This is the rarest ability of the human mind: to wonder at and question about itself, and question about every last thing in the universe, to question about the universe itself, cry itself hoarse till the answer is heard, whispered and silent, from the empty spaces that so many years ago, on a silent summer night, breathed the question into you.
What haunts me is how much of it is a curse.
From age 12 or so, I’ve had splinters in my mind, to quote Morpheus. At first they were mere curiosities, encouraging, adventurous. Then they grew. They spiralled around me as the years passed, as I grew slowly introvert. Like a constrictor. A boa or an anaconda. Slowly and stealthily coiling itself around me, precise in its decisions. It was a separate entity, a separate and independent decision-making chamber inside me that I couldn’t control. I used to refer to it as the ‘second me’. I still thought it was my dark, confused side.
As time passed, I realized, unfortunately, that I had more to discover. That chamber in my mind grew from a splinter-manufacturing unit to a voice of command, a much stronger decision-maker. It grew a will of its own, and struck especially in cold evenings when it was silent enough to hear the fan groaning in the room. Strange. Weird. Unexplainable. And unstoppable, because it was beyond my will. There were evenings I still shiver to recall, and with no one to explain the emptiness to. I discovered there was no point behind achievements and success, no point behind devoting each day to ensuring there comes a tomorrow. And slowly, the emptiness and meninglessness grew to engulf my entire life. I looked at the past, I saw myself. I looked at the future, I saw emptiness. And I was terribly depressed.
That’s when The Matrix came along. The strength, the belief. A messiah, a saviour. I found the strength I needed, not to win, but to be able to fight. To force myself to acknowledge the value of life. The Chamber didn’t quiten. It grew. I grew with it, fighting it, utilizing it, and only occassional bouts of depression were all that remained. Neo was within me.
And all around, I saw people who didn’t have to fight. I felt victimized, punished. Cursed. And I saw that they had no idea who they were and that their life and thoughts and aims and expectations could not stretch beyond tomorrow, like a car that blindly follows a truck three metres ahead of it, without ever seeing the road ahead. Short-term aims engulf their lives. They have to have a little objective a day or a week or a year ahead of them to make them move on. If you clear all that, move the truck, and just show them the path to the end of their lives, show them the road they have been travelling on and leave them to decide, they will die of a cardiac attack, because they won’t know what to do with it, without a job or a club or a hobby or that promotion or that raise or anything to target at. Because these little things are what their lives come down to. Life has no separate existence to them. I know it, and I feel blessed. Gifted.