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Chapter Sixteen

Strangely enough, Cobb never had the feeling of really losing consciousness. He and Ralph hurried through the tunnels to the pink-house together. In the pink-house, Ralph helped Cobb into the nursie, the nursie gave him a shot, and then everything... came loose.

There were suddenly so many possibilities for motion that Cobb was scared to move. He felt as if his legs might walk off in one direction and leave his head and arms behind.

But that wasn't quite accurate. For he couldn't really say where his arms or legs or head were. Maybe they had already walked off from each other and were now walking back. Or maybe they were doing both. With an effort he located what seemed to be one of his hands. But was it a right hand or a left hand? It was like asking if a coin in your pocket is heads or tails.

This sort of problem, however, was only a small part of Cobb's confusion, only the tip of the iceberg, the edge of the wedge, the snout of the camel, the first crocus of spring, the last rose of summer, the ant and the grasshopper, the little engine that could, the third sailor in the whorehouse, the Cthulhu Mythos, the neural net, two scoops of green ice-cream, a broken pane of glass, Borges's essay on time, the year 1982, the state of Florida, Turing's imitation game, a stuffed platypus, the smell of Annie Cushing's body, an age-spot shaped like Australia, the cool moistness of an evening in March, the Bell inequality, the taste of candied violets, a chest-pain like a steel cylinder, Aquinas's definition of God, the smell of black ink, two lovers seen out a window, the clack of typing, the white moons on fingernails, the world as construct, rotten fish bait on a wooden dock, the fear of the self that fears, aloneness, maybe, yes and no ...

"Cobb?"

If he answered then he must not have. That is, if he hadn't answered, he would have. To say: Help me, Ralph! To say: Whoooooooooooooooah!! To say: Here come de judge!!! To say: Selection principles must occur at every level of the processor hierarchy. To say: Please don't. To say: Verena. To say: Possibility is Reality! To say: DzzzZZzZZZzZZZZZzzzZzZZZZzzzZZzZz ZZZZZzzzzZzZZzZZZzzzZZZzZZZZzzt. To say the noise and information all at once; Lord, just this once...

"Cobb?"

The confusion was thicker now, distinctions gone. He had always thought that thought processes depended on picking points on a series of yes-or-no scales ... but now the scales were gone, or bent into circles, and he was still thinking. Amazing what a fellow can do without. Without past or future, black or white, right or left, fat or thin, pokes or strokes... they're all the same ... me or you, space or time, finite or infinite, being or nothingness... make it real... Christmas or Easter, acorns or oak trees, Annie or Verena, flags or toilet-paper, looking at clouds or hearing the sea, ham-spread or tuna, asses or tits, fathers or sons...

"Cobb?"


Chapter Fifteen | Software | Chapter Seventeen



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