Smell of thought 2040
This story is dedicated to Robert Sheckley.
“I stopped understanding you,” said the Prize. - Something has changed in you. What?
“Very little,” said Carmody. - I just waved my hand to eternity; in fact, I never had it. I came out of this game, which the gods amuse at their heavenly fairs. I do not care anymore, under what shell the pea of immortality is hidden. I do not need immortality. I have my moment and I have enough.
- Blessed Carmody! - Priz sarcastically said. “Only one breath separates you from death.” What will you do with your miserable moment?
“I will live it,” said Carmody. - And why are there moments?
Robert Sheckley “Coordinates of Wonders.”
Read well under the track
( source )
The ship-miner “Druada” gently landed on the surface of the asteroid, the hatch opened and a swarm of drones gradually began to fly out of it. Using gas engines to dock, the drones began to weld the flat parts of the ship's legs to the surface, so that the initial mine could be drilled, into which the drones getters would go. Everything was done in a fully automatic mode, although, at first glance, there was complete chaos in the swarm of the melting of small cars.
Jeff hovered over the beautiful ocean with the green islands, experiencing unearthly bliss, through which, despite blocking logical mental functions, there was occasionally regret that it would end soon. He used the usual micro effort to switch from this regret to soft waves of bliss, but the alarm that everything would end soon grew, and now, the moments when he was worried, there was more than bliss moments and he woke up.
IT (implanted information terminal, see “Warriors of Virtuality” - a book about a possible future ) showed that it was now 3:52 am ship time, his personal timer of how much he worked as part of the control network, showed only 4 hours and 18 minutes, which was 18 minutes more than normal. However, before Jeff could work for 6-7 hours, and the current dynamics inspired fear.
Jeff mentally summoned the reality of “Malibu Morning” and frowned at the beautiful brunette who appeared next to him on a lounger. It was delightfully beautiful, as was the landscape around it - a quiet, transparent sea, a gentle breeze gently swaying the leaves of flower trees that smelt faintly than pleasant.
Jill, so called brunette, opened her eyes, and languidly wished a pleasant morning, offering to bring coffee and breakfast. Jeff asked for scrambled eggs with steak, a liter of coffee and a pot of mango-lime jam. When Jill brought everything Jeff said: "Jill, could you fly so far, I have to think, but while you are near I cannot concentrate." “Of course, dear,” said Jill, and gently pushing off the white sand, intricately pinked by the rising sun, flew to the falcons, which were circling high in the sky, looking for the unfortunate fish.
Jill was an automatically generated character who brightened Jeff's leisure time in the ship’s virtual reality system and perfectly matched his tastes. Therefore, for two months he could not get used to her and all the time came to a state of heightened arousal when she was near.
Jeff, like the rest of the crew, spent all his time in a life-support cell and never left it. His body was maintained in working condition, and Jeff himself was one of the engineers on the ship’s crew and ensured the work of the mining complex.
In fact, behind the word engineer did not hide any engineering knowledge. The only thing that distinguished Jeff from anyone, even the most uneducated person on Earth, was a suitable psycho type, a two-month training session for keeping the mind in a unidirectional state and a special IT implanted in the brain.
This IT, unlike ordinary IT, was able to create virtual reality with total immersion, which was forbidden on earth, plus he knew how to use Jeff's brain resources to control a swarm of drones.
The brain constantly processes a multitude of tasks that people do not realize — for example, controlling the heart, the multitude of body systems and instincts. In the same way, a part of its resources processed external tasks without the participation of the carrier’s consciousness. Consciousness itself, according to modern views of neurophysiology, occupied a rather small part of the global neural network of the brain and was a very primitive subroutine, fixated on memorizing a very small number of previous states and on self-reproduction in each cycle. A sort of digital Ouroboros, arising every new time from its digital tail.
Therefore, it is possible to allocate without problems a part of the brain resources of the carrier for managing complex processes. They began to do this just a couple of years ago, but progress in the modern world has already gone beyond human speeds and the year of development could bring more changes than a decade literally 20 years ago. And so, Jeff, instead of sagging along mega parties in his native agglomerate Bay, on the east coast of the United States, lay in a ship capsule in a permanent virtual.
Jeff frowned at the beautiful azure sea and realized that he was on the verge. He did not want virtual comfort with Jill, did not want to swim, fly, compete, did not want to achieve anything. General Wirth party all members of the ship, the competition for the highest performance, everything did not make sense and was boring. Even the state of the mega buzz that was generated during his shift also became more and more unstable and he fell out of him faster and faster.
It was a real problem - his contract meant work for 3 years, and only two years passed. If he is unable to do the work, he will be plunged into forced hibernation, as in the virtual he will not stand in this state, and there is no place where you can just live on the ore carrier — everything is controlled by mechanisms and robotic systems, people just lie in capsules. After returning to Earth, he will not be able to do what he intended, because his payment will be proportionally reduced.
I did not want to call a virtual psychological assistant, he, like everything else, Jeff smiled bitterly, like Jeff himself, was part of the central control system and in general could remove him from management right now. Therefore, Jeff constantly studied the issue, taking a university course in psychology. This was encouraged because during any training new neural connections appeared and the performance of the brain of the wearer grew.
Recently, he became interested in the theory of the ancient philosopher Epicurus. He wrote that any life is suffering. And that even when the creature is satisfied and it seems to him that it is pretty or happy, this is only a temporary relief. That is, the state of satisfaction and contentment by its definition contains the seeds of suffering and can never be truly complete. Jeff even jokingly formulated for himself that he paid a high for the work that his brain does for the ship. Since the amount of buzz is limited, then living it is not the most effective way for himself, he just sells this valuable resource.
Also, one of the past works of a psychologist of the last century, Erich Fromm, stated: “According to Epicurus, pleasure as satisfaction of desire cannot be the goal of life, because such pleasure is inevitably followed by its opposite, thus preventing humanity from achieving its true goal - the absence of suffering . ”
As Jeff understood as a result of the research undertaken, such a duality - pleasure generating suffering and vice versa - created that self that was Jeff's self-consciousness and, at the same time, this structure occupied the scanty part of his body's neural system.
Different books and teachings suggested methods for going beyond this duality, but Jeff was in no hurry to use them, because he could not understand who would go beyond these limits if he - Jeff is this duality.
However, one of the soft techniques that promised to simply improve the psychological state interested him - it was that it was necessary to partially keep attention on the process of breathing and not be involved in any incoming thoughts, emotions and states.
Jeff for some time tried to do exercises for 30 minutes a day and it seemed to him that there was some positive effect, although his work in the virtual continued to decrease. The funny thing is that concentrating on breathing in the virtual, he realized that even there he continued to breathe and could not stop this process. As if his “I” was inextricably linked with the breath and one was inseparable from the other. Deciding to meditate again, he sat in the position recommended for the exercise. With an effort of thought, he made a ball of light in front of him and dimmed the light of the sun.
Initially, everything went as usual, he was constantly distracted and thought, then about returning home, then about the threat of breakdown, however, at some point, suddenly everything crystallized and he fully felt the flow of thoughts and emotions flowing through his mind, IT work, virtual world around and your body lying in the capsule.
The strange feeling of soaring, not at all like ordinary flying in a dream or a virtual world, completely captured it and began to tear it apart. At the same time, he was aware of everything and was happy about this process and did not want to stop him, realizing that he had found his rabbit hole and maybe there would be no Jeff, and everything would be one big thing that he always wanted.
Gradually, parts of Jeff's personality became smaller, until there was some small patch of what was his essence. Jeff decided it was interesting to see how it was in nothing and began to dissolve and tear it too. The vibration was growing, and suddenly, there was a sharp jerk and Jeff woke up in the capsule. Not in the virtual!
He wore a mask on his face, he was lying on a gel mattress, all tied up with sensors and electrodes. Before my eyes hung a virtual IT screen, which displayed information about the state of the body and the absence of a connection with the central virtual reality system. By consistently suppressing the attack of horrors, claustrophobia, panic, and even any incomprehensible from the rest of the areas of his neural system, Jeff completed the image of his hole and made a hall out of it. Then he began to call on the internal communication of the rest of the team.
Miranda responded first. She was on the piloting team. In total, there were 12 people on board and gradually everyone responded. As the correspondence turned out, it turned out that all of the Wirth had all been cut off, but all the other systems of the ship worked normally and IT also showed all the information and reacted to the commands.
Jeff deduced the status of boring drones - “Parked”. Obviously, he thought, since we are not on the network, there is no power to control and they just parked using the built-in programs.
In a general chat, Jeff asked: “Does anyone have any idea why this happened and how we can get Wirt back?”
Miranda, whose avatar Jeff liked very much, replied that in her virtual world she explored the intuitive ways in which the brain worked when it all happened and, a second before disconnecting, she felt disconnected from the communication channels and that it was as if she flew into space. At the same time she perceived there some frightening creatures who paid attention to her and then everything turned off.
Everyone started to write too, that at the moment before the shutdown they experienced strange experiences of floating or entering other Wirth spaces that they themselves did not create. Everyone started to tell their experience as they were talking in several streams at the same time, however, at that moment an emergency system message was revealed in the general chat.
Jeff, as he reads, began frantically to consider whether he had fallen asleep in the virtual and not seeing a dream, the news was so shocking.
Message: “Attention to all crew members. This message is an information packet sent from the station on Mars, the message is composed by the central module of the System. ”
The central module of the system!
Jeff thought it was unrealistic, such messages are written once or twice a month and sent directly to all people of the earth and other planets. Usually important human news is written there, for example, about new standards for water or computing power.
Jeff continued to read.
“All users of IT emergency pack cut off the module of virtual reality. The bottom line is that the first contact with the inhuman mind occurred, which was manifested in the revitalization of virtual avatars and characters and their attack on system users. ”
“Ha,” thought Jeff, “now you can stop steaming about work, you can just wait for rescuers and get all the compensation on the ground. That was lucky! ”
Opening the second tab for their ship, Jeff continued to read the message: “To all the personnel of the Druada ship.” Due to the emergency situation and the inability to connect the media to the control systems, your mission to develop asteroids is canceled. The ship returns to Mars, from where you follow further to Earth. Please follow the instructions of the ship systems, all instructions have been successfully downloaded and verified. The road will take 38 days, you should immerse yourself in hibernation before arriving on Mars. ”
Jeff said in a general chat: “Bye everyone, meet on Mars and activate the dive program.
A couple of minutes passed, but the usual simultaneous relaxation and clouding of consciousness did not happen and Jeff wrote to the general chat room: “hey people, did my anabiosis break down?”
No one answered. Jeff opened the info on the state of the ship's systems and saw that the whole crew was successfully immersed in suspended animation, and so was he.
Panic, panic, panic ... Jeff felt how everything inside is compressed, and the mind starts to become small and violent, breathing became frequent and intermittent. Suddenly, on the second layer of thoughts, Jeff separately felt himself as a little animal caught in a trap and for some instant became him, a sharp muzzle, black eyes, antennae, heart hems and there are no thoughts, there is only horror and reflexes.
Gradually, the horror passed and the attention gradually returned back to the human sphere of being, and again thoughts appeared and the mind was able to find a way out, he began to think about the future by linking it to the past. The present immediately disappeared and the panic was not so hopeless.
“Aw,” thought Jeff, nagging himself, “I’m lucky, it seems I’ll be going crazy here instead of hibernation, the Jamaica spaceship is starting its journey.”
After just a few moments, he returned to normal, called up the system window, it was noted that it was in anabiosis.
The situation was threatening, Jeff did not have access to the ship's control system, the system believed that he was in anabiosis, according to nutrients, he was practically not given and he could die corny from starvation. Attempts to send a message to the center did not give anything, Jeff could work only with his IT and only view different information with its help, but nothing was sent to the transfer.
“This is a dream, this is a dream, wake up” - he again began to panic - “Probably, therefore, IT with full immersion is forbidden, I now just plunged into my nightmares and I can’t get out, it just can’t really be.”
“Or maybe I’m in hibernation, but the brain accelerated by work and meditation continues to build reality? For sure! We must try to enter the state that was in the event of a failure and try to get out of it back into our standard virtuality. Otherwise, if I sit here for a long time, I can virtually die of starvation in my virtuality and it’s not clear how this will affect my basic consciousness. ”
So talking to himself, Jeff tried to reassure himself, although, incidentally, he ran through thoughts that such an approach was strange and dangerous, but the situation itself was even more dangerous. Therefore, Jeff, realizing that without being able to do something physically, he can try to confuse himself so that it is not so scary.
“Forward, if anything, robotic doctors will be cured later,” he joked with himself, closed his eyes, and began to panic to do the meditation.
The heart sank, the blood ran noisily through the body, space and silence fell on Jeff. The devices clicked, something roared in the depths of the ship, but Jeff felt somehow shaken by terror that the ship was a very small island, which by the standards of a cold and silent space, as it were, does not exist. Just a spark in the eternal night, which in a second goes out.
"Come on," he thought bravely, "now we are ours, we will build a new world." Jeff quickly imagined clouds, sea, sand, birds, and himself soaring meditating a meter above the shore.
Behind me, someone screamed and a girlish voice shouted - “Hannah, look, here someone from the circus works out the number.”
Jeff focused on breathing and began to explore the thoughts that arose at the sound of that voice. At first there was a desire to fly higher to be in the clouds and not hear anything, but in the books it was recommended to take sources of irritation and work in their presence, so he did not do anything, but simply continued the meditation.
Meanwhile, the sound of footsteps approached and another female voice asked: “Mister, and as you fly, I do not see any devices, this is a very interesting trick.”
Jeff realized that it came a lot more thoughts and we need to pay attention to them to dispel and focused eyes on a pretty pretty blonde and said: “Hannah, because in my imagination, I can fly, but I can’t fly. You are a very nice girl and I would not want to dissolve you with my effort, could you just get out of my attention. ”
“Fi, what a bastard, and also to the same one, the yogi-meditator. There are many of you here, the world imagines, they walk, they ask for food. ”
The girls turned around, walked 10 steps back and began to whisper something.
Jeff was meditating. A giggle began on the sidelines and the second girl, whose name Jeff did not know, said in a half-whisper: “Let me topless sunbathe, you have such beautiful breasts, I would show it to everyone.”
Jeff realized that he could not meditate because he really wanted to look at it. At the same time, and did not want to.
“Perhaps now is the very essence of meditation,” he thought, “after all, according to the books, Prince Siddhartha, before becoming a Buddha, also passed the tests of Mary’s daughters. Probably the meaning of these tests was not in the desire for sex, but in the subtle thoughts that arise when women perceive and the sounds of their voices. How did the Buddha overcome it? ”
Jeff tried to continue to meditate and was surprised to realize that he plunged into some new level of mind that was previously unavailable to him.
Suddenly, electric sparks seemed to be running all over the body and it began to be torn apart - the beach disappeared, the girls disappeared, the space itself began to fall apart and sting.
Jeff thought that now it’s probably the moment when he can choose between returning to his human condition or fly into space ... and then with regret realized that it was this thought that had already brought him back to the human state and there was no choice anymore. Again familiar panic, again the state of the ferret? “Fuckin roller coaster,” Jeff thought, “how much is possible?”.
However, the second time everything went much easier and now, he is already a man again. The terminal showed that only 6 minutes had passed.
“Yeah, so here you can spend a couple of centuries falling into depression and soaring in the absence of everything. But I kind of like it, it's better than anybody to hang out around the clubs while living on the energy of glamor and potential sex. Here we go?". Although Jeff’s last thought was more timidity and uncertainty than dashing courage, nevertheless, he bravely began to meditate again.
This time, he didn’t want to go to the beach and he presented himself in the cold empty space of space (secretly from himself, he, of course, just ran away from the girls, realizing that he would be distracted again).
For some reason, the cosmos turned out to be not empty and cold nothing, but full of probabilities of living and seething space. Jeff seems to have gotten from a gray reality into virtuality.
The photons sang beautiful songs of probabilities and, at the same time, they also created fantastic multi-color pictures with multifaceted meanings. Something appeared continuously and something disappeared continuously. Jeff felt the absolute fullness of emptiness. Everything had its meaning and nothing was important or not important, everything was simple.
Suddenly, to the right of Jeff, something arose that he immediately identified as someone else's mind. This mind roughly invaded space and began to create something formlessly nightmarish, built on the dark depths of Jeff's neural system. The space began to shrink and instead of beautiful songs of photons voices and whispers of unknown creatures sounded. Something threatening began to reach out to his mind.
“Kvyrly”, - a strange word itself jumped into the head. Many legs with suckers, several fanged mouths, which could both bite and chew and tear, with poisonous saliva. The size of a big bull, a thick hide covered with needles. Very fast, smart, love to hunt and torment the victims. All this flashes from somewhere appeared in Jeff's head.
Birch and aspen without leaves, cold, slush and dirt, Jeff froze dead wandering through the forest, and from behind came the approaching, sometimes interrupting, squelching of large suckers on the damp ground. "Quirks," Jeff understood, "are in no hurry." He is desperately tired of flight and hopelessness. The forest was endless like Siberia and it was pointless to run, but he could not simply stop, the lizard part of the brain was stronger than fatigue. Hopelessness, coldness, endless despair became deeper and more stable than reality.
Jeff realized that quyrles are created by him, these are ancient fears living in his genes. But gradually, feeding on the smells of his thoughts, the qurills form a new reality in which they become more and more powerful and, gradually, can replace Jeff's personality with himself.
“It’s interesting,” Jeff thought out of his last strength, “as the ancient people fought against them, obviously these are creatures from some pre-initial times.”
The very picture of a strange creature that he saw in the illustrations while studying meditations came to mind. Huge, scary, three-eyed, with many hands, with knives and swords in their hands, blazing with fire. Mahakala, another unfamiliar word has come. Defender of reality.
Ahead, something glinted bloodily and there was a terrible roar that filled Jeff's mind with joyful recognition.
Quyrles screamed in a frightened manner behind them, and on the contrary, Jeff's mind became calm and confident.
Jeff stood on the edge of the gorge, from which a view of the beautiful snow-capped mountains was opened, breathing in the icy air, while feeling not cold, but bliss and watched huge Mahakala destroy the hordes of kyrls.
(Picture "Defender of reality", oil, canvas source )
In space, something squeaked and blinked, the life support module gradually appeared. A message appeared on the IT screen: “You are welcomed by a central system model. Thanks to your metrics, we have developed an algorithm that allows you to repel the attacks of a strange mind to all IT users in automatic mode. All ship systems have been restored and you can be in anabiosis before you arrive on Earth. ”
Jeff smiled gently, thought canceled the immersion in hibernation and began a new cycle of building reality in his mind.