It’s been some years since I’ve written about the Thinkerer and our lessons. During these years I’ve had my ups and downs and always the Thinkerer has been there to either guide or ridicule me – in equal measure. The result of the ‘fishing trip’ in the last post was quite usual for him – some of the thoughts very familiar and others completely incomprehensible. Since then we’ve gone out there a couple a times more, each time coming ‘home’ with a similar catch.
During this time we’ve also visited many other places and met other entities such as Thinkerer. I already mentioned Sandman, who is probably the most boring and soporific perspective into things I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I’ll write about them later if the occasion arises. In addition to these entities and places I’ll introduce some of the thoughts I’ve glimpsed while traveling with Thinkerer.
One of the thoughts is something that we caught in a Storm and then slipped through Thinkerer’s fingers just as we tied to the pier on my Stream. So of course it got to my head eventually. More about that later.
We often say that we’re ‘brainstorming’ when we’re furiously thinking about something. So that is what came to my mind at first when Thinkerer told me that we’re going to The Great Brainstorm — sort of giant, furious production of thoughts. I was right — sort of.
When a child hears the term ‘brainstorm’ for the first time, at least one of the images that flashes through his mind is brains falling from the sky and billowing winds. Brains and a storm, just like rainstorm is rain and a storm. That child’s image of a brainstorm is more closely what I should have expected.
“Is that it?” I asked in awe. Millions of brains were floating in the air, circling each other. A steady shower of thoughts fell from each and every one. Thinkerer smiled. “Oh yes, that’s The Great Brainstorm. It’s Calm now, so we can go straight in.” I ignored him for I was entranced by the Brainstorm. I noticed that brains were leaving and entering the Storm seemingly at will but the amount of brains didn’t vary greatly.
Thinkerer poked me at ribs. “What?” I grunted. Thinkerer looked a tad annoyed and said: “The Storm is picking up. Look. There — a Great Brain comes to lead them.” I looked where he pointed and almost fell from my seat. The Great Brain was about the size of a small house, equal in size to hundreds of it’s smaller cousins. Thinkerer navigated the boat after it, right to the center of the Storm. Thoughts from the Great Brain showered us — I saw ancient imaginings of dragons and other mythical beasts, abstract concepts not yet familiar to human species and fleeting and elusive Great Ideas such as relativity and universal language constructs. “Why are we following it?” I asked Thinkerer. “It’s safest just under it when the Storm goes Furious. You’ll see.”
Indeed I did. Once the Great Brain was approximately at the center of other brains, it started to spin. Slowly at first, but picking up speed fast. The thoughts were not falling straight down anymore — the faster the Brain spinned, the higher the thoughts flew until they plunged through the air almost horizontally. They started to hit the other brains whiche were obviously aggravated by this and picked speed in hopes of avoiding further hits. The rain of thoughts thickened and the accelerating movement of the brains caused the wind to pick up. While I was watching the show, Thinkerer had mounted a small cannon to the bow of the boat and aimed it to the Great Brain. It sported a single harpoon of sorts, with a blob of something at it’s peak instead of standard arrow-head seen on my world. Thinkerer noticed me watching and gestured to the harpoon. “The blob is very strong adhesive. We’ll let the Great Brain to pull us around so that I don’t have to navigate. We can talk while I work.” With great skill and routine he shot the harpoon straight to the spinning and now moving Great Brain. It stuck and immediately the line connecting the boat to the Brain started to shorten as it twisted until at one point some kind of mechanism allowed it to stay at certain length without twisting any more.
“Now, grab one of those nets and try to catch interesting-looking thoughts. Here, I’ll show you.” He deftly catched a glowing blob to the net. “What is it?” I asked. “It’s an idea of perpetual light globe — totally unrealistic, but it might lead to something practical eventually. Just the sort of thing I like to show people.” I grinned. “Yeah… Probably when they are talking about making chocolate in a sweets conference.” I looked around me. “So is this where all thoughts come from. These brains?” Thinkerer was trying to catch a thought that seemed to have mind of it’s own. “Yeah, more or less. There are other things here that produce thoughts but overwhelming majority of them come from The Great Brainstorm. And once they are harvested — or simply used as they pass through your heads — they are sucked into the ground or evaporate to the air and eventually are used as raw material for new thoughts by the brains and other things. Some things, like that wordfish of yours, won’t wait until the thoughts are used up but eat them raw.” I smiled at the mention of the wordfish. That fellow was solely responsible for making me a misfit in almost any company — and I was thankful for it. Were I normal, I never would have been able to forge an agreement with Thinkerer and visit this place. “Now, get to work, you lazy bum.”
I find myself in that peculiar state between being aware of what I think and being aware of what I think I think and facing a river of fluid thoughts. A small stream wanders off to somewhere behind me and experience in this place has taught me that it is my Stream of Thoughts. I also learned that the reason it’s little unpredictable and undependable is that a wordfish has nested on the mouth of it and occasionally blocks the way of the thoughts. However, that’s not the point of this entry… As per our agreement, Thinkerer waits me on the pier. His rather small and weathered boat floats on the river behind him.
“Good whenever, Thinkerer,” I greet him and he grumbles an answer. Time is rather peculiar concept here and I often find that almost no time has passed in the “real world” — or that hours have passed and I’m hungry. Nevertheless these trips are usually worth every second. “Step aboard, we’ll have to hurry. The Calm is almost over.” The Great Brainstorm, although never-ceasing and always billowing, has it’s Calm phases. Of course to offset these Calms it has also Furious phases as Thinkerer calls them. He should know. He lives here. I step aboard and we set sail immediately. The river carries us swiftly, and although the sail droops in the windless air we start picking up speed. This, I suppose, is just one of Thinkerer’s many tricks in this place.
After a while I turn to look at Thinkerer and ask: “What should I tell the readers about you? I know what I see and I know why I see you thus — you have explained it very nicely. But all things being as they are, how should I describe you?” Thinkerer opens his eyes (he always sails eyes closed) and looks at me funnily. “Why describe me at all? They all know me… Perhaps not by name, but they know me.” I look at him and smile. “Now I get to use one of your sayings against you — ‘Unless you know what you know you don’t know it.'” For a moment Thinkerer looks annoyed and then… Well, he showed me his true form, but as our languages (any of them) lack words to describe, I shall not even try. “There. But that you can’t write or show them, so I better put it to words. I — and others of my kind you have met and are yet to meet — am an omniscient entity. And I don’t mean any such omniscience as The Bible teaches us — mine is personal, subjective and from my point of view only. Frankly I doubt if anything else is even possible. That’s in essence what I am — a point of view on all things. But I am one of the elusive ones — you’ll find your lover’s point of view almost anywhere, but mine you grasp only fleetingly when you lose your concentration because something you thought reminded you of something else but you can’t quite remember what. My point of view is the one that everyone knows and has experienced, from the very first moments of their lives, but one of the hardest describe or capture. Often things seem bizarre or ridiculous when thought in this way. Some very fortunate people that are often mistaken as mad or crazy have found a way — often by accident — to continuously see things from this perspective. My sort of thinking is also source of immense creativity for often the craziest things lead to truths — or subjective truths as it is.” He looks pleased with himself and quite proud of his role in the bigger scene of things.
I rudely interrupt: “So what does that mean? Who or what you really are?” He deflates and looks me annoyed. “It means that I’m the entity, the abstract or the avatar of things that rather rudely, embarrassingly and inconveniently makes you forget — or invent — a word or thought or idea when it’s most out-of-place.” I smile at him and say: “Yes, I remember you trying that with me — luckily there is no such thing as out-of-place for me so I caught you in the act.” I sober up as something stirs my memory. “You said others. Some of which I have met. I know Sandman pretty well, but who else?” I notice that the question will not be answered, for Thinkerer has closed his eyes and concentrates on navigating The Great Brainstorm. I’m fine with it — I’d hate to find myself thrown overboard in it.
Thinkerer, that omniscient and body-hopping entity we all know and… Ahh, but we don’t know, do we? We all have had at least some contact with the elusive and mischievous Thinkerer but often he/she/it (from now on I’ll use ‘he’ — for currently he resides in my head) chooses not to inform us of his presence or absence. I will not go to details about how I finally managed to sniff him out but be very careful if you intend to try the same. He rarely welcomes those who wish to stick their noses in his business. I got away by being very persistent and annoying, finally forging an agreement of sorts, a truce if you will. I will write here on this blog about my travels with him to the center of The Great Brainstorm. We will meet many ideas, some of them very old, slow and almost petrified, others very new and so changing they are almost chaotic. We will listen Thinkerer explain the various phenomena in The Storm and abolish some very funny notions we have about thinking in general. He also offers many other invaluable gems of wisdom and knowledge to us on our travels.
I, on the other hand, spend my time on his ‘boat’ as a nosy student or over-enthusiastic spectator, bombing him with questions and demanding explanations. He often ignores me until something hits him as worthy of being answered of explained. Neither of us really enjoys the experience at the time (except for the moments when we are certain we have managed to annoy the other grievously) but in retrospect those experiences are some of the funniest, most exhilerating and precious I have.
My name is Kim Hokkanen and through me Thinkerer reveals all.