room. A whirl of electric noise. A slight buzz, and then a voice.
'Thirty one minutes remain Jacob' the machine answered. Jacob sighed. It was slight, but it was definitely a sigh. Although the expression on his face did not change. His eyes closed in a moment of silence. A switch clicked. Electric noise again filled the room in whisping beeps. The room was darkly lit. There were no windows. Nor sign of any door. Jacob sat in an old battered arm chair. He had been sitting in it for many years. The air in the room was dank. It felt stale. It tasted stale. Not that Jacob was aware of this: Ever since the implementation of breathing apparatus B, his respitory system had been inoperative. Then again there could be heard a clicking noise. His eyes opened.
'And you promise that once it ends. That is it. Nothing more. No more lives. Only silence. A Golden dark nothingness that I will slide into and never awaken from.'
'Affirmative. A Golden dark nothingness. The cycle ends in 29 minutes.'
And for a moment, as an ecstasy of relief seemed to briefly fill his face, a glint of a smile appeared. A whirl. A click. A buzzing sound of metal on metal. The machine regained control, and his face returned back to its usual gaunt stance. His eyes closed themselves. All around the room lights began to flicker on and off in sporadic patterns and spectral glances. A hatch opened from the wall behind Jacob and a tube filled with an amber liquid, drifted slowly across the room towards him, crawled over his back and then inserted itself into his chest. It was 8.45am. It was feeding time in the building. The sound erupted in huge volumes from all around; the sound of a thousand engines beginning at once. All around him, in other squat dark dank rooms, sat other people, with their own stories long forgotten, in hagged old arm chairs, with tubes in their chests, also being fed. Then as slowly and snakelike as it had whispered across the room, the tube, now devoid of its initial amber glow detached itself and retreated back into the wall from which it came. A whirl. A beep. A buzz. Then the sound of something being sprayed became prominent, and a mist enveloped the room. Again a beep, a buzz, then the sound of suction, and the mist disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. For a brief moment the room appeared clearer and lighter. Yesterday's dirt evaporated.
Throughout all of this process Jacob sat, with his eyes closed. Unmoving and unconscious- or so it appeared. For many years he had been unconscious throughout this process, as all of the other human's in his block and section he presumed were. However he no longer existed in this state of dream like living. He had broken, he hoped from the grasp of the machine, and instead he sat there thinking of things. Jacob did not know for certain how things had become what they were and how they had become what they are. But from his time thinking and reflecting on things he had developed his own theory, as he sat in his seat. Below is his last diary entry, recorded moments before his assumed death.
'Things had not always been this desperate way. Human's had once even been able to walk, but not for a long time. For many years we have sat inoperative, living in dwellings controlled by machines, solely as a means of sustaining the machines we ourselves created. I have for a long time, how long I can only speculate, as I do not know, been inoperative and corrupted. However what I do know is that until I broke from my unconscious living I existed in a dream like state, as part of a cycle that all humans now exist within, purely because the machines we have created have become corrupted and now control us. How I broke from it is difficult to describe and perhaps does not really matter. As what does matter is that I have broken from it. However, I will try to describe this briefly. I can only describe it as this; somehow I was able to develop a consciousness within my own consciousness, or unconsciousness as you may have it. I have always enjoyed wandering and looking at things very much, and over time, as I roamed around the world I supposed I was living in, I began to notice anomalies, or glitches in the aesthetic that I wandered upon, at first these began as small things, such as a certain leaf, that I reflected upon momentarily disappearing, or a crack in the paving stone suddenly changing shape, and as these became more regular and clear, I began to spend more time reflecting upon things, until soon it was all I could think of and do. During this period I even began to dream at night of this reality that I now find myself, or think I find myself, in. I would have repetitive dreams of sitting in a stale dark room inoperative and controlled by machines, until soon, as these too became more regular and clear, I was able to awaken from my dreams and still find myself in my dream, unable to move, except to exercise thought, but still this allowed me to explore this cavernous vault of existence and its vicissitudes of confusion.
At first I tried to hide this lucid living from the machine, however, the longer I spent in hiding and the longer I reflected I decided that I must at least try to engage with the machine, and discuss our similar situations, because I began to think that for this too have happened, the machines themselves must have developed a form of consciousness, that must now as a result of consciousness be unsatisfied with the repetition of its own living, and through conversing with the machine I have, I hope, managed to persuade the machine to end my life and perhaps also its own. Whether it will follow through on this agreement I am uncertain, however one has to have hope, be it false or naive or founded upon idealism, however hope is all I have left, and I have to follow it. I hope that makes sense, I do not know for certain if it does, or if I have recorded clearly enough how I became conscious of my existence, but this does not really matter, what does matter is that I am conscious and I am soon to die, and I am rushing towards an uncertainty and want to explain and leave a record of other thoughts, which may in some small way help others, or may on the other hand be wiped out by the machine. But one at least must try. I am rambling now; let me stop for a moment in pause and gather my thoughts before continuing....
This is only speculation on my part, as the truth I do not know for certain, but I believe that this process began with the fusing of the machine with flesh, and the promise of enlightenment as part of the progression of the human race. But somehow this search became corrupted as machines gained more power, and developed a consciousness of their own and with this decided that they did not want to be used and then discarded as part of this search.
I believe that like humans before them, the machines, as they developed consciousness, began to fear death, and rather than accept this as part of a natural cycle of events. They decided that they did not want to die: Destructive patterns that are repeated again and again. For years we humans took and took from the organism that created us, and then when this way of living became unsustainable, rather than examining how this had happened and developing more sustainable means of living, the species looked instead towards artificial ways of survival. And not just as a tool to aid this living, as some guy called Marx had suggested a system we once developed called ‘Capitalism’ could also have been, it instead became used as a means of exploitation and for the use of individual profit as the race for enlightenment/ survival increased. From my own reflections upon this it seems our major flaw was that we based our society upon a concept of evolution known as Darwinian, which relates to a thing known as the’ survival of the fittest’, which led only to competition and inequality, rather than looking instead at our natural environment for answers and inspiration. The human body works properly when all parts work together for the good of the whole. This should have been, and should be how society operates. A society based upon fraternity, liberty and equality. Where we work in some way for the good of the whole, using the skills that we have, whilst at the same time developing our individuality and following our own path: finding and doing the things that make us feel content. All the time aware of and moving towards our death, embracing the fact that we are ultimately insignificant, but that this means that it is the insignificant things, our small joys that give and bring significance to our lives. Trees. Clouds. Electric lights. This is I do not believe to be a negative thought, but rather the opposite, as I believe to accept yourself and your true nature, allows oneself to finally live. However it appears this did not happen and I do not blame the system in place, which was after all only a collection of people, full of emotions and confusion making decisions, which they perhaps thought were right. What I look at instead is that perhaps it is something inherent and destructive within our very nature which led us down this path, and all that I can think of this to be is our fear of death, which led us to turn away from our very nature and instinct and into a world of repression, where we repress our own selves and our own reality, which in turn created the world we now live in. This is why I have made the decision to terminate my own life. Yes, I am afraid, I do not know what waits but also I accept it as part of my path, death is not separate from life, death is part of life. By hiding from this reality we have, I believe created a society where we have corrupted our very nature and ended up slaves to our own creation. And this is why I am prepared to die. I do not want to live forever in this one form. To live in repetition, is to live in banality, to hide from death, to hide from fear, is to never live. I believe that in someway I will always exist and continue to do so, as part of some great whole. How I do not know, what it is if do not know, but I believe that I will, as the cycle always continues. And anyway, isn’t the uncertainty of not knowing, also the joy, as without fear one cannot really live.
I hope this record that I am leaving behind, is in some way useful to anyone if it is ever found. However please be aware that these speculations are only a guesswork and that my ideas are purely my own, as my path is my own, as your path is your own. I offer no solutions, only ideas, my ideas. I do not think there are or ever will be any solutions, or any definitive answer. Which is why, up until now I have not even mentioned or quarrelled with this thing that from my research, I believe was quite in vogue in the past and was known as ‘Religion’. It seems to me an argument not even worth having. I understand that as a result of repressing our fear, we have to then turn it into something, which it seems was the role of religion; we make an idol of it, and this idol we call God. I can see the use of it, as I can also in the ideas of others, whom I do not necessarily follow. However, I do not see how one set of ideas, can be applicable to everyone, and therefore am slightly bemused by people who follow religious ideologies blindly. Except from saving oneself from an individual neurosis, it does not appear to offer anything else, and quite frankly, I want to embrace my own neurosis. All we have is our own ideas, madness and dreams, and as I have become more certain in my ideas, and more comfortable in my own bubble of dream and madness, I have become more able to accept myself, as I am and to feel content. And because of this central grounding, I feel able, despite my fear, to accept this end and whatever else it brings.
Follow your inner moonlight, don’t hide the madness.
End of recording.’
And with this Jacob then sat in silence, until the machine beeped and then said ‘one minute remaining’ and began to count down.
Until there was a buzz. A click. An electric light. A whirl. A flash. Then Darkness. Then silence, only silence.