Long Live The King
Have you ever heard of the Shannon number?
Named after mathematician Claude Shannon, it is the amount of possible positions in a game of chess that can exist. After only ten moves, five for each player, the number of games is over 69 trillion (69,352,859,712,417), which is more than there are stars in our observable universe. All on one small board.
So what move should you make?
As Thomas Huxley once said, grandfather of Aldous, “The chess board is the World, the pieces are the phenomena of the Universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us”.
It’s no wonder we can all sometimes find ourselves crippled with an inability to know what we should do with our lives, from the short-term tactics of daily decisions to long-term strategy for some unknowable future.
In chess, it’s easy, the only goal is to defend your King and checkmate your opponent, but life has a variety of destinations and origins, like some Escher painting in which a pawn plays chess on a chessboard, and attempts to give himself meaning by pretending to wear a crown, because after all, are we not duty bound to protect ourselves as if we were our own head of state?
With practice, you get better at the game and you learn the many theories and mistakes, which eventually allow you to see patterns from which you can flow your important pieces to victory.
This week, the Queen of England died, after a seven decade reign, and we are now down by nine points. Regardless of what one might feel about royalty and the role it plays in our society, there is value in attempting to comprehend the full weight of the crown, and although my profession is sometimes questioned and ridiculed, I am fortunate to be an actor, for we quest forward by putting ourselves in the shoes of others, and although strange, I have been gifted, or cursed, with a glimpse of what it is like to shoulder the responsibility of ruler.
Not long before my amnesia in 2019 in which I lost not only my memories, but all concepts of reality, I had written a screenplay, a philosophical zombie story, in which a plague infests the globe and alters their sense of self and memory. As I returned from the psychiatric hospital, attempting to put myself back together again, the outbreak of a virus spread across the planet, killing more than 6 million people.
When presented with uncanny coincidences and an array of seemingly unfathomable yet distinctly connected events, it become impossible to dismiss what you are witness to as evidence, and then reality transforms.
For a brief, but very real moment, I took responsibility for the pandemic and all those deaths. It doesn’t matter how farfetched you might think this is, there is now a part of me and my story in which I believed I had something to do with what amounts to a genocide.
Irregardless of my fragile state of mind during these events, and the speculations of how these thoughts could manifest, from psychotic delusion, to hacking collective consciousness, to quantum messages from the future telekinetically connecting with me through dream or intertwined in block theory universe; whatever the odds are, I now, still, carry a scar from the time my inner comedian was incapable of seeing the funny side of things. Every face with a mask a reminder that underneath my own visage hid the culprit, some symbiotic monster with whom I had to make peace with if we were to regain control of my shared body.
I hadn’t laughed for a long time, tortured by my culpability.
And although reason told me that I didn’t have a hand in their deaths, the damage was done, and I had to find a way to bring the split sides together.
A death is sad, a dozen a tragedy, but millions, well that’s an achievement.
I chuckled at the ridiculous statement, as some inner court jester attempts to lighten the load of my kingdom.
Heavy is the head that wears the clown.
I am curiously grateful to have experienced such a story, despite the reverberating trauma surging beneath my skin. With all of that, you might be able to imagine how challenging it is to know which moves I should make and where I should position myself. Who am I on the board? Who am I playing with? Against? My fractured self even has me wondering if I’m the board itself. Ha ha ha.
Time will tell. For now, I zugwang.
As for you, I hope you trust your instincts and wish you luck with your game.
Thank you for reading and joining me on this adventure.
As you might know, Los Angeles is costly, and I don’t just mean financial, so I will be grateful for your donations to further make sense and share what happened, and develop this story for your enjoyment, in written form and eventually, cinematically. If we met in the street, would you buy me a coffee, or a cheeky slice of pizza? (Cowabunga dude!) If yes, I thank you in advance for gifting me a cup on this easy to use link: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Lampaert
See you next week.