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The East London Association of Autonomous Astronauts is proud to announce the highly remarkable results of its experiments in space travel. Our theoretical base has been the work of the noted physicist, de Selby, who is perhaps better known for his work on ecological issues. It was his first rate research which revealed that night-time, far from being a natural phenomena, was the result of 'black air', whereby accumulated industrial pollution made the air so dirty that it was no longer possible to see through it. Likewise sleep, far from being necessary for human health, is simply the body's reaction to breathing in this pollution. His views have been taken up by the primitivist writer John Zerzan, whose essay Never Say Night argues that prehistoric humanity lived in an idyllic world of perpetual day, and that the advent of the use of tools caused sufficient pollution to induce short bouts of night, and the consequential sleep. The sleeping state stimulated a state of intoxication called dreaming which in turn was responsible for the development of language, early religious forms, such as shamanism, and ultimately the whole sorry cycle of events which culminated in contemporary civilisation.
However, our project was stimulated by another aspect of de Selby's work - particularly his ruminations in the Layman's Atlas. Here his astute mind unravelled some of the absurdities of conventional notions of space. Standing at a point on the postulated spherical earth, he says, one appears to have four main directions in which to move, viz., north south east and west. But it does not take much thought to see that there really appears to be only two since north and south are meaningless terms in relation to a spheroid, and can connote motion in only one direction; so also with west and east. One can meet any point on the north-south band by travelling in either 'direction', the only apparent difference in the two routes being extraneous considerations of time and distance, both already shown to be illusory. North-south is therefore one direction and east west apparently another. Instead of four directions there are only two. It can safely be inferred, de Selby says, that there is in fact only one possible direction, properly so-called, because if one leaves any point on the globe, moving and continuing to move in any 'direction', one ultimately reaches the point of departure again.
The application of this conclusion to his theory that 'the earth is a sausage' is illuminating. He attributes the idea that the earth is spherical to the fact that human beings are continually moving in only one direction (though convinced that they are free to move in any direction) and that this direction is really around the circular circumference of an earth which is in fact sausage-shaped. It can scarcely be contested that if the multi-directionality be admitted to be a fallacy, the sphericity of the earth is another fallacy that would inevitably follow from it. De Selby likens the position of a human on the earth to that of a man on a tight wire who must continually walk along the wire or perish, being, however, free in all other respects. Movement in this restricted orbit results in the permanent hallucination known conventionally as 'life' with its innumerable concomitant limitations, afflictions and anomalies. If a way can be found, says de Selby, of discovering the 'second direction', i.e. along the 'barrel' of the sausage, a world of entirely new sensation and experience will be open to humanity. New and unimaginable dimensions will supersede the present order and the manifold 'unnecessaries' of 'one directional existence will disappear. It was from this vision that we drew our inspiration.
>From our ranks a gentleman called Gomma stepped forward to be our first explorer of these new and unimaginable dimensions. The method we used was straight-forward. We acquired a studio flat and removed all the furniture except the bed, and painted everything white. The bed had white sheets. Gomma, dressed in white silk pyjamas, would lie on the bed until the trans-dimensional movement occurred. We agreed to abandon the experiment if nothing happened within forty days. During this period Gomma would eat no food, but would be provided with water. The rest of the group would visit him regularly and make sure that his health was not suffering from the experiment. The first sign of any illness and the experiment would be abandoned. The following are notes extracted from the day book we kept throughout the experiment:
Day 10: The subject confessed a sense of demoralisation. He was worried that he would not be able to see the experiment through to the end. After a discussion where he was reminded that such a reaction was as to be expected after the novelty of the first few days of inactivity had worn off, it was agreed that the subject would be provided with a fourteen pound hammer.
Day 11: Our solution to demoralisation has served to create new problems with the neighbours complaining about the noise and enquiring what we were doing in the flat. Our explanation was met with disbelief, and they decided to stick to their original hypothesis that we were demolishing the place.
Day 12: Noise abatement officers tried to gain admittance to the premises but were refused. The hammer has now been wrapped in several layers of white silk, which we think will muffle the sound.
Day 15: Subject has abandoned hammering, explaining that it filled a very useful rôle over the last few days but now was no longer necessary.
Day 19: Subject gave a curious account of flying through the air at great height. In many respects this contained similarities to accounts of astral projection. The subject gave an account of 'flying' over Europe and across Africa. The description tallied with other accounts of such travel even though the subject has never visited Africa. However the climax of the account meant that the whole has to be treated with a certain amount of scepticism. He described how he met a hippopotamus in the African bush at which his he became sexually excited and his penis became enormously swollen and that he proceeded to have sex with the creature. The subject claimed "She was . . ." concluding the sentence by kissing his bunched finger tips.
Day 20: A copy of du Garbandier's derogatory article from l'Avenir was found tucked down beside the boiler. In this text du Garbandier claimed to have deciphered the De Selby Codex, which he claimed was little more than a repository of obscene conundrums, accounts of amorous adventures and erotic speculation 'all too lamentable to be repeated even in broad outline.' However the specific example referred to is 'an act of the grossest bestiality performed with an hippopotamus'. The subject was confronted with the document and in the ensuing discussion it was concluded that reading the text had provoked a hallucination, that such would have been the result of reading any text, and that the hallucination could not be attributed to the l'Avenir article in particular. The subject was asked how the text had come to be in the flat at all. He claimed no knowledge of this but speculated that it was probably left accidentally when the flat was being painted white. He stated that he had found the text behind the lavatory cistern whilst he had been involved in the hammering, and that it had proved instrumental in moving beyond the hammering stage. He claimed that he had read the article, some 1,200 words long, perhaps seventy or eighty times during the last few days. He apologised for not informing us of this development, but pleaded that although agreeing to a regime of no written text for forty days, he found the chance encounter with such a startling piece of misinformation too tempting to give up after a fortnight without gazing on the written word.
Day 21: Subject requested a tin of black paint and a one inch paint brush. The bed was aligned at 23° west of north and a black line painted along its middle and then extended across the floor, up the wall, back across the ceiling, down the other wall, finally joining up with itself again. "I think we're nearly there" the subject claimed.
Day 22: The subject has now painted a similar line on his white silk pyjamas - down the back, around the crotch and finally ending up with an arrow below the chin.
Day 23: When the facilitator arrived at the flat toady the subject was gone. We can only conclude that he has succeeded in travelling along de Selby's 'second direction' along the barrel of the sausage.
We have long been aware that in life success is generally harder to deal with than failure. Among our group there were evidently those who had thought that there was little chance of success in the stated object, even though they hoped the experiment might shed light on other matters. Following this complete success, we are now faced with perhaps an even more daunting task - establishing contact with Gomma in those 'new and unimaginable dimensions' and should he so desire ensuring his safe return to the limitations of our one-directional world. We have set this as our goal for our next year of experimentation.
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