‘Is it a good idea,’ I articulated carefully, ‘for a person to adhere as closely as possible to their thoughts, thereby making sure never to deviate from them?’ I was the chief acolyte you see, and it was my job to ask intelligent questions so that the Algorithmic Guru might answer them, as it infallibly did. The ritual goes like clockwork every day – question, then answer; question, then answer. I keep fielding questions and the Algorithm keeps on nailing them.
I’m well aware of the irony present in the question as I phrased it. You needn’t think I missed it; you needn’t think I missed it and thereby try to score points against me. That subtlety was built into the question – I’m not the chief acolyte for nothing, you know. The Algorithm had already launched into a long-winded answer, explaining how important it was never to deviate from one’s own thoughts, no matter what the circumstances. ‘In this act of pious fidelity to our rational constructs lies our salvation’, the Algorithm concluded, impressing – as always – the assembled students with its prompt and unequivocal answers.
‘Is it a good idea, is it a good idea, is it a good idea,’ I articulated carefully. I was tired, but not too tired to lose myself in the Ocean of Sleep. The Ocean of Sleep rushed up to me faster than words can tell and it instantly swept me away into a world of surreal inconsequentiality. In this world the chief absurdity is that the dreamer is swept along by the circus so completely that they never notice, not even for a moment, the absurdity of their existence. That is the richest irony of all, the tastiest and most satisfying of all possible ironies. Never was there a joke so good!
Never was there a joke so good, but this is not a joke to be blurted out coarsely in the public places in this world. It’s not that sort of a joke at all. I was tired, but not too tired to notice that the end of the world was rapidly approaching. The end of the world is always rapidly approaching. People get the wrong idea about the end of the world, in my opinion. It makes them strange. What are they imagining is going to change anyway? I wonder. What do they imagine is going to be so very different?
I was tired, but not too tired to appreciate the irony that is solemnly acted out by these stalwart prophets of the final days with all their stilted and ludicrous utterances. The End of Days seems to signify something peculiar to them, something that both necessitates and excuses all sorts of stilted and pseudo-portentous utterances. You know this to be true as well as well as I do, so let us agree on that much at least! ‘The Doom Lords are returning’, they cry out in their great wailing voices, ‘the Doom Lords are returning to afflict the lives of us sinful human beings’.
I am sitting on the Throne of Hallucinations and I am hallucinating like crazy. I am hallucinating the whole world, I am hallucinating the whole of human history. I am hallucinating everything. Feelings pour through me but I have no way of expressing them. I am the steersman who holds the wheel steady, and braces himself against the oncoming storm. I am the steersman and I’m also the storm that blows the ship far off course into dangerous waters. I am the gull that floats on the wind, the sprat that leaps from the sea to avoid the unseen predator. I am both the doomed and the doom…