I had done a stupid thing and wasted precious time. My mind reeled at the enormity of my blunder. Was it a blunder I could survive, I wondered? But even to think about this blunder, even to think this thought, the thought that ‘this was a blunder’ – innocuous as this thought may seem – was itself a blunder of the first magnitude. The thought itself was a blunder of cosmic proportions. Could I survive this second blunder, I wondered? Could I survive the second blunder of thinking about the first blunder?
Then everything went blank. Everything went back to zero and I had to start again with a clean slate. All my mistakes had been wiped away. All records had been wiped clean. I had to start from scratch. I was in an unfamiliar environment – everything was almost entirely dark, everything dark apart from the faint glow that was coming from a number of computer screens. The screens were constantly flickering, constantly churning with some vast data flow. Data was silently seething everywhere I looked. I looked around me. I was in what appeared to be a large open-plan office, apparently I was witnessing the aftermath of some major catastrophe. Broken glass was everywhere – most of the monitors had been shattered by the accident. There was a faltering hum going on somewhere in the background – reality itself was breaking down, I realized. What was I to do?
I was struggling to arrive at a correct formulation of my situation. Competing theories were flashing through my head. “Everything is fine.” My mind told me. Then it immediately followed this up with “Everything is not fine…” The two statements in complete and utter contradiction of each other. These were my two competing theories to explain what was going on – ‘everything is perfectly OK and there’s no need for me to worry’ and ‘something very bad is happening and I do need to worry.’ Only worrying wasn’t going to help – I knew that. I had to come up with some sort of plan, some sort of solution. I had to respond to the situation in a way that was both intelligent and effective. I had to correct the reality decay.
The monitors were flashing information at me but it was all scrambled. It was nonsense-information and it was giving me nothing to go on. I had no way of responding to it. Even on the most basic level it didn’t make sense: messages came up but they weren’t messages at all. The symbols they were composed of weren’t proper symbols – they were nonsense symbols. It was like a made-up language. A made-up language that had been made up by a fool. And yet there was no denying the urgency in it. The information was flashing, flashing, flashing at me with a terrible insistency. It was broken information however and there was no way for me to respond to it. I could only look on…
I was revisiting old ground, reliving old obsessions.The derelict office is my mind, I realized. This realization – which was like a solid blow – came to me at the same time as a massive wave of déjà vu. I’ve been here before, I thought suddenly. I’ve been here before and what’s happening here is massively important. I’ve got to grasp what’s going on – I can’t let it slip away from me. As I always do let it slip away. I mustn’t let myself get side-tracked, as I always do let myself be side-tracked. I’ve been here before, I realize, but I always get side-tracked. I’m always here – I’ve never been anywhere else. I never got away from here, it’s just that my mind has tricked me every time into thinking that I had. My mind is like a tidal wave of distracting information and I can’t resist it. It’s a deluge that I can’t stand up against.
The broken information is flashing at me but I don’t know how to respond to it. I don’t know what I am supposed to do. The information was some kind of reality misfeed. Reality was broken data. Or was it that the broken data was reality? There had been a fatal error in the reality supply and everything was screwing up. My mind was competing with itself to come up with the right interpretation. The data-flow had become incoherent and there was no way to respond to it. Reality had become self-contradictory and there was no way to remedy the error. Reality itself was an error and I didn’t know what to do about it. Maybe the error was in my theory for what was going on. Maybe the error wasn’t IN me, maybe it WAS me! Maybe it was me that was the error. Maybe reality was fine. Maybe reality was perfect.
The broken data was a reality. Reality was the broken data. The broken reality was the data. I was trying to fix my own fixing but the fixing was the fault. The fixing was the fault, not the fault itself. The fixing was the fault that could never be fixed…