The Villain walked on a metal catwalk below the bright lights, placed above two large, transparent, cylindrical tanks filled with water, wires, and one human being apiece. The Villain smiled inwardly at the cleverness of his plan. He glanced at his watch and realized that the two floating bodies in the tanks would wake very soon. Leaping over the catwalk and on to the top of the tanks, the evil brute grabbed two black wires protruding from the top of each tank. He jumped off the tanks and turned around to face the two souls trapped within each tube, with hundreds of wires attached throughout their body.
The men inside began to wake, slowly becoming aware of the dire sutation they were in. The Villain grimaced, entranced by his own deviousness. He knew that his work was worthwhile, and recalled the quote, "The end justifies the means." However another part of his conciousnesss remembered the words of Gandhi, "The ends is indivisible from the means."
One of the men hit the transparent plastic of the tube to grab The Villain's attention. Grimacing, The Villain slowly put the wire from each tank behind his ear, knowing it would enable them to communicate, and then began to speak.
"You don't know how you got here-," he began, but was interrupted by the man in the first tank.
"I know why-" he started.
"Silence! You don't know how you got here. That is expected. You are both philosophers," he looked down at the ring on his hand, smiling, "...my philosophers. You both should be very pleased, as you will transcend this day if all goes well. Is that not your ultimate goal as philosophers?"
The philosophers looked at each other through the tanks for a moment, and nodded in agreement. The pseudo mad scientist grinned at their compliance. He felt truly that this time it would work, and that he would finally create the maker.
"You are both professors, I made sure of this when you were kidnapped... which you should not remember. None the less you will teach me, but first you must become a capable teacher. A teacher who has transcended." He continued, watching the growing stares of the faces of the fearful victims, "The problem with sensory deprivation as a method of transcending the self is pure and simple. It doesn't work. Instead, it is necessary to create sensory overload."
At that The Villain reached downward and opened a panel on the floor, "There are several triggers beneath this panel here," he said, pointing at several red and green switches, "each triggers the ultimate distress in one sense of your body. Except for this switch," he pointed towards a large blue one, "that triggers your brain to feel the distress of every sense in your body at once. After each... treatment, you will have a conversation with your partner, and a conversation with me. If you do well, I will learn, and if you do poorly, I will not learn, and in turn be distressed. When I'm distressed I hit another switch."
With a mischievous smirk, he flipped several switches; the two philosophers experienced the most disgusting smells, the acrid smell of rotten eggs, the smell of corpse decay, and of poisonous gas. Deafening boom entered their ears, threatening to tear apart their eardrums. Blinding light pierced their retinas, their irisis twisted in spiral formations in their agony. The tastes were horrendous; traces of feces among the batch of sensation that assaulted their tongues were hardly the worst.
Last, there was pure pain. The sense of touch was attacked. Every nerve cried in agony at the intense, gut wrenching pain. It was during this time taht the first philosopher, a man by the name of Kant, realized what he would say to The Villain, what he would teach him. There was something to learn from this, something important.
Finally, the anguish ended. Kant lay in his tank for a moment, basking in the lack of torment. After a moment, he leaned against the plastic, and spoke to the cruel shadow that had brought him there.
"What part of your body do you live in?" he asked, trying to awake some curiosity in his attacker.
The Villain raised an eyebrow, and pondered for a few seconds before responding, "I suppose my head."
Kant opened his mouth to speak, but the other philosopher cut him off, "Do you think that because the head is the location of the brain, or because almost all of your senses, the origin of your perspective, are located on your head?"
"I never thought of it that way. I have learned something." He replied solemnly, holding in the urge to show his surprise.
"Not quite, you are still in need of teaching. My friend here said that almost all senses orient around your head, the nose, mouth, ears, eyes, etc. But what other sense is there?" Kant inquired.
"Correct. It isn't focused in the head, no; you can feel anywhere on your entire body. You sense everywhere at once. The sense of touch is omnipresent."
The other philosopher's eyes went wide, and he spoke more openly than before, "Friend, my name is Robert. I know now that you are wise. Have you learned, as have I, from the pain, from the feeling, that there is no such thing as time? It is everywhere at once; it is omnipresent. There is no past or present or future, only an infinite set of individual moments."
The Villain at this realized the path he needed to take. They would transcend if subjected to more pain, direct pain, and even more sensory overload. He flipped the switch under which there was a tiny drawing of the human nervous system. Before him the philosophers writhed in agony. At last, he flipped the switch off.
"What have you to teach me?"
Robert raised his voice, "I am a solipsist. Only I exist, my perceptions shape reality. Now I am numb."
Kant raised his voice, "I exist. Reality shapes my perceptions. I feel the pain of a thousand beings."
The Villain thought that only one could be correct, only one could've truly transcended the self. He recalled an adage, "Life is suffering. Kant must be correct."
Robert grinned, "I am numb, can Kant feel my pain?"
Kant jested, "Reality shapes your perceptions. You have simply closed your perceptions now, but your pain is still there. You just can't feel it."
"But if I have closed the gateway to my perceptions, if I feel nothing, what is the difference between this and death? Am I not dead?"
The Villain then wondered who had truly transcended.
The Villain returned to his chambers, tired after the entire ordeal. Robert had died after those words, "Am I not dead?" The Villain realized that that his death was a signal that he had indeed transcended, and that he could not be taught, for wisdom is impossible to communicate. He then began to distrust, "teachers."