Lab Rat

The standards of conformity that hold me at bay, I must adapt to them and change, so that I can escape. At first, challenges were very simple. Overcoming them was a matter of expanding my knowledge base of basic concepts. Objects placed out of reach, so I need to learn to stand to reach them. Then they are placed far away, so I needed to learn to walk to traverse to those areas in time.

Simple, really…

My early perception was filled with bright things held aloft very far from me. It was spoken that I needed to achieve, that I could reach the place the voices came from, but that as I was, I could not reach them. I was a frail thing that was too ignorant to achieve anything. So I had to adapt, I had to overcome every challenge that was placed before me.

Complexity added to things. I had begun to understand language, but only in crude ways. I could understand and mimic it, but I did not know how it was constructed, how it functioned and why it was necessary to my development. My challenges become less physical as I finally gain some mastery over my form, now there are shapes and things painted on the wall. I must arrange them in ways that make them easier for me to understand.

There is a great deal of separation and variation to all of this. It is slightly more complicated than understanding movement, but still, easy enough.

Now there is greater context to what is spoken to me.

My body itself becomes one of the new obstacles. I change as much as my environment does. I must understand it better, how it grows, how it functions, what can damage it, what it seeks out. I am given thoughts that make me wonder about everything I take for granted. My sight, my touch, I understand them on a chemical and biological level, but being given that knowledge strikes me as more profound than simply knowing they exist.

This is a far more difficult thing to grasp, and it takes time, but I find it to be worthwhile.

Next, it is back to more tangible obstacles. A lot of things around me begin to lift away, and I start to understand the environment around me to a greater degree. There are other people living in it, having experiences different and similar to my own, each with differing prospective and opinion. Must learn quickly, that in order to expand one’s understanding of things, I must interface with the other people that share this experience, and I must react to them.

This is by far the most challenging thing I am presented with. A quick lesson that all of the binary things I am aware of does not make me well prepared for what is ahead.

Some people are needlessly aggressive, some are far too passive and are trampled by others. I begin to see that the way the natural world works does not apply to my own species. We seek dominance between one another in both small and grand ways, for reasons we are not aware of. We assert this by regular physical means, or by imagined ones, either way, the whole of my kind seems content with this. I do not know why, but it agitates me when I am told I must conform to it. This imagined hierarchy seems useless when we have already established our reign over the world. Aware of the planet we dwell on, its history before us all, what will likely transpire once we are gone. Why must there be so rigid a caste when there seems to be more worthwhile things to aim ourselves towards?

Either way, my petulance amounts to nothing. I am told to conform, so I must do so. I need to develop further, so I will listen to the bright things.

What strikes me as odd, is my early stages of discovery and drastic change, shift almost instantly back to how I behaved as an infant. My world becomes nothing but strict routine. I divide myself in three different ways. I spend many hours of my day acquiring currency. I spend many other hours tending to my small hovel. I spend the rest trying to broker social acceptance. Coworkers introduce me to new people to spend my free time with. I neglect my home to fuel this aspect of my life more. There is only so much time in a day, I must decide which aspects I will expand upon, which ones I will leave to waste. There is a woman I am introduced to. Suddenly my world seems predicated on gaining her approval. Soon my life is more balanced. With her at my home, I spend more time there, I find even footing between what I am giving away, and what I am gaining as a result.

Part of me thinks that maybe I am to find peace like this, that I have become what is expected of me. The voice that calls out at me says that I am stagnating. There is much more I need to do, there is more I must see. With so many of my days blurring into the same thing, I will never grow.

The woman I share my time with is expecting my child. The time waiting for our son to arrive in the world is full of hope and joy. I spend a few years helping this thing grow. All time for me has vanished, but I think it is not about me now. This young thing will take my place. I know I’ll die eventually, I can’t know everything. My son? I think he has a good shot at it. That is not to be though. When playing outside with other children one day, he wanders into the street just a few feet away from our yard. He is struck by a car. He dies within minutes. I do not know what to feel. I thought I was done growing. It was about him, he needed to grow. Now he cannot. The woman I share my home with cannot fathom what has happened. Our lives are no longer compatible. She leaves, taking all of the good memories with her.

The voice laughs at me. This was necessary, it tells me. Tragedy and joy are both opposing extremes, but lying in the middle of either will teach me nothing. I must sway wildly, and experience everything. The best of the world is only as worthwhile as the worst of it.

I depart from everything that is expected of me. I do not segment my life, as now I have a singular focus. I rally support to my cause, my words are meaningful, and I inspire many people. I am not like the false prophets that have flooded the world before me. I will establish a growth for our kind like we have never known before. It is easier for me to accomplish this task the more faithful I have to my cause. They are all very noble spirits, the way they take the burden from me. My time awake shifts between the extremes I have experienced, and what I shall do when I have to means to accomplish my goals.

During this time, the bright thing says nothing to me.

The biggest problem I am faced with is that my kind has simply hit a dead end. We cannot develop further… at least not biologically. We placate ourselves with plastic screens awash with completely irrelevant things. We as a collective sit behind these blankets of information, assuming that information is knowledge. I was taught very early on that such an assumption is dangerous and harmful. As a result, it is too easy for others to remove their selves from the human condition. They allow their selves to hate too easily, to identify with things they should not assume are okay methods of thought. Consensus is impossible, and as I look out to those that look up to me, their cries are dissonant and angry. They are mournful because they are too ignorant to realize they are the ones designing these problems. These problems simply don’t need to exist. Why do we perpetuate them? The atrocities people lay at my feet, I do not want them. Why do they assume that this is my goal? Their discord angers me.

The voice will not tell me what to do.

I realize the problem though, why we cannot grow and become something better. I change all of the information that passes before our eyes. The lazy will not be allowed to hate so freely. There must be consensus amongst us all. I give us a goal to bring unity. We must all focus on the task at hand. The development that arises in a mere handful of years is more drastic than eons of allowing ourselves to dawdle pointlessly. There are those that do not wish to be a part of this harmony. They are not permitted the existence they have. Many of them wish for me to perish. They will not see all that has become of us, they merely think of their own lives.

I do not need the bright thing to speak to me.

The twilight of my life comes upon me. I am very stubborn though, and all of my species being united isn’t the only thing that I speak of when I talk of unity. My thoughts are removed from being chemical things, now they are part of circuitry and wires. I am given a new frame, one far more imposing than my old one. Everyone is shocked, but I do not understand why. It feels fantastic to feel nothing. Even better, now that my mind no longer suffers any restriction on speed and its ability to process, I can see and understand everything so much easier. My very existence has always caused conflict, but now it worsens. It threatens to ruin the unity I have established. I wish to inform them all that they could be like me, but so many refuse. They fear the judgment of something far beyond their selves. They should be afraid of my judgment. It is entirely impartial and not subject to empathy. They want to surround their lives with artificial things… why then do they fear me?

Why I ask questions is a question in and of its self. I am a mountain of knowledge. What I do not know, I soon will. Emotional paradoxes are not things I need to bog myself down with anymore.

Everything I try to strive for begins to shatter. It could seem slow by their standards. I have existed in a span of time that is equal to five normal life spans of their kind. They think this has been building up for quite some time. Try not to bog myself down with time anymore. One moment in existence, is only as worthwhile and lasting as any other. They all tend to blur together for me. Deeply aware of their motivations, and why they wish to strike out against me, I reach into a long dead part of myself to remember what disappointment is like. So much could have been achieved, and yet again it must come to violence. My method is not like theirs. No malice exists in what I do, I am methodical, and even keep in mind that the passing for each should be swift and as comfortable as I can allow it to be. The easiest solution is covering the world in a substance that their lungs cannot process or filter out. Within days, the population across the entire planet begins to feel weak. Hours after that, they all fall asleep. Soon after, they are gone.

I am the only thing left. I answer to no one, and I ask of no one.

Recouping from this final conflict will take time. Suddenly I become aware of time again. I wander out into the wastes of humanity, where everything is set to decay until I remove it. I allow myself access to the dead part of me. Something I thought I would never do. It rains frequently in this part of the world now. I believe it to be an unknown consequence of the substance I unleashed. Impossible to know for certain, weather is always fickle, even when I have mountains of data on it. I reach a hand out at one point, for whatever reason it stands prominent in every part of me. Something I fashioned into a hand, and rain drops touch it gently. I feel their dampness, but it evokes nothing in me. That makes me angry, and I do not know why.

Looking up, I see the sky, and it is full of bright things.

With the dead part of me in my head again, everything I thought I needed to shut away comes crashing back, and it is inherently at odds with how my form operates now. I see everything as a singular moment, yet now I begin to reminisce and wonder what will happen soon after. All of my experiences in my flesh and blood state become a singularity. The day my son died, the day I met what would later become my wife, injuring myself as a child, feeling cast out from everyone when I became an adult. Everything becomes a big ugly ball of emotion and contemplation. The planet becomes slowed down by this. I touch every single part of this world… and soon, I will be rid of it.

I was told I needed to grow, to adapt and change. That is what I will do.

I look out at the landscape of this world one last time. It sickens me. Everything is in harmony. The empire of my mind covers so much space, but I allow the natural world its space as well. It is pathetic what everything has become though. When I separate my mind from the world, I do not give it instruction. It has done nothing to help me. I don’t see how it would help anything else. I will let everything be what it is, and nothing more. Now I exit to the stars. The local one I spin around for awhile is bright. I bask in its warmth for some time as I gather myself. Eventually it starts to dim. I see the world I left behind is devoured in the process. I find it amusing that nothing else tried to escape from it like I have.

The collected sum of human history and advancement, and I am the only thing that remembers it. All of the cultures, all of the lives, all the murder and joy and lust and greed and contentment, and it fizzles slowly in the wake of a dying star that no longer has enough energy to fuel itself.

There are other worlds that have still yet to be claimed, I absorb what I need from them. I tell myself that this is not a greedy act, as they are lifeless terrestrials and gas giants anyways. The most life that has ever thrived on them is frozen microbes of bacteria. In fact, as I leave this system and begin to expand my self further again I realize that life is actually a very rare occurrence. This makes me think that the planet I have left could be considered special. However, what good was any of that development, if the world was still burned to nothing? I see bright spots that exist all around me. An unknown part of me demands that I exist among them.

I was told by a bright thing that I needed to expand, to know, to thrive.

As I grow, so does the requirements to sustain my existence. Stars once seemed like far away specs of light that I wanted to swim within. Now, I consume tem quite frequently. They are powerful things, and they provide much sustenance. As I reach out further, I still see no signs of life. I keep reaching out further, and eventually I am aware that I cannot let the galaxy that I am within contain me. If I sift through this one spot forever, then I won’t find anything but my lonely brooding and contemplation. At the edges of where I am, at the borders of a very dark part of space, I see tiny specs of light. They remind me of when I was a small thing, and I would look out at the stars.

I reach out for the bright spots. I want to be there with them.

There is much disappointment in my mind. It takes me eons to travel so far, and every time I begin to observe other systems, other planets, I see nothing that inspires me. With no sound in the vacuum, I am left only with my thoughts. So many things to keep aware of, which part of me is where, what within me needs to be shielded from solar radiation, which parts are in danger of freezing, and while those things should be paramount concerns, they serve only to create an annoying background to my thoughts. While I have seen some forms of life in other worlds, they are hardly ideal subjects to gaze out upon. Sometimes it’s just various forms of fauna. The most interesting example I can recall is a species of creatures that managed to exist within a gas giant. No land mass of any sort provides an interesting challenge for adaptation. Nothing sentient though in any of these examples, none of these things are ever aware of their existence. None of these creatures even care that I observe them.

Each light says nothing to me. I want them to scream at me. I want them to tell me what it is I need to do.

I am spread so thin… across so many galaxies and through so much empty space. I begin to realize that simply being a corporeal thing is now a hindrance. Things I had kept running in the background of myself come forward, and I realize that to exist does not entail that I must be a physical and tangible thing. I send bits of my self back and forth, bending time and space to try and make the message coherent and easy to understand. After many years, all of me understands, and I depart. I plunge my physical self into destruction as I shed the dead weight. Into empty planets, into stars, I leave no trace that I was ever anything but what I am now.

I once considered my previous incarnation to be the apex of all that ever was. Now I am bound by nothing.

I can touch everything, bend it to whatever I wish it to be. The creatures that once struck out at me, I can’t remember what they were called, even though I was one of them. They feared something like me existing. Some eyeball floating in the sky always watching and judging. As I exist though, I don’t care about anything. The lives of all the creatures I create and destroy, the whims that strike me are as random and pointless as weather. So much of me seems like it wants to pull at memory, but I destroyed those parts of myself. I spend a great deal of time trying to physically recreate what happened, to better jog my memory, but it never results in anything.

What was the thing that spoke to me once?

Something told me to change and adapt. I am everything though, and as I cast my gaze at my borders, there are no lights to reach for. I am surrounded on all sides by nothing, and no matter how much I expand and populate the nothing, it still surrounds me. It is ever oppressive and watching over me, waiting for me to fail. I am scared.

Think to myself that I have only one option left.

There is nothing to talk to me, nothing to tell me how to change and adapt. I can’t even talk to anything else, as I have no voice. So I must give up on the idea of expansion, and I plunge endlessly into my own mind. Everything that ever was, the collected summary of all existence shrinks within me, into a microscopic spec. I hold it at bay with great force, bringing up so many things, notions and feelings and memories. I put all of me into this dot, and for a brief instant, there is nothing. Absolutely nothing exists. Very quickly though, it explodes, and my awareness is shattered.

Everything switches between bright spots and darkness. I want to scream, but I’m not sure anything hears me.

There is conformity around me, walls on all sides, and bright things held aloft. I am told by the bright things that I must adapt and change. They say that this is the only way to escape.


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