Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005 - 4:39 p.m.
There are fifty thousand people inside the National Stadium and their minds are joined in convulsive patriotism. The REG lines spike upwards, in time with the shouting of each letter: S-I-N (pause) G-A-P-O-R-E (repeat). On the grass pitch of the stadium, soldiers move into rehearsed formations and spell out the name of the country with their bodies, and after that hundreds of dancing children in ethnic costumes caricature the four different races. The gigantic screen of the Jumbotron flashes to the orchestral pit opposite the grandstand, and captures the conductor controlling the musicians with the end of his baton. In a surreal moment, it looks as if the amplified image of the conductor is orchestrating the fifty thousand people in this problem-play. For exactly two hours, the fifty thousand people will be happy, grateful for this country, and wave little red-and-white flags. The conductor has turned into Franz Kafka, emoting not the strains of 'Muneru Valiba' but the themes of absurdity, magical-realism, and non-arrival. The two REG black boxes are at a loss and cannot distinguish between orchestrated and non-orchestrated patriotism; they can only show that fifty thousand people shouting in unison can affect the surrounding consciousness-field. The miniature flag issued to each spectator is like his or her love for the country - material and plastic. And so the entire stadium of spectators continue waving their little flags, turning the curved bowl of the stadium into a rippling sea of red and white; they do this for a place that is not quite real, and for a people who have not yet arrived.
It is 1am in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, but fifty million people in the United States are awake watching CNN. The correspondent is doing a live feed from a deserted Baghdad street, and the television image is completely green because the cameraman is using a night vision adaptor. The correspondent is obviously senile and reports that apart from two dogs barking on the next street, all is quiet in Baghdad. At Princeton University, the REG data streams are being received in real-time. As expected, the REGs in New York and the European cities show increasing deviation from randomness, with people around the world anticipating the beginning of the war. An architect in a Parisian cafe shakes his head at the newspaper while a farmer in Croatia looks out at the surrounding hills, the scenes of war and death for centuries. What is surprising though, is that even the REG sites in Kenya and Fiji show the same patterns of change. This is despite their lack of CNN or the knowledge that a war is about to start in a country many meridians away. Unfortunately, there is no REG site in Baghdad. Inside the city, families lie asleep in blocks of apartments and flats, but in one of them an old man is awake. He ends his prayer for peace and struggles to get up from his kneeling position beside the bed. At the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers huddle in trenches drinking tea and smoking cigarettes. Their rifles rest against the trench walls and the soldiers banter with one another. Only miles away, American tanks with murder in their barrels are tearing across the desert floor to reach them.
The existence of a global human consciousness must be a relatively nascent phenomenon. The population on earth and the physiology of the brain could not have supported a common human consciousness until about twenty thousand years ago. Then the inchoate human brain was just coming into emergence, with the chaos of the brain's electrical discharges evolving into coherence, order, and with order - meaning, the human logic in the chaos. By then the early humans had already departed Africa and were spreading across the European and Asiatic plains; later they would traverse the Bering Straits and the Isthmus of Panama to reach North and South America, increasing in numbers as some settled along these lines of human expansion. But only with meaning, the ability to confer meaning to things, could they make sense of their surroundings - and of each other.
The increasing density of the human population means that mathematically, we have greater degrees of potential engagement with one another now, than at any other time in history. Therefore, what we believe to be chance meetings, serendipity, or coincidences might actually prove to be inevitable. This is the paradox: coincidence is inevitable. If that is true then coincidence is by extension, also non-random, which is why aligned states of human consciousness can repeatedly interrupt the random generation of binary numbers.
What we witness in the dismantling of chance is the imposition of order and meaning - all the meanings that are given to justify wars and gods, the meaning of seeing a girl's naked body for the first time. And at the end of meaning is epiphany: your consciousness is more aware of your being and mine, than we could ever have imagined. Meaning, which is the greatest form of persuasion. I met you because, because.