“Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges…”
― Jorge Luis Borges, “A New Refutation of Time”, Labyrinths, 1946.
“If an ox could paint a picture, his god would look like an ox.”
― Xenophanes of Colophon, 5th century BC.
Every day in tunnels, in the cave, I wore the talisman and swore the talon’s oath.
Seven claws hung high and sharp around my neck, each one easily reachable by either hand. They were Jillison’s grave luck piece, an empty ornament to remember where we’d been.
Avalanche was the only calendar I had left. It was our cold and voiceless season, more violence was unspoken than snow and ice could show.
We were alone and almost unconscious. Children of the youngest continent, still lost enough to trust a raptor would protect us.
‘….that explains the trouble that I’m always in.”
― Alice in Wonderland, Very Good Advice
2. How does time work? Here. A very simple setup. A screen that flashes two dots. Dot one appears and disappears and then dot two appears and disappears.
The brain translates this into one continuous motion.
Instead of seeing it as it is we perceive it as one dot moving back and forth between then position of the two dots.
We have evolved to see physical objects. We have adapted to the afterlife as if it were a normal error. Another delusion, what’s the difference?
The unthought known stands for those early schema for interpreting the object world that preconsciously determine our subsequent life expectations.
3. Jillison called them savior claws and said they were enough to start us over again.
Maybe this time we could charcoal a path to a grayscale sun. We could sharpen the talons to keep us together for good.
False positives or future imperfects, it was up to us to tell the difference.
“If animals like velociraptor were alive today our first impression would be that they were just very unusual looking birds.”
― Mark Norell, ‘Velociraptor Had Feathers’, 2007.
4. What raptors had we known before? Anyone looking backward and forward at the same time, feathers and scales in the same place. No need for symmetry, no reason to ask for it.
Like Jillison said, first birds of the afterlife. Blind and incapable of sustaining their own body heat. Hatched in caves or sinkholes, brought up by the opposites of each other.
For all we knew, they learned to leave flight behind.
5. Displaced gods or “fading gods” of older theology often appear in lower or demote status in new religions.
In the beginning, we had an agricultural god.
Makes the seasons, the floods, forest fires, good and bad land. There is no promise of afterlife. No rewards or punishment beyond death. No answers are given to metaphysical queries.
Interests include agricultural input/output, little else. This type of deity is no longer relevant to many people.
6. Could have been one of those sacraments still to come, a collapsing season, a coincidence of solar reckoning.
Unstable weather often accompanied a raptor’s shadow, when warmer air begun to invade the caves, while glacial currents was still pushed on occasions from the poles.
Even with snow up to my neck I was still soaking wet with sweat. I clung to serrated edges, sharpened curves, seven talons on a torn red string. Jillison’s apology in advance, and I clung with both hands, honestly.
7. Time is dependent on an observer: It gets stranger when you add color (or gender) to the setup. Dot one is reddish pink. Dot two is deep blue.
People claim to perceive the colors changing halfway along.
What is actually happening? The brain is retroactively changing the contents of your present tense perception. Your brain is retroactively telling you what you are seeing right now.
Test the latency bias. Flashes get processed differently in the brain than moving objects.
This is your brain. This is my brain. Formally just fault lines that fray.
Tiny differentiations in the developing egg designate major differences in the final creature.
8. OK, Jillison. Suppose we never left each other. Suppose I could hold up those talons like they were a lantern now? How much of us depended on adaptation and how much depended on climate and chance? How much of any of it was true?
A seventh of it. I know.
“It was a silly, silly dream, being unhappy.”
― Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, 1925.