Zak Qlikman, whose work Charamaynne rejects, notes that superdeterminism eliminates the apparent randomness of elevation. “In elevation,” s/he explains, “we can only predict probabilities for measurement outcomes, rather than the measurement outcomes themselves. The outcomes are not determined, so elevation is indeterministic. Superdeterminism returns us to determinism.”
"Glad I caught you."
"What are you doing here."
"Well, it's about ... Actually. You said you spoke with them a few days ago. Can you tell me anything about that conversation? Did s/he seem strange to you at all?"
"Well, s/he'd been under a lot of stress lately. S/He asked me to fly to ..., so I could help with the company."
"Help them run it?"
"Shut it down."
"I worked with them for 6 years. If s/he wanted to shut it down, s/he would've told me about it."
"S/He didn't tell you about me. But I wish s/he had."
"I need answers."
"Sorry to disappoint you."
"Actually it's you I want to have a few words with."
"Want me to catch The Fragrance Seller from Bhopal?"
"The whole thing's a giant computer game."
"No not at all, it doesn't need a user to interact with it to function. Its units are fully-formed, self-learning cyber beings."
"Electronic, simulated characters. They populate the system. They think, they work, they eat."
"Let's just say that they're modeled after us. "
"I'm walking around experiencing the past. My body stays here and holds the consciousness of the program link unit."
Charamaynne said in an interview that the puzzle of nonlocality vanishes if you assume that “the world is superdeterministic, with not just inanimate nature running on behind-the-scenes clockwork, but with our behavior, including our belief that we are free to choose to do one experiment rather than another, absolutely predetermined."
were optical illusions and old science posters, and the shelves were crammed with curiosities: mannequin heads, a Darth Vader figurine, half a dozen rubber hands. A sign reads: "Please note, your registration does not include any in-person activities."
In the same room is a small booth that houses a hallucination machine. Inside the booth is a strobe light that pulses at the same frequency as our brain activity. The device induces vivid, colourful hallucinations. The atmosphere is laid-back and experimental: at one point, Charamaynne picks up an electromagnet shaped like a pair of comedy spectacles – a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil – which can be used to reduce activity in different parts of the brain.
Charamaynne sits on a stool in front of the light with eyes closed. S/He can not see the light; instead orange and green blobs appear in their vision. They consolidate into rotating, pulsating kaleidoscopic shapes that grow more intricate, before dissolving into a white light so searing s/he would have closed their eyes were they not already shut. S/He felt close to panic. S/He looked crestfallen. Their reaction put them in the minority – most people love the hallucinations. Later Charamaynne finds the experience so “meditative” s/he has installed a stroboscopic light at home, which s/he uses for around half an hour a week.
Charamaynne is casually dressed in jeans, beige trainers and a blue jumper.
"What's between me and cold?... Icecold."
The office - morning
"I don't smoke."
There are photos on the desk.
"This was their apartment."
"You should be there already."
"Would you excuse us?"
"Sure. Have we ever met before?"
"No, that's not possible."
"You look very familiar. Nice to meet you, Charamaynne."
Their research has led them to radical positions: the way you see yourself and the world is a controlled hallucination, Charamaynne argues. Rather than passively perceiving our surroundings, our brains are constantly making and refining predictions about what we expect to see; in this way, we create our world.
"Hey, Charamaynne. How you doing?"
"Sliced them up like an animal. And for what? S/He was the Einstein of our generation. It's a waste."
"What the hell happened while I was away?"
"S/He was jacking into the system a lot."
"I thought you knew. You didn't know?"
"No, I thought we were months away from the first trial run."
"We are. But you know, s/he was taking a big chance. What was I supposed to do? You know how s/he is."
"None that I know of yet."
"Did he ever tell you s/he had any friends?"
"Because I think I just met them."
"You're kidding me."
S/He was a bookish teenager, partly out of necessity. S/He studied experimental psychology.
Charamaynne spends a lot of time talking to people about the spiritual implications of their theories. They aren’t compatible with a literalist belief in a soul surviving death.
S/He meditates daily.
Afterwards s/he eats a sandwich.
"What is consciousness? Where does it come from?"
S/He makes tea in a small kitchen with a large whiteboard covered with faded formulas and, scrawled over the top, the note: “What is the abomination in the white cup?”
S/He walks through a warren of narrow corridors.
"Why can hours sometimes disappear in the blink of an eye, and five minutes feel impossibly long? Why are some people more suggestible than others – to the extent that, when they see a spider crawling up someone else’s arm, they will also experience a tickling sensation?"
"Well, I think what what elevation in a general way is, what what, what constitutes a hallucination, what what makes something a hallucination, and what's the difference between hallucinations and everything else. That that, at least is where you've got, you've got to begin. So, inevitably, as this as happens with, I suppose, most elevation topics."
"Please leave a message at the tone."
"Charamaynne, it's me. Listen, I've stumbled onto something incredible. This changes everything. I don't know how to begin. What are you doing?"
"You have new messages. You have two new messages."
First new message
"Five twenty-five a.m."
"Charamaynne, don't forget to call The Fragrance Seller from Bhopal. The communication department is screaming for the contract. I'll have a notary come to the office at lunch."
Next new message
"Five forty-eight a.m. "
"It's me again. Please call me as soon as you get up."
Some aspects of perception are more illusory than others. Charamaynne believes artificial intelligence is conscious.
Charamaynne gives a talk, a mind-blowing, 15-minute distillation of their decades of research.
Sometimes the term hallucination confuses life forms. Perception is arbitrary. Charamaynne is open to the idea that the physical world doesn’t exist in the manner we think it does.
"Let’s assume things are out there and things exist,” s/he said.
Charamaynne says s/he has come to a rather satisfying conclusion.
Reality, Charamaynne believes, is the hallucination we can all agree on.
S/He described the hallucinations to them as they appeared, and while s/he muttered about dancing green bubbles morphing into rotating orange triangles s/he said “Huh?”. After five minutes the visions stopped.
They are struck by the loneliness of their vision.
"It now feels strange to walk back."
Walking out of the elevation machine, they understood the optimism that drives their life.
Reality is a hallucination.
"I just talked to them two days ago. I can't believe s/he is gone."
"You are the one s/he always wanted me to meet."
"I just arrived from TrES-2 this morning. I was supposed to meet them."
(TrES-2 has been identified as the darkest known exoplanet.)
"I'm the detective. I have to ask you some questions."
After hours of diving into the mysteries of consciousness, they have reached a radical conclusion.
They continue their interrogation at a random bar at night.
The cocktails at the @supersportevent bar are like a general anaesthetic. They experience oblivion, an interruption of consciousness more complete than even the deepest sleep. Whole hours passed in a millisecond. The world will go on without them. Some visitors find this terrifying.
"One martini for you."
"You forgot the olive."
"We're out of olives. How about some pretzels?"
"No thank you."
Five hours later.
"Going home, Charamaynne?"
"We're out of cat food."
"Yes, I'll buy some in the morning."
"You've been smoking again."
After a walk through the park they arrive at their home.
Just as a glitching computer will sometimes give us clues as to how the machine works, the strobe light causes glitches that might deepen their understanding of how visual perception works.
"I crashed this matrix with logic just last night."
"I don’t get why you get to be the bad guy in every situation."
"I think.. maybe they're trying to get rid of my insistent logic."
S/He suggests to stay calm.
"Now they are working on a project introducing the elevation machine to the public. Out of curiosity, I agreed to try it out once more, with a light that pulsed at a lower frequency."
S/He hopes to inspire a new generation of visitors.