["The Riverrun Dummy" was published in Zahir (Unforgettable Tales) Spring 2005 (Issue 6), edited by the undefeated Sheryl Tempchin. I always wanted to write from within the "common sense" space-time perspective that Stephen Hawking said would replace the Newtonian one in a generation or two. Most people still frame the world through Newtonian lenses, but more and more often, I look at a four-deimnsional landscape, at least in my imagination. Apparently it requires more than the funerals of a single generation to accomplish this magic.]
The Riverrun Dummy
by Richard Thieme
My Position on the Faculty
Being a teaching assistant certainly has its moments.
The last field trip of the season from the Academy to the Riverrun Ranch out here in the mountains is intended to last “all day,” but by late morning, all but the dumbest kids in the class laughed when I said the words “late morning” and “all day” which they would have heard so unselfconsciously only hours before. That meant they were beginning to connect time-expressions either to a subjective field (their own) or a star system and its seasons (again, their own), which were in fact two sides of the same coin. Star systems can not exist outside of the subjective fields that construct them as systems and subjective fields never exists independently of the systems that inflect them..
The kids who laughed were getting it. The kids who didn’t would in all likelihood be culled before the year was over (this particular field trip has good predictive value, not a hundred per cent, but still, pretty good); they will be profiled, adjusted or made new, given different names, then entered into the system once again for modification and training. That will mean interlacing new designs of memory, perception and cognition with all the other designs in the solar system, orbiting cities, and colony ships so they will not be redundant or useless. By “redundant” I mean in the technical sense that “there are more than enough of that sort already, nearly identical in skills and perspective” and by “useless” I mean that their capacities are fatally anomalous, too far off the skew to integrate into the matrix. Often it’s only the timing that’s off, but timing, of course, is everything. Out of synch, they are beyond nexus.
That wasn’t our concern, of course. That’s how our civilization handles the inevitable sludge of a trial-and-error designer society. Our job was to enable the collective-in-residence to do an experiment that altered the interior space of a Dummy in all dimensions simultaneously. That would include doing a time trial, so we had to make sure the kids took in, comprehended, really “got” the module on duration and the subjective field from which it emanates so they could do something with it. Otherwise the parameters of the Dummy’s subjective field would be stretched too far out of shape. Anyone who has ever dealt with that funhouse mirror-looking kind of mess does not want to do it twice.
The learning module on duration can take forever – or a day. It all depends on the pace of the collective.
The Philadelphia Experiment
The kids always like hearing the old stories. UFOs, crop circles, even legends like the Philadelphia Experiment, are perennially sexy.
Yes, I told the class, the story is silly on the face of it, even sillier after you drill down. An electromagnetic field displaced – something – so that a battleship disappeared in Philadelphia and reappeared in Norfolk, miles away. Everyone on board, of course, flipped out, lost it, whatever. They would have, too. The chemical basis for recombination after the event could not have been known, so even if they had lucked out and displaced spacetime as some claimed, the crew would have been totally unable to make sense of what happened. Hence the event would have been useless (as defined above). It would have been terminally anomalous.
The value of anything (I felt it necessary to explain) is its degree of malleability or maneuverability in relationship to the human field of subjectivity. Anything that cannot be subjected to the force field of intentional consciousness lives in what we call the wilderness. It’s outside the fence. That force field emanates and expands according to points of reference which are mathematically precise and biochemically determined. Everybody knows that. So how we are designed defines what we can know and how we know it, defines in effect who we are. Identity is destiny. Once we interlink points of reference in our “individual” modules (as subcells used to be called) and create a collective, that collective has a unique set of reference points too. Those points determine the identity and hence the destiny of the collective. At top-level we’re talking about all of humankind but at supra-top-level we mean all sentient beings. A multidimensional lightmap shows the complexity of the relationships between those points of reference to be almost beyond comprehension. Only the most sophisticated algorithms like SevenHundredFourteenFish or DiffieLitter can capture the magic.
We call the collective at its most useful level of abstraction a nation. Then subcells or individuals project the gestalt for nationhood onto the template and – bingo! – there you have it: nations living among nations, nations living next to nations, nations on top of nations, interpenetrating one another, almost indistinguishable but at root, their boundaries defined by how they frame themselves as possibilities for meaningful action, they are worlds without end. The subjective fields defined by the parameters of every collective are finite but unbounded.
That’s our paradigm. Love it or leave it.
I personally love being alive in the twenty-second century! How could anybody made or born before this era even have stood being who they were, there, then? I’m amazed our ancestors didn’t just off themselves when they had the chance. Maybe they had a premonition, especially the generation that spanned the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, being as they were the last generation to be merely born, that their designer progeny might have a shot.
OK. I digress. Back to the lesson.
Spacetime does not adhere to material existence because “material existence” is an illusion. Quantum flux distributes possibilities not entirely randomly but certainly without fixity. Spacetime is woven into the fabric of the field of subjectivity itself. It is a function of consciousness. Consciousness co-creates the quantum flux, making it cohere. That means that how you hold your “history,” as we call it, that collection of memories designed to provide a workable model of possibility for you, a set of points of reference that disclose options here and now (what we call the “future”), is biochemically determined. Yes, it’s true that everything is biochemically determined, but it’s important for this particular lesson to underscore that this too, our sense of continuity and coherence, is also biochemically determined. The illusion of a persistent self emanates from code expressed through biochemical constraints. The spatiotemporal dimensions implied by those constraints define our fields of perception.
OK? The class nodded as one. OK.
Because your history is designed, so is your sense of duration. No, I shouldn’t say “because.” Erase that. Write down: your history is designed to be self-evident, axiomatic to self-awareness, and so is your sense of duration. You locate yourself, discover yourself, in a stream of illusory temporal and spatial mobility in which you are carried along by subjective impressions of time passing or moving through space. The illusion of movement is anchored in the illusion of memory and is designed to calibrate with the pace of the other beings webbed in your collective. Otherwise you can’t see them, just like the Philadelphia Experiment. See, that’s the point of the story. People who inhabit different flows never make a nexus. That’s how come you recognize one another when you meet on the street even before you’re introduced. Nation knows nation, we like to say. You are calibrated to believe that “time” is “passing” to the rhythm of your particular nation and you develop a sense of shared experience as a result – equally illusory. You exchange symbols as if they mean the same thing which link your unique “memories” in a shared illusion, an historical narrative. Everyone believes they understand the same thing or at least something sufficiently similar to work together. So they do. Those who barely impinge are barely present and those who are irrelevant are invisible.
That’s how come our paradigm works. Get it? We all inhabit the same space, but not really.
A hand shot up. Miss Renley’s. My poor heart skipped a beat. Oh beautiful caressable Miss Caroline McConnell Renley.
But you’re talking as if time and space are separate. Aren’t you? When spacetime is what we’re talking about.
Very good, Miss Renley. I intentionally used an archaic way of speaking to communicate why the Philadelphia Experiment seemed anomalous in its context. The incident never happened but twentieth century people told the story as a way of trying to come to terms with what the concept of spacetime meant for them, how it might change the way they lived. They were commonsense Newtonians grappling with Hawkinian implications. They described the arc of the trajectory as if the ship moved from one place to another when in fact they were struggling to define displacement in spacetime. Their mindmaps lacked the coordinates that could make sense of that trajectory.
Miss Renley perked up, her eyes brightening. Spacetime coordinates have to make nexus in all directions, don’t they? she said. In all dimensions? If something is too fast or too slow, we can’t see it. If it’s too little or too big, we can’t see it either. Ants don’t get that dogs exist, as the ancient seer said. Isn’t that right?
Yes, I said. That is exactly right. That’s why symbols are necessary. They make little things big and big things small. They manage complexities by conceptual fractal linkage. You do the math, you inhabit the graph.
I was so thrown by a conversation with the adorable little minx – I hoped no one noticed – that I decided to amuse them by using the names of some of their favorite historical characters.
The druggies that we celebrate today as heroic antecedents – Samuel Coleridge and his opium, Timothy Leary and his LSD, Freeway Ricky Ross and his crack cocaine – discovered how chemicals accelerate or retard the illusion of flow. Two people are in a room, say, one dropping acid and the other a straight arrow. The acidhead watches the other float until he is moving so slowly he seems to stop. The straight arrow meanwhile watches the acidhead speed up and vanish. His markers in spacetime accelerate until they blur and disappear. The two streams barely intersect, but the next day, they will say they were both “in the room” and exchange a common memory. That exchange reinforces the illusion of linkage. The room itself of course is also a consensual hallucination.
Even when they use the same language to describe what they think is the same thing, what they experience is different. .
OK. Back to the Philadelphia Experiment. Everybody around you is slow, you move fast, you become invisible. The ship, they said, disappeared. Zip! Or you move normal but others ingest chemicals that wangle a slowdown – same thing, you’re invisible. Or forget about ingesting, which is quite a primitive technology, and instead alter the genetic code and engineer fast or slow using subjective vectors that have objectively measurable parameters. This time you do all the math up front, in other words, but again, you’re invisible. The methodology, don’t you see, is irrelevant. Civilization from one point of view is nothing but the perfection of useful methodologies. It’s a glorified toolbox.
Now, when you know how different nations see and can’t see, you can manage the flow of perception at top-level too, at the level of conception. You create the stains as it were that make the visible visible. Everything else is background. It simply doesn’t register. Then we calibrate the flow at the levels of perception and conception so they become seamless. What someone thinks happened interlaces with how they think things happen, period, which in turn is determined by how they perceive things to be happening. Which is exactly how things do happen – for them. Their bodies and minds always construct the same things, generally speaking.
In the absence of anomalies, the paradigm is king. Everything else is invisible.
The macro task, then, of nation-building, which some of you will execute on all of our behalfs, is to create plausible narratives that enable each conceptual level to cohere and interleaf with the one below all the way down to bottom-level where the subjective field is generated biochemically. Bioheritage and culture become one, then — seemingly natural (yes, you had better laugh at that word), apparently spontaneous, always invisible, a seamless weld that filters the sensory inputs of eyes and ears into the only receptacle capable of accepting them – the brain of the collective, the national purpose, the mind of society.
The Bars of the Cage
It was time for lunch but I was still thinking of Miss Renley and the way she looked when she asked her questions. In fact, I was undone.
The preconditions were perfect. Miss Renley’s hair was long and dark and I had a gene that twittered for that. Her voice was raspy and I must have had a recessive gene for that too. Her eyes were bright, the entire room lighted up when she entered and it wasn’t just my imagination, the room did brighten even when my back was turned. Above all, her mind was a candle that burned with intensity and I had a gene for that, all right. The way she talked and laughed and moved said “I have the right kind of intelligence” first and then “I love sex” and only then did it end with “I am so happy to be alive.”
Now, that was a package. My kind of girl.
There was one problem, however. She dwelled in a different collective; she was a citizen of a different nation. Her heart beat to the rhythm of a different drum; her blood flowed to the measure of a different river. I had been temporarily altered to be a teaching assistant, my perceptual mode slowed to a level that let me converse with the kids with ease. Once the term was up, I would be flashed back to my usual superfast self. Which meant that I would be barely capable of speaking with Miss Renley much less do the helical dance, as they say, with her exquisite body.
Body. Bodies. Our bodies are manifestations of mathematics, I understand that. In graduate seminars we display our greats by expressing code in other symbolic domains without making anything happen. We have exhilarating robust disembodied conversations. It’s the kind of play that makes for greatness. We translate abstractions into other abstractions like some primitive twentieth century coder declaiming in hex at a drunken party. The best of us can read the math and immediately see what it manifests. I am one of the best, as everyone knows, I model modeling merely by thinking about things. The ability to recognize what the code will inevitably express is taught in a class called personality diagnostics and its basics are taught to every doc during first year.
During lunchtime I lay in my bed in my body looking at the ceiling but seeing only the image of Caroline Renley. I tried to do the math, but at my current level of regression, it wasn’t easy. I did not see her body as a manifestation of mathematics. I saw it as the other half of a whole.
Maybe we could find a way to express her next modality so she could move in alignment with my life. We could splice in genes and – in my mind’s eye I saw Miss Renley quickening while I slowed until we met at nexus. Then we could calibrate our lives so they intersected node on node. We could see enough of the same things to believe we inhabited the same reality. Isn’t that what they used to call “love?” When not only one node but another and then another and then so many nodes you couldn’t count them found synchronicity and blended into a single spiral? Isn’t that why primitives called love “the dance of the double helix?”
I sought out my Father Doctor Michel Marchand and asked him about it.
“Wilhelm,” he said sternly, looking a long time at my face while I waited. “Wilhelm, you are off the cusp.”
My heart sank.
“Do you mean that?”
“Yes. You are talking about violating the Code. That betrays the collective and you know it. Thinking like that is the germ of treason.”
I didn’t know what to say. I had risked my apprenticeship by telling Dr. Marchand the truth about my passion for Miss Renley. I looked down at his well-buffed wingtip shoes, a retro pair polished to perfection – by me, the night before.
But then his expression relented. “Wilhelm, this is all part of the primitive code. I don’t know why we leave so much of it in, but we do. Faster minds than mine make that decision. Maybe we keep primitive feelings around like pets to play with. The feeling of loving without being loved in return is apparently part of our developmental necessity. The docs who build the macros think it’s critical.
So, young man,” he raised my chin so our eyes locked and put his hands on my shoulders and smiled, “you just have to live through it.”
I went to my work station, partially relieved, but inside I burned with incomprehensible shame and desire. I embraced my pain like a masochistic lover rolling in the barbed wire embrace of his mistress. Miss Renley was part of my education then just as my teaching was part of hers. The task was to learn the correct lesson.
I watched my mind work at tri-level. Top-level I did my job, evaluating student work. Mid-level I worked on my research, exploring new possibilities for subjective vector analysis. But bottom-level I hungered with a carnal desire that burned in the night of my soul, candescent flames leaping into the midnight sky. Her eyes as she spoke burned with superior intelligence and I hungered to hold her in my arms. Mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, call it what you will – I screamed for completion when only a day before I had not known I lacked anything. The upper levels of my mind collapsed into the fire below, timbers burning up in an instant, and by the end of lunchtime, nothing was left but smoldering ruins and drifting smoke. And I hadn’t even eaten a single bite.
Outside the Fence
May I talk to you about this before we start our experiment? asked Miss Renley.
You certainly may.
Her collective – she was the leader – had chosen an experiment that was remarkably demanding. They might have chosen to slow down the Dummy, as we called the volunteer student from another level who agreed to be manipulated, then scan and flash his perceptual flow and correlate it with their predictions and models. Going Slowdown is always easier. But they were the best of the best and decided to Uptake the Dummy to the 24 th level.
The hapless Dummy all unknowingly (what else?) signed the agreement and prepared for the ride of his life. The danger was acceleration beyond his emotional capacity to manage. He would see, think, even feel things at multilevel, but he might not be able to stand it. He might not be able to integrate the experience into his subjective field. That would make the experience not only useless but unreportable in the first person. It was that subjective impression, that report of lived experience, that was being designed in the first place, so without his naïve report, there was no way to know how successful they were.
Caroline McConnell Renley understood all that. I loved the way her face grew animated as she discussed the experiment.
We have to manage all the connections simultaneously, we know that. So he grows or seems to himself to grow everywhere inside his psychic space at the same time. So he won’t notice anything changing. The surface of the balloon of his psyche must expand and fill the available space all at once. Consciousness extends itself throughout all available space, as Webb said. So long as there is no perturbation in the space. Is that correct?
As far as it goes, I said. So what’s the question?
The difficult part as I see it (she was so damned cute! the way she talked, the way her nose scrunched when she puzzled through something) is titrating emotional bolsters in synch with memories and expanding perceptual and intellectual capacity so as his experience speeds up, it always feels right, calibrates, never deviates from normal. Then at peak he will see, feel, think and understand beyond even our collective. Correct?
Yes. That’s how you designed the trial.
Her pretty little face frowned, her forehead wrinkling.
Then when we bring him back to his initial state, won’t he retain a chemical memory? Won’t he warp? Won’t he know?
Hmm. I said thoughtfully, keeping my hands in my lap and away from her cascading scented hair which fell over her small shoulders like waves of a stormy sea. I looked past her at the scanning booth in order to think.
He might, I said. But he will be incapable of distinguishing origin or source from end or objective. He might be puzzled but he won’t warp.
Her eyes brightened. She got it immediately.
He won’t know if it’s somewhere he’s already been or an intuition of a goal state encoded like a tree in the seed? He won’t know, to use the language of classical mythology, whether he remembers the Garden of Eden or is dreaming of a future Paradise? Because both are intimations of a kind of wholeness that no one can ever experience?
Exactly, I smiled broadly, wanting to take her in my arms and kiss those delicious lips. I wanted to nibble her lower lip until she cried out, feel her writhe in my arms – instead I said, it’s the paradox of consciousness in the universe, you see. The only place we can be going must have already been thought. Then it must have been there at the beginning as well as the end. Between origin and end, all we can experience is a representation of that seminal/terminal node – which if it is a meaningful symbol suggests that consciousness is a closed circle.
More like a sphere, she smiled with the kind of delight that comes only from having a penetrating insight.
More like a multilinks, I replied.
She laughed. Or a complex concurrently intermultilinking spherical – she laughed again, loudly, and I laughed too. Her eyes sparkled with showers of pixie lights and joyful sprinkles. All of my self-discipline collapsed and I took her hands in mine.
Miss Renley, I said. I adore you Miss Renley. I never want this field trip to end.
Oh Mister Blowhorn! she cried. Neither do I! Neither do I!
The View From the Edge of the Known Universe
I should have known what their experiment would mean, but they – well, they were too far ahead of me. I just didn’t see it. The Dummy would be known subsequently as the Riverrun Dummy, the experiment as the Renley Uptake. When the Epsilon Eridani expedition encountered the fluctuating red dwarf warp, the Renley Uptake would save their lives.
The Dummy was ten or eleven, I forget which, calibrated to the earth and its sun, and he looked like a little spider, all spread out and strapped in. His head was a pincushion of wires and tubes in all directions. His fingers and toes were spread and pricked and his legs were open for hormones to be fed in through a fluid. Larger tubes entered or left (how do you tell?) the areas around his lungs and heart and kidneys. Blastocatheters took care of elimination needs and his eyes and temples were sedated with topical patches. The poor Dummy to all appearances saw felt and knew nothing.
But appearances are deceiving. The scans and monitors showed us what he was knowing. Inside he was growing, growing quickly to our levels, then past us. Watching his progress was like watching a comet from a fixed vantage point on an asteroid. Now you see it, now you don’t.
They titrated the Dummy just right. He grew in his capacity to endure and understand just as he saw, felt, realized things. When they finished, the Renley Group had generated data that contributed significantly to The Theory of Accelerated Uptakes. They managed the complexity of multiple systems moving in synch with such dexterity and finesse that it took my breath away. They had certainly done the math.
But realization of that would come, as they say, later. It would come when macro managers allowed the results of the experiment to filter slowly into the mind of society and arrive at just the right time for humankind to use it and move up a notch. Just when humankind was ready to understand, we received what we needed to know. The event coincided with the use of new tools and the readiness to use them.
Those macro managers operate at level one hundred and seventy eight. Can you grasp what that means? I certainly can’t. That’s how many interlacing levels of nation they integrate in all dimensions to the one hundred and seventy eighth power.
The lightscans revealed the inner landscape of the Dummy as he evolved. At the peak of the arc they killed the machinery and let him speak for himself. That was their genius, not waiting until later, and that came from Caroline Renley’s sublime intuition. It was like the engines cutting on an ancient launch and the sudden silence of orbital space. It’s all recorded. Most of you have seen those visuals a million times by now. But most of you still don’t understand what he said.
You don’t need to understand. Just trust that the job is being done right.
“Oh my God!” said the Dummy quietly. “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
“Do you mean that literally?” the soft voice of Miss Renley can be heard on the scan.
The Dummy laughed. “What a funny way to think of it,” he said.
Then there was silence for perhaps twenty seconds.
“The edge is the only center,” he said. “Every node is the center of the known universe. The node is the interface. It all infolds to a single point. There is an intention there without which nothing could have been understood. Nothing at all. But we still think in terms of collectives. That is so funny!”
A shorter pause.
“Why is it funny?” asked Miss Renley.
“Because borders. Borders are false distinctions. They create … everything. And mean nothing! We are only fooling ourselves.”
On and on he went like the Great Doctor on a master acid trip. The Great Doc had in fact once rolled around the room laughing as he elevated his perspective and watched the dotted lines on imaginary maps disappear. Little ants patrolled inches of earth and cried to the skies, “Mine! This is mine!”
And during another trip the Great Doc said identically, “We are only fooling ourselves!
Then he shouted: “It’s show business! Show business! Everything is show business!”
Or as our Riverrun Dummy said: “Let he who has borrowed his ears understand!”
When the Dummy dissolved into blissful beatific silence, they shut him down and initiated Slowdown. It went more smoothly than anyone had hoped. He had lived through long slow cycles of time that we measured in minutes. He was back to eleven or ten or whatever it was in no time at all.
They balanced his predictables and systems and took him offwire. He opened his eyes. He asked for a glass of orange juice and drank it down in a gulp.
Everyone stood around and waited for him to say something. Finally Miss Renley said, do you have anything to tell us?
He smiled. The universe isn’t even half of it. I heard a shrill whining that was like music played too fast but then it slowed. Then it was so beautiful but I can’t remember the tune.
There’s nothing to tell, he said. You’ll see.
When? asked Miss Renley.
Yes, that’s right. He smiled broadly. When indeed.
A Walk in the Woods
Everything was recorded “by the end of the day.” I asked Miss Renley if she wanted to debrief. She thought it might be a good idea. We left the Main Building and walked through bunkhouses through the front gates into the woods along the stream. The stream was rabid with late spring runoff and raced crazily down its banks.
“It’s almost too loud to talk,” she said.
“Soon we’ll be able to hike in the high country.”
“I would love to come back and hike up there with you.”
“I would love for you to do that.”
We both knew it would never happen.
“You must be pleased with the way your experiment went,” I said.
“Oh,” she said, “it was beyond expectations. We learned so much!”
“Everyone learned,” I said. “I have a hunch that all humankind will learn.”
“You’re saying that to make me feel good.”
“Oh no,” I said, turning and taking her in my arms. She raised her face to mine and I kissed her. Oh but her lips were delicious. Oh but the scent of her and the feel of her and the taste of her!
“We couldn’t have done it without your help,” she said.
“Now it’s you making me feel good.”
“Oh no I’m not. You created exactly the right combination of frustration and desire to make us want to do it. We set up our experiment in response to the limits you described which at the same time disclosed new possibilities. We took advantage of those openings even if you couldn’t see them yourself. You were too close to them to see. We wanted to move the Dummy close to warpspeed and we did. That means that humankind everywhere and everywhen will be able to mediate multilevel complexities with greater subtlety than ever.”
We sat on a boulder where the stream curved and the water leaped and roared downstream, crashing through rocks below. Leaves of alder and willow churned in the turbulent flow. There was no point in saying the obvious. She knew now that I understood. Caroline McConnell Renley knew much more than I could teach, even when I flashed fast.
When everything is connected, and everything is, the only differences in perception are spatiotemporal. Seeing things close to their connections in time or space is what we call insight. Seeing them widely scattered is slowmo. If it takes days or years or centuries, regardless of the point of reference, regardless of the star system and its symbiotic knowers, then it’s slow. If it happens in an instant, it’s quick. Not seeing any connections at all is inert.
Miss Renley saw the end of the experiment at its moment of conception. She saw how it linked and would link to myriad possibilities. She saw in a flash the next conceptual level illuminated by nuclear fire.
“They couldn’t tell you,” she said. “You understand why, don’t you?”
“You helped to make us what we are, but what we are is … not what you thought. We look young, I know, but every older generation is surprised by what their progeny design. We always create beyond our own capabilities, and we are always abashed. You helped us move into a condition of readiness. We were touched by your simplicity, even your fumbling pedantry. You were cute. I even needed to feel this … infatuation … for the moment. It generates the energy necessary to move to the next level. Falling in love is energizing, even when it doesn’t last.”
She relaxed back into the curve of my trembling body as if I were an old comfortable chair. I inhaled the scent of her hair, felt her head against my chest. The stream obliterated all sounds of the known universe. That moment was so ineffably sweet it was painful but passed like a comet seen from an asteroid. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Even after I flashed back to my “fast” self and could see more clearly, my thoughts moved like a mass of molasses. Renley and her collective had been so patient. I was only a catalyst. I was the real Riverrun Dummy – which I saw now was exactly what I had always been designed and destined to become.
I felt like an elephant hearing my ancestors trumpeting from the graveyard where their tusks thrust up from the forest floor.
An Encouraging Word
You have been my valuable assistant for nearly seven decades, said Dr. Marchand when they had all left and he found me walking alone in the woods in the shadow of the mountain under the light of a full moon. A few more years and you’ll be ready for what’s next. To learn to love what is necessary, Wilhelm, is our only destination. We must embrace our destiny in order to discover our identity. The readiness is all, young man. You are just beginning. At moments of confluence, we experience the cessation of striving, momentary release from all friction. Then they pass and we move on.
Everything else, he said, is preparation. We are either swimming to the next island or resting on one, catching our breath.
Then he put his hands on my shoulders and smiled.
I will? I asked. When?
Yes, he smiled. When indeed.