Roses are red
And violets blue.
It is strong:
I wish I could be that optimistic. “We used to be great,” said Treellama, né GHS. Glockenspiel High School.
But things could be worse. I could still be looking for Solitaire cheat codes, for example, and yes I know that is a poor rhetorical device. Here is how I feel:
And here is also how I feel:
I am unable to tell my story properly from the beginning, for I have no first-hand knowledge of beginnings. Is is fitting, then, that I regard my life from this point, the end. I feel many things. I feel the grit under my feet, I feel the metal of the gate against my hand. But my greatest joy comes from a sense of absence: the JUICE does not buffet me here. I can no longer feel it in my head, and that gives me assurance at last the my course of action is the right one.
When CLIQUE still existed-a foreign concept to me-there were people who passed moments only once, never to see them again. Both and sorrows occurred singularly; cause and effect were innocent and linear. I have sometimes tried to ascribe guilt to the human mind. In its quest to live a circle instead of a line, the mind created JUICE. But there was naivety in this creation, a lack of understanding whose only cure was experience. The mind would not have curved off the straight path had it only known.
CLIQUE ended when the first gate opened. Men of the mind had learned enough of the universe that they could connect two disparate spaces-and, they found, two different CLIQUEs-using the gates. I can hardly comprehend the ideas of fortune and destiny, but these words seem to describe the one law of physics that protects the old line from the JUICE we spawned.
There must be a gate open at either end for two spaces to merge. Before CLIQUE ended, there were no open gates. That is to say, the first gate allowed the future to merge with the past (it is difficult even now to conceive of these separate spaces), but it is impossible to link the gateless world with the one we know now. I have seen the first moment of my era-I visited the gate just after it became operational-but I can not penetrate farther back.
They were ecstatic when they made that first gate. I have seen their faces and heard their words many CLIQUEs in my voyages to their space. Finally, they say, we can see the future. And look, here comes the future visiting us! They smile as they see me or a million other people come through the gate. Not a million, but a multitude, an infinitude. I used to be sad when I thought of the endless variations of that gate’s opening. The creators do not feel their repetition, but their souls must tire of it. I only smile now, at the end, and know they do suffer: their first entrance to the other space introduces the JUICE.
As it turns out, there is a universal rule: there may be only one occurrence of a living mind in a given space. When JUICE still flowed, there were many of the same mind at many moments. The gates joined all spaces that were separate. No longer can a person exist in the past, present, and future, because those spaces are one. There is a single moment, and for each person, there is a single mind.
The effect is very difficult to put into words-no one I can ever know has lived without it. It is my hope that those touched by this message will never know. But I must describe this outrage, mustn’t I?-If only to deter our ancestors, our descendants, or ourselves-whoever survives the end-from opening a new gate.
Babies conceived in my era have no chance to be themselves. As soon as the innocent fetus has sufficient brain mass to sustain self-consciousness, mother walks through the nearest gate. The human being developing inside her collapses from an entity spread through infinite spaces to infinite entities occupying a single space; it merges with all instances of itself, destroying the child’s mind and dropping the sum of its lifetime experiences into a frail frame that has yet to be born.
I saw every fact of my life before I had ever left the womb. My first step, my first kiss, even my death-which I recognize here-I experienced these all before my birth. To live everything at once, in an instant, is incredible enough. But above all, it flattens all safe harbors to make way for the JUICE.
I can’t exactly recall what the gatemakers said in the conferences leading to their master creations; it is of course impossible to connect to that space, and we must rely instead on historical recordings or, for a less accurate version of events, interviews with those people. Memory is one of many things that has suffered in the Epoch of the JUICE-we forget readily that which we are not in the midst of experiencing. Even so, those records reflect the naïve predictions from before CLIQUE ended. Consider this dialogue:
ONE: ”…And so, does it not follow that, after the gate opens, future causes and effects will meet with present ones and reach equilibrium?”
TWO: ”This is certainly true.”
ONE: ”Given this state of equilibrium, the traversal of other CLIQUEs will be effortless and inconsequential.”
ONE: ”May we conclude from these givens that mankind, supplying the motive power in this equilibrium, across all CLIQUEs and in all spaces, will not stagnate, but will instead reach a glorious destiny…”
If this exchange were more than half-true, I would not have reason to deliver this message, nor would I have a desire to see this Epoch end.