Saturday, March 19, 2016

Experiences of a Stone: A Panpsychists First-Person Autobiographical Representation


This story is about the life and journey of a stone; an autobiographical imaginary first-person representation. It may seem nonsensical to many, but alas it is my opinion of what a stone could experience; it is an imagination which is exclusively based on my assertiveness. The text aims to instill a sense of existence of a source of energy, which interrelates with the non-living, just like it does with the living; a driver for all experiences when in physical and non-physical. If it generates interest, it may change one’s perspective of what it is to think like a panpsychist.

Key Words

First Person, Stone, Experience, Panpsychism, Existence

I am lying here on a dusty roadside, weak and fragile. I crumble with the gentle blowing of the wind; I feel the energy within me departing; death looms over me. My guardian always said to me, “when you get old and tired, you will break-down and blend with the ground you lie upon; for we are all born of the dust and so, we shall return to dust, but the energy shall prevail”. Currently, this is my state waiting in anticipation of my end; for the energy within is trying its level best to stay within me. I have faith in it; I have believed and still believe in it; for it has shown me my world. My energy has made me experience my surrounding; for that is why I am aware, that is why I may exist; for I have always acknowledged it. I have felt this energy disseminate within me, flow within me with full energy and power, but now the time has come for it to be released; for my physical body cannot handle it any longer. I have had a marvelous life, for which I have no qualms, for I have now accomplished my journey, to experience the non-physical. The countdown to my death originated when I was born; then, the energy was intense and strong and I was all eager to experience life.

I was born of someone who resembled me, whom until today, I consider my guardian; for that someone was the first I experienced, when I opened my eyes. I came into existence as a piece from its body. For my guardian always stood in front of me, be it night or day; it always looked at me with an endless smile. My texture resembled it; shiny, glistening dark black form with wavy patterns all over my body. I experienced the wind that kept blowing all over me, but I would never move. There were some others who lived around me, they looked somewhat similar to me but would roll from one place to another, while I never moved. Eventually they were the only friends I had, but since they were very small, they would often get blown away with no sign of return; I would end up making new friends. Inquisitive as I was, I had a lot of questions for my guardian, but remarkably every question was answered. Together we enjoyed the sunlight during the day; we admired the various cloud formations in the sky. The nights were fun too, as we stared at the starry sky with stories that went all through the night. We laughed and smiled every single day; for every day and night was a new and wonderful experience.

Then one day, I felt a feeling like none other; there was something falling down from the sky or rather it felt as if the sky had come down. My guardian told me that it was raining and assured me that there was nothing to worry about; for it will pass off soon; I was relieved. Without the sunlight, I felt cold and gloomy; I was all wet; I felt my texture changing. Countless drops of water fell from the sky; the experience was eerie but eventually I began enjoying it; all the mud had washed off from my body. This was the first ever time I got wet; an enjoyable experience in the presence of my guardian; we laughed and enjoyed the moment together.

It poured for many days and nights and the flow of water kept getting stronger. Then one day, I felt a push and I moved for the first time. It was the water; it was using all its force to push me; I knew that I could not hold for long and so I kept calling out to my guardian. In no time the water had rolled me over, I tumbled and was pushed away; I cried as I could hear my guardian scream and shout which eventually faded away as the water rolled me over. That was the last time I saw my guardian; my pillar of strength had gone. The water pushed and moved me to an unknown place; I was all alone, upset and sad; I cried, but there was no one to hear my cry, tears rolled down my cheeks for many days; I missed my guardian and its presence. Days went by, I saw summers and winters; monsoons were rare, but no one came my way. I had now become used to staying alone; all alone; I missed my guardian; I missed my friends.

One fine day, when I woke up I saw a pair of dark circular moving structures observing me; I was scared. Never had I ever seen something like this before; it was big, much bigger than my guardian. It hurled me towards the sky and as I moved up, I could barely see the ground and then all of a sudden I moved rapidly downwards and landed on something soft; it was definitely not the ground. I felt a rub on one of my sides, the feeling was warm and comforting; a feeling of gentleness; a feeling that I should not be scared. Whatever it was, it felt soft and gentle and when it rubbed me on my sides, the warmth came back. I wished that the warmth would continue, but in no time I was up again, moving towards the sky and rapidly falling back, this happened several times and it got me really dizzy. The experience of rising up and falling down was splendid, and made me realize that without support I will never ever rise up from the ground and that I needed some sort of physical force to make me rise; apparently the energy made this possible. I needed an explanation to this situation and I missed my guardian who had an answer to all my questions. I felt connected to this form; its energy gave me warmth and in fact I felt our energies merge at one point; the experience was splendid.

The experience of rising up in the sky was wonderful; the world from above looked beautiful. Every time I was flung up, I could feel myself touching the sky; the air felt pleasant; the sun shone bright on my face. Everything appeared to look smaller as I would rise up but the fall made me shiver. At that moment, I felt like just being up there; I wished not to be on the ground; I longed to be up in the air. I had nothing to fear as there was warmth and joy; everything seemed wonderful. I was confident that I would not fall directly to the ground, for I had something that was managing the force and then suddenly everything changed. I hurtled towards the ground; the force seemed uncontrollable and I hit the ground hard; where was my protector; I yelled in pain. As I hit the ground, I bobbed up again and rolled off; I felt disoriented. The next moment, I could not breathe; I was suffocating and moving downward; there was water all around me. I had never ever experienced so much water; the water felt cold; it felt as if it was penetrating me; I thought I was dead. With a sudden jerk, I opened my eyes; there was water all around; the water had percolated deep inside me; I was being tossed from one side to another; but something calmed me down, the feeling became nice and comforting. When I looked around, I saw many like me staring at me.

The water cleansed me and I could now see my coat again; the dust had been washed off. My body patterns looked fresh and shined in the sunlight; I was all fresh and I felt more comfortable. I never knew that I could survive under water; it was an experience to cherish. As time passed, I got used to the tossing and pitching; the force exerted by the water. I had a lot of friends besides me and they kept asking me where was I from and all I did was smiled and said “I don’t know”. Some were big and some were small, but occasionally the smaller ones got washed away, I was used to it by now. As days passed, the water started making me feel feathery; it felt as if my coat was being replaced every single day. My texture kept getting smoother by the day; I got a feeling of being smart and elegant. Occasionally, there were these moving forms which seemed to use their bodies in a different manner. Most of the time they would come close to me, examine me and rub against me. Some would even try to hide under me and sometimes stare right into my face. Their presence was warm and gladdening, but would get me wondering, as to why can’t I move like them?

This is when the thought about my existence struck me. How is it that I exist? What is it that drives my experience? Since there were no immediate answers to them, I would get back to enjoying these experiences; I was happy the way I was. Occasionally there were forms that would like to pick me up and move me and sometimes sit right on top of me. They had structures attached to their bodies which made them look creepy. When I had nothing to do, the thoughts of my existence would come back and trouble me. I would look at the stars in the night sky and I would question their existence; were they truly there or is it an illusion? I was aware of an energy flowing within me and would get excited whenever it felt strong and depressed when it felt weak. I was somehow aware of its presence and its ability to guide me, for at times when I felt weak there was a sudden feeling of a luring sensation within me; it actually felt as if the energy was being drawn from the exterior to the interior. Time went by and the energy levels within me started to drop, I could easily be tossed by the slightest ripple in the water; I knew I was growing old.

Life seemed good but the feeling of weakness persisted; the water kept trickling into my body; it always felt unusual. I started feeling flimsy and the tossing and turning increased; there was something happening to me. My health was diminishing and I only longed for someone or something to get me out of this place, I felt death approaching; I was aware that I was slowly dying. I would close my eyes and looked up to the sky; I would remember how I was born, wondering where my guardian would be. One day, I was suddenly picked up by a sharp form which carried me out of the water, right up to the sky, I felt myself rise up and everything below me kept getting smaller; it seemed that death was near. The experience of being in the air was always amazing, but the weakness made me less joyful; the water within me drained out, but somehow the weakness prevailed. Whatever carried me out of that place suddenly dropped me, I felt the air whiz over my body and in no time I hit the ground so hard, that I developed a crack right across my head. I cried in pain, but there was no one to hear my cry; fortunately I survived.

Yet again I was all alone; no friends; no forms; nothing. The dust kept blowing with the wind and gathered on me; the feeling was that of being dry and lonely; but I was also weak. In the day the heat of sun would consume me, while the cold nights would freeze me. As days passed, my body grew weak; it was the experience of getting old, weary and tired. The crack in my head grew bigger by the day; it is an experience of being ripped slowly and gently; I was aware, I was slowly crumbling. I am old now; I feel it within, for my body breaks off in crumbles to mix with the dust; my body splits into smaller bits that amalgamate with the ground. My energy is now trying to accommodate itself within this shrinking body and occasionally releases itself; this is my experience of dying, just as my guardian had predicted. The energy tries to fill me again, but in vain, for my body cannot accept more. My life would someday come to an end and that day would be when I would merge with the ground forever; my energy would then be released. The experience of being me was wonderful and it gave me the opportunity to see what exists around and to experience it but why I exist is still not answered.

I was born out of a form much bigger than me. It taught me how to be a part of existence; it taught me to see life till its fullest; how I miss those days spent with my guardian; for yet I know not why I came into this world. Years have gone by while trying to figure out the answer to this question, but now is the time to be a part of the ground. I was happy to be born and so I am happy to die. My experience shall prevail within the energy that drove my very existence; the energy that grew old with me, and that which has never left my side, since I first opened my eyes. I am aware that I shall exist beyond my body and the day I close my eyes, I shall be more than what I am, until then adios.

Dr. Contzen Pereira

Independent Scholar, Mumbai, India
 *Corresponding Author. Address: Nandadeep, 302, Tarun Bharat Soc, Chakala, Andheri (East), Mumbai 400 099, India. Tel: +919819642456, +912266750530