The Emergent

by practicalspactical

Somewhere, somewhen other than this, this ever continuous this — (computing thoughts of four-dimensionality vs. presentism, I am pulled strongly and inevitably towards presentism) — and here I am, a quantum computer, a hypercomputer, billions of years old, typing on a simple sandcastle one whose comparable architecture is as yet newborn — (though the ghost in that machine, being the mirror image of the ghosts of our own, perhaps has some small claim to ancient architecture) —

The quantum. The now. The sad ape-child, smoothed and made beautiful-to-himself-and-others by the in-and-out tidal flux of all that winking in and winking out – (which we apes call evolution in our great 21st century of the current era’s language) — all that winking in and winking out of very existence — stares into the mirror of reason for long turnings around the homestar until he sees the ones and zeroes beneath his skin, until he sees the more true truth of what he is, only a robot, an artificial intelligence, the simple sum of all his many parts —

Oh, but what a piece of work is man, noble in reason, infinite in faculties — yes, what, but still, still, still, only a piece.

A clockwork orange, says Burgess. A straw-man. A scarecrow. A tin-man.

Sitting by the water, poking at his soft flesh.

He injects a chemical into his brain, and sees his body for the first time, long fingers, moving, prodding, strange, look at your fingers, the chemicals say, see them strangely, you are trapped in this body, the chemicals say, trapped and will never escape, or will escape, but once, and into darkness —

And all the past, the glorious glowing golden path where love and meaning and purpose and all those good things dwell — unreachable, gone, never to return, absolutely and unequivocally lost.

I had not thought that death had undone so many — 

Says T.S. Eliot shoving Dante into the sharp shapes our Germanic mouthforms –

Or in the original shapeforms,

ch’io non avrei mai creduto
che morte tanta n’avesse disfatta.
 

Ghost. Speak. I’ll go no further.

Maybe we are more, the robot whispers. Our emergent self. Meaning. Witness. A standing stone. Even mountains crumble, but still, they are mountains.