I AM A LABYRINTHIAN. MY RACE OF PEOPLE IS DEFINED BY OUR SITUATION IN A WORLD WHICH IS LABYRINTHINE--OUR PURPOSE IS MOVEMENT, NAVIGATION IN OUR WORLD--A SERIES OF CHOICES TOWARD SOMETHING. . . THAT SOMETHING: THE SILENCE--NO NEED TO MAKE CHOICES, NO NEED TO KEEP MOVING TOWARD SOMETHING. . .
Sometimes I think I am there, or at least, just around the corner--But there is no way that I can know the depth of my world--But I do not feel lost, I cannot get lost--I am convinced that my world has only one entrance, and the goal shall be a wide and beautiful courtyard. I will reach it before I leave this world, I will escape these narrow, confined walls. I am blind. I have never encountered a deadend nor has the path of my movement split in divergent directions, but this does not exclude the possibility of such things; I have thought about them--I am blind--For all I know, I have encountered such deadends, made the wrong choices, but am unaware, have forgotten, chosen to forget, neglected to mention, have lied--I keep moving towards a goal--IF YOU COULD IMAGINE A MAZE FROM ABOVE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND IT AS A SERIES OF LEVELS: NUMBER THE OUTER LEVEL (ENTRANCE LEVEL) ZERO AND THE LAST LEVEL (AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE GOAL) n-1. TRACE THE PATH YOU FOLLOW BY THE NUMBER OF LEVELS YOU PASS THROUGH-- 0, 3, 2, 1, 4, 7, 6, 5, 8. . . THROUGH TO THE END. I walk a short distance down a narrow path, turn left and walk much further, turn left, and walk again even further, turn right and walk a short distance, and again and a shorter distance, left and another distance. Starts and spurts, short and long distances--I am aware of my movement over a wide space but I cannot feel myself getting towards the center. I have moved over a wide area and the center could be very close but behind me, or in front of me--but miles of hall stretch ahead. . . I stop to pause frequently. Itıs not easy to keep going.
You look up and the sky is only a slit above you. You donıt know where you are but feel yourself getting closer and further, closer and further from the center; extend your arms, palms flat against the wall to hold you up. Straight ahead it looks as if the hall comes to an end--you canıt tell whether it turns right or left.
VISUAL CONSCIOUSNESS I IMAGINE AS A SCREEN WHICH DESCRIBES THE UNITS OF FORM AND POSSIBILITY BEFORE YOUR UNIT MECHANISMS OF VISUAL PERCEPTION. I HAVE NONE OF THESE. BUT MY BODY MAKES CHOICES BASED ON WHAT IT KNOWS. I USE THE WORD BODY, I DONıT KNOW WHAT ONE IS, BUT I HAVE BEEN TOLD. SOMETIMES I THINK OF MY BODY AS A CONCENTRATED POINT, OR JUST WHAT I AM; SOMETIMES I FILL OUT ALL OF WHERE I AM AND EXTEND TO WHERE I HAVE BEEN. I DO NOT KNOW WHERE I AM, BUT I FEEL WHAT I HAVE BEEN TOLD IS MOVEMENT. SOMETIMES I CAN MOVE, SOMETIMES I CANNOT. THIS IS WHAT I AM TOLD IS EXISTENCE.
The walls around us are transparent, sliding off one another, there is sometimes a harsh reflection. Spreading out from where I stand is a wall broken by an empty space, behind it are others which also are periodically broken by a passage. As I stand still all becomes a dense wall of bands of varying brightness and there is little distinction between walls and passages--just one luminous wall of many shades, but I know that if I move those walls which are furthest away will move with greatest speed (I use the passage to the next level as a marker and perceive it move from one point to the next in my visual perception). Closer walls, chosen landmarks move more slowly, forming a cognitive (but local) image of the maze from my perspective as a series of overlaying walls slide in and out of each other at various depths at varying speeds----sometimes I make a mistake. . . As I suppose even You do from Your Perspective, but I move with rapidity, correcting for my mistakes unlike a moth drawn to a lightbulb, unlike a simple humanıs intuition. . . I do very well but canıt move fast enough. I can see others moving through the maze with me, but canıt catch them even though I move faster than they--I do not know what to do with my perception. . . I see what others do not see. . . I see that they do not perceive what I see--they stumble, run into walls stop at every fork and slowly ponder which is the right way, they backtrack. . . I have never met a single one of my fellows and I fear they may be the creation of my transparent brain.
LOGIC GUIDES MY LIFE(?)--I QUESTION THAT IT IS A LIFE, THAT IT IS MINE, I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING OF MY OWN BUT LOCOMOTION AND LOGIC--²I AM WIRED THIS WAY,² I AM FOND OF SAYING. I MOVE THROUGH PASSAGES, THIS I ONLY KNOW FROM THE CHOICES I MAKE--CHOOSE THIS PASSAGE--CHOOSE THAT PASSAGE--I WONDER WHAT THESE PASSAGES LOOK LIKE: ARE THEY CYLINDRICAL, ARE THEY CLOSED, DO I MOVE IN A FLAT PLANE OR DO I DO I GO UP AND DOWN INCLINES AND DEPRESSIONS--I DONıT KNOW WHAT KIND OF LOCOMOTION I HAVE--I ONLY KNOW THAT IT TAKES A CERTAIN TIME TO GO FROM ONE PASSAGE TO THE NEXT--DO I EVEN KNOW THAT I MOVE? NO, BUT I DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT I AM CHOOSING--I AM BLIND AND IGNORANT--LUCKILY LOGIC NEVER FALTERS, MY MEMORY STORES EACH INTERVAL OF TIME BETWEEN DECISIONS.
I HAVE JUST RUN INTO A WALL--LOGIC TELLS ME THAT I SHOULD BACK UP UNTIL I REACH A PASSAGE I HAVENıT BEEN TO--SOMETIMES I HAVE TO BACK UP FOR AN EXTREMELY LONG TIME INTERVAL, BUT LOGIC DOES NOT FALTER--I HAVE JUST RUN INTO. . .
I move, always baring to the right--I think there is something wrong with my hip--I call this inertia because I have been moving this way ever since I could know (I suppose the beginning), and nothing leads me to believe this will change anytime soon. I have already lived a long time this way--so I think. Maybe that will spell the end, when I reach a point where I suddenly begin moving left and retrace all the places have been--back to the beginning. . . I know others would not choose to be me, but I am thankful. . . Calling my movement handicapped, but my life is simple--at least certain in how it proceeds, considering all of the doubts, all the possibilities. . . Even now I think: what would happen if suddenly I began to move to the left. . . and I know it would be the end of all hope.
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I met a fellow labyrinthian once as I approached a deadend--his back faced me, he didnıt seem to move. I approached to greet him, so happy to meet him, but as I approached I saw that he did move--he continued to walk forward; the wall did not give, stifling his movement all the way down to just a slight tremor which built to a crazed rocking motion as he tried to walk straight ahead. I could not get him to acknowledge my presence, but I think the sounds of my words soothed him and he quieted down. He seemed to be thinking, but he stared straight into the wall without turning his head. I have so wanted to meet another inhabitant of My Land--I once thought that simply meeting another would be enough--someone to commiserate with about the impossibility, the futility of our mazed life, but I realize now to have such a purpose is even more futile. . . I left him there, my fellow labyrinthian, and continued my search--for a goal, for another.