The Pulse: Paris
Whenever Martine thought of her father, tears welled up in her eyes — as they did now, proving to Kenneth that she couldn't possibly be making it up.
Intuition he could believe. But telepathy — how could that be part of the equation? Part of what equation?
Martine had told Kenneth wildly different versions of the story. The scenarios shifted this way and that, but one thing that didn’t change was Martine's conviction that somehow — she didn't know how — she knew the exact moment her mother was dead. Kenneth didn't know how, either.
It doesn’t make sense, he told himself, yet there it was: a woman sitting in the 5th Arrondissement knew that her mother was dead in an apartment in the 18th Arrondissement.
Kenneth searched his mind to make sense of it all. Could Martine's brain have somehow made a connection with her mother's brain over that distance? Could some wave or particle — or some combination of waves and particles — have resonated from one body to the next? Did it travel through some fifth essence, ether, or akasha of sub-molecular space? Were these the monads Leibniz imagined back in 1714 — fundamental particles that connected everything? Were these the god-strings that physicists made grand unified theories about? Or was this just another way of giving fantastic names — this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestic roof fretted with golden fire — to the quintessence of dust?
Kenneth imagined a modern-day alchemist, Stephanus of Trocadero, in a study with a desk and four white walls. On each wall Stephanus had written a triple-layered series of formulae, inscribed eloquently in India ink. It looked something like this:
The jet-black layers ran from one end of the wall to the next, and from one wall to the next. Stephanus layered the functions of algebraic probability so that they could be read continuously. Like a dervish, he twirled on one leg, as if it were the fixed foot of a compass. He was mesmerized by the beauty of the spell he was under. It surrounded him completely. He giggled to himself when he realized that he had circled the square room, and thus accomplished what geometers had long claimed was impossible.
This squared circle was broken only by the door when it was open. The thought of the door disturbed him greatly, even when it was shut. It broke the continuity, even in theory, even after he locked the door with bolts and chains.
And yet it wasn't so much a theoretical gap, an apocalyptic full stop, or even a redemptive beginning, as it was the mouth of an Ouroboros. He saw its alchemy as the deltas and sigmas of integral calculus.
Stephanus stared at the ultralight beams that emanated from the Mac Air on his desk. He softly invoked the lost deity hidden inside the elusive fabric of light. Caught between Science and the Mystic’s Dream, he unknowingly initiated himself into the Holy and Consubstantial Triad.
Prostrate before his Mac Air, Stephanus hoped against all reason that the ancient gnosis would come floating to him somehow, now that the savages had sacked Rome and the City of God was nowhere to be seen. He hoped that a magic quintessence of dust would reveal itself through the ether.
But nothing happened. Stephanus just sat there, mesmerized by the golden circles that hovered momentarily as the sun fell beneath the chaos of the city. The cave of his study was plunged into darkness.
Or perhaps Martine’s intuition had something to do with DNA. Was it possible that strands could communicate with each other? If so, then wouldn’t they communicate most with strands that were most like them? Genetically, Martine and her mother were as close as could be. They even emitted the same signal: I am the Monarch of Drama Queens.
Perhaps their uncanny link had something to do with the sub-structures of the brain. If so much can happen with ten million yes and no switches in an iphone processor named Cortex-A8, what might happen with a hundred trillion synapses? Who knows what nonotechnological things might be happening in the minute depths and intricate loops of neurons in the brain? Perhaps subatomic structures or forces acted on our DNA and neurons even though we had no way of measuring this. Perhaps even smaller structures — forms of force or gravity that we can’t even imagine — were acting on these unseen forces. What frequencies might our brain waves be capable of transmitting or receiving?
But did he really believe this? What did monads or god-strings have to do with science? Leibniz had the luxury of dreaming up monads because 300 years ago there were no electron microscopes or spectrographs. Did Kenneth really believe that neurons and DNA were being manipulated by some unseen subatomic force, or that our brains had evolved into wireless transceivers?
And yet there it was: a light blue kyanite ring that spat in the face of Science.
Back in his study, Stephanus looked again at the locked door. Above the lintel he saw a figure emerge from the white wall. It was an angel, playing a Medieval instrument of rare device. Perhaps it was some sort of hand organ or dulcimer.