„Strange“, you think, „I always imagined being blind as the world being hidden behind a black veil, impenetrable by light“. Everything is white, but before you can even begin to further examine your sight or lack thereof, the cold hits you like thunder, stunning you, permeating all your body and thoughts. You instantly start to shake and feel as though your body is turning to stone, yet there are words, filling your ears and head with clarity: „Remember“, and you do. No longer distracted by the unreal cold, your realize that your eyes have adjusted to the light, and you are not blind, only blinded, for all is snow and the sky covered by a continuous white cloud, melting with the earth on a horizon that can only be inferred, not seen.
„There is a break in the pattern, can you not see it?“, the man speaks, and while you ponder the question, a tiny part of your mind can’t help but wonder how much less strange the situation would have to be in order for you to be embarrassed by his and your nakedness. Soon, you start to think of a response to the question, but you do not like it. The answer seems wrong somehow, trivial, unworthy of this place, the effort to get here, and yet it has taken hold in your mind, and you feel it anchors your thoughts, has your mind revolving around the possibility of success, the likely wrongness, until finally you give up, and speak it, for the thought wants to escape only by words, and through your mouth it flows: „I see the imperfections, the flaws, haphazardly spirited away and yet acknowledged with greater distance. The erratic change of the pieces as well, stones not missing nor misaligned, but unpolished or cracked.“
Oh my, the suspense! Truly, you want to know how the old man would react to such an utterance, and why, how, could you, the protagonist, ever say something this vain? But I, the author, promise, both those questions and more will be resolved, and in a spectacular fashion no less, leaving you thrilled and hungry for more. In fact, if you where to just skip ahead a fair bit, the answers would already spring into your eyes, filling your mind with the joy of a cliffhanger well resolved. Yet, you are reading this, and I shall grant your wish for more distraction, for I realize you may need to calm down a bit after this wild ride of a story. So, here you go, a little pattern break for you:
Just a reminder that the cultural singularity is already happening RIGHT NOW and videos like this exist (and have millions of views). Memes are literally spreading at the speed of light, cpu cycles and electrons. Creation cycles are getting shorter and shorter. The video I linked to is already horribly outdated. People over 30 are confused and can not keep up any more, many younger people as well. This has always been the case with art and pop culture to some extend, but is becoming more and more pronounced. Nobody knows if the tumblr of a big fast food/diner corporation is self-aware (in the literature sense) or not. Poes Law runs rampant, satire plays the game beyond level 2, ironic meme usage has long since become a metameme and acknowledging it is in itself an inside joke for the sort of people who laugh at inside-memes of groups they are not part of (e.g. farmers, christians or bodybuilders). Nobody cares if a symbol-reference is inaccessible to them if the symbol itself carries some level of humor derived from the context in which it is used. People are laughing about holocaust jokes made by building virtual medieval-esque constructions in early access games and some feel guilty about it, others not, and some just marvel at the level of interconnection those examples provide. TVTropes is a thing, and the editors probably have inside memes. Museums are doing exhibitions about the darknet with the cops seizing the drugs purchased on agoraBeta after the exhibition is closed (how nice of them to wait), but there is also a framed picture of a 4chan post talking about art, which has itself become a meme, in that exhibition. There are different communication cultures on different websites and most people are part of multiple at once, everything is connected. There are fanfictions of fanfictions in which complex philosophical topics are referenced and demonstrated through analogy, but not really explained or contextualized. There probably are fanfictions of an ascended fanfiction that has since become „proper“ fiction, and I don’t wish to find out if there are fanfics for those fanfics as well. The cesspool of dead, old or short lived memes from which new recombinations are created sometimes just for the sake of cringing at the insanity of it is growing significantly every month. Rickrolls are coming back or have never stopped being a thing, but they are now played straight, inverted, weird and *meta. MLG-edits are a competitive economy on YouTube because people make actual money from them. Microfood videos are watched by ASMR-triggered and procrastinating people alike. Pretty much everything is „a thing“ somewhere, and that sentence is not a tautology in several probable readings. Yet my spell checker doesn’t even recognize the word „meme“ even though it has been around since before the web.
I for one welcome our new attention-economy overlords.
You might think it’s weird, mean, ridiculous or just plain unnecessary to insert an old recycled Facebook-rant about internet culture into this article as some kind of intermission, especially considering that the post itself is already labelled „Intermission“, but I disagree, because I am trash. Now, back to the rest of the actual story.
For a fraction of a second after you finish speaking, the loose skin of the elder remains in place as the rest of his body moves with unnatural speed. Before you can even begin to be surprised, he snatches something at the back of your neck and you feel a sharp pain. As you turn around, you get a glimpse of true horror, for the first time in your existence. A rift has opened, through which you can see words, words, words, billions upon billions, and not one of them in the right place, at the right time, not one amongst them that could not be replaced by a better expression, not one of them in a context that satisfies. The rift is already closing, a tiny thing falling into it, an owl with bloody beak, it’s skull open, the brain visible and half-rotten. The old man finishes a gesture of wrongness, his face contorted in disgust and contempt and the rift is closed, gone as completely as the zombie-owl, your memories of horror already fading. The man now appears still once again, his face neutral as he speaks with a calm voice: „Now you can think bigger. Do so, and answer with wrongness no more“.
Snow begins to fall.