(Continued from part twenty-four)
The surprise, which I suppose really shouldn’t have been terribly surprising, was how the ship provided gravity. The entire environment in this ship seemed Earth-norm. And the way the ship maintained gravity was very simple: It accelerated at 1g, then the propulsion section flipped 180 degrees (see below), after which the ship decelerated at 1g. The egg remained in the same overall position, to deal with any meteoroids and debris, but the center of the egg – the part I was living in plus the shuttle bay – also rotated 180 degrees for the deceleration half of the trip1. Except for the small time spent re-configuring, the interior experienced “normal” gravity the entire time. (If that doesn’t quite make sense, please draw it out, which should clarify it for you.)
I was not, I am sorry to say, able to understand the means of propulsion very well. I suppose I simply lacked enough underlying information to make the connections. What I am more or less certain about is that it was electrical, not gravitational.
An electrical drive makes perfect sense, of course, since electrical forces are about 1030 times stronger than the force of gravity.2 I am less clear on how this system operated. They seemed to have focused their equipment on a large star, set up some type of electric field, then used it to pull themselves toward it.
The drive unit was a metal cone that remained far ahead of the egg and pulled it. I was unable to determine how the egg was attached to the drive unit. There were lines shown in the schematics, but I couldn’t read the notations. They may have been some type of cable, or perhaps something I wouldn’t have understood anyway.
I never did figure out the light source for the inside of the ship (which, given my background, you’d think I’d be best able to understand). That said, Nikola Tesla was reported to have something very much like it (illumination with visible source) in his laboratory, back around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. If this was true, and given what we know about Tesla, it would have been done with currents of very high voltage and frequency.
* * * * *
My time with the schematics was only intermittent, however. It was simply overtaken by the environment in which I found myself. And not just the visual environment, but the spiritual environment, for lack of a better word. The fact is that I did unfold in this place. I hope that my description of it doesn’t sound to ‘airy-fairy’, but these were primarily internal experiences, and one thing I’m very sure about is that we lack a vocabulary to explain them.
For the rest of this day (if it was that), I either sat or lay down in front of the big window, starring at a whirlpool of light containing hundreds of billions of worlds. Either that or the blackness of space going out to infinity.
There were tiny dots of light in the distance, but they mainly amplified the effect of infinity, since each was a galaxy, housing a hundred billion more worlds… and knowing that I could never come close to seeing even a minuscule part of what was there.
At some point I picked up my mattress and pillow, and went back to the sleeping room. Somehow that seemed to be better for actually sleeping.
I spend another day (and my sense was that each was longer than 24 hours) almost the same as the first.
* * * * *
What I did physically during this time was fairly mundane, but what was happening inside of me was not. I was thinking and feeling – easing into it slowly at first – in deeper ways than I had before.
Among other things, I realized the my subconscious mind was far more intricate and elaborate than I had previously conceived. It seemed to be a subconscious person, to be blunt about it. I actually began to conceive of it as a discrete being… as a “him.” More than anything, I wanted desperately to communicate with him. To understand his concerns, to communicate mine… to understand him as a person.
All sorts of connections appeared in mind mind while conceiving this – while looking off into the naked universe – especially the fact that the human enteric nervous system – the nervous system of the gut, to speak descriptively but roughly – is so extensive that some researchers have likened it to a second brain. I think that’s significantly over-stated, but there’s an underlying reason for the expression.
And I came to understand that my inner systems had their own inertia, and needed time to shift optimization from one endeavor or another. I’ve felt precisely that many times; getting myself into the right mood for writing, for example; but I had never understood it this well, and maybe most importantly of all, I’d never conceived of sympathy for this inner man and his work before.
This optimization, I understood, was precisely why Robert didn’t want to stay with me in 1978. It wasn’t because of scheduling per se, but because his inner conditions were rolling over from one optimized state to another. To give it a mechanical metaphor, he scheduled himself based upon the function of the machine (himself), not the time of day. As the machine was having its gearing changed, he could take some time away for a side-event. But once the new gearing was in place, or almost in place, he needed to be back. The inner mechanism… the fundamental organism… had become, to him, the thing to be optimized.
Such a “de-scheduling” might be problematic in our present world, but I am certain that it’s fundamentally proper for us… once we improve peace and cooperation inside ourselves, that is.
And it wasn’t just sitting at the window that I understood myself more deeply; it showed up equally in my dreams. Each time I slept, I woke understanding how one or more of my persistent feelings were spawned by something else, and typically a choice made many years prior. These things were acted out in my dreams. They were, as dreams tend to be, unclear, sometimes partial or mixed, but I soon enough understood them as I lay in bed and mulled them over.
* * * * *
In the midst of one of my get up, see the universe, take care of bodily functions, sleep more cycles, I realized that the end of that world had to be close. And so I slugged down a type of smoothie, went to the bathroom and installed myself in front of the window again. How long I sat there, I’m not sure, but somehow I ended up laying down on the mattress and fell asleep with a full view of infinity.
I didn’t wake up there again.
1 I couldn’t be sure, but it seemed to me that the white-pink metal could be made malleable – almost rubber-like – to accomplish this turn and repositioning. I don’t know how, of course, but I’m guessing that its semi-organic characteristics were involved.