Re: CHAT: What statement? abyss staring

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 05:14:49 MDT

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> ...infinite repetitions without beginning or end, do constitute a single
> cosmos... Every experience of pure self-awareness feels like the first
> time... like recognizing the place where you began, yet seeing it as if for
> the first time.
> Right now I'm having amnesia and deja-vu at the same time. I think I've
> forgotten this before.
> -- Stephen Wright

"Peer anchored the soles of both feet and the palm of one hand firmly
against the glass, and rested for a while. He tipped his head back to
take in, one more time, the silver wall of the skyscraper stretching to
infinity above him. Cotton-wool clouds drifted by, higher than any
part of the building -- even though the building went on forever.

He freed his right foot, reanchored it higher up the wall, then turned
and looked down at the neat grid of the city below, surrounded by
suburbs as orderly as ploughed fields. The foreshortened countryside
beyond formed a green-brown rim to the hemispherical bowl of the Earth;
a blue-hazed horizon bisected the view precisely. The features of the
landscape, like the clouds, were 'infinitely large,' and 'infinitely
distant'; a finite city, however grand, would have shrunk to invisibility,
like the base of the skyscraper. The distance was more than a trick of
perspective, though; Peer knew he could keep on approaching the ground
for as long as he liked, without ever reaching it. Hours, days,


Peer had been exhausted when he'd stopped, but after a minute's rest
he felt, literally, as energetic and enthusiastic as ever. Back in
cloud-time, preparing himself, he'd edited out any need or desire for
food, drink, sleep, sex, companionship, or even a change of scenery,
and he'd reprogrammed his exoself -- the sophisticated, but nonconscious,
supervisory software which could reach into the model of his brain and
body and fine-tune any part of it as required -- to ensure that these
conditions remained true. He resumed the descent gladly, a happy
Sisyphus. Making his way down the smooth mirrored face of the skyscraper
was, still, the purest joy he could imagine: the warmth of the sun
reflecting back on him, the sharp cool gusts of wind, the faint creak
of steel and concrete. Adrenaline and tranquility. The cycle of
exertion and perfect recovery. Perpetual motion. Touching infinity."

-- _Permutation City_, Chapter 5 "(Remit not paucity) November 2050"
   Greg Egan

Jim F.

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