A few years ago, a human commenced a journey of recovery. On the way, hurdles and obstacles continued to hinder the progress of said human. Nonetheless, the human persevered along the way.
Having learned from past mistakes, this human chose not to befriend demons but instead to slaughter them. This part of the adventure resulted in the human overreaching and causing collateral damage along the way. Although many demons were slaughtered, among the collateral lay the souls of many innocent beings who simply reached out at the wrong time.
Ah, a new lesson taught. The human ventured on the sequential part of the story and was inevitably faced with a Greater Demon. This one almost sucked the life out of the human – literally and figuratively. The human took weeks to recover from the injuries of this battle, hoping that there was not as much unnecessary damage this time.
This battle was, too, ended with the victory of the human. Although this Greater Demon was much larger and stronger than in the past, the human, too, was equipped with weapons much grander and more efficient than in younger years.
Weeks after the war, the human awoke one morning and decided to take a short sabbatical from demon hunting. It was time to make a friend.
Back to humanity, the living soul put on its human suit and faced demons of the world.
Unfortunately, these ones bore the bodies of humans.
It was hard to make friends when they were disguised as humans; it was hard to discern which humans weren’t demons.
“How would we ever learn…?” muttered said human, crawling back to its cave and under the blankets, feeling safe.
“Writer’s Block…” he played victim, blaming state-of-mind.
She feigned ignorance, trying hard to empathize. “What’s that?” she responded with a question.
“When a writer is blocked and can’t think of ideas,” he didn’t pick up on her sarcasm.
“What’s it like to be blocked for ideas?” This was not rhetorical.
As a writer, Olivia had never found it hard to come up with ideas to write about; whether those ideas are well-received is another matter altogether. However, the sheer simplicity of generating an idea has never been an impossibility for her, so as much as she had wanted to relate, Olivia was nonetheless faced with inability to truly understand Oliver’s struggle.
In the minute it had taken Oliver to express himself, Olivia’s mind had elicited about five realizations. One, it was that she took herself for granted far too often. Two, it was gratitude of not being plagued with Oliver’s brand of “struggle”. Three, she felt bad for her friend, who could not seem to overcome a mental block. Four, she thanked her younger self for the discipline that had been instilled in her life as well as her writing. Last but not least, it was in this small moment that she realized the true power in self-commitment.
After years of exploring the Black Hole, I returned to humanity.
I tried to speak of this experience with humans, but not everyone was as open-minded. Of course, there were some who took an interest and enjoyed hearing of my travel journeys. Those were able to live vicariously through my shared experience. But then there were the sceptics, the ones who thought I was speaking gibberish and manipulating people for the sake of attention.
I wasn’t, but I can understand why they’d felt that way. After the Black Hole, I actually understood much of what I didn’t even realize I had yet to know.
See, though the Black Hole was filled with a great deal of what people call “nothingness”, it was only in the surrender of ego did I finally see everything within the nothing.
In becoming so detached and removed from humanity, I finally grasped the essential elements that drive them in such a manner.
My distance showed me that humans are simple creatures with complex insecurities. Simple in that they are hedonistic, utilitarian, narcissistic, and competitive. They capable of anger but also joy, strength as well as weakness. They love as deeply as they hate, they rest as much as they work. Humans are simple in that they are multifaceted beings striving to become one.
But humans are also complex in that they often have displaced emotions. They project insecurities in inappropriate manners at the wrong moment due to egocentric defense mechanisms. They are far more often controlled by ego rather than truth. Driven by image over honesty. Humans portray weaknesses as strengths and are offended when shown the same image from another angle.
Returning to humanity, I had to uproot examples within the human world in order to portray a realization to which I came within the Black Hole.
It is that one simple way to test the complexity of a human ego is to take one out of its comfort zone and see how it responds to change. See, the ego, combined with personal experience, is what determines how adaptable a person can be.
Prominent examples can be seen in the following areas within today’s humanity: racist arrogance (feels uncomfortable around people of different color), xenophobia (inability to communicate with those who speak other languages), gender bias (expects to be served by the opposite gender), religious intolerance (quick to disagree with any terminology pertaining to other beliefs), ageism (judgemental of people from other generations).
Having been hiding in the Black Hole for so long, I’d become so outdated as to what had been going on in the physical world. Much as I had obtained a theoretical understanding of the human ego before my journey’d commenced, it was not until I became void of my own did I see clearly the prominence of it within humanity.
…And with that newfound knowledge, as promised, I shared it with the world.
Not for the fame, not for the glory, but simply because I was curious and am now excited about the discovery.
Sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the adventure written in these three parts. It has been a delight journeying with you.
May you, too, reach a sense of enlightenment, acceptance, understanding, and peace from within. May you learn to exist on your own without relying on the ego.
I kept that promise — except… I did it metaphorically. No, I did not join NASA and fly to the physical Black Hole on which Einstein and Hawking both have astounding theories. Nay, I traveled to a metaphorical Black Hole and was sucked into a world that I never would have thought existed. A parallel universe on earth, so to speak, where time-zones collided with human measurements of time. Where humans behaved much like the depictions of demons I had read about in literature. Where all that I knew of the world had crumbled into a pile of what I now realize was a childish idealisation of humanity.
I went to the Black Hole — if anything, simply because I was curious. At that age, it was never about the glory or fame. It was never about the money or the risk. It was about the innocent curiosity of wanting to know what lay ahead.
Of discovering a secret that the world hadn’t.
Yes, it was an egocentric drive, but one with a positive outlet that drove me to do crazy, unheard of things that I can now understand experientially rather than limited to vocabulary. It was the push I’d needed at the time, incidentally, the one that pulled me so far away from my ego and into a universe without a self.
In this universe, my shell was invisible; the egocentric shell, the human cloak which I wear to shield myself from vermin, was not brought into this place.
It was disconcerting. I felt disoriented and “not my-self” because essentially, I was not my “self”, I was just… me. I floated around the universe as an unnoticed observer who tried to make its presence known by way of habitual behaviour derived from the egotistic persona. None of my actions were familiar, and yet they did not feel wrong at the same time.
I felt myself changing in this universe. Am I growing or am I stagnating? Am I moving forwards in the wrong direction or walking backwards in the right one? Am I floating or am I flying? Am I drifting or am I surrendering my power? Am I strong or am I weak?
These questions I’d pondered left-right-and-centre until years later, I reached a final conclusion.
Do those answers actually matter, or am I just distracting myself from escaping this void I’d been so curious to explore?
It was right at that moment a pathway magically appeared. A dark spot had appeared in the Black Hole (which was filled with a surprising amount of light, so much that you couldn’t actually see anything. You know that feeling of total darkness? Well imagine total brightness, it ain’t that pretty either.) But that darkness meant a way out, a way back into humanity.
A way back to me…
The answer to the question was actually quite simple: the answer doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with the knowledge that counts.
Though anyone could’ve told me that in a second, the pathway only appeared because I had reached something they call acceptance. I had to accept simplicity and deny mediocrity.
After years of exploring the Black Hole, I returned to humanity.
I tried to speak of this experience with others, but…
It’s hard to just “be you”
When you have an above average IQ
And an array of unexplored worldviews.
We all have thoughts, we just think about different things. We all have ideas, we just want to achieve different results. We all have routines, we just want to be comfortable in the world we create for ourselves.
But there are thoughts I have and don’t verbally express because writing is my language and speaking is just a habit.
These are thoughts many people call “reactions”. In my head, I can think of countless sarcastic or logical comebacks that could easily put people in their places, but when the moments strike and conflict arises, I have learned to take the path of least resistance. Yes, it is true that once upon a younger year I was a more aggressive, more impulsive, and more abrasive version of me.
Much like any human who has ever come to terms with human nature, I, too, have had a fair share of mishaps. I have been narcissistic, arrogant, prideful, greedy, selfish, dishonest, undisciplined. I have been unnecessarily aggressive with those I’ve valued, undeniably obsessive over my own ego. I have been to many places that most people still avoid, and I have seen things most people would call fiction.
This was part of my journey, my past. It is an area of self that has taken a long time to let go of — as do most issues pertaining to the human ego.
I have been down a path most people (statistically as well as knowledgeably speaking) don’t return from, but here I am to tell the tale. Now, sitting here writing this, I am brought back to a statement I made at the age of nine, when I once dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I told people “When I become an astronaut, I will make it my mission to go down the Black Hole and make sure that I come back and tell the world of what’s really there.”
“Oh my god, did you read about the winner-chill on the innernet?” one of the girls shrieked. “It’s like the biggest one of the error. Apparently the chill is even hitting eye-rack this year!”
Winner-chill? Innernet? I felt like they were speaking another language.
What was a winner-chill? Honestly, I thought it was when someone wins a victory and then gets to chill afterwards.
And innernet, as if there was an unconscious net on the inside of us, catching our thoughts and dreams.
Biggest of the error…eye-rack…alright, they’d lost me there. Lost as I felt, I kept listening to the conversation, hoping to pick up more clues as to what they were on about.
After about ten minutes of back and forth, I finally understood they were speaking about the cold spell that they’d read about online. It was one of the coldest of the century; even some generally hot countries in the Middle East were having an unusual temperature shock!
Winner-chill… winter chill. Right.
Innernet… internet. Oh goodness, I had a lot to learn.
Error was apparently “era”, and an eye-rack was not, in fact, a rack where people placed their eyes. It was a country, Iraq.
I felt so dumb.
For me, the English I’d learned was either through reading or watching legitimate news channels. You know, those channels where people sound “pretentious” just because they communicate to be understood. They don’t speak just for the sake of expression, rather their words have meaning.
In this situation, the language my schoolmates spoke was known as “common tongue”, a form of syntax and pronunciation that met the bare minimum requirement for English verbal communication.
At the time, I had not yet been educated in the use of this language, having come from a background where the English I’d learned at school was a watered-down version taught by teachers who’d studied it as a second (or even third) language.
At home, I came from a family of high-achieving academics who refused to “dumb-down” their vocabulary. I had no choice but to raise my standards lest I be sorely misunderstood by those in my physical vicinity.
At that age, my written expression had far outpaced my verbal ability to articulate. I would write about advanced phenomena that my conscious mind didn’t even comprehend, yet my mouth could not accurately convey what I knew I wanted to say.
Finally, by the age of twenty-five, a linguistically-gifted friend observed an interesting occurrence within my syntax: all my life, I had been speaking “translated English”. Every word I wrote mirrored the language used in textbooks translated from European languages, and those I spoke actually made more sense when reworded in another language.
It had taken me twenty-five years to realize why I’d spent my life misunderstood and displaced…
Language is like art, or music. Just because the creator (or speaker) knows the meaning behind what is portrayed does not necessarily mean that those on the receiving end can digest it.
You might like your drawing, or your symphony, but to someone else, that drawing might be a scribble; that symphony may be a cacophony.
Why limit ourselves to expression when we can work towards communication? If we are misunderstood, chances are, we’re using a different language.
Dialogue goes both ways, not just one speaking a “foreign language” and expecting to be taken seriously.
Learn more languages (or improve your English), you’ll find better ways to be understood.