Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Stream of Consciousness

In retrospect, maybe he should have stayed at the fountain of youth, but after a few thousand years the young man wanted to try something new. He was thirsty for knowledge. And not the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil either, that Garden of Eden had been known to give customers food poisoning.

No, what he wanted was a fresh stream of something pure. Youth had eventually lost all of its flavor, and he was ready to move on. Consciousness is what he needed, self-awareness and a constant flow. Splashing around like a bird in a bath has its moments, but every bird flies off eventually.

So off he flew, eastward. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but he wasn’t worried about that. He just needed something new.

When he came to a stream, he lifted his hands above his head and jumped. He jumped up and down, and eventually jumped right in to the stream. He took large gulps and smiled. It tasted nothing like youth’s water. The taste was so different; he loved it.

He felt the stream tugging at him to go with it. Right away he understood that he could no longer stand in one spot, he had to move with the stream. Lying back in the water, he lifted his legs and began to flow down into an unknown destination. But still, he didn’t care where he was going. He had begun to taste knowledge in this stream, and he figured that once it deposited, he would be in an ocean of wisdom.

As he floated, he looked up into the sky. It was blue and cloudy, and reflected onto himself and the stream. All around were trees, and their leaves were green. Fruit would fall from them, and float on the water. Occasionally the man would eat the food, and over time grew large around the waist.

The longer he floated, the more he learned. He realized that nature is a beautiful thing, and that this stream brought just as much life as the fountain of youth. There was even more to experience in the stream, because the current brought him to different places around every bend.

But just as he grew tired of youth, he began to struggle through the stream. Tigers would occasionally jump into the stream with plans to kill the man, and more than once got close. Claws dug into his skin and left scars on his body. Sharp, pointy rocks occasionally scraped his back, causing the water to darken with his blood. There was danger in this stream, something he had not experienced in the fountain.

He did not like danger, but he hoped that since he was heading towards wisdom that his troubles might be worthwhile.

But the longer he went with the flow, the more he despised it. It always went wherever it wanted to go, and he had no choice in the matter. If it were up to him, this stream would flow with the same water that fills the fountain of youth. He became angry that this couldn’t be the case.

After floating for so long, he started to wonder if this stream was taking him to wisdom after all. The thought scared the man. He started to swim towards the shore, but couldn’t break free of the current. Every overhanging branch that he latched onto snapped. After a while, he realized that he would never reach the shore again, he had become a part of the current, and didn’t even have arms or legs anymore.

He drifted further. It was not pleasurable anymore but he kept silent about it. His body was of no use to him, but the stream would not let it go. He remembered the experiences he had in the stream, and how exciting some of them were at the time. He remembered his joy at the fountain of youth, and regretted ever leaving. He wondered how much longer he would drift, and if any new experiences would even interest him. But not long after, the current started to diminish. The stream became wider, and the trees became less and less. The water was deep now, and even if he wanted to he would not be able to touch its ground.

After a while, the old man could not see any trees. He was in the ocean, and was left alone with his memories. He wondered if he had arrived at wisdom, and wasn’t sure what the point of it was. There was so much that he could do with his experience, but in reality, there was nowhere to go.

He floated for a while longer, going in circles instead of any particular direction. A bird flew above him, high and free.

He gently put his head under the water, looked down at the darkness that was so far beneath his body. He never looked back at the sky again.

1 comment:

The Great I'm Not said...