Occam's Mirror

Because sometimes the most obvious answer is a distorted reflection of truth.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I wake from a strange dream. In it I have created a seven foot wide fried egg out of emulsion based paint.
“It’s a lot smaller than the real thing” I keep trying to tell people. Most won’t listen.
I am still in the box. It is white, and if my mind has not yet left me, a perfect cube. It is neither cold nor uncomfortable yet it makes me feel both.
Every so often a slot opens in the featureless white wall. I either eat from it, or defecate into it, depending on the height of the slot. Once I am done with my business the slot closes. It is a rectangle of change within a fixed world. I used to scream into it, but it seems a little pointless now.
Some time ago I tried to measure the angles in my container. I used hair from my head to form triangles. Totally pointless exercise as I have no protractor and my hair has a natural wave to it. I think I may have cried.
If I had the egg of my dreams I could at least form some sort of idea of the size of my cell. I can’t even remember how tall I am. I think I was moderately tall, but I do not know what that even means. It takes me four strides to pace from one corner to the other. This is useless information.

I sleep at intermittent intervals.

This time I dream of the sea. That happens a lot now. Sometimes there are seals or birds. I much prefer the seals because the birds make me think of myself, trapped in my box.
I do not know when I was put in this box, but I know that my beard has grown a lot. No one is concerned that I might hang myself with my hair. There is nothing in my box to hang myself from.
For a short time I became convinced that there were iron filings all over the walls of my box. There are not. In a way this was even more disappointing.

When I wake again, curled on the floor, I have decided to escape. There seems to be no door, and no one comes when I shout, but I have a plan.
The wall slot opens and I eat. I need my strength. I count seconds like this;
-one iron filing
-two iron filing
-three iron filing
until the hatch closes. Thirty iron filings after I move away from the wall it hisses shut. I assume it is run off some kind of sensor.
I wait a further six hundred iron filings, then three hundred more then I begin to wretch. I curl over my stomach and make choking sounds, feigning violent spasms. I clutch at my head and stumble from wall to wall. Soon the lower slot slides open. I stick my head inside and start making the appropriate noises.
The slot is small but I am desperate and undernourished, so it takes surprisingly little effort to force my shoulders into the little metal capsule, and it is almost easy to curve my back and pull my legs down onto my chest. I look like an Incan mummy.
I believe I have around twenty seconds before the hatch closes. I pray to the birds and the seals that it will be enough. No one comes running. Nothing happens. The hatch closes.
Now I am in a lightless metal coffin that stinks of disinfectant and my own filth. I am cramped and it is difficult to breathe. The metal around me is cold, getting colder. For a moment I almost wish I was back in my box. Then the world moves.
My breath is gone, ripped from my suddenly aching lungs in a burst of crystals. They shine like stars against the cold black. And then I suddenly know how the birds feel.
When the earth is viewed from above, it is a lot smaller than the real thing.

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