I apologise

I apologise, in advance, for what I am about to do.

I address you, in the fond and flaccid hope that I might share a topology, but a topology cannot be shared. We can skateboard over the surface to feel the contours and the cuts. We can walk, roll, stumble together on a manifold, and together get a sense for the curvatures and inclinations. But in words, a topology cannot be shared. This is a poor way to address a person.

The topological figure of thought is formally a mathematical inversion, nothing more radical than that. When performed in the service of catching lions in the Sahara, it works like this: Construct a cage. Lock yourself inside. Perform an inversion with respect to yourself and the exterior. Now the lions of the Sahara are inside the cage and you without.  Delightful, practical, and clean.

The inversion requires you to have a position. You must, of course, be inside the cage before the flip. As a person, you are distributed across space and time, you are enfolded in data, history, relations, memories, and reputation. Those are not here addressed. So it is an impoverished you that I address. I wish to turn the screws on that impoverishment. There is no malice intended, but your annihilation is possible.  So note, please, your position.

And your moment of observation.

Those coordinates locate what?

Let’s play a first game: Breathe out. Think of the coordinates as picking out your person, as related to that point in 4D narrative space. Assume everything is real. Look at how grand you are. You have capacities, memories, hopes, and a reputation. And feelings. And debts. But they are not all here, right now, indexed to those coordinates. The more you look, the less there is of your god-like existence than its scattered, discontinuous distribution elsewhere. These coordinates don’t really suffice to pin you down.

Let’s play a second: Breathe in. Invert. Those coordinates now serve to position everything else with respect to those coordinates (and nothing else).  Those coordinates are arguably the centre of the known and knowing universe.  But they are entirely impersonal. They reveal nothing but the Cartesian fabric of Maya that would have reality both inside and outside you.  There is nothing personal about this. You are irrelevant in this instance.

This Geometry is well known. It is the characterisation of the ineffable ground of being as the circle with centre everywhere and circumference nowhere. But that is absurdly platonic, geometric, smooth, continuous.

Let’s add a third: Dance. We may not find your bank account, your history or your reputation at those coordinates. But we find your body. We incontrovertibly find your body. Breathe out and you solipsistically lay claim to all. Breathe in and you find yourself as dimensionless, irrelevant, without feature.

Finding your body, we understand, slowly, how this breath works. Neither the confident intellect of the first, nor the inanimate expanse of the second (perhaps you think of them differently) can account for the fabric of the immanent present. That has colour, shape, form, and indubitability.

Having turned ourselves inside out (one at a time, please!), we return to the point of inversion and find a body that moves, animated by many currents. It dances to many tunes.