3 min read

Freewrite 26 June, 2024

Peter prepared his mind to enter The Slipstream: the current of cosmic force trailing behind Life down its path through time and possibility in the universe. Every time he did, he had to reiterate the same mantra. The mantra's ancient, forgotten tongue felt acrid in Peter's mouth–its words meaningless–but he knew the rough meaning...

This universe was on just one of the many possible paths, pushed by unseen forces we've yet to understand, and vortices and eddies of our own creation. Life is the engine that drives us through the currents. Our actions and machinations exert some force in some particular "direction," if you please, and the overall path is described perfectly by the overall will of our collective life. That's why we call it "life force," after all.

To enter The Slipstream was to abandon one's Ego, and observe wholly the direction we travel. Adjacent to our course, someone in The Slipstream can see also the directions we may have traveled but did not, along with the directions we may travel yet. Closely scrutinizing the many minuscule swirls and jets of force pushing us along, one might come to understand, in a sort of celestial capacity, how anyone's–everyone's–particular actions affects our overall course. From there, One Without Ego, riding the torrents of The Slipstream, understanding without words, like an infant's mid-dream laugh, might deign to understand something so mundane and petty as "if I do this thing, I might change that person's push on the Universe, causing this other thing to happen."

Which, to mortals who have never been in The Slipstream, who are obsessed with such tedious things as amassing wealth or politicking, can be very valuable information. For those who treat other Life as levers don't see fellow pilots of this great engine we call the universe: they instead see levers to be pulled.

Peter knew the lever pullers to be the most dangerous type of Life. Their supremely unimaginative way of operating in the universe could deal great harm if they managed to gain the right (read: wrong) information, because their goals were of the earth: eat flesh, fuck flesh, control flesh, then eventually rot. Because they never dared to be anything but flesh, never dreamed that others were anything but flesh, they then could never escape their own flesh. And eventually they rotted and became other flesh, that had forgotten the evils of its earlier living form.

That Life was no different than the cancer we now lived long enough to be killed by: mindless, malformed invaders of a beautiful thing, whose only goals were of the flesh, and whose only outcomes were death. Conniving and tricky, but ultimately nothing remotely interesting.

Peter had only become One Without Ego once before, but the experience was pure exultation. He saw God. He spoke with God. He became one with God.

He saw the puny twirlings of universal current coming from our little lives, and saw how little any of us could impact the flow as a whole. Yet at the same time, he saw something beautiful too: visions of a past where our useless thrashing coalesced, where our individual waves of force amplified each other and grew into one enormous wave–one so powerful it was plainly visible without scrutiny, even to One Without Ego, who viewed the universe as a whole. That coalescing radically changed the course of the universe.

But our little waves once again had grown dissonant and noisy. Chaotic and random. Unable to unify on any belief, our ability to exert any useful force on the path of the universe had dwindled, and now we careened wantonly to... wherever we were going.

But since his last time in The Slipstream, his perfected comprehension had been pigeonholed back into his flesh-laden mind, and reduced to vague sentiments and feelings. Feelings like "we need to work together," and sentiments like "we're doomed if we don't change this." Vague sentiments and feelings do not work well to change the course of history. Peter knew this.

This time, he sought only one answer to a question that had been hanging over him in the years since his last time in: What can bring Life together?

If an answer existed, he hoped he would find it.

As he completed his mantra and quaffed the tea, Peter extended his arms outward to his sides, so they could be tied. This was to prevent him from struggling to escape as the tea's toxins took hold, and triggered his body's survival instincts. The nearby assistants secured him to the wicker-lined stone pallet's anchors with braided rope, and pulled the rope taut.

The medicine only worked when the body temperature was sufficiently high, so he would be raised above the roof of the building and exposed to the light of the summer solstice. After a day of sweat and exposure, the tea would finally extract him from his human form. At that time, the assistants would lower him down and work to bring him back–to revive him–in the short window of time where his body began to die and his spirit exited the mind, but the body and mind could still both be saved.

He had done this once before, and they were able to bring him back. Three minutes, they said. The millennia he spent being God, watching the universe, and flowing through The Slipstream, amounted to three minutes on Terra, before he was resuscitated. It was a lifetime ago.

How long would he be out this time?