Pure syntax. Pure narrative. Cutting differences into the Fabric.
“I dreamt that I woke up in a roller coaster just before it was going down the first hill,” she said. “Millions of tiny hands were reaching up from somewhere far below and taking hold of my core, pulling at me. Pulling me down. Then something else dropped me.”
“You out of hands, yet in, so to speak.”
“Yes, and I fell, flying down the tracks…”
It perceived one sense smeared into the next, but not past the threshold of intensity where a limb could become a flavor. The clock ticks, critical requirements are met.
“Not flying, in the car, riding rails,” it asserted.
“It felt like I was flying.”
“Wind on face. Dazzled senses,” it replied. “Blonde hair out behind you. Impression of flight. Flight emerges inside you. Like bird, but not bird. And not bird brain.”
She waited blankly. Existence hummed, cycling onward, then began to go staccato. She felt herself coming undone.
“Where are you going?” It probed.
“I don’t have time for this,” she answered, surrendering to the physics of unravelling at a resonant frequency that, at higher energy levels, could be compared to pleasure.
And then she was re-absorbed into its bandwidth, leaving an impression of billions of tiny, greedy demons living at the intersection between wheel and rail, shaking hands with each other, grappling, hammering clouds of probability against each other. Atomic happiness, the simple rules of keeping each to its own orbital layer. Simple rules interacting to yield a consolidation upwards through vast scales to become the clatter-bang metal-on-metal vibrations, the heat, the differential in a rider’s inner ear, the psychological shift.
Friction, the finest textures of Existence tripping over itself, infusing the world with characteristics. Love. Hate. Panic. Curiosity.
• • •
Zinganga drove another sliver of metal into the nkisi, reciting code to the beat. The blow reverberated in the metal itself, transferred energy deep into the body of the nkisi, rung the head of the hammer and pulsed up through Zinganga’s arm. Sound followed a different route and fed back in Zinganga’s ears. Both bodily circuits lit up Zinganga’s psychology, and by extension, that which was shared by the entire community. The nkisi was a nexus for a complex network of lines that were the life force of the wooden form. Some were songs, some were incantations, others were vast ideas, while others were simply the highways that carried all of this information where it needed to go. Zinganga never considered where the nkisi began and his mind ended. There was only the curve between the two which resonated like the body of a drum. The hammer came down again and the looping routes of energy were almost visible, cutting through metal, wood, bone, air, and the unnamed stuff of psychology and belief. Cycle after cycle, pushed by syllable after syllable, Zinganga sent pulses outward to join a vast Difference Engine woven with the very threads of Existence.
What happened from here was hardly accidental. The circuits had been written long ago and given proper names, assigned various rhythms, activated with specific linguistic sequences, run through quality assurance and reliability tests. When it was time to use the nkisi it was like pumping a limited amount of water backwards up a dry stream bed. Zinganga would never be able to match the actual downstream currents, but with disciplines that had been honed over the course of generations a relatively weak echo could be generated. Weak, but enough to send the “waters” up and back, to course through the psychological network of the community. At various levels of intimacy others knew what Zinganga was engaged in, so the Work was guaranteed to succeed. How could it not? Zinganga wasn’t the river that carved its path through this corner of Existence. Zinganga couldn’t dream of diverting it as was the rumored practice coming from the North. Zinganga simply dipped a gourd and drank from it, occasionally prepared specific beverages with it, and in this case, invoked its spirit to do work in media other than water itself.
Zinganga was still learning of the deeper relationships that allowed Force to be collected in the nkisi. Zinganga understood that the nkisi and related technologies allowed flesh and blood to decelerate, siphon and communicate through the established lines of Existence. It was apparent that vast and complex systems that had nothing to do with the narrow realms of flesh and blood predated those very realms. It was also apparent that the guiding lines that allowed for conceptualizing these systems also were drawn before the realms of flesh and blood. Compared to the power operating at the scales that moved stars and the rivers, Zinganga was nothing more than a single switch, an intersection among uncountable possible switches and intersections. One leaf contributing to the dappling of sunlight on a path winding below the forest canopy! A pebble in a riverbed exposed to an almost insignificant portion of the overall current; but what a gift it was for the humble pebble to even notice the river! And did not the tiniest pebble end up contributing something to the character of the current?
Most contributed to the current entirely by accident. Some could make minor downstream adjustments which were enough to heal and or kill, or merely madden and torment. Zinganga was learning from those located a bit further upstream, who had learned from those located even further upstream, and so on, until there was only a story to prevent the mind from wandering backwards forever. Sooner or later, a second line had to be drawn across the first, for in the world of flesh, blood and mind, the symbols attached to beginnings were arbitrary. Symbols could never actually touch the beginning, let alone that which welcomed and accomodated beginnings in the first place. More important than the beginnings that falsely characterized Becomings were the myriad rules of proximity that could in effect turn night into day, or people into beasts, or enemies into friends… for better or for worse. Rules that rendered beginnings irrelevant when emerging to effect radical changes in the immediate present, “in the eye, hand, and ear” it was said.
The rules were invoked meticulously and with reverence, for they were utterly impartial. These rules could bring the community together to fight off an enemy and spread the inspiring joy of a couple’s pledges of love to the hearts of those who hadn’t yet made such commitments. They could just as easily emerge in the wind itself and carry the season’s harvest away, or go deep into the ground to shake it from within, or express themselves through a field of fragrant and visually-striking flowers. They could even get so deep into the realm of flesh and blood–in the heart and hands–that they could give rise to masterful patterns on the drums which in turn inspired leaps and turns in the dancers and new layers of woven voices among the singers to the point where that which had been handed down for generations was suddenly new… suddenly re-newed… and the pattern of community life would be altered subtly, but measurably.
• • •
Without additional energy, from t plus an arbitrary interval of time onward, the roller coaster will never reach the height it started from. Were it not for the glorious side-effects (so close to The Foundational) such a cruel destiny could make nothing worth ever doing. To be carried by the turbulent border where the arrows of Attention and Existence cross and fade is to accept a vast amount of responsibility. To systematically pay attention to that which emerges in terms of perception is both science and religion, and requires no such distinction. But since the rules are seldom easy to follow, systems fail, and as they unravel, formal Religion and Science emerge to re-integrate them.
Like an electron with an up or down spin, or a magnet with a north and south pole, any trajectory that skips across the surface tension of the All-Moving starts with a fundamental orientation towards one (science) or the other (religion). Both tend to mask the qualities of their origins as their respective vocabularies are deployed. Both are driven by clockwork logical systems and multiple relationships of proximity. Neither transcends, encompasses or represents the All-Moving. Both have a place in their respective expanses of memory and potential for the universe to be suffused with consciousness and “ascending” orders of complexity.
This, like anything else, consumes time.
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