• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 09
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The infinite monkey theorem

Sand scattered. Simple gowns wafted and settled as the book of the month landed. Once it had been a sacred text learned by heart and entrusted to a few. Before “The Burning” it was used by the populace as a manual — a guidebook. Imagine, in those days everyone was expected to read. But that was prior to neonatal substrate implants and pre-dated even the planetary web-hub. This copy was bound and hand stitched by expert artisans, as similarly were their ancestors’ most prized women. But recent history had no anthropological record of any ancient barbarism. Since “The Times of Cleansing” such subjects were void, nameless and anonymous: erased. The lesson: that senseless ventures into knowledge fuel the vestiges of fear that harbour a social disregard, rather than tempting mystery and enticement. Faceless in their unity, past lives were shackled by limited technology, convention and obligation.

Everyone had a name but the name of this book stirred a flurry of excitement, a modicum of respect and nostalgia born from a bewildered hope. Each had been chosen, led with secrecy to participate. Chapter and verse, page by page, the reading group murmured, seated ceremoniously upon embroidered cushions in the dusk of the ochre desert. Only in manuscripts or encyclopaedias did they contemplate a world other than this, theirs a myopic sapience, heavy with heat, dust and metal.

The recital paused for the mantra, to unify the sanctity. A flow of words and the story continued where it had stopped. The yarn unravelled, revealing thickly opaque layers of meaning and references, a tongue that meant nothing. Despite these collective efforts, even the most revered gurus from this modern cybernetic world grappled with the words. Like the very book they held, their bodies were a map, a topology of science and secrets. Diodes and synaptic fluids fused in synthetic flesh and nanowire. Bygone futurologists would have been proud.


The infinite monkey theorem

Marieesha turned the page as the book passed into her possession. Attentively she fingered the markings. To think that this material had once been alive. Organic products were now only viewed in museums or bought by the Masters. Sighted yet blind in her ignorance she read as instructed. Her voice perfunctory, concealing her thoughts as her misunderstandings punctuated the permitted boundaries. Marieesha’s freedom was conditional, superficial, fake. But the knowledge of her limit was withheld. How does one discover a new terrain, or a divergent reality if the global vision is structured to condone its obscurity. The blind were leading the blind. But no one was gifted by sight any more. Eyes only looked.

As with the humanoids that preceded them, they struggled with the concept and essence of life and were perplexed by humanity. Obsessively they archived and collected memorabilia. Yet even for them the notion of life was simply a bafflement. Regret was not something that registered but somehow loss resonated. With great care, the book that purported to provide answers was replaced. Marieesha rose, hoping that one day the sash would fall.