The Pulse: Outer Space
The Soul Star
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
(Pink Floyd, from Wish You Were Here, 1975)
What Madame Dupont couldn’t figure out was how she was still herself. Conrad was there beside her, inside her, and at the same time she was everywhere else she had ever been. She felt this sense of everywhere every time the Soul Star pulsed.
She felt the lives of trillions and trillions of souls. Not as some conglomerate, but rather, she felt each single one. It was as if she had lived seventy years as an angry spice vendor on Fallar 13 or 300 years sifting Pantari precious metals into a communal feast on the shifting dunes of Pantar 11. At the same time she felt a different, deeper connection to Conrad, as if she was touching him. Touching him was a feeling that materialized into a living memory that continued into new forms, which themselves created new memories that were both past and present. One moment she and Conrad were sharing an afternoon in Montparnasse, making jokes about philosophers, downing kettles of tea, and the next moment they were in their late twenties exploring each other’s bodies for the first time. Then they were back in the living room making jokes and eating pastries. She was eating a mille feuille and he was eating a chausson aux pommes.
At the same time she was laughing with Conrad she was ‘overlapping’ with a Phosphari named Ashfodalia. They glowed together, floating in a musical synchrony of underwater waves, on the edge of a lava shelf deep in a bright yellow trench. She was with Ashfodalia and with Conrad, without any sense that being with one was a betrayal of being with the other. This was the first time she understood the meaning of free love.
Her thoughts and feelings weren’t transcendental or abstract. They didn’t exist outside of time, like the things she read about heaven or nirvana. Instead, her experience was happening in real time, in the same time she’d always lived in, except perhaps that when she re-played memories they were crystal clear, almost as if she was transported back in time. But she knew she was living in the present remembering the past, just as she had done on Earth. She was still living in the abstract yet constant flow of time.
It was still the second decade of the 21st century on Earth — and yet she was aware of other time frames, other worlds and other realities. This gave her a profound feeling of relief. She retained the memories of having grown up in the darkest days of World War II, and of learning to cope with all the absurd and alienating things around her. Yet for the first time she felt liberated from the disturbing existential concepts that had belittled her soul for the last sixty years.
From The Book of Fractals
The Soul Star rotates slowly, like a diamond sphere lit from within.
The early Vicinese who designed it gave it neither visible colour nor noticeable weight. It is tiny, almost invisible. It has rotated for a billion years, ever more densely compressed by the infinite number of beings who are infracted in its infinite heart.
Silently, slowly, in time and beyond time, the Soul Star rotates in the void of intergalactic night.
Next: Au Bord de la Seine