Monday, 10 March 2008
The Experiment is really needy and is taking up more of my time than I thought it would. I have to give it food, shelter and of course I have to make sure that it’s entertained and learning, I don’t want the newly developed brain functions turning into mush. The Experiment has been unstoppably curious but it’s first questions were infuriatingly vague, for both of us.
Our first exchange began this morning with the Experiment staring intensely at the base of a tree trunk and then turning to look my way every so often, as if it was trying to compel me to look at the trunk as well. However, what I noticed was that it had barely seemed to have moved since I had first placed it in the garden - the Experiment that is, obviously the tree didn’t move far from its position.
Today came its initial questions but they weren’t fully formed and I suppose they weren’t technically questions either, more like feelings expressed, questioningly, as though it weren’t sure if it had the labels in the right order. I hadn’t taught it language, or body gestures so we were both trapped staring at the base of the tree trunk. I moved around to get a better look at the Experiment and then I noticed that where I thought it had been looking was immaterial, it was facing a particular direction but the view was of no importance it seemed because the Experiment was focusing attention on nothing in particular. Obviously I want to ensure that the Experiment will have free choice but it has no other companions and there is no precedent in learning how to exist - by it’s very nature the Experiment is the absolute first of its kind so I’m going to have to make a few, small, adjustments to my policy of non-intervention. I will, however, only intervene in order to teach, once the basics are set I’ll fully withdraw.
Back to the tree. The experiment was still staring and I accessed its mind to experience its perception of reality - which is a fancy way of saying that I did a John Malkovich and looked at the world from its perspective. It was hungry, it was feeling plenty of other things as well but hunger was the driving force. I stepped back outside the Experiment and gave it knowledge of ‘hungry’ and thus was its first word, “HUNGRY?” it said, like Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein’s monster. It kept repeating the word as though it were a question, inspecting the collection of noises that form it in order to discover its meaning. I gave the Experiment food to satisfy its hunger, after the first ten statements of its hunger the experiment stopped eating, but didn’t stop saying ‘HUNGRY’. This time I repeated the process of cranial invasion and by the early afternoon the Experiment could tell me when it was hungry, tired and thirsty.
After a few hours of silence and a short nap for the Experiment it awoke and began its demands again. “HUNGRY” it said, but I could tell that it wasn’t, however I gave it food, which it growled at. This development was exciting, I could see the frustration in every muscle. It tried again “THIRSTY”, and so I provided water, yet more growling and after implying it wanted more sleep it growled at the ground that had been its fist bed. It then became very animated, shifting weight from one foot to the other and saying “HUNGRY. THIRSTY. TIRED. HUNGRY, THIRSTY, TIRED. HUNGRY, THIRSTY, TIRED.” It must have done this five or so times before collapsing in a heap on the floor.
I did my John Malkovich impression again and I discovered what would be the Experiment’s first genuine question, I explained the word and its meaning and it tried again. The Experiment stood up and said “HUNGRY” and I gave it food, and then it happened, the Experiment asked me “HOW?” I answered it with words that conveyed the meaning directly to its understanding, “This happened because you asked and so I made this happen”. I could tell that the Experiment understood this but needed more, “HOW?”. I explained that I was able to create matter and form it into anything I chose and after one more “HOW” where the level of detail of the reply was approaching advanced physics the Experiment collapsed to the floor once more.
I studied the Experiment’s face and heard it whisper “How hungry?”, “How thirsty?” and then “How tired? How tired?” At that moment something flashed in its eyes, a spark of knowledge, discovered without help from me. It stood up and said “HOW TIRED?” and I answered back “Why am I tired?” conveying the meaning directly. And so the Experiment understood ‘why’, I also explained that lack of energy led to tiredness and this could be delayed by food but that it would always need some rest. After explaining the finer points of the benefits of sleep it touched its chest and asked again “WHY?” I asked it for clarification, “Why did I create you?” The Experiment stared back in my direction, “Sorry” I conveyed agreement and disagreement and the Experiment was able to answer my question “YES”. I looked at the Experiment’s eyes and told it “You were created so that you could…”
Unperceptible to the Experiment I stopped and thought, if I explained all of the truth about its creation - that it was here, as a part of me to experience all the world, with access to all my power, but with no knowledge of that potential power - to reveal that would undermine the whole point of this. And so, I continued and for the first time I denied the fullest truth to the Experiment, in preservation of its freedom to choose to know it was as powerful of me or not to choose this and exist as my Experiment.
“…choose. Anything that would like to choose will be given to you.” It nodded and began what felt like a little experiment of its own, with a more relaxed tone the experiment said “Hungry” and I provided food, the experiment ate the food and said “Thirsty” and so I gave it water to drink. The experiment tried again, “Hungry” I answered this statement “No.” I could see that the Experiment had wanted this outcome and was trying to conceal its pleasure and feigned indignation, “WHY?” I revealed my reasoning “You told me that you were hungry and I gave you enough food to satisfy the hunger, you told me that you were thirsty and I gave you enough water to satisfy the thirst. I will never give you more than you need, you were not hungry when you said that you were and you knew this, that is why you didn’t get more food.”
The Experiment was satisfied with the answer. I popped in and out of its head and came back to it with the meaning for ‘what’. The Experiment pointed at the grass, “What?” I gave it the name and its meaning. The Experiment pointed up this time and said “What?” I answered it “I have given this no name, you can name everything in this world around you.” And with this I gave it the label maker, the Experiment replied “Why?” and I told it, “This is your world, to me this is all a part of me.” I pointed at various objects and continued “This is me, this is me and that is me. YOU are me - there is nothing that I have created that I could not call ‘me’. But, I will use the names that you give, to make our understanding of each other easier.”
The Experiment took the label maker, said yes, and proceeded to spend the rest of what was left of the day naming everything that it could find. I left it to its own devices about an hour or so ago when it was lying down in the darkness running through the list of the names it had given to everything.