1.5 Brain-in-a-vat worlder

This feels so much like a dream. It has those qualities – images move and change, appear and disappear quicker than waking life allows; like they are purchasing tickets to ride but are unwilling to form a queue so they all rush in at once, bottlenecking impetuousness. Or they linger too long, wishing to erect a monument rather than parade through as novel moments.

Oh, this is not the land of the Oneiroi, nor is it the place of any of their siblings, offers Dolos, stepping forward and speaking for the first time. His face is obscured and not by shadow or any shroud but by his natural countenance.

You are in my home. Well, you have always been in my home but the chemicals have stripped it of its decoration and now, you see, it is very barren. Its prostheses have been removed, so to speak, and it is footless and stuck in place. But it doesn’t need to keep pace with the measured steps of what is true; my deception draws interest its way by its grotesqueness and, at times, that grotesqueness has beauty’s face. So, let truth run as far ahead as it will, for when it looks back it will see that, for all the progress it has made, no one is following it. Rather, they are drawn in, captivated, by my creation, flopping and flailing on the road.

As Dolos gave his vague explanation he grew in stature and the small amount of light left was relegated to an area under his feet. Horkos, too, came up missing. Dolos noticed my eyes searching for Horkos and explains:

Yes, Horkos strikes a friendlier figure than I do. That is why he made your introduction first. I had him swear an oath upon himself to do so long ago. He pledged to act as my vanguard and I deceived him into believing that my pseudo-daughter, Pseudologos, would temper her influence so he would have less work to do bringing justice to broken oaths. Fortunately for me, false oaths are my currency; unfortunately for him, his very survival relies on his keeping his word even if he enters into a contract with a scoundrel such as me. He should have been more clear and diligent about the reciprocation of conditions, but, well, I have a way of bending things to resemble things which they are not.

Then how is it that I should believe my present acquaintance?

Of course, you are acquainted with your own mind, yes? It is our most fundamental of acquaintances and undeniable to even the most beguiled of consciousness. Yet you wish for some further vouchsafe; some hint beyond the simplicity of your mind (But why? Nature is simple and you demand complexity?).

I understand fully, I believe, that my very Being is secured by my simplest of thoughts. What I question is that these phenomena are not phantasmagoria; that they are not the falsehoods in which you trade.

And be it that they are all mirage and mystique, what would that mean if the presentation is coherent, consistent, and clean? Absolutely nothing…one in the same it would seem. However, there is no reason for worry for you could not reference such a circumstance if you were in it, and, once you do – as you have – be assured that you are not. If this, or any other, world in which you ever find yourself is a hallucination, then the statement ‘This world is a hallucination’ is necessarily false, for you could not meaningfully, intentionally refer to the world behind the curtains – it is self-refuting because its very declaration, in saying something, is nothing.

But allow me to tell you a story to the same end – while it is loose in its proof, it is tight in the tale it weaves and fits splendidly on intuition’s body. Now, you may charge that I am deceitful and that my word is not worthwhile no matter its device, but I submit for consideration that it is mendacity and deceit that makes me a greater storyteller than the rest.

It is a story of Myrmidon, but one you would not know. It is not of his ancestors, those most loyal of soldiers, nor of his parentage. It is a story of the revolutions of his sword – turning in the chinks of armor and winding its way around organs and meat. He believed all of his enemies were dead, but when they came to claim the life of Myrmidon he thought he must be dreaming. And right as he was going to utter the words ‘This cannot be happening’, the blood billowing in his lungs made the vocalization impossible. Moreover, his mind tried to form the thought that it was an implanted phenomenon, and that too was blacked-out by death. Myrmidon could not think that he was being deceived because reality was too incisive, too sharp, and so real.

That was the apple. Here is the egg:


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