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This whole thing was surreal. I remember fantasizing In my childhood that the reality was a gigantic hoax, like in the Truman show movie. That everyone around me was just playing a part to fool me into thinking that’s how the world worked, when in reality I was just a subject of some evil experiment. It felt like I accidentally found out where the fake reality ended and something real began. I could almost – but not quite – see the underlying structure. 

Thinking about it now I realize that I should have known to be more careful: if the hundreds of Hollywood blockbusters have taught us anything, it’s that carelessly approaching the unknown leads either to a quick but painful death, usually involving copious amounts of blood, or to a couple of hours of sheer terror leaving you with PTSD (and several dead friends). As I have mentioned before, curiosity killed at least one cat and untold numbers of movie characters. But real life samples are scarce, and clearly suffer from “survivor bias”. Simply because the poor bastards killed by their prying are not here to tell us their story. So maybe I should have run away screaming… But while I was, admittedly, a bit scared, the fear wasn’t nearly strong enough to turn me away from something as peculiar as this. 

I suppose there are at least two kinds of fear. There is that primal fear, an animalistic feeling coming from the deep recesses of our brain that we have inherited through millions of years of evolution – it is irrational and overwhelming. It’s the one that makes the hair raise on your neck. I felt a little bit of it then, but more as a warning, a “something isn’t right!” signal, not the “run for your life, NOW!” scream. There didn’t appear to be any clear and present danger. Just weirdness. 

The second kind of fear is intellectual. This one originates in predicting all the possible bad outcomes of a particular situation. The more life experience you have, and the more developed your imagination is – the more potentially disastrous developments you can model at once. It’s the answer to the “what can go wrong?” question. I felt that one too, oh yes. But as it’s logical in its roots – you can overcome it with logic, will and resolve. Or curiosity, as it were in this case. Sometimes we are about to do a reckless stunt – even knowing it won’t end well – and yet we do it anyway. Has this happened to you? I bet it has, more than once. And you can’t believe how stupid you were then. Right? Yeah, well. Me too.

This was larger than me. I could have found some super-secret DARPA technology – adaptive military camouflage on steroids or an energy field, or a gate to another world, or maybe a supernatural phenomenon of some sort. How could I let it go? I was very tense, but it was more of apprehension than a primal fear, and inquisitiveness powered by the sheer unbelievable strangeness of this experience was much stronger than the thin voice of common sense. 

I really dig technology. But in order for what I was seeing there to be possible, a whole new field of physics would have had to be invented, a new dimension of reality discovered. And when I touched the invisible wall, it felt very special. I still feel shivers go down my spine when I recall that experience. It felt… I can’t really describe it. But somehow I feel that I should, that this is important. 

It felt as if I had a new sense awakened just to feel it.

4 Comments
  • Konstantin
    Posted at 15:35h, 12 June Reply

    This one is really good.

    I imagine myself in the same situation and admit that I would do the same. Except I would feel more fear first moment.
    Thousands of films show people who face the unexplained that obviously dangerous enough to kill them but they go closer and closer instead of running away. But if they run away there is no plot. Somebody else takes their role.
    If there would be a tuner for this chapter I would raise the level of fear and hesitation (run or stay).

    • roman
      Posted at 16:51h, 12 June Reply

      Inspired by this feedback I added 2 paragraphs to the beginning of this chapter, talking about and dissecting fear. It may have made it only more convoluted. But I felt like I have something to say about that, so why not?

  • Konstantin
    Posted at 17:28h, 12 June Reply

    Nice add-on. I like it.

  • Konstantin Medvedev
    Posted at 08:29h, 24 June Reply

    I have read a few chapters again and found that you used Cats curiosity twice very close to each other so it is better to say here
    As I told earlier Curiosity killed at least one cat and I have to add it also killed thousands of movie characters.

    I like one story from my childhood.
    Once my father had to rush to his work in the middle of the night because a cat sneak into scientific accelerator and created a shortcut between high voltage wires.
    Only half of the cat left.

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