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"Gosseyn stared somberly out of the curving corner window of his hotel room. From its thirty-story vantage point, he could see the city of the Machine spread out below him."
"In spite of himself, in spite of his dark mood, Gosseyn experienced a sense of wonder. Here he was, at long last, to participate in the games of the Machine-the games which meant wealth and position for those who were partially successful, and the trip to Venus for the special group that won top honors. For years he had wanted to come, but it had taken her death to make it possible. Everything, Gosseyn thought bleakly, had its price."
"I can only suggest an early visit to a psychiatrist, Mr. Gosseyn. Certainly you cannot remain here. During the policeless month, we can take no chances with suspicious individuals."
"He was apparently suffering from semi-amnesia, and he must try to comprehend that in the largest sense of meaning. Only
thus would he be able to free himself from the emotional effects of his condition. Gosseyn attempted to visualize the freeing as an event in the
null-A interpretation. The event that was himself, as he was, his body and mind as a whole, amnesia and all, as of this moment on this day and in this
Behind that conscious integration were thousands of hours of personal training. Behind the training was the non-Aristotelian technique of automatic extensional thinking, the unique development of the twentieth century which, after four hundred years, had become the dynamic philosophy of the human race. 'The map is not the territory. . . . The word is not the thing itself.'
The belief that he had been married did not make it fact. The hallucinations which his unconscious mind had inflicted on his nervous system had to be counteracted. As always, it worked. Like water draining from an overturned basin, the doubts and fears spilled out of him. The weight of false grief, false because it had so obviously been imposed on his mind for someone else's purpose, lifted. He was free."
"So that was what Nordegg and the others at the hotel had meant. His story must have sounded like the ravings of a lunatic.
President Hardie, Patricia Hardie, a palatial summer home at Cress Village-and every bit of information in his brain about that absolutely untrue.
Who could have planted it there? The Hardies?"
"Gosseyn hesitated. He felt foolish again at the thought of talking to her on the subject. He began reluctantly, "The human
brain is roughly divided into two sections, the cortex and the thalamus. The cortex is the center of discrimination, the thalamus the center of the
emotional reactions of the nervous system.
Both the cortex and the thalamus have wonderful potentialities. Both should be trained to the highest degree, but particularly they should be organized so that they will work in co-ordination. Wherever such co-ordination, or integration, does not occur, you have a tangled personality-over-emotionalism and, in fact, all variations of neuroticism. On the other hand, where cortical-thalamic integration has been established, the nervous system can withstand almost any shock."
"The Machine was at the far end of a broad avenue. Mountaintops had been levelled so that it could have space and gardens
around it. It was a full half mile from the tree-sheltered gates. It reared up and up in a shining metal splendor. It was a cone pointing into the
lower heavens and crowned by a star of atomic light, brighter than the noonday sun above.
Aloof and impregnable, the Machine towered above the human beings it was about to sort according to their semantic training. No one now living knew exactly in what part of its structure its electron-magnetic brain was located. Like many men before him, Gosseyn speculated about that.
"Where would I have put it?" he wondered, "if I had been one of the scientist-architects?" It didn't matter, of course. The Machine was already older than any known living human being. Self-renewing, conscious of its life and of its purpose, it remained greater than any individual, immune to bribery and corruption and theoretically capable of preventing its own destruction."
"Your name? And please grasp the nodes."
"Gilbert Gosseyn," said Gosseyn quietly.
There was silence. Some of the cherry-red tubes flickered unsteadily. Then: "For the time being," said the Machine in a casual tone, "I'll accept that name." Gosseyn sank back deeper into the chair. His skin warmed with excitement. He felt himself on the verge of discovery. He said, "You know my true name?"
There was another pause. Gosseyn had time to think of a machine that was at this very moment conducting tens of thousands of easygoing conversations with the individuals in every cubbyhole in its base. Then: "No record in your mind of another name," said the Machine. "But let's leave that for now. Ready for your test?"