June 5, 2014
On December 4, 2061, a federal agent appeared at the home of John Q Jones, a writer living in Cincinnati.
He showed Jones a copy of the beginning of an article Jones had written on his computer.
This was the text:
At one time, all reality was imagination. You could be talking about tables and chairs, cars, factories, roads, engines, beds, computers…and you could also be talking about trees, bushes, deserts, rivers, animals.
From another angle, reality is the condition of being accustomed to something. There it is, and there it has been for a while.
Reality sets in like a meal after you’ve eaten it.
Reality is acceptance. It’s framework, context, territory inside which a person acquiesces. And makes do. And lives.
He enjoys that space, or doesn’t like it, or forgets it even exists.
When, eventually, he gives up the ghost (his body), he leaves, he goes away, and if he’s conscious, he says, “Well, I was living in that space, that reality.”
A painter who stands before a blank canvas is acutely aware of the space. He knows he can imagine and make anything happen on it. The forms, colors, shapes, energies, narratives can be continuous or discontinuous. They can come alive or lie there like a dead cat.
He can always be beginning or he can always be painting the last stroke. He can scrape away a section, paint over it, add, subtract, build borders or knock them apart.
Acceptance, familiarity, acquiescence? Why bother? It’s all new.
It’s a dream, or a dozen dreams colliding. The painter invents his own logic.
Ordinary reality fits and interlocks and evolves. It operates by laws. It entices devotees toward more discovery. It has one system of logic—and if you can’t learn it, you stumble. Badly.
But beyond that knowledge, imagination sits on a cliff or a thousand cliffs, waiting, ready to go, looking for a signal. It can remain there until the sun collapses and goes dark. But when the person with that dormant imagination decides it’s time, everything changes…
The federal agent said, “Mr. Jones, the NSA intercepted your work and sent a query to our office.”
“What kind of query,” Jones said.
“It’s called a 546 A. It means the capture system was unable to process your text. It made no sense.”
“And you’d like me to explain what these words mean?” Jones said. “I can’t. They explain themselves.”
“Yes, well, the disturbing aspect…you seem to be saying reality is only…temporary.”
“So?” Jones said. “What’s the problem?”
“People reading your document could become confused. They could fail to differentiate fact from fiction.”
“Happens all the time,” Jones said. “People don’t need my words to make that mistake.”
The agent stared at Jones.
“I’m not here to debate that, Mr. Jones,” he said. “I’m here to prevent the contagion of uncertainty. It’s against the law to defame reality, because we establish reality.”
“And who is we?” Jones said.
“The Department of Homeland Security. We secure the State. We can’t have people proposing something vague and unsettling that exists…beyond that.”
“So I’m a criminal?”
“Well,” the agent said, “with our help, you could become an ally. You could continue your work as one of us. We would give you slightly ‘edgy’ ideas to transmit under your name—and we would see where your words travel, who picks them up, who agrees with them, who is tempted to move beyond the consensus. You would be doing your country a service.”
“I would become an agent.”
“Yes. A valuable one.”
Jones said, “But you see, those words I wrote…they’re true. Reality is just a habit, an addiction. It’s useful, I don’t deny that. But it’s pernicious. It ultimately puts everybody to sleep. It makes people into loyal robots. I’m tired of that. I’ve lost my patience.”
“Would you prefer I arrest you and send you to a reeducation camp?” the agent said. “You’d learn that all the prophets and the messiahs have already come and delivered their messages, and it’s now our job to align our actions and thoughts with the greatest good for all.”
“As you define it.”
“As we define it.”
“Right now,” he said, “I’m only interested in one thing. Did you understand what I wrote, Agent? Forget what other people might think when they read my piece. Forget the effect it might have on them. Forget the general good. Forget all that proprietary meddling.”
“No, Mr. Jones. You misunderstand. I’m not me. There is no me. There is no you. There is only and always all of us. Together. And in that context, what you wrote is significant, because it could disturb the Field. What people might believe when they read what you wrote is of paramount importance. It’s the only important consideration.”
“This is very entertaining,” he said. “I have a little secret, Agent. You know what it is? I can see your imagination. Right here, right now. I can see it inside you. You’re busy trying to kill it. You’re rationalizing that act of murder—as futile as it is—on the basis of what’s necessary for Everybody.”
John Q Jones vanished.
The agent was in the room alone.
He felt the urge to scream.
He fought it and beat it down.
He looked around.
He started sweating.
He took out his gun.
He stood there for a long time.
Finally, he put the gun away and walked out of the room.
He walked out of the building on to the street.
He was in a city he had never seen before.
The street was crowded with strangers. Cars moved along slowly. On the side of a huge building, news images flashed and changed. Words crawled.
He struggled to understand the stories. He failed.
He heard a voice in his head:
“Agent, stay where you are. We’re coming to get you. You’re experiencing a transient episode. We’ll be there in under three minutes. Mr. Jones was a hologram. A plant. The enemy is playing tricks. We’re equipped to handle it. Don’t worry.”
The transmission ended.
The agent breathed in and out slowly. He waited.
He noticed he was standing outside an art gallery. He could see the paintings on the walls.
A woman was sitting at a desk. She looked up and saw him. She smiled.
She waved for him to come in.
He stood there, not knowing what to do.
This post originally appeared at www.nomorefakenews.com
This article was posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 4:51 am