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The Ego Machine


Steampunk consciousness
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The Ego Machine : Steampunk Consciousness

The Steampunk Consciousness Manifesto - a partial paraphrase of the Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius Article

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The Ego Machine portrays what it is like to be human to an enlightened but non-human alien intelligence. The alien does not see appearances. It is blind to make-up, snappy suits, painted nails, flat stomachs and bulging biceps. It cannot distinguish young from old, success from failure. It sees a mechanism akin to a child’s gyroscope darting across a flat featureless landscape until the disc stops spinning.

The mechanism’s form is governed by its function which is the collection and storage of  'me'  thoughts. Its constituted of a recording component and a reading component.
Sight and sound enters through a large funnel apparatus which transcribes, with vibrational energy, what is seen and heard onto an impressionable and rapidly spinning disc.
The visual component of what has been recorded is then conveyed to the seat of awareness (the seat of awareness or consciousness inhabits a metal sphere) via an ocular mechanism.
A needle transmits via vibrational energy auditory impressions via an amplifying funnel which feeds into the metal sphere.  

Direct awareness of the other in the environment is therefore possible only by seeing and hearing what has been engraved into the spinning disc. The contents of the spinning disc which I can now label 'ego' is a mandatory intermediary processing step in understanding the mechanism's environment. Everything, then, is understood via the ego. The disc continually spins and the ocular mechanism and auditory needle are, for the most part, fixed onto the surface of the disc though both the ocular and needle can be thought to randomly jump the grooves on the surface of the disc. Imagine the maddening cacophony of a phonograph on a yacht in a storm tossed ocean for three score and ten years and you have an inkling of what it is like to be human.

The disc stops spinning periodically, an event which coincides with a regular absence of light. Normally, the spinning starts again when the light has been reinstated. The mechanism ‘boots-up’ or initialises to use data processing metaphors. Sometimes the spinning does not ever restart. This always coincides with a critical stage of mechanism damage whether by a gradual time related erosion or by sudden trauma. Sleep and death, in terms of awareness or consciousness are therefore identical.

Normally the universe cannot be understood in a manner in which does not involve the ego. However, a constitutional flexibility in the ocular mechanism can, in rare cases, allow for the perception and awareness of the silent spaces beyond the rim of the disc. The flexing of the ocular mechanism is difficult and effortful. Some manage to momentarily look over the rim of the spinning disc. Others contemplate the serene darkness and are forever changed. Most never achieve more than a reflexive twitching of the ocular mechanism and are condemned to understand existence through the ego until the disc ceases spinning.
July 2013

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© Mark Peatfield - Obtain prints from www.markpeatfield.co.uk Email