Have you ever wondered what is there when no one is looking? What happens to the matter and space that no intelligence observes? That no conscience assigns a concept or a construct to? Does it remain the way it is, does it disappear, or does it shift?
Empiricism claims that reality remains the same. That, no matter what, the fabric of space-time will always stay stable, safe, and quantifiable. This theory keeps people calm. It keeps us unsuspecting of what might actually be there, and allows one to quantify the observable universe and pretend we have answers. However, this is not safe. Ignorant! We simply do not wish to admit that reality could be dependent on our observation of it. That reality could do whatever it pleases when our object-bound consciences are no longer fixed upon it. Our observation is what keeps the fabric of space-time stable, and science relieves us of responsibility.
Contrarily, Phenomenology tells us that reality simply ceases to have meaning, since without interpretation it is irrelevant. It coddles our weak human conscience and tells us that as long we don’t look at it, it won’t hurt. A coward’s theory! Ignoring the darkness! Pretending it isn’t there! The truth, dear reader, the truth is far worse than any human mind can conjure on its own, and far more complex than the human psyche can understand; chaos yet nothingness. I know this as fact. I’ve observed it, though I am still unsure as to what I actually observed, but I know I saw something, and it terrified me to my core.
It was a late spring afternoon. I was on my way home from my teaching job at a nearby university. I live close enough to the schoolhouse that the trek through the park to and from the school is more pleasant than tedious. It’s calm, so I rarely pay much attention to my commute. The walk is muscle memory by now (across my street, past the pond, into the woods, past the abandoned animal cave, across another street and I'm there). But that day was somehow different. The sun was setting, casting a cool din to spread onto the path. There was an abnormal chill to the air, though this alone was not enough to interrupt my daydreaming.
At first I did not notice the distortions around me, though “around” may be an inappropriate term. I did not feel it nor hear nor see the horror creep into my perception.
Reality began to fade and twist as light and color lost its validity. Matter flickered and morphed, bending into geometric impossibilities. Sounds amplified and blended as my frail, human brain attempted to fill in gaps of experience. I ejected the contents of my stomach. My eyes and ears burned, and every cell in my body felt ready to explode. Then came the abyss. The dark engulfed me, cold and lonely yet searing with blinding light: nothing yet everything. Definitions fused within the confines of my psyche. Time lost all meaning to me. All that I felt was a crippling fear and confusion. My mind was letting go of balanced, friendly reality.
Then, it all stopped.
I began to compose what could still be felt of myself. I observed my surroundings, and found that I was in an almost black plane. An alien realm, covered in nothing but a luminous black surface, light coming from an (as of yet) unseen source. The air was scentless, not cold nor warm, thick nor thin. I could not breathe, yet it seemed as if there was no need to. I simply existed in this black, desolate field.
As I became fearfully more aware of my new whereabouts, the space began to give off what can only be described as vibrations, sounding off an awful roaring, squealing arpeggio. A noise that I still cannot make any sense of. As this sound pierced my ears, something began to materialize across the plane. It looked to be a formless black mass of gas at first, then, a shadowy figure that looked almost humanoid, but very wrong. I distinguished, as the thing phased into being, that what could have been its head was angular and polygonal. It was a cube atop an emaciated umbra of a body. The black that the body was covered in seemed to absorb all light, making it almost featureless, but as it began to walk towards me, the thing’s two bottom leg-like appendages moving at painful angles, I could make out shapes, or symbols, of unknown origin carved into its tesseract skull. It had no semblance of a face, just a plethora of geometrically unsound glyphs. My mind seemed to reject any attempt to decipher their detail.
I stared at the thing, and it seemed to stare back for what could have been years or even a nanosecond. It finally spoke. It spoke with a tongue that was not a tongue. My brain reeled in what seemed to be an interminable torrent of abominable syllables and eldritch diction.
The beast finally ceased its wretched monologue as if awaiting a response. I gathered myself once more and looked up, urine and vomit staining my trousers and shirt, tears cascading from my eyes. I was trembling, as the being towered over me at universal height, gazing at me with no eyes. I could only ask a single question.
“Where am I?”
The creature was silent. It seemed to be examining me with morbid curiosity. Then, it did what I wished it never had. It reached out with one of its endless, dimensionless, clawed hands, and touched my forehead.
An image began to flash through my mind, there was no start nor end to the influx of knowledge I received. I simply knew. Before me was a universe. Not ours. But one that was inconceivably chaotic. There was no void, but there was no matter. This primordial soup of reality writhed and undulated as if begging to be made real with some primal craving. Then, I saw the creature. It was not really there or anywhere, there was no “where.” It reached out with its innumerable hands and grasped the nonstructural ooze of undefined stuff. The substance seemed to bend and stretch and flash and distort and vibrate all at once into an amalgam of valueless concepts, yet it did not react as it should, it simply spasmed into a semblance of what I inferred to be reality. Senses began to flood my being as the segment grew and transformed. I recognized concepts both abstract and concrete each feeling sickeningly more irrelevant than the last. Light, the scent of cheese, the feel of splintered wood, entropy, conscious, life, death, science, law, and meaning. I think I prayed.
The vision concluded and I was once again staring at the cube-headed beast. No time seemed to have passed. My heart was beating too fast like a drum beat on fast forward. It did not hurt. I knew what this thing was now, and with its limb still raised, it seemed to point downward, and following its extended, needle-like finger I was stunned by the sight. Below us lay an endless expanse of universe, bright and majestic. I suddenly knew where the light was coming from. It was beautiful, and peaceful with its galaxies and stars scattered about like a beautiful painting.
I looked back up at the creature and saw it was now motioning upward. I obeyed and saw a now familiar horror, the chaotic mass. Squirming, and reaching gluttonously at the cosmos below, it was looming above. It was not far away. Looking at the “horizon” it seemed to be touching and meeting with the galaxies at impossible and broken spaces. I quivered, went limp, and hovered almost lifelessly in the nonexistent gravity. My mind throbbed in unforgettable agony as it tried to understand the spectacle before me. However, I understood and blacked out.
I awoke to the sound of chirping birds and trees rustling. I was still walking. I stopped. Was that a daydream? The thought almost angered me. How could such a repulsive event be a simple fantasy? Even so, almost involuntarily, my thoughts were content with the answer. I was simply dozing off as I went along my peaceful commute as usual. That’s all.
I began to walk again, and noticed something embarrassingly off. My work pants were still soiled. Upon further inspection, I found that my shirt was covered in regurgitation and my mouth was filled with the stifling tang of bile. I began to shake in realization as I discerned an unfamiliar and unrecognizable noise behind me. I slowly turned to face the ghastly sound. There, not two yards away, like a crag in the air, was the creature. It was imploding out of sight. Through the hole it created I could see its work, endless, toiling hands with infinite spindly fingers working in unreasonable motions to edit the previously unseen, unruly space. It impassively faded out of existence, correcting the oversight and was gone.
I ran. I ran with a primal fear that I had never felt in all my years. All the while, trying to force the memory of the revelation out of my mind. I ran home, though nowhere felt like home any longer, and nothing has since. Home is a construct. Now, a meaningless one.
I have not left the house since.
Dear reader, dear blissfully ignorant reader, please, beware of what is unseen. Your eyes are the portals It works through. Your conscious is the thread and It is the needle. I have seen the apocalypse, the lifting of the vale, and it makes me despair.
I cannot live in this world any longer. I have seen too much. Everything is nothing, nothing is all, and all is lost to me. I do not know if I will escape by death, but I must try. Value your ignorance reader, for it is what allows you to maintain your value. Goodbye and good luck.