lost time incident 16
Hey folks! It’s probably too early to be sure, but it sure seems like if you force yourself to practice a creative pursuit, it does actually get easier. Or maybe I just got lucky and had a hot streak this weekend. Put out a lot of Twitter activity, recorded some video game stuff with my better half, filmed a truly dumb instructional video (which you’ll see below) and then there’s this thing!
My intention, when I started the newsletter, was to get back in the habit of being creative, because too much time was slipping past me with with work/passively watch something/sleep cycle. It might be working.
Time is still slipping away, but that might now be more linked to my own advanced age.
The photo above is one I took last year in India, documenting the cows who liked to hang out in the vacant field next to the office I was working out of. For whatever reason, I’ve been thinking about that trip again recently, which reminded me of this anecdote:
Last year, I spent a few weeks in India for work. I got into town early so I’d have a weekend to recover before I had to turn up, be awake and act respectable in the office on Monday morning. My first morning out, I figured I’d just walk out the front gate of the hotel I was staying at, pick a direction, and see where I ended up.
However, parked just outside the gate was a good-natured fellow who jumped out of his tuk-tuk-style cab and volunteered to drive me wherever I wanted to go. When I asked him his rates, he insisted he didn’t charge. “Oh, are you affiliated with the hotel?” I asked. He dodged the question, but was fine if that was something I wanted to believe.
As it turned out, he was just a charming guy with no working meter who found that if you can charm a foreigner into hopping into your cab, their guilt at not paying you will usually lead to them tipping you more than you would have collected… by a long shot.
If you’ve read any sort of travel advice, you’ll know there’s usually a section about how to avoid being taking advantage of as a foreigner-with-money. Sometimes it’s as simple as telling you that you can haggle. Sometimes it’s as terrifying as telling you that if your driver runs someone over or crashes the vehicle, you absolutely should not leave the vehicle until help arrives, due to the possibility that it’s all a trap to kidnap you.
(That last one is for Angola, by the way.)
But India’s not too bad.
One of the things you get warned about is that if your cab driver won’t start their meter, you shouldn’t go with them. You’ll also be told that some drivers have partnerships lined up with local vendors and they’ll offer to take you anywhere for free— so long as you don’t mind browsing at a shop first. And if you buy something there, so much the better, because they’re getting paid for dropping you and your wallet off, and the kickback’s sweeter if you actually buy something.
But I tell you, if you’re up too early in the morning on a Sunday and you genuinely have nothing else to do, going to a handicraft shop at the suggestion of a cab driver who says you don’t have to pay him at all isn’t a bad way to pass the time.
That’s how I ended up looking at carved wooden elephants while chatting with with an Indian-appearing fellow named Javaid who said he was actually born and raised in Russia. Though he now runs his family’s handicrafts store, convincing people like me that we need a heavy brass statue of Ganesha, he originally studied to be an engineer. After getting out of school, he found himself working at a coal mine up in Siberia. He bailed on the coal-flecked snows of Siberia when the Soviet Union’s economy collapsed. Claimed he doesn’t miss it, if you can believe that.
“Where are you from” he asked. When I said “The US,” he asked who I thought our next President might be.
“Well, the odds are favoring Hillary Clinton,” I said. This was mid-2015.
“She would be the first female President, correct?”
“Your country has been around for hundreds of years. Why do you think you haven’t had a female President yet?”
“Uh… because we’re a sexist country? Isn’t that obvious?”
Biggest laugh I got on the whole trip, my moment of honesty with Javaid.
- So You’re Haunting a Rich Person
- My Gun Talks With Bullets
- A Pet Owner’s Guide to Kettle Corn
- B-bye 4ever – Suicide Notes from Children
- A Gentleman’s Guide to Binge-Watching
- Public Domain Fiction Make-Out Sessions
meanwhile somewhere else
interview with some vampire
“What is that? Will it hurt me? Or do you… do you use it to prepare food?”
The vampire was pointing, concerned, at my smartphone, which I had just placed on the table between us to record our conversation.
“… It’s harmless. Don’t worry about it.”
“I have traveled over mountain ranges of time and while I was doing so… I was studying the art… of sexy.” He picked nervously at a ragged fingernail. His nail beds were pale and recessed. “I am one of those sexy vampires.”
He smiled, his fangs poking out past his lips, yellow like table butter that’s been left on a picnic table under the summer sun. “Like in your fimms. Your movings.”
“You mean ‘movies’?”
“Do I? Perhaps? When I go to see a fimm, I sneak in … as a bat. Bat ears don’t hear human words so good.” He frowned. “I have never seen a moving that wasn’t upside down. And very blurry. Bats don’t see so good. But it was enough to be sure that I am sexy.”
jazz appreciation EP001
For those new to appreciating jazz, I put together a one minute introduction that will set you on the right path. Just some basic moves for beginners. Nothing too taxing.
ending theme song
Okay! We made it! One more lost time incident full of nonsense, out the door. As ever, we’ve got some amazing original illustrations from my wife Amanda. How about that, huh? An entire comic, we got from her this time!
If you like it, tell your friends. If you don’t like your friends… just keep this newsletter to yourself.
Thanks for showing up! See you next week!
–Michael Van Vleet
[original photo courtesy of Patrick Bouquet]
Today is International Worker’s Day and to celebrate, I got enough sleep. Woke up feeling alert, an unfamiliar enough sensation that it was worth remarking upon. Made coffee. French roast. I don’t even know if the French roast coffee that way or if it’s a misnomer. I was there in Paris— see above photo— but I forgot to ask anyone. I do have a French colleague in the office who was surprised that her countrymen got credit for the French press I use to make coffee in a more professional context.
I don’t think I was going anywhere with that, but here’s a secret: Much of the time, I’m just letting my fingers start a-typin’ just to see what’s going to come out. That’s right. I don’t value your time. Ha!
There’s a breeze coming in through the front door and a cat is hanging out on my right leg, providing a counterbalance to the laptop on the left leg. My wife is laughing at internet summaries of a show about murder, so we’re all in a good place.
How are you doing?
It’s such a gorgeous day out there that it’s enough to make you forget that they won’t all be this pleasant.
[optional soundtrack: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “I Need Never Get Old”]
the position or velocity of dogs
In the small town I grew up in, for many of the years I lived there, there was nothing terribly remarkable about the town itself. Downtown we had a grocery store, a 5-and-dime, and a used bookstore where a nice old lady named Linda enforced a rule that you had to sell her a romance or sci-fi novel first if you were going to buy one yourself because otherwise they’d all go out the door. She had trouble keeping those genres in stock.
Every weekday at noon, through the soles of our feet, we’d feel the deep bass hum of the gravity wave factory just outside of town, down-by the Wal-Mart, generating energy and keeping the bills paid for most of the families of the kids I went to school with.
Our school mascot was the Comets, since our county had a higher than usual incident rate for attracting rocks and space ice, pulled out of orbit and into our outdoor swimming pools, our mini golf arcades, and our competition-grade cross-country running courses. Our sports teams weren’t great, so the local newspaper used lots of “crashing and burning” imagery when covering our matches, but our logo was fantastic: the comet wore a fierce expression, lip curled, and three sharp points came off the back with orange highlights to create the comet’s tail.
Things picked up when I hit the teenage years, though, because that was when a lunchtime pulse pulled in the Object, as it was originally called. It fell down by the woods where rumor had it Chad and Lisa had once been caught having sex where the grass was at its tallest. Who knows what happened out there behind the woods. One time Terry said he was walking around back there and came across a big pile of those full-head Halloween masks, half covered in brush like someone was hiding them out there. Said there was a wolf man and some kinda fish, but it had been raining and the pile of masks looked gross so he just left them alone. Weren’t there the next time he went back though.
The Object hung about those woods, waiting for kids to wander near. The kids who went out there to smoke found it first. It rumbled at them, wobbled a bit… but mostly it listened. Erik said he figured it belonged to one of the families whose homes had their backs up against the hill, like maybe it was a pet that wandered off, but it was the size of a refrigerator.
Of course now, with the benefit of hindsight and with the insight of world-class scientists, the consensus is that it’s a very clever probe designed to acquire language via some mimicry algorithms. We’re still not sure it knows what it’s saying, but most of what it learned to talk about was: which kids in the nearby middle and high schools sucked, which teachers sucked, who was a slut, and to say it was a big fan of many of history’s worst dictators and serial killers. I’ve heard that when they originally put up that tent around it and the government folks moved in, the first thing it asked them was how much they enjoyed a particular impossible sexual position, then affirmed that it liked it very much. “It’s the best,” it said. It then laughed with a series of barking hard-K sounds.
Any hope of learning more about its origins seemed to be dashed. It wouldn’t answer questions, if it ever had, instead preferring to copy the questions asked of it, or would fill silence by singing advertising jingles, but with all the original advertising copy replaced with “shut up,” but matching the original melody precisely.
Transcript. Note: Capitalization used to indicate relative volume.
THERE WAS ONCE IN THESE WOODS. NOW SAY JERRY. MELT STEEL BEAMS. I AM STUPID. Listening? Fucking RULES, man. SUCK DiiiiiiiiiiiiiCKS. High five for Hitler. Mitts. Mitts. Comets. Kek kek kek kek kek kek. After me, REPEAT. Ooored. Errd. Bored. Ting bored. Geh. ♫shut up shut UP shut up SHUT UP shut-shut-shut [advertising medley of 20 minutes cut].
But times change. Things progress. I bet it’s repeating smarter stuff now that scientists are talking to it. With any luck, maybe they’ll even notice they’re getting nothing back.
During a walk home from work, apropos of nothing, I remembered that in elementary school I had a class where each week, we were meant to study current events. We had to grab a newspaper from our parents, cut out an article, bring it in and summarize it.
The memory that came back to me was that one time, I found an article about ninjas and brought that in. Even had a picture of a ninja next to the article. I have not yet remembered what the article was actually about, but it was easier to understand than the conflict in Israel, or whatever was on the front page back in the 80s.
It’s just weird. Little fragments from an earlier life, still bumping about inside my head.
[memory tosses down a smoke bomb and disappears again]
ending theme song
I’m going to keep it a bit short this week, folks. Even though my head is buzzing because I ate WAY too many licorice all sorts. So let’s keep things focused so I’m imparting only the most important information. Okay. Cannonball Run 2 is full of talented people but it’s awful.
We’re already going astray a little bit.
Let’s see. Amanda and I created some more art postcards yesterday. We may have almost enough to send to every subscriber that I actually have an address for. If you’ve moved in the last however-long and don’t have an explicit memory of letting me know, well now you can. Maybe right now?
This week’s chunk of fiction was inspired by Simon Stålenhag’s Tales from the Loop which I backed on Kickstarter and was so excited about, I stuck it on a shelf and ignored it for months. I was waiting for a special occasion to flip through it and today ended up being that special occasion.
Also in the mental mix was the news that Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg want to fire tiny nanobots out into the universe to see what’s out there mixed with what happened when Microsoft set a chatbot loose in Twitter, only to see it turned into a racist monster within a day.
Thanks as ever to my wife Amanda for providing original illustrations.
Hope your weekend went well. I have to go and see if the internet knows what the antidote is for too much licorice.
Michael Van Vleet
lost time incident 14
That’s a photo of my mom, offering a deep-fried gator chunk. She and my dad retired to Florida some years ago. My dad now prefers to spend his days sitting in the driveway, smoking his pipe and reading e-books, with some time taken out to play a Facebook game that involves managing a fleet of battleships. As reading, gaming and doing nothing are my preferred weekend activities, there’s obviously a biological connection.
My mother, however, has found time to explore entirely new hobbies. She’s running marathons, scoring well in darts tournaments, and taking workout classes that involve dangling from ceiling-mounted ribbons. We’re a bit more different.
Things I did today instead of writing:
- Woke up late
- Finished reading Woman With a Blue Pencil, a meta-narrative novel
- Cooked up parathas in the skillet to have with some channa masala and coffee for brunch
- Watched a bearded British guy on Twitch play Bioshock, a video game set in an underwater ruin that had, in its heyday, been designed as an art deco libertarian wonderland
- Took a slow shower and wondered if at some time in my life, showers will stop being available, as I quite like them, but we’re all doomed
- Agreed to abandon writing mid-afternoon to go get donuts with friends
- Poked around on Facebook
- Wrote this list
I had some time yesterday to write, but instead I spent 3-4 hours putting together a new Signal mix, which is a series of 45-minute music mixes I’ve been making for my own amusement for over a decade. The latest installment was the 123rd episode.
I should write something.
Did I already write something? Earlier this week?
that’s right I wrote something
It was only until after posting the above that I started to wonder how Chicken Hills managed to win a 2016 award so early in the year. The fix is in. I think it’s possible to build a better fence in the time remaining. If we all pitch in now, I bet we could build a fence that could hold in human-chicken hybrids AND does something special… like lighting up, or playing music over Bluetooth or something.
Anyone interested in building a better fence and finally putting the spotlight on the corrupt fence-judging industry in this country, please respond to this mailing list with a list of available dates and an outline of all relevant fence-building skills.
stay on target
Just walked a pizza box outside to the compost bin and you guys… it is so pleasant out there. I absolutely should not be sitting inside, typing these words.
this will become something
In the world that was left, the bullets ran out fairly quickly. But thanks to nuclear power, the electricity stayed on. No matter what bunker or cave you lived in, you still had devices lining the floor, being charged, while you drank whatever horrible hot drink your region had to replace coffee. We all missed coffee.
And when daylight appeared on the horizon, we’d split into teams. One group to find food and the other group to find podcasters.
Rottentooth Manpuncher, bandit leader of New New Orleans, wasn’t the sort of person to have a stale mp3 player full of pre-Fall podcasts. Oh no. The only way to show the other rival warlords that you were top dog was to gather together the most mildly amusing of survivors who still had a knack for sitting down in front of a USB microphone
In the evenings, we’d heat up our suppers and watch them work. We’d ask the podcasters to include advertising segments that helped us remember our lost past, when we were supposed to order boxes of snacks delivered. Do our own legal documents. Try out mattresses, or glasses.
The stars would come out and you couldn’t see much beyond the glow of the face of your mp3 player, ticking along second by second.
Just got back from Rolling Pin Donuts in scenic San Bruno, the California city so named because all other saints had already been claimed by other, faster cities. While I had some fantastic cream-filled donut holes, I didn’t get anything of use for this newsletter.
Unless I count the joke that occurred to me on the way there, which is that the absolute best song about sandwich-related cosplay is probably David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Though it was suggested that one could make a strong argument for “Yellow Submarine” as well.
The climate changed and the waters rose. The climate changed and the air became thick as plastic. We could still see each other, across the room, but we could no longer go over there because air wouldn’t get out of the way like it used to. It was a new kind of climate.
If you could push your way to the bathroom to clean up, you’d have to chip your way to the faucets and keep your hands clear when you turned the spigot, because hard climate would tumble out before you’d get any water. Plants withered and that was understandable. We get it, plants.
All the petrocarbons that we burned used to be living matter. Organic matter. Liquid dinosaurs. What we didn’t realize was that they all wanted to come back. All the dinosaurs, just biding their time. We burned them and they came back, in the air, swirling particles, reforming their graceful reptilian necks, their crested skulls, the size of buildings. They whispered their lizard desires into the ear of climate, and climate did as they commanded. It finally turned against us, unfriended us in real life and online.
We had to wade everywhere. Pushing climate out of the way, water up to our ankles. No one could look a polar bear in the eye. The last sympathy cards ever printed were filled out and mailed to penguins. How the penguins distributed them among their number, we never knew. We just left a big pile of apologies and fled, hiding our eyes and our burning cheeks, overflowing with shame for what we’d done.
Was it so wrong? To set so much on fire?
Could we be blamed when so much of the world looked better in flames?
[composite illustration courtesy of Amanda Summers]
ending theme song
I was raised as a Catholic and was told that it was partially my responsibility to keep things in good shape because Jesus was due to return. It didn’t take much pondering to add up the number of generations who had lived and died already, each assuming that they were definitely living in the End Times before the return of their Messiah. So many people, each sure that they’d be around for the world’s end.
But the thing of it is: one generation is going to be correct. They’re going to be the last. Not with regards to Christ’s return. I’m not a believer anymore. But apocalypse is in the post at some point.
For each of us, individually. For all of us, collectively, at some point. Somebody’s going to feel like the world is ending and they’ll be right.
The entire world that we find ourselves in is absurd. I’ve got a cat on my lap. I’ve got music in my ears. I’ve spent a few hours today trying to be entertaining. It all evens out.
How are you doing? During this brief pause between disasters?
— Michael Van Vleet
lost time incident 13
This week, I’m getting a head start on the newsletter because tomorrow I turn 40. I’ve taken this week off from work and have already successfully frittered away most of my time. I’ve streamed myself playing video games and had friends join virtually. I’ve looked at recordings of those games and edited out video highlights I thought were entertaining. I’ve learned how to add closed captioning via YouTube’s interface. Took macro photos of interesting comic book panels like the one above. I watched Tarantino’s most recent film while my wife slept. Cleaned out a closet. Pruned the ol’ CD collection.
Drank lots of coffee. Wore socks and sandals.
The transition to old man is coming along smoothly.
I still find myself petting my moustache as if surprised my face can support such a thing. So many years were spent as a smooth faced softboy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still soft. Just slightly more hairy now. A few of these beard hairs look suspiciously gray as well.
Every birthday I’ve muttered about growing old, worried in the abstract about how little time is left, and there have always been folks around telling me not to worry about it. This time around, it’s folks who are 20 years older than me who’ve been telling me that 40 is significant, sure, but it’s 60 that’s really tricky.
Do I find it hard to believe that I’m old enough to have held down the same job for almost a decade? That I’ve been partnered up with my wife for almost two decades? The distance between who I am today and who I was a decade or two back seems small. It doesn’t feel like that long ago. Which makes me suspect the next two decades that may bring me to 60 could feel as brief as 20 paired inhalations and exhalations of breath, if and when they happen.
Or we won’t.
Ignore what that 39 year old idiot wrote. 40 is the worst. Coffee’s not working anymore. I’m just eating AA batteries by the fistful as my heart turns somersaults, trying to get free of its ribcage prison. My memory is shot full of holes. No one was ever meant to live this long. If I close my eyes, I can hear the songs of stars, screaming out matter and energy into a giant cold universe as fast as they can to just get it over with and it gets harder and harder not to scream along.
My bones creak and I have to soak in a mineral bath just to lure the minerals back into me, to shore up the cell walls of the bones that are barely holding my marrow in and keeping this wobbly frame upright.
Oh, you 60 year olds. You could have warned me. What are you still hiding? What trap am I running into, full tilt, merely by waking up every morning?
the future, but for kids
Amanda and I tried watching an old television show from the late 70s called “Jason of Star Command.” After STAR WARS made a ton of money, some goofs pooled the change from their sofa cushions and decided to make a TV show set in space to capitalize on the trend. They picked their starring actor for his haircut, not for his ability to react to anything around him. Jason’s space-sidekick is a guy with Larry Fine hair and eyebrows that might indicate that he’s an alien, but who knows. He’s supposed to be comic relief, but is walking into a dangling mobile in your lab several times in the same scene funny? Maybe in the distant future of Star Command. It’s not funny for us yet, because we’re still here in the past.
Because all kids’ TV is about selling toys, Jason— our not-Han Solo-hero— is given a fist-sized robot companion that he can carry in his belt pouch. The robot is called W.1.K.1 (pronounced “wiki”). This robot has, for real, the same feet you’ve seen all your life on cheap wind-up toys. The kind with the rods that stick out front and back for balance, like this one has:
Here’s Jason talking to the robot, probably in a condescending fashion:
W.1.K.1, like R2D2, spoke in a series of bleeps and bloops, which left me free to imagine that everything he said was screamed invective at his fellow crew members for not being able to do things as well as a robot. Sometimes shouting at the TV, pretending to be a robot, is a valid defense mechanism against substandard entertainment.
HUMAN! SHIELD YOUR STUPID LIQUID EYES! I’M GOING TO USE MY LASER TO FUSE THE DOOR CLOSED TO SAVE YOUR LIFE, AS— FOR SOME REASON— YOU’VE DECIDED TO LIVE IN SPACE, AN ENVIRONMENT THAT WILL KILL YOU INSTANTLY. NOT ME, THOUGH. I’D BE ABLE TO LIVE HERE JUST FINE, AMONG YOUR HUMAN CORPSES.
DO NOT LOOK INTO THE LASER! GO STAND IN A CORNER AND LOOK AT THE CORNER UNTIL I’M DONE!
IF YOUR EYES MELT IT WILL NOT BE MY FAULT!
Anyway. Don’t watch that show. It’s awful. And it doesn’t actually have a furious robot.
enter: the expert | exit: the expert
Jordan realized that his new home had issues when a skeleton-handed creature lifted him out of bed, bounced him off several walls of the main hallway, then rolled him down a flight of stairs towards the front door.
He remained on the ground, waiting for all quadrants of his body to check in. He had to wait to see if the overwhelming body-wide ache was going to sharpen anywhere and highlight a broken bone in addition to what he assumed was going to be a record-breaking amount of bruising. Then the front door opened.
“Okay okay,” said the individual walking uninvited into Jordan’s home. “Let’s see what we’ve got.” The man was dressed in sneakers, sweats, and a hoodie, his hands holding a UV flashlight and a wristlet composed of string, prayer beads and a small bell.
“Can I help you?” croaked Jordan from the floor.
The hoodie-wearing man looked down and jumped. “Whoah! I didn’t see you there, man. No, I’m good. Just wanted to poke my head in to check out this haunted house, you know? Lots of bad energy here. Probably at least a few Type S apparitions, maybe a haint barrow or something. Hard to tell out on the front lawn, so I figured I’d come take a look.”
“I live here,” said Jordan. “The front door was locked.”
“That’s not important. You should probably leave. I’ll be leaving shortly. We should leave together.”
[I’m too lazy to actually write this scene out. It doesn’t interest me, this conversation, this slow establishment of characters. The seed of the idea was this: It’s a very common trope that one character in a story will get into a mess and they’re ignorant about its source. Then, along comes an expert character who knows all about everything. Sometimes they take on the ignorant character as a mentor, and sometimes they want nothing to do with the trouble, but eventually realize they’re the only person who can help the ignorant character. It’s boring. I wanted to imagine an expert character for a supernatural setting who has studied the dark arts, but only for the express purpose of avoiding them. He wants nothing to do with the main character’s problems and has enough wisdom to actually leave. He shows up, identifies the supernatural obstacles, and then declares it’s none of his business and sticks to it.]
“Here, put this charm on. Perfect. Now it can’t enter the foyer. You’re safe so long as you don’t— you just smudged the writing off. Don’t worry, I have a second charm. Put it on, quick-quick-quick!”
“You want my advice? Sell the house. Move to another state. It’s not going to follow you. It’s stuck in that house. You’re not.”
“Well, according to the bank, I’m stuck there for a few decades until it’s paid off.”
[Our occult expert, Lemaine, just wants to get on with his day and have nothing more to do with spirits that might endanger life and limb. Jordan, our ignorant character, follows him back to his car.]
“Look, man,” said Lemaine. “Like I said, I just wanted to get a look at the house. Now I gotta go pick up my daughter at my ex-wife’s house.”
“Let me come with you,” said Jordan. “I need to know why that thing grabbed me… where it comes from, what it means…”
“My car’s only got two seats,” said Lemaine, as Jordan followed him to the street. “You can come along, but once I reach my ex’s place, you’re getting out because my daughter is going to sit there.”
“I’m not interested in exorcising your house. Why would I do that? You said you got thrown down stairs. Do you think I’m immune to stairs?”
[The problem, I suppose, is that the narrative is stuck with the ignorant character if the expert character refuses to be involved. What’s the ignorant character to do? Go off and study the occult themselves? Find a rival occultist who can help?]
Lemaine sighed. “Look. It’s none of my business. But I don’t know of any successful exorcists who use scented candles. I saw them in your guy’s bag. Vanilla scented. Said “Yankee Candle Company” right on the label. I’m going to watch from this side of the street, but … those guys were not a good investment. One of ’em’s probably going to die. Anyway, good luck!”
[This was much funnier in my head.]
[image courtesy of AJ Summers]
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ending theme song
Earlier today, before settling down to write, I read a science article about a new theory of mind. In it, our subconscious mind is constantly doing a lot of data-crunching to interpret the world around us, then translating all the input we take into an experience for the conscious mind that feels uninterrupted and directly connected to the world around us, but there’s a delay of maybe 400 milliseconds while that data is interpreted.
Yet we can catch a tennis ball thrown at us, despite being on a tiny tape delay from reality. Perhaps in part because it’s the subconscious mind that’s managing all the math involved in tracing the ball’s arc, getting our hand to the right spot, and then allowing our conscious mind to take credit for the catch after the fact.
I’ve always found this a fascinating metaphor. That the “self” we think of as “us,” our personality, our primal experience of the world… is a fiction. This meat ship we’re in for the most part gets on just fine without our help. The heart beats. Lungs breathe. Food is digested. If an unseen dog lunges at us, catching us by surprise, we find ourselves leaping out of the way before our conscious mind is even aware of what’s happening.
I don’t know. I think it can be comforting, to realize that what you’re experiencing is a fiction. That what you think of as “you” is possibly a side effect of what your body wants to accomplish. At some point, the conscious mind came into existence because it’s good at puzzles. It can think about the future. It can use language and technology and build civilizations. But it’s a hitchhiker. All the maintenance stuff happens without us.
I should have bookmarked that article. No idea where it was from. Came and went.
Just like these words.
Here we go…
–Michael Van Vleet