#41 change is gonna come

I know it’s technically not Sunday anymore, but I am putting together this exhibition for all of you, which is why I lost track of time a bit. Forgive me.

Let’s face it. I could try and describe all the awesome gadgets and gimmicks that I’ve seen in the future, but that would just be a list of things you could see in any science fiction flick that’s out there right now.
The trend of tech from an imagined future becoming reality won’t stop with the tricoder that became the cellphone. The attitude we decide to propose to the world will shape it , so in that sense, the future isn’t a foreign country, it’s a variation of a theme.

However, if this was the only thing leading the shape of time, we wouldn’t last all that long. I can recite a list of doomsday tales, from ancient texts to modern narratives, whichhave become so much more prevalent in recent decades. They are so prevalent, in fact, that it seems hard for a contemporary person to begin to imagine a progression that isn’t headed to the inevitable abyss of some sort of apocalypse without being seen as naive.

Do we secretly all want to get it over with? Has existential angst and fear of the unknown convinced us deep down that we don’t deserve to continue as a species, that we might as well go out with a bang?

This useless speculation on my part is a prelude to the great ‘still’ of a world seemingly burning up in a slow cooker.
Still, we will prevail. Technological marvels and medical wonders aside, the most incredible thing about the future isn’t what it has produced, but how the people have changed.

By growing up in a system that prioritizes humans and community over wealth and power accumulation, the highest virtues have become empathy and kindness.

Materialistic ownership is not a goal anymore, but a burden, a responsibility not to be taken on lightly .

The future fulfilled Mühsam’s dream and survived because of it, not despite it. A humanity united by compassion has used their combined force to tackle the screwed up environmental, economic and violence filled disaster they inherited from us.

Yeah, I know, it sounds like a pipe dream.

219 days of it have saved my sanity, to be quite honest. During the first few weeks I was distressed, disoriented, scared. But Salma, or Nana, as Rielle referres to her, found me and guided me get used to my situation. My mental health wasn’t in the greatest condition, to put it lightly. Thankfully Salma noticed that something was up and got me an appointment at… well some sort of medical center. The thing that has dominated my whole life, the imbalance of manic depression, cured in less than a day. You know how people are excited about laser eye therapy because they can suddenly see without glasses? Imagine that, but with emotions. I told you: medical miracles.

Dear Rielle,

This will be my last post, as I feel that I’ve said what I wanted to say, and until we find a way to make time travel safe enough, you and I will have to stay in our own time.
Sid is already working on new ideas, mostly because Hanna has written us both and is very adamant about seeing you again. I can imagine you would feel the same way.

As for you, dear Internet,
You can still write me if you have questions, or just come by on Friday.
Hope to see you there,

Ben

#39 twohundrednineteen days

That’s how long I’ve been gone.

That’s how long my great granddaughter was here, in my place.

My dearest Rielle,

First let me apologize for the pain and hurt I have caused you. From what I read, I can tell you are a resilient, strong person and I am glad you did so well under the circumstances. However, it was never my intention to put you in this position in the first place, please believe me. Had it occurred to me that I was dragging someone else into my endeavors, I would have reconsidered! I hope you made it back as well as I did and can read these lines almost a century from now.

 

 

When I read your journal for the first time, I was slightly embarrassed to read my words in there. Very private, very convoluted. Even I didn’t intend to read them ever again after putting them on paper, let alone have them published. But be that as it may, I am the one responsible for the mess I put you in, I have no right to be upset with you. You did what you thought was right, and in the end it was what brought you in contact with Sid, so it was probably for the best.

I will tell you about all the things I encountered, but let me first recount my journey back: The instant I returned, it felt like something returned to me. Something I hadn’t even realized was missing, as if a hunger I had forgotten about was being stilled. The travel itself was much more peaceful than I remembered from the last time. Maybe it was because I was prepared for what I was getting into, maybe my body remembered it. In any case, because of this, it was easier to pay attention to small details I missed on the trip forward.

There are a few major differences; your body is surrounded by bright blue while traveling into the future, traveling back is accompanied by a dark red shine. It could have something to do with the Doppler effect. The metallic taste occurred both times, but while traveling back smells like dust, traveling forward smelled like a stormy ocean. What I really noticed was that all of the sensation stayed in the neurological phase. I can’t remember feeling my body or skin at all. That might be a protective reaction by the brain though, given that the body is inadvertently transforming in this process – basically being taken apart and put together again as a different person.

My cells don’t feel different at all, not like they were just part of my great grand daughter… I started the first journey in July 28 2018. I remember distinctly that there was a heavy thunderstorm crowding Berlin’s sky and I had this nostalgic association of Victor Frankenstein, supercharging his monster to life. It’s laughable, compared to the amount of energy it took to bring my monster to life, but a little romantic none the less. Also, in case things went wrong, I could always blame the weather.

I am joking of course. I was a nervous wreck, and if I had had an honest talk with Sid at the time, he would have advised me not to attempt an experiment like that, not in the condition I was in.

But we did all the footwork, all the calculations, tweaking the energy flow and the prism diversions, so a certain kind of get-there-istic pigheadedness kept pushing me forward. Still, with the frightening half burned, half frozen carrot still fresh in my memory, I began to calibrate early in the morning and was set at around 3 in the afternoon. Our calculations had estimated a survival rate of 83,1%, which isn’t too bad in pioneer terms. However, the statistic depended on a few variables, which were more of, let’s say, informed guess work. In the worst case, the chances could drop to below 17,4%. Sid and I were basing the whole idea on a multiverse variation. That’s how I would switch with a future version of myself, from a universe in which I did not choose to travel.

As you all know by now, that’s not how things worked out. I am not convinced the multiverse theory is wrong. However, in this version I traveled through a timeline where I did take the journey so the machine stayed vacant, preserved in my uninhabited studio, time capsuled by Sid’s finances, until my great granddaughter decided to investigate my disappearance and triggered the switch between me and her. I wonder what happened to me in the timelines where no one came to switch with me? But I don’t dare wonder for too long. The thought of being trapped mid-travel seems horrific.

The week back here has grounded me, but I still get light headed sometimes, remembering the future. I will get into further detail about the things I saw and found, but I’ll need a few more days to recover first and will write you next Sunday in the rhythm Rielle set.

In any case, I would like to invite whoever has been reading and helping my great granddaughter, to see what all the fuss is about. I am planning to set up some things in my studio to give you context and hopefully an impression of the time I traveled to. You are very welcome to visit.

 

See you soon,

Ben

 

 

 

See you soon,

Ben

#37 my own event horizon

Dear Internet,

It has been my pleasure conversing with you. Your continued interest and help has been my steady rock in the absurd situation I have found myself in. I will be forever grateful to you. You are the beginning of a change that is going to sweep across the planet. Be brave, be bold, be kind.

Dear Nana,

Who would have thought I could possibly build a machine, not to mention this one. But I did it and I am heading home to you soon. If all goes well we will be having tea and I’ll tell you about my adventures in a few hours.

Dear Ben,

I hope you are ready to get back to 2019. I’ve left you the credentials to this website as a means to contact me. I’ll look it up in 2107 (or is it 2108 now?). Even if I can’t meet you directly, at least you can tell me if you made it back alright. Write about your experiences, if you like. I’d love to hear all about it. Sid says he misses you and looks forward to have you back at the cottage.

Dear Hanna,

When you read this, I will already be gone. Through all the troubles and worries, I am still thankful I landed here, because I got to know you and I am better for it. You showed me that there always have been warriors for the future and my present owes you and your kind so much. I wish I could show you, I wish I could take you with me, but I can’t. Right now I am going through the checklist Sid sent me before configuring the machine. While I was set on leaving without saying goodbye, towe left me a comment and convinced me that it wouldn’t be right. I am not sure if this is better, I will never know. If you believe nothing else, believe this, if I had any way to stay with you, nothing could stop me from it.

I will think of you always.

r.

#35 strings attached

Dear Berlin,

Thank you for letting the sun return. Every day I walk to Ben’s studio, it’s shining on my spirit and on the street that’s suddenly full of people. Where did they hide all winter? Maybe they hibernated, who knows. You don’t know if this is usual weather, but in my time winter is much harsher until it gets cut off by a burning summer. Save for a week in March and maybe two in October, I’ve never experienced a climate this mild. Still, I spend day and night with the machine right now, calibrating, sending results to Sid, readjusting, resending. Yesterday we tried a first wire: a carrot. It disappeared for a few seconds and then it returned: looking like someone burned it on one end and froze it on the other. I got pretty nervous about that, but Sid assures me it’s a sign we are on a good path.

Work became overwhelming and I had to find an emotional outlet for all the Hanna feelings that are clouding my head, so I borrowed a friend’s guitar. I love how vintage it is, no binary converter, no augmented sonic system. It’s a refreshing change of pace from all the programming and machine building. I’m not any good, but I still wanted to share it with you.

Between chords and wires,

r.

#33 prisms, entangled

Dear Nana,

I really hope you have already found Ben, because the machine is almost finished and I’ll soon return to all of you if things work according to plan. We need to make sure he does whatever he did last time in order to switch places with me again. Sid has told me what to do so I can be ready when the machine is and so can Ben.

All of your collections look better in the sun light.

Dear Ben,

It occurred to me that should my plan work out, we won’t ever meet. You’ll be here, and I’ll return to 2107, To my time, my friends, my family. It’s a shame. I mean, in a way I feel like I already know you because I read so many of your notes and talked to Arjin and Sid. But that’s also why I would be so curious to meet you. I have so many questions, I wonder what it would be like to sit down with you and talk about art, like you talked about art with Arjin. Talk science with you like you talked science with Sid. I’d also be really interested to know how you’ve been doing in my time. Have you met Neel? Or Mosiva?

Have you visited Claude in Otaki? June must be somewhere around Sinus Aestuum right now, they are planting hemp in a biosphere there and she is researching the mutation capability under high exposure of interstellar radiation. I guess that would make her pretty hard to reach for you. It must be difficult to be living in the same time as your granddaughter and not be able to meet her in person. At least both of us are not in the same time, even though there is some kind of entanglement going on. We are about the same age, you and I. The time line that I come from is the one where you disappeared and never came back, which is the whole reason I went looking for your story. It’s the reason I found your place and the reason I triggered the machine. But what if you disappeared because you traveled to the future? Am I fulfilling a premise that was set up before I was born or changing a future that will happen once I get back?

I wish you could have met Taalea. She was June’s partner for 25 years and my bio mom. I am forever grateful for the love I was surrounded by growing up , even if it had to end with the tragedy of her death. When the hurricane hit, we didn’t even know she was in the area… Thinking of her is the only thing that makes me wish I was changing the future. It’s irrational, emotional and selfish and I do not care at all. But wishing it does not make it so and I guess I can be glad if I am lucky enough to not mess up the future too much.

In other news, the construction is going along quite well. Even though I don’t know enough about the programming required to engineer the power source into your hexagonal prism system, Hanna’s friends are very helpful in bringing my art project together. It still sucks to lie to them, but to my shame I must admit I’ve gotten pretty good at it by now. Your time has certainly taught me how to come up with a story on the spot…

By the way, I’ve been telling Arjin that you are visiting a friend in Russia, so she doesn’t worry too much. But let’s get you back so you can tell her , whatever you think you should tell her yourself. I’ve also been calming down your neighbors about the explosion. I told them it was a rave and that you are very sorry and it won’t happen again (well, I guess it will happen one more time). Oh, and I’ve been watering your plants. The ficus has been a little sad, but Hanna told me that’s normal in winter. It’s missing the sun like the rest of Berlin.

The machine I am building is your machine of course, but I think you will find that there are traces of me in it. I took a few pictures of its reflections. They are quite beautiful when the sun shines through the windows. All of your collections look better in the sunlight.

I should be able to finish things up within the next month and I really hope you will be ready for re-entanglement then…or is it now? I imagine it will be hard for you to say goodbye to the future, just like I am having a hard time letting go of this past, especially of Hanna of course. She knows something is up because I have been distancing myself to make things less shitty when I am gone. But she is smart, of course she is. Is this what you have been doing to Arjin? Because I am not sure it’s helping too much. Maybe I need a different approach? Distancing only seems to make her frustrated and both of us miserable. She wouldn’t believe the truth, so what else can I say?

In your ephemeral state you are a faceless benevolent being to me.

Dear Internet,

You read that right. Things are in the works, wheels are beginning to turn, I have a plan that is becoming a reality. Exciting, isn’t it? In your ephemeral state you are a faceless benevolent being to me, but of course all of you are individuals as well. Please keep me company these last few weeks as I prepare for the crazy journey back through the looking glass.

Packing my bags & canned peaches,

r.