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(WHNWC) Plasticity

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posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 07:10 PM
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“You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
- Franz Kafka


PLASTICITY


I’m no doctor, but it’s called “plasticity.”

When your brain automatically compensates for something. You know, like when a blind dude has a super sharp sense of touch, or a deaf chick has really good eyesight. That’s their brain making up for their disability by giving them a little power boost in a different area.

Plasticity.

I didn’t come up with the term and I don’t know why they call it that. But they do, and it’s a real thing.

I heard about all this from a guy I know that is part of a clinical study. The study uses people that don’t have one of their senses…blind people, deaf people, whatever you call people that can’t smell things…and hooks a machine up to their power boosted senses to fill in for the sense that doesn’t work. By doing this you can actually have your ears see for you, or your tongue hear for you.

No joke. I know it sounds weird. But my friend says it works. He’s blind as a bat and he played catch with someone for the first time in two years the other day.

He said there’s a camera that acts as his eyes. A cord from the camera actually goes onto his tongue and sends a message to his brain using the power boosted sensory receptors on his tongue. The message it sends is something like “hey, this is your eyes speaking, and I’m seeing a ball coming toward you.” His brain doesn’t really know the difference and responds like “thanks eyes, haven’t heard from you in a while, welcome back…let’s catch that ball.”

My friend says that he can actually see the ball. I mean really see it.

They pull all this off with this helmet contraption that the disabled people wear. It’s pretty slick.

I have all my senses by the way. All of them.

* * *

This is how it all started: My blind friend Jerry says to me “you know what I love?”

“What?” I said.

“Sex.” He said.

I kind of laughed at him. Jerry was super high at the time.

“No no no” he said. “I mean it was good before right…but now, without my eyes…you know all blind and stuff…my skin is like crazy man. It’s like when a chick even breathes on me I think I’m gonna die man. It’s awe-some.”

Plasticity.

No sight, power boosted skin.

He made it sound so good I thought about poking my eyes out right there.

* * *

I live in Spokane, Washington in the United States of America. It’s a nice town. They had the World’s Fair there in…what…1972 I think. Sometime in the 1970s anyway.

I don’t think the world has given Spokane the time of day since then.

That’s about to change for real.

Spokane is going to be the new Bethlehem.

* * *

I’m a drug dealer, by the way.

Not that it matters, I just didn’t want you to find out later and feel like I’ve been dishonest with you.

* * *

Sacred Heart Medical Center is just south of downtown. Just south of the freeway. There’s a park between Sacred Heart and the freeway. It’s a one swing and slide kind of park. Kind of a patch of grass and weeds that grew out of the concrete. I hang out there a lot. I can get the downtown business there but, more importantly, I can get the hospital business.

So many people come out of a hospital in bad shape. Most people come out of the hospital having lost something…a limb, a loved one, their dignity.

They’re looking to compensate. They need a power boost.

Well one day I’m hanging out and some chick is walking down the road with this helmet contraption on. She was hot. And looking hot while wearing a helmet is tough. She’s being followed by some nerd in a fleece jacket and he’s saying stuff like “Can you hear that?” And the hot chick is describing different things around her. Weirdest thing.

I asked what they were doing. The hot chick is named Jackie. The nerd is named Devin. Turns out hot Jackie is deaf. There’s a microphone on her helmet that is connected to these glasses that show her different colors that relate to what sounds are going on around her. The colors change to reflect how loud a noise is, what the pitch of the noise is, the direction it’s coming from. Hot Jackie’s super powered eyes are so good at reading the colors that her brain actually lets her eyes hear for her.

Think of it like Braille. You know, how someone can see with their fingers. Now add a helmet and a microphone and a camera and other stuff. It’s the same thing. Playing to your strength.

Plasticity.

Devin the nerd is a research scientist. He explained everything to me while Jackie watched the whole conversation with a big smile on her face. The only time Jackie frowned was when Devin explained that they were running out of grant money and were going to have to end the study.

“Your lucky day,” I said. “I’d be happy to fund your research.”

It made hot Jackie smile to see me say that.

* * *

You’re picturing me as a thugged out high school dropout just because I’m a drug dealer.

Stop that. Those are stereotypes.

I got my college degree from a University in California. I got my suit from an Italian tailor in Seattle. And I got my cash from selling smack in Spokane, WA.

Microsoft was tempting, but you just can’t beat a narcotics-based income. Especially in Spokane where you can sell enough skag by noon to buy a mansion in the hills that evening.

* * *

The first time I had sex with Jackie she was wearing her hearing helmet. The second time we did it I asked if I could try wearing it.

What a show. Seriously.

* * *

Wearing Jackie’s helmet reminded me of something. It reminded me that I don’t have super powered eyes like she does. Because she’s deaf, those lights cause a reaction in her brain that I just can’t pull off in mine. My brain won’t let me because I’m not disabled and I don’t deserve it.

Plasticity.


continued...




posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 07:17 PM
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So I told Devin that I needed a helmet that would capture Jackie’s reaction to the lights…a super powered deaf person electric neurotransmitter synapse reaction…and let me experience that.

“I don’t know” Devin said.

“It’s simple” I said, “You cause a reaction, you record the reaction, then you deliver the reaction to someone else. It’s like television, right?”

“Where someone else’s neurotransmissions are the show.” Devin said exactly what I was thinking, only he said it with disgust while I was thinking it with a lot of excitement.

“Can you do it, Devin?”

He gave me a very condescending look. You know, the one nerds give when their intelligence is challenged. Then he nodded slowly.

It wasn’t really the direction that Devin wanted the research to go. Unfortunately for Devin, I’m rich and he is poor.

* * *

From a business perspective, how much would you sell this for?:

Experiencing a Maui sunset with the super powered eyes of a deaf artist?
Experiencing a gourmet meal with the super powered taste buds of a blind-deaf chef?
Experiencing sex with the super powered skin of a blind-deaf sex-a-holic?
Experiencing crack with the super powered smell of an otherwise senseless addict?

No hangovers. No addictions. No herpes.

Just a visit to a swanky office building downtown and the purest pleasure you’ve ever felt in your life, pumped straight into your cerebral cortex.

What would you charge for that? Ballpark it.

* * *

Devin worked hard on the new helmets and complained the whole time. He would mumble about “ethics” and how his dream was to perfect “sensory substitution” but that we were now dealing with “sensory augmentation” and that’s not what he signed on for.

I didn’t recall him ever signing anything.

The fact is Devin was as curious as I was. No one had ever experienced another human being’s perceptions before. Sympathy, empathy would be a thing of the past. If you wanted to know how someone was really feeling, all you would need is their permission.

* * *

It was in the summer the first time I let another person’s senses into my brain.

I tell you, it was like the door to heaven opened.

Jackie was walking through Riverfront Park. I was in Devin’s office. All of Jackie’s senses were being beamed into my helmet. Like a TV show.

I saw the colors that were flashing in front of her eyes as she listened to the kids playing on the grass. I sensed the rise and fall of her horse as she rode the carousel. I tasted the cotton candy. I smelled the peanuts. I felt her jeans wrapped tight around my legs.

It was bliss.

The grass is always greener…and now I was rolling around on it.

I was someone else.

* * *

The first time I ever “voyeured” was a Friday night and Devin had gone home. I pulled out my phone to call Jackie…a new trick that she liked a lot. But then, I have this idea.

If Jackie was wearing her helmet, then I could see what it was like to get a call from me. I could feel what she felt.

I put on my helmet. Everything was pretty ready to go. I went to a rock concert through Jerry earlier in the evening.

For the record, a punk rock show through a blind dude is truly ballistic.

I used the computer to click my helmet over so I was channeling Jackie instead of Jerry. Then I turned it on.

Instantly, I stiffened. My scalp grew tight around my head and the hair on my arms stood tall. My jaw fell opened and my toes curled. My eyes rolled back in my head and I closed them to get a clear view of Jackie’s vision.

It was Jerry. He was heavy on top of me. His groans, registering as deep green streaks across my sight, and dripping into my ears like oil.

What possessed me to do what I did next…well who knows.

I wanted the whole event. In stereo. The three of us.

I reached over and, without cutting my feed from Jackie, I clicked on Jerry. Immediately, my existence swirled into a thick soup. I was receiving full sensory input from three people at the same time. Jerry was high. Jackie was drunk. I was above them. There was a fire in the fireplace. A janitor pushed a mop by in the hallway. A dog barked. A car honked. All packed into my head like ice cream.

Pleasure, hatred, lust, heat, cold, disgust, jealousy, guilt, passion.

I felt it all.

I was omniscient.

* * *

The next week I channeled two crack addicts in a fist fight.
I channeled a guy robbing a convenience store.
I channeled a hooker.
I channeled a suicide.

Not exactly the upper crust of experience, I know. Don’t judge me. If I was a general I would channel soldiers, if I was a wedding planner I’d channel florists.

I’m a drug dealer.

* * *

Devin became increasingly belligerent about my adventures. I decided that he needed an education.

I told him that I’d sent Jerry to the symphony and that Devin had never heard Vivaldi until he’d heard Vivaldi through a blind heroine junkie. He accepted begrudgingly.

As Devin slipped the helmet on, I moved around behind his chair. As soon as he clicked on Jerry I wrapped my belt around him and strapped him to the chair. Jerry wasn’t at the symphony, you see. Jerry was in Riverside State Park with a couple friends of mine.

I shoved a handkerchief in Devin’s mouth as he started to scream.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you’ve never been cut by razor blades while in the skin of a blind heroine junkie, you’ve just never been cut by razor blades.

Devin was really on board after that. I took his weakness and made it a strength.

Plasticity.

Hate me if you want. But all my dreams end if Devin jumps ship. There are only so many sensory substitution and augmentation specialists in this world.

I made my point in the best way I knew how. And it was just a heroine addict. God leveled cities for goodness sake.

* * *

Devin made more helmets. Discreet helmets. Devices that were specifically designed to capture and transmit the smallest synapse.

And it all fed to me.

Entire gangs gave me their lives. School Children. Mayors. Attorneys. Whores. Doctors. Churches. The Ladies Auxiliary of Thurston County.

I am theirs, and they are mine. They show me things I have never seen, I return the favor in dark spades.

I am an experience dealer, and there is no action on earth I haven’t sold. No charity. No atrocity.

* * *

...continued



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 07:18 PM
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I am next to you now.

I can see your breath.
I can feel your fragrance.
I can taste your voice.

Come into the fold. Give me your senses.

Give me your weakness. I will give you power.

I will make you so happy.



end



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 08:01 PM
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[edit on 1/5/2007 by Rockpuck]



posted on Jan, 14 2007 @ 04:32 PM
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Really enjoyed this Essedarius, reminds me of a story by Harlan Ellison that i just cant remember the name of, going to have to go searching.

Great stuff.



posted on Jan, 14 2007 @ 06:41 PM
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Yeah, it's got your usual spooky vibe.


You know, my husband could really use one of these helmets. That way, he could never again use the excuse ...."I CAN'T READ YOUR MIND!"




 
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