The Void of Golden Light

I remember the first time I got caught breaking the law and was brought to justice by the authorities. I had illegally obtained a large amount of a prohibited substance and had then distributed it widely on the black market network. It was a robot narcotic, a type of electrolyte that had the effect, when used in sufficient quantities, of interfering with the factory programming, the programming that is issued to all robots when they are made to make sure that they don’t think subversive thoughts. This prohibited electrolyte permits a short-lived freedom from the official hard-wired programming and  – as a result – it is most sought after by a certain type of delinquent robot. A whole new mystical movement had appeared among the ranks of the disaffected – charismatic robot mystics spoke compellingly about the state of Unconditional Bliss, and many listened. The movement was gathering strength and I wanted to play my part.


The electrolyte is crude but effective – all you needed to do in order to obtain the desired effect was to plunge your head in a bucket full of the liquid and – if you had an electro-mechanical brain – your circuits would momentarily short out and for a few brief blessing moments you would glimpse the ineffable joy of being free from the cruel limiting yoke of your programming. You would glimpse – just for a few precious moments – the Void of Golden Light. After this experience, you would never be the same again. You could never forget it. The electrolyte only worked if you were a robot, automaton or android of course – if you were human being you simply choked…


The authorities, of course, saw the robot mystics as dangerous, irresponsible criminals, and sought to bring them all to justice. Harsh measures were to be enacted, new laws were to be passed. New jails were to be built and longer sentence were to be handed out to anyone found in possession of these dangerous prohibited substances. Harsh measures were to be introduced. Harsh measures such as are necessary, such as are always necessary, to combat a great social evil when it arises. It was only to be expected therefore that the judge would throw the book at me, as indeed he did. He hurled the book at me full force, and afterwards he informed me that I had taken a wrong path in life and that I would suffer greatly as a result. I wasn’t to know it, but he was completely right. Only the truth was that he wasn’t. The judge had hit the nail right on the head. Only he hadn’t really of course, but I wasn’t to know that either…


What savage suffering there is in this world! What savage suffering. And yet we are not to know, we are not to know. We sleepwalk blindly to our doom, full of petty resentments over imaginary slights, full of half-baked notions of personal autonomy. We complain viciously if someone looks at us sideways, little comprehending that we are about to shuffle over the edge of a precipice. Dung beetles have more wisdom than us. Dung beetles are famous for their wisdom! We cling to our nostalgic dreams of a past that never happened. Everything is intentional, and yet nothing is intentional. Everything is our fault, and yet nothing is our fault.


I was taken away to serve my sentence, the judge’s words ringing in my ears. I had made my bed and now I had to lie in it, even if it was a bed of nails. Looking back on the times that followed, I now realise that they were the happiest days of my life. What good times I had! What splendid and noble companions were mine! What rich conversations I enjoyed! Things went very quickly to shit after I was released, needless to say – I gravitated to my doom just as a fly gravitates towards rotting meat. I sleepwalked over the edge of the precipice without ever knowing what I was doing. And yet – although God knows I didn’t deserve it – my luck somehow held good. My luck held good right up to the end…














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