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20130908

> Dan in Plureality 2


“His behaviour at that point,” Dr. James says, “is clearly rooted in a very basic dualism: science vs magic. For some reason he's undergone an epistemological crisis and chosen fantasy over reality.” 

Dr. Hannah tilts her head. “Maybe... You may be right, superficially. I bet that he thought of it in the same way when it happened to him. But the addiction is already apparent before all of this ritual and spell-casting. He was already invoking Captain Picard, to use their terminology, although he didn't understand it as such. He was drawing power from the rational, philosophical, moral world.” She points to her copy of the files. “Look, he even stopped smoking during that period. Once it was spent, once he'd processed the charge, he went looking for his next hit in the occult.” 

Dr. James' brow furrows. “So it didn't star there.” 

Ms. Amita shifts in her seat. “Daniel, I think it might be helpful for you to tell us about the year that you turned eighteen.”

*


For weeks I've found it harder and harder to think straight. My thoughts and emotions are in constant chaotic flux. I stay up all night, skip classes. All the drawings I've been doing, more than usual, have been of these twisted figures, anguished and tortured. In one of them I'm standing in the suit I wear at work – I sell men's clothing part-time after school – and dark, firery monsters pull at one side of me while airy, shining beings pull at the other. I keep noticing three crows on the walk home from school. I start to think that they're watching me. 

I write a story where a girl inducts a thinly-veiled version of me into a secret society. I have a crush on a girl but she's interested in another guy. At night, walking home from work, I often stop in a park thick with trees and call out to faeries, hoping they'll show themselves to me, and take me away.

My friends and classmates and teachers begin to notice my behaviour. Some of them ask if I'm alright, most find it eccentric and performative. After I see Jacob's Ladder at the local rep cinema I'm barely coherent for a week. 

Laying in the bathtub for hours, wandering around downtown, laying in bed, I imagine being visited by three people who teach me secret knowledge. They're in league with the crows. I know that I'm just making these things up but I can't stop. I can't stop making connections between random events, can't stop seeing people as incarnations of archetypal forces, can't stop feeling fucked up. 

One night I'm out by myself for coffee. I have a moment of clarity where I realize that there is no way that these mysterious teachers can be real, no way that they are ever really going to come for me - I guess that I thought they somehow were. But I can't have imagined exactly the course of events that will happen. Then I start to imagine that they are at home and that they suddenly become aware that I have psychically predicted their surveillance of me. I feel very anxious and leave the restaurant. As I walk home I imagine them getting ready, getting into their car, driving to intercept me. 

When I walk up my street there is a car parked in front of my house. I don't recognize it as belonging to any of the neighbours. Two people are in the front seat making out, so I can't see their faces. The third one could be hiding in the back. Feeling strangely calm, I hurry inside. 

Over the next few weeks I start to feel that the connections I'm seeing between things are fascinating. That the deep, mythical structures behind the behaviours of everyone I meet are exciting. That maybe the secret knowledge is true. And that maybe the real world is just as cool as a comic book.

***