In the ‘90s, everyone is weird. We are the age-less, culture-less, state-less, God-less generation being raised by the Internet… which is to say, we are raising each other. And the weirdest among us fall into strange places.
As for why, the reasons differ: fighting parents, an unusual or unsightly face, too much time, not enough attention, an odd mind, strange hair or too many idiosyncrasies. Some just want to learn the ways of technology and reap its benefits and some just want to play. Others want to seek for greater truths and most are lonely.
Whatever the reason, these people do not hear the same message that the social world delivers — with tremendous success — to their corporeal peers. All they know is that there is a mold, they do not belong in it and so they withdraw, and like millions of others they find their solace on the Internet.
In the first grade, I have a realization: the previous years’ institutional sentence is not to be a one-off occurrence. It is, in fact, a pattern that will continue for the foreseeable future.
One fateful day, after my mother kisses me farewell, I cling to her legs and refuse to let go. “I’ll be quiet! I’ll be good!"", I bargain through tears. It does not work, yet it should have, for I have no place in the Elementary establishment.
This soon becomes evident to my classroom’s matriarch. She sees that I have no inclination towards learning, sitting still, and behaving like the rest of the faces who are pleasant and neat in their straight and well organized desk rows. Yet this wretched woman has a way of dealing with these things, a magical bullet that will evolve even the most spirited and wily little creature into a warm body of learning. It comes in the form of a pill and it is one that is proven to be effective.
Unbeknownst to me, a discussion takes place behind administrative doors with my parents. If I do not begin my regiment of federally approved focus medicine, then the school will no longer be interested in attempting to try to educate me. My parents love me, decline, and so I move schools.
I meet new friends, but then I have to move again, and I meet new friends. I have a further move… But this time things are different. Hormones set in and I withdraw to my bedroom, sullen and alone on the computer, where my eyes are opened and a different sort of life begins. Friends appear from strange places: Internet Relay Chat, forums, games, communities — someone is always there, weirder than the last, willing to share things and listen.
Not long after, relationships form. Hobbies appear, skills develop and suddenly I become a name and transcend my flesh. I become a conduit for information and I channel unfathomable facts large and small to all possible corners of the world. I, the once inattentive boy, have found an environment that aligns with the rapidity and creativity of my mind, and there are secrets. So many secrets.
Years pass, and I become a man. I gain wisdom and it borders on magic. Some of it is dark, manipulative and dangerous but much of it light: bright, helpful, inspired and altruistic. Alas, this wizardry comes not without consequences. Reality, the one I’d wake up to, the one that waits for me when I leave for work, seems unbothered by my revelations. It begins to feel further and further away.
Social obligations become just that. Gatherings become set pieces, and the people within them feel like actors in a foreign play. The ambitions I embrace in moonlight fade when the sun is shining, and my piles of digital gold become a sore back and a commute. Important conversations with fancy titles: “Chiefs”, “Directors”, “Managers”, become an adventure into patience and I start to wonder how much self-important puffery I can absorb before I snap a spell or two from under a bored breath.
Depression is inevitable. My soul exists in one place and my body in another. I have a lengthy scroll of technical talents and anonymous international accomplishments, yet it all culiminates into a resume destined to become cog in a spirit-less machine. And worse, digital friends start to disappear as we are conscripted into ‘real life’. The voices that once spoke the loudest and clearest are no longer there to try to fix things. I start to suppose it is my turn.
I start to feel that a man needs to find a way to provide for his family and his loved ones. I feel that I need to suck it up and fit into modern existence. I try but I cannot. I am too broken.
I fall down a dark path. Yet after a time I start to see a small glimmer of light. I follow it to Peru where I am handed a plastic cup full of thick, chocolate coloured, freshly brewed shamanic potion. It is called Ayahuasca.
I am surrounded by strangers and several traditional medicine men, and I feel no fear despite being in the middle of the Amazon jungle about to consume the strongest hallucinogenic concoction on the planet. I bring the cup to my lips and I drink.
I learn that my comparison to chocolate exists only in colour as I feel a bitter, bean-like, basic flavour sludge down my throat. The shamans begin to sing and shake their leaf rattles and I lay back and listen. I hear groans and retching. An hour passes, then a second hour is close and I feel nothing. The same thing I always feel.
“Maybe I should drink more”, I think.
The shamans continue to sing and they begin to pound on drums.
My thoughts start to come with more rapidity, but I still feel so empty. I still feel lost and my head feels too full, and my government is too crooked, and my culture does not fit right and I still feel that I landed on the wrong planet.
“The potion did not work for me."
I tried. I failed.
I stand up and head to the washroom. My stomach feels a little funny. I decide to let it pass and that I would like to go to sleep. I sit on the toilet in the middle of the jungle and pull my pants down to my ankles. I allow myself to feel deep and seething anger.
I feel anger for thinking there are any answers in the Jungle that the Internet and a life-sentence of unfiltered knowledge could not provide me.
I feel anger for being unable to fit in with peers who seem to have such different, material and selfish motivations.
I feel anger for being helpless and unable to change a world so thoroughly broken.
I feel anger and disappointment for failing to just shut up, be normal and love those in my life who love me. I start to cry and my head is in a fog and yet through the fog a calm voice brings me an unexpected sense of ease.
“These are just your demons speaking”, it says to me.
“I know that!”, I snap back. I am not as calm.
The voice smiles at me: “You asked for this!…”
I die. My universe shatters. A figure appears — or is it two figures? One male, one female. They are infinite and they exist together in an indescribable labyrinth of vibrating statelessness.
They encompass everything there ever is, was and will be. I perceive past, future and present possibility as I see it appear with them — in them, part of them, behind them, above them, through them. They do not speak but they communicate to me with impossible precision and clarity. I… I?… “I” do not know what I am.
Any feeble mental attempt to analyze, interpret or translate my experience fails to process — my mechanisms for observation and analysis have departed as did any capacity to contemplate whether they may ever return.
An ancient, patient being exists — as it always has — where my mind used to be. I feel an understanding beyond comprehension and recollection fold with immense weight into memory, describing truth to me through my human emotions, my past and future, all in symbolic circumstance. I feel a depth of presence too deep to fathom elegantly weave the realities of an interconnected and unified existence deep into my consciousness.
Time does not exist here. This is where I came from. This is where I will go. These are the lives you’ve lived and the lives you could live. This is where I am right at this moment and in all moments.
I am aware of my mind again, yet the entity is still with me. Their communication appears to be over, but their work is not. The shattered threads of my being are wrung out then straightened with grace and love. The entity performs this work with such joyful ease. Each twist it bleeds out darkness and each re-arranged thread becomes brighter than sunlight. I begin to glow.
On some level, I register being on the floor of a hallway and someone helps me into a shower. I am covered in vomit, yet I have never felt more immaculate. I am clean to the pure centre of a soul I never knew existed. I try to leave the shower when a young boy almost forgotten dives head first into my heart. I fall to the floor complete, crushed with an absolute unawareness of who, what or where, when or why.
What are these clothes for?
Whose language is this? I hear communication.
Do I speak the same language? I try to vocalize: “Hrnrnnk” … Huh, that did not sound the same… And somewhere a beautiful voice is singing. A stern yet loving face appears without any earthly attachments. It is clear that this face will be the face who tells me where to go.
My physical body has been returned to its space. Its location, its purpose, its feelings of identity, are still too far outside the grasp of any of its senses.
An ensemble of beings now stands before me. They are tall, feminine, angelic, bright, loving, joyful and a bit silly. They rub my back and a gentle shush washes away my anxieties as my mind starts to return to its surroundings.
“Have I been broken?"
“…Shhh…”…, they giggle and embrace me.
“Who was that?!"
“…Shhh…”, they giggle again, beautiful and full of music.
They laugh because they know my soul is going to be back within my body soon, and the prior question is an indication that my two-eyed humanity is taking hold again. They stay with me for an eternity.
Capable of nothing but love, they accompany every thought back into my mind as I slowly come to grips with who I am… where I am… what I am… and I understand that my soul has returned, and whatever existed in its place has been released to pure love. And everything is different.
The soul returns to the world of the technical, where countless Internet packets stream across borders and into homes, carrying lost spirits. The shamans call it medicine, an honest and accurate description. As one soul who has traversed deeply into both the darkest and brightest corners of the Internet and the spiritual world will now tell you: our world is sick.
We can make the right choices out of love and trust in the right medicine or we can continue living in fear and conflict, trying to apply material and intellectual solutions to the void that exists inside of us all… where our souls used to be.>> Home