Dark Souls


People in dreams are perceived in reverse order. When we are awake, we see a face, a body, a set of mannerisms, a manner of dress, and we recognize the familiar, and we put a name to the person. In dreams, I always hear a name first and the person billows out around the name like smoke out of a fire. I see them only as I look at them, their individual body parts hastily and incorrectly constructed from my imagination, at first too skinny, then too fat, constantly inconstant, but still surrounding that essential core idea of the person that I recognize. it is the same for places. Houses gain and lose rooms for convenience, meals change course, bridges become tunnels become roads become tracks.

This is the structure of dreams. They are a playground of symbols directly interacting, and ascribing visual characteristics to those symbols is always an afterthought, always a bit delayed by processing through the higher latency systems of the brain, always inaccurate, ultimately unimportant.

Games are built a bit like dreams, and perceived a bit like waking moments, but never feel as though they belong entirely to either. Games are a playground of symbols, abstractions constructed of numbers and descriptive data, which interact by methods arcane and pure: However, for the purpose of interacting with us, the players, the games wrap themselves in textures and polygons that look like worlds, fantastic and mundane, peaceful and violent, and we interact with them based on the shape they represent themselves as – regardless of what’s really lying underneath.

We get dropped into these symbol-worlds for no clear reason. Where did we come from? How do I exist? The question is passed down as inheritance from us to the characters we play. We are in media res and fighting for our lives. We are in town resupplying for our next grand adventure. The why isn’t important. Even if I don’t know why, if I keep going forward eventually I will… I will… what?

Dreams don’t have narrative structure. There isn’t a grand discovery except that which hides another grand mystery. Everything is static but constantly moving, an ocean of variform landscape. Is the world around me changing, or am I wandering again, unstuck in space? Is that a terribly bright moon or a dying sun? Nothing ever changes. Everything is changing.

Do you ever wonder if your existence in this moment is just part of someone’s extended metaphor?

I’m going to go forwards because that’s the way to go, and this way is forwards because it’s the way I’m going. The why isn’t important, what’s important is that if I stop I become just another rock, just part of the landscape, become one with the sea, and that is the end. I cannot allow myself to be stopped. I have to see my way through to the end – not because I believe the end will grant happiness, or relief, but because it is the end. A slide in a lock, clicking into place, certain as death. That is my role. That is our role.

This is the end. This is the beginning.


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