flash fiction
January 10, 2021

Riding the atom

I advice you not to embark on this trip.

The thing they don’t tell you about gliding down to subatomic particle level is that going down if fun, but the coming back up is a hell of a bumpy ride.

The glide down is all nice and easy. First thing to go is your ego. While you enjoy the slow disintegration of your psyche you forget all about yourself. The voices inside your head quiet down for once, and all there is left is perception, sensations, and quietness.

The next thing that goes is your body. Slowly, gradually you stop feeling your toes, your arms, your legs, your fingers, your face. All sensations melt away and your body dissolves into the air. Your essence is reduced to concentrated, pure consciousness.

All of that you might have experienced before, but next comes the fun part. Next comes the actual physical reduction to the sub-molecular level. You don’t even feel your body shrink because your sense of touch is gone, and so is your sense of spacial awareness. You still have a body, of course, but you’ve lost the experience of physicality.

Something bizarre happens when you are reduced even more. At the atomic level light travels in funny ways. What you see stops making sense in the way it used to. It’s all still there. Somehow you can tell that you are still in the same room you were moments ago, but it all looks different. Shapes are distorted, stretched beyond recognition, and colors don’t make sense as they used to.

Finally, the thing everybody loves most happens.

The shapes.

As the last remnants of the world fade away, the shapes start appearing. It’s impossible to describe them. Even those who’s seen them can find the words to do it.

What I can tell you is that the shapes are real. They are not an hallucination as they’d want you to believe.

I know that they say that photons are not really hitting the back of your eyes anymore. They say all you see is the impression on your retina of elementary particles following random brownian motion. But–and here is the thing, right?–those subatomic particles are part of the space you inhabit. They exist. They are real.

And so are the shapes real.

Anybody who has gone down to subatomic level will tell you it is all real, and it is a blast to experience.

But then, the ride up comes and that is hell. It is hell because the first thing that comes back to you is your ego. And your ego is too fragile and you definitely are not ready for this. You are not ready to see the insignificance of you in front of the immensity of the cosmos.

A cosmos that’s full to the brim with meaning.

A cosmos to which you are less than nothing.

So your ego shatters into a million pieces. Each one crying in pain.

And that’s just the beginning, because next you start the ascent through the layers of reality, and each one of them brings another agony. Another realization and another form of suffering.

When you open up your eyes again you are short of breath. You are dizzy, you are sweating, and you are crying your eyes out.

As you start to absorb the reality around you, the couch you are sitting on, the room you are in, you immediately start thinking about what you just left behind.

How can you now live in this messy world, full of noise, dirt, imperfection, anxiety, fear, jealousy, ugliness…? How can you carry on living when you know perfection is everywhere and you are just not made for seeing it?

That’s why I advice you not to embark on this trip.

But, if you disregard my advice, then buckle up. Because what you’ve heard before and what I just told you is but the tip of the iceberg.

We are going deep.

January 10, 2021 · #ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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