Life in the Labyrinth
If you don’t have a clear direction in which to go, it’s only natural for your personal compass to spin out of control; future, past, inward, outward, up, down, side to side, me, us, we, who, you, when, then, why, why, tell me, why, and where, where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? And what’s the fucking point? And all of a sudden, you punch a wall to feel better and you wonder why once more.
You don’t need to have lived in non-reality to know what it feels like to be crippled by these questions. There is, I suppose, some comfort, knowing we all quarrel with existential quandaries, and occasionally, if we’re lucky, there is an oasis, a solace when you meet another who has clearly survived the same.
It’s why people go to support groups, to share similar stories of struggle, and sit with others, to rest, in the knowledge that they are safe in that company.
And it’s why I tend to remain alone with a book or a movie.
I’d like to think that it’s because I want someone’s company to be sweeter than my solitude, but the reality is I live with a constant baseline of paranoia, seeing all of you as some Turing test to be solved.
It’s exhausting to live that way.
I don’t want to, I, I, I don’t…. don’t…. I don’t want to, don’t want to feel like a broken record, trapped in cycles of repetition, but this cataclysmic and cosmic catalyst now acts as an epicenter to my reality, and I cannot escape its orbit.
It is terrifying and dazzling to have stood on the edge of some obsidian abyss, as if looking directly into the universe’s iris and see it staring back at you.
Having had amnesia is, funnily enough, unforgettable.
It has become a point in time and space which I can compare myself to; here I am now, today, and that’s what I was, only three years ago, a hollow shell void of identity.
For a brief, but very real moment, I didn’t exist.
And Eric remembers it.
Like the intro to a video game which includes the protagonist, enmeshed in the exposition, but whose motor functions you’ve not gained control of and who’s yet to materialize in the simulated World, that’s how my very first moments felt.
My eyes opened after what I remember it to be a nap, and as the body sat up, I was immediately struck by the wonder of movement. My hands appeared in my visual frame as if for the first time, and I lifted these appendages, manipulated limbs and fingers, like the T-800 staring at his robotic arm after ripping off his skin in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
That is my first memory; an awestruck passenger in his own vehicle, gobsmacked at the 3D space in front of him, an environment in which I could move things from one point to another, me included.
It was breathtaking.
A room. A cube. Corners and straight lines and distance. And a door, a gateway to more cubes, more areas to explore.
After this nap that went too far, I eventually collected enough pieces of my disintegrated self and returned to some semblance of what I once was.
But it’s not the same…
There is a term which encapsulates elegantly what happened; Horror Vacui; a Latin postulate which roughly translates as a ‘fear of empty spaces’, a suggestion that nature abhors a vacuum. When my body woke up sans passenger, this now empty vessel was flooded with something ethereal, and with it, emerged a complex co-habitation of multiple beings; memories of whom I once was, simulations of what I could become, the filter existing twixt the two, and other new bewildering guests, a cognizant ecosystem within a cognizant ecosystem within a cognizant ecosystem.
It’s time I shared with you my favorite joke.
What does the B stand for in Benoit B Mandelbrot?
The answer is Benoit B Mandelbrot.
It’s difficult to comprehend, and an arduous, perhaps unnecessary task, to try and explain, but I’m doing my best, because “I” have to take responsibility for my actions despite not knowing who it is that controls the machine.
Meditation has proved a useful technique to calm the chaos brimming just below the surface layer of my skin, draining my energy to keep it from erupting. This practice of mindfulness allows me to position myself in the middle of all these parts of me pulled across multiple points, as if I were some Jackson Pollock cadaver sprawled across some multi-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, using not only the physical dimensions of space – length, width and height – adopting the traditional x, y and z for its axes, but that of time, and maybe more.
With my eyes closed, and the rhythmic metronome of my breath, I sit in silent darkness, and slowly, we return to point 0, 0, 0, romanticizing this as having castled Queen-side, so that the King may rest and contemplate what it is they mean by a point of singularity.
This week’s journal entry doesn’t really go anywhere.
But maybe that’s the point. Sometimes, it best not to move and let things come to you.
Life in the labyrinth has its way of keeping us puzzled and frustrated, but as Mitch Hedberg once said “If you find yourself lost in the woods, fuck it, build a house. “Well, I was lost but now I live here! I have severely improved my predicament!””
If you like chess, I regularly play on twitch, speaking and switching in English and French, sharing what I learn during the week and answer any questions you might have. Find me; EricTheEyeKing.
Shout out to Megan and Kathryn for ‘buying me a pizza’ on my donations page. I appreciate your support, not just financial, but the words of encouragement, and know that today I ate some bird wings as I watched some American football, and it was delicious and I thought of you, so thank you. https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Lampaert
Thanks to everyone for reading.
Lots of love,