Sometimes I feel that I live inside a machine. A machine so big that my mind just can’t grasp it. A machine that has become my whole world. It surrounds me, always and everywhere, such a constant presence that I never really notice it. I don’t hear it because its throbbing is the background noise of my life. In fact, I have allowed its mechanisms to become the rules which govern my life. When I move, I move along its pathways. And when I stand still, it keeps moving, leaving me with the illusion that I’m being left behind.
So I start running to keep up with it. I enjoy the satisfaction of racing ahead of it sometimes but my lead doesn’t last too long. Because the nature of the machine is to change. And just when I think I’ve mastered its mechanisms, they reassemble themselves in a different arrangement, in a different place. It is just living up to its nature, oblivious of me. But there I go racing anyway, thinking I’ve been left behind again.
Then one day a miracle happens. Maybe the stars align. Maybe a new circuit in the brain lights up. Or maybe determination and stillness just come together in a lucky accident. Suddenly, I am evicted out of the machine. There are no challenges to face, no people to win against and no progress to be made. Not even any situations to improve or worthy causes to pursue. Slowly, the focus on the outside subsides and the mind turns inwards.
I pursue desultory internal conversations for as long as I want. When they run out, I idly watch the water in an open drain reflect the noonday sun and I feel the cold creep up my skin in the evening. Soon, I am past the outer thoughts and peering into the dimmer recesses of my mind. All blackness and nothing to see until, slowly, a faint shape is just about discernible. Then another and another, all meshing together in what seems to be a complex system of movement.
And then, recognition dawns – this is the same machine I’ve just unplugged from. But if the machine that is outside in the world is actually inside my mind, then does that mean I can never escape it?