I try to open my eyes, but I can't. It is as if they aren't there. Or, maybe they are open and there literally is nothing to see. I'm not sure how this could happen. The lack of anything is truly unnerving. If I am in total darkness then it would be familiar or at least understandable. However, this total nothingness is unlike anything I can possibly imagine. Perhaps this is how a blind person experiences the world. Am I blind then?
I try to reach up and touch my eyes, but for some reason my arms won't move. I can't feel my arms. Did I have arms? Maybe if I look down I could see my feet. This floating in nothingness is unsettling, at least seeing my body would be reassuring. But, try as I might, my head just won't move either. I must have a head? Don't panic. No sense of legs, or my fingers, or toes. My mind races, trying to find some vestige of a nerve ending. Lick my lips? Oh my god no tongue no lips nothing nothing nothing!
A scream starts to form within. The scream has a life of its own as it twists and turns in desperation, looking for a way out. I try to open my mouth, but can't. In panic I started to hyperventilate, or at least, think I am. In a grotesque irony the thought of suffocation feels good, at least it means I have lungs. But there was no sense of breathing, no feeling of my chest rising and falling, nothing nothing nothing. I try to calm myself. I stop moving, or rather I stop thinking of trying to move. I can't move, oh just be still be still. A minute passes, then another, or does it? Or has any time passed at all? I don't have a body, there is no time, there is just me, or is there even that?
As my next bout of panic subsides, I try to inventory my situation. I am self-aware in that I can think, count, and reason. I can't move or feel my body. I can't see, hear, or smell. In short, I am a disembodied consciousness -- a soul? Is this what a soul experiences after its host body has ceased to function? I am dead and this is the eternal afterlife? Well, if it is, it is a pretty crappy afterlife.
Hmmm, bitterness and anger: I have emotion still, that's something. I think carefully about my past but nothing comes to me. The square root of 196 is 14. Avogadro`s number was 6.022 times ten to the 23rd. Who am I, what is my name, how old am I? Am I male or female? My favourite colour is lavender. I know things but I have no past. My memory contains factual information but no personal details. Damaged? Erased?
0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16... Calculating the powers of two in order to pass the time is stupid and isn't going to accomplish anything. Am I going insane? I recall the early NASA experiments on sensory deprivation. Apparently, one would start to go insane after relative short periods of time because the mind was incapable of properly functioning without sensory input. How do I know that? What I do know is that at the moment I seem to be capable of coherent thought.
The voice seems to crush my mind, squeezing and contracting it until the pain is unbearable. When finally it ceases to hurt, I try to fathom the meaning of the statement. I am not so sure I heard it as much as experienced it. "Think it." Think what? What was "it?" I. T.? Information Technology? No. That doesn't make any sense. "It." Hmmmmmm. I wish I could see something. Anything. Even something stupid like a button.
A single pink plastic button floats before me.
It might always have been there, I have no idea where it came from or when, just that it is there now. Whatever caused me to think of a button? What I really want is someone to answer my questions. Someone who knows everything, like Data -- the android from Star Trek. The button shimmers, grows, and mutates until there, sort of, is something or is it someone, that vaguely resembles Brent Spiner, the actor who played Data. He smiles at me, and then, he starts to speak.
"Good. That's it. Just think of what you want and make it occur. This place is whatever you wish it to be, but on one condition. Everything that you experience will be born of your mind. To experience it you must be able to imagine it. You will find that you will become better at using your mind as you practice, but at first, things will seem shallow, flat, empty, and vague. As your skills grow and develop, you will go from being able to create simple objects like a book to an entire universe with its own physics, chemistry, and biology. Your creations can worship you, or hate you, depending on your choices. You are both good and evil, ying and yang, life and death. What you create you can destroy merely by wishing it out of existence."
Data starts to solidify as I begin to focus on detail. I begin to see the light around me, and darkness in the distance, as if I am in a bubble floating in a sea of nothingness. My teacher starts to speak again, but now much more clearly. "You are everywhere and you are nowhere. Do not try to understand this because it is something that cannot be understood. You create even yourself. That is the one truth you must accept. Remember, everything here is what you make it, nothing more, nothing less. Only you can determine who you are and what you will do and, when you are done, only you will judge what you do. There is no more brutal or harsher a judge, so be forewarned. And now I must go. Namaste."
I can't remember what I look like, so I imagine myself as Drew Barrymore. I might as well be attractive. I imagine myself sitting on a leather sofa. Here I am, Drew Barrymore in blue flannel PJs, sitting on a brown leather sofa in the middle of a glowing white sphere.
Well, it is a comfortable start.