I have this unexplainably animal connection to nature. When I walk in the woods I feel this sensation, like I'm vibrating very lightly and very fast, like I'm in tune with the rhythm of the planet or something. If I liked Aristotle, I'd say I was in tune with the music of the spheres. I'd still like to believe in the spheres-the idea of a crystalline order enveloping me and everything I see in this warm, mathematical, infinitely repeating womb.

Maybe it's because I don't wear glasses. Oh, I don't mean it's because of my vision. But I don't have anything artificial I need to take around with me, things that I'm so attached to I can't give up, like an artificial organ. Sometimes I'll stand, naked, under the most fluorescent fluorescent light I can find, and I'll stare deep into a full-length mirror, past my own image, and just regard myself from outside myself, objectively, from the third person. The human body is nice, I guess, but I'm starting to think maybe it can't stand up to scrutiny in comparison to its culture. Used to be, things that were manmade were harsh, right-angled, regular, a little too bright, unreal in their little-too realness. Now you just can't tell. Artificiality is stretching the boundaries of the natural-even the human body is twisted into something more than ideal, something grotesque in the way it erupts out of what is beautiful, like a fun house mirror.

After you look into a fun house mirror for a long time, though, you start to believe it instead of yourself. Your perception starts to blur and ripple and you start to think maybe that residual self image you keep in your mind, that hand-eye coordination you know so well, is wrong, and the image in the fun house mirror is right. And then you start to doubt yourself. Don't get me wrong; you don't doubt everything. In fact, you don't doubt anything except yourself. You start to become defined by everything except your own sense of self, and then your ego, your psyche, escapes your body and spreads itself across the universe like an oil slick, letting the universe's contours become your contours, letting everyone's perception of you become your perception.

But if everyone's doing that, then whose perception is real? Who still holds the power of ego? Who holds the power to perceive and to believe his own perceptions? (For I have no doubt that whomever it is, it is a "he.") And if everyone's doing that, what happens when the oil slick is too thin and the center can no longer hold? What happens when one's perception of oneself dips below the liminal radar? >