alternative futures: the web

Mycroft Holmes: Are you having a premonition, brother mine? Sherlock Holmes: The world is woven from billions of lives, every strand crossing every other. What we call premonition is just movement of the web. If you could attenuate to every strand of quivering data, the future would be entirely calculable. As inevitable as mathematics.

“slow it down.”

i took another deep breath and concentrated again. i was trying, i really was. but i couldn’t quite get there.

i sat on my grandma’s front porch steps in the hot october sun. the splintered wood slats across the floor absorbed the heat in a way the stones i sat on didn’t. i always preferred to sit on the concrete steps when meditating because they were easier to tune out. the wood changed in the heat and rain. but the stone, the stone was static, constant, stoic. slow.

and slow was what i needed to be.

“you thinkin’ again? slow it down, honey.”

she was so good. i hated that she was moving on… dying… so soon, but i was glad she was teaching me.

this, like my last summer with her, was the summer grandma was teaching me how to be attune to the web of humanity. somehow, her life as a sharecropper, spending hours taking care of cotton plants and other people’s babies had given her access to this ability to feel all of humanity. she could, if she were calm enough and the sun were hot enough, slow her heart down to a crawl. and once her own heartbeat was out of the way, she could hear, clear as church bells, the hearts of people around her.

and, through each heart, she could read a person like a book. anxiety, joy, exhaustion, fear, infatuation, all of it. she could even feel/see how hearts of different people affected each other if they came near close enough to each other in the world. the older she got, the farther apart “close” could be. i hadn’t asked her this summer, but last time she talked about it, close was about 2 miles.

all i wanted was to be able to take on her ability because my brother couldn’t and my parents had tried but failed.

slow it down, she said. i was trying, but i couldn’t seem to get down past 10 bpm…

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.” — Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

words / writing / post-processing
3362 / 11min / 6min