8:01 AM… A SHORT STORY ABOUT THE MIRACLE OF QUANTUM REALITY.
On the threshold he held himself. The reassuring throb of the EM resonator droned on within. He wondered whether he could fully commit himself to the ultimate premise of a quantum universe, did the room and all it contained become ordered only when he opened the door and gazed at it? What was the state of the room now as he stood outside? In what form did the room and its contents exist? Was it like a detuned TV: all white noise and static which flew into familiar shapes and colours when his eyes ordered the cluttered light and chaotic streams flying within? It was all very odd. What a mystery existence is, even to a scientist. Particularly to a scientist,
Finally the door opened, the fluorescent lab lights flickered on. Dr Stapleton flew into the room like something borne on the wind; his white lab coat flapping with his own impetus. He looked at the large metal turbine of the EM resonator with a nervous excitement. He walked over the white tiles to the centre of the room which had predictably settled to its usual quantum order of unwashed coffee cups, bread crusts and hand tissues, all somehow attempting to contradict the white tiles and tables tops of what was supposed to be a sterile environment. Stapleton pondered again. He supposed it was his curse to be constantly looking at the obvious and mundane and seeking a way to make it much more complicated and inexplicable. This for him, was the key to knowledge, disconnecting from what one thought one already knew, by pretending not to know it. He peered over to the EM resonator and snuck a finger beneath his black rimmed glasses and rubbed his right eye in order to be sure of what he was seeing.
He was always prepared to see the unexpected, even though, he never did. His experiments had never yet broken the mould nor discovered anything which was not already common knowledge. His aim was to discover if the electro-magnetic activity of an animal brain could somehow be amplified by sympathetic resonation, in order to create a standing wave of thought, or an idea. Which in turn could be used to remotely influence receptors to further augment the wave like a relay station. Basically he wanted to know if psychic powers could be induced in laboratory conditions. In order to explore this hypothesis he had acquired several mice, and had created a situation where he could be fairly certain of what the mice were thinking, if ‘thinking’ was even the right word for what mice did inside their heads. So he had deprived three of his mice of food for several days, then set up a rather tantalising but scientifically necessary piece of equipment whereby the hungry mice could see and smell the food before them, but were prevented from reaching it by a titanium wire gauze which they could not bite through. He had the EMG scans in their present state in order to calibrate the mice’s hungry thoughts. If this same electroencephalogram scan, could be induced in another, well fed mouse in a separate cage, by means of the electro-magnetic resonator, his experiment would be a success and he would be able to publish his results and await the lucrative top-secret military projects which would no doubt be his next step in his research.
He had tried to be ethical, but he was more interested in being very rich and more than a little tempted, by the idea of being a mad scientist bridging the gap between esoteria and hard science. When most boys dreamed of scoring the winning goal in the world-cup final, Dr Michael Stapleton dreamed of the same football game, except that he was hidden in the crowd with a cunning machine which would incapacitate any opposition player at the touch of a button. As keen a football fan as any boy growing up in the north of England, but one for whom the problem of the England football team’s difficulty in dealing with penalty shoot-outs required solutions which perhaps most people had not considered possible.
Dr Stapleton was of the mind that anything was possible in the universe and there were no limits to what could be achieved, indeed that the laws of the universe and scientific dogma were only products of the time like the movable goal posts of an afternoon playground kick around. The only thing was to visualise the end result and find a way of getting there. And so, although Dr Stapleton’s priority was no longer ensuring that England win the world cup after finally progressing through a semi-final penalty shoot-out, he was close to being in a position where he could finally make such things a reality.
Stapleton looked at the clock. It was one minute to midnight, but time meant little under the fluorescent lab lights and since the computers never showed any inclination to retire to bed nor did Stapleton. If he ever felt tired he would always remark at the indefatigable nature of his computer and electrical equipment, always aglow and buzzing with the static of enthusiasm . Electricity never sleeps.
He sometimes cursed his human weakness that after only half a day of activity, a mere 12 hours, his thought processes would become muddled and slow. After nearly a day of work without sleep he noticed he would start to see things out of the corners of his eyes which weren’t really there but which managed to significantly distract him enough to induce him to cease working, after all, if you can no longer trust the empirical evidence of your own eyes then whatever conditions exist at the present time can no longer be considered scientific.
He wondered what was it about the nature of the world he lived in that so taxed the body and the spirit as to require it to shut down every few hours or so. Like a hot cup of tea rapidly cooling on a cool winter morning, something seemed to be drained from him during a day of work. What was this element that the environment sucked from him and required him to recharge during sleep in order to return, piping hot ready for another day? Another experiment for another time he mused.
Though time meant very little in the abstract sense but the quantifiable seconds and minutes of recorded activity and the search for developing patterns of progress from the harvested data were essential. Yet the daily human routines of morning afternoon and night time held little relevance. In fact Stapleton worked better during the hours of night, there was much less superfluous activity taking place in the world around to distract him and also perhaps, in the best traditions of his hero the mad Konrad Dippel, he savoured the hours of darkness as being somehow more conducive to breaking the orthodoxy of the established laws of nature. Though he had more scruples about dissecting animals and doubted Dippel’s claim that it was possible to transmit souls between bodies by using a funnel.
He scrutinized the wavelengths before him: the mice’s hunger appeared to resonate at a frenzied 40 HZ as a Beta wave but the frequency was not matched in the well fed and generally contented fat-mouse. Perhaps the whole experiment was a silly waste-of time. Wishful thinking. Even though thoughts are frequency waves, electrical oscillations of firing neurons what reason did he have to think that another brain would be receptive to them?
As the timeless fluorescent evening wore on into morning he grew tired of testing and retesting the hungry mice and watching the brain scans of the fat mouse. He made himself a large pot of filter coffee in order to keep up with his computer and he started to question whether esoteric phenomenon could even be reproduced in laboratory conditions. This has always been the problem. Despite thousands of years of first hand stories and documented evidence of phenomena which seemed to circumvent the known laws of nature, there was still no place for any of it within the rational materialistic scientific canon of reality. None of it seemed to be available to be produced on demand. Somehow, the fact of attempting to narrowly observe a subtle phenomenon sent the phenomenon scuttling to subtler dimensions and not being available to post results and produce pie-charts.
Stapleton thought of Uri Geller and his remarkable watch stopping antics, which he himself, as a boy watching the BBC experienced first hand during one of Geller’s incredible mass-participation psychic experiments. There was no doubt about it whatsoever, Uri Geller had stopped little Mikey’s Terrahawks watch. At that time he was amazed but not surprised, after all, if miracles are real then most likely they will happen on TV. But later in life he had sought to follow Geller’s career and been dismayed at his failure on the James Randi show where a cigarette smoking Randi had produced steel locks and bolts of incredulity which finally scuppered Geller’s access to scientific acceptance. He had the evidence of his own experience and that was still as real as any science bigots sneering scepticism.
In a fit of pique at a lack of useful results and partly stirred to some kind of rebellion by visions of a fag-bound James Randi’s scorning a superman he decided he had to fight back. In his pique he removed the titanium gauze separating his famished mice from their food. What was he trying to do anyway? Torturing small animals for science? Besides, if he didn’t feed the mice sooner or later they would die and he would need more mice and he may have been a scientist but he was not a heartless man.
He would not drive small animals to their very deaths just so he had a complete set of data. Though, as his starving mice were ravenously and joyfully (as their brain scans showed) enjoying their celebratory iftar meal, he wondered if perhaps if he HAD driven them to the edge of death would something of their final desperation have given him the esoteric extra-sensory element he was searching for? Too bad. He wasn’t yet mad or desperate enough to go all-in to the death with small rodents.
He would take sensible measurements within reasonable limits, after all, these experiments would one day perhaps be carried out on human beings, but he shuddered as he thought about the military component which would no doubt make him rich, and pondered that they would most likely have fewer ethical scruples over the lives of their human test subjects than had over the lives of his three mice.
So the experiment ruined and Dr Stapleton full of caffeine and in no mood to sleep he started goofing around. He decreased the sensitivity of his EEGequipment and decided to look at his own brain patterns. What does a bored disillusioned scientist’s brain scan look like? What is the magnetic pattern of boredom. In under an hour he had attuned the equipment to measure his magnetic brain responses and sat staring at his computer while feigning a series of emotions ranging from lust to joy from anger to hysteria. He noticed predictable changes in certain areas, with increased electrical activity in certain emotional response centres. Looking at the clock it was 8:01am. Perhaps it was time to rest nevertheless. Just then a strange idea came to him.
He decided to connect the EM resonator to his electroencephalogram headset and see what might happen, if anything.
Stapleton again focussed on an emotion, he decided to think of love, specifically of the platonic kind. He watched the familiar centres of his brain being fired with electricity a shifting sea of blue neuron discharges in the temporal lobe but his focus was interrupted as something seemed to move swiftly in front of him. He jumped with shock. His heart beating wildly as if awakening suddenly from a dream of falling. He looked around, there was nothing of course, he was alone in the laboratory, except for the mice of course. Tiredness? Perhaps. He would run one more test on himself then pack it in. He chose another emotion, anger, indeed he did feel a certain unfocussed anger at the disturbing hallucination he had just suffered from. He looked again at his computer screen and waited a few seconds to organise his sense of anger.
As he did so something jumped out at him causing him to fall from his chair and be scattered in a heap on the floor. This something had filled his whole vision with a shocking suddenness and ferocity. Now he didn’t have to feign emotion: he was scared as a child is afraid of the dark on a late night. His fear now swam in front of his eyes and he heard sounds, uncanny distant sounds which sounded almost animal but were also terrifying human and possessed with some kind of malicious intelligence. His fear rose in pitch in response to the input his senses were receiving and the vision increased in magnitude until he started to see the dark shapes possessed of distorted and terrible faces with glowing eyes. They were moving closer to him, or he were being dragged into them, he did not know which, but he seemed no longer aware of the mundane setting of the coffee cupped laboratory but was somehow involved in his own cheesy horror film. What was happening, it must be something to do with the resonator or course. He removed the brain scanning apparatus with a sudden desperate fear soaked jolt and the sound and vision promptly vanished.
He lay on the floor, his eyes searching the white ceiling for hidden terrors as someone searches for a midnight mosquito which is plaguing their sleep. Seeing nothing he relaxed and closed his eyes and pondered what had just taken place. Instinctively he knew that what had happened took place because he was using the EM resonator and focussing on his own thoughts, he clearly expected something to happen or he wouldn’t have done it, but he hadn’t expected actual hallucinations and terrifying visions. When he focussed on love what had he seen? A shadowy figure passing his vision but it was a familiar figure, it seemed to be a composite figure of everyone he had ever loved, or rather, it was an embodiment of that idea of loving someone. Reassured by the thought that he would be able to control the visions from now on he decided to try one more experiment before sleeping it all off. He reattached the brain wave imaging equipment and mentally tested his hypothesis.
Stapleton never knew what hit him. There was a sudden flare of activity on the brain scan before him then there really was no more Stapleton.
In its place was something bigger. In its place was the infinite expanse of dormant potential, there wasn’t much room left for a struggling research scientist. The electromagnetic consciousness matrix that had once inhabited the white coat and glasses had become something else. Stapleton had been a rather gnarled but still vigorous old oak, its root was strong and its branches still keen, and pliant enough in a strong breeze, not to break but neither to bend.
Now the consciousness inside the glasses and lab coat was a seed, an acorn, a dormant and unexpressed concentration of potential, all the raw power of nature compacted into a particle, like the big bang awaiting the touch of a hair trigger. Stapleton’s idea had been to observe himself thinking about consciousness and use the resonator to increase the signal. Stapleton’s machine had managed to isolate and contain the electromagnetic frequency of consciousness seeking to explain its own nature, but in so doing it had discovered something explosive, that consciousness, when it becomes aware of its own true nature, sees God, and in fact, becomes God because it realises that the mind does not create consciousness but rather, that consciousness creates the mind.
Stapleton had become aware of what he was part of, and had thus merged instantly with the whole. Like an odourless gas, the spark of certainty that no longer had room for doubts because it knew absolutely, had set off a chain reaction and all was fire. The research scientist had been burnt off in the combustion and the personality was nothing but ashes. What looked about the room now, at the apparatus, at the now cowering mice, was no longer a man. It was the absolute. It was a clear window gazing upon the world. It stood up and pausing only to release the mice to scamper across the room where they soon found an obscure hole to wriggle into.
He walked out to explore this new world which he had just been reborn into. He lowered a hand to open the door but then remembered the other side of the door and he instantly materialised there without any of the physical effort or mundanity of the electro-chemical muscle movement.
He walked out into a gloomy early morning mist. His body shuddered against the cold and the stark contrast between the warmth and light of the laboratory. He visualised warmth and sunlight. Something stirred the upper atmosphere and the clouds started to melt away, he felt the sudden change as bright sunlight fell upon his face and warmed him with tender caresses. The earth was his now. There was nothing he could not do.
He moved toward the main street to see what his new awareness would show him. He saw the showered and ironed human forms being drawn to work, why is it that people tend to speed up when they approach their place of work? The sudden sprint up steps and into the building itself. He caught the eye of one, then another worker. They seemed to snarl at him. Something resented him. He looked from face to face, the clear and open window saw them clearly. Saw their frustration, tiredness, unwillingness to go to work. Saw their anticipation of another day of petty frustrations and bit tongues. They saw that he saw this and they hated it, they tutted, they frowned, they muttered. Two of three office workers walking together all looked at him together and shared a moment of common hatred.
And the awareness that now inhabited the scientist’s body realised something, or rather, it remembered something for it knew everything. This shouldn’t be happening. This has happened before in earth’s history, several times in fact, an on each of these occasions there were no happy endings. It then occurred to Him that He wasn’t supposed to be here. Things had to run their own course. Error, pain, grief, suffering, although prolonged were never permanent. There would be a time when all confusion would cease.
It was then that the being which Stapleton what he had become. His most ardent wish was that he had never opened this particular Pandora’s box. That he could go back to his simple sleep of a human life with the bracing suspense of its uncertainties and the continued scrabbling about in the unknown. There would be a time and a place to know everything. This wasn’t it. Suddenly there was a flash of light. Looking at the clock it was 8:01am. Perhaps it was time to rest nevertheless. Just then a strange idea came to him but quickly he dismissed it. It was time to get some sleep. He took his coat and sleepily locked his laboratory. He would try something else tomorrow or later today, whichever came sooner, a fresh head and a good sleep is what is needed he decided. Or he might abandon it all together. It was a fanciful idea anyway. He turned out the lights and fed the two hungry mice. For a moment he thought of freeing them from their cages but then decided not to. ‘Pets’ he thought.