(These should be yours. They certainly don't feel like mine.)

  • The first thing that must be understood, and this is crucial, is that you've had ideas and emotions none of our languages can adequately describe.

This does not mean the search for words is futile. But before you attempt to broadcast to another's consciousness by concocting juxtaposition to spark illumination, please recognize the incontrovertible validity of your own subjectivity. Let it lead you to sentences only you can lay claim to.

  • Yes, it's ironic that the message, concerning what can't be captured, comes verbally encoded. But if these words (or any other) open a door, behind it are fifty more which will remain locked until you look within for the keys.


When you were a child, all was different. I know. To feel alive and pure and whole. And now you wander desensitized, numbed with pragmatism. But every once in a great while, through a scent or a stroke or a song, a fragment will bubble up and warm you, and you'll wonder how much else remains hidden.

What adulthood totems would you give up, to get all that back? Just between you and me. What have you got now that you love, but isn't one tenth as fun as just going outside was through your old set of eyes? Video games? Porn? Drugs?

For me, the smoke can take me there. Each object in the room becomes constructed of a forcible flashback. The initial way I grasped this phenomenon was "linear" time zigzagging over a two-dimensional game board, and me given the ability to slide down and live another moment. Evidence increasingly suggests, though, that the experience is nodal, and correspondences seeming random may be governed by the physical structure of my brain. My friends smirk as I babble about the colors of a couch or how much fun the library used to be. Sometimes I fool myself that I'm telepathically transmitting. It doesn't matter; it'd be received uniquely, the same way words are.

If I believed in the separation of body and mind, I'd say that what stultifies one often simultaneously stimulates the other. But even the negative sensations such as boredom and vomiting are folded into a violently vibrant tapestry too large to glimpse more than a corner.

Before I could learn to shift and concentrate my focus, I had to comprehend how narrow it was. Consider this twentieth-century allegory: Your total perception equal to a still on a motion picture screen. In this story there are hundreds of thousands of other viewpoints. The story unspools in thousands of theaters worldwide, to vastly different audiences. Several times a day for months. And that's just one room in the multiplex.

Recently, I've excavated intact from long-gone eras not just people and places but my immaterial thoughts, (and some of what I believe to be dreams). An attitude, an obsession, manifested, localized around age nine: magic. Not prestidigitation, not even, really, the demonized occult; but the covert connections between occurrences. Quantifying and controlling the inexplicable. I must learn more about this. By the time I grow up, I must make this my life.

You feel like you're missing something, don't you? Like the essential information swims near but always eludes you? Well, ME TOO! And guess what: THAT'S OKAY! This tendency in our bones has been exploited many times. But none of us could hope to contain the range of culture or the glory of nature. (Appreciation can come through distance, but don't deprive yourself of the joy of discovery you were born with.) All anyone can aspire to be is a perfectly shaped piece of the puzzle.

The secret of the universe , aka The Meaning Of Life, is actually pretty damn easy to put into words. However (and this is what fails so many academics), just as enlightenment does not equal empowerment, knowledge does not equal understanding. A philosophy reiterated will be dismissed: "Oh, I've heard that before, therefore it offers me nothing." Yes, but have you felt it? Let it take root in your own acknowledged subjectivity? The tertiary stage, the next to impossible bit, is aligning all life's actions along that axis. Walking the talk, as it were.

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I repeatedly play this card, so I'll try and make this the last time: As I was sitting watching television only an hour from the wreckage, doing nothing, I saw firefighters from all over who needed to drive all night to experience the misery and horror of digging for survivors firsthand. "We had to come." Compelled, from within, by sympathy with those without. And it wasn't due to a constitution or a union or even "goodwill". They had to. They were black-clad white blood cells, healing a nation-sized organism, swarming to the locus of an infection. And the map of the interstates looks like the lines of your palm like the capillaries on your lung like the channels in your cerebellum. No one is even trying to deny this. We need each other.

(And if you ask me why I'm anti-war, I'll ask you why you're pro-death. And if you told me it wasn't that simple, I'd tell you that to the dead, it usually is.)

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Technology enables personality threading: Your entirety, your very individuality, rather than limiting you, defines you within the supercontext. Yet these days I see so many of my friends depart, as though the experiment has failed, or those who stay stay silent, as if their voices couldn't carry. If they insist on seeing expression as competition, there's no way to convince them that, regardless of whatever current cargo, the vessel retains infinite possibilities. Play is all this ever was, and play it should remain, especially when we live inside the game.

It was always thus: You get what you give. No, we can't help you, not if you refuse to be you. Break the mirror glass. Sketch it out in blood. Yours tastes a little different than mine. Safer just to watch? Spectators grow weak through lack of exercise. I should know.

I've learned that if I spend my day creating till I'm exhausted, I'm rewarded with fantastically wonderful dreams. It's not a large enough carrot for me to live that way constantly, but it's nice to know my subconscious has a sense of justice.

There's a reason why wizards use words to invoke a spell. Ideas have power over actions.

Once, I met some kids who knew Everything. But it's what they did that truly amazed me.

Stepping back from the poetic, it must be noted that the stars which make up constellations are not usually physically bound, and that constellations themselves only exist when seen from a certain viewpoint. Thus, whilst Orion strongly resembles a man holding a bow when viewed from Wales, the constellation is a random pattern of lights when viewed from HD 50229, or indeed from Meissa, the hunter's head. This star is more than twice as far from Earth as Betelgeuse, one of Orion's 'shoulders'.

Given that constellations are therefore arbitrary groupings of the brighter stars in the sky viewed from a certain point, it seems quite possible that some of the common names are already formed by arrangements of the stars in our galaxy, if only the observer knew where to float, or on which planet to stand (I shall assume that the use of 'universe' in the writeup title is a poetic substition for 'galaxy'; poets are prone to commit florid inaccuracies). Given that the Milky Way contains a finite amount of stars, it would be a simple matter of writing a computer program to:

Divide the galaxy into a three-dimensional grid, 1AU on a side;
Calculate the viewpoint from each vertex, looking towards every other vertex around the surface of a rough sphere with a radius 1KAU away from the viewer;
Process the resulting images so as to highlight the brighter, more visible stars, taking account of the possibility of rotation;
Determine which patterns of stars spell names;
Conquer uncertainty.

Simplicity itself, although computationally intensive. There are no doubt several shortcuts which could be implemented, and I must state that I am not a programmer, I do not belong here. If one was possessed of superhuman vision, any random section of sky would appear to contain a fine matrix of stars from which any name could be generated - and if we are to accept that the often extremely abstract alignments of the constellations form definite pictures, one would not have to be too picky to spot names in the sky (indeed, Vulpecula forms a letter 'U', which is a forename in some countries).

And always remember that there is only a finite amount of matter in the universe, and that eventually all the fires will go out and everything will end.

The major reference used for this writeup was Celestia, the 3D space simulator and ambient viewing experience.

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