I recall being surrounded by darkness. Amidst the darkness I sensed the presence of something behind it, or perhaps within the darkness itself. I perceived my surroundings like one might see a dark liquid sublimating into a clear cold glass of water—only this was happening in reverse. I began to experience the liquid darkness pulling away from my senses like a cloudy curtain of ink, pulled back to reveal some lost and forgotten secret.
My first sensation was this unwieldy feeling of being poured into mySelf. Piece by piece my consciousness was arriving into a new place, in a new body, with a new purpose. Upload complete. I was lying on my back. I tried opening my eyes but I couldn’t. There was a frighteningly bright sky that encapsulated everything in a shower of aggressive light. I couldn’t get acclimated. It made me nauseous. I started to feel around to get some sense of where I was. There were many jagged, damp, and windswept rocks all around me. I smelled salt in the air. I heard waves crashing together. I was becoming uncomfortable. The rocks were digging into my everything. I made an effort to open my eyes again. I sat up. I scanned my surroundings—rocks, in every direction. In the distance I saw a vast blue ocean and a beach. Waves were crashing around everywhere like a mob of angry shoppers trying to dogpile their way into a door meant to accommodate two.
I turned around.
There was a man sitting casually on a large rock beside me. He was dressed unusually. Greens, reds, blues, whites, yellows. He had a large hat flapping in the wind beside him. He was eating a shiny red apple. He broke out into a huge smile as soon as I locked eyes with him.
“You!” He said sitting up from the rock. “Like to sleep!”
He appeared to be in his eighties. He was vibrant and alive though. Well-groomed and gentlemanly. He had a salt and pepper goatee that Robin Hood would be proud of, and a thick Spanish accent. This old man—he was a rogue.
He looked upwards towards the cloudy, bright sunless sky. He flicked his right hand outward like a rapidly blooming lotus.
“Time—is not a luxury. We go!” He put on the giant chapeau that was sitting next to him and came down off of the rock to help me up. I was still weak. He pointed his finger to a large house in the distance. “Is okay?” He asked furrowing his brow. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it. I nodded. “Yeah. I can make it.”
He smiled, clearly impressed with my resolve. We began to walk towards the house. I kept exchanging looks with the man trying to make sense of everything. His face seemed familiar. I couldn’t quite figure it out though. He shot another smile at me, “Hello, Nicole.”
Knee-co-Elle. That’s how he said my name. How did he even know my name? As we walked, I scanned him up and down again. Still nothing. I was getting tired. Negotiating the seaside terrain in a body I didn’t know how to use was difficult. The old man realized how tired I was getting and decided to stop for the evening. He casually gathered up some dry branches that littered the ground and arranged some rocks into a small fire pit.
As he lit the beach aflame, he turned his head slightly, “Just seeing fire—it makes you warm!”
It was getting dark. I curled up next to the crackling sound of embers and the sweet smell of burning wood. The fire’s touch defeated the chilly seaside breeze and I began to feel my body relax. He was right. Just seeing this fire—it made me feel warmer.
When I woke up, the morning began to slowly seep through the night sky. The fire was still going, and the man who started it, was still asleep, curled up comfortably in his colorful clothing. It was pretty clear that he stayed up most of the night to keep the fire going. I decided to let him sleep. I got up and gathered a few branches and tossed them onto the fire. I was tired again. I sat and watched the sun rise through my toes. Compared to the day before, I was much more aware of mySelf.
The man rolled over on his side. I could see his face through the fire. “Now I make you wait!” he said laughing. “I also like to sleep!”
I smiled. It felt new to smile. But smiling was hard.
The man sat up.
“I will explain to you a thing. Yesterday, you come to this place a vessel. Empty. A cloistered actress rehearsing her lines. But today—you will come to the stage.” He extended his hand out to me like a dashing Romeo without a plan. I took it trying hard not to smile. Just being around this man gave me energy.
We arrived at the house early in the afternoon. The front door was painted pearly white accented with a faux gold locking mechanism and handle. There wasn’t much to the door. It looked kind of cheap in a red Russian sort of way. It was lightweight and hollow.
The man stood before the door and opened it. A woosh of cold air came bursting forth out of the house. As he slowly pushed the door open, the house’s carpet was rubbing up against the door, dragging against the bottom of it like white noise.
“Here is your stage, princess of Cups. Today, we meet you.”
I entered. The old man followed. He closed the door behind us.
Inside, it was mostly quiet except for a nostalgic hum of a refrigerator in the kitchen. The closets in this house were all sliding doors with mirrors. There was a balcony leading outside which overlooked the ocean. Just past the kitchen there were rows of small washers and dryers. On my right there was a room with a single bunk bed. The house was abnormally sterile. I started to cry. This was my childhood home.
The man stood there and watched as I relived both the horrific and the beautiful. Memory. This man, he was right, what I was experiencing wasn’t a rehearsal. This was real. I felt weak and defeated. I needed some fresh air.
He put his hand on my right shoulder. “And now, the princess is a queen.”
He walked away from me and headed toward the balcony. He opened the door leading outside and beckoned me over to join him. I wiped away my tears and slowly made my way back outside.
The view from the balcony was spectacular. We were very high up above what appeared to be a Charybdis-type vortex, and in the distance sat the horizon, a cloudy, sunless sky, and endless endless blue.
He sat on the ledge of above the watery vortex and pulled something out of his pocket. Actually—he pulled three somethings. Three doubloons. He held one up for me to see. There was unreadable scribble on one side and on the other something far more grotesque.
“These coins—they are from a place, a place far from everything.”
He then spoke the name of the place “far from everything.” The word sounded like it was derived in an otherworldly language from some far-flung nebula. I didn’t understand the word other than the fact that it’s likely that this language made heavy use of glottal stops—perhaps to accommodate the abnormal physicality of a beast who’s mother tongue it belonged to.
“The old gods. You know them?”
“I know of them.” I replied.
“They are out there.” he motioned to the sky. “You will meet them. In the stars. You must meet every one.”
My skin started to crawl. I wasn’t ready for any of this.
“There comes a day when a princess becomes a queen. A queen becomes a knight. A knight, she understands what must be let go. That there is nothing lasting in this life. Everything must be let go, or always there will be sadness weighing very heavy on the heart. A knight—she understands this. And when she finally leaves to travel amongst the dangerous stars, she may be a fool. But she is a fool daring to let go of the everything. She alone can kiss the lips of failure and live to tell of it.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes listening to the ocean below. I felt relaxed. My eyes met with his. Again with the smiles.
“I want to give you something Miss Nicole. But first, you must be willing to leave behind this cup and become the fool.”
“Cup?” I asked.
The vortex was swirling violently below us.
He placed one of the alien doubloons onto the balcony. Clink. He smiled. “This, is your ticket to the stars. But only a fool would take it. So, you should—think it over.”
Just then, the old man began to lean back on the balcony’s ledge. I was sure that he was going hurl himself into the vortex, but instead he stood up.
“I have a question,” I asked. “If you have to be a fool to take one of these, and being a fool requires letting go, how do you have three of those coins?”
“That—is something I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is that you already have everything you need.”
He started to walk back inside the house.
I still couldn’t figure out who the man was. Until I finally did. My eyes started to well up.
“I am Paul Atreides.” I said.
The man stopped walking towards the door and started to laugh as if it had been five hundred years since he first heard that name. Paul Atreides. He turned to face me one last time, and said nothing. But I swore that I heard him whisper “I am too.”
Sometimes you just feel like painting how you feel. Digital art by Nikoletta Winters February 25th, 2018. Larger view HERE.
There’s a real illusion of actual personal intelligence being conveyed when we use words written by somebody else to describe how we feel. Leaning too hard in any one direction: intellectual, emotional, physical can become a crutch to help navigate around weakness as opposed to fully exploring it. The whole of what it means to be Me should not just be relegated to an intellectual regurgitator of ideas. Balance is necessary to understand the totality of the higher Self. Neglect one, and I neglect an integral part of what it means to be Me.
I speak Martian. (Not literally, this is just an example). So the only way I can relate my experience to a non-Martian is to find a way to translate my language into something easier to understand.
Yesterday, I finally got around to giving “The Repairer of Reputations” a good solid read. It’s a disturbing story. Although picturing a cat flying in the face of the person perceived to be Mr. Wilde was really funny. There’s a lot to unpack there, specifically with language. One part in particular points to something that relates to what I’m writing here—when Hildred demands to Louis that he needs to “renounce the crown.” Louis has no idea what he’s talking about.
Question: If I am seeking to peel back layers in an effort to interface with my NeterSelf through Process (which—in my language would be initiation) when does it become detrimental to continue ascribing our own words, language, perceptions of reality into the world around me?
Answer: It doesn’t become detrimental unless I absolutely refuse to acknowledge that there are worlds (both objective and subjective) with their own languages and cultures outside of my own. Maintaining this awareness requires me to engage with the world outside my own while I simultaneously translate external stimuli into a language I can understand up underneath colloquialisms and pleasant superficial conversation. The moment I reject the notion of other worlds, is the moment I embrace total solipsism.
Need an easy way to impress? Figure out a way to get your point across in a language others can understand. In other words, translate your language into something more—digestible. Good comedians excel at this. How do I know? They make me laugh.
The method in which we perceive interfacing with different languages is both troubling and fascinating. Language barriers can cause:
1 Feelings of inadequacy. They think they’re better than I am!
2 Feelings of ignorance. They’re dim-witted.
3 Feelings of insanity. They are crazy.
4 Refusal to recognize difference. I can’t understand this person so I’m not even going to try. Aka “speak English!”
5 All of the above.
I take my initiation seriously. Probably too seriously. And while you and I are vastly different individuals, I’m sure that we all value consistency. You know—upkeep, maintenance. This is the cornerstone of my initiation as a Setian. Who’s responsibility is it to write everyday? To workout even when my body says no? Mine. I am the master. And this is my Temple.
Consistency gives me control over my World. And by association, this carries over into the world outside. As a result of this I feel like I’m moving at lightspeed in a world that exists in slow motion all around me. This happens even among other Setians. I just can’t understand why—other than the fact that we all develop differently.
I get discouraged when so much of what I’m trying to say gets lost in translation as a result of my consistent practice colliding with the horrific and inconsistent outer world. This is actually a good thing, because if I didn’t feel this tension then I’d settle in real nice and stay warm.
Communication problems are arguably Magic problems, seeing that Magic is communication. And part of my communication problem is that I communicate in a literal way.
You say: “tell me about this thing.”
I say: “let’s do it.”
In my world, these two statements are the same. Telling me about a thing only goes so far. I only learn about a thing by doing it mySelf. Failure is always an option to me. It’s been my best teacher.
When I look up to the stars at night and try to hold onto any one detail, I always miss something. The whole picture needs to be looked at in order to be absorbed. When I speak, I speak like a sky full of stars. I kiss the shooting stars in the words I say as they fly away.
Everything that comes with physical life is temporary and therefore not as important to me as apprehending the parts of mySelf that I cannot see. Even so, holding onto something for too long is bad. An extreme example: Euripedes’s characterization of Medea. She’s miserable because she doesn’t understand how to let go.
I want to shift gears a little bit and talk a little about superiority. Humans have been making religious groups, political organizations, bowling teams, corporate think tanks, etc. since forever. Its become much more of thing with the advent of Capitalism in the West.
So why do we make groups? To be better. Better doesn’t mean getting over an ailment. It means becoming superior! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Us and Them. All of that PT Barnum “Are you not entertained?” circus maximus malarkey.
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t want to be superior. I want to be Me. I am.
It’s always been intriguing to me that Setians are referred to as Nobles. Set’s Elect. Using those terms to describe oneSelf is akin to waking up in the morning and telling yourSelf “You’re beautiful.” or “I love you.” These expressions make you feel good about yourSelf. Grab a mirror and say it with me: “I am Noble.
Wonderful. This is positive conditioning. But this can also work against you by giving power to words others use to intentionally destroy you.
Language is a magical weapon.
Why am I Noble?
I am Noble because I exhibit qualities I find to be ethically and morally important. The highest good for Nikoletta Winters is found in Honesty, Transparency, and Provocation. Subjectively, if I live within the scope of what I find to be Noble, then I am indeed Noble. The word shouldn’t evoke a sense of false aristocratic superiority. It should evoke a sense of goodness (godliness) that is derived off of what I do as Process. This is just what I think.
There are language differences informed by individual experiences that change the context of words, expressions, and emotional responses. The sheer complexity that makes up the equation of a conscious being is unfathomable when an individual’s abstract subjective culture is combined with their objective socio-economic culture.
Xeper through the Mirror of the Self!
Close your eyes. And repeat after me…
Belief is strange. It has a magical quality that can completely transform reality if you buy into it. It’s so strange that if we’re told something enough times we might grow to adopt it as “Truth.” Even if that “Truth” is actually an invisible weapon disguised to hurt you.
Life inherently has no meaning. Any meaning that we attach to life begins first as a thing created by the mind. Therefore, any meaning that we ascribe to the world in front of us is first derived from the one we cannot see.
When we are young, we live like immortals. Bathing in the ignorance of youth. Waiting for time to never end, we are bewildered by the possibilities that the tomorrow might bring.
What feels good? Everything that doesn’t hurt. Until everything that is good hurts you.
In the end, everyone leaves. This is reality. Believe in free will or do not. Are you awaited in Hell? Or will you rot away below the earth without a care? Are you destined for greatness? Or do you carve your own path? In the end, everyone leaves. This is reality.
Cyberpunk is exceedingly pastiche. It imitates our own postmodern absurdity much more than it explores a bizarre non-existent side-future. I suppose that this is why it’s appealing to a certain type of individual.
Cooking is as much a technology as the smartphone is. Technology, in general, isn’t so much something that I associate with the future so much as it is a product of the mind used to accomplish some end. In “Neuromancer,” Gibson’s portrayal of women fringes on treating them as mere sex objects. Linda Lee, in particular, is essentially Case’s sexual drug. Molly is quite an oddity within the general scope of Gibson’s world because she breaks away from what we come to expect of women in the first part of the book. Molly is without a shadow of a doubt a gender transgressor. She’s pretty I guess. But also pretty deadly due to her surgical augmentations. Of which were paid for through sex (she was a meat puppet). Ultimately, she uses sex as a tool to break away and isolate herself from the “normal” life that she might’ve had otherwise. As a reader, Molly is even more attractive because of this. She even leaves Case high and dry at the end…
It’s all very interesting because people out in the horrific world are slowly becoming aware of the fact that they have the ability to decide what they want to be. To many, when they become confronted with this they either:
1. Turn tail and deny it as unnatural–which it is, considering we are already unnatural beings. (their loss though)
2. They embrace it and ultimately integrate closer to their authentic Selves. (best case scenario, also the rarest)
3. Use it as a band-aid to address another underlying issue that doesn’t become apparent until it’s too late. (worse case scenario, most common)
Everyone can craft their identity. Does that mean that humanity is falling away from us though? Or is there something else to learn as a result of this? To me, it’s pretty apparent that most people can’t handle the speed at which technology is shaping the world because it constantly forces us to define and re-define who we are at every level of who we are. To observe the tangible insanity of this, you don’t need to look very hard.
Had a neat dream last night.
I was in this warehouse full of bodies. It was freezing. Black and white tile floors.
I had a choice to choose a synthetic body to inhabit. Let’s call this synthetic body an “ideal vessel” for my consciousness. This huge silver machine clicked on and gazed directly into my everything. I remember a cold shift occur, and one moment I was standing in my old body, the next I was looking at it through a new pair of eyes. My old body fell to the floor in a lifeless pile and was swept away by this huge silver scraper into these blood gutters morphing it into a gory mess of hair, skin, and bones. It made me feel emotional watching this. Which is interesting because if I now occupied my ideal body who cares about the old one?
My first reading of this dream feels like trying to reconcile attachment to my old body in the same way I might be attached to an old house. It’s lived in, comfy, and I have memories of which I associate that thing with. Everything leaves, dies, goes away. Old bodies. New bodies. All temporary. The conintuum of the higher Self isn’t so easily explained. And despite being so far removed from my old body, I remembered what it was like before. Even though I held issue with my previous body I didn’t dislike it. I liked my old body despite its faults. Which means I’m capable of finding something positive out of what I perceived to be a shitty situation. Getting used to a shift, a change, something new, takes a lot of work and effort.
I enjoy the challenge of being in less than ideal situations. Conflict comes in all levels of the human experience, but are there any that seem less ideal or more difficult than others to successfully live through? I think no. Because no matter what type of existence I lead in a human sense, I will always perceive my own struggles as both the most difficult, important, and unique.
Language. I don’t speak a language even remotely similar to you. Translation: We are similar in that we both share differences.
There’s something to be said about feeling “foreign.” I will always be a foreigner. It’s part of the experience of human existence to feel like a stranger in a strange land. I’m a Martian wherever I go. Even on Mars.
Xeper through the mirror of the Self,
Adept Nikoletta Winters