Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Transimission # 1

Transmission # 1 –

April 16, 1943

On Friday, April 16,1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. I had to struggle to speak intelligibly. I asked my laboratory assistant, who was informed of the self-experiment, to escort me home. We went by bicycle, no automobile being available because of wartime restrictions on their use.

On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. All of my senses were vibrating in a condition of highest sensitivity. While riding on my bicycle, I had the strange sensation of being stationary, unable to move from where I was, despite the fact that I was moving very rapidly. I noticed that the sky had turned a magnificent golden colour – like that of my cherished pocket watch. Now, little by little I began to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted around me. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux. It was particularly remarkable how every acoustic perception, such as the sound of the bicycle chain, or the tires on the dirt road, became transformed into optical perceptions. Every sound generated a vividly changing image, with its own consistent form and color.

Suddenly it dawned on me that my assistant had vanished, as had the hills and road of the countryside. The only thing that remained in my field of vision was the bicycle I sat on. I was seized by the dreadful fear of going insane. I had been taken to another world, another place, another time. My body seemed to be without sensation, lifeless, strange. Was I dying? Was this the transition? In spite of my delirious, bewildered condition, I had brief periods of clear and effective thinking. I believed myself to be outside my body, and then perceived clearly, as an outside observer, the complete tragedy of my situation. I had not even taken leave of my family. Would they ever understand that I had not experimented thoughtlessly, irresponsibly, but rather with the utmost caution, and that such a result was in no way foreseeable? My fear and despair intensified, not only because a young family should lose its father, but also because I dreaded leaving my chemical research work, which meant so much to me, unfinished in the midst of fruitful, promising development. Another reflection took shape, an idea full of bitter irony: if I was now forced to leave this world prematurely, it was because of this invention that I myself had brought forth into the world.

This was, altogether, a remarkable experience—both in its sudden onset and its extraordinary course. It seemed to have resulted from some external toxic influence. I surmised a connection with the substance I had been working with at the time, my pocket watch, and the bicycle I was riding at the time of the transition. But this led to more questions: where was I transitioning to? Would I ever return? Suppose I opened a hole into the interplanetary vacuum? Suppose I discovered a condition totally beyond imagination?