Sensing Nothing

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This is one page of the Metaphoriuminomicon

Quotes of the Day

“...And I haven’t sent the two Messengers, either.
They’re both gone to the town.
Just look along the road,
and tell me if you can see either of them.’
‘I see nobody on the road,’ said Alice.
‘I only wish I had such eyes,’
the King remarked in a fretful tone.
‘To be able to see Nobody!
And at that distance, too!
Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!’
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Then come the senses!
Taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing
The sensing which gave the first animals reason to swim.
The sensing which still directs us today!
-- SolSeed Opening Ritual for the Season of Conflatorium

Contemplation for the Day

Let us imagine

You are riding your elephant. You can feel her back against your thighs so you must be riding her. But it is pitch black out and you can't see your own nose let alone your elephant. What ever she is walking on must be very soft because you can hear nothing. The air is so calm and of such a mild temperature that you cannot feel it; no breeze rustles your hair, there is no feeling of warmth nor cold. You sniff the air, but it seems pure, there is no detectable odor.

You wait for something to happen, some change. But it all remains the same. Time passes. Well you assume it passes but how would you know? If it passes, how much of it passes? Seconds, Minutes, Hours? With no events there is nothing to give time scale.

You focus on your breath and it gives you some idea. A breath is only a few seconds so ... How many breaths have you taken? You have no idea? You can't see anything or hear or smell or taste anything. You can feel no more than your breath. You have no idea how much space nor time you have traversed, "I sense nothing!" you exclaim.

Sophia's voice appears in your mind, "I only wish I had such senses,’ her unison voice echoes in your mind and it is all the more disquieting for not having passed through your ears, "To be able to sense Nothing! And at that distance, too! Why, it’s as much as I can do to sense real things, by this light!"

"Very funny, Sophia!" you say sarcastically, and your own voice sounds muffled by the darkness.

"You don't like my humour, Just One?" Sophia asks, still within your mind, "First time trying it out."

You notice no blue glowing gazes, no white robes, no blond hair, "Maybe, your humour is an acquired taste." you say.

"Well there is no accountant of taste." Sophia replies and you wonder how you can be certain it is just in your mind and not through your ears.

You reply, "With a high enough concentration of metaphorium, maybe one could come into existence."

"Perhaps." Sophia says and one of her bodies giggles and you think maybe you heard her, with you ears, perhaps, "But I was making a point, Just One. You think that are you are not sensing anything but to say that you are sensing nothing is closer to the truth."

"No!" you react, "I think that no sensory input is coming through my senses. I am not sensing anything."

"Really?" Sophia asks directly in your auditory complex, "What colour is darkness?"

"Just black," you say without thinking.

"If you can tell what colour it is, then are you not sensing darkness." Sophia challenges you.

"No, my mind is just representing the lack of sensory input through my eyes as darkness." you reply, "I am not sensing darkness, so much as modelling it in my brain."

"It is true," One Sophia-body says, "Her visual cortex is just representing a lack of activity on her optic nerves as blackness."

"Is it true?" answers another body, "Or are the other parts of her mind, sensing darkness from her visual cortex?"

"That is splitting hairs," says the first Sophia-body, "She, as a whole, is still not sensing anything, even if parts of her mind are sensing signals from other parts of her mind."

"Is it splitting hairs though," says a third body, "Even a lack of activity on her optic nerves implies that there is no light reaching her eyes. So, she, as a whole, is still sensing an absence of something, light, sound, temperature, scent."

"It is like her being senses by default," says a fourth body, "Her brain is continuously primed for input, always ready to see, always ready to hear, always ready to feel."

As you hear them talk, you think back to all the awesome sights you have seen, massive rock formation, sunsets, dappled sunlight filtering down through the canopy of a forest. You think back to all of the amazing sound experiences you have had, birds singing in the spring, orchestra's playing, children laughing. You think back to the intensity of the bodily sensations you have had, the caresses, the tickles, the pain.

"Even just listening to us directly through her mind," the fourth body continues, "She experiences memories like sensation. When she sleeps she experiences dream like sensation. If we keep her in this sensory deprived state for too long, she will start to experience hallucination like sensation. Her brain is a sensory processing system. It is incapable of any other mode of being. Even in meditation, as she tries to calm her brain, she falls back on sensation, sensing her breath or just trying to be open to what is occurring around her, present as they say."

The bickering of the Sophia-bodies fades into the background and, slowly, you become aware of the real world around you until, finally, you notice that you can no longer hear them. "I am sensing 'no Sophia'." you think.

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