Story and Graphic by Warrigal Mirriyuula
08 Who Is Bess (2019)
“Then you’d better tell me who I am and what I’m to do.”
“Well you obviously know who you are as far as your life up to this point is concerned. None of this changes any of that. You’re the you that holds the memories of your existence, your experiences and learning, insights and your dreams. There is only one you and you are it. The one and only Bess Stafford. Genetics took care of that. You are, in fact, Elizabeth Ruth Stafford, decorated police officer and investigator. But that’s not all you are. It’s whatyou are that is probably more important than whoyou are. It’s what you are that makes you so important, indeed, it makes you unique. So let me try and lay this out for you.
Some decades ago it became apparent to cosmologists and astrophysicists that the universe was continuing to expand and that expansion could not be adequately explained by any of the current models of reality.
Do you know anything about M theory and branes, string theory; any of those sorts of things?
I like the physical sciences. I like their rigour. I try to keep up, and yes, I’ve heard of these things and have a laypersons understanding. They’re all about higher dimensions, over and above the four we know and live within.
Well here in the material universe you’re human, as I am, here. But through the discordance, on the other side, we are both tensors in the mathematics of those higher dimensional spaces; incredibly complex algorithms, you much more so than me of course, Those mathematics define an idea of reality that is specific to each of us, but also general to the greater space, like ingredients in a cake.”
“Sort of like the sugar that becomes the sweetness. This is the field Dad worked in; Folded Space Time.”
“So you’re saying that when we jump through “The Discordance,” Bess capitalised the words verbally, “we lose our materiality and become…, what exactly?” She’d clarify exactly what “The Discordance” was when she’d discovered where it led to.
“Heard of dark energy and dark matter?”
“Of course. They’re alI the unseen stuff that accounts for the majority of the mass of the universe. If I remember correctly dark energy is about 70%, and dark matter about 25% and together they may be responsible for inflation, the continuing expansion of the universe post big bang.”
“Yes that’s right, here, but that’s not all they are. What do you know about the Zero Point Field?”
“Its a quantum vacuum space of incredibly low energy; theoretically at absolute zero temperature, so no potential or kinetic energy. Yet I seem to remember that none the less things still pop into and out of existence even when there is no energy gradient to exploit.”
Yes they do; but most of those spontaneous creations burst like bubbles in the sun. They expend their brief existence coming into being and then decaying. You know about Heisenberg and Schroedinger?
“Uncertainty and Entanglement?”
“Right. So much for Einstein’s “spukhafte Fernwirkung.”
Well, every now and then one pops into existence and abides. This is usually the result of the intersection of those branes I mentioned earlier. Without going into the mechanics of it all, these spontaneous and persistent little tangles of corpuscular energy can become entire universes following there own physics, rolling out to their natural conclusions.
This universe of yours, ours really, is just such a one. One of many, very many. Though this one has been modelled for stability and its ability to support biological life. Beings just like you and me, Bess; and all the other creatures that have ever existed on this beautiful blue green ball and all the other balls of rainbow colours that fill this universe. This universe is a school for solving the problems of biological life. That is why you are here, why you’ll go through the curricula so many times. This is your school, where you have and will learn all that you’ll need to finally join those beings, including your parents, who have matriculated to a higher dimensional set.”
“Those higher dimensional sets sounds notionally like a kind of heaven.”
“A heaven with its own problems, but yes, in a way. There is a school of thought that suggests that the human concept of gods and heaven is a kind of foreshadowing infusion of that possible future where all will be revealed and made good, where the individual can move mountains. A kind of garden to which all the world’s Candides retire to contemplate and create the best of all possible worlds.”
“You also started out as one of those energetic little balls. You’re your own little universe, modelled by your parents consciousness, and their human genes of course, and finished off in the fire of life.”
“Their consciousness? I don’t understand. Do you mean that what was on their mind when I was conceived had a determining effect on how I would turn out?”
“Sort of; in fact its all down to consciousness; but these weren’t random thoughts, nor were they merely the cognitive components of the sex act, whatever that may be when its at home. Your parents entered what would commonly be called a trance state. Be thinking the Buddhist’s “Om”; a means to access one’s true self and mind. Of course its wasn’t really a trance, it was more like a functioning “Om”, a sort of “fOmmmmm” that allowed them to synchronise their consciousnesses and hold an idea of you as a living potential field, and then to transfer one of those tiny corpuscles of energy from the ZPF into that potential field.”
“Oh my giddy aunt! I’m a “star baby”!” Bess imagined a naked baby sitting in the core of The Large Hadron Collider. The baby was laughing.
This was really getting difficult to keep a grip on. Like sand running through her fingers, Bess was only able to understand a little of what Hansen was saying. The rest was just running away. She’d have to sweep it all up later for further analysis.
“Were my…., are my parents like me? Do they have these super powers?”
“Oh yes; and quite powerful powers they are too; but very abstract. Your parents were never really meant for this world. They were only ever destined for a single iteration before matriculation. Of course, they weren’t meant to disappear from your life in the way they did. That was, or will be, the result of exigent circumstances. There’s simply not enough time to fully brief you on all the aspects of what’s happening and why it all has to be so urgent.”
“But Eric, I’ve just been an ordinary copper plodding my way through, and now you tell me I’m really some George Lucas fantasy character.”
“There’s nothing ordinary about you, Bess.
You’ll remember that little boy you found in the New England Ranges back in the early eighties. He’s about to put his hand up for the seat of Armidale. He’ll be standing as an independent at the next election and he’ll shoo it in. He’ll remain the member for Armidale until his retirement in 2052, by which time he will have been PrimeMinister in the first government made up entirely of independent candidates. You were, or should I say will be, the proximate determining factor in that outcome. You see if you hadn’t found him when you did, well stochastic factors would have set in and in all likelihood…” Hansen’s face saddened.
“You know what’s really beginning to bother me is whether or not I did any of these things on my own; or were you there, always nudging here, restraining there, pushing ideas into my mind. I know you have access. I’ve seen you many times in daydreams, or when I’ve been thinking of you. Am I just some sort of glorified tool?”
“Marx believed we are all the tools of history.”
“Yes, well Marx believed a lot of things, but that’s not an answer.”
“No, of course not. You’re able to determine your own life, follow your own hunches, pursue your own dreams, you have “free will”. I’ve only got access to your conscious processes and you have to, in a sense, invite me in. I can only suggest, I can’t compel you to do anything. I’ve gotten used to being the irresistible force when it comes to taking a look “inside” and giving a gentle nudge, that’s my burden; but you are the immoveable object. There is no shifting you from your chosen purpose.”
“You talk about these iterations. How many iterations will I go through?”
I don’t really know. Its uncertain; though I have seen six of you so far.
What? No idea at all? Sounds like the wheel of life. Is what’s through “The Discordance” like the bardo?
We’ll not be going all the way through this time. We’ll be using it as a transport hub, sort of like an interchange, but yes the space we’ll be going through, an an intermediate space, which is, yes, actually like the bardo, in the sense that it is a place between your present life and a kind of rebirth as the new improved you, but only if you view it from this human perspective. When you get there it won’t seem like the bardo at all. Humans have never been very good at imagining transcendence or what “heaven” may actually look like; but then how do you imagine the non existent?
You see time is our problem here. Materiality requires the arrow of time. Without it reality becomes incomprehensible to the human mind, just a blur of instantaneous sections of the quantum waveform collapse. Pick a moment, any moment and it will be a perfectly formed three dimensional data cloud…, like those images of chaos that were so popular back in the 90’s, nothing like a photograph or image you can interrogate, it will entirely lack context.
Each moment is just itself; but add time, and you get process; context and meaning emerge. Consciousness feeds on that meaning and re-contextualises it further, creating narratives of possibility, pursuing the future, re-interrogating the past, turning the present into a never ending flame fuelled by the past to fire the future.”
“Heraclitean Fire. Will I become an “immortal diamond” as Hopkins hoped he would?”
“In time, perhaps in time.
You see Bess, nothing is really as it seems. From those tiny quanta spontaneously emerging, to federal elections, famines and warfare, nothing in this world is as described on the tin. Everything is always subtly different, serving another purpose, seeking the resolution of an undisclosed, hidden agenda. Good works and bad, its all the same to the universe. It just keeps on keeping on like the old paint ad; and just like paint on a wall, what you see is the paint, not the wall behind it.”
That’s right. Ingersoll knew a thing or two about the reality of reality. There never has been “right and “wrong”, just what happens next. That’s the glory of biological materiality. The future is always unknown, a Peter Pan adventure for adults.
I loved Peter when I was young, but now I see him in so many people; childish pride, boastfulness, lacking any real long view. We can’t all be Peter. It just doesn’t work.
Yes, things have come to a bit of a sorry pass at this point in human history, but you’re on the side of the angels; at least in as much as the angels have a side.
Alright, let’s say that while I don’t understand even a small part of what you’re suggesting, I can accept all that you’ve said. Mainly because its you that’s said it. Let’s say that I’m willing to accompany you through The Discordance. There’s just one thing I need to understand. What has marijuana got to do with all this?
Ah, yes, the welcoming weed. That’s quite simple really. If you were to just jump into the discordance unprepared it might very well shred your consciousness to unconnected filaments and that’d be the end of that. You’d still exist but as discrete sets of individual ideas no longer networked to each other, you would literally lose all meaning. When, if, you came back after such a traverse you’d almost certainly be a mental wreck; aphasia, inability to maintain coherent thought, loss of motor control. It wouldn’t be pretty.
Getting stoned loosens the mind by adding a stochastic element to your consciousness at the quantum level. Think of it as a preventative pill to forestall the worst headache you could ever imagine. It slows the sorting leading to the quantum collapse, creates a kind of rubberyness that allows your consciousness to stretch and twist without actually tearing itself asunder.
“It’s a relaxant.”
“Simply put, yes. Marijuana has a clinical effect like no other in this application.”
“We had to smoke some dope on a course I was on years ago. I hacked and coughed my way through the joint, I just felt silly. Oh and hungry. I got the munchies. Then I began to worry that they were all looking at me. To be frank it wasn’t all that pleasant.”
“Well there’ll be none of that tonight. I’ve been breeding weed for….., Well lets just say I’ve got it down.”
“Alright then. Lets go.”
“Good thinking. While we’ve got some time left here, I would, none the less, like to get you to a place of safety as quickly as possible. Once we get there we can talk through all this and I can give a sufficiently detailed briefing.” Eric opened the small shiny hinged tin and got out a packet of Tally Ho papers and a small zip lock bag of mull.
Bess watched as Eric rolled the joints, noting how very good at it he was. The finished tube and its contents an almost perfect cylinder, one end folded over, the other fitted with a small roll of thin cardboard; something the lips could hold without sogging up the rolled paper. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers had nothing on Eric.
When he’d finished rolling he handed one of the joints to Bess who accepted it awkwardly, not really knowing what to do or how to hold the thing. He put another to his own lips and flicking the Zippo, applied the flame, drawing down a very generous lungful of smoke.
While he held his breath he indicated with the Zippo that Bess should put the joint to her lips. She did so and Eric applied the flame while Bess tried in her inexpert way to ape Eric. It may very well have been the best weed in the world but Bess still fell to hacking and coughing. When she’d regained her composure she held the joint at low arms length and gave it a look, then turned to Eric with a big grin on her face.
She took a few more tokes, the coughing abating as the smoke took its effect. With Eric’s continued encouragement she finished the joint.
She was a little unsteady after smoking the reefer and let go the occasional giggle.
“This is ridiculous.” Bess muttered under her breath. She felt a bit foolish having arrived at retirement and never having recreationally smoked a joint in her life and now here she was acting on evidence she couldn’t really say was actually evidence and behaving as if she understood what she was doing. The truth was she didn’t really have a clue. And the whole lot was now lain over with weed wonder.
“OK, are you ready Bess?” Bess giggled a yes.
“Look into my eyes. Make sure you hold them in your view until we pass through the discordance.”
“I’m as ready as a person who’s never done this before and has no idea what to expect, but yes,” Bess giggled again, “I’m as ready as ever I’ll be.”