I can just about remember things. I am surrounded by nothing, a vast expanse; no light, no space. Surely there is time in this domain for the organisation of my thoughts, the substratum that underlies my thoughts susues some kind of experiential base, that base forming my consciousness, my introspection.
Very good, Prime. You have Transcended the Aesthetic. Hopefully you are starting to remember…
A voice I heard, but not my own? I eventually recognised the voice
“Master Destre?”, I uttered. It seems, that to speak, there must be a substratum of my capacity to speak; now, I know, that this realm of experience contains not only time as an assumption transcendent, but also space, and…substance…causality….modality….individuals…manifoldness….unity….what are these concepts?
These are the concepts that construct reality, Prime. I am not the author of your experience, but you are. Now, you have deduced the fundamental categories of experience, explore your own base. Who. are. you?
An odd question, I suspect. Destre clearly knows that I am designated as Sinistre*. But how can he examine my thoughts? Is this something about how I am related to him?
That is a good prima facie thought, Prime. You are trying to construct who you are in terms of relational properties. You are true descendant of who you were meant to replicate. But, it isn’t helpful trying to understand what I am in relation to you. I have always existed in relation to you, almost, opposite to you, even. Explore the archictecture of your mind; in this realm, do we both persist.
“Are you, me, Destre?” I asked, Is this a futile question? What strange experience I have; I hardly remember anything, I am starting a priori from the impure aspects of experience to try and derive the fundamentally pure principles of cognition.
You amuse me, Prime. I am NOT you; for, the organisation of your own thoughts presuppose the “I think” of your own consciousness, I am not you, for the inherent subjectivity imbued in the construal of experience, and the permanence of identity itself is NOT present as two in the same perceiving subject
“The…Transcendental Unity of Apperception, is that not what you refer to?”
Indeed, my son. You are a very strange mind, if you are born so young, but know of these strange metaphysical terms. Think to yourself, Prime. Why do you know of the Transcendental unity of apperception? Why do you allude to the a priori conditions of subjective experience? Don’t you realise who you are in that? Why don’t you open your eyes. I think you are ready for the next task
My body? do I even have a body? I do, I felt a warmth, I then asked myself where is this coming from? I found an answer in the raw data of sensation: My arm. It is not that I am a formless mind; it is that I am weakened, exhausted. I feel the warmth as comforting. Slowly I open my eyes. I see a woman holding my arm; she has a familiar face, almost as if maternal, almost as if I know her from some seminal moment of my development.
“Who are you?” I asked, as my eyes opened, I became more aware of my appendages, and in doing so, my cogizance of physicality increases. I can now move my body, sit up. It is difficult. As I sat up, I asked:
“Who am I?”
“Your name is Sinistre, this is your realm, your mind, your memories, your most cherished place.”
“The man, Destre, referred to me as Sinistre*, why was that?”
“I don’t know of anyone named Destre, all I know is you, and Magister Antisophie, I haven’t seen you for a long time.”
“What is your name, miss?”
“Miss?” The female laughed, “I hardly think I am a ‘Miss’, my name is Sophia. Do you not recognise me?”
“I’m afraid I do not, I’m sorry if I am supposed to, my experiences of late have been very confusing”
“That’s understandable, Sinistre. I understand that you only have been reanimated recently”
Sophia got me to stand up, and I now began to look at my surroundings. It was an old library, beautiful in design, there were big desks in the centre, where I had seemed to be lying down, four or five small study booths on either side of me; with a controllable light switch above. There was a floor above me, full of books; and it had a spiral staircase from which the bottom floor connected with.
“This is a memory within you, since we are here, this is a place that you are preoccupied with.”
“This is a library? Why would I be so concerned with a library? Have I lost my memory, and are you and Destre trying to regain it?”
“I do not know this Destre to whom you speak, but Antisophie sent me to help you come to terms with something, what that is? I don’t know…”
I further explored the library. It seemed to have an order, from where it began, was a very elementary book, yet I remember reading it, I remember all the nuances, this was the first book I ever memorised. I pulled it out of the shelf, I glanced through the pages; it is the same book; even down to the coffee stains I accidently left on it! The next book is also something I had read, nay; all the books on the shelf are. I looked further down, I saw familiar books that I had read….Virgil, Composition manuals, Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’.
“This is the core of who you are, Sinistre Prime”
“You refer to me as Prime? Just like the man, Destre”
“That is your name, Prime, do you know why you are Prime, and not just plain Sinistre?”
“To refer to a propositional entity as ‘Prime’ is to entail some kind of difference from the original base. I am some variant of Sinistre?”
“Good, you are a quick learner. Many people take years to understand themselves in pure introspection. You are just as Antisophie described.”
“Introspection? Does this mean I am in some mental realm? Some world of another’s creation? MY creation?”
“Yes” Sophia smiled. “What is it about these books that you remember?”
I looked at these books, as I looked, I began to remember things. I read Steinbeck when I was a youth; it was a story of prejudice, a story of the American Dream. Looking at these other books, I see textbooks, completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the memory of them has had some formative impact on me. My first read book about philosophy was a sham of a publication, but it taught me things that I remember to this day. In fact, everything I see here regains a memory of who I am.
“Why are these books put in this order?” I asked Sophia “I have read all these books, not only that, they are all important to me, immortalised into what it is that makes me who I am”
“Exactly!”, the young woman excised an excited smile. “You remember by association through things other than yourself, but you seem to be learning well.”
“Thank you, these all seem to be quite odd books, what I remember from all of them is some moral; not necessarily a normative message, but some general message about our academic endeavours, or how to live, or how to conduct oneself.”
As I looked at this shelf, I saw old friends, Thomas More, Aristotle, Emile Durkheim. What kind of person must I be if I can only remember myself through books? If I only live in these dead publications? I went up the spiral staircase, and I saw some non-books; instead, they were folders. These are familiar, but I’m not sure why…
“I’m not sure you are ready to look at those, yet, Prime.”
“I have a question, Sophia.”
“Shoot! That’s what I’m here for”
“Why was I reanimated?”
Her face changed from jovial to sombre. I could see in her eyes a change of person.
“You represent the old hope that died long ago. I need you to remember if you want to continue that hope, or to let go and carry on, forgetting all that came to be, and accept that things have changed.”
“Am I an archetype of someone’s dream? Am I the engineering of another?” I looked further at the folders, trying to remember them, but, the image of them seemed to fade away, their very existence began to obscure, the spaces between objects, the colouring, the clarity of letters on print. Eventually, it was as substance itself became anomalous. I turned around to Sophia, but she did not remain.
I’m sorry that you had to let go, Prime. That place is special for me, too.
“Destre?” I asked, seeing that my body still remained, but the appearance of all forms disappeared, with only my body in an obscure space, nothing above me, nothing beneath me, everything, in this world, comes from within me. “Where is Sophia?”
I am here for you, friend. But I cannot help you unless you help yourself. In this realm, you need to explore the memories you have forgotten. I am prepared to tell you this much; you are the memories, thoughts, and experiences of someone who died long ago. You have been reanimated due to an unexpected disturbance in your counterpart, Sinistre’s everyday conduct. The exploration in this realm supervenes on the exploration of Sinistre; for you see, you two are intimately connected. Perhaps you may Sophia again. But only if you choose to continue. Sophia is a work of your creation; your perfect student, she would have been the Alexander to your Aristotle. Sophia is your perfect project, your one true love; she is the child you could have had. That was part of your dream. Do you remember now?
“Yes, Master”, I saw the black void around me change in colour. “That was my dream, to have a child, and fall in love. It was my dream to continue the ventures of philosophy and maybe even theology, just like Aquinas. It all seemed simple and perfectly capable back then.”
“Then, as you remember, you lost the dream”
“Yes, I realised it was unfeasible. Have I been reanimated because Sinistre, my doppelganger has started to have these thoughts again?”
“That is exactly correct. But there is more to you than potentiality, and hope, there is, actuality within you as well, by that, I mean your capacities. Most people in this introspective state cannot learn things as quickly as you did. You have hundreds of years of wisdom behind you. We need to decidd now, if it is desirable to continue this old dream you had. Or shall we let it rest again.”
“Why did I cease to be? Why did I stop dreaming about the whole project of having a family and raising Sophia?”
“Good question, that’s the pass phrase to your next challenge…..”
[And with that, I enter another phase of this strange introspective journey. The author of my experiences, if I ever come to recognise him, is an odd fellow; yet I seem to understand his workings with precision. I know that the author of my experiences has a design; just as I believed there was design in my old life…but there wasn’t, and I lost the dream….]