Cogito, ergo sum, p.1
Cogito, Ergo Sum, p.1John Foster West
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_Are the Spirit and the Flesh one and the same thing? Or are they separate entities, dependent and at the same time independent of each other? Perhaps some great Cosmic Law holds this secret. But the one Universal Element that we can depend upon, apparently, is The Lucky Accident._
cogito, ergo sum
_by ... John Foster West_
A warped instant in Space--and two egos are separated from their bodies and lost in a lonely abyss.
I think, therefore I am. That was the first thought I had. Of course notin the same symbols, but with the same meaning.
I awakened, or came alive, or came into existence suddenly, at least mymental consciousness did. "Here am I," I thought, "but what am I, why amI, where am I?"
I had nothing to work with except pure reason. I was _there_ because Iwas not somewhere else. I was certain I was _there_ and that was theextent of my knowledge at the moment.
I looked about me--no, I _reasoned_ about me. I was surrounded bynothingness, by black nothingness, a vacuum. Immense distances away Icould detect light; or rather, I could perceive waves of force passingaround me which originated at points vast distances away, vast inrelation to my position in the nothingness.
There were waves of force all about me, varying in frequency. Thenothingness was alive with waves of force, traveling parallel andtangential to each other without seeming to interfere one with another.I measured them, differentiated between them and finished with the taskin a matter of seconds.
How could I do it? It was one of the capabilities I was _created_ with.
What was I? I perceived the waves of force. I perceived great quantitiesof mass--solid, liquid, gas--whirling in vacuum, mass built up out ofpatterns of basic force. I searched my own being, analyzed myself. I wasnot gas. I was not solid. I was not even force. Yet I existed. I couldreason. I was a beginning, a sudden beginning. And I had durationbecause I knew that time had elapsed since the moment I _awakened_though I had no means of telling how much time or of even naming theperiod.
* * * * *
Could I really be _pure reason_? Can reason exist? Can rational entityexist without a groundwork of matter, or at least of force?
It could. It must. I was rational entity and I existed. Yet I could findnothing of force, nothing to occupy space about my _self_. For all Icould ascertain, I might have covered a one-dimensional point ineternity or I might have been spread throughout vast distances.
From this reasoning I concluded that rational entity might occur eitheras some force unlike that of all natural phenomena in space, or as somecombination of these forces at the moment beyond my own power toanalyze, even detect. I finished with that for the time being.
How did I come into being? I discarded the question as unanswerabletemporarily. What was I before that instant I suddenly reasoned _cogito,ergo sum_? I could not say.
How did I know I even existed, really? Obviously because I was capableof rational thought. But what was thinking? First it was perceiving andaccepting my own existence; beyond that, it was recognizing the darknothingness around me and the forces it contained. I had to exist.
But how did I know nothingness was right? And how did I know itsdarkness was right? And how did I know the waves of force were _waves_and _force_? And how did I know matter was _matter_ and that I was noneof these?
"Symbols," I reasoned. "I'm thinking in symbols. I could not reasonwithout symbols; therefore I could not exist as I am without symbols tothink with."
Yet whose symbols were they? Where and how did I come by them? I couldthink back clearly to the instant of my creation, yet I had not inventedthe symbols in the interim of my existence, nor had they been given tome. What then? They were part of me when I came alive in this universe,had been _invented_ some other time and elsewhere by someone else or bywhat I was before I became the entity of reason I now was.
Then that first flash of perception in nothingness was not spontaneous.There was something behind it. I was something before that moment, inanother era of time, perhaps a creature of substance. But what?
I concentrated. I remembered the symbol _Marl_. I was or had been anentity _Marl_. Were there others back there, somewhere? There must havebeen, must be yet. Was I the only _Marl_ who metamorphosed into thisstate of rational entity? Surely not. Yet I could contact no otherrationale around me as far away as I could probe. How far was that? Howcould I know. Was it far enough to reach the other _Marls_, or were theyscattered thinly throughout infinity around me like the flecks of mass?
I was suddenly ill. The symbol _malaise_ came to me as the properdescription of my malady. I grew dizzy with my sickness. I wished toregurgitate, to cast off this cold, frightening sensation. Yet I wasprovided with no physical means of doing it. It filled me throughout allmy thinking. It was I. I thought to exist. I thought depression,sickness. Therefore I was the malady and it was a hell of malcontentbeyond symbolical description.
What was wrong with me? I was frightened. I was concerned for myexistence here alone. What was it called? The idea shimmered there onthe fringe of perception, then fairly leaped into my consciousness.Existing alone as pure reason was worse than no-existence, was worsethan dying or never having been at all. I need another _Marl_. To existhappily, I must have at least one other _Marl_ to communicate with, toshare my thoughts, to share my being.
Is this a necessity, a condition peculiar to me as I am, as reason, oris it a condition that came across the barrier with me from that otherstate? It must be the latter. An entity of pure reason, having come intoexistence as reason, would need nothing but himself. Why? Because hewould be _without emotion_.
"I am _emotional_," I thought. "I am entity of almost pure reason, but Ihave inherited emotion from my previous state. It is a disorder ofthought, but it can be a pleasant disorder when the emotion is the rightone; or, if unpleasant, when satisfied.
"But I could not have emotions as I am now. They are _corticalresponses_, or are supposed to be. What is _cortical_? No, they are asort of illogical reasoning, nothing physical--" The rest eluded me.
"I am lonely," I thought. "Loneliness stems from fear and fear is abasic emotion. I am very lonely. I have been lonely for a long time,bringing it with me here. I would rather sate my loneliness than live toeternity, than know all there is to know. What can quell my loneliness?Another like me, another _Marl_--whatever a _Marl_ is. I must have, mustfind another _Marl_."
I began to search. I darted frantically about space like a frightenedthing, though I could perceive no movement. I knew I passed from onearea of space to another because I could measure slight changes in theposition of the stars about me. I knew the points of light were _stars_.
There was duration. I could not know how much. Eternity? A split second?But at last I discovered another like me. No, almost like me, butanother _Marl_. The other entity had less of reason, more emotion. Itwas frightened and lonely. The _Marl's_ whole existence was that ofsickness--of loneliness, which is fear. The _Marl_ was darting aboutmadly, seeking, seeking a thing like itself. What was it, like me butdifferent?
As I came in, I measured our similarity and differences. Rationally wewere identical, or almost so. Emotionally we were different, vastlydifferent. "_Marls_ appear to exist as rationale and emotion," Ireasoned. "Beyond that I cannot go."
The other _Marl_ perceived me, darted frantically toward me, thenslowed. We came together, touched like--_like two cautious fish meetingin a dark pool and touching mouths to substantiate identical species_.
The other _Marl_ was satisfied with my identity. It leaped franticallyat me, raced around me, through me, finally stopped,
I suddenly realized that I too was relieved, that I was no longer sickwith fear-loneliness. It was good, this existing of the other within meor simultaneously with me. Or was it I within the other? It sated ourfear emotion and made, created a love-euphoria.
"I am happy I found you," I communicated. "I was lonely for another_Marl_. You are a _Marl_?"
The other hesitated, thinking. "No. I am _Pat_. I am different from you.But it is chiefly emotional. It is good."
"You are a _Pat_," I returned in disappointment. "I had hoped to findanother _Marl_."
"Don't be disappointed," the _Pat_ soothed. "We are alike, really.Almost so. Like--like flame and gas are both substance yet different. Weare two
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