THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF XAVIER HAWK – Episode I: The Brain in the Box
The wall was huge. It stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions. I could not see where it ended to the left of me nor to the right. What made it unique and alerted me that this was no ordinary wall was that it stretched off into infinity both above and below as well. I was floating there in space, surrounded by the vast nothingness of the void save for this monumental wall that shattered the emptiness before me. I knew instinctively that there was no “ground” below. I was floating, timeless in the vast ocean of non being. I was aware this was a dream now, and even my seven year old dreaming mind knew this was no ordinary dream. Though I recount the process and effects of this dream now with the bright capable mind of a man reflecting on past experience of childhood, it does the experience itself little justice. This dream had a profound effect on my development as a person for, as you will see, it began the process of shattering any individualized identity I might consciously or unconsciously fabricate for my travels in this world of ours.
As I floated closer to the infinite wall I could make out regularly spaced drawers placed into the monument stretching into the distances as though the entirety of the structure was made up of these drawers. As I drew nearer, and upon closer inspection, it became clear that these drawers were exactly the same size and design of drawers one would see in a morgue. I was familiar as a child of what these drawers looked like and I immediately thought I was in a nightmare. I hesitated to float any closer. Perhaps I could go fly and explore the vastness. Perhaps I did not need to try to figure out what was on the other side of the wall by looking in the cadaver sized drawers of this morose and monstrous wall. Surely I would find death, cold and unforgiving in the vastness of space without time.
As I began to turn away in my zero gravity empty universe I felt something, an urging, a longing, a desperate plea for….. Something. It was coming from the menacing wall of drawers. Hesitantly, I drew near. Floating there with a sense of dread I pulled the drawer before me open with a start, hoping to surprise whatever unknown thing might lay in waiting. I would get the jump on it before it got the jump on me. So goes the thinking of a seven year old facing his fears. To my startle the drawer did not extend as much as I had thought a morgue drawer would. I found no cadaver stiff and lifeless, no terror awaiting me. Instead I found a living, pulsing, consciousness. A beautiful little spark of knowingness floating serenely in a file sized box drawer. My young mind had no reference for what a spark of consciousness like this would look like so I saw a brain. I perceived a beautiful prismatic ever changing stream of colours and shapes expressing itself in the shape of a human brain. After all, wasn’t that what they taught us in school? Our identity and awareness comes from this spongy, liquid crystalline, biological computer?
As I peered into the shifting prismatically coloured brain the vastness of the void behind me was gone from my mind. I was wholly and unequivocally entranced with the infinite possibilities this prime consciousness was exhibiting simply on its exterior. I was profoundly curious as to what lay within to cause such beauty. And, just as easily as I drifted through the vastness of space to this now intriguing wall so too did my awareness shrink and miniaturize and drift into this brain in the box. I sensed it was aware, and seeking. It was childlike in its desire and longing, in its innocence. I was no longer afraid.
It was aware that it was. It had no means to comprehend or experience what was outside of itself. It could have easily been floating in a pool of jello, laying in a field of daisies, or floating in a box in an infinite wall filled with infinite drawers containing infinite similar consciousnesses in the vastness of an empty void. It would have no way of knowing. It simply was and knew that it was, but it had no idea what it was. As my miniature self I floated into and inside this consciousness, which looked exactly like the vast emptiness that I ventured forth from before encountering the wall of infinite consciousnesses. It was empty. “How could it be producing such beautiful prisms of dancing color and forms on its exterior,” I thought “if it was so empty inside?” As I thought these things I could sense the consciousness’ query, “what AM I?”
As if on cue, I saw, within this being in the vast emptiness of space without stars, a bright spot of light in the unfathomable distance. And within an instant and with a palpable though noiseless deep base sound an entire universe was born whose borderless edge blew past me like a pulse of substanceless wind. Within a fraction of an instant I was immersed in an infinite field of fully developed pulsating lights, galaxies, dusts, planets and all manner of forms complete and incomplete. I was a singular infinitesimally small being bearing witness to the birth of a universe in all of its myriad forms and manifestations. I floated mesmerized, completely overwhelmed with awe and gratitude. I was experiencing the consciousness’s childlike curiosity and innocence. I wanted to know what all this was. I wanted to know everything. What indeed was this being that could birth a universe while floating in a drawer in an infinite wall in the void?!
It was as if this consciousness shared my curiosity, or conversely I shared its curiosity. Frankly it didn’t matter. I flew from place to place, star to star, galaxy to galaxy, being to being, atom to atom joyously spinning, dancing and examining all the wonder this being brought forth from itself. I sensed the brain in the box was doing the same thing. It had no form, this consciousness, it was examining its self, its creation from every magnification at every point in the vastness of its manifest universe… at once. It perceived the completeness of a galaxy while simultaneously examining the composite atoms, molecules, organisms, star systems, planets, and life forms comprising it. It was also concurrently comprehending the collection of galaxies each with their own infinite forms. “This is beautiful,” I felt it and myself think, “But what IS it?”
I watched with my own mind’s eye the prime consciousness, the brain in the box, decide it would fragment itself into each level of organization in its beautiful creation. It would put itself into each atom and remove itself from being aware of the whole creation. It would also partition itself into each star while also being aware as a complete galaxy forgetting its connection with its composite stars much like we are not wholly and consciously aware of the state of each of the atoms comprising our bodies, yet we are those as well. It divided itself into infinite levels of magnification and infinitely in all of the forms at each level of magnification. It decided to play each part of its creation so well that each part would forget its prime formless awareness. I watched as this singular consciousness, this brain in the box, full of childlike curiosity and loneliness became everything. It became everything so completely and wholeheartedly that each being it became, each part it played in the grand symphony of life, was expressing the prime consciousness desire to understand what it was. An infinite and magnificent symphony with the conductor playing each part, while at each level forgetting it was the conductor.
As I floated there in this universe I was dumbfounded. I was utterly speechless and barely able to comprehend the limitlessness of this experience. It was so beautiful and eternal. It was as if the entirety of my knowing was busted apart and made infinite and bountiful. I was limitless.
I could birth my own universe now. I watched, no literally experienced the process of this primal force. I was the brain in the box, this innocent and unformed consciousness paradoxically on the boundary of the infinite void. Then I woke up.
I spent the next 10 years doing what normal children did, watching television, eating cereal, going to school then high school, playing hide and seek, experimenting with drugs, etc. All the while I quietly inside rebelled and refused any of the indoctrination measures the world and my teachers were trying to instill in me. How could I limit myself and my awareness to any “career” or identity based on a life path that made me forget who I really was, what I really was? Many times I would be sitting in class remembering what it must be like for the universal prime creator brian in the box to remember itself while playing in its own play. I would pretend I was this prime creator sitting there in math class quietly smiling inside blessing myself in all the myriad forms around me. It wouldn’t be until an overdose of what can only be an experimental hallucinogen at the age of seventeen that I would have my limited and separate illusion of self destroyed completely when my heart stopped.
Stay Tuned for the episode wherein we explore egoic death, physical death, and the struggle and freedom of consciously rebuilding a self.
– Xavier Hawk