A Timeless Continuum of Human Unconsciousness
This is a story that explores what the earth will look like when its finally had enough of being poked and prodded. What will happen to humans? Do we even deserve to be on the earth anymore after the exploitation and abuse? The story takes from current scientific sources, narratives, and articles that explore speculative futures. My characters are all named after time, depended on the country they first came from. However, the earth now has no time; existing just caught in a moment of space. Split from one reality and the next. The story wants to question urbanisation and how the pressure of constructing a false sense of time can result in a rejection of space time continuum. Whilst this story is a narrative, I heavily relied on news articles, to remind you we are already in the ecological crisis.
Primavera had never stopped running. For as long as time had moved the way it had, her feet pointed and elevated, time twisted and turned. It was dark and light in the same minute, a day could be counted by blinking. They didn’t age anymore. Frozen in a time that resisted counting. Instead they counted each other, they counted the rain drops that found their way onto the moving bodies. Sleep was done by swinging through continuums of time. This earth that hung within spaghetti like lines that stretched from the past to the future. In some lights, you could see the spatial location of every particle, trapped within that instant of time. Humans and animals existed within these unchanging world lines, existing as a timeless object. Not living or breathing rather taking the nutrients and energy of out the air that comes out through the earth. The vines, trees and other plants take the energy out of the bodies that stop moving. They have vast amounts of energy to get through from the past millions of years of building onto the earth. Everything that used to exist can be turned into organic mass. Everything under the surface; the mantle, core, metals, lava; slowly feeding the plants that had stretched over the earth, pulling it tighter and tighter, pushing the once toxic energy out of the surface.
Dr. Sten Odenwald, “What is a space time continuum,” Gravity Probe B, Stanford University.
Science Learning, “Under the Earth’s surface,” New Zealand Government, August 18, 2014
Everywhere you look it’s green and lush. Everything hangs down, pulled by gravity, but not time. It rains but rather than falling down it hangs so everything is wet, but the rain adds no pressure. Colourful butterflies flutter, moving, moving always. The smaller animals have little hair or fur as they glisten in the rays of sunshine that stream through the branches. The bigger animals have to be able to leap through the trees or jump over tangled roots of the trees that keep growing down and around each other. The pressure from the trees and plants keep the world spinning and everything else fights against it by moving. Everything exists as a hub with a buzz. The constant moving keeps all the creatures lean and agile. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks were taken from the energy in the air. Filled with enough nutrients to sustain. The creatures here didn’t need to reserve energy as hunger no long exists.
Primavera prided herself on her ability to leap and twist through the trees and heavy energy of the earth. She had come from a long line of what used to be dancers, when the earth stood still, and dance was watched and performed in front of an audience. Her family had left remember beads for her to wear around her neck. Everyone had remember beads. It was a way to be connected to the past without having anything to hold you down. Primavera could look down and watch her great-great- grandmother twirl on stage in old-school Paris. Her dress could float through the air, creating energy underneath it. Primavera’s grandmother had told her stories of when they began to realise the air was thickening. At first, it was suffocating. They had to learn how to re-breathe, politicians had warned people to stay inside, with monitored air pressure. But of course, not everyone had access to inside. The communities in the rural parts of the world inspired active-aid. Trying to raise money for clean water tanks and cleaner air. Blocks and blocks of buildings were planned. But they were rejected as the air got thicker and thicker and people learnt to re-breathe.
Abejide looked down at his remember beads and saw his family from four generations back in a completely different time. How dry the earth looked back then. He couldn’t imagine a world in which you had to look, track and hunt your food. Food was now a word synonymous with energy, the old word synonymous with air. His family were strong though, stronger than anyone else in the world had thought they were. They knew the land, and the land knew them. Their bodies already worked in conjunction with time. As the air got thicker, their lungs grew stronger. The aid people, with best wishes, wanted to help in the only way they knew how to. They weren’t listening to the land, only the men and women in white jackets. Stuck inside a world so stark and bleak. Abejide’s family could move through the energy with ease, they didn’t depend on food in the same way the aid people did. They already knew how to dismiss hunger into part of life. So, whilst the aid people sat inside their air controlled rooms, eating food from a diminishing stock; Abejide’s family stopped eating completely. Slowly, at first, the need for food disappeared. In his remember beads he could see strength and survival in his people, whilst the aid people withered and became part of the earth, they started to explore the changing world around them.
She said that a hundred years ago mankind was confronted with the question of time, but that the problem of the twentieth century was the simultaneous existence of different notions of space. When the tectonic plates pushed together, fighting which one would hold the point of contact. Both wanting to be the strongest until they broke and crumbled sending echoes across the surface of the earth. Signs such as the Mud Volcano in Indonesia should have been a cause for concern. Big, bubbling, vast liquid earth was pushed up through the earth’s surface. The mantle had been drilled so many times the core was beginning to ache and move around, struggling with the pain and pressure. Scientist debated that the earth was instinctively growing the Lusi mudflow; it’s natural they claimed. However, like cancer the volcano was natural. Like a body pumped with carcinogens, it naturally grows gene mutations. Whilst they sat arguing in offices in big cities where the natural world was only something they saw in a manicured park. Indonesia began to disappear. The land that was left on the island of East Java crumbled into the earth, Sidoarjo was first to go with its population of devout Muslim Indonesian, only praying for land to grow crops. What the men in their suits chose to forget was the abnormal gas reading at the drilling site by Lapindo Brantas. Lusi mudflow took over, creating a displaced people total of over 40,000. The rest of Indonesia was to follow, because they ignored the earth telling them something was wrong.
Zadie Smith, Swing Time, Penguin UK, November 15, 2016
Rachel Nuwer, “Indonesia’s ‘Mud Volcano’ and Nine Years of Debate About Its Muck” The New York Times, September 21, 2015
What happened to the perceived notions of time? Saniya had always wondered if the intracellular communications between the earth and the self, had distorted the temporality of reproduction and replications. Is this hanging, the gap between day and night, part of consumption, when food appears and reappears? Saniya had come from a family that had been one of the communities affected by the great big coals mines. The billionaire Adani had explored for coal and found it. Ripping and raping the land, leaving huge holes when the money ran out. Moving on to destroy other villages down the coast of India. The coal had entered their lungs, killing many, leaving only the children whose bodies had rapidly evolved to absorb the coal dust. Saniya’s remember beads had shown her great-great grandfather coughing up coal dust. However, the coal dust stopped being coughed up once Adani had taken everything the land had to offer. They moved on to Australia, leaving India’s coastal surface a mess. Saniya’s ancestors, with the coal absorbed into their bodies, began to move. They could hardly settle and would never grow older than 20, yet they realised the stopping of time was the reason for this. The edges of India cracked off into the ocean, Saniya’s great grandfathers birth was so hot, it bubbled, the fish died, cooked alive in their natural habitat. They had a deep understanding of the earth, and the coal babies saw the cooked, pink fish with heat scars, and they ran.
Tarsh Bates, "HumanThrush Entanglements" PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, Issue 10, 2013
Four Corners, “Digging into Adani” ABC, October 2, 2017
Hakidonmuya’s had been one of the first people whose bodies stopped resisting time. He hadn’t even noticed or nor could he remember how old he was. The people he had met in his life time nauseated him. He knew they went back into the earth, reaching out for their ancestors, turning into the energy to stop the earth rotating. Unlike how people used to live from the 19th 20th and 21th centuries. He saw them come and take over his family’s land so he retreated into the hills and mountains of what they now called America. He watched murders, first of his people, then the African slaves; brought in chains and starved from long journeys of ocean and land. He saw them then kill each other for power and money. He scrutinised how easily they could kill their brothers. A gun, so effortless with its massacre capabilities. Hakidonmuya couldn’t see a reason to venture into the man-made jungles. He watched as the vast rusting hulks of abandoned car plants and factories became awash with a sea of grass, pulling the empty frames into the green tentacles of nature. The empty homes, in suburbanville, began to overrun with the vines that covered the earth.
Ghassan Hage, “État de siège: A dying domesticating colonialism?” American Ethnologist.
Volume: 43, Issue 1. February 2016. pp. 38-49
They had wanted to help, they wanted cheaper energy for the consumer, they wanted more profit for the company. They continued to advise on mining for gas, oil and coal even though they knew what would happen. Power station is ‘vital for energy security and affordability’ they said, forgetting the many tanks of water that the people lived off. They were now contaminated. Whose security were they looking after? 2050 was the year foresighted to have 50 degree days, the planning started for days so hot you wouldn’t be able to cope. Air-conditioning buses. What was the cost of that? Better health care for the elderly. Homes that could tolerate that heat and provide better insulation. Shading in city planning. What about the energy costs of cooling? Who would have the money for that? They knew they wouldn’t be working for the company by then, they probably wouldn’t be alive by then. Profit was profit. They knew the explorations for coal were becoming scarcer by the week. It didn’t matter for them, they weren’t responsible. When they sat down at home and looked at their meal for one. No family for them. Why and who would bother with that? Knowing the type of world that would be coming, or even, having no idea about the world that was coming. Who was more than ready to expel humans? A personal vendetta.
Melissa Davey, “Australian cities to have 50C summer days by 2040, study says,” The Guardian, October 4, 2017
Tokemi had been told that everyone had been worried about rising sea levels; Japan was under threat as an island floating out to sea. Global temperatures were getting higher, each year setting a new record for “Hottest Day in September”. The icebergs were melting. Tokemi remembered his father telling him how they would watch videos, first online, and slowly with time the videos making it onto national news. Tokemi was already born the day they finally broke down, however, instead of the tidal waves of crushing waves, the air was still, but heavy. The humidity of the air got thicker and thicker. They couldn’t breathe. And then just how they feared the mass amounts of water, within weeks the salty liquid that covered the earth began to evaporate into the atmosphere. The rivers and lakes drained. Japan used to be a cosmopolitan city with vast buildings reaching up into the sky, surrounded by nature and ocean. Tokemi’s family had grown up in the mountains, living off the land in its natural state. Dealing with snow when it came and then again when the snow stopped coming. The waves came in energy that Tokemi’s family already knew how to breathe. The heavy atmosphere at the tops of mountains required little lung space, so when the water disappeared, and then food source. They found they weren’t hungry or thirsty, instead the thick, consuming energy gave them everything they needed.
The earth had been waiting millions of years for this. Waiting as she watched the dinosaurs, the ice age, the earthquakes, the animals, the humans, the sea. Taking over her vast territory. Storms grew and broke down on the surface. Inside she was turning harder and harder. The bubbling vats of lava, steam, and gaseous sulphur compounds were responding to the carbon dioxide in the air. When she stopped spinning, it was a slow process. She heard the voices from her surface soften down. The energy was picking those who could survive in a world without water or time. Those with strength and determination and patience; those who were ready to move. The surface and the pull of the core began to speak to each other for the first time. Volcanos grew out of cracks left from earthquakes. Cities with the concrete that was meant to last for ever, dissolved and crumbled. Their energy was absorbed and turned into organic atmosphere. Entire land mass that held cattle, sheep, chickens, crops began to grow vines that bound and twisted inbetween each other. They layered and grew off shoots. The lines connecting elements expanded higher than any building from the humans. Limbs without children, the leaf nodes, end-nodes, and leaves scattered everywhere. The strong ones could loop their bodies between each finite tree structure and it took four generations of humans who knew the instinctive process of tracking their way through the new environment. Their lungs no longer helped them breathe, instead they held water from the air, processing the nutrients from the energy. The nutrients kept them moving, for if they stopped they would never be able to keep going. The trees, vines, and branches pulling them in, to help them grow. As an earth without time needs another energy to keep it growing and moving.
Hakidonmuya remembered when they lost the tops of mountains in Appalachia, this wasn’t the earth resisting the human, rather the humans attacking the earth. Looking for the beautiful coal that made up the earth, this glistering black rock that belonged, unburnt and natural, under the surface. The destructive strip mining cut deep wounds and scars into the landscape, not just in the mountain top, but also polluted the surrounds with toxic acid run off. The arsenic, selenium, and mercury caused cancer and illnesses. The first humans to go, weren’t kicked off by the earth, but rather their own kind. He kept wandering, as he always had done, observing the changing scenery. The heat first turned everything dry and the sea levels began to raise. However, once they crawled onto the land the water crystallised, providing salts for the earth to reabsorb. The process was slow, aching; the earth groaned with the pressure. The shoots and trees began to cover the earth. The only animals left were the ones who could slither and leap, making time seem like it was on their side. One animal that he no longer saw were the ones on two feet, hairless compared to the ones who swung from the trees. The ones who looked like he did. He wondered if he was the only one left.
Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, "On Becoming Appalachian Moonshine," A Journal of the Performing Arts, Volume 17, Issue 4 - On Ecology, August 16, 2012
Primavera was a dancer, she liked to imagine herself on the stage from her remember beads. Leaping and flying through the trees, bouncing off vines and the heavy leaves that held her tiny body. She twirled and glided. The earth was her partner. The earth helped her to float, her body was weightless, her body was part of the earth. The vines would wrap around her, creating pressure to push her over the surface of the earth. She had to keep moving though. The stillness of the air, puts pressure on her body. Pushing her down, the only way to play with gravity whilst being suspended in time, push back.
Bates, Tarsh. "HumanThrush Entanglements." PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, Issue 10. 2013.
Davey, Melissa. “Australian cities to have 50C summer days by 2040, study says.” The Guardian. October 4, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/04/australian-cities-to-have-50c-summer-days-by-2040-study-says
Four Corners. “Digging into Adani.” ABC. October 2, 2017.
Gorman, Alice. “Culture on the Moon: Bodies in Time and Space.” Springer US. January 13, 2016. https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11759-015-9286-7
Hage, Ghassan. “État de siège: A dying domesticating colonialism?” American Ethnologist.
Volume: 43, Issue 1. February 2016. pp. 38-49
Nuwer, Rachel. “Indonesia’s ‘Mud Volcano’ and Nine Years of Debate About Its Muck.” The New York Times. September 21, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/science/9-years-of-muck-mud-and-debate-in-java.html?_r=0
Odenwald, Sten. “What is a space time continuum.” Gravity Probe B. Stanford University.
Science Learning. “Under the Earth’s surface.” New Zealand Government. August 18, 2014.
Shepard, Mark. “Hug the Trees!" – Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Gaura Devi, and the Chipko Movement.” Gandhi Today: A Report on Mahatma Gandhi’s Successors, Simple Productions, Arcata, California, 1987.
Shiva, Vandana. “Ecological crisis.” Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit, Pluto Press. 2002. pp.3
Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. Penguin UK. November 15, 2016.
Stephens, Elizabeth & Sprinkle, Annie. "On Becoming Appalachian Moonshine." A Journal of the Performing Arts, Volume 17, Issue 4 - On Ecology. August 16, 2012.