Created March 3, 2023
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
We are concluding a two-part posting (see prior post) of a chapter out of my upcoming sci-fi novel Revelations: Live To All Minds. This will be the fifth title to be released in the Agents of Cosmic Intelligence series. Two year old Danny has snuck into a virtual reality nightclub called Psycho where he is in the audience watching a stranger Tony get psychoanalyzed on stage by AIs representing Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung. As we completed the prior post, Tony was losing his nerve under the pressures of millions in the audience watching his soul be stripped bare for all to see.
“Do you have more internalized voices in you, Tony?” asked the second Analyst in a kind way. Other Tonys drifted out of the central Tony and the stage became filled with Tonys. “Did you know you had all these different sides of yourself, Tony?” asked the first Analyst.
The Tony in the middle was now quite upset and embarrassed to be unequal to the situation in front of so many people. He realized that this could ruin his life if he let it. He realized it could also be just what he needed to make his life wonderful, but he couldn’t take the exposure any longer, and all the Tonys suddenly disappeared at once.
This was not a shock to anyone. The audience had seen this happen many times, it was actually rare for it to end any other way. Happy endings when the individual grew up before the eyes of spectators happened once in a long while. The series owners claimed that follow-up studies showed that most of the participants in the show became happier and better-integrated after the experience on stage. According to those studies, it often took a year for the people who played the game to assimilate the experience and make the most of it.
Danny found himself slipping carefully through the crowd and was stunned to see himself walking up the steps onto the stage ahead of anyone else. He had not consciously decided to do it, but some part of him had acted, and now he was going along with it.
He felt his heart beating and his cheeks flushing. Those were feelings in his real body. He could see himself from the outside as the cameras picked him out like spotlights and made him the center of attention in the cavernous nightclub. He looked confident from the outside, which pleased and calmed him. He wondered if he would be able to speak because he now experienced mammoth stage fright. He had never experienced that before and it was frightening to feel loss of control. He had not expected this. He slowed his breathing and made his breaths deeper and longer and this seemed to steady him a little. His avatar looked around and Danny remembered to smile at the audience. It was hard to see them due to the actual spotlights, but he could make out a few faces at ringside and so he played to them. A young woman was smiling nicely at him and he liked her right away. He felt better focusing on that one person.
“My name is Danny,” he said. “I’d like to see all the sides of myself the way Tony did.”
“Welcome, Danny,” said the first Analyst. “Why do you want to see that?”
“I psychoanalyze myself all the time,” Danny said, finding himself floating upward and seeing a second Danny emerge from himself and float to the right.
“That’s the part of you that does the psychoanalyzing,” the second Analyst said. “You don’t have to call it psychoanalyzing,” he added, “it’s actually called metacognition when you do it to yourself.”
“Of course,” the second Danny said with no help from Danny, “we all learned metacognition starting in daycare.” Danny was surprised that this part of himself found it so easy to make up and speak lies. Danny had never been in daycare, although he taught himself metacognition, and found the word itself by searching online for “psychoanalyze myself”.
Danny found it possible to also control some of the second Danny’s actions. He spoke through the second Danny to say, “And I studied it myself, on the web and in my head.” He often stayed up very late pretending to be asleep but actually meditating, contemplating, concentrating, and otherwise trying to figure out everything in the world. The subject he got furthest with was Danny.
As he momentarily reflected on these things more Dannys came out of him to float across the stage to take station at some distance. He was amazed to be looking out the eyes of each of these avatars at the same time, and to feel that he had some control over all of them, although they could also act without him deciding to do so. He lost his nerve when he saw that one of the Dannys looked just like the real Danny – a two-year-old boy – and before he said “Off!” to depart Psycho, he saw that one of him was a rangy man with wild sandy hair who looked to be in his forties – who the hell was that? That’s me? Is that what I’m going to look like in forty years? Or was that what I looked like in my last incarnation?
He sat before his giant screen desktop still showing the stage at Psycho which was now empty except for the two giant hovering Analysts.
“Well, I’m sorry we scared the pants off that one,” the second Analyst said to the first, “he looked like an interesting case.”
“Might have been an actual split personality,” mused the first Analyst.
“A very rare type,” commented the second Analyst, “he or she never posted anything on social media, we know nothing about ‘Danny’. Could have been an AI!” The two AI Analysts laughed, and so did the audience.
Danny wondered what he was. He knew from his own self-studies that he was a consciousness. He had a hunch that all the consciousnesses are a single consciousness, but he had no idea where that idea came from, other than his frequent sense of being able to tell what other people were feeling and thinking.
Love to all,